Kickin’ Through the Leaves

My advice on letting go your inhibitions and and kicking through the leaves:

Anywhere else; do it.  

Here; Don’t.

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Deathadder
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Gilbert’s Dragon

Proud of young Zeus. He found a dragon (Lophognathus gilberti) caught in some wire mesh. Instead of tearing it to shreds he called me. The rescue operation was followed by a quick check for injuries and a short photoshoot. Then the dragon was on her way unharmed.

Gilbert would be pleased.

Going Up

Back on the Pregabalin.  After a couple of days the woozy lightheaded feeling passed and I regained my faculties.  I also lost much of the chronic pain I was feeling before.  Clearly the doc was right and it was originating in my back, not my legs.  Science is a wonderful thing.  I still feel the grating pain in my knees, but it seems less debilitating and I can walk further now.  With the use of my beautiful crocodile and snake carved walking stick from Solomon Islands I am venturing around the community more.  The uneven ground is why I need the stick.  A misstep causes me to stagger and nearly fall when my knee gives way.  There are no paved surfaces here.

I have set up a gym kitset on the deck outside, and in the evening when it is a little cooler (and when there is no one around to watch) I do a few upper body exercises for half an hour or so.

The problem with walking and exercise in general here is that the temperatures are now already reaching 40 degrees C during the day and will soon be going higher.  Neither Zeus the dog nor I are overly keen to venture out in the blazing heat.  Neither are the children after school, so I am having a fairly quiet time.  I see some of them for a while in the evening and we talk about the things they want to do, and what we shall do soon but they are not very interested in my company once they learn I can no longer take them out bush or anywhere else in the troopy.

We had an edict from on high a week or two back advising us that we were no longer to transport anyone in the back of the troopies and only one passenger was to be in the front passenger seat using the lap and diagonal seat-belt.  It seems that liability issues are catching up.  I know Northern Territory has already outlawed the troopy with sideways seats in the rear. Lap only seat-belts are not acceptable either.  It has always been a concern with me, and I have always driven most carefully whenever I have youngsters with me anyway.  The consequences of harming someone are unthinkable.

I have always known my main value to most of the youngsters was that I was a means of transport for them to get to the bush for bush tucker or to the lake for a swim and to football games.  I hope I can re-engage with them once I have all the new toys and kit I am expecting.  Meantime I guess I have a little time on hand to get on with my study for Cert IV in training and assessment. I have now completed successfully six of the papers. Four to go.

As a diversion I am spending half an hour a day learning Irish. For no other reason than it is the greatest challenge I can think of at present.  And because it is a beautiful sounding language.   And because otherwise I would probably go spare alone every evening here.  Doubling the dose of my fluoxetine has certainly helped me to cope better with that.

On the wildlife front, the King Brown snakes are out and about.  There are quite a few young ones recently hatched too.  There are bush turkeys gathering in expectation of the plague of locusts that will likely hatch as soon as the rains set in and the vegetation starts growing again.

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Full Moon Rising 

Zeus

This is Zeus, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier, given into my care by a friend.  I have had him for a couple of weeks.  Zeus is coming up to three years old as far as I can tell, and is nutless.  He likes fetching his piece of knotted rope, or a tennis ball.  He chases the dragons, but hasn’t yet caught any, I am pleased to say.  Nor snakes, so far.  He has adapted well to life out here.  He is a great guard dog.   He comes from a civilised background and is a good house companion.  At night, Zeus sleeps on a big cushion beside my bed.  He knows he is not allowed on the bed.

He does not chew the hand brake in my vehicle, or other possessions, like certain other dogs I once had. He is not greedy and he is pretty responsive to my commands, though I still have to teach him to walk at heel, sit, stay and to come at once when called, without coaxing.

Today for the first time he accompanied me down to the basketball courts where he conducted himself in exemplary fashion.  The community dogs were curious but not particularly aggressive, and he showed them how a civilised dog behaves on a lead.  He seemed ok with the children though I am not sure whether they were all ok with him.  Some of the locals call him Arnold because he is without doubt the stockiest, most muscular, best fed dog they have seen.   I have allowed him to be given that name. and let them believe he is a   cheeky dog because that is what I hope will keep my garden hose and fittings from being stolen yet again when I am not around and he is.

 

 

Dingone

After a few days my wild new friend stopped turning up at my place.  Such gratitude after I fed him so often. I had even made arrangements for someone to feed him while I was away.  I also have in my freezer half a kangaroo that I got just for him.  Ah well.  At least I still have someone to talk to.  Rim Leaper, my green tree frog, is still living in my toilet.

Dingo

A young wild dingo has come in from the desert and is hanging around the community. Half the residents want him shot, others want to catch him.  He has been coming to my place after dark.   I feed him and talk to him in a calm, soothing voice.  Tonight he became a little braver and actually came onto my deck inside my security cage.  He came pretty close to sniff me, and almost took food from my hand.

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I shall call him Dingo, and he shall be mine, and he shall be my dingo.

The elders tell me that the first thunder will be soon and this will awaken the goannas from hibernation.   If I make friends with Dingo, he will help me track them and dig them out.    One of them says that I should consider Dingo to be mine already.  He says a dingo will only accept one leader, and I have already begun to earn his trust.  He tells me everyone in the community knows I am the animal man.

I have to consider whether I really want a pet dingo.

Wildlife

Last week was a good wildlife observation week for me.  I spent a lot of hours travelling.  Firstly I took a trip to Brown’s Range, beyond Ringer Soak, to conduct an inspection at the rare earth mine that is starting there.  Near Ringer Soak we crossed Sturt Creek, the same river that runs past Billiluna.  It has returned to being a series of ponds and small lakes as the dry season begins.  Only a few weeks ago it seems, it was three kilometres wide, and impassable.  There were herons, ibis and jabiru, magpie geese, cockatoos and galahs.  I flew my drone over them and caught some off guard but a drone is not the best way to photograph birds.

Later, I helped Tika again, transporting his football team between Mulan and Kununurra and back. On the trip I added the two common species of kite and wedge-tail eagles to the list. We saw a few bush turkeys – Australian bustards. No brolgas yet this year.  At home I have bower birds and mudlarks, butcher birds, and the sparrow-like little chap I have finally identified (tentatively) as an Australian pipit. Some little yellow birds I still have not identified.

On the road I dodged two young goanna, a king brown and a fairly large specimen of what I suspect was a greater whipsnake.  I stopped for a closer look at it, but it disappeared into the vegetation on the roadside.  I did not follow.

At home in the Single Persons Quarters, two young green tree frogs have taken up residence in the men’s ablution block.  One is usually in the shower I use and I must take care not to splash him with shampoo or soap.  The other day I found him swimming in the toilet bowl.  Fortunately there are two so I used the other rather than risk flushing him away.

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