Campfire, community gathering.

Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.54 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.03 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.10 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.19 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.26 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.34 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.45 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.53 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.04 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.18 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.38 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.35.35 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.38.59 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.39.22 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.39.51 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.39.59 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.12 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.39 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.48 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.02 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.19 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.27 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.36 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.45 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.25 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.18 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.38.34 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.28 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.40 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.08 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.24 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.30.50 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.30.57 amThis past week we had so many sweet little moments savour.  We’d planned a community gathering at the house to enjoy a bonfire and marshmallow roasting.  20 people came out (including kids) and enjoyed a roaring fire (on a cool windy day).  There was a bit of a spread of food too – there were cookies, pastries and savoury quiche to have too.

The kids had so much fun chasing each other and enjoying little “Spud” a mix terrier that was brought along to enjoy his first outing.  They also enjoyed some mammoth sized marshmallows.  They were literally about 4 inches long!

Mike and Wesley and I did a drive to the coast about 20 mins away and found this Arrowsmith Spider Orchid, enjoyed a delicious lunch at the beach and then travelled onward to Lake Indoon on a dirt track.   It was on this path that we came across over 200 endangered, Carnaby Cockatoo who were munching away on the bushes quite happily.

As I hopped out of the ute to take a photo, they took flight and oh my god – it was breathtaking.

There are orchids all over the place and each time I get the chance I pull over to see what’s about.

We’ve been also checking a site nearby for the Queen of Sheba orchid – and think we may have found the spot.  Fingers crossed it opens soon!

Lastly, Wesley had a little friend sleep over this week and they were having a blast together.  They had cots in the same room and fell asleep talking to each other.  They also bust into hysterics when I took them for a drive up our bumpy, sloppy, muddy road.  Since his mates gone back home, Wesley has woken each day saying “Reuben, where are you?” and searches the house for him.  It’s sad, that he misses him that much!  We’ll have to do it again – they were so good together.

Also pictured:

  • This month’s waxing crescent moon (it rises this way each month, this is the first time I’ve been alert enough to grab my tripod and brave the cooler temperature to get the shot).
  • A tribonanthes flower (with the native bee pictured) is so fluffy it could be a teddy!
  • Wesley enamoured with the tiny puppy
  • Two little monkeys jumping in the spare bed
  • Catspaws between my toes
  • A tiny black mushroom sprouting from the sand.
  • Arrowsmith Spider Orchid (opened and closed)
  • Some sort of nymph bug – red and strange looking with large antennae.

Today I killed an emu. It was horrible.

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 3.40.14 pmScreen Shot 2017-09-09 at 3.40.37 pmWesley and I were on our way home from Jurien Bay and were halfway home (it’s a 45 min drive) when suddenly in the blink of an eye a teenage sized/aged emu dashed out in front of the car.  It was only maybe 10 feet ahead when it chose to that exact moment to run across.  I didn’t have enough time to stop before we collided.

This is the only thing I’ve ever hit with a car.  On the way this morning I’d stopped to pull a dead kangaroo off the road and slow down for about 3 separate bobtails as they scuttled across the road.  I was one of those people saving the little creatures or giving them a more dignified resting place (sparing other drivers having to swerve as well).

They say when a moment impacts you emotionally it can slow down and time can feel as though it has come to a stand still – though science explains this is just you reliving the moment.  Today it’s fresh and it only felt like a flash of time maybe 2 seconds – but if I recall this moment and the 25 minutes after I hit the emu in a year or so it might seem like every millisecond can be accounted for.

What plays over the next 25 mins will stay with me for the rest of my days.

I was driving 10km below the speed limit which significantly spared our car from any damage.  We were very lucky.   The bird was not.  It had hit the ground severely and as I cut the engine and pulled over to the side of the road I could see it was sadly still alive and very badly injured.

It was very stressed, breathing heavily and every so often it would thrash and kick it’s legs.  I opened the car door so Wesley could have fresh air as I decided what I was going to do about the dying bird.  I knew I couldn’t leave it in this state.

It would be a long slow death on the hot pavement.  The underside of it’s torso was torn open showing it’s yellow fat and red flesh both exposed through the feathers by the impact of the pavement.  It made me sick to my stomach.

