There was a young rosella too, still with his juvenile green back feathers which were just at a moment when they looked neat and crisp rather than unfinished. He flew off when the remains of the seed block fell of its wire hook. The older rosella looked exceedingly peeved and told the finches on the ground to bugger off, he wasn't sharing, then climbed down the 'Eiffel Tower' to the ground (watching a bird climb is always funny) where he spent more time chasing off the bronzewing pigeons than eating seed.
But I'm not a birdwatcher.
Before the happy thing of the day (besides cool weather) something alarming: Mum found a dead funnelweb spider in the living room this morning. Aghh, aghh, aghh and ick. At least it was dead. Thank you, exterminator!
There is a BABY ALPACA in the next street! And it is SO CUTE! Mum told me about and I saw it as we drove past one day. It was lying in the grass, head up, all solemn and fuzzy white and soft. When we went out a few days later, I asked Mum to drive back via that route so we could stop and have a better look.
SO CUTE! And the four adults had just been shorn in the last day or so and they looked ridiculous. Really, really ridiculous, all neck and leg, trying to have a scratch and nearly toppling over. When the baby alpaca (I'm standing there going, "... foal? Calf? What are they called?" Mum says, "Cria." Because my mother knows these things) is more coordinated than the adults, it's pretty funny.
Here, have some stylishly shorn alpacas.
Huh, it's almost my birthday. Just a few more minutes! Funny, a few days ago (on Brother's birthday, yes, we did get to see him, no, we have not seen Nephew #1 for his yet, although he was very happy we called to wish him happy birthday) I was trying to remember how old I'd be. Remember when you were a kid and each birthday was soooo important and the year was sooooo long? Why does that change, do you think?
... when did I become a birdwatcher?
I blame Mum.
Over the last few spring seasons, we've had several
Eventually, a solution was found. Two sequined Christmas stockings (one gold, one silver) and two strings of tinsel (one gold, one silver) were purchased. The stockings were fitted over the side mirrors like mittens and the tinsel was fitted along the top and bottom of the windshield. A bit of a nuisance to remove and replace every time the car went out but it worked! No more bird poop.
(And on a day not remotely close to Christmas, my brother dropped by and was very confused.)
This year, we have a new car and the reflections in the mirrors are apparently not as attractive. Great! Except that there is one particular Blue Wren who is now determined to attack to the dining room window frames. Not his reflection. Not the glass. But the divider between the panes. Huh?
And yes, while it's nice to see this pretty little bird up close (I am calling him the Blue Bandit - the black stripe over the eyes does lend him a raffish air), we are rather concerned for his health. He repeatedly launches himself at the window with great force, making quite a decent thud. I can't think it's good for his little birdy brain.
Our dining room window is now draped with silver tinsel.
It's too soon to think to think about Christmas.
(Oh shit, it's not. *whimpers*)
To sum up a good deal of the last few months and the reasons for my absence - headaches, headaches and more headaches. Are they cluster headaches? Maybe, maybe not. Are they migraines? Maybe, maybe not. Are they chronic tension headaches? Maybe, maybe not. At least the MRI ruled out Arnold–Chiari malformation, which could have required brain surgery. And I have undoubtedly developed an allergy to something which the August winds and September spring stirred up, leading to some spectacular sinus headaches, just to make things more fun. I AM FRUSTRATED. I've already had one Year of Headaches, thank you, I don't need another. (And at least those headaches were all of one sort, from one cause, and once that was found they were fixed! Oh bliss ...)
I am now on a medication (an anticonvulsant) which seems to be slowly making a difference (after the zombifying side effects wore off. That was fun.) The brain fog is slowly, slowly clearing. Things start to look up ...
Then I broke a tooth. Or rather, a bit of tooth fell out. Due to decay. Why exactly do I brush and floss and use mouthwash so thoroughly if this is still going to happen?! I was somewhat indignant at the dentist. I MAY LIKE SWEETS BUT I CLEAN MY TEETH VERY WELL, THANK YOU.
At least the violent stomach upset of this week waited until after the filling was done. Ginger ale and Saladas are now accompanied by tea and Nice biscuits. Yesterday there was grated apple and a plain cupcake. Today, grated cucumber and even peas and half a buffalo pie for dinner. (Stomach's still thinking about that one.)
