Posts Tagged With: weekly photo challenge

House sitting again and the joys of farming

We are now house sitting again.

We arrived here 5 days ago and it has been an intense learning curve. Water systems involving pumps, dams, sprinkling systems to be shown. Power systems with cords and connections going in every direction. Discussions of what to do in the event of storms, fire and floods. (Keeping fingers firmly crossed)

Four cows needing attention, 18 sheep of various ages and that included a ewe that had twins only a few days before we arrived. Two dogs and an ancient but lovable cat.

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A large vegetable garden to be cared for (and eaten!!!) and acres of native flowers to enjoy.

I am in seventh heaven I didn’t realise how much I missed the farm life. During the 5 days I followed around taking copious notes.

This morning at 4am it was D day. We went with Kim and Deidre to the airport and waved farewell to them as they flew off to America. Then brought their car back home. Arriving back at 6-30am we were ready for breakfast.

Now we are on our own (well not counting all the livestock!!!)…

First to check the ewe and lambs, aren’t they adorable…

Then to count the other sheep, one’s missing. I walk round the paddock and way over on the other side, near the dam, I find her. But she was not alone. Standing beside her was a fine, healthy baby and she was very protective of him.

With Jack’s help I separate her from the others and put her in the pen with the other mother.

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Here he is only a few hours old. What a lovely start to our 4 week house sit.

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I check them a couple of hours later and he has had a feed and is looking very contented.

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Meanwhile Seldon the border collie watches over them.

Being here is certainly an inspiration for me, going back to my farming roots.

I also think it is a transition for me during the next 4 weeks to be back on the land.

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Now it is 3-30pm and time to do the afternoon rounds of animals, gardens and dog and cat feeding.

 

Categories: Australia, farming, house sitting, inspiration, New South Wales, photos, transition, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Singing Plants at Crystal Castle…

I visited the Crystal Castle 17 days ago and I am still trying to interpret what I saw and what my feelings are.

I chose to visit on a Wednesday as the programme for the day included listening to the “music of the plants”. Described as a profoundly moving and memorable experience. One of my passions is gardening. I love the beauty of plants and of course I believe they are responsive and have connections and vibrations that we cannot actually see. So I was looking forward to hearing them sing…

The plant concert was due to start at 1-30 next to the Blessing Buddha.

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This Buddha is very special to the formation of the Buddha Walk experience. It was in the year 2000 that Naren and wife Sono decided to create the Buddha Walk and in 2004 the search began for all the statues.

Finding Buddha was quite elusive until they heard about a master carver in Java, it was here that this huge, almost 4 metres tall, Buddha was hand carved from volcanic rock from a mountain in Java, then shipped to Australia.

It took another 18 months to create the gardens and transform an old dam site into a fitting setting for Buddha were he sits, giving forth a feeling of peace and tranquillity.

So it was here that I sat, in an open sided marquee, to listen to the story and history behind the phenomena of the singing plants.

It was explained that the idea and research about the music plants made, had first been researched at “Damanhur”. A connection was made with the people at Damanhur and a small box was acquired from them. Now this is were I, sort of, lost all the technology explanations. But a wire with a rusty sort of nail was pushed into the soil around the plants roots, another wire with a bulldog clip was attached to the leaves of the plant and a third wire went into the small box which was then connected to a synthesiser. Ok are you following this… I am now kicking myself as unfortunately I did not take photos. This link will explain it better than I can. http://in5d.com/amazing-singing-plants-phenomenon/

There was an expectant hush as we all sat waiting. Nothing happened.

We were told that the plants could not just sing on cue, sometimes they did not feel in the mood. So the clip was taken from that plant and moved to another. We were asked to meditate and chant the word “Ohm” Suddenly small noises, squeaks, uncoördinated notes emitted from the box.

I made a short video. Against the back ground of the “Ohm” chant you will be able to hear the synthesised sounds.

So what do you think? Is it the plants? Or is it a rather elaborate hoax…

Here is another version of “Damanhur” from a person who experienced living there and now warns anyone planning to go to be careful. https://damanhurinsideout.wordpress.com/

After an hour we went back to the main building to look at the amazing displays of crystals in the shop.

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The Crystal Castle is a truly unique place and on every level it exudes spirituality. The Stupor, the crystals placed everywhere, the spiral design of the gardens, the lush tropical plants used, the magnificent statues, the distant vista of the Border Ranges and rainforest covered slopes, the organic veggie garden. Then the inspiring story of one man and his dream and how he slowly, over 3 decades, turned that dream into reality.

I can appreciate the beauty, hard work and dedication.

But I am a practical, down to earth sort of person. I do not dwell on religion, spirituality, the meaning of life. My focus is on the “now”, the daily necessities of life, the people around me, my garden. So the connection Crystal Castle has with Damanhur and the singing plants left a vague uncomfortable niggle at the back of my mind.

Would I go back again? Most definitely.

For more details of the daily programme, how to get there follow this link.

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In the “weekly photo challenge” Krista asks us to show her our idea of a “Happy Place”.

