Saturday, October 27, 2007
These photos were taken back in July, when it was wet and cold. It's the first winter when I've seen this many mushrooms and toadstools and fungi on things. It's amazing how they can grow like rows of fans out of the tree bark, or in a neat row along a crack in a tree stump.
And then I'll be walking along a track and suddenly there's one popping out of the leaf debris on the ground.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
At the moment, the huge fires in California are in the news. Over a thousand homes burned, and no end in sight. Here in Australia, we are finally learning from past mistakes and taking our preparation seriously. For our property, one of the things we had to do was get a safety report done - this outlines how to protect our house and ourselves, if a fire comes and we decide to stay and defend our house (which, I might add, is not built yet but will be as fireproof as we can make it). This photo might show you the main problems - lots and lots of gum trees (the eucalyptus oil in these trees burns extremely well!) and dry undergrowth. We will have to clear out to at least 15 metres - 50 feet - around the house, plus have a water tank just for fire-fighting water.
The photo at the top shows you what it looks like when the bracken has died. Everything is dead and brown - this has happened twice in the last five years because of the drought. Usually the bracken is the last thing to die.
The other problem is that we've also had some big winds, and trees that are under stress tend to just give way, so we end up with lots of stuff on the ground. Now, the environmental people will say this is great because if we leave it there, we are creating habitat. But around the house, you can't afford to leave it there. It's a quandary.
I like seeing the rotting trees with all the activity around them - wombat scratchings, lizards and skinks, insects and birds, other plant life - but if the drought continues, we're going to have more trees on the ground than growing upright!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
As it is spring now, I'm starting to see a lot more flowers, and waiting impatiently for the lilies and orchids to bloom. Within our property, there are several different areas of plants - what I find in one area (say, around the rocks to the north-west) is different to what is in the gullies to the south-east. Here are some plants in flower right now.
This small white flower (on the left) is a Caladenia - one of the orchid family. According to my book (Wildflowers of the Brisbane Ranges by Clive and Merle Trigg) it's a blue Caladenia - but an albino one!
I have to add here that my identifications should be taken with a spoonful of salt, as I am not a botanist at all. Just a keen observer and photographer.
On the right are Common Rice-Flowers. We don't have many of these, mostly up the top end out from under the canopy.
After much deliberation, I think this vibrant yellow and red flowered plant is Creeping Bossaeia. Again, this grows up the top end of the property, away from the denser tree areas.
This one is a guess from me - I think it's either a Common Hovea or a Coral Pea (or a pea of some kind). If anyone knows better, please do tell me.
This only grows in a couple of places, down the south end where it's damper from water run-off.