Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's cold and wet outside again :)

But it is warm and dry inside, as of today.

I went for reverse cycle heating and cooling a couple of years ago, and though I do like the convenience of it, I don't like the expense OR the barren feeling that losing my wood stove left in the cottage in the winter.

Newly installed solar panels this past Summer allowed me to run the aircon throughout the summer and still get a credit on my power bill, which was a very welcome surprise and makes me feel better about my "carbon footprint (rightly or wrongly).

THIS is going to keep me warm literally and figuratively this winter.

When I fired it up for the first time it made the place feel like "home" again ..  it offers a place to read in the company of a friend.

That it is also so practical, is a joy.

Strangely, I LIKE doing all the "wood" jobs that having a wood-burning stove entails; that was my job as a child, from scavenging for kindling when very young, to chopping it when I was older.

My childhood on the Eyre Peninsula of SA always included several days through the autumn of "getting the wood in"; ie picking up stumps for the winter.

Now I know the significance of those stumps in the bush, but I confess that I still love going out "getting the wood" when it is necessary, and preferably from paddocks that have been worked up.

Here on my own bush block I do burn some of what is dead / fallen, despite knowing it probably should all be left to rot down; however the mid-calf depth of the ground cover (including fallen wood) I feel like I have some room to move on this.

Given my choice to burn wood at all, that doesn't seem to me to be worse than burning the tonnes of redgum that is delivered daily  to our local wood yard; some part of our bush (presumably along the Murray somewhere?)  must be being wiped out at a great rate.

I'm glad the new stove designs do a much better job of reducing pollution than those of my childhood.
In the meantime, I am enjoying it and the fact that it is Australian made.

(and today the installer comes back to put in the matching black flue, as ordered .

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Still Raining!

Another 7mm so far today ... and very little run-off.



The rain gauge says 28mm overnight.

All good (especially from inside and with a good book and a coffee)

The CFS says the fires in the Adelaide Hills are "contained".


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blue Wrens; Assertive, yes, but Aggressive?

Until a few weeks ago I only knew Blue Wrens to be "assertive".

I had often seen them, or more accurately _heard_ their alarm calls as they became agitated.
Recently though, I have twice seen them do very much more than just "warn".
I have seen them actively threaten several different species of birds so vigorously that they retreated.

The first time was in early March at a water tray / bird bath, on a warm day.

 The new (to me) squawking* sound draw my attention from inside the house, though the windows were open, so that is not too surprising. 

More unusual and surprising was the obviously aggressive stance; head and tail down and feathers of the back raised, such that its profile was larger than usual.

The first incident began with five New Hollands bathing and squabbling among themselves and chasing other birds away. having all chased another away, just one returned alone, to find two wrens bathing.

 The female wren took off immediately but the male hopped onto the side of the dish and stood his ground.
The seemingly bemused New Holland Honey Eater, was hassled energetically enough by the Blue Wren to be driven it off.

I could almost see it thinking, "Please don't anyone see this ... it's supposed to be the other way around .. someone tell it! Oh the shame!"


The wren began from the opposite edge of the bowl,  then gradually shuffled closer and closer, squawking all the time, feathers fluffed out and beak wide open.

Once the Honey Eater had been driven off, the other blue wren returned and continued bathing while th aggressive one stood on the edge; after which it took the plunge.

The bigger group of New Hollands returned as a group as soon as these Wrens had left (entirely of their own accord).

At that stage I  thought it likely that the young Honey Eater was more readily frightened than a larger or more mature bird, however later I saw the wren (the same one?)  see off  a Yellow Faced Honey Eater .

Later again a White-fronted Treecreeper approached the birdbath by creeping up the trunk towards the bowl.
It is quite awkward and takes a while to "make it" to the rim.
Two wrens this time, both squawking loudly and fluffed up threateningly crowded it until it flew away.

I'll let the pictures tell the rest of this story.

All's Well :)

* the second, informal definition fits perfectly.