Sadly it also couldn’t walk, but it was trying so hard to get up.  I couldn’t get close but it was going to cause an accident if it stayed where it was.  I called Mike to see what I should do, but no answer.  Then I rang Tessa and she suggested the ranger.

At this point a number of cars had slowed down, and a couple of them had stopped to see if we were ok and took a look at the car and watch the bird closely.  One younger guy was really kind and stayed with me the whole time as we tried to track someone to help the bird.

Eventually a police car rolled up and then two officers came out to see what they could do.

For anyone who deeply loves animals like I do perhaps this is a really good time to exit this story.

The male officer asked if there were any babies, and I said no.  At this point he whipped out his baton and extended it.  I realised he was going to try and stun or kill it with the weapon.  I looked away and said to myself “Jesus christ!” as I heard the dull thud of the two crashing together.  I thought it was all over when I turned to see the officer dragging the bird from the road into the gravel and then bush.

Making sure Wesley was still comfortable I was partly distracted when the sound and shock of three gunshots went off.

There was silence, and then the cars all left.

I got in the drivers seat and sobbed for the dead bird.  I felt just awful.  I know there was nothing I could have done to prevent it from happening and yet I was also relieved that Wesley and I were ok.  If we had come or gone any sooner or later this might not have happened.

Emu’s are beautiful and yet oddly stretched out and quite terrifyingly dangerous if you ever manage to see one up close.  They are not known for their intelligence, and I just wish it had seen the car approach and decided to wait just a second longer.

Have you ever hurt or injured a large animal in your car?  How did it go?  

Obviously I did not take photos – but as I often post pleasing colourful images – I thought I’d include these donkey orchids from a few days ago to sort of soften the horror of what’s happened today.

Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia

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This is the stunning entrance to the Mount Trio campsite. Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.38.29 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.38.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.36.23 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.38.49 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.40.10 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.42.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.44.47 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.49.47 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.53.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.54.37 PM

We’ve just returned from our camping trip in the Stirling Ranges here in Western Australia.  We packed our tent, sleeping bags and plenty of hearty carb loaded fuel food – pancakes, hamburgers, sausages, scrambled eggs, fresh fruits…and drove the 4 hours South toward the rugged, and colourful landscape.

Mount Trio is a camp site that is situated right in the heart of the Stirling Ranges and is managed by a lovely couple named John and Margot.

Our first evening was spent around a campfire getting to know our fellow campers.  All 65+ years old whom were from the Eastern States here either for hiking or the wildflowers.  They came in two distinct groups that did not mingle with one another. We got along very well with the hiking crew, chatting for many hours and turning ourselves from front to back to warm our extremities from the 3 degree weather.  It was like the Church Group vs The Hipster Green’s Group.  

We chose the original hipsters.

The first night I froze… I basically did not sleep, and woke Mike with my groaning and commiserating commentary.  Thankfully we were able to sort ourselves out for the rest of the trip and I slept snug as a bug.  I say with regret that I am a stubborn fool, and had previously refused to bring an extra blanket on account it would make for too much more “stuff”.

We ended up buying another blanket.

We woke each morning first to the sounds of magpies, then kookaburras and dozens of other lovely sing song noises.

There are plenty of native orchids in full bloom at the moment and so to make the most of our time we paid to join a wild flower tour on our second day – which was well worth it as John pointed out around 15 species nearby.

After our wildflower tour, Mike and I did some driving in the park and scouted for any signs of unusual flowers.  We found a few and then decided to hike 1.3km straight up hill on a marked trail, without any water.  It was gruelling and although it does not sound that far, it was literally vertical the entire hike.  Our knees were flaming by the end but the view was well worth the strained muscles.  Not only was the view spectacular… there were some interesting sights along the way.  Mike spotted some lizards up on the mountain top, we passed a cave, and there were several orchids growing along the trail.  What really captured my attention was the prolific number of birds we saw and heard.  They were loving wildflower season too.

Not pictured but sighted:

  • Endangered Carnaby Cockatoo
  • Echidna
  • Bobtail
  • Kangaroo
  • Emu
  • Bandicoot
  • Red Capped Parrots
  • Kookaburras
  • The largest dugite snake known to man

I’ll write some more about the next bit of the trip tomorrow.

Stay tuned!

Holly (and Mike)