31 December 2012


A postcard for my boss.

I am making an engagement postcard for my cousin and a birthday postcard for my niece in the next week.

27 December 2012


There was a Cyclochila australasiae or Green Grocer cicada crashed in my yard a few weeks ago. I let him have a walk on me. I did squeal when he started crawling on my neck.

Cicadas have large compound eyes situated one on each side of the head. They also have three very small glistening simple eyes (ocelli) on the top of the head. The ocelli look quite metallic and amazing. I think they must be very aware of the eyes of predators as a result of having five eyes, because they often seem to stop singing when I gaze at trees where I can hear them.

He was confused and climbed the barbecue after the next photo, but seemed pretty happy when I put him on the trunk of a tree and headed straight up into the branches.

I love their sound and wrote a poem. Cicadas tend to be more vociferous when it is over 30 degrees.

Sing cicada sing
all the night through
seven years is a long time to sleep
I would be excited to see the sun too.

There is a grasshopper below. I caught this one inside and took it out. It was tiny but probably about a fifth of its full size. Later that day when I went running at Mt Ainslie they were hopping everywhere. I marvel at the waves of insect life that rise and fall in my area.

The butterflies seem to be winding down for the year after peaking last week in the heat before Christmas. I am not sure if they were common brown or monarch. The wasps hatched from their nest on my balcony. Dragonflies have just started appearing if you care to look.

I was only in Adelaide for a few days, but missed the sound of cicadas and crickets.

Pause here to observe hipsters

Christmas Eve and some wag had made a chalk adventure trail on the sidewalk around Braddon.

I only saw pieces of it, but this was a good laugh.

LSR were also amused.

02 December 2012


I saw a ladybug yesterday. It was the first day of summer. Today is the second day of summer. Tomorrow will be...you get the picture.

While crickets are keeping me company through the night, cicadas first started to appear around a week ago and now their sound is ubiquitous. I had no idea that they spend around seven years underground before emerging! ABC Science has an excellent article on cicadas.

Nothing compares to the first one I heard on 23 November. Standing under its tree I began to wonder if it was actually an alarm in the nearby building. So loud. Did I not notice them last year? It must have been ideal breeding conditions in 2005, that is why they seem abundant now. You definitely would have seen their dried shells about after moulting.

More newness on Lonsdale St. Last night it was the opening of The Elk and Pea. The current mania for horned decoration is surely distressing to Cervidae everywhere. Of course I was not cool enough for opening night, but I will try it soon.

This morning I did try Sweet Bones in the Lonsdale Street Traders. They have a no tattoos, no service policy, so the person who serves you will have tattoos. My cappuccino was mild and lovely on this Sunday. I had a good cupcake and look forward to trying some savoury food there. I love the garden out the back as there are succulents everywhere. See:

What Lonsdale Street really needs now is a gelataria. That would be perfect. As far as ice cream by the cone, the only place I rate in Civic is Gelatissimo, but it is in the Canberra Centre and closes early. Imagine being able to stroll for a superior gelato at nine in the evening.

Here are two butterflies making love in my yard.

Note the clubbed tips of the antennae.

28 November 2012


There should be photographs and visual feasting to satisfy you.

There is none.

I have been running in vibram five fingers lately. They look funny, but I bought them around three years ago without using them until now. It feels good to run in them. I thought everything would be sorer as a result, but no. Running up hills is definitely easier too. I suppose the whole style mellows and you have to watch for pointy things as it is only a thin membrane covering the foot, but no speed has been sacrificed yet.

I am loving riding everywhere and getting to the lake a few times a week. It is so quick to get to work on my bike. I am going to get a rack put on the back soon for shopping and things.

Today's storm was not quite as exciting as I had hoped for. Afternoon showers and very sporadic thunder. I was looking forward to playing my flute with the thunder. I did play flute for an hour anyway at sunset. Then I did some writing.

Events, rest assured, occured one after the other.

The proper order of things was maintained.


The earth
is old, old, old;
And young,
as only
tomorrow's dream can be.

If you want a song of hope,
come with me to evening
And I will wind
the promises of the day
onto the spool of infinity
in threads of gold.

