Friday, 30 November 2007

Similar difference

"Similar difference" was the term one of humourists coined to described Australia's recent election campaign. It was rather hard to spot the difference between the parties.

I had a "similar difference" problem with this tea tree that was also flowering on the walk out to Echo Bluff, compared to the one I showed in my last post. Just like our political parties, they are actually different.


By the way, I am a little late posting. The rain seems to have found a way into our electricial circuits and the house was blacked out last night. No power for my computer. Yes the rain is still falling!

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Tea tree


I went for a walk in North Lawson Park today, on the track to Echo Bluff. This walk is one of my favourites because it is local, and has very few steps, attractive rocks, a waterfall and a diversity of trees and flowers. It is some time since I walked there so it was a delight to see the wide variety of spring flowers on display, starting with the masses of tea tree flowers at the beginning of the track.




Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Another wattle

Photo: View towards the Blue Mountains from Victoria Pass

Victoria Pass is the road down the western escarpment of the Blue Mountains. At the moment there are wattle trees flowering on Victoria Pass -- they are creamy yellow rather than the brighter yellow seen throughout the winter.
[Actually I am no longer sure this is a wattle. The flowers certainly look like wattle flowers but the leaves look eucalypt-like. I found a flower on my walk today that looked for all the world like a wattle but it isn't. Maybe this one isn't either]

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

New birth

While the banksias of last summer have gone grey (yesterday's post) the new flowers for this summer are already on their way.

Photo: New flower forming, Banksia serrata

Words to walk with:
From Woman to Man by Judith Wright
"The eyeless labourer in the night,
the selfless, shapeless seed I hold,
builds for its resurrection day -
silent and swift and deep from sight
forsees the unimagined light."

Monday, 26 November 2007

Going grey

At the beginning of the walk to Landslide Lookout is where I took some lovely photos of an old man banksia back in February. I was reminded to take a look at what the flowers were like now, so many months after. Here is what I found.

Photo: Old man banksia, Banksia serrata

Words to walk with:
After the skipping rope rhyme in my last post, I am reminded of another schoolday's poem Somebody's Mother by Mary Dow Brine

"The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.
The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited long,
A lone, uncared for, amid the throng ...

At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
'I'll help you cross, if you wish to go.'...

Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
'She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
For all she's aged and poor and slow' ...


Sunday, 25 November 2007

More blue flowers

On the walk to Landslide Lookout I saw plenty of flowers -- red, yellow, blue and pink. Here are blue Dampiera flowers. I have seen these often on my various walks but have not shown them in my blog before.

Photo: Dampiera, Katoomba


Words to walk with:
Blue flowers remind me of the skipping rope rhyme I jumped at school,
"Blue bells, cockle shells, eevy, ivy, over"
(the two people holding the rope swung it back and forth gently, with a full turn on the word over. If I remember rightly this was repeated several times with an extra person joining in after each 'over' and was then followed by a more vigourous skipping rhyme like ...)
"Cinderella dressed in yella
went upstairs to kiss her fella
On the way her panties busted
how many people were disgusted.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1o..."
(it kept going until we missed).

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Catch up

I have been away for the weekend so need to play catch up with a few days entries. Here is the view looking in the other direction at Landslide Lookout. I like they way the view from this angle has row after row of blue hills chasing each other.


Photo: View from Landslide Lookout, Katoomba

By the way, like me you may be wondering where the view of the landslide is from this lookout. Here is a picture of the landslide taken from Narrow Neck, a much better spot to view it.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Landslide lookout

I drove a little further along Cliff Drive and went for the short walk down the track to Landslide Lookout. We were having a rare bright day, the sun was playing on the clouds building up for another burst of rain.

Photo: View from Landslide Lookout, Katoomba

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Rock forms

Photo: View from Cahills Lookout, Katoomba

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Homely daisy


When there are homes nearby I am a little cautious of the flowers as they may be a blow-in from a garden rather than a genuine local. Nonetheless I am fairly sure these little daisies that were flowering in abundance at Cahill's Lookout are a native. Unfortunately I was so entranced by their cheerful simplicity I failed to notice the shape of the leaves so can't make a proper identification.

