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Roos About


Spring is in the air down under! A couple of weeks ago this is what we saw. The kangaroos are really enjoying the sun and lush grass. We were heading back from Cabins Beach when I saw these three while crossing Mullaway Drive.

The grass looks yummy to them!

The grass looks yummy to them!

Baby joey peeking out for us!

Baby joey peeking out for us!

I had to share this. They looked so content. I am glad my sony has a great zoom! The roos are certainly about in Mullaway putting on a show!

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Racquetball revisited!


I’ve always loved tennis and never really thought I was that athletic but I really enjoy goofing around with a racket and ball. This goes all the way back to the my youth. I begged my parents for a tennis racket and balls to bang on the barn my dad built with the help of my brother, Kevin and myself. It wasn’t a really huge barn; it was more like a wooden shed but it really fed my imagination into overdrive. I would ask my sisters to play tennis with me but when they would get bored or didn’t feel like playing I could be found banging the tennis ball against a wall of the barn before or after I did my chores. I would pretend I was competing in Wimbledon or the French Open. I was just mad about it.

When I went to Uni, I discovered racquetball. I always wanted to keep banging the ball against the wall, any wall that I could find but as I got older I just didn’t follow through like I used to do. In the numerous moves that I have done, I always wanted to go back to playing racquetball even by myself but of course, I never did do it.

Last week, I was talking with Adam and we decided it was time for me to get another racquet as well as balls so that I could pick up my favourite sport that I liked to do. Today we went to town because he had an appointment. He also booked me some time at a squash court. We both thought it best for me to start out with half an hour. Lenny was with us too and when we got to the squash court, I was given court 4 which had a glass wall. Adam sat outside the court I was in on a couch with Lenny in harnass sitting on the floor. I went inside and started banging the ball with my new racquet. I wish we had recorded Lenny’s reaction. He was actually making a crying sound. He was very excited in his harness trying to get to me so he could play as well. It actually got pretty distracting for me. Poor Adam couldn’t even listen to his podcasts that he had on his Iphone. I had to move them away so we both could be able to do what really wanted to do. When I came out to talk to Adam, he asked me why I was crying. I responded it was Lenny not me. I am having fun and laughing at your dog so I moved them to a table further down so that Lenny couldn’t be tormented by seeing me enjoying myself in the court.

I learned two things today. 1. Don’t take a guide dog with you when you want to play racquetball because the dog will create a racket because he can’t be in the court with you. 2. I really loved playing racquetball and was glad I only did it for 30 minutes. I think the last time I played it was 1989. I am looking forward to doing it again and building up my stamina so that I can play for an hour but I think that will take a little more time.

I am a little sore and tomorrow I may regret forgetting to warm up and cool down but I had a blast. I can’t wait to do it again.

Racquetball revisited: I loved every minute of it and hope to do it at least 3 times a week!

Whale Of A Time


It’s been a long time since I have sat down to write a blog about anything actually. I am still looking for work but have gone back into a World of Warcraft phase enjoying the horde side with a couple of friends. Last night though, as I was looking for something to watch on the tele, I came across the last 15 minutes of the Australian version of 60 Minutes on Channel 9 NBN. It was showing a piece on Humpback Whales in Hervey Bay, Queensland.

I want to know why everything in my life seems to lead to certain moments. I know I am sounding like a cliche but I can’t help it. When I was in the fifth grade at Vernon Elementary my teacher was Miss Mc Coy. She instilled in me a love for the humpback whale, actually for all whales. She used to play records of them at times. I never imagined that I would ever get to see them. Flash forward about 33 years and I am living in Australia with the love of my life who can’t see the beauty of the majestic whales as they migrate up and down the eastern coast of Australia but he gets to hear my ooo’s and ah’s. This year we haven’t much luck spotting them but the funny thing is, we had been thinking about buying a house or holiday place up at Hervey Bay, Queensland but decided it was too far north. Now I heard that the humpback whales choose that lovely place for a respite on their pilgrimage. I had an aha moment.  I cried after I saw that piece because I knew that I was where I was suppose to be and the timing for me was right in every aspect.