If you think of “happy” as being serene and contented this Crystal Castle ticks the box for me…

Categories: Australia, Crystal Castle, happy, New South Wales, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 34 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Boundaries…

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Can you see where the reality ends and the creation starts?

This is a boundary with a difference. It is a boundary of what the mind conceives as reality.

From a distance I thought I could walk through the archway into a magical kingdom. But as I came closer it transformed into a “Tromp L’oeil” 

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This incredible work of art was in the court-yard of an enchanting and extraordinary world of the Crystal Castle. It is in the hinterland, surrounded by lush green hills, near that alternative life style village of Mullumbimby that I visited recently. I will be showing you more, much more of this amazing place, but I am still sorting the 300+ photos I took on the day.

This is just a preview of what is to come. 

(Here’s another bench for the October “Bench Series” that Jude hosts)

Categories: bench series, boundaries, Crystal Castle, Mullumbimby, New South Wales, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 32 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Grid

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Dogs are masters at finding the warmest spot in a room. Mitch snoozed at my feet as I had breakfast this morning and looking down at him I noticed the perfect grid formed by the sun shining through the back of the chair.

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When he heard the click of the camera he looked up as much as to say, “What are you doing now?”

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This week Michelle asks us to make a grid the centerpiece of your photo. Next week, they can lapse back into our photographic subconscious, but this week, let’s give them some time in the sun!

Categories: grid, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , | 30 Comments

Market Day at Mullumbimby.

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The third Saturday of each month is market day in Mullumbimby. Called Mullum by the locals. It has been the centre for alternative or counter-culture since the 1970’s and to wander around town and visit the markets it is like stepping back into that era, the time of the flower children, communal living and the hippies still survives in this vibrant and colourful “biggest, little town in Australia”.

 

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These 2 had come down in their camper van, from Brisbane, the big smoke, to spend the weekend here. Picking a handful of flowers from the hedgerow to put in her hair she is a new age flower child.

It was interesting to look at the houses and gardens as we walked along to the markets.

Definitely my style of place. Small, rustic, lots of picket fences, some overgrown and wild, others neat and cottagey. Loved to see the swing hanging from the tree in the middle of the street for all children to play on.

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Before we even arrived at the markets we passed locals that had spread their wares out behind their vehicles. Is there anything there you would like Jack?

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As we entered the market we could feel the love, so many greeting each other with hugs, the atmosphere was happy and care-free, and a great place for people watching.

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Grey flowing locks and bare feet, long skirts, caftans and happy pants were the predominant fashion. The young woman in the modern “jeggings” looks to be from another world.

The market is in the Historical Park and an old cedar shed looks its age next to the 50+ market stalls.

Weaving being demonstrated

Weaving being demonstrated

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Do you remember macramé? A craft from the 70’s. Well this stall was full of it and I thought this is an example of a “grid” created with string, (the weekly photo challenge)

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Look how tall this bloke is!!!

There were plenty of food and coffee  stalls all under the large shady trees, but it was an overcast sort of day with showers threatening, so we decided to walk back to the main street for lunch.

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One last channelling of the 70’s as we passed this old truck devoted to shiatsu massage. But he is all modern age with his phone in hand.  Incidentally I did not see too many people on their phones…

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As we passed these two friendly characters Jack had to stop for a chat. Bushy and the Pirate were very laid back and a distinct aroma of the 70’s floated on the air around them. Back in the day, this town grew weed so potent it was known as Mullum Madness!

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This was originally the Bank of New South Wales but now houses a very comprehensive collection of organic produce and supplies. Mullum is the service town for the area and has a good range of shops and services. Lots of craft shops to wander around. But we were looking for lunch. I had checked on “Trip Advisor” before I left home and from 21 choices they named “Rock & Roll Coffee Company” as number one. It is tucked away down a little lane in the heart of town, just round the corner from the organic emporium.

But just a minute, we could hear music, a jazz  blues band. This we had to check out.

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This group of local musicians were belting out “Mustang Sally”. Lunch forgotten we stayed, along with quite a crowd, to listen. Finally we dropped a donation in the guitar case and left with a smile on our faces to find lunch.

So down the lane we went. Most of the diners looked like locals and it was a small, sort of hole in the wall type of place. But the food was delicious, (I forgot to take a photo!).

Did you notice the entrance to the left of the café?

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Must have a look in here…

Lots of good quality arts and crafts and a relaxing courtyard with that amazing mural on the back wall.

Feeling refreshed, fuelled and caffeinated we went for a walk around the streets. But time to head back home…

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I don’t think the cats even missed us… 

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I will join in with Restless Jo’s intrepid walkers this week. Come over and join them.

Categories: Australia, grid, Jo's Monday walks, markets, Mullumbimby, New South Wales, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Angles in the garden

Shane Francescut is the guest host this week. His challenge, photograph a person, or a piece of fruit, or a toy — any stationary object — and experiment by photographing it from different angles. While there is no minimum — and you’re always welcome to adapt every photo challenge to meet your needs — I challenge you to choose three of your favourite shots and post them in a gallery on your blog.

So I’m going back in the garden for my WPC inspiration this week.

