my view of the natural world

Author Archive

Let there be Light


“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” – Aaron Rose

Happy Easter everyone!  :-)

Musos entertain protesters against unconventional mining


I used to say we haven’t had a civil war in this country, but it’s certainly getting closer to it now – those who are greedy and in favour of CSG, and those who believe in the right of everyone to have clean air and water.

Originally posted on WattleRangeNow:

by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattle rangenow

 Fracking is on many peoples lips these day, since with the prospect of unconventional  mining in the South East becoming a possibility.  Information meetings have been held around the region in most communities. This article came across my desk today and I thought I’d pass it on to you. Musos including Dan Sultan (pictured) arrived to entertain protesters today.

It was first reported on Echonet daily.

Echonet Daily


Like a scene from a spy movie, seven cars pulled up at a guarded gate on Saturday afternoon, but instead of black suited secret agents, some of the north coast’s highest profile musos stepped out to surprise and support protectors at the Bentley Blockade which has now had people locked-on for six weeks.

Nick Hanlon and Amanda Shoebridge from Aussies Against Fracking organised the northern rivers super group that included Ash Grunwald, Kram from Spiderbait…

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What are we doing to the children?


Surely it’s time to take action against this atrocity?!

Originally posted on O ECOTEXTILES:

Americans live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet American children are less likely to live to age 5 than children in comparable nations – and I was shocked to find that America has the highest infant mortality rate in the industrialized world. [1]


Our children are especially vulnerable to the presence of toxic chemicals in their lives, and unfortunately this means that our children are sicker than we were as kids.

That is due to many different things, but one component can be found in changes to our environment. Since the middle of the last century, we have allowed a slew of chemicals (numbering now over 80,000) to be used in products – chemicals which were untested, many of which we now know to be harmful. In 2009, tests conducted by five laboratories in the U.S., Canada and Europe found up to 232 toxic chemicals in…

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The Result

I mentioned a while back that I’d entered into a photo competition.  Well, on Friday night the awards were presented and I was very lucky to get runner-up in the Open section.  The prize was a voucher for $200 photo printing.

The standard of the more than 200 entries over 6 categories was very high, with many professional photographers entering – all vying for the $1000 first prize money.

The exhibition will be open for the next two weeks, and I’m planning to take some photos of it when I’m in town next week.  With a bit of luck, one or more of my six images may be sold also :-)

Here’s the image:

Working the mobOf course, the funny thing is, that this was taken with my old camera, Fuji 200EXR, before I obtained the Olympus, which just goes to prove, it’s not all about the camera!

One of the aspects about the competition which did concern me however, was the constant reference by the judging panel about winning shots, being the ‘sharpness’ of the image.  It seemed to count more than whether the image imparted feeling or told a story etc…..  Other photographers I spoke with on the night also shared my concerns.  It’s an old debate I know and it appears we’re no closer to resolving it.

PS – No animals were harmed in the making of this image :-)

Reflections at the Marina

Yesterday found Fred and I down at the Robe Marina, once we’d finished the business I was in town for, and I felt the weather was simply lovely.  Foggy, not cold, no wind at all, a very peaceful feel to the day.  Seems I was the only one who felt that way though – I got strange glances when I said to others wasn’t it a lovely morning!



Waiting for a train…… that never comes.


The Lumberjack Show

One of the highly entertaining acts at the 2014 South East Field Days was the Lumberjack Show.  Like most other Aussies, I knew a little about the tradition, but had never seen it in action before.  The team was actually a bit of League of Nations.  Two Canadians, one American, and one New Zealander.  The weather was perfect that day – a real bonus as the previous day had been rain and howling winds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHamming it up – a long way up!  Note that by this time all equipment has been discarded…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFast and furious action as they vied to be the first to finish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis bloke could pull the funniest faces, and really engaged with the crowd – especially the children.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn a short space of time he’d carved out the face of a rabbit – just putting the whiskers on as a finishing touch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn despair, for he’d made a ‘mistake’ and ‘accidently’ removed the rabbit’s head…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd cleverly created the sweetest little chair!  There was a call then for the youngest audience member to test out the chair….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, she was very cute :-)