My sister Margaret, came to see me in 2007 and we went on a whale watching tour right outside Manly heads. It was a great day. We saw quite a few whales. I think she really enjoyed the time and the Channel 7 helicopter even filmed the whales we saw. When we got back home, we bragged to Adam that 7 news featured our whales.  I often wish I could just sit on the headlands and watch the whales procession up and down the coast. I can do that now because I live in a terrific area where if I am fortunate enough, I can sit on the headland and watch. Adam can listen to me cooing or hear the waves crashing or even listen to the birds while he keeps me company.

I know sometimes life doesn’t make any sense. There is a lot of horror out there but I am very fortunate. I know this is a recurring theme in my blog. I know I am blessed. I always find myself in the right spot at the right time. I make connections to things from my past. I look forward to making new connections especially when it comes time to the whales migrations. To think they were on the brink of extinction less than 50 years ago but they are coming back.

Thank you Miss Mc Coy for being such a great teacher. Thank you for opening my eyes to a whale of a time! I will leave you with something I found on youtube. The gentleman on the video was featured in the piece I saw last night.

Life Is A Rollercoaster


Today Adam and I first took Mitch out for a walk today to scout for dogs. Grady was going to get to go too but he decided to get narky with Mitch resulting in him being left home with Lenny. We did a reverse route that we did with Lenny the other day. There were going to be dogs for us to follow-up on what we learned. It was good to know that for when we wanted to work with Lenny which we did once I returned Mitch to the back yard. I got Lenny on lead and handed him over to Adam to get ready for his walk.

I find at times when I try to put into practice what I learn from observation I often wish I had taken notes instead of relying on my memory. I had recorded the session with Doug but after listening to it, it wasn’t as clear as we wanted because it had been drizzly so my raincoat and foot steps pretty much drowned out the sound of Doug’s voice.

We decided to go ahead today to work Lenny. All was going well. We found two little dogs behind their fence but the owner came out all apologies for the behavior of his dogs. I explained to him that it was fine. We wanted that sort of behavior to work on Lenny’s problem. The owner continued to chastise the dogs. Adam and I pushed on. We took a left onto the next street. I could see a beagle further down the road. I told Adam about it. We continued on with me giving him prompts. When we needed to make another left, the beagle and two other dogs came after Lenny who was of course, quite tense. I was trying to block Lenny’s vision when the second dog came up behind Lenny. Finally the owner came out calling for his dogs to come back.  Everything was a bit hazy for me to recall clearly since I am trying to monitor Adam, Lenny, and the other dogs. I know the owner had to come forward to get the other dog because he was lunging towards Lenny whose fur was all hackles and had completely tried to turn around in harness. I felt out of my depths but we persevered. As soon as I knew we were safe enough from the dogs for Adam to get Lenny refocused on him. Adam then gave him a nice scratch to get rid of the energy he had from the encounter. I knew we were going to encounter at least 3 more dogs behind fences. The next dog we encountered, Lenny was a tad distracted. Dogs were barking all around us. Every time Lenny would look to Adam, I would have Adam stop to reward him for the behavior.  The next house we would pass had two retrievers in it. I was hoping we’d get to walk past but of course, the owner came out because of the ruckus the dogs were making, looked down the street where we were walking up from, and instructed her dogs back into the house. We were a tad disappointed but we persevered. Over all, I think the walk was pretty successful. I am still a tad unsure but I think with practice we’ll become a well oiled machine.

Life is a roller coaster in more than one way. I think it’s the way that we handle the ups and downs that help define who we are. I can see this metaphor in action with the working relationship between Adam and Lenny. I also see it in my life in general. The walk with Lenny felt like a roller coaster. Roller coasters can be fun and scary all at the same time. A lot like life which is why I love this song so much. Enjoy!

