Thursday, February 8, 2007, 04:02 PMIt was just after breakfast I had gone out to put a sprinkler on the lawn & was confronted by this large snake seeking warmth on the house wall footpath. Luckily Mo had run wide along the bushes of our garden to the fence seeking English Blackbirds that we know are so efficent at scratching away the pea stubble mulch so carefully placed about the plants.
These Eastern Brown Snakes strike fear into the hearts of most Australians as they are regarded to be the 2nd most deadly snake in the World. Each year several people lose their lives to this particular reptile that are not afraid to attack but resisting the urge to end this confrontation at the point of a gun I scooped up Mo to take him back to the safety of the Family Room in our house....Being an Aus Terrier he would confront this snake if he knew it was there. Snakes don't seem to give off a scent that dogs pick up on.
Despite the morning being cool & our visitor sluggish this is the best way to view such a visitor.
It may have been just coincidence or this Snake knew where to go as it headed for a bush in our garden where Pigeons & Fairy Wrens have been nesting. The last time a visitation like this occured I hosed the offending snake with some cold water from a hose & it was not sighted again, so I did the same this time & hoped our latest visitor would get the same message.
Jumpy as I am we have not sighted this snake today.
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Wednesday, February 7, 2007, 09:09 AMSuch is the severity of this current Drought the likes of which have never been seen before over such a large part of Australia, many Farmers have been put in a position to make decisions rarely if ever encountered.
The measure of this Drought came with the rare failure of almost all crops grown last year within this region to the point of almost no grain being produced. Many took the decision to make Canola crops into Silage by putting the entire crop into long plastic tubes where it would ferment with high moisture content into very nutritious protein rich palatable hay. From all accounts stock both Cattle & Sheep love the taste so much that every bit is eaten. I was asked by one such farmer & friend Eugene Moloney from Shepherds Siding as I had truck driving experience to deliver some of this Silage to another local farmer buying it to feed Cattle. Eugene you might remember drove the bus on our excursion to OzOperas Carmen at Morondah that his wife Michelle organised (See Search Box...It is there !)
I know at the crucial decision time Eugene felt this was a Drastic move to cut 695 ha of Canola crop at the end of flowering for hay when following rain could well salvage a grain return. This however did not happen so the 3,400 Rolls of silage made was the right move.
David Fife a Farmer from Harefield was waiting to load Rolls retrieved from the air-tight plastic tubing that he was going to feed out right away to sheep which he said "Just loved it!"
For those wishing not to feed the Silage out straight away the plastic is retained around each roll that are then pushed up tightly together after unloading on site to exclude drying out. I was to have only a short journey to the other side of my home town Junee which contrasted greatly to the many other Truck driving pursuits of Sydney & Melbourne.
Come On Let's get Going & you can call me Mack!
Marinna being the place of delivery on the eastern side of Junee was where on New Years Day 2006 The Great Fire of Junee as I call it in one place here jumped 2 k ahead of the fire front that burnt out some 17,000 ha of the Junee districts destroying some 20,000 head of livestock & numerous buildings. Just down the road from here on that fateful day a man & woman feverishly bucketed water out of a well to save a house & the Farmer at this farm narrowly escaped the flames when cut off from safety. Not so lucky was John Heffernan a young 21 year old Farmer that day engulfed in flames who even now is still recovering from that ordeal...Doctors say John is one of only 8 people in the World to who have survived such horrific burns.
Not once but three times now this area has been burnt out with Bushfires that have all burnt towards the Bethungra Hills where one would think surely the Devil himself must reside... A satellite photo from space shows this fire area of Jan 2 2006 looking like a clawed hand.
I did it again in missing this time a photo of the Kangaroo jumping the Gate !. Mo did not miss his opportunity in urging the Roo's along with much barking & squealing from the Co-pilots seat....Just as well we had a windscreen or else he would have become the bonnet mascot.
Mechanisation makes dealing with this form of Hay easy & the job is done
I took the opportunity to drive back through the Main St of Junee which is featured in the movie made here titled : The Crossing in which Russel Crowe featured....You will remember of course the photo I took of him at the Morondah Opera where without hesitation he offered to buy me a beer. Good Onya Russel !
I even passed by where Jen the wren works but not a soul was to be seen otherwise I would have reached for the cable on the Air Horn ...All the kids know & give this arm signal to passing truckies
My home Valley appears & this Adventure is all to soon over.
