Category Archives: Animals

Butterfly

I came across this beautiful Monarch butterfly today at my local Bunnings hardware store. At first I thought it was an artificial butterfly, a fabric prop used to attract the eye towards the display of flowers. But upon closer inspection, I saw that it was real. 

What a beauty! 

And it wasn’t alone either, in appreciating the sweet allure of the pink flowers. Swarming about were several bees. Here’s one:

So good to see that at Bunnings at least, Mother Nature is well and flourishing. 

My New Friend

This friendly and curious magpie was sitting minding its own business when I came along and decided to try and make friends with it.

Notice how there appears to be the silhouette of a blackbird on the white patch on the magpie’s back? How cool is that! 

The white and black birds you can just about make out in photo no.7 are a small flock of pelicans. Yes, we’re exotic like that 😄.

This nature reserve is called Lake Richmond, and it’s just a couple of miles from where I live. The reason you don’t see water sports and crowds of people on and around it is because it’s a protected wildlife area, and restricted to pedestrians on foot only. Dogs must be walked on leash. It’s a haven for all kinds of flora and fauna. There’s even a lookout from where you can see the whole lake, and the houses close to it. Less than a mile out from this unique freshwater lake is the Indian Ocean.

The following 2 images are from Google Images:

Apparently there’s a colony of thrombolites somewhere along Lake Richmond. I have only just read about that here so when I do find them on my next visit I’ll be sure to write about it. Here’s what the Department of the Environment says about the Lake Richmond thrombolites: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/conservation-advices/thrombolite-microbial

30 Days of Gratitude: #19

#19: What touch are you grateful for?

You may laugh, but around 46% of dog owners let their dogs sleep on their bed with them. That’s nearly half of all dog owners. I bet the figure would be higher if not for fur allergies, clean freaks and controlling partners. Luckily, I’m free of all those. 😉

My Shelagh sleeps in my bed, and Scruffy sleeps in my son’s bed. And yes, Shelagh can be the most terrible bed hog with no sense of personal space, but she’s also fiercely protective of me, a great watchdog, and terribly cute when she rolls over for a good tummy rub in the mornings.

I’m grateful for Shelagh’s presence when I reach out in the middle of the night and touch her head or side. The feel of her gently rising ribcage under my hand is most reassuring and calming. She makes the cutest little snuffling noises in her sleep, and sometimes her legs cycle about energetically when she dreams about chasing after balls. I’m grateful that Shelagh’s by my side at night as well as during the day. And I don’t even mind if she occasionally kicks me in the side mid-doggy dream, or wakes me up briefly when she jumps off the bed to take a drink from her water bowl, or barks when she hears some unusual noise outside.

Come the cooler winter months, I’m grateful for my big brown heater in the shape of Shelagh. She’s quite a big dog, and boy does she give off some body heat! It’s also very endearing when she plonks herself by my side in bed, with her head on my lap, and we both go to sleep like that, with my hand on her back. 

30 Days of Gratitude: #7

#7: What memory are you grateful for?

It’s no secret that my dog Shelagh is my furry best friend and indeed, my soulmate. She has shown me nothing but love, affection and loyalty, and she is my constant companion and shadow. She’s also got a great sense of humour and is fun to play with. 

The memory I’m most grateful for is of the time Jack and I went to see a litter of Staffy x Mastiff puppies, to choose one as a companion for my other dog, Scruffy. 

Out of the litter of 7, I liked the 2 with blue eyes. One was a darker brown than the other. Jack and I were sitting crosslegged on the floor of the house, to allow the puppies to crawl over to us. As I vacillated between the 2 puppies, the lighter, tan coloured one, clambered onto Jack’s lap, curled up and fell asleep.

Jack looked at me and said, “This one, Mummy”, and that was that.

On the car ride home, we were thinking of names for the puppy. None of them seemed to fit. Until I thought, why not just call her “Sheila”, Australian slang for “Woman”, like “Lassie” to the Americans and Brits. Only, we’d spell it the Irish way, “Shelagh”. 

And that was how Shelagh came to become a part of our family.

I look at Shelagh now, sleeping on the chaise beside me, dreaming of fetching her ball in the swimming pool, and my heart just melts.

She truly is the Love of my Life.

 

30 Days of Gratitude: #6

#What in Nature are you grateful for?

In Pam Grout’s book on the practice of Gratitude, “Thank and Grow Rich“, she mentions readers receiving 4 gifts from The Universe as signs affirming their thoughts.
One of the 4 gifts is to come in the form of “A Magical Blessing from the Natural World”.

I must confess, due to a lack of further explanation by Pam, I was a little skeptical about the whole bird thing.

That is, until Tuesday just gone, when I took my client’s dog, River, out for her afternoon walk. The route we took went past 2 houses with a very narrow strip of vacant land between them. This strip was mostly overgrown with brush and some trees. As River walked past the strip, she flushed out a young fledgling bird from the underbrush. I  seem to have a knack for finding unidentified birds, as this one was a mystery to me. 

The fledgling clearly wasn’t used to flying, and had either flown out of its nest and couldn’t get back home, or maybe it had fallen out of its nest?

I didn’t want River catching the bird and harming it, so I crept up to where it had flapped to, next to the wall of one of the houses. I crouched down, and, thanks to my birdcatching expertise with my Japanese Quails (who admittedly are quite handtame), managed to catch the bird neatly with one hand. 

