Category Archives: Around home

Frog story


At the moment I am enjoying listening to and recording frogs – the last two places I have stayed at in Sydney have frog ponds and the Australian Museum have a FrogID app that I can record them with.

I have recorded Striped Marsh frogs both in Sydney and in Maitland where I live. They are not an endangered frog but they are very interesting. After the last big lot of rain the main frog in the pond out the back called in every frog in the neighbourhood I think – there were heaps of frogs and a lot of noise. Not long after that there were egg rafts everywhere in the pond and a few days after that tons of tiny tadpoles. I felt like a kid again and was so happy to see them all.

There is another frog out the front of the house in a drain – it is quite a nice drain but sadly he hasn’t enticed any females into it which I think is a bit sad. These frogs can live for 8 years so that would be a lot of calling for a mate with nothing happening. I have seen a few cats around out the front and I’m wondering if that’s why there aren’t many frogs there. At my sisters I caught her cat with their frog (they only have one frog, also a striped marsh frog) in its mouth – luckily the cat dropped it and the frog survived.

I think the frog out the front needs to weigh up his options and find somewhere else, probably somewhere out the back or in the pond with the other two frogs. I’m keeping my eye on him.


Image of the Striped Marsh Frog by the Australian Museum



Merry Christmas from Dexter the leaping lemur that masquerades as a fox terrier.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ready, Set, Done!.”

Welcome to my menagerie. In 1953, British naturalist Gerald Durrell wrote the book The Overloaded Ark. This is what my bedroom has become I feel. I currently have four dogs on my bed, a cat on the floor and two guinea pigs in their cages.

Presently everybody is resting but the minute there is a noise outside or someone turns up at the front door – all hell breaks loose. Two of the dogs I am minding for a few days. My daughter has totally indulged her fox terrier Dexter and he is at me all the time. Presently he is on me trying to help me type. I’m not sure about his editing style though.

Dexter has legs like a spring board and bounds around at the door or me like he’s on a pogo stick. He is the only one (apart from the cat) that can reach the cat bowl – so that goes over regularly. Then it’s a free for all. I’m sure the others put him up to it also as they’ve got dwarf legs and don’t have a hope of reaching the bowl (why I put it there). He insists on being petted over the other dogs and petted continuously – he is the youngest and he believes this is his right. He is a lovely natured dog despite being so demanding and annoying.

So two of the hounds are off back home today and the cat is looking forward to some more bed space and not having his bowl and contents spilled all over the floor. My two are looking forward to having first dibs again on the guinea pig poo that Chocko kicks out of his cage.

I’m looking forward to a rest and some peace and quiet.

Violet haze

backyard jacarandaJacaranda

Backyard Jacaranda and surrounding Jacarandas                  Front yard Jacaranda

The Jacarandas are out in full force in our suburb at the moment. My back yard tree is loved by all the birds that sit in it and sing or squabble – honeyeaters, wattlebirds, parrots, doves, willy wagtails, peewees and magpies. Peewees built a nest in it last year but we had high winds and it was blown out. I also have tree orchards and “air plant” on this tree.

The front yard Jacaranda is only half the tree it used to be as council cuts them in half because of power lines. At the moment it houses about 10 magpies that love to sing and at twilight you can hear them calling. So far we haven’t been bombed by them so I’m hoping that they are used to us. My neighbour over the road has the peewee nest in her Jacaranda this year but I have the magpies.

"Air plant" in flower growing on Jacaranda.
“Air plant” growing on Jacaranda.

This is a piece of Spanish moss growing on the Jacaranda in our backyard. It is also called an “Air plant” and it is epiphytic, drawing it’s nutrients and water from the air and rainfall.


"Spanish moss" in flower on Jacaranda.
Spanish moss  in flower on Jacaranda.

I was at our local show one year and came across a fellow known as the Bromeliad Man. He is from out of town and he propagates and sells bromeliads. I was talking to him and asking him about the various bromeliads he had on display and I spotted the Spanish moss. I told him that I had some of that at home and that it was such a weird plant – I thought it was moss like in the fact that it doesn’t have any roots. He said that it is a bromeliad – now I was confused. He said it flowers and they are small and green. Since then I looked out for when my bromeliad flowers and here are photographs of two tiny green flowers. The Bromeliad Man also told me the bromeliads in South America are worth seeing. That would be a great experience.

First gardenia

IMG_2428-4   IMG_2429

I was mowing out the front on the weekend and I noticed that the gardenia bushes were in bud.  It made me feel happy that the gardenias would soon be in bloom. Today coming up the path I noticed one had flowered. They smell so delightful and freshen up the house when I put little vases of them around the place. I like to give them to my friends also. I put them in the common room where I used to work for people to take and it was never long before they were all gone. I love my native grevilleas, tree orchids and camellias out the back, and of course the jacarandas when they are in flower, but the gardenias have a special place in our home.

They are actually known as a funeral flower and for thousands of years,  scented flowers and herbs were placed with the dead. They are still used today in floral tributes  at funerals but not so much for the heavy scent. Apparently they are in the coffee family which I didn’t realise until I looked up different species. Interesting as the camellia are in the tea family. Coffee out the front and tea out the back. I don’t think I’ll be brewing them though.

