I’m moving on, with a “newer” model…wait maybe not.

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You were really good to me when we first met.  You were shiny and new and you produced really consistent images.  I could always rely on you when I was under pressure.

Sadly, you’ve gotten a bit lazy.  You no longer let me take you out and shoot easily.  One of your buttons gave out 2 years ago, and I’ve been working around that hoping you’d magically come right again.

A few weeks ago you became even more hesitant to help me out…another of your features suddenly gave out.  I know I rely on you heavily, and we’ve worked together for nearly 8 years, but it’s time to give you a little break.  I promise I’ll still take you out from time to time.

Unfortunately, my new gear is giving me slight problems… I’ve readjusted a few settings and I’ll try again first thing tomorrow morning.  Below is what I’ve captured on your replacement.  I’ve read a few reviews and it’s looking like this model is actually quite a bit of a dud.  The images are just not sharp.  Probably going to have to return it…. Dang!!!  Canon 7D.

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I know these looks sharp as 4×6 size images, however when blown up there is little to no detail, and it makes me sad.

Have you found this happen with a product you’ve bought?  I’ll be going back tomorrow to select another model… Probably the Mark III, which is going to leave me for broke!

Locals protect Western Australia from Fracking Industry

The town of Eneabba consists of one convenience store, one auto body shop, an elementary school, one tavern and one petrol station.

It is a dry, sandy, vast, empty, desolate landscape.

Total population? 286.

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I will admit freely, that on first glance there was not much to be enthusiastic about Eneabba.

When my partner and I moved to the area we had to convince ourselves that we’d made the right decision. Mike and I discussed this as I watched the rolling horizon sprawl for miles from the passenger seat in our pathetically small car.  I had been warned, but had no idea how people survived let alone farmed in the brutal conditions on this land.  We were only meant to stay for three months. I just needed my second working holiday visa (which in Australia means you need to work in a remote area to extend your visa for a second year).  I was going to check in, do my hard time and then leave. I couldn’t wait to make my exit, and we’d only just arrived.

Through blood, flies, sweat, love, fire, and tears; we lived, worked and relaxed alongside the locals in this isolated town for two years.

Over time, I became enchanted with the place.

The community in Eneabba welcomed us with open arms.  The landscape slowly revealed it’s many natural wonders.

When I wasn’t chasing sheep, or rounding up cattle I was crouched in the bush with my boss observing the exuberant displays of colour exploding through the spiked, brutal bushes from May to December.  She was passionate and quickly showed me the endless variety of wildflowers on her property.

And honestly? It was astounding. The drab lifeless bush that I had initially scanned and discarded was in fact teeming with thousands of varieties of wildflowers.

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Among biologists, this region is regarded as one of the main biodiversity hotspots in Australia (and also world wide). There are over 12,000-recorded species of wildflowers in Western Australia. In fact this region is so highly regarded in it’s diversity that the likes of Sir David Attenborough have been here to study it’s wonders. As a relative comparison the British Isles have 3842 types of plants on record.

While the native flora and fauna have adapted to the harsh, dry conditions; mankind and our counterparts have not. The region’s water is supplied by tapping into subterranean aquifers. This (apart from rain water – which can be sparse) is the only source of water in the region. The locals rely heavily on the bore water to survive and sustain their livelihood (farming cattle and sheep as well as cropping).

This place is special. It’s also worth saving.

The land in this region is currently being pursued relentlessly by the gas industry.

The locals have previously protected the land from coal mining, and have come together again to help protect the countryside from gas mining.  Coorow Shire (where Mike and I spent a season seeding just before we moved to Perth) has just recently called for a moratorium, and it’s very hopeful to know that many other local shires will indeed follow suit.

Right now people are fighting to protect this shared water source from pollution, and prevent future generations disparity over poor choices in our lifetime.

Eneabba is one of those towns.  In fact there are many small communities that are fighting against this terrible industry worldwide.

Australia, United State, Canada and many other countries are all entangled in this mess… If we all speak up and act, it will discourage this damaging, unregulated, dangerous industry from taking hold in small communities and steer us to embrace energy sources that are indeed sustainable.

Please share this blog if you are concerned for future generations right to safe water.

You can also retweet if you follow @Redterrain on Twitter.

© 2014 Redterrain

Eneabba, lets run away together.

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 I’ll sort out my own breakfast though mr. spider…  thanks for offering!

Eneabba always offers up some excellent moments for photography.  Be it birds, wildflowers, the livestock or insects (hey even the people!) there is always something to admire and capture.

This weekend Mike and I spent a few days with Brian and Tessa while they sheared.  Mike definitely did more work than I, as I traipsed around the bush with Tessie (I felt so guilty!).  However, I did manage to make myself useful and cook some dinner and lunch… I hope that made up for my wandering.