Words to walk with:
From To the Daisy by William Wordsworth
"In youth from rock to rock I went,
From hill to hill in discontent
Of pleasure high and turbulent,
Most pleased when most uneasy;
But now my own delights I make, -
My thirst at every rill can slake,
And gladly Nature's love partake
Of Thee, sweet Daisy! "

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sensuality


I was thrilled to see this lovely flower that I have not seen before. I believe it is a Kunzea. The fluffy pink balls look lovely at a distance and breathtaking close up.

Words to walk with:
Sensuality by Kenneth Slessor
"Feeling hunger and cold, feeling
Food, feeling fire, feeling
Pity and pain, tasting
Time in a kiss, tasting
Anger and tears, touching
Eyelids and lips, touching
Plague, touching flesh, knowing
Blood in the mouth, knowing
Laughter like flame, holding
Pickaxe and pen, holding
Death in the hand, hearing
Boilers and bells, hearing
Birds, hearing hail, smelling
Cedar and sweat, smelling
Petrol and sea, feeling
Hunger and cold, feeling
Food, feeling fire. . . .

Feeling."

Monday, 19 November 2007

Cahill's Lookout

I went up to Katoomba to do my weekly shopping and decided to stop at a few of the lookouts off the Cliff Drive that I have not done before. They offer great views following only a short walk to get to the cliff edge.


Photo: Cahill's Lookout, Katoomba

Cahill's Lookout offers an interesting view of Narrow Neck (You can see the road I drove along to do my posts in March and November), Boars Head Rock and the farmland of Megalong Valley (I did a series on this valley in May)

I don't know who Cahill is but suspect it is the same person who has the Cahill Expressway in Sydney named after him -- he was the NSW Premier who approved construction of the Opera House. Anyway there is a possible link with the great city of Sydney which gives me a chance to use one of my favourite city poems.

Words to walk with:
William Street by Kenneth Slessor
"The red globe of light, the liquor green,
the pulsing arrows and the running fire
spilt on the stones, go deeper than a stream;
You find this ugly, I find it lovely

Ghosts' trousers, like the dangle of hung men,
in pawn-shop windows, bumping knee by knee,
but none inside to suffer or condemn;
You find this ugly, I find it lovely.

Smells rich and rasping, smoke and fat and fish
and puffs of paraffin that crimp the nose,
of grease that blesses onions with a hiss;
You find it ugly, I find it lovely.

The dips and molls, with flip and shiny gaze
(death at their elbows, hunger at their heels)
Ranging the pavements of their pasturage;
You find this ugly, I find it lovely"

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Unexpected visitor

My husband had gone to bed early and I was sitting quietly watching tele, tapping away on my laptop when I saw a cat walk up the hall. The only problem is we don't have a cat. While I run about the house yelling "possum" my husband obediently jumped out of bed (thinking I was calling him of course).

Photo: Our unexpected visitor, a possum

Meanwhile the possum darted into the library and climbed up the bookcase. When we tried to gently encourage his departure he and jumped from shelf to shelf, threw himself at the windows, hid behind the cupboards, anything other than going out the door. He eventually got the message and left. Lesson for the day: remember to shut the door between the laundry and garage.


Saturday, 17 November 2007

More about herbs

Photo: Cobblers Peg

Climbing out of the weed patch at last, I found I had to pluck cobblers pegs from my clothes.

I looked the name up on the web and it says they are a herb from Europe. Well I don't know about you but I thought herbs were either aromotic and good to eat or had healing qualities. I don't think this pesky plant is either so I looked up what herb is.

Words to walk with:
Definitions of a herb found on the web
  • A plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities
  • Flowering plant with no significant woody tissue above the ground, including both forbs and grasses
  • a plant lacking a permanent woody stem; many are flowering garden plants or potherbs; some having medicinal properties; some are pests [Yes that's the one!]

Friday, 16 November 2007

Wild herbs


This Evening Primrose was also in the weed patch. Though I am not sure it is Evening Primrose because by definition the flowers should be open in the evening and it is bright morning sun causing the glare in this picture.

Nearby there were also feathery fronds and lacy flowers of wild fennel.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Prickles

Photo: Thistle (weed, not a native plant)

There were thistles in the weed patch, quite lovely until you try and pull them out. A prickly wild climbing rose was also growing nearby. But I consider the worst of prickly weeds to be blackberry and lantana (they are both noxious weeds). I wrote about them some months ago. The photo of the blackberry was taken that same summer's day when I was doing weeds at Lawson.

