Happy today because....

Started by Steve, April 14, 2007, 10:39:40

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I'm happy for a number of reasons today, but I'll try to do this in the "three good things about today" format that's a good intro to gratitude journalling (which I did for years, but it had this tendency to turn into amazing food, amazing walking trails and various natural phenomena and hobbity interests).  The thing is, if you just start getting in a habit of picking out three good things every day, eventually you find that's not enough and you just want to write more and more, which is great because what it's really doing is training you to look for wonderful stuff you're taking for granted or that's not really getting through to you because you're living in your head etc.

For today:

1) The battery bank finally filled back up to 100% because for the first time in a long time, we had a completely sunny day.  So what, you might think, but we live off-grid and were trying to freeze >300kg of beef in the middle of the Southern winter this week, off our 12 solar panels which have to run everything.  We had a bit of trepidation about it but did manage to do this - Monday, which is when the butcher cut up the quarters and I packed the stuff, we had sun most of the day even though the forecast was cloudy.  Stroke of luck; Brett was ferrying boxes of the stuff home at intervals from the mobile coolroom (at the neighbours' who had also killed a steer, and we helped each other out; the coolroom is big enough for two), and everything was good and cold by nightfall.  And then came four mostly overcast days, which progressively drained the batteries more and more, until it got critical yesterday.  Alas, though, today was sunny and the beef is all frozen and the batteries are full again. 

2) So FINALLY I could get back to watching concert videos, hooray - and re-watched the first half of the Curætion gig, because it's been too long to just start from the middle.  Got to Step Into The Light - excellent song...

3) ...and also, it was a perfect day for drying sheets in the sun.  There's few things as lovely as getting into fresh bed linen that's been washed in rainwater to which you add a sprinkle of real lavender oil, and which is dried in sunlight and fresh air.  You don't generally need detergent to wash your bed linen, unless you are an exceptionally greasy person - every now and then maybe, but most of the time plain water and some lavender oil are just perfect.  No detergent residues, nothing nasty, just clean crisp fresh heavenly sheets that smell of flowers and sun.  I banned synthetic fabrics from the bedroom long ago - natural fabrics are so much nicer - linen is great, as is flanellette cotton.  I'm sure hemp and bamboo would be wonderful too, but I've only seen those as shirts and socks respectively where I am (and can highly recommend both).
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Happy today because we did our annual mountain climb in honour of Brett's birthday, which is actually tomorrow, but today was his day off.  Considering how tired we've been, it was a minor miracle we managed to drag ourselves out of bed this morning to do this, but we had a fabulous day, and have recovered well.

We headed for Mt Hassell, in the Stirling Ranges - it's always the birthday person's choice.  Good choice.  The Stirling Ranges had a horrific wildfire in the summer gone by - a very hot fire that ripped through much of the National Park.  It's nice to see the flora beginning to recover - Australian sclerophyll is very fire-adapted - but with such an extensive and hot burn, the fauna will be having a hard time with recovery, and a few more extinctions are quite likely as a result unfortunately.  This is mostly because for the past 200 years, Aboriginal people have been off the land post-dispossession, and they previously managed the sclerophyll actively by doing small-patchwork, mostly cool burning (Brett and I do exactly this in the on-farm nature reserve we steward), which reduced the fire hazard through reduction of fuel loads as well as the heterogeneity in the landscape creating buffer zones instead of a large area with equally high fuel loads.  It also suited the native fauna very well - Tim Flannery (Australian ecologist) reckons one of the main reasons for the horrific rate of mammal extinctions in Australia is the removal of the Aboriginal fire management patterns - and obviously, large-scale clearing of native vegetation for agriculture and "development" - but I digress.

We hope you enjoy the following photos of the climb - and if you want to see the full set, just click on any photo to take you to the Flickr photopage.

The earth was tilting strangely when we got there:

Our dog Jess loves going on outings like this.

It was cold today, with a gale blowing, but I much prefer that to heat...it's so much easier to dress for it.  We had to hoist the dog up a couple of rock faces when we got to the spire, but that's OK too - at eight she's getting middle aged and appreciates the assistance with hard scrambles.  Just like I appreciate keeping my joints warm, lately of the hands as well, with the right layers, and an electric blanket at night - nobody likes arthritis, but these tricks are very helpful.  The dog, by the way, sleeps in the warm house, on her personal sofa.