I don’t really understand the old saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, because clearly that didn’t apply here. Anyway, the fledgling tried to flap its way out of my grip, but I got its wings pinned down well, and after a few seconds, it seemed to accept my presence and relaxed in my hand. I was expecting to get a few painful pecks, (as my budgies always do to me on the rare occasions when I have to handle them). But this baby lay nice and quiet in my hand.

Can anyone identify which species of bird this is?

Anyway, I then cast around looking for a likely place where this baby could have come from. If it couldn’t fly all that well, it couldn’t have flown very far from its nest. I soon found what looked liked a birds nest in one of the trees belonging to the house on the left of the vacant strip. That Could be the fledgling’s nest, it was possible…or it might be some other bird’s nest, in which case my poor foundling would have to move on right sharply when the nest’s real owners returned. 

Anyhow, I had to place the bird somewhere high enough that dogs and cats couldn’t get at it easily. That nest (or bunch of twigs) in that tree seemed the safest bet. So I carefully deposited my little fledgling there, and wished it all the best.

It was only as I walked away to resume walking River, that it hit me: The Universe/Mother Nature had truly just gifted me with a sign, in the form of a bird.

There’s no such thing as a coincidence, right? Man, am I humbled! 🙇

30 Days of Gratitude: #5

#5: What Sound are you grateful for today?

I’m currently conducting a rather strange experiment in Gratitude. As many of you may know, I breed Japanese Quail and at present my flock consists of 27 quails, male and females. The girls are adorable, chirping away contentedly when they get fed.

The boys, however, like to bicker over which of the girls is theirs, if you know what I mean 😉. And although our local council disallows the keeping of roosters, there’s no law against keeping male quail. Probably because most people have no idea that what they’re hearing is not a normal quail “song”, but rather the “crow” of a male quail. It’s quite a distinctive sound, I can assure you!

I haven’t actually done a head count of how many boy quails I have, but suffice to say even 1 is enough to drive anyone wild with its crowing. Which, incidentally, can occur at any time of the day or night. They’re generally quiet at night, until someone switches on the light in their room (ahem! the ex) and then the boys think it’s the sun coming up and that’s when the cacophony starts!

I call my boys “Lionel Richie”, because one boy’s crowing can start off a whole chorus of crowing, rather reminiscent of Lionel Richie’s famous song “All Night Long” (imagine the echoing chorus of that song, and you’ll understand what I mean).

But anyway, back to my experiment. I like to have a siesta aka “Nana nap” in the afternoons. But my Lionel Richies can be quite active at that time. I’m sure many of you understand what it can be like to try and catch a nap when the neighbour’s mowing their lawn, or when the kids next door are splashing and squealing in their swimming pool right outside your room. 

With this Gratitude experiment, instead of cursing the quails every time they crow, I’ve begun thanking them. Each time they crow, I think to myself, “Thank you for your lovely serenade”, “You’re beautiful birds and I love you”, “I’m grateful for your sweet song”.

And would you believe, it actually seems to work? Either the birds quieten down, or my mind has learnt to block out their sound. Because these days their crowing doesn’t bother me anymore, and I have the most refreshing naps. 

Go figure! I for one, am grateful for the sound of my quails crowing. If they crow, I love and thank them til they go quiet. If they’re quiet, I love and thank them for their quietness.

(Image source: Pinterest)

Snapseeded! 

Just playing with the app Snapseed, getting reacquainted with it and also tripping down Nostalgia Lane with my pet menagerie and other assorted animals. 

Yes, I’ve been feeling somewhat lacklustre and jaded lately, so an injection of colour was called for, hence the saturation in these images. 

Enjoy! 

Just Scruffy

I don’t often get to snap good photos of Scruffy indoors, as he always seems to be such a wrigglebutt. But this evening at the park, I got the little scatterbrain to sit still for a few moments, so here are some photos of him. The light was fading, and my Samsung S7 Edge doesn’t like taking night shots, hence some graininess and blurriness. 

Just thought I’d capture Scruffy’s essence, while he’s still around. Love that dog so much! ❤🐾❤

Needle-Felted Dogs

Back in the days when I used to make artist teddy bears (1997-2002), I also dabbled briefly in needle felting. I only managed to create a couple of little critters before my needles broke and I ran out of wool roving. 

I made a 6-inch replica of my dog Scruffy, using a combination of his own fur and wool roving. It’s not perfect, but still it’s a memento of Scruffy. I might make one of Shelagh, my other dog…only she doesn’t shed as much as Scruffy, and her fur may be too short to needle-felt. 

Anyhow, the craft still fascinates me, and I still have 2 books on making needle-felted animals and dogs…which, who knows, some day I might get round to partaking of. 

Looking on Etsy and eBay, these days there’s such a lot of talent out there in the field of needle-felting. These artists are somehow able to create miniature replicas of all kinds of animals, down to the last life-like details. Some even make life-size replicas that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. 

It must take an incredible amount of time, patience, practice and skill to create these masterpieces. I for one believe the prices asked for by some of these artists are perfectly justifiable. A LOT of effort and passion have clearly gone into the making of these critters.

So, feast your eyes now on these needle-felted dogs, curated from Pinterest.

Beautiful Moths

Yesterday, I wrote about the beauty of being a Moth in a world of Butterflies. During my research into the topic, I pinned and saved many images of moths onto my Pinterest board, Animals. 

Just thought I’d share those with you here, so you can enjoy and marvel at the beauty of these Moths. Who don’t need to dream about becoming Butterflies, as they are every bit as beautiful and unique. Just as You are, dear Reader.

(Image Source: Pinterest)