Yes, this is my life right now. Overall it's very boring. Another reason I haven't been posting. But there have been some good points. I'll see if I can manage to post about them tomorrow. Or at least this week. Expect a certain amount of babble and incoherency if I do manage to post.
For a happy thing of today ... I saw a Painted Button quail in the garden! First one this year.
I really hate that my willpower has zero effect whatsoever on my illness. It's exceedingly inconvenient.
There was a praying mantis in the kitchen last night. It was a small one, about 10cm long. I managed to catch it before it went under the fridge, then released it outside.
Today, I found another one in the kitchen but this one was tiny, maybe 2cm long and so delicate, it seemed amazing that it could move without shattering.
This humidity can go away any time now, okay?
The filo pie reheats quite nicely (and survived being dropped. Twice.)
There were two king parrots out the back today! We rarely see those. There was a big male gnawing away at the seed bell and a crimson rosella (normally the top of the flock in our garden) sidling along a nearby branch, reaching out, trying to get at the seed - only to have the king parrot turn on him, wings raised, beak open. Very clear message. Then two more rosellas flew in, scaring off the first and a juvenile rosella tried to land on the seed bell, to share it with the king.
Bad move. All the rosellas took their leave at that point. Then the female king parrot started sidling along the branch, craning her neck trying to get some seed - only to have her mate turn on her as well! Greedy bugger. Then something startled them and they both took off with great shrieks.
Maybe it's a good thing the king parrots don't show up very often. At least the rosellas share.
I went outside and nearly walked facefirst into a tiny slug. Seemingly, it had fallen from the back roof and was suspended from the gutter on a string of its own slime, at least a metre long.
That was new.
Yesterday, I talked with Mum (yay! She is having a fabulous time), with Roz, to organise a shopping trip for today, with another very talkative friend of Mum's who usually takes about fifteen minutes just to leave a message but only five minutes yesterday (a record!), and with a neighbour from across the road came to see how I was doing and brought me some oranges from their tree.
I also vacuumed and cleaned (and warned Mum that while the house probably won't look any worse than it did when she left, it's unlikely to look any better. She said that's fine.) And then I just ... ran out of steam and went to bed.
Today, I was woken up by a call from the smoke alarm people saying, 'Hey! We're finally going to get around to checking on that malfunctioning smoke alarm you complained about.' Yes, at the end of August. (But I didn't say that to the almost manically cheerful receptionist, just agreed to an appointment on Monday.)
Then I got ready to go out with Roz. I tried to go a little more slowly at the supermarket today but that was rather defeated by a) discovering that they were sold out of free-range chickens, necessitating a sudden rapid revision of my meal plans for the next week and b) the hauling around of at least fifteen kilos of dry and canned dog food. Into the cart, in the cart, out of the cart, into the car, out of the car, into the house ...
a trifle exhausting. I fed the animals, put away the cold stuff, then had a rest and watched some documentaries. *yawns*
Oh yes, Roz brought me some eggs from her chickens! Most of them are from the Araucana hens and they are a gorgeous pastel blue-green colour. Roz knows of a kind of chicken that lays olive green eggs and ooh, she wants one!
The cat keeps coming in with multiple ticks (and has passed more than one on to Mum, who is not impressed.) Mum's currently blaming the bandi-buggers (aka bandicoots) who keep coming into the garden and digging up the lawn and flowerbeds.
At least the cat likes being brushed and scratched, so he usually holds still long enough for us to check him over.
Ginger Beef Stir-Fry. Pretty good.
Farmer's Market tomorrow. Sleep now.
And since neither a cold or a mangled thumb slows Mum down, she then got on with some gardening. Garden Guy came by today to mow the lawn, dig some holes, rip out some dead plants, etc. Basically he comes by every few weeks and helps Mum with whatever she can't manage on her own. (Since I am zero help whatsoever. Nothing like watching my sixty-something mother haul around twenty-kilo bags of potting soil to make me feel feeble and decrepit, even if she does collapse in a chair afterwards and announce, 'Well, I'm buggered.' But Mum has conceded that perhaps she is a leetle too old and arthritic in the hands to be swinging a pickaxe and digging up rocks. Hence Garden Guy. Seriously, if I tried to swing a pickaxe, I'm pretty sure I'd do major damage to myself and anyone around me.)