This is Kingia australis, and it's producing seed heads like mad because it's trying to get the next generation into the ground after the fire - now that there's space and light, and nutrients available from the ash:

I'm still smiling because the walk hasn't actually killed me:

Kingias in front of Mt Hassell spire:

Brett with Kingias, on the ridge.  These were totally burnt black and what you see is half a year's regrowth of their leaves, plus new seed heads.  If you look closely, you can see how the prior leaves were burnt off just below the new leaves - the black "beard" is their remains, burnt short and blackened.  Kingia stems grow around 1.5cm a year, so you can work out how old these plants are if I tell you Brett is 173cm tall! :angel

Final ascent:

Brett and Jess back on the ridge on the descent, with Mt Trio to the left in the background (a really nice one to climb in spring because it's bursting with Darwinias and other amazing wildflowers only found in this area).

And for comparison, three photos from the same mountain trail, a few years ago, also mid-winter, before the wildfire:

SueC is time travelling


...the working week has ended (but I didn't have much work anyway).

...something else has ended (been paying something by installments).

...it's not too hot yet (but that might come over the weekend & next week).

... someone brought me a small package, which the parcel service had just left at his door (wrong street, same house number); good to see there's honest & nice people around!
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Quote from: Ulrich on August 07, 2020, 13:51:57... someone brought me a small package, which the parcel service had just left at his door (wrong street, same house number); good to see there's honest & nice people around!

Yes, this kind of thing is very encouraging when it happens!  :smth023
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OK, I'm very happy today because everything we missed out on due to me going "splat" badly yesterday, we managed to do today.  We just had to do it during gale-force winds and between storm fronts, instead of in sunny weather - but it turned out that the photography was much better because of it.  Check out the wild seas down at Lights Beach today!  The ocean was pushing the water one way, and the wind was pushing it the other, with very spectacular results.

And one walking back to Monkey Rock:

Full set at Flickr as usual.

PS:  I just wrote up this walk here - includes an account of waxing lyrical over a strawberry-custard tart...
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Brett and I had a go at hiking today, but got massively rained out!  Aborted the hike and came back completely saturated after walking less than an hour (soft shell is fine for light rain, but not for a total deluge that's like being hosed).  However, I'm happy because last week a friend and I did a "ladies' week" hiking, and she just sent me some lovely photos.

This was our place at 7am Wednesday just as we were leaving:

We swung by Middleton Beach at 7.30am:

Top photo from the Peak Head hike:

If anyone would like to see more, just click on the first photo and use the left arrow in Flickr.  The wildflowers are really starting to come out!  This is a Dryandra:

And there's Frenchman Bay:

There's some old ship remains; also our dog loves chasing waves:

...and we found some sea anemones!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  :)
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Nice photos, thank you!  :smth023

I'm happy today because last night I went to a birthday party and my hangover isn't half as bad as expected.  XD
We were sitting outside with a bonfire and barbecue and beer and all that. Lots of rubbish was talked (and a few serious things too), saw some people I hadn't seen since last year's b-day party and so on... :cool
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:) You should visit us sometime.  Our guests keep leaving us booze; we've got quite a collection in the pantry now.  Bottles of wine, now even beer.  Sadly, nobody is leaving us any cider.  :1f62d:  I think I can make some nice Welsh Rarebit with the beer (which ironically is called Corona Extra :lol:).  The wine we occasionally get around to when other people are present.  And now we've got something very unique called Keith's Kickn Raspberry & Cranberry Komboucha which is vaguely alcoholic and produced by one of Brett's colleagues...

A friend sent me this clip and though it's four years old, it's worth sharing... It's all excellent, but if you're short of time, at least check out the person playing guitar with their toes at 1:44, and the drummer without arms at 4:00...