No Pictures Please!


Adam, the dogs, and I walked one of our favorite routes this afternoon. It always seems that when I want to take pictures I never have my camera on me. I did have my iPhone but every time I retrieved my phone the birds or the wildlife would not cooperate with me.  I must remember to attach my Kodak to my dog bag so that I will never be in that situation again. Things happen though and sometimes even the best plans go awry.

There was a red and green parrot which I have checked in my bird book which appeared to be a king parrot. The kookaburras were out and about in the crowns of the eucalyptus trees. As we walked on top of Darkum Headland I kept a look out for kangaroos. Since there were none to be seen, I let the dogs off their leads. Normally they run down the side of the headland to jump into the water. Grady took off to fetch a stick. Lenny and Mitch were out of eye shot for a little while. Lenny normally comes bounding back to be loved on by Adam or myself.  The two labs had been gone quite a while as I sat throwing the stick that Grady was begging me to throw for him. I looked to the right to see what I thought was a seal in the water. I was calling for Lenny and Mitch like mad. The seal was in one of the dogs most favorite spots to swim. I felt panic rise inside me when Lenny returned to Adam. Grady was guarding his stick.  I noticed Mitch trying to swim out to the seal. I asked Adam to lead Lenny while I leaded Grady handing him Grady’s lead because I had to get to Mitch pronto before he tried to terrorize the seal. (I was having flashback to the kangaroo incident.) By the time I was heading down towards Mitch yelling for him to come, he was on top of a rock ledge trying to figure out the best way to get to the seal but he finally decided to come to me to my great relief as I was on the edge of the headland making slow progress to get to him. I put the lead back on him returning to Adam. I noticed that the seal was out ahead of us now straight on. I tried to get my iPhone to take a picture but it was like the seal was camera-shy. I couldn’t get the shot.

I am looking forward to being able to camp up top of Darkum Headland for whale watching. The season begins in June ending in November. I already have the perfect spot in which to set up the tripod with my camera as well as binoculars. I think to make my life easier though, I won’t be taking the dogs with us. It will make my life of eye spy with my lovely blue eyes totally enjoyable as well as stress free. Last year I really loved watching the whales.

We continued our walk to Cabins Beach with the dogs on lead. Once we got to the bottom of the stairs, we let the dogs free run for a bit. I normally want to get them back on lead as we head on the path to go to Mullaway Tourist Park because it’s just easier to get home that way instead of traipsing up the sandy side of the walkway that used to be very easy to go up and down with.  The beach was very pebbly. I also saw lots of shell washed up in bits and pieces but found a few little treasures to take home with me.

After we left the Tourist Park, we walked down the Boulevard to get home. I notice two eastern Rosella perched on a bush. I grabbed my iPhone only to discover they had disappeared.

This is why I have decided to call this blog no pictures please because the birds and seal were very elusive today. They didn’t want to be photographed. I do remember the snapshots in my head.  Better luck next time I hope! Thanks for reading!

Photos, Video and my first attempt at an Audio Blog featuring Wreckage on Safety Beach with Video.


My friend, Sally, kept telling Adam and I about how spectacular the wreckage of a scuttle (schooner) please excuse my lack of knowledge on the subject of what exactly the wreckage is but it is a ship of some sort not far from Woolgoolga Beach. She told us about it yesterday. In fact, she told us about it last week but Adam and I just never got out timing right except today we went at low tide which inspired me for today’s blog.  We have seen this before but today it was more exposed than we have ever seen it.