At sunset,
setting sun
sets to quivering salute
every blade
in every glade
of green.

In the song of every wing
I taste the rain of the afternoon.

My eyes set the pillars of the temple to shaking.

The trees are the mast of evening and into the leaves I have breathed sails.

If you want to talk of beauty,
then I'm your man,
your partner
and your biggest fan.

19 November 2012

I dream of acorns

This is a poem I wrote Sunday 18 November 2012.

It is so easy to take things for granted. Like crickets. Thankfully one has moved closer to my door and now I hear it much better. They are not everywhere yet. The time is not upon us when the grassy greens of evening will be full of their sound. I found more crickets at work last week and I took them out to The Big Hole. I hope they are happy there.

A few other pieces of poetry I wrote in the last week:

I straighten the crooked tongue of suffering until it sings with delight.

The wild laughter of night enters through the open window and echoes in my empty room.

I declare there will be no end to my tears.
This is a solemn promise.

My Lord has written every song, He knows every lyric of my life.

17 November 2012

The Northern Lights

Should I care enough to travel and see the Aurora borealis?

It would have to be an amazing thing to meditate upon and Aurora Borealis
is my all time favourite episode of Northern Exposure.

I drew that quite a long time ago, before I learned to spell silhouette
and before I learned to draw with a realism that startles people.

Given I have not seen most of the episodes that make the clip, I am not really a proper fan.

I have watched a bit of Season 4, but firmly believe all the best stuff is in Seasons 1 to 3.

14 November 2012

New moon bagpipe cricket cactus poetry taoist madness

I am glad to say, but gladder to hear, there are many crickets in my yard now.

I was also lucky to hear, tonight at sunset, two young chaps practicing their bagpipes in the park next to my house. This was a decidely unquotidian happening, so I went out and sat on the closest bench to them. Well, the second closest, otherwise but a metre would have separated us. I was about 20 metres away and someone else wandered over with a cuppa to sit and enjoy it too.

It's true that badly played bagpipes evoke an unholy despair, but, my God, I love the sound of their tunes. It reminds me of smiting English skulls at Blàr Allt a' Bhonnaich.

I may make a Bagpipes Welcome sign and stick it to a tree.

Anyhow, I was reading the Tao Te Ching and meditating to crickets so I decided to write a poem.

One hand clapping etc. As I have masses of mat board around these days I wrote on that. I carved the cactus stamp a few weeks ago. That was a super simple one, just different size ovals, although the flowers and fruit were fiddly.

13 November 2012

Bits and pieces

Ugh. I have been sick for a couple of days and mostly off work. And my car is getting fixed so I can't drive anywhere.

Here is a bunch of postcards for nephews and nieces. Two of them are book covers. The Ladybird one is actually the total cover, empty. I wrote inside and sewed it up to be cut open when it was received.

The cricket returned to work! Well, it was probably a different one as I found a mostly dead one outside the door too. Definitely female, it has an ovipositor. No mistaking those Latin words.

On reflection I should have moved it further as there is certainly no dirt in the yard at work for burrowing. I thought the males built the burrows anyway - they serve as echo chambers for their chirping to attract females. I heard a very loud one for a little while at home tonight but it stopped quite quickly, so perhaps it found a mate. Now there are many softly chirping in the distance.

There is a solar eclipse tomorrow morning. It can be safely viewed in Canberra from Mount Stromlo for free. The Obervatory has an online site where you can check for cloud cover etc before making the trip up there. This is what it looked like last night.

I have been cactus rustling. This involves collecting bits of cactus for my collection. It has not been as fun as I hoped so far. First trip, got some nice pieces of Pachycereus - possibly, tall columnar species anyway. Pretty well spiked in the back of my hand. It swelled up for a day. Those cuttings are healing now before planting. Second trip I got some pieces of an Opuntia variety. Nasty, nasty, nasty. They don't tend to have "hard" spikes or thorns, but collections of little hairs. I had to pick quite a few out of my forearms, plus throw the bag and the gloves away. Then those particular cuttings rotted within a day for some reason, so it all went in the bin.

