Friday, 28 September 2012

snakes alive!

Look what I found lurking in my chicken coop today? A 1.8m EASTERN BROWN SNAKE (pseudonaja textilis) - The eastern brown snake is considered to be the second most venomous terrestrial snake, making it one of the most deadliest snakes in the world!

While I have no love for these critters on the whole, I have a very, very strong aversion to them being 'in my space', and today was no exception. The brown was just a little too close for my liking, and as you can see from the small guage wire on the run that it managed to constrict its body and force its way into the run. This is a first for us. In the five years we've lived here, the only time I've spotted a brown is when DH lifted a rock to disclose a baby brown curled up underneath - that's it! Surrounded as we are by neighbors who are always spotting browns on their properties, and some who've even had dogs bitten by browns, I've constantly marveled at how we've managed to evade an invasion throughout the years. That is, until today.

You may be wondering how we discovered the snake was near the house? DH was working in his office when an awful commotion broke out amongst the chickens, and he decided to go and investigate. The last time we heard them causing such a commotion, it turned out that there was a fox on the drive, in broad daylight - just waiting his chance to jump them! Being very attached to our chooks as we are, we were never going to let this pass without investigation. Thank goodness we did! DH, at first sighting, thought it was a carpet python trying to squeeze his way in, but when I got closer I realized it was my biggest nightmare come true - an eastern brown!!! Now, we get lots of carpet pythons around here and they are generally very welcome down in our shed, away from the house. I have two cats who lie around under the shrubbery and on the drive every day, so as a rule of thumb the red carpet (excuse the pun!) does NOT extend to the pythons, carpet or otherwise, around the home front, evuh!

This does not apply to some lesser species. Somehow we seem to attract our fair share of 'snakelies' every season, particularly the juvenile ones. During breeding season I have spotted up to two green tree snakes at any given time, holing up on the woodwork frame over our front doorway. Being of a non-venemous, non-threatening species, we tend to ignore them and let them feast off the insect life building up around the doorway. Actually (incredibly) they're so darn cute - especially first thing in the morning when we open the door and see their little heads, and enormous eyes, peeping down at us from their corner hidey-hole! Hard as it is to believe, they are quite curious about the comings-and-goings of us two-legged species throughout the day, and mean us no harm. Not hard to see why visitors are few and far between these days! ;-) A couple of times brown tree snakes have come a-visiting too, but they're not as welcome around here. Like their green counterparts, they seem to have a fascination for our front door and deck, but uh-uh, this one's a bird lover, and is listed as two flags on the poison scale. So, no way. Out in the back yard lies another cutie - the yellow-faced whip snake. Known as the 'greyhound of the snake world', it's super fast and would rather beat a hasty retreat than look for a fight. Listed as being two flags on the poison scale (an Eastern Brown is three flags), and potentially dangerous to small children, neither the dogs nor us have ever been bitten! They are slender and get up to around 1m in length, but they're non-threatening and easy to live with.

This post was meant to be a 'moan', but as you can see it's turned out to be me extolling the virtues of these amazing critters of the bush! To co-exist and survive alongside each other, there has to be a very large and healthy dose of respect. We will never be friends, but we needn't be enemies. Ignorance on both sides comes with a heavy price-tag!

DH is right now snake-proofing the coop! Yessss!

Are there any 'nasties' lurking in your neighborhood? Let's share.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

i just don't get it!

Do you ever get the feeling that technology is passing you by? Well for me, anyways, last night was one of those nights. Here I was, excited to be heralding my long-awaited return to the "pen", instead of which it very nearly ended with me kissing goodbye to the joys of Blogger! The evening started with me brainstorming (am I still allowed to call it that?) and navigating the language of HTML coding with my step-son, Nick. The computer boffins - or geeks - call it a language; I call it gobbledygook because frankly, it's downright impossible to read, let alone understand, for technophobics like me! In other words, totally meaningless, head-scratching stuff I'd rather not have to deal with. If this is what updating signatures is all about, then I'm all for kicking it into cyberspace! Seriously. Note to self: If something ain't broke, don't fix it! As if....haha. Come on guys, all this aggro for what? Oh blog....the very same one I'd neglected to update for five months! Coincidentally, FIVE long hours later, with the somewhat dubious aid of Skype, we were still at it, trying to embed my newbie signature into my last post! Check it out - it's still not there! It got me thinking that maybe, back in the day....April to be more accurate....I must've been some sort of genius (not!) because guess who managed to conquer the beast and get it right all by herself? Place high-five here and proceed to checkout, please. So, it begs the question of what went wrong last night? I seriously don't know. Just another mystifying trip down techno lane. The plan was to pull my little blog into the twenty-first century and make it cool - slightly achievable I felt, following close on the minor success I had earlier on at editing my new - and improved - signature on the bottom of my Welcome post. Or so I thought. Nothing is ever as it seems. When I clicked the Update button, I kept getting the oh-so-frustrating pop-up box that told me if I clicked OK, my work would be lost! That left me two options to choose from - OK or Cancel - both seriously, utterly useless choices, imho. Am I the only one who thinks the system is flawed?

Oh, I nearly forgot to ask if anyone has had a problem with changing the color of post titles?? I spent most of the day trying to figure out how I did it when I set up my blog. After much tweaking and shrieking, I conclude that this little bunny must've been a very clever bunny on the day! What do you think? Take another peek at today's title and you'll see what I mean. It's a total different shade of red from the others - except for my Welcome post title which sports the same color red as today's post. What's happening here, folks?