My blog today is going to be a proverbial smorgasbord of photos, sound, and actual footage of the wreckage.  The audio blog is 33:58 minutes long. I hope Adam and I don’t bore you too much. We know how very fortunate we are to be where we are. I love sharing and thought this might help you explore my area in a really cool way. I want to put a shout out to prayingforoneday because I took a pic especially for his missus of a king charles spaniel.

first glimpse of Safety Beach view of Woolgoola from the top part of the steps to Safety Beach The Sheoak I had Adam feelThe rock outcropping off of Safety Beach crossing Darkum creek with a view of Woopi Sponge Darkum Creek empties into the ocean For Ms Shaun a king charles spaniel shot of Darkum creek The wreckage The shell that didn't get away The first photo is a glimpse of Safety beach when you approach from the walking path from the street. Second photo view from top of stairs to go down to Safety Beach which gives you a glimpse of Woolgoolga Headland. Third photo the She-oak Adam felt. Fourth photo is crossing Darkum Creek and you can see out to the ocean. There is an outcropping of rocks that kayakers and canoers love going to. I love the spot to play in the surf. We can drive here if I am lazy or walk from our place with the dogs. It’s a nice walk. Fifth photo is showing Woolgoolga. The creek is also flowing out to the ocean. Sixth photo is of a sponge.  Seventh photo is of a King Charles Spaniel with mistress. Eighth shot is looking back towards Darkum Headland you can see the creek flowing. Ninth is the still of the wreckage. Final shot is of the shell that didn’t get away. Adam teased me! I actually thought he had thrown it away because he didn’t reveal it to me again until I found it on my desk which I refuse to show due to the cluttered state I keep it in.

Lastly I will leave you with the footage that I took which I posted to Youtube. I hope you enjoyed the blog. I might have gone over board with the audio/video but I will find out if anyone decides to commit.

I know the audio is a bit flaky due to the wind but you hear it I think much better on the audio blog. If you like this sort of thing, please let me know if you want to see more.

Velvet is a deceased guide dog who was a ginger retriever I mentioned her and just realized you wouldn’t know who in the world Velvet is.

Here’s a link from the Coffs Advocate about the wreck:

http://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/king-tides-reveal-block-buster/1346335/

My Blessings With Two Kangaroo Terrorists


Yesterday the sun was out. Adam and Lenny had gone to Coffs Harbour for his course. Our other two dogs, Mitch and Grady, were needing a nice walk. I thought since it seemed to be such a lovely day, I would take my two dogs out and let them go for a free run at a spot we frequent. I am very lucky to live close to many beaches that are leash free. I decided to take the route that would have us go through Mullaway Caravan park onto Cabin’s Beach. We’d walk along take the path that would put us up on the headland walk that would take us to Darkum Creek. I made sure to wear jellys because it was going to be very muddy due to all the rain we had. We’ve gone this way many times. The dogs love to roam and Grady is forever wanting to fetch. When we walk on the headland though I don’t throw the stick that he normally brings me because it’s too hard to do with all the trees and shrubs. We are heading toward the beach again. I hear Mitch barking furiously. Grady isn’t interested in the stick anymore due to Mitch’s barking. I am walking at a leisurely pace but when I hear the two of the barking I start calling to them to come to me. I see what Mitch is excited about. It’s a grey kangaroo by a banyan tree. He’s tall. I know he’s over 5’6″ because I am that tall. If I were to stand up beside him he would tower over me.

Stupidly, I take out my mobile phone to record this when I see Grady terrorising the kangaroo. All three of them head down to the water. I am screaming for the dogs to stop. Panic is racing through me. I said out loud, “This is why you should never let your dog of the lead.” I am trying to figure out the best way to defuse the situation.

Grady has a mean streak in him but on this occasion, I am stunned to see how vicious he is. They are in the surf. Mitch is barking egging Grady on. Grady is jumping trying to get the roo. The roo is trying to catch Grady but with the two of them going at him he feels trapped. The roo goes down in the surf. Grady has him by the neck. They are all fighting for their lives. I can see the blood lust in Grady. Mitch is trying to bite the roo too but not on the neck. He is more playful if that is even possible. I can see the roo looking at me pleading. I grab for Mitch first but then decide it best to go for Grady because of the blood lust. I don’t know how I manage to grab the grey and white terrorist but I have. I put the double lead on him pulling him away. I am still yelling for them to leave the roo alone. I try calling to Mitch in a more calmer tone so that I don’t sound so deranged. It’s not working. He’s still trying to get the roo. I only have the lead with the double lead attached to it. I know I can’t take Grady back towards the roo to get to Mitch because he’s still wanting to get to it. My coaxing isn’t working on Mitch. Nobody else is around to help so I frantically look around trying to figure out how to secure Grady praying out loud to God to keep all the animals alive and to Mitch to leave the roo alone.