It was a really nice getaway.

We brought a very nervous doggie back to the city with us for the week (whom was immediately chucked into the shower with me for a wash…).  With a belly full of dinner, she is now passed out on the bedroom floor.

I’ve heard some news that Coorow shire (where we seeded last year) has called for a moratorium on fracking (HURRAAAAY!) for their area, and I’ll be writing a bit more about that shortly.  We’re hoping that the Carnamah shire follows suit soon.

 

Have you seen Zeitgeist?

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I feel like shouting at the top of my little lungs.

Last night Mike and I watched a documentary “Zeitgeist” which had been recommended to us by a few people over the last few years.

I went to bed angered. Mike went to bed frustrated.
We both contemplated society.

Have you seen this film? How did you feel after you finished watching it?

Needy, clingy me.

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Recently, I’ve been a bit clingy.  Correction, I’ve been an absolute nightmare (I’ve morphed into one of those creatures in your dreams that are after you but no matter how much you try to run and hide, and they are just always there…merciless!).  I’ve got some sense in me to know that it’s becoming a bit of an issue. But for some reason, I’ve been really just wanting to spend every moment with Mike, and get sad when he’s away…and at the same time I can get quite grumpy when we’ve spent too much time together.  How’s a guy to cope with that?  I don’t quite understand it myself…

But it’s me…and so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it.

I’m thinking my mysterious illness is bringing me down and I really just want to feel comfort all the time.

Like constantly.

Mike has been a darling through the tears, the grumpy faces, and all incessant whining for cuddles.

A pure man of gentle compassion..

That is until we get to the grocery store and we happen to venture down the multivitamin section.  He spots a bottle and proclaims “that’s just what we need!”.  Mike then grabs multiple bottles and starts to throw them at me and into his basket…

“Mood relief Vitamins”.   I bought some vitamin b just to see what will happen.

The photos above were taken yesterday, even though I was doing what I loved (walking and taking photos)…I still had a heavy fog of misery hanging about my thoughts.  I’m hoping some vitamins and perhaps some positive thinking will clear out the fog.

What a week…

Tuesday a long time friend (my lovely, beautiful, Australian Emily) was due to stay with us for several days throughout mid week.  I began the day of her arrival with a headache.  Things quickly took a dive and became a living nightmare.  If I could explain the feeling…

“Someone’s punched the back of my eyeballs, the retinas burn in lights, and on top of that a splitting pain sharp and erratic from the base of my skull to the crown of my head”.

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Here I am laying in bed in my misery…hahah. 

I sat through a meeting with my eyes closed periodically for half of it…and had to keep taking deep breaths throughout the day to prevent myself from vomiting (hindsight: should not have gone to work).

I was at work for half a day before I succumbed and took my leave to head home and hide from daylight.  I’m on medicine to cure (hopefully) my lovely friend “mr stomach ulcer”.  He’s back again this year…  I’m not pleased, because this medicine causes these headaches…which can be quite severe and have sent me to the hospital previously.

Grrrr….

Anyway, it was hard my first day with Emily as I was very ill well into the evening.  Things improved the next day, thankfully thought I still was feeling a degree of pain.

I’m sooo so so so pleased we got to spend some time with my dear friend.  While I was working for the rest of her visit Mike made sure she got to see local sights. Our last night we played the latest game of Mortal Kombat for a few hours (I think?) and couldn’t stop laughing.  You can play headless or armless…which makes for a comical battle!

Well, I was bummed to see her leave on Friday morning.  We’ve planned to fly over to Melbourne to see her very soon!

The one thing that has lingered on since Tuesday, is this crappy headache.  I’ve woken up to day 5 of dull achy head pain.  I want to shake my fist at the happy brain gods and force them to give my my happy brain back!

It’s such a shame that medicine that’s meant to make you well, has side effects that can certainly make you feel worse than when you started…

Even though I’ve got a bit of a bad head, it’s raining buckets out today (Saturday), and I’ve decided to change things up and get creative by… baking!

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I’ve just improvised with some ingredients, and made what I’m hoping has turned out to be a slightly exotic apple crumble… with coconut, almonds, brown sugar, dried fruits (apricot, currants, raisins) and coriander (in place of cinnamon as my lover does detest that spice!)  It’s a nice comfort to sense the butter and sugar and spice baking warm as it disperses the beautiful smell throughout the house!

