Back in North Carolina, getting a late start on the summer season but better late than never.
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!
I found the feeder down the hill in the woods and if a squirrel did this to my feeder it may be time to head south again! 🙂
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. ❧
Too long between posts here. My bad. I love posting on Alice’s Wanderland and have been annoyed with myself for not getting here more often. But that’s a waste of time. Best to move on and get my life re-adjusted so that I have time again for this labor of love.
For a while I tried to post some new image or video every time. But the fact is, I have a lot of old photos and videos that also deserve posting. And I have come to realize that blogs give us a chance, paraphrasing Paul Simon, to preserve our memories because, increasingly, they are all that is left. Like most people these days I have so many pictures and tapes. I can’t post them all but this discipline of a blog forces me to choose the best. I can share AND have a spot where I know my memories are safe from cluttered hard drives and paper stacks.
Today’s post is one of my all time favorites. It is a short video (5 minutes) that I put together following my trip to New Zealand in 2006. The pictures are all mine. The music is from an electronic group called AeTopus. On their website it is said, “With subtle, pastoral elegance, AeTopus reveals a world that is simultaneously foreign and familiar – an aural mosaic rich in spiritual contemplation, seasonal variance, and ancient ritual.” That is a perfect description of their song “Psychic Slumber.” It is also a perfect description of New Zealand.
October in New Zealand is equivalent to April in the Northern Hemisphere. It is spring. So we saw flowers and snow, waterfalls galore and lots of baby lambs. And we saw penguins, in the wild, following a rather harrowing hike through trees and streams…in the pouring rain. It was cold. I have rarely been so ecstatic. When you see the final image of the video you might understand what I mean.❧
The Southern Hemisphere Night Sky With Moon Setting
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. ❧
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.
Craig and Daryl in front of Robert’s tree, November 2015.
Planting Robert’s tree on Sept. 4, 2001
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. ❧
It is really, really fall up here in Western North Carolina. Tango is enjoying the cooler days and all the different smells. Life is good. ❧