Greetings from Queensland, Australia. I am enjoying a week with my friends Craig and Daryl before heading to Sydney for a conference on medical cannabis. Yesterday we visited Mary Cairncross Reserve, a lovely place to walk and view native flora and fauna. Continue reading “Pademelons”
Here in Western North Carolina it has been a wet summer. Lots of rain and damp morning fogs makes for a soggy environment. I’m in the Nantahala Forest and, according to Wikipedia,
The word “Nantahala” is a Cherokee word meaning “Land of the Noonday Sun”. The name is appropriate as, in some spots, the sun only reaches the floors of the deep gorges of the forest when high overhead at midday.
Frequent readers will remember my previous post about my Squirrel Buster bird feeder’s unfortunate encounter with a hungry bear. It was fun to write and share. I never expected much to come from it except some cute comments and sympathy. So, imagine my surprise when I received a comment on my website from the Customer Service Department of Brome Bird Care, the manufacturer of the Squirrel Busters, asking if I needed a replacement tube.
It had been my plan to order a replacement tube but I had not yet gotten around to it. I was still in shock that something could come along and so efficiently maul something so innocuous.
I replied that I had not yet done so and fully expected to receive an email with a direct link to their parts department. Instead I received this reply:
Normally bear damage is not covered by your warranty. However, as a goodwill gesture, we will send a seed tube free of shipping/replacement charges. Please provide us with your address. Thank you for your interest in our product.
Well, hot dang, that is just a nice thing to do, don’t you think? In an age that seems to be spinning out of control with companies doing every last thing they possibly can to extract yet another few pennies from the consumer, here is a company that has a true Customer Care Department.
A few days later the tube arrived and it was a simple matter of swapping out the damaged tube for the new one. Brome also sent a new top, which I would not of thought to order. The old one looked fine but I discovered it would not attach properly because of a slight bend in the hanging rod. Brome obviously has more experience with this than I.
So a heartfelt “Thank You” to Brome Bird Care. I love your products. I have had the Classic Squirrel Buster for at least five years, maybe more. Here is a picture of My Three Bro’s, all filled and ready to go. It is particularly nice to have the Super model back in business. It is fledging season here and the feeders are packed with nervous young birds learning to make their way in the world. They are eating like all children do…incessantly. Having the Super Brome back in service means a little less work for me in terms of keeping up.
And also “Thank You” to Maureen McKinnon, Customer Care Manager at Brome, for reaching out to me with a little help from Google Alerts. The 21st Century has given us so many new tools that can be used in so many ways — some good and some bad. For those unfamiliar with Google Alerts, they allow an individual to set a specific phrase or topic of interest and receive notifications of any new activity on the Web that relate to the topic. It is a great tool that I often use.
The birds of the air may never sow or reap but manufacturers do and I think Brome will continue to reap goodwill and loyal customers because they 1) make great products, and 2) they care. The only one who loses is the squirrel. ❧
This return to our summer place was made extra easy because my sister arrived the day before I did and had the house open, the refrigerator stocked, and my bed made. How cool is that!
As I got settled into things I realized that the large Squirrel Buster bird feeder I had bought last summer was missing. I also had a very bent hanging rod. These two things were a mystery because I knew I had put away all my feeders. And the I remembered getting a text from my neighbor who thought I was arriving in late April and told me she had checked the house and filled the bird feeder for me.
It occurred to me that something took the feeder…something big!
No, the answer is clearly a bear. One that saw an opportunity and, literally, grabbed it. With no people, lights or dogs the feeder was easy pickings, just pull it off that pesky hook and away he went.
The feeder is repairable and, yes, I will continue to feed my fine feathered friends. But feeders will be locked up tight as long as the house is empty. Sorry bears. ❧
The night time sky of the Southern Hemisphere is really spectacular. Last night it was finally clear enough to shoot some stars. I’m not sure that you’ll be able to see it very well. I recommend clicking on the image. It will open in a separate window and you should be able to see it better. My friends home has little ambient light and once the moon set (visible above in the bottom part of the picture) the stars just popped out of the sky. The Milky Way was gorgeous and the Southern Cross presented itself in a stellar way.