SueC is time travelling


Happy about my excursion to the town of Ingolstadt (worth the 2 hour drive). While I'm just reading "Frankenstein", it seemed a perfect place to visit (the first part of the book is set in Ingolstadt, because Mary Shelley knew about the university and dissecting room there).
Guess what? When I arrived at the tourist info looking for a guided tour, I found out that on this very day there was a special tour about Frankenstein which started 10 mins later (couldn't have planned it better)!!  :cool
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Sometimes, things just magically seem to go right, @Ulrich:)

...here's a lovely shot Eileen took on the Kalgan River walk we did recently:

That's only one example; more on the photopage (click on photo).

...and wildflower season is in full swing now (which means I have to start checking the beehives...)

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...I've had some good work coming in today; just as I'd hoped things would pick up a bit after the summer vacations/holiday time (which ended here on Sunday).  :happy  :cool
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Excellent, @Ulrich:cool

Here's some more photos from our recent all-girl hiking week - these are from Mt Hallowell, which Eileen had never been to.  First shot is extraordinary orchids, of which we have many in WA.  This is Pterostylis nana, otherwise known as the Snail Orchid...

Eileen going in the cave:

A cave exterior:

Incredible views:

Relaxing at Monkey Rock:

Eileen is a fabulous photographer, and all 48 of the best photos of this particular hike are on our main Flickr page here (newest on top):  https://www.flickr.com/photos/redmoonsanctuary/

...no wonder I'm happy, living in a wonderland like this...
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Happy because it's peak wildflower season - and the West Australian sclerophyll is so full of wonder.  The orchids are peaking, and some of the most amazing ones are really hard to spot because they're not colourful, oh no...

Meet the Flying Duck Orchid...

Brett took that one in the nature reserve we steward on our farm - if you don't know what you're looking for, it's hard to see them, drab and tiny against the multicoloured backdrop of Australian bush in wildflower season.  However, he's always had an eye for detail, and if I lose an earring, he's my best bet of finding it quickly. :cool  Likewise, he reliably spots stuff like this.

What on earth is it, and why doesn't it have nice coloured petals?  Well, to explain that, I will explain the Hammer Orchid, which also grows on our place and is one of the best examples of something that, when scientists first worked it out, they held off publishing for fear of offending the "morality police" at the time.

This photo is not one of ours, it's an educational composite:

On the left is the wingless female of a native Australian wasp sitting on the end of a blade of bush grass waiting for a winged male suitor to elope with her.  And on the right is the Hammer Orchid.  It features an imitation female wasp body, complete with full-on pheromones, the combination of which the winged male finds irresistible.  The male wasp grabs the dummy wasp and attempts to fly off with it, and because of the hinge in the plant, catapults head-first into the receptive female stigma of the orchid, where he hopefully deposits some pollen from another Hammer Orchid, if he's been previously duped, and picks up some pollen intended for another orchid.  The catapulting action separates him from the dummy female, and he flies off (with or without a waspish headache), maybe to encounter an actual female of his own species, but frequently to be duped again by another Hammer Orchid.

This was deemed too risqué a discovery to bring to the attention of the wider public, not too many decades ago.  Isn't it funny how, by contrast, humans have been quite happy to swing other humans off ropes, invade other countries, take indigenous people's land and resources, etc etc etc, without apparently feeling there's anything indecent about that. :evil:

Anyway, the hypocrisy of Homo allegedly sapiens aside, the existence of all the wonder, complexity and beauty out there makes me very happy.  :)
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Happy about my excursion on Sunday - with the weather on Saturday and Sunday morning I didn't expect to go anywhere, but as soon as I realised the sun might be out towards the east, I drove to a town in the east and visited "Schloss Brenz" and an old church next to it.

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Lovely photos, @Ulrich.   :smth023  :cool

I'm happy because I got my first dozen tomatoes seedlings planted into the garden today - they were big enough to transfer from their tube pots in the greenhouse, and the next lot of tiny tomato seedlings is ready to go from the punnet tray into the tubes.  Hopefully we won't get a late frost...

I'm also happy to report that Sexual Encounters of the Floral Kind is now on YT, at least in parts - fabulous plant reproduction documentary which always had eyes popping in the classroom.  It's well shot, and very humorously narrated, with a good choice of soundtrack for increasing the weirdness vibes... and here's the part about the Hammer Orchid, which I talked about in the last post I made to this thread, because they grow in the nature reserve on our farm and are just coming out...

SueC is time travelling