I'm hoping that if I shout loud enough, someone will jump right in and help me unravel the mysteries of HTML - giving me a gleam of hope for the rest of my blog. So, to all my blogging friends out there, I seriously need your help in de-mystifying this very useful tool which I don't plan on using too often - if I can help it.

Share with me your joys or woes of understanding blogger-speak.

Monday, 23 April 2012

ordinary people

Doesn't it make your blood boil when you hear how some Gen-Y yobbos think it's a given to make mindless and thoughtless assumptions based purely on what they see, or perceive to see? I refer to an article I read in this weekend's The Courier Mail "QWeekend" magazine in Brisbane, whom I once again accredit with being the source behind my current run of trusty worthwhile stories. Seriously, I'm beginning to love this publication! Some of the content within its pages never fails to provoke some sort of a response from me! 

The article focuses on an ordinary woman with extraordinary skills, who just happens to be a bit larger than some of us on the size front - and cleverer than most where it counts. The woman I refer to is Catherine Dunstan, a 33 year old public servant from Brisbane. Her story touches the spot I believe most of us women can relate to - weight! It also highlights the ignorance and insensitivity of some. In Catherine's case she writes about how a carload of young guys - strangers, it turns out - drove past her a couple of weeks ago, honked the horn and called her "fatty" and "stupid cow" for no apparent reason! How dare they? How dare they presume to know this person? How dare they proclaim her to be less than intelligent? One could forgive Catherine for letting off steam and retaliating, or taking it personally and holding a grudge (as any one of us mere mortals, I daresay, would be tempted to do) - but that isn't Catherine's style; it's not what she stands for; and it's certainly not who she is. Catherine is so much bigger than these ordinary people, and their extraordinary badmouthing personas. She's highly educated (holds a Bachelor of Business specializing in accounting and tax law) and is extremely forgiving, to say the least. Catherine admits to going through several reactionary phases in the past - crying, or fighting back - but is more likely these days not to give people that power over her anymore. As she says, things that happen in her life used to own her but they don't anymore. She's finally in control of her life.

So it begs the question, what motivates some people? Why do they feel the need to jump all over people and assume to know them? Is it just human nature, or the peer culture found in today's society where the "power-in-numbers" type mentality exists and is allowed to thrive? Whatever drives them, or eats away at them, leads me to question how these kids' mindset evolved and fashioned them into the unkind people they are today. Hurting strangers for no apparent reason other than to feed their own amusement, doesn't get lower than this. Bravo Catherine for rising above it!

Friday, 20 April 2012

blinky on the brink!

The past few days have seen me deliberating and oftentimes agonizing over how best to get this little blog of mine up and running. (Btw, whoever said the whole blogging thing is a walk in the park, is seriously sad and deluded!)  haha  Somewhat fortuitously for me at least, last weekend The Courier Mail newspaper in Brisbane featured a very thought-provoking article in its "QWeekend" magazine on the inside battle to save Queensland's koalas from possible extinction. Despite the mixed emotions it provoked in me, its timing couldn't have been better! It presented me with the perfect topic with which to kick-start my blog, and seriously I cannot think of a better way to showcase and highlight a subject very much close to my heart - the demise of our koala populations in SE Queensland!

Vet: Amber Gillett with "Heath"
Photography: David Kelly

The article I refer to is "Our Fading Emblem" by Matthew Fynes-Clinton, and it really touched my heart. The intensive mapping of south-east Queensland's "Koala Coast" for urbanization shows the marsupial's numbers have dropped by 64 per cent in little more than a decade. The pressure to clear land to meet Australia's chronic housing shortage means that as their natural habitat breaks up, displaced koalas are forced to move from one fragment to the next without cover and under constant threat from motor vehicles, dog attack or disease. The relentless march of industry and infrastructure, coupled with debilitating disease, could see Queensland's koalas die out within decades.
The following article appeared in Wildlife magazine, Melbourne, May 1941. I find it very thought-provoking.
"Advancing settlement inevitably disturbs the balance of nature to the imminent danger of the less adaptable creatures, and sufficient has been seen of the effect of settlement upon the notoriously unadaptable koala to make wise men pause and think seriously of what is to come in the next decade ..."
Incredibly it is more than 70 years since those words were penned ... and I'm having a hard time accepting how staggeringly well they have been ignored! Construction of the long anticipated $1.15 billion Moreton Bay Rail Link looks likely to be given the green light to proceed. It will encompass 12.6km of dual track and six new train stations. There is talk of the corridor being fenced off to stop wildlife from stumbling onto the track, and underpasses and other fauna crossing points being incorporated.
I'm not convinced that this is the best (or only) solution for the ultimate survival and preservation of the koala in this region. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the math and figure out that this iconic and endearing marsupial is fast heading into oblivion and the history book. Queensland's faunal emblem could well become extinct unless we stand together on this and do what it takes to stop the devastation of these wonderful, comical little furry fellas! What do you think?
Check out these websites to see how ordinary people are making an extraordinary difference where it counts? Follow their activities here and here
And here's a sobering thought to leave you with!

Sunday, 15 April 2012


A warm WELCOME to those of you brave enough to view my new blog!

This blog was born out of necessity and a need to pen some of the more annoying aspects I encounter in my daily life, be it grievances with traffic delays, road conditions, weather, trucks, roadkill, or more localized events in particular. This seemed the perfect outlet to vent. Let's hope it works!

The contents of this blog represent my interpretation, thoughts, feelings and opinions of ordinary everyday things and happenings, and are not politically motivated in any way.

Feel free to jump on board this friendly gripe vine to air and share your own daily bug-bears. Let's take this journey together!