More wisecracking took place, and further high jinks, and one of the men then needed to go to the ‘dunny’, which of course, provided the opportunity for further merriment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreat little building….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut trouble was in store….. one lighted fuse coming right up!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPoor man – who’d enjoy their peace being disturbed like that!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHowever, after he’d had a good moan and groan, it was time to get on with the final act – rolling the logs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt least the weather wasn’t cold, and I’m sure that by this time they’d worked up a sweat, so the dipping wouldn’t have been unwelcome.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll ages of spectators watched the show….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey seemed to enjoy the show as much as I did.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the end of the show, several tiny chairs were available for sale, and there were plenty of young lads waiting to purchase theirs and get it autographed.  No girls lined up…..  although I have to say, I was tempted!

Monty Python deserves to have the final say…..

Thinking sideways

Firstly, sorry for my absence in recent times from here, and from commenting on other blogs, but sometimes my other life just gets in the way.  Hopefully I’ll be able to catch on soon.

Today though, I was able to take a trip to Penola to follow up on a project I’m putting together on wine…..  and no, it’s probably not going to be what you think.  More on that down the track as it comes together.

Just as I pulled into the town though, I caught sight of a great many vintage vehicles converging on the park in the main street – it turned out to be a vintage car rally from interstate and they were having their morning tea break at Penola.  Twenty five vehicles of varying ages with fifty people and no, I won’t say anything about THEIR ages!

I only had time for a few shots, but as I did them, I was thinking of the book I’d been reading by Freeman Patterson on Thinking Sideways – and here was the perfect opportunity to try something out.   Instead of trying to avoid sunflare, I took a chance on embracing it – just to see ‘what if ‘ .  In post production I played just slightly with levels, and here’s the result.  Personally I’m happy with it, and think it was worth nearly getting run over by a careless modern car driver backing into me as I crouched low in front of this vehicle.  Well, almost anyway………


Wild Swans

The story of the Wild Swans……


Overview of South East Field Day

Last Saturday I went to Lucindale where the South East Field Days were being held.  The previous day had been tough weather wise – strong winds and rain – so everyone was very happy when the day dawned clear and still.  Just perfect.

The Field Days are a bit like a country show, with some competitions, lots of entertainment, and of course, traders showcasing their wares.  All spread over 12 hectares.  As with last year, I didn’t see anywhere near all of it, but did greatly enjoy it just the same.  Also, it was lovely to reconnect with people I’d met elsewhere, as well as meet new ones.

My first place to visit was of course, the sheep yarddog trials.  The Australian kelpie doing what he/she does best. Working the sheep.  A good dog is worth two men.  :-)  And they never ask for a smoko.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFred has tried this and it isn’t as easy as it looks……

Each year, a scarecrow competition is held, catering for all ages from kindergarten to adults.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was my favourinte scarecrow.  In the background, you can see some of the entries in the Mailbox competition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the country areas, mail is delivered to a mail box sitting on the side of the road, and people can be conservative or inventive with what they supply to collect the mail.  I live too far away to get my mail delivered and have to drive into town for it, although it would be fun to put a crazy mailbox at my front gate and see what happens :-)

It was good to see my old friend the Elephant again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think it would be very funny to see this when driving down the highway – I’m sure they get lots of toots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATake a weight off your legs with a cradle like this one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe South East has many pine plantations, and this local bloke has found a great way of using the off-cuts from the industry, by making children’s toys.  At this stage, he makes fire engines and tractors, and hobbyhorses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I walked along the line of farm machinery, it was good to see the Lock the Gate signs displayed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the local area under threat from CSG mining, action against mining companies is needed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI took advantage of a nice grassy spot, and had a few minutes time out.  Well, people watching actually.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile some were happy to smile for the camera…….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOthers, like this wombat,  just couldn’t be stirred from their dreams……

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found a wonderful Aussie invention that goes onto my wish list – a great portable stove and heater.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI need this, as my place is reliant on mains power, and when that’s not working, I have only my little camping stove. At least with this stove, I’d only need to walk out into the paddock and pick up some wood to burn in it.  It dismantles quite easily into a very portable unit.  Check out the Ozpig.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Wildlife Service was there providing lots of information on native creatures and the environment.  Talking with a zoologist there, I found out that its a type of tree frog I’ve got in my vegie garden – yippeee!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis area was set up for Conversations.  A step back in time.  Nothing like having a cuppa though, and chatting about life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Facilitator was wonderful, and asked me questions on a few topics, and took note of my answers.  I DO like having my say on things :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis bloke was great and really engaged with the public.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATaking a well deserved tea break – I could have spent the afternoon just photographing him….  but had to move on….

