Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time.
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.


A surprise lunch outing - bird watching at Lake Gates


Black-winged Stilts

Cattle Egrets

Purple Swamphen

Intermediate Egret

 
This week's reconnect with nature moment had to be a surprise lunch outing with my friend Paul.  Paul shares my interest in birds, and we both love the process of identifying different species. I know this is going to make me sound like a complete dag......but l find it really enjoyable to be able to bring different pieces of information together in order to identify a species. It could be the way the bird flies, or the colour of its legs, its call or its tail shape.  So many different things can be used to identify a bird. I think it's the process l love the most.
Anyway, this is our second surprise lunch outing and his instructions are usually pretty limited. Basically it's a matter of being at a certain place at a certain time so he can pick me up and off we go. 
Would you believe that our first outing was to the local rubbish dump!  I know, but as soon as we got there l knew why he took me there.  At the time there were hundreds of Black Kites, a bird of prey, living around the dump. The sight of them circling in the air on mass was amazing. 
Truly, Paul is my only friend that would have taken me there.
This time we ended up at a local lake that's been a great place to do some bird watching over the years. In about 45 minutes we quickly notched up 20 different species of birds, most of them waterbirds.
Our sighting of the day though was a Spotted Harrier. That's a pretty rare bird to see in these parts, with the large bird of prey much more common in inland areas of Australia.  But there was no mistaking what we both saw. We were still talking about it today!
 
Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.
 
Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide:
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature. 
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address.
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.  
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

morning, noon and night - Sunday 24 August

{morning, noon and night}
Linking up with the wonderful Kim from Mothering with Mindfulness
Sharing three little peeks into our day.

9:30am Time for a group shot before the Arts vs Science Festival kicks off.  Bella and l are picture here with some of my work colleagues, standing beside our contribution to the Festival.  We organised a  gallery of research images and photographs that we felt had artistic qualities.

11:30am The Arts vs Science Festival had lots of hands on activities for kids.  Bella loved testing the pH of different things, you'd be amazed at how acidic Coke is!

5:30pm After l took this photo, l said to Dan "I think l've found my happy spot".
 

Friday, 22 August 2014

this moment

{this moment}
 
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. Linking up with Amanda from Soule Mama





Don't forget my blog link up Reconnect with Nature will occur again on Wednesday 27th August at 9pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (Sydney time). See here for more details.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Reconnect with nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time.
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.

Welcome Swallows prepare for Spring
This week's post really is a case of nature connecting with us, rather than the other way round! 
A few weeks ago l noticed a pair of Welcome Swallows hanging around the front of the house, acting quite territorial.  They were swooping a Flycatcher, hunting it away from a particular corner of the house.  Straight away l thought they must be nesting, but l searched the front of the house for a nest, and couldn't see anything.
 
 
Welcome Swallows are Australia's most widespread and common swallow and together a pair makes their mud nest.  It's so amazing to think that these tiny birds, which probably don't weigh more than 10grams, carry mud in their beaks and build their nests bit by bit.  What an amazing effort!

Weeks passed and l still couldn't see anything, at one stage l thought they may have been getting into the roof cavity and were possibly nesting in there. But then one morning l looked up, and there was the unmistakable beginnings of a nest.  Since then they've been busy birds, steadily building up the mud walls.
 
 
But the birds could be on borrowed time.  If it was just me, l would let them nest there but Dan's rightly concerned about the damage they could cause.  I've left it to him, but l know that if there are babies in the nest he wont do anything until after the young have fledged.  So far the nest has remained, and if Dan wants to remove it before they lay eggs l think he's going to have to get a wriggle on! Of course l'm secretly cheering them on.
In preparation l have read on-line that you can put up a little platform under the nest that will catch most of the droppings, and to be honest l'm not really worried about lice or anything.  It's a fresh nest and in my experience healthy birds don't usually have lice. 
Certainly another sign that Spring is on its way though.

Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.
 
Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide:
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature. 
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address.
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.  
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

So.......am l addicted to being busy?



I’ve had plenty of time to think this past week or so.  I suppose you can say that’s a positive from being flat on my back with the flu.  A week alone with my thoughts, with my wishes and desires, the observations from family and friends…. all sloshing around in my head.