You never know how long it will take a cactus to take root from a cutting. A piece collected in Adelaide last Christmas has just started growing. It could have been the dormant period and a lack of light too, but it went into a pot in January I think. What was a round ball seems to be elongating upwards.

10 November 2012

How my garden grows

All of my echeveria and graptopetalum, amongst others, are flowering.

Some of the succulents have such tiny flowers they are easy to miss.

The wasp's nest above my balcony door is around three weeks old and is 16 centimetres long. It took about three days to build and by the time I noticed it was well underway. I decided it could stay.

09 November 2012

Snails and crickets

Thursday was the day the snails' of Canberra chose to march. On my morning run they were sliming across every footpath of my route.

An apt sight too, for my knees hurt. I went to see a chiropractor the day before and they wish to see me again next week. My fault I haven't bothered to go in such a long time.

My running is slow, slow, slow.

Does a giant snail beat a giant snail drum somewhere?

What call to exodus resonates through the earth such that it is their time?

Okay, it could be a climatic confluence, but what came first - the need of the snail to peregrinate or the weather?

I was disappointed not to receive a pet cricket for my birthday and today I caught a cricket at work. He, or probably she, was the Houdini of crickets, escaping from my hastily constructed refuge. Amused by the possibility that there was more than one cricket in the office, I checked back in the plastic cup, to confirm it was the same one free upon my desk.

A square centimetre of lettuce seems a trifling thing, but all explorations of the fridge and exhortations to colleagues produced no lettuce whatsoever. Faced with the cricket's own revolt against containment and a failure to procure suitable comestibles, I knew that it was time to set my cricket free.

If I am serious about keeping a cricket for its symphonic serenading - which I adore - then I better build it a house first.

06 November 2012

Whaling Bear Chief Mouse

These all went to my pals at work on the other side of town.

Not that I have a problem posting things to people who are next to me.

It is a postcard, not a handcard.

In the hood

As promised, The Big Hole is getting bigger.

Results are not scientific

thousandeye will never disappoint when it comes to factualness and reporting on things that really matter in this town.

It was my birthday last week and I received flowers, a copy of I Want My Hat Back, a card from Warracknabeal, glass beads, Haigh's chocolate, cash, many fine wishes and a delightful cake.

On my birthday I did a 68 minute run with my German neighbour. She said it normally takes her an hour, so that wasn't too bad. We went around Mt Ainslie. It felt pretty darn hot in the sun by 0830.

Looking forward to the opening of a new cafe in Lonsdale St Traders. I wonder if they will even do coffee. I'm not sure how baked sweets will taste without butter, eggs and cream, but I am ready to find out. I do soy for coffee now and am happy with it. Scrambled eggs is probably out of the question. I make excellent scrambled eggs, but being able to buy them on the way to work would be nice.

Last night I didn't sleep too well because my tummy needed a nap during the day. Even Nigella on iview couldn't put me to sleep. I watched some of Peter Garrett on Kitchen Cabinet. He needed a cup to measure yoghurt to make a mango lassi. That was just embarrassing.

04 November 2012


The final episode of David Attenborough's Kingdom of Plants screened on television tonight. It focuses on cacti, many in the magnificent Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens.

Bats play quite a role in pollinating cactus flowers. Bats like flowers that smell like rotting fruit.

Watch Episode 3: Survival on ABC iview until 17 November 2012.

29 October 2012

Mister Dog needs a coffee


Just because.

Pray Love Run

This is the front cover of a notebook I made a month or two ago. Three things you can never do too much of. Eventually I did start running again. Yesterday I took my camera on my run.

One day I decided that I was happy, or at the least, entirely emotionally fulfilled when I was photographing bees. This seems a very humble calling, but ever since then I have been happy photographing bees. I particularly enjoy when I catch them looking back at me. The first picture is very green because it is happening underneath many leaves.

Use a David Attenborough voice to say: Even the most mundane angiosperm is a miracle of astonishing complexity and beauty. Kingdom of Plants is on ABC and iView.

Not just bees do pollenating, but ants and butterflies.

My, what a long nose you have.

New conifer growth.

Get out there in the cool spring daylight-saving-evenings before summer is stinking hot.