….to the display by Beach Energy on their fracking in this area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI spent quite some time asking questions, and getting information from these two gentlemen, who certainly did a great PR job.  But no, they failed to convince me of the safety of fracking for coal seam gas in this area.  There is too much evidence elsewhere to the contrary and I believe it’s simply not worth the risk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’d like to think that girls like these two locals could live in an unpolluted area with safe drinking water.

Finally, the entertainment at the Field Days I enjoyed the most, was the Lumberjack Show, and I’ll do a full post on that later.  Here’s a taster…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a great day out, and I wished it happened more than once a year!




Self portrait

While at the SE Field Days, I took a self portrait.



Let’s have some fun!

I went off to the South East Field Days today, and had a whole heap of fun, and will give a longer report on it later.  Just for now though, as an appetiser, is a shot I took that I think is begging for a caption.  Any ideas?  :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho said street photography couldn’t include sheep?  :-)

Worm evolves to eat GM corn


A victory for Nature!

Originally posted on GMO Awareness:

worm eats corn After years of predicting it would happen — and after years of having their suggestions largely ignored by companies, farmers and regulators — scientists have documented the rapid evolution of corn rootworms that are resistant to Bt corn.

More here:

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The Yellowtailed Black Cockatoo have been visiting me again, or should I say, my local water trough and the nearby pine trees.  They seem to visit about twice a year, and stay for a few weeks each time.  Their call is quite distinctive, and carries over a distance, so I usually hear them long before I see them.

These parrots are not as easy to get close to as some other species, but I was lucky enough to get these shots while they circled their favourite area.  One day I’ll get a bigger zoom on my camera, to get more wildlife shots…..  but then again, I’d also like a macro lens!  Hmm…..  guess I’ll be waiting a while for them.


And one day, I too shall fly away…..

A multitude of millipede legs

The approaching change of seasons, with cooler nights, is bringing out the little creatures who have caused mayhem on the railway lines – the Portuguese Millipede.  It was introduced to Australia in the 1950′s, and like so many other introduced species, it has flourished Downunder, and become quite a pest.  A friend of mine in Auburn SA had so many invading his house, he had to take special measures to control them, which included running a decoy light in the garden at night, to attract them to that, rather than the house.  Each night, he was collecting half a bucket full of these tiny creatures – just imagine how many thousands that would be!  Ugh!  At least I only have a few to deal with….and when I found this one at the right height with the right lighting, I simply had to grab the camera :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQuite aside from the fact of it being an introduced pest, it really is an amazing piece of design, don’t you think?

And as one who can trip over my own TWO feet, I’ve got to admire it’s co-ordination!

When it’s holiday time, the tourists arrive.

My local town of Robe is a popular holiday spot, for visitors from nearby and interstate, (and overseas) particularly during the summer months.  There was a recent long weekend in SA and Victoria, and when I popped into town, it was really buzzing.  Perfect opportunity to do a little street photography.




This comical explaination really tells the true story of ME/CFS.

Originally posted on Constant Fucking Shit:

1. Going over your activity baseline.

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It’s autumn

It’s been a while since I posted last, partly due to internet issues, partly due to having taken an unexpected but pleasant short trip away.  My first trip back to the city in almost three years!

And believe it or not, it made for a pleasant change from the cow paddocks…..    :-)  Fred had a good time also.