I’m in Australia for a symposium that convenes on Saturday. I’m looking forward to speaking and meeting with my medical cannabis colleagues in this fabulous country. I’m sure I will bring home many memories. But the Southern Hemisphere night time sky was a wonderful treat that will stay with me for a long while. ❧
Here in Florida spring has sprung and we are already having hints of summer weather. But nothing too bad as yet and everything is using this time to bloom and be happy. Mary’s friend Bob Milner maintains a beautiful orchid garden under the oak trees. Here are some spring blooms. If you wish a bigger and closer look just click on the image. ❧
My primary reason for journeying to Australia was to visit with my dear friends Craig Hosmer and Daryl Reinke. We met some forty years ago in Washington, DC. They have been the most constant and generous friends.
In 1994 they retired to Australia, Daryl’s birth place. For years they had dreamed of a bigger garden and, by gum, they got one! They purchased 40 acres of cleared land on the Sunshine Coast. It had been cow pasture for decades but it was previously rain forest and they set out to return the land to its original state. Their success has been spectacular. In the two pictures above you can see their land from my first trip in August 2001 and the same land fourteen years later.
Lots can happen in fourteen years, obviously. Things change. Friends and family pass away. New babies are born, so are new countries. But amidst all the swirl and chaos there is, as Paul Simon so eloquently put it, “the automatic earth.” Treat it tenderly and it is your friend for life…literally.
In 2001 we planted a tree in honor of Robert, my late husband, who had been gone for just three months. We planted it along the left edge of that pond you can see in the top photo. And just below you can see what a difference fourteen years can make.
While in Australia I learned about the Butchulla people, an Aboriginal tribe that lives on Fraser Island. Their tribe has few laws but the first is, “Whatever is good for the land comes first.” Part of Robert’s ashes are in that magnificent tree and it is good. ❧
Tell someone you’ve been to Australia and you can expect to hear, “Wow! Did you see any kangaroos?” The answer is, “Yes!” But the ‘roos I saw were not what we think of here in the USA. On my first trip, in 2001, I did see one of those big ‘roos, hopping down the fairway on a golf course!
On this trip the sightings were less dramatic. We saw several Red-legged pademelon (Thylogale stigmatica) which Wikipedia describes a “a marsupial rainforest kangaroo.” They are quite shy and hang in the shadows which makes photographs difficult. This little guy is probably an adult which means she/he is about 2 1/2 feet tall when upright. Because their habitat is rainforest the range of the species has shrunk and Wikipedia says it is a vulnerable species. Australia has many preserves where these charming creatures can live but we humans, frankly, are crowding out everything. It would be too bad to lose a creature with such a lyrical name. ❧
That’s me in Australia and that thing above my head is a Stag Horn fern — a relatively small one. They grow like weeds Down Under. Same with Birds’ Nest Ferns. It is a magical place. This particular picture was taken on Fraser Island, just off the Sunshine Coast. It is the largest sand island in the world and is listed on the U.N. Heritage Sites which means, hopefully, it will remain as pristine and special as it is today for generations to enjoy.
Australia is quite keen on ecology and environment, as well they should be. They have been able to protect so much of their unique flora and fauna even with the massive amount of global travel and commerce. In one park we visited, another U.N. Heritage site, there are machines where you clean the bottom of your boots with a disinfectant and brush before hiking so as not to track in contaminants. Despite that effort there are invasive species of plants and fungi. Still, you must do what you can do.
Today I am back in the States, finally emerging from jet lag and trying to “get back into it.” That won’t be easy, especially as I begin the sorting of my 2,000 pictures. Stay tuned…plenty of Aussie pictures coming soon. ❧