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Sunday, February 22, 2015


As a surprise birthday present Tony has whisked me away for a few days at the beach.
He's been sweating on the timing as we've just experienced cyclone Marcia here in Queensland.
It was a very strong cyclone which crossed the coast about 500 miles north of Brisbane passing close to Yeppoon before veering inland towards Rockhampton then turning south before petering out as it headed back out to sea. 
Luckily the damage has not been too severe and everyone was well prepared with TV and radio coverage. At our house we measured 180 mm or about 7 in of rain over the space of three days so the garden has had a lovely badly needed drink.

Anyhow, on Sunday afternoon we set out in showery weather for the Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads to be more specific.

Even if the weather is not so good you have to be happy with a view like this

And there are lots of sunny patches.

Despite the showery weather it is not cool but rather very warm and sometimes unpleasantly muggy.

We've been for a couple of long walks along this lovely beach.
The sea is still very stirred up and angry and it's not holiday time so there are not too many people to share with as you go. 
There's nothing quite like the feel of the sand under your feet, is there ?

Every time we walk along the beach we come home soaked by the rain showers that come up and then move on out to sea. At least it isn't cold rain !

In the distance you can see the more glitzy highrise area of Surfers' Paradise.

Here's a little evidence of those rough seas.
The beaches are still closed to swimming today.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Recently I suggested to my friend Tom from A Hippo on the Lawn blog that a couple of the lovely flowering trees we have in Brisbane would be a nice addition to his resort in the making.

I suggested these:

A Poinciana Tree
and a Jacaranda Tree.
Neither of these trees are native to Australia but both play a big part in beautifying the suburban landscape of Brisbane.
Tom was very receptive to the idea so I set out to collect some seeds to send off to him in Angola.
Both trees produce huge numbers of seeds so Tony collected some Ponciana seeds for me as he worked around the neighbourhood.
This is one of the large seed pods.

Inside each little channel holds a single large seed.
I selected 5 or 6 of the seeds ( he didn't want many !!) from one pod and posted them off to Tom via his brother in Germany.( there's plenty more where they came from Tom if you need them !!)
Then to test them out I stuck a few into a spare pot to see if and how long it would take for them to germinate.
Two weeks later I remembered them and looked into the pot to find this !

This one had popped itself right out of the ground !


Looks like they'll be easy to grow Tom !
Hope they manage to reach Angola soon.
I'm off to collect Jacaranda seeds now.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Tony's birthday this weekend was a good excuse for a rare night out with both of our terrific kids.

Brett was in Brisbane for his pre-wedding " Buck's Night " where he was meeting up with lots of old school friends whom he doesn't see much now that he lives in Sydney. 

Lovely that they all make the effort to keep in touch. Those old friendships are still strong with nearly 20 years since they left school.

Not long till the wedding now !


Wednesday, February 4, 2015


The Koolie

This is the breed that started me off on this exploration of Australian Working Dogs. I recently read about them and had previously never even heard of them let alone seen them - or recognised them anyway.
This may be because they look very much like a crossbreed combination of Cattle Dog and Border Collie and Kelpie which is how the new breed probably originated.  They are, however a recognised breed as in 2010, the Australian Koolie's own unique signature gene was discovered through ASAP laboratories in Victoria Australia, making them the first Australian breed recognised by their DNA before the controlling canine body of their home country.

There is a huge range of colours and coat types with both long and short coats, solid and colours mixed with white and the interesting " merle ".

Merle is a pattern in a dog's coat that is commonly incorrectly referred to as a colour. The merle gene creates mottled patches of colour in a solid or speckled coat, blue or odd-coloured eyes and can affect skin pigment as well.
Health issues ( deafness and blindness) are more typical and more severe when two merles are bred together, so it is recommended that a merle be bred to a dog with a solid coat colour only.

To quote from one of my sources:

"Koolies are much sought-after in rural Australia, and interest is now being shown in America, Canada, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Switzerland and Holland.
According to Geoff Broughton, past president of the Koolie Club of Australia for 7 years, the Koolie will:
head (move to the front or head of the stock to push them back towards you), 
heel or drive, (push the stock from behind), 
cast (move out and around the stock), 
block (hold the stock or block them from in front, in three sheep trials this action is called the pick up) and
 back (literally jump onto the backs of their charges to herd them if necessary).
 Koolies have a reputation for being upright workers with a good eye, who can easily shift their focus from holding the group to casting around a flock or gathering breakaways. They are not known for having "sticky eyes" (focusing on the sheep in front only).
Unlike other working breeds, which are noted for their crouched form or style and preference for either yard or field work, Koolies are known as silent, upright, working dogs. 
 Koolies are at ease working in closed surroundings such as yards or trucks and being out in paddocks and droving.
As well as working anything from ducks to bulls like all dogs of their kind they will herd family members and children in the absence of other charges.
Many farmers say these breeds are harder workers than many men. "


So there you have it.

I 'll keep my eyes open now to see if I ever encounter a Koolie though I think they will be difficult to spot as they vary so much in appearance and are probably pretty rare in the city.

Of course the other breed of working dog found here in Australia is the wonderful Border Collie.

like our own Miss Scout.

They are used mainly for sheep as wild cattle require a tougher dog.

( Australian cattle dog at work ) 
* Photos today from the Internet