Life, with my dogs, living on one acre in Tasmania. Living on a low income, and with Complex PTSD. I write about all sorts of things. I called my Blog Echidna Home because I have echidnas that live here
Opened my front door this morning to let the dogs out.
Seems we all like to have gourmet breakfasts every so often
Sensibly watching my dogs, who are actually not interested in the Wallaby. I also am obviously outside with them and keeping a close on eye on all animals. Even when the wallaby jumped off and away, neither Busby or Miss Treacle were interested.
Though Busby is going to check out the bales of pea straw thoroughl!
Looks like I will need to move these now wet pea straw bales I purchased for the garden out of the wallabies reach. Another of those jobs I was meaning to do. The chooks have loved scratching through some bales too.
I was up early and it was so lovely if windy, to see this sight.
I ventured into Cygnet, just to get groceries, and pick up library books. The weather is wild winds today (Friday02/10) and the weekend is heavy rain and cold. I do not mind this. Lots of books to look at and read with the wood fire going is something to look forward too.
Driving home from Cygnet I just happened to see this Wedge Tail eagle sitting in a paddock. It was a long way away, which is why I am so happy to have a telephoto lense. Of course I had to pull up on the side of the road. Hazard lights going, and hope the eagle hung around as I set up to shoot the camera.
As you can see it did. I was thrilled to notice it had a small (well from where I was it looked small) macropod; wallaby joey or paddymelon. A noisy ute drove up the hill and disturbed the eagle. Which is why it took off with its meal.
On arriving home I fed my dogs, and then went out in the wind to feed the chooks. No eggs today, I feel the wind has put them off. Though they have been out of the hen run most of the day as the gate blew down when I went into town. Busby did chase them but he did not hurt anyone and cam (eventually when I called him). I doubt there will be eggs in the morning either. Poor hens.
I put Busby in the house and went to see if I could see the white hen who headed for the neighbours when Busby decided to chase them. Instead I came across the critter below. Of course I had to race back inside to grab my camera. Wildlife does not just hang around for photo opportunities.
Hooray the resident echidna is back, and I hope it is feasting on the Jack Jumper ants that are nesting in my paddock. It was so busy digging and eating and I was upwind of it I was not noticed until Treacle walked by the echidna, who was not that worried about her presence. She just left it alone and came to me. The last photo shows what might appear to be a tail on the Echidna, it is not it is its rear feet. You can see its claws. Explanation follows
https://www.echidnawalkabout.com.au/how-echidnas-walk/So how do echidnas walk with legs pointing both ways? Like most animals, echidnas walk on the soles of their rearfeet. But the heel comes first, and the toes and claws follow. Why do echidnas back feet point backwards? This odd arrangement seems to give echidnas the ability to dig straight downwards. Like a drill.
I am very fortunate as I see so much about me, many others miss. I am mindful of not only my own place and space I occupy but all the life that shares my little acre, and surrounding area. I live simply and find so much joy, contentment and pleasure in the things that cost me nothing.
I hear people say, Yeah but you live in a lovely place. I grew up in a Sydney so I have not always, and even there I would see beauty everywhere and little magical bits of nature among the city streets. I used to travel to work on a train that went across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Back when I worked 9-5 job. Nearly everyone around me commuting on the train, did not lift his or her head up from what ever they were looking at, to look at the beauty of Sydney Harbour, the incredible skill and workmanship of the bridge itself. The clouds in the sky. Every day I observed them for a moment as I then observed the incredible things outside the train window.
Put your phone down, learn to observe. See what others do not see. It really does not matter where you live. A bit of grass growing through cement… tells me nature will fight and is strong. Mother Earth is all about us and we do have to love her, observe her.
So my day was incredible.
I hope you all have pleasant weekends and are able to do something you enjoy what every your current situation is.
I am thankful for all the beauty that surrounds me. The native wildlife, the trees, flowers, insects. I am thankful that nature is strong enough that a weed or blade of grass can grow through cement or tarmac.
My thoughts for people I know (having lived in Canberra ACT (Australias National Capital), who live in the Southern and Eastern sides of Canberra. To fellow bloggers who live in the ACT, surrounding areas of Canberra and NSW who are impacted by the fires and all that happens as you wait anxiously I do understand exactly what you are going through. The Chief Minister of the ACT declared a State of Emergency a short time again. As weather today and over the weekend as hot weather and strong winds are fanning the flames and threatening Canberra and the surrounding areas. Several small communities are also under threat. It is a very concerning time as temperatures are high wind is picking up and the countryside is undefendable, except by air, until it hits land that is more likely to be settled. Saturday (eastern standard daylight saving time Australia) is meant to be worse than today and once the fires come over the mountains which is being set as a very high chance.