Most of my thoughts centred on how busy we are again.  I thought once we had moved and settled into our new home that things would slow back down, but they haven’t. 
And the conclusion l’ve drawn? I think l might have an addiction……to being busy of all things. To be honest l feel a little crazy to think that, let alone to write that…….l mean how can you be addicted to being busy?
But the more l think about it the more l’m convinced it might be true.
My One Little Word has been on my mind too, You remember that?  Way back in January l shared my thoughts and introduced my word for 2014 – simple.
My One Little Word has been really important to me over the past few years, and something l’ve been pretty diligent at.  But here, it’s the middle of August and my progress with simple has been well pretty poor all round.  And sure, we’ve had a lot on like additional work projects, selling our home, buying another and moving….but the last monthly prompt l did was back in February! 

During the week l picked up my One Little Word journal/album and re read some of my thoughts and intentions from earlier in the year.
Whilst l’ve made some progress with l guess the easier aspects, the big things l’m yet to tackle and l’m wondering why.

At the start of the year l wanted less busyness and more meaning, less activities and more freedom. 
And then l took on an extra work project, that gobbled up all my free time.

At the start of the year l didn’t want a list of goals, priorities and a yearly planner filled with activities. 
And on my fridge right now is a calendar with not a free weekend between now and October!

Why is simple such a challenge? 
Why when l want less commitments, less busyness, do l continue to fill our calendar?

And don’t get me wrong.  l’m grateful to have a full life with many different interests and friends, so it’s a little hard to admit that sometimes all these activities just leave me feeling a little exhausted.  Instead of enjoying each of them fully, being in the moment, my mind is often jumping ahead to the next activity, the next commitment and what l need to do to prepare. 
And when Ali, who runs the One Little Word project, asked us in January to list what we feared most in 2014….that is exactly what l wrote. Bang, there it is folks.

It’s so hard to say no, and it’s even harder to value and protect down time after years of not doing so.  That’s why l think labelling this as an addiction is probably not such a crazy idea.  The continued repetition of behaviour even though you don’t want to do it, and it has negative consequences? Sounds like it.
So here is goes, l’m raising my hand and saying Hi my name is Chrisy and l’m a busy-aholic ….

And perhaps l'm not alone.  In Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, which l read earlier this year she talks about busyness and how our current culture equates that with our importance.  She suggested we wear our busyness like a badge of honour.  Brene suggests "busy" is one of the shields we use to numb ourselves against vulnerability: "One of the most universal numbing strategies is what I call crazy-busy... We are a culture of people who've bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won't catch up with us." In short, we stay busy to deal with our "fear-based shame of being ordinary."
So if l really do want to simplify my life, I can see now that l've got quite a journey ahead of me.  The past eight months have shown me that it's going to take a lot more than good intentions to break this habit.

But it could be one of the most important journeys l make and l'd love to share with you.

How about you? Could you be a busy-aholic too? Do you yearn for the simple life? Or are you well on your way to a simple life? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, 18 August 2014

morning, noon and night - Sunday 17 August

{morning, noon and night}
Linking up with the wonderful Kim from Mothering with Mindfulness
Sharing three little peeks into our day.

 9am Perhaps Spring is on its way? The first of what Dan thinks are peach blossoms?

 12:30pm The latest arrivals at the River Cottage.  Last week Dan brought home some Barnvelders.

5:30pm The last of the days rays poking through the stands of bamboo that line the other side of the river bank.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

We chase the winter sun

As we count down the last weeks of Winter and anticipate Spring's arrival, we find ourselves soaking up the late winter sunshine.  Here in the subtropics of Australia we don't experience the marked seasons that other areas do, but there are some differences. 

To me the biggest difference is in the sun. Winter gives us a few months of the year where it's very pleasant to sit in full sunlight. The sun puts out a gentle warmth that not only warms your body, but seemingly something deeper as well. It just makes you happy, and as a result we tend to chase the winter sun around the house and yard to soak up its goodness.

In the afternoon the yard gets bathed in sunlight.  

 They look like they're sick or dying don't they? But this is three Barnevelder hens and one rooster, all sunbaking in the chicken yard.


And then there's Max the wonder dog.  Nobody worships the sun like this dog.  



Our pet birds got moved out to the veranda for their dose of sunshine.


Meanwhile inside the sunshine isn't being wasted either.  

I love this photo, yes they are dog slobber marks on the outside of my glass door.  Hooray for life with animals.

The last rays peak through before the sunsets over the western riverbank.