Still, back in the countryside, the change of season is becoming obvious, with frequent early morning fog.  Perhaps soon there’ll be some mushrooms popping up – another good reason for an early start to the day.  Get to the fungi before the cattle trample them!  For now though, it’s moved around to cold winds and showers of rain for next couple of days.  Almost time to start thinking about stoking up the wood fire…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sun is just finding its way over the eastern paddocks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe young cattle appear out of the fog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the golden grasses in this early morning light.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s always one braver than the rest!  I haven’t done a lot of walking in this paddock since these youngsters went in, and so they are rather spooky, but given the change in seasons, I’m thinking we’ll see quite a bit more of each other.

Announcing: David Holmgren & our Winter PDC


If I was 20 years younger I’d be right into this.

Originally posted on Milkwood: homesteading skills for city & country:


We are excited to announce that David Holmgren, co-originator of Permaculture, will be joining Nick as a special guest teacher on our Winter Permaculture Design Certificate course happening this July in Sydney.

Here’s why we think this is such a big deal:

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Telling Abbott the truth


At least one politician is speaking up…..

Originally posted on Café Whispers:

Green’s Senator Scott Ludlam welcomes Tony Abbott to Western Australia.

And Ludlam nails it. Seven minutes of hard-hitting truth.

Naturally, Tony Abbott won’t bother to listen to this speech. But thousands will.

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Groundwater in the Pilliga has now been poisoned with uranium, arsenic and other heavy metals as a result of CSG activities by Santos!

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Another horrendous situation that was bound to happen sooner or later.

Originally posted on The 1910 Bottling Company Blog:

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 11.15.35 am
There was shocking news in the Sydney Morning Herald for the farmers of north-west NSW on Saturday – groundwater in the Pilliga had been poisoned with uranium, arsenic and other heavy metals as a result of CSG activities by Santos[1].After hearing the news on Saturday, farmers Mark and Cherie Robinson jumped into action, and today they will be at NSW Parliament in Sydney, demanding a halt to CSG drilling in NSW in the wake of the shocking confirmation of water impacts.

Mark and Cherie have a farm west of the Pilliga and they are completely dependent on groundwater.  They can’t survive without it. They’ve already shown incredible courage – both have been arrested stopping Santos drill rigs in the Pilliga over the last month – an extraordinary action for two hard-working, law-abiding farmers.

Will you stand with Mark and Cherie, and add your voice to their call to defend our…

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Lookin’ out my back door

From sunrise today to sundown, looking out my back door.  Yes, I know, I’m pretty lucky :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA gorgeous sunrise, but boy, it was chilly nonetheless.  A taste of what is to come…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy merry band of followers…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe morning mist shrouds the northern paddocks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur little ray of sunshine :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd pretty clouds sail across the sky.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACats like to look down on their ‘owners’…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe – who must be obeyed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADecorating the fence post.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKeeping me company in the garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunchokes about the kiss the sun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd finally, tonight just before sundown, as I walked out the back door to turn off a garden tap, this is what I saw.

A good excuse to listen to some more Creedence :-)


The key is to trust your heart to move where your unique talents can flourish. This old world will really spin when work becomes a joyous expression of the soul. 

Al Sacharov

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been photographing a friend’s art work, and this piece really spoke to me of joyfulness, with its vibrant colours, and flow of movement.

Our Prime Minister thinks logging companies are the “ultimate conservationists”. What do you think?

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Shame shame shame. Abbott seems determined to bring this country to its knees, by selling out to greedy businesses.

Originally posted on The 1910 Bottling Company Blog:

893581-dafd5462-8c95-11e3-873f-eea0d8e80762 event-3 d3s0906_rp034a

Here’s a man who thinks national parks are a commodity to be farmed and used. So tell me Tony, how do you you replace 2,000 year old trees and closed eco-systems that are hundreds and thousands of years old?? Surely tourism is a far longer and sustainable business proposition for the economy? Given the rest of the world appears set on bulldozing our forests for short term gains. Also you may not understand that tress absorb Carbon Dioxide and give us the Oxygen we in fact breath? The lungs of the world. Unfortunately trees can’t also absorb all the hot air from buffoons such as you – maybe this hot air released by countless twits in governments around the world is one of the major contributors to global warming?

The other night, Tony Abbott told the timber industry that too much native forest was “locked up” in national…

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