Tindbinbilla Nature Reserve has a research area that has been working on breeding these endangered Frogs, which after the fires in the Kosciuszko National Park.
The area where these frogs were being cared for in the Kosciusko National Park has been burnt in the recent bush fires the article at the following site gives you information about the Australian Armys work
These visuals may be confronting but are not intended to create fear or panic. Their purpose is to motivate our community to respond to warnings, alerts and calls to action.
The left image shows the potential spread of the Orroral Valley Fire from Friday 31 January – Sunday 2 February 2020 for the ACT only.
This image is based on worst-case predictions from multiple fire behaviour scenarios for the ACT and encompasses three days of worst-case modelled bush fire activity based on temperature range, wind variations, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, terrain, and fuel availability.
The right image has been developed by the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS).
These images may appear to differ. The reason is: • the ACT model shows a larger potential burn area and locations at risk of ember attack if current areas of spotting are not contained. • the NSW image depicts a 24-hour model while the ACT image depicts a 72-hour model. • the ACT image also reflects the impact of more extreme localised weather conditions experienced across the Territory in recent weeks. • you will notice that the core burn area for both models is consistent.
These models are predictions only and are not a reflection of current fire activity. They are an indication of how the Orroral Valley fire may behave in the coming days.
Thank you Canberra. In closing, be alert not alarmed.
NOTE: Data shown are potential spread only. Actual fire behaviour may vary. Please monitor local emergency services for up to date fire information: www.esa.act.gov.au and www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
It is a very concerning time as temperatures are high wind is picking up and the countryside is undefendable, except by air, until it hits land that is more likely to be settled. Saturday (eastern standard daylight saving time Australia) is meant to be worse than today and once the fires come over the mountains which is being set as a very high chance.
The Huon Valley was in a situation similar Dec2018-May2019. My thoughts also with those in Tasmania Fingal area, where fires continue, along with fires in South Australia, Victoria NSW and Tasmania. With hot and windy weather forecast for the Eastern side of Australia this weekend many fires have the potential to flare up.
Queensland on the other hand seems to be finally having a wet season.
I wanted to say it amazes me how just writing about the things that impact my mental illness in an everyday way helps so much. I do not know if anyone else with CPTSD fixates on a thing, and it gets in to you, that you find it almost impossible to let it go. For me writing about my experience with benefits from the Government has let me let it go. Such a positive. It is all in hand I have an appointment with my social worker, and GP so all it under some control and I have asked for help. A massive thing for me. I feel good about it all and quite hopeful. Sigh.
Along with my writing I do find spending time at home and in my garden is the best thing for me. I am trying really hard to let go of all the mess, and delight in all the positives. I am doing well at this. Everything is on a list. Yet I can not have more that one list or I become overwhelmed.
This in itself is important. I have to have a list. It is on my fridge. I mean written on my fridge in a marker, a perfect white board. My psychologist has helped me note that when I am really overwhelmed I begin many many lists. So in simplifying only the major things, on one list. I will not forget any of them. There is no time line for completion and I do not get fixated, or overwhelmed. As my mantra these days is I am content with the discontent. Strange as it seems, but just saying this to myself is such a help.
As I wrote this I heard Busby barking in the paddock. I looked out and saw this,
At first I thought oh NO he has killed a small animal. Then as I moved down towards him I tell him to leave it, and then I see this. Yes in the second photo below the white on the echidnas back is where Busby has attempted to grab the echidna. Echidna 1 (thankfully ) Busby nil. It is so hard for Busby as he is a mixed breed dog. Staffie x,with ridgeback x with boxer. All breeds that make him protective and aware of things that do not live in our home. He was very gentle with foster kittens, and cats, along with other dogs and puppies I fostered. He was fine with some orphaned rabbit kittens, but not with those in their hutches..outside big ones. It is so hard with the genetics. He is improving as he comes away now.
Echidnas have no fixed address they are wanderers and will move around a pretty large area on the mainland in Southern Queensland the organisation Land For Wildlife says that a territory can be up to 50 Hectares/123.553acres though territories can cross.
They find each other using sense of smell.
Apparently our Tasmanian echidnas are bigger than mainland Australia Echidnas.