I see another tree with a branch hanging down closer to the headland. I scurry with Grady trying to escape me to the tree. I hold Grady by collar as well as scruff of his neck so that he doesn’t slip his collar while I unclasp the double lead from the lead. I secure the lead looping it through it’s handle to the tree. I clip Grady to the tree heading back to collect Mitch with the double lead.

The poor roo is exhausted. He has been struggling for at least 5 minutes. It must have seemed much longer to him. I can see the pleading in his eyes as Mitch keeps nipping at him trying to get him up again. I have to be careful that I don’t scare the roo more or get hurt because he wants to lash out. I don’t really blame him. I grab Mitch by his tail clipping him with the double lead using all my strength to get him away from the roo. He’s 31 kg.

I go for my shoes and the mobile phone I had removed from my pocket after realizing I had it on me.  I had gone in the surf with it then ran back out because I didn’t want to ruin it. I check the phone which luckily is still functioning. After putting on my shoes as well as collecting Grady, I walk us back home. Mitch was bleeding and Grady got flailed. I am crying but I want to try to help the roo. I call our vet and ask for the number to WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue Education Services). I rang the number given. It took a little while to answer. Megan was great asking me to slow down. I was really in a state. I explained that there was a roo who had been attacked by my dogs. She took my number. I got the dogs home rinsed them off to try to figure out how badly they were injured. I called the vet and then Megan called me back. She asked how I was and that she was getting some one to come out to look. I then got another call which was from one of the rescuers. I asked if I could come and help him find the roo. I wanted to see the outcome. We decided to meet at the Caravan Park. Another lady pulled up and said she was with WIRES. I explained the situation. She asked me to get in her car and we met Brian up near Darkum Headland Road.

When we finally got to the beach where I had left the injured roo, we found him up on the beach but he was dead. Brian explained to me that they may be huge animals but they have tiny hearts. We imagined he died from the shock. We saw the puncture wounds from Grady but it didn’t look fatal. Chris drove me home and I took the dogs to the vet.

Mitch needed stitches for the puncture wound he received. Grady, on the other hand, had to be sedated because they had to remove the skin that was hanging off of him. They kept Grady over night at the vets. Mitch was very stiff toward the end of the night. This morning Mitch is getting around pretty well. I have just picked up Grady from the vet.

I have learned quite a few lessons in less than 48 hours. I will need to keep an extra lead with me so that I can intervene more efficiently when it comes to my dogs. I don’t think I will let my dogs off lead very much now but if I do, Grady will be muzzled. I don’t like seeing that side of him.

My vet said something yesterday to me and looking back now I know he was right. He is only an animal doing what he instinctively wants to do. Yesterday, I was ready to put Grady down. Today I am glad he’s still alive. I am not sure if he knows how lucky he was because in all rights he should have been dead because roos will try to drown their attackers. The vet nurse revealed that fact to me today.

I want to be a responsible pet owner. Dogs are an introduced species to Australia for the most part. I am also hoping to become a WIRES volunteer.   We only have one planet and we need to protect it.

Grady the kangaroo terrorist

Grady the kangaroo terrorist

Grady's right side

Grady’s right side

Mitch got off pretty lightly

Mitch got off pretty lightly

Both of my dogs were very blessed not to be killed. I feel bad about the kangaroo. He was just wanting to survive. I will try to be more responsible about the way I do things with my dogs because I don’t want another repeat of what happened. I don’t like the idea of having kangaroo terrorists for pets. I know some may think kangaroos are pests but they lived here first.