Words to walk with:
The Thistle's Grown Aboon the Rose by Allan Cunningham
Full white the Bourbon lily blows,
And fairer haughty England's rose.
Nor shall unsung the symbol smile,
Green Ireland, of thy lovely isle.
In Scotland grows a warlike flower,
Too rough to bloom in lady's bower;
His crest. when high the soldier bears,
And spurs his courser on the spears.
O there it blossoms - there it blows
The thistle's grown aboon the rose.


Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Pretty bad

Photo: Montbretia (a weed, not a native plant)

The mention of weeds yesterday reminded me of a series of weed shots I took last summer, all of them in a small patch on the track to Lawson swimming pool. Montbretia is one of the prettiest, and most vigorous weeds. When I had them in my garden they just spread and spread, taking over a whole garden bed in no time until with some persistence I managed to get rid of most of them. In the bush they spread along waterways and cause significant erosion to creek banks.

These days I pick the flowers when I see them when I am out walking. They look pretty in a vase and do a little bit towards controlling them.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Noxious weeds

We received a letter today notifying us that in a few weeks time the council is visiting properties in Lawson to see if we are harbouring noxious weeds. We had some here when we arrived (privet, blackberry, montbrecia) and systematically removed them, though remnants do pop up. That's the trouble with weeds, turn your back on them and they are out of control.

Recently I mentioned Patersons Curse. Look at how it spreads across farmland.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Bottlebrush


Bottlebrush (Callistemon) is another popular garden and small tree/shrub in flower at this time of year. They are a native plant that according to my flower book does occur naturally in the stream and swamp communities of the Blue Mountains but I have not seen any. My photo is of one of the many used in park and highway landscaping.

Words to walk with:
From The Bottlebrush Flowers by John Kinsella
"A Council-approved replacement
for box trees along the verges"
Click on the link to John's website see what he thinks of them.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Silky oak

Photo: Silky oak (Grevillia robusta)
(a native plant but not local)


Golden silky oak flowers make a lovely contrast on the skyline to the blue Jacaranda at this time of year. Grevillia's are usually a shrub but Silky Oak is a tall tree, native to the tropical rainforests of northern Australia but used extensively as a ornimental tree throughout the country. Like the Jacarada we only see them in the mid-lower mountains as further up is too cold for them.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Jacaranda

Photo: Jacaranda, Springwood
(not a native plant)

Down in Sydney and in the lower mountains a blue haze of Jacaranda is crowning the houses. In Queensland where I went to school they signaled the time to swot for the year-end exams. If I lived in Lawson I would have surely failed. It will be December before they turn on their display here and as they are a sub-tropical tree don't flower any further up.

Words to walk with:
The Jacaranda by Douglas Stewart
"There is some sweetness not to be seen in air,
Not to be trapped in rain, nor to be found
In earth, that made this sky of blossoms flare
In blue and sparkling daylight out of the ground;
Some struggle of more than earth is in triumph here
In that gesture of joy and fulfilment lifted on high
Where, dancing with pale blue fire, the branches rear
And the dark twigs hold the sky up to the sky.

All things move in time as they move in dream;
Abrupt, symbolic, like mountains seen through a rift,
They tower and vanish. I watched the wavering gleam
As the branches paled in the blue sky’s darkening drift,
And more than a tree before me ebbed and returned.
While I could hold it, before I was dazed and blind,
The jacaranda sprang in the sky and burned
And the flare of it lit in the mind a sky without end."

Friday, 9 November 2007

Small surprises

I have seen flowers called Darwinia's on the ABC Garden Show and thought them to be a very attractive and interesting flower -- quite showy. On our walk out on Narrow Neck Road I spotted some tiny inconspicuous red flowers growing on the roadside and photographed them. What a surprise when I came back home and checked things out ... I think it is a Darwinia.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Flowering shrubs

Before the wet weather set in we went for a drive along Narrow Neck Road and walked for a kilometre or two on the fire-trail beyond the gate. I was flower hunting as usual. I saw many that are now familiar to me but also these shrubs that were in full flower. I think they are hakeas.