Lastly, I thought I’d ad another dish that I made recently (I ate it at a cafe and loved it!)… ground chicken, coriander, crisp peanuts, carrot, leafy lettuce, red cabbage, avocado, sesame oil and lime with balsamic dressing.Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 3.24.50 PM

It’s not every day you get saved by a monk…

Today Mike, his cousin Matt and I went for a drive into the hills to see what flowers and…mushrooms we could find.  We found loads of flowers and common mushrooms… Only one of us wasn’t happy with the lack of mushrooms on the forest floor.  In one last ditched effort we found a dirt track and took the step path downward toward a more shaded spot in the woods…

Sadly this resulted in getting our vehicle stuck (it’s a 4×4) so it should have handled the steepness but didn’t.  1.5 hours later…

I was flipping rocks as was Matt (to wedge under our tires) when Matt found this monster of a wolf spider.

A single man, dressed in an orange outfit came walking up and asked if we needed help.  We knew he was a monk, as we’d driven past a monastery near the dirt track.  (Note there is also a prison farm in the area!).

He said he could get a tractor and help get us out.  And by golly he did!

There were a few orchids out today, and some daintier flower varieties as well.  I was glad to join the “search” though my reasons were not for spotting mushrooms, however I did use them as an excuse to stop the car a few times ahahaha….

Aphids and Ants, working together…

Lately, I’ve been watching loads of David Attenborough programs with Mike.  The most recent being a series on “the undergrowth” which featured stunning videography of insects.  If I had not watched the programs, I’d never have noticed this…

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Pulling the camera back a bit reveals this is a flower bud completely consumed by aphids and ants.Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 5.44.19 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 5.44.10 PMWhats interesting; is the ants are protecting the aphids…and drinking the nectar the little rose eaters are pooping.

It’s inter-species collaboration… right in our very own back yard!

Frederick.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 10.56.20 AMWhen we came home from our trip last weekend, we noticed two fish were missing.  We moved everything in the tank but couldn’t find any hint of them.  Big Bertha and her boyfriend (also a large male) were no where to be found.  After about 20 minutes Mike noticed….Frederick was eating the male.  He ate them, bones and all!!!

He’s also been eating our plants, and has doubled in size since we got him about a month ago.  He’s a speedy monster.  Sometimes we’ll be watching him, and turn away and look back and he’s moved across the entire tank.

He may legitimately be the fastest snail on the planet.  Our other snail Rayden, moves at a normal pace and is sometimes bullied by Frederick.

 

Karri Karri & Tingle Forests

We’ve just returned from a romantic, nature filled getaway.  Mike surprised me this past weekend with a getaway in Karri Valley.  The space is breathtaking… Emu and kangaroo greet you in an open field just as you enter the estate.  Further up the road the left opens to reveal a rather massive lake (full of rainbow trout!).  If you stay in a suite, you can even fish from your balcony…

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I could have just posted entirely about the fungi that covered the woods…there must have been about 15+ species that we encountered on one hike alone.  Some of the species were small and dainty while others were absolutely enormous.Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.08.06 PM  Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.07.43 PM  Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.07.27 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.07.20 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.07.10 PM

We checked in, and Mike informed me he also made dinner reservations.  There was a fantastic meal of kangaroo steak (Mikes choice) with roasted vegetables, and duck confit on a citrus salad (my choice) for us that evening.  Our cabin was three bedrooms (excessive but the only one available as there was a wedding booked in for the weekend), and came complete with a kitchen, large deck, washing machine, living room and working wooden fireplace.  I could go on and on about the tranquility and the soft drizzle of rain on the rooftop…the crackling fire, and the peace we found in this space.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.06.52 PMThe cabins were so far apart you hardly noticed there were any other visitors in the area.  No radio, no phone, no tv, no internet.  We talked, drank wine, napped…and did plenty of hiking.  Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.06.39 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.08.44 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.08.51 PMFear of heights: first non attempt.  I pretended to climb the tree in the photo above, only to watch Mike in a total panic from the base of the tree.  It was pouring down rain, and he did it anyway.  This tree is probably about 13 stories high, it is also over 400 years old.  Fire fighters used to climb to the top and scout the region and telephone with coordinates.  One of the requirements for being one of the volunteers to climb these trees was…being sober.  The image below it, is what Mike saw from the top.Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.09.22 PMMikes second attempt to get me to face my fears, was in the Tingle forests 1.5 hours from the Karri Karri woods…I basically ran through this tree top walk…the swaying feeling, and the wind put me off.  Here you can see Mike eating my dust!Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.06.15 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.06.07 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.05.58 PMThis region is spectacular, and for those who do manage to venture that far south…it certainly is hard to return back to the city after absorbing the natural beauty of the majestic Karri Karri and Tingle forests.

Alt-J – Hunger of The Pine 

This song played for us on the way home…it sounds quite special.