I have talked about how echidnas form a connection with a male, the following video shows you how Echidnas mate. It is a video from National Geographic, Youtube. https://youtu.be/frZGhk0i228
It is also delightful to actually see how these awesome animals get around. They are not slow moving all the time, and are great at climbing up and over things.
They weigh between 2 and 5 kgs/4.41lb- 11.02lbs. quite a range in size. They have lower body temperature than other mammals, 31-32dC / 87.8-89.6dF.
If disturbed, echidnas will usually lower the head, and with vigorous digging, sink rapidly into the ground leaving only the spines exposed. On hard surfaces they will curl into a ball — presenting defensive spines in every direction. They are also capable of wedging tightly into crevices or logs by extending their spines and limbs.
The echidna is adapted for very rapid digging, having short limbs and powerful claws. The claws on the hind feet are elongated and curve backwards; to enable cleaning and grooming between the spines. However, despite this, they are infested with what is said to be the world’s largest flea — Bradiopsylla echidnae, which is about 4 mm long. (https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au).
Whilst both the male platypus and echidna both have spurs on their hind feet the echidnas is not functioning and is blunt unlike the platypus which has a sharp spur with functioning venom glands.
The diet of echidnas is largely made up of ants and termites, although, they will eat other invertebrates especially grubs, larvae and worms. The strong forepaws are used to open up the ant or termite nest and the echidna then probes the nest with its sensitive snout. Any insects in the nest are caught on the echidnas rapidly moving 15 cm tongue which is covered with a layer of sticky mucous, hence the name Tachyglossus meaning ‘fast tongue’. The jaws are narrow and have no teeth so food is crushed between hard pads which lie in the roof of the mouth and on the back of the tongue. Large grubs are squashed and the contents licked up. Echidnas eat a lot of soil and ant-nest material when feeding, and this makes up the bulk of droppings.
I do hope the echidna is eating all the jack jumper ants at my place. I have actually unearthed a few nests of ants in recent weeks, so kind of me to help them find food. In the process I have been bitten by two jack jumpers and they hurt so bad, and inflame and ache for days. One of the hidden joys of gardening. So I am very happy to have them about.
The echidna in Tasmania is common and widespread. They are less affected by the clearing of land as much as many other native animals as they can live anywhere that there is a supply of ants. Despite their covering of spines they do have natural predators such as eagles and Tasmanian devils which even eat the spines. They were a favourite food of Aboriginal people and early white settlers although they are now wholly protected by law.
I was up very early this morning and watched the sky fill with a soft pink as the sun rose. It was warming up rapidly. I made myself a coffee and remembered I needed to check that the birdbath was full. I looked and noticed it needed a top up. I saw a movement over near my peach tree. AHHAHHAH! caught the culprit!
My peach trees lower branches had been stripped of the leaves, and in the process peaches have been knocked off. Here it was stretched up on its hind legs as high as it could reach! I slowly moved and went back in to grab my camera. Hoping the culprit would be still nibbling away upon my return. Sadly it moved (I had a bright blue t shirt on so Im not surprised I was noticed), I was able to capture this little guy. I do not begrudge he or her a nibble and know the tree is older and stronger, the branches are not as easily broken. There are enough peaches to share. The birds and possums eat the fallen ones.
I was just getting ready to head in to town. I had to pick up a couple of things and I decided that I would take the dogs for a swim. I was inside and my dogs were out when I hear barking. The kind that says Hey we are protecting you from this very dangerous thing! There was something in the shrubbery on my driveway.
It was the echidna, baled up by both Busby and Miss Treacle. I moved them away, and watched as this wee guy left in quite a hurry. I do hope she/he had a trouble free day after we left.
I then noticed that this wee bird flew out of my car port light shade, there was a nest made in it last year. Though if they are nesting it seems very late. It is a sweet bird and I welcome it. I do find it hard when they are so nervous but understandable. Several neighbours in the area have cats that are allowed to roam and we also have an issue with feral cats. I am not happy about the fact the cats come over my way. When I see any or the dogs do, I happily let them chase them away.
A very full morning and it is not even 8:30 yet.
So we head off to do our walk. We got a bit waylaid(sadly I did not take my camera out of the car) our neighbour was throwing balls in their paddock for their two dogs to chase. Needless to say my guys had to join in. So we chatted as the dogs chased balls and played with each other. (Her dogs are a staffie kelpie, who is fixated on his own ball and his brother a boxer) Busby ran and got the ball and played with the boxer Miss Treacle said hello to everyone and then went and sat under the car in the shade. After about an hour I put Busby in the car (he was so hot he had drinks ) and Miss Treacle ran reluctantly ahead. Busby was whining to get out. So I gave in and they took off.
