wings and things

“I just don’t understand you!”

Ming and I had a couple of altercations today that were impossible to resolve. This is so frustrating and painful and yet it points to the fact that we all think and feel differently and trying to match someone else’s way of doing both is impossible.

So what on earth do you do with irreconcilable differences? How does a 20-year-old son understand a 55-year-old mother who is trying to understand a 78-year-old husband? The only way, I think, is to accept the different points of view about everything, to accept each other (despite these differences), and to develop a capacity for sympathy. Empathy would be better, of course, but if the other person just cannot fit their great big size 13 feet (Ming) into your shoes, then agreeing to disagree is your best option.

I have always loved the concept of difference but I have never had it thrust in my face as much as the last few years, with Anthony’s declining health and Ming’s growing up. Neither of them understand that, at the center of this dynamic (in terms of age alone), I struggle sometimes to give them both what they need or want. And neither of them even think, unless I remind them (rather vociferously sometimes), that I might actually want to be considered too.

Perhaps love doesn’t require understanding? I am not complaining here (well maybe a bit!), or posing a feminist argument (hell, no – most of the misunderstandings I’ve experienced have been with women); I am just observing that sometimes you just have to accept the fact that you will never agree with the other person.

But you can still hug them and keep your “you are wrong!” thoughts to yourself. Ask Godfrey the gander!



It has been fascinating to watch Queenie and the peachicks out and about. They roam freely now everywhere and are quite used to my presence. Sometimes they forage on the lawn just outside my office door where I can watch them and talk to them through the fly screen. It’s almost as if they have come over to say hello.




I still haven’t found a mate for Baby Turkey, but I promised him I would by next week and he perked up a little bit.


Godfrey and Zaruma, despite being male, continue to guard the ducklings. They are out and about for much of the day now too, always with the two male mothers guarding them – Godfrey with hisses and Zaruma with a little smile on his funny face.



This morning my mother came over and we cried together and it was like a gift of rain on a rose bush thought dead, but now budding again; it was like a single dewdrop until you see there are hundreds of them; it was like a hidden stream, full of pebbles and tadpoles and lilies and, well (I can’t help myself here!) ducklings.

Motherhood is a powerful thing.


A disco duckling, a haughty gander, and a very depressed turkey

The little duckling in the centre of this photo is distinct from the other two because s/he is smaller and paler. But, after what I witnessed the other evening, I have decided to call this duckling Michael Jackson.


I had put the gang, including ducklings, into their yard for the night, then turned the hose on the avocado tree which is right behind Ming’s shed where he now lives. As soon as I turned the hose on, Michael Jackson squeezed through the fence and began swimming in the growing puddle. The other two ducklings (the ‘Twins’ because they are identical) followed Michael Jackson to the puddle, so I had to let Godfrey out again in order to herd them back in. He gave me his usual ‘look’ – a combination of ferocity and disdain.


At that very moment, Ming began to play his guitar very loudly and the birds and I got a bit of a fright. Well, little Michael Jackson went crazy and I nearly ran to Ming’s shed to tell him to stop the noise until I realized that the duckling was actually dancing! It ran around in circles, twirled around in the puddle of water, threw itself at the twins and frolicked madly. When Ming stopped playing his guitar for a few moments, the duckling just stood still, as if waiting, then, when Ming resumed, the whole happy dance thing happened again. It’s one of the funniest things I have ever seen and I wish I had it on video.

Godfrey watched fondly, as I did, then I turned the hose off and he herded Michael Jackson and the twins back into the yard.


The only lonely one now is Baby Turkey because we lost Bubble, his main companion months ago. Baby Turkey now prefers to be in his own yard, away from the happiness of the geese and ducks. He sleeps a lot but when he gets up he still looks so sad. I have decided to try and find him a mate, a female turkey, so that he will be happy again and am hoping that the place where I got the ducklings will have one to spare. They have turkey chicks so maybe they will sell me one of the mothers.


Baby Turkey’s loneliness is a constant reminder of Anthony’s. I have not been allowed into the nursing home for a few days because I have a chest infection, so Ming and my mother have been in several times and I am relying on phone chats with Ants. He doesn’t understand that I am sick; he just seems to think I am neglecting him and I got a phone-call the other morning from one of the nurses, to say he didn’t want to get out of bed. I ended up speaking to him but he was quite incoherent. This is the first time I have known him to be like this in the morning because this usually happens in the evening.

I don’t know why the quote ‘This is how it is’ resonates so powerfully for me; after all, it is a statement of the obvious. I like it though because it beckons some sort of response, it curls around a sort of question, and it invites a sort of acceptance.

Sort of!

Godfrey and I have agreed to disagree, and I still love him.


Can anyone see the resemblance here, or is it just me?

This is Godfrey:


This is Ming:

Ming glaring

(Photos courtesy of Jane Terren).


New life!

Yesterday afternoon, the four new ducklings settled into their pen, then got straight out again!



As I was trying to herd them back in, Gutsy9 followed, extremely curious, but also jealous as she kept biting the bottom of my jeans as if to say, “hey, what about me?”


The gang welcomed the ducklings with a chorus of gleeful honking, then quieter little sighing sounds. Predictably, Godfrey, the head gander, hissed at me threateningly. He has very strong paternal instincts!



But the happiest of the gang was Zaruma, our only remaining duck. His mate, Tapper (the