Wednesday, May 30, 2012


One evening last weekend, I was sitting in my office when I heard something flapping/tapping on the window. It was pitch black outside, and the lights from my office had attracted a couple of bugs, including this beauty:

It was a good sized moth. The abdomen was as thick as my index finger and nearly as long. The wingspan looked to be about four inches, maybe even five. I mentioned the sighting on Facebook, and a friend who lives nearby identified it as a Bogong moth. She said there'd been quite a few hanging around her place a few nights before.

After reading a little about them online, I learned that their caterpillar/grubs are sometimes a garden pest here. I've many times found really big grubs in my pot plants, and suspect now that it's Bogong caterpillars I've been finding. Yet one more thing to chomp away at my perennials.  Oh well...

I guess I could have my revenge if I wanted it. Aboriginal peoples used to roast and eat them - and I read that the flavour is somewhat nut-like.  Nah... I'm not quite THAT adventurous.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Laka's Last (T) Stand

Laka's t-stand started out as a long wooden dowel with white plastic cups screwed in at either end. She loves her t-stand - but has been chewing on it, gradually whittling down the wood until it's quite thin in places.

Well... the inevitable happened. I heard the crash and the flapping - and then Stephen's laughter (he saw her do it).  She stood on one of the white plastic cups and leaned down to gnaw on the wooden dowel. It gave way and dropped, taking her with it.

So here she is - sitting on the remaining cup - the left hand side having been chewed away. How long before she finishes off the end she's sitting on? Anybody's guess. The one thing I'm fairly sure of: she'll be standing on that white cup when she does it...

Idiot bird.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Parrot's Tail

When molted feathers are replaced by new ones, the new feather grows out with a protective casing of hard tissue, not unlike a fingernail. This casing (and the growing feather) are itchy and the skin where it's emerging is a little tender. Eventually, however, the casing dries and is preened away, revealing the new feather curling underneath.

For some reason, Laka doesn't like to preen her tail feathers, and leaves the casings on for a lot longer than other feathers.
Just from normal activities, however, the casing gets knocked about and eventually unravels (as you see above) or splits and falls away - but, again, it's rare to see Laka working on loosening the feathers.

She's recently moulted her two longest tail feathers and the photos above show the new ones growing in.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A "Titanic" Venue

In Williamstown - a posh suburb of Melbourne - is, what I believe, a fairly unique eatery:

(Note the top of the building - and the "White Star Line" entry on the left side) 

Yes - it's billed as the only restaurant where the evening is a "guaranteed disaster". You can have your meal in "steerage", "first class", or at the "captain's table", depending on your inclination and budget. Customers are encouraged to show up in period costume (and if you don't have a costume, they'll rent you one...)

Well...  I think the best way to tell you about this place is to show you their website (do have a look at the "steerage" page"!).

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Special Anniversary

One year ago today, I became an Australian citizen (I now hold dual citizenship, US and Australia). It was a proud moment for me and one I will always remember and treasure. Stephen and I were leaving for a trip to the US the next day, so we weren't able to celebrate as we might otherwise - although we did ask our friends Norm and Jen to attend the ceremony with us (and they were very sweet to oblige us, esp. since the location of the ceremony meant a long drive for them).

I suppose I will always want to do something special on May 4th from here out - to remember the day. Today we went with something simple - first lunch at the "Earthly Pleasures" cafe in Belgrave, and then a little "wine hunting" in the Yarra Valley. It was a drizzly, chilly day, but even so the scenery was lovely. Below is a shot taken from the veranda outside the tasting room at Seville Estates winery:

(click the photo above for a larger view)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pictures from the Book: Page 12

Bubba and Aussie (birds we had in Ohio) were always quick to enjoy a little juice, and they were good friends and never squabbled over any treat offered, at least not as I recall. 

Just a few months before I began working on the book, I heard from Aussie's new mum. She told me, sadly, that Bubba passed away some time ago - but Aussie is fine, just as sassy as ever, and even has a new conure pal
(click the photo above for a larger image)
And here he is today:

(As you can see, he's been enjoying the cover of my book!)