This relates to to my day by the fact that I got to enjoy the results of their labour. I woke up earlier than usual and it was daylight. And there was blue sky! It wasn't raining! Or freezing cold! And the garden looked great! So I sat on the back porch with my first cup of tea and watched the birds and did some writing and it was really nice. I can see why Mum likes to start her day that way when possible. There were some New Holland Honeyeaters splashing about in the birdbath, enjoying themselves mightily. And a little Red-browed Finch hopped around barely two metres from me. Then when Mum came out and we were talking about the new plants in the garden, we saw a bird land on the tortured willow. We weren't at a good angle, so Mum crouched down very quietly and then told me to do the same - it was a hawk! A small brown one, I can't remember the name but hey, there was a hawk in our backyard! ETA: After further discussion, we think it was a Brown Goshawk.
I was rather pleased by that.
I rushed over with the spray to see hundreds of tiny black spiders fleeing from the body of the big spider.
THE START OF A HORROR MOVIE!!! (There probably is a horror movie that starts like that.)
I handed Mum the fly spray (the first I could grab) and ran back to get the crawling insect spray. Together we blasted the floor and the black specks eventually stopped moving.
This isn't the quite the usual for a funnelweb with an egg sac but it was probably flooded out of its burrow. And it definitely looked like a funnelweb.
The floor by the back door is now very, very clean.
P.S. Mum would like it to be noted that she was extremely brave in dealing with this, as funnelwebs are the only spiders which make the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. That didn't happen this time - which she says is probably due to her not wearing her glasses.
Went to be last night, lay awake for hours, finally fell asleep after dawn, slept hard and woke up at 6p.m.
That was not the plan.
Had tea and a bit of marble cake, then got dressed and made dinner.
Made Ginger Scallion Beef with beef I bought from the grower's market and added some sweet potato leaves, also from the market. Having stripped the leaves from the central stems, I rinsed them vigorously, then went to do something else, came back and saw an odd brown spot on a leaf ...
Baby snail! Tiny baby snail! Which had to have survived two days in the fridge. Ookay. Mum took the snail outside and I washed the leaves again ... no further surprises were had, thankfully.
Tonight I have listened to Adam Lambert's Glam Nation Live CD and I am currently listening to MCR's I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. I am enjoying myself.
I find myself able to read the Robert Hooke biography again, happy days. Even if I don't understand the science.
Okay, after the spider on the stove incident last night, I thought we were done with the wildlife for the evening. Uh, no.
There was the beetle that flew at my leg while I was cooking, there was the spider on the portable air conditioner, there was the large beetle that appeared from under the bath mat and tried to get into my dress (not while I was wearing it, fortunately), there was the Apparently Dead spider on the stovetop (seriously it was all curled up and didn't move when I nudged it so I thought I'd finish what I was doing before disposal) which then disappeared. And there was the spider that showed up on the dining room wall but I don't think it was the Apparently Dead one because that one didn't have stripes.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON BUT I DIDN'T LIKE IT. Okay?
A few minutes later, another spider appears, crawling over the tea towel.
"MUM! THERE"S ANOTHER ONE! Is there a nest? Please don't let there be a nest, I don't spiders want in the kitchen."
Mum grabbed it, squashed in a paper towel then fished the previous paper towel out of the bin and checked for spider guts. None were seen.
Just one escape artist spider. That is now definitely dead. I'm not sure if it was a young huntsman or a wolf spider but either way, it was neither wanted or needed.
P.S. I would like to note that I am perfectly capable of killing spiders or capturing and releasing them (and other bugs) but when said spider is being active, I like to stay where I am and keep watching it so it doesn't disappear and, y'know, reappear in my bed or on my face or something. I had a moth drop on my pillow while I was half-asleep the other night. It was very disconcerting, I didn't like it.
P.P.S. Dinner turned out fine.