The staghorn fern loves tropical rainforest conditions and is a native of Tropical Northern Australia and many other tropical areas around the world. Platycerium is a genus of about 18 fern species in the polypod family. I also like how the fronds are shaped like deer antlers and grow at all angles from the kidney shaped shield.

Behind me I could hear a raucous racket going on in next door’s bottlebrush tree. Look what I saw.

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I could only get the one shot before this Lorikeet flew away, but he is certainly at an angle to get a feed.

Categories: angles, garden, post-a-week, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 40 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Memorable Moments…

This is going to be one of the most difficult challenges WP has ever given.

Cheryl asks us ” For this week’s photo challenge, select and share a series of photographs. You can piece together what you consider an ideal day, recount a memorable day, tell a (visual) story, or show us some of your favorite things”.

Not because I don’t know what to choose for it, but because there are so many memorable days.

Life is full of memorable moments and the older I get the more I have to draw on.

I started this blog in 2009 to chronicle our journey around Australia, so I have chosen just a small sample of magic moments from that year of travel.

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After months of preparation, finding the right camper van, downsizing from a 3 bedroom house into a one room Granny flat, garage sales, giving away and sending surplus “stuff” to op shops. Finally it was time to go. March 5th (our birthday) 2010 and Matilda trundles out of the drive on an epic 12 month, 37000 kilometre journey of discovery around Australia.

This day was a very good day

Yes this was our home for the next year, as Jack put it, “living in a sardine can”….

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Waking to a mist filled morning, dew draped like diamonds on every blade of grass and the only thing sharing this hushed and serene moment was spiders waiting for their web to dry and the insects to arrive.

Walking in National Parks, isolated and alone and skinny dipping in pristine mountain streams.

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So many campfires shared with new friends, stories and a glass of wine shared.

Even one camp shared with a friendly horse that loved cups of tea and muffins.

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The friendliness and generosity of the nomads on the road.

One memorable evening we arrived late into a camp ground called “funny dunny” miles from any where, but a favourite with the fishing community. As we settled in the neighbour came over and offered us 2 freshly caught fish. Not only that but as we had no idea how to cook it (at that stage of the journey we were still newbies) they gutted, cooked and then shared the meal with us.

It was certainly a year of so many highlights and I am thankful for the WordPress blog that allows me to look back and relive those times on the road.

But finally I have to include these last 2 photos. This is the best sunset of many memorable sunsets I photographed. It was a moment that took my breath away. Words fail me to describe the intensity of feeling as I witnessed, and photographed this glorious vision.

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It was a moment shared with friends which made it very special.

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The end of another very good day.

Categories: Australia, photos, today was a good day, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : How close can you go…

I wonder how close can I go…

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Now this is getting closer, I can almost reach…

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Got it….

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This is close-up…

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Not macro photography, but I have interpreted “close-up” in a different way.

Categories: close up, lorrikeets, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 57 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Symbols of Australia

When you think of Australia what pops into your mind?

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This land down under has unique flora and fauna and I think the kangaroo is one of the symbols that people associate with Australia.

Everyone who comes here thinks the Koala is so cute and cuddly.

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They look so harmless, but beware they have very sharp claws.

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Never smile at a crocodile, they can jump and also run, so keep well away from the water’s edge in the tropical parts of Australia…

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The dingo looks like the family pet, but don’t be tempted to pat him, he has a nasty temper.

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As for the Tasmanian Devil, he is devil in name and devil in nature.  Its oversize head houses sharp teeth and strong, muscular jaws that can deliver, pound for pound, one of the most powerful bites of any mammal.

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The snake is another of the scary creatures that live in Australia. This one was living in a  tree in my back yard.

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There are also birds and maybe one of the most colourful is the lorikeet. They travel in large flocks and though they look beautiful they have a very loud screechy voice.

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The kookaburra’s raucous laugh is, to me, the symbol and sound of Australia.

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Categories: Australia, kookaburra, lorrikeets, photos, post-a-day, symbol, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 58 Comments

My Garden, My Muse : Weekly Photo Challenge

Brie Anne asks us this week

So what’s your muse — what subject do you turn to frequently, more inspired each time?”

This is so easy for me to answer. I am surrounded by “my muse”. Every day I walk round the garden noticing the changes, marvelling at the beauty and colour, seeing flowers slowly fade and new ones take their place.

This morning I took my camera for a walk with me, as I often do, and these are just a few of the things I noticed.

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This apricot poinsettia has been flowering for weeks and shows no signs of wilting.

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The sun throws vibrant shadows of this crucifixion orchid on the new fence. Below it a new bud is opening to take the place of the slowly fading flower.

As the flowers come and go the foliage, in many shades and hues, fill the garden beds with colour the whole year.

The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.

Gertrude Jekyll

 

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These ants are only about 1 centimetre long and they were covering the flower buds on this jade plant. Do you see that other strange-looking spiky caterpillar? It is so small I only noticed it when I downloaded the photos.

Finally I went round the corner to say hello to our blue tongue lizard as he lay draped over the rock sunbathing.

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He was almost camouflaged among the bromeliads and rocks.

The glory of gardening:

hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.

To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

Categories: Australia, garden, muse, photos, post-a-day, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

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