Slinky the cat likes to lay under the bush near the porch – it is a cool spot out of the hot sun. I think he might enjoy the flowers also.  Who knows  whether a cat senses  smells the way we do. I’m fairly certain the dogs don’t, or the pigs for that matter!

Next post I will try to capture pics of the jacarandas using the camera, not the phone. I tried to upload pics to WP on the phone and it kept timing out. I have two trees but there are many around our suburb and they look delightful. I will also put in a surprise pic – I was quite excited to see this for the first time out the back. I haven’t actually taken the pic yet, but I’m hoping it will still be there.


Top cat

Back Camera Back Camera

This is Slinky who is top cat in the menagerie, in his favourite pose – asleep.

When he’s not sleeping or eating – he talks.  He talks a lot and he tells me all sorts of things. He is a very good ratter and mouser. He likes to supplement his diet even though he’s over 8 kg. Half the neighbourhood feeds him as well. He had a ‘please don’t feed me’ tag on his collar but he got it off.

He is also a special kitty. When he was still a kitten he woke me up in the middle of the night as the fish tank pump had caught alight. We didn’t have a pet door at that stage so his quick thinking was to wake me up – Mum I want to get out of here! He is a very happy cat and has a very loud purr. He is well groomed and has a very shiny black coat. When the dogs were pups they watched Slinky wash himself so now everyone washes themselves. Slinky is like a heater when he’s on the bed in the winter but he also snores!


Pig Power 3

Chock 1

                            Chocko – pig about town. This is Chocko’s GPP campaign poster shot.

Here he is sorting clothes for the poor. Chocko has a big heart for a guinea pig.


                                                                             Spot and Buddy

These are Chocko’s GPP campaign supporters, Spot and Buddy. They know that Chocko has the leadership qualities that we expect from an MP.  Chocko is intelligent, honest, just and he eats his veges.


Pig Power 2

Cocoa 2 Cocoa 3

This is Cocoa, Chocko’s campaign manager and political adviser (and sister). She is really the brains behind the party (Guinea Pig Party), she co-ordinates the party’s activities and writes policy even though she is on lower celery (she prefers carrots). It would not be surprising if eventually Cocoa gives Chocko a run for his money if she ever decides to seek office as an independent.

Chocko and Cocoa will be hitting the campaign trail with party helpers to rally support for the GPP. A number of squeaking events have been organised around the district and Chocko is looking forward to meeting the voting public.

Pig power

This is Chocko on his soap box. He is running for federal politics. His logo is Pig Power and his platform is more carrots, more celery, more dandelions, a bit less spinach and no baths. He knows it’s a grubby business but he likes to get his paws dirty and there will be no GP (guinea pig) tax.

Addit: Sadly Chocko is no more. We had a very bad storm that frightened him to death. Both the pigs were in the laundry but he was in the open cage and Cocoa was in the hutch. Cocoa was fine but it was too much for with all the noise and the lightening. I was in Sydney at the time and was very upset. My son put him in the fridge until I could bury him so he spent a few days wrapped up in the crisper with his favourite vegetables. He is buried out the front near the gardenias.

Where did they go?

I was out walking the poopers and discovered that a neighbour from across the road had moved. I sometimes would chat to her if she was out the front. We’d talk about the petunias along the front path or chat about the dogs. I should have realised something was going on. I had walked past and noticed one time that instead of soil along the front path there was wood chip. I hadn’t seen this before as normally there is soil or planted petunias. I always looked forward to the petunias going in, they were so bright and cheerful. The wood chip just made me feel sad. I don’t know what her name was although I gave her a bag of lemons once. I feel that she and those petunias did a lot for our street. There was her big chair on the front verandah and on the other side was her husband’s chair. I don’t ever remember seeing him sitting in his chair. There was also a buddha statue on one side and a gargoyle statue on the other. The gargoyle did give me the creeps. Now when we walk past all there is is a for lease sign for unit 1, wood chip and a mark on the concrete where the buddha sat and a mark where the gargoyle sat.

Had I have realised I would have said goodbye. Then I wondered where they went. Maybe to a retirement village. Maybe they moved closer to family. Oh well, maybe one of my other neighbours knows. It’s true – you don’t know what you’ve lost until its gone. gargoyleI wish her well. I will miss her. I miss the petunias. I even miss the gargoyle.


PS I spoke to other neighbours and they said that family came and packed the couple up in their cars along with all their belongings and they were gone. Where to we don’t know.

Mush puppies


This is a pic of my dogs Spot and Buddy – Jack Russell x Mini Foxie – they’re brothers and lovely little dogs. Bud is the brown and white one. My friend thought they might be on the Iditarod team – I said yes, in training for 2015. We love going for walkies every afternoon. It’s my daily exercise and they love any opportunity to bark at the chocolate labs on the corner.


PPS The chocolate labs have moved. The dogs had all become friends 💕 and now we miss them.

PS I made some adjustments and didn’t realise how blurry the pic is but you can see the poopers. I was trying to hold them and the phone at the same time.