Dogs taken for their walk and a beautiful view from the hill.
Off too the beach! The folk festival has finished there are still lots of people and vehicles about. I discovered that an Aboriginal festival is happening for Monday and Tuesday Ballawinne Festival. Writer Bruce Pascoe book, Dark Emu Bruce was speaking tonight and tomorrow I am sure they will be very interesting event.
Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the ‘hunter-gatherer’ tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required. http://www.magabala.com/products/dark-emu
Not that I could afford to go to it, yet it would be a very interesting event. I am sure I will know someone who has been. Well now that explains why there are so many people and vehicle still around.
OK no Seriously we are off to the beach NOW, It was such a glorious hot day 32dC there were people and dogs at the little beach I went to. So Busby and Miss Treacle had a lovely time. Though neither were that excited to go in for a swim.
These two came up and wanted to play Busby loved it Miss Treacle was quite her own dog and chose to watch from the shade.
The following selection of photos shows what a great day it was, and how clean the water is. It is also showing my reluctant boy attempting to fetch a stick. I was quite mortified at his reluctance. I did have to apologise to him when I went in to swim a bit later as there were two areas of like quicksand in the shallows. I sank up to my knees and struggled to get out. So no wonder my big boy had problems.
Miss Treacle does the beach her way today.
Whilst Busby would like to run with this guy in the water, but his day has been full of play runs and sunshine, I was happy that he did not join in, that he just watched in awe.
The dog in the water was so funny to watch he must be some kind of water dog. He just ran up and down in the water for so long while we stood watching. He just raced up and down having the time of his life. His owner was not about but up at a car. The dog did not even stop to come and say hi to my guys. He was just in heaven in his own world.
He was no problem and boy did he make me smile and chuckle.
There were kids playing on the fallen tree. Swinging is not so much fun when the tide is going out. How wonderful to see them without a phone, taking photos or selfies. In fact no one (apart from me had any mobiles or cameras. How rare is that . All were in the moment enjoying the here and now. Using their brains to retain the feelings, the fun and all that will stay with them. That is what living is about.
Even I put my camera down and sat in the water, the waves coming over my thighs. Looking all about me and knowing how fortunate am I and how rich. I went for a swim, so refreshing. I expected that Busby would join me, but no they both just sat in the shade. Not even watching me.
So much fun about floating on inflatable rings with a beer in your hand, sailing, canoeing, fishing, sitting in the sun, swimming, chasing each other or just kicking your paws up and making your own kind of fun!
Miss Treacle at 12 lets the youngsters carry on. Preferring to get to know other folk and tell them how abused and neglected she is. Here she just plonked her wet body (I had sat in the water with her on my lap…shoulders as she did not want to be in the water it was very shallow and cooled her down as she was very hot). on this lovely ladies mat. Leaning right against her. Knowing there is a wee 11 week old puppy there. Treacle loves puppies.
Poor pup was very anxious so I retrieved my girl, and my boy and we headed home. All that time in the sunshine fresh air and playtime. Dinner was early and they have both crashed, and I can hear only heavy breathing and snoring.
I too feel weary and very relaxed. I know I need to do more for myself in the way of exercise and things I enjoy. I was glad there were very few people at the beach. As otherwise I probably would have not stopped. I usually do not venture to this beach while school holidays are on, and there is still another 2 weeks before school resumes. Then the chances are it will be just us at the beach. I do like that at least now I really do know what is best for me. I am listening to my self, and I talk to myself. I talk to my inner child. (another topic for another day) It all helps me to reduce the potential for being caught out by something that might trigger me. So a truely awesome day. What more can you want but wild animals feeling at home in your garden. A beautiful hot clear sky day. Pristine water and beach to swim at and hardy anyone on it. I am so thankful and appreciative of all I have especially my two companions.
I was heading to Cygnet to catch up with a friend at the bakery. Great food and coffee. Wonderful croissants. Local fruit ice cream and sorbets so delicious made on the premises too. It was Friday, and the Cygnet Folk Festival would be starting in the afternoon. Yet the town was already busy as organisational stuff and food trucks, venues and staging were all happening all the place. My friend and I enjoyed people watching. I had my dogs with me. They were petted and commented on by lots of people.