I don't think I have ever enjoyed Spring quite so much as this year. Every day seems to deliver new discoveries in the environment around me.

Words to walk with:
A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost
"Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil."

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Back home


It was time to turn our eyes to the mountains and to head back home.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Salvation or curse?

I find barbed wire fences almost as fascinating and photogenic as farmyard junk. Notice the blue weed beside the gate, it's known as Paterson's Curse and in other parts of Australia as Salvation Jane. Swathes of this purple-blue weed are flowering in fields at this time of year, beautiful to behold but a problem for the farmers.


By the way the sunny day in this photograph, taken a week or so ago, belies the fact that we are currently having prolonged dull grey days, intermittent rain and cold temperatures. The log fire is burning tonight.

Words to walk with:
From Field Notes from Mount Bakewell by John Kinsella
"Ground dyed blue by fallen
Paterson's Curse in the cold,
brilliantly purple. Heat sheds and takes
their colour."

Monday, 5 November 2007

Farm junk


I love the old machinery that lies about farms -- so much more interesting than the dead computers and other techno junk that gathers at my house.

Words to walk with:
From The Wheel by Sarah Day
"It all began with the wheel,
dispassion cast in the first axle
that would one day outstrip
the most dogged footprint.
Inevitable, that the rider in the chariot
looking up, see one who, passing in a cloud
of dust of rut flinging clod of bog,
regale them, as obsolete
or pass on, future-blinded;"

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Farmland

Photo: Farmland between Jenolan Caves and Oberon

Words to walk with:
From Farming by Paul Hetherington
"A farm and creek, tussocks, sleety rain
that curtains the barn with silver grey, the smell
the seepage of old timber"

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Grassland

Last week we went west over the mountains to the land of rolling hills and pastures. This open country is a lovely for an occasional change from the forests.


Friday, 2 November 2007

The bush

The Norman Lindsay property is quite large and has a short bushwalking track that descends the steps to the now dry pool where men and women once frolicked. It then skirts around the perimeter of the property before turning back towards the etching studio which now houses a pleasant café, the real reason for our visit.

I was delighted so see the first flannel flowers for the season flanking the path.

Photo: Flannel Flower (Actinotus helianthi)

In yet another literary link, Norman Lindsay illustrated the cover of the book While the Billy Boils, written by the famous short story writer and poet Henry Lawson.

Words to walk with:
From In the Dry Season in While the Billy Boils by Henry Lawson
“Draw a wire fence and a few ragged gums, and add some scattered sheep running away from the train. Then you’ll have the bush all along the New South Wales western line from Bathurst on.”

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Food

There was a medium sized black and white bird foraging for food beside the fountain. There are lots of black and white birds of all sizes – as ubiquitous as yellow pea flowers in the Australian bush and as hard for me to figure out which is which, even though they are obviously different. I am pretty sure this is a Magpie-lark also known as a Peewee (Grallina cyanoleuca)


Norman Lindsay was a writer as well as an artist, and quite famous for his illustrated children’s book The Magic Pudding.

Words to walk with:
From The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. Bunyip Bluegum the Koala leaves home because he can't stand the sight of his uncle's whiskers in the soup any more.

“He found a great many things to see, such as dandelions, and ants and traction engines, and bolting horses and furniture being removed, besides being kept busy raising his hat and passing the time of day with people on the road, for he was a very well-bred young fellow, polite in his manners, graceful in his attitudes and able to converse on a great variety of subjects, having read all the best Australian poets.

Unfortunately, in the hurry of leaving home, he had forgotten to provide himself with food, and at lunch time found himself attacked by pangs of hunger.

“Dear me”, he said, “I feel quite faint. I had no idea one’s stomach was so important. I have everything I require, except food: but without food everything is rather less than nothing.

“I’ve got a stick to walk with.
I’ve got a mind to think with.
I’ve got a voice to talk with.
I’ve got an eye to wink with
I’ve got lots of teeth to eat with,
A brand new hat to bow with,
A pair of fists to beat with,
A rage to have a row with.
No joy it brings
To have indeed a lot of things
One does not need.
Observe my doleful-plight.
For here I am without a crumb
To satisfy a raging tum
O what an oversight.”