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Saturday, January 27, 2007, 02:14 PMLast year Australian Robert H McNaught an astronomer with the Australian National University discovered this Comet from the Siding Springs Observatory in the Warrumbungle Ranges of Coonabarabran central New South Wales.
C/2006 P1 Great Comet of 2007 photographed over Wagga Wagga 25/01/07
From that time in Aug it was tracked through Space to determine its orbit & was lost for the month of December 06 because of the Suns brightness. Appearing again earlier this month this comet was visible for a short time in the Northern Hemisphere. Said to be the brightest Comet for the last 40 yrs it has of late been at its best in skies of the Southern Hemisphere shortly after sundown. Being away earlier in the week I have missed the best showing of McNaughts Comet but am pleased to have caught its passing.
Farewel to the Great Comet of 07 as seen here streaking to the dawm of 29/01/07 at 5.05am
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Sunday, January 21, 2007, 09:51 PMThe town of Beechworth Victoria once again this year played Host to the Opera in the Alps set in the gardens of the La Trobe University Campus overlooking this historic & much visited town. Opera in the Alps was born at Mnt Buffalo for an audience of 150 back in 1995, today up to 4,500 people can attend this open air venue for the continuing passion of music & the great outdoors of Aus.
We left home in the stifling afternoon heat & hot wind raising up clouds of dust from the surrounding countryside bound for Albury on the Victorian border where we would book into our Motel & make ready for the final 40k leg of this journey to this open air Opera.
We note with some comment the outside temp is recorded at 41c as our Adventure begins
It takes 1.5 hrs to make Albury on the Murray River the border to Victoria & the heat does not let up. We arrive, hoping there will be some relief by the time this Opera commences at 8pm. We are aware some rain with storms is forecast & hope this will not spoil our outing, but the relief of such an event would on one hand be most welcome.
Such were the people arriving in cars at this hilltop venue we were glad to be early. It seems many wished to take advantage of lawn areas outside the Opera Grounds to party for a free Show while others wanted to partake of dinner before the baton was raised.
On the way to our seats the Women were flocking to sign something so not being one to be shy with a camera I went to see what this fuss was all about. It proved to be that during the evening a lucky ticket would be drawn giving the winner a "Full Facial!"
Yes someone has a sense of humour about this
Now that we know who is who Finding Wally will be a snack as Welcomes begin !
Hands go up for Wagga Wagga Oh My !
Hands go up for the U.S. & brings a gasp of appreciation from the Audience
A cooling breeze arrives as Conductor Benjamin Northey takes command of the 50 strong members of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Victorian College of the Arts, Australian Academy of Music and the Australian Youth Orchestra.
Up & young coming Star Catriona Bell thrilled the audience with her singing of Love Live Forever from Paganini. Then as the Choir & Orchestra treated us to Finlandia the only thing that was missing was the lightning because the thunder most certainly wasn't ! Anxious looks skyward about this time almost took precedent to the on stage events
Everyone just loved Marina Prior & Victoria Jones as some light rain happened along to bring the night to a close, although it was only short lived & all was well that ended well.
Light relief was taken on the way home with a visit to the other "End" of Australian culture at Tabletop north of Albury
Rain lovely rain all the way home & just 16c to delight our senses to the extreme of the day before ending our Adventure with this Opera in the Alps.
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Monday, January 15, 2007, 10:45 PMThe Summer Heat of this Drought year is oppresive with the monotony of each passing day baking the land & withering away lifes essential water supply to both farm livestock & Wildlife alike. The Kangaroos on my land come closer & closer even venturing onto our lawn around the house at night for something to eat.
There is but one waterhole left for them to drink & the fear of being so close to man at our home is put aside to take this water...For Kangaroos it takes time to drink as they lap with their tongue like a cat. At times I have been so close in my hide of camouflage that I can hear this lapping & they can hear the whirring of my camera but know not where this sound is despite smelling the danger of my presence... I see the muscles in their legs coiled like Springs to take flight at any second for they know a danger is near.
Danger aside though it is Oh so nice to put your feet in the water !
Others soon take comfort in this presence of safety.
Then suddenly as one All take Flight that is so quick it is hard to capture.
From the corner of my eye I caught the movement of something low & brown streaking in quickly to the waters edge but I have the big Male Eastern Grey in the Viewfinder so follow him to safety
Oh My God It's the savage salivating fanged wild beast of Meribah that has appeared to terrorize the Kangaroos
For a moment I caught the gaze of those burning eyes of this Wild Beast with the face that smiles ....Just smiles all the time !
I don't know that I can take any more. I thank God my battery went flat
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