A walk around town was an interesting experience, even though the festival has not officially started there are lots of people about and some really strange things to see
I am not really sure what the idea of this really is but as far as contraptions go it was quite exceptional. A piano that when played light flames and smokes. I might see it at night when I imagine it will be even more awesome. My friend is playing it and one of my neighbours (the fire fighter tshirt) is looking at it. (you can see joyfully for me rain clouds forming, not so good for the festival.
My dogs and I went down to a lovely dog friendly spot down on the bay, and Miss Treacle and Busby had fun racing about sniffing and marking, as I took some photos. I was sitting watching some swans and cranes landing. As well as the sun slowly sinking behind the hills.
As the dogs were running around I was listening to some music coming from across the bay. I could hear beating drums and a beautiful voice. Looking back towards town (photo above )you can see white amongst the trees, tents and campervans fill the reserve and sadly access is not permitted to the locals who walk through it ever day or go to take their kids to the play area for the weekend. Or to see the birds in the bird sanctuary. It is only one weekend a year I guess. People pay to camp here about $40 for the weekend three nights .
To the left you can see the white tents, these are for Glamping accommodation at the festival
Two photos below are looking down over the main st.
It is a pretty valley and the township is settled adjacent to a lovely bay. Mindy you being an Island it is not hard to have water near you.
The end to the day was a little similar to the beginning in that we came across another native critter on the road. This time a wallaby eating grass on the side of the road. I stopped to let it get away without any danger from my car.
It is less than three seconds it moved and got away. They can be so hard to avoid on our roads, which is why I try to travel at 40km p/h especially during dawn and dusk but also at night when they are about.
I do apologise for the quality of these photos in this post. I had to change them from a SLR camera setting to a JPEg and it seems to have made a huge difference to the shots.
I do find that in among a lot of noise and people something I once enjoyed, I no longer do. I find myself enjoying the periphery of things. After walking through Cygnet today and listening to the music and the noise, traffic and smells. I was needing to get away from it. So I was really chuffed that there was no one else down on the point where the dogs and I spent a lovely time. My CPTSD does impact me greatly sometimes. I know I am better than I have been in quite a long time. I do come home from this sort of thing exhausted and just basically spend the next 24 hours in a semi immobile state. Hard to explain to people who have not experienced it. I do feel sometimes, that it is the after effects of going out and being part of the world/community place I live, is often what stops me. My progress here is that I now know this. I now accept this is me and my life in the present time. Instead of pushing myself and doing the expected I dont anymore. That in itself is a wonderful difference. Knowing my limits, and retreating. One of my favourite things is saying I am content with the discontent.
This little guy just looked so happy chewing away. It was almost as if it posed for me. It is a Pademelon (Paddy melon) They only grow to about 60cm and weigh about 5kg (enough of the lessons).
I am so privileged to have them visit my place. I used to get annoyed when they would pull the fruit tree branches down and nibble the leaves breaking them, but the trees grew taller, and they couldn’t reach any more.
I know it seems a bit surreal to me too. I really live with these guys about too.
I also have Eastern Barred Bandicoots, Quolls, and Tasmanian Devils around. Much harder to obtain photos of these guys I keep trying.
My favourite remains the Echidna.
The echidna on the right was across the road from my driveway. They can actually move surprisingly fast.
A shuffling snuffling echidna on the hunt for food crossing through my wattle grove.
Easy access to the next paddock. Through the fence. I am sure it is because it has smelt me or heard me as I try to capture its photo. sigh. I never want to frighten it. I was using a telephoto lens, I reckon it heard me moving about. It decided that heading through the fence was its only option.
As I have written before Echidnas are just amazing and unique mammals. I love th above photo as it shows how well their camouflage is. It looks like sunshine is hitting the grass but its the quills, and you can see its eye.
As I write this the horrific Mainland Bush Fires on the mainland of Australia and Kangaroo Island have cost so many Australian animals, insects bugs, it breaks my heart. I look at the wonderful wildlife that abounds my home and I cant imagine them all gone. The overwhelming knowledge that some may be gone forever. There are so many wonderful people who are out there working to find and help, the wild life carers, the firepeople and vets, farmers, those who are ensuring food and water are left and hoping to capture injured animals to help. The generosity of people all around the world, those that are making pouches and wraps..donated items food and are out gathering leaves and shoots for animals that have none in their locations. The baby wombats who have come out of burrows starving as mum has most likely been killed and not been back to the burrow. It is so so tragic. Of course my heart reaches out to all the people and communities impacted.