We are stewards of our planet. I need to do my part. I am blessed to still have my two roo terrorists and my own life.

 

Which possum do you prefer? North American or Aussie?


The only marsupial in North America is the Virginia opossum. When I was a child I thought they were ugly. Australia’s native animals majority are marsupials. When I moved to Australia, I lived in an inner western Sydney suburb called Homebush. I was quite surprised to see something scurrying across the powerlines. I thought they were so cute. I couldn’t ask Adam what they were but I ended up asking Sr. Margaret one night when she dropped me off after choir practice what the creature was. She told me a ring tail possum.

Both of these extraordinary creatures are wonderful but I know which one I prefer. Which do you like? If you can’t decide that’s fine too. I am just curious what you think!

Oh and shout out and thanks to Shauny G for the help getting my WordPress to work the way I wanted!!! Absolutely brillant mate!!! TA!

Birds of America Versus the Australian Birds


The majority of my life has been in the United States. When I moved to start my life in Australia with my dream man, I never expected to end up recognizing the bird life of my new country more than the country of my birth. Many Americans who read this will probably not like what I am about to say but to me, the birds in the country of my birth are rather bland. There are some beauties there but when I think about the diversity that is in Australia, I am blown away.

I guess maybe I took the birds for granted back in Louisiana. Both countries have pelicans and robins. There are no cardinals in Australia. There is a diversity of parrots in Australia as well. Both countries have egrets as well as cowbirds. I think within the time that I have lived in Australia, I can tell you just by the call what bird it is or it’s appearance. I recall right before I left Louisiana I would wake up early in the morning trying to relish the birds. I spend less time outside in Australia then I did when I was growing up but I can still identify birds whether it is by call or sight more than I could in Louisiana.

There are two birds that are in the same family but are different in Australia. I love both of their calls. They are called Bell-Magpies. One is the Currawong and the other I am referring to is the Australian Magpie. They each have a distinctive call. The difference between a currawong and an Australian magpie is that the magpie has a crown of white on the back of its neck. The magpie also has a beautiful melodious call. The smaller picture on the left is of a magpie and the one on the right is a currawong. I am sure you could also google the calls to hear if you are so inclined.

118px-Magpie_samcem05 curracrop

In the ten years that I have lived in Australia, I know I can identify at least 10 birds native to this country. I don’t think I can do that for birds in Louisiana. I sit and try but I am sure that I am not exaggerating. There are kookaburras, magpies, currawongs, willy wag tails, crows, rainbow lorikeets, whip birds, butcherbirds, honey eaters, and rosellas. I did that easily without hesitation with in 30 seconds. I will now try to do the same for American birds. I can remember robins, sparrows, crows, red-headed woodpeckers, pigeons, and cardinals. This took me a fair bit longer. I know this sounds biased and perhaps it is but I am just being truthful with myself.

There are birds that aren’t so lovely to look at like the white Ibis. The first time I saw one of them I was thinking to myself: YUCK! It reminded me of a bird you would imagine in Alice In Wonderland. I imagine them being used for croquet.  I had been a bit freaked out but they aren’t so bad just not one of the prettiest bird in my personal opinion.

I do miss some birds from growing up. I miss hearing the tapping of the woodpecker. The sad fact is I just can’t recall much from then because I hear birds in Australia most of the day where as in Louisiana, I pretty much heard them mostly at dawn and dusk.

I am only scratching the surface of the birds in Australia. The parrots here are various. I never really saw black cockatoos until I moved to the Coffs Coast. I had seen some on Sutton Road close to Queanbeyan in April 2004. I think the black cockatoos like to be where there is rain which explains why they are around the Coffs Coast because it rains quite a lot here. Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are pretty abundant as well as Galahs.

I’m thankful that I get to be around such a wonderful area with such an abundance of birds. I will be sharing something soon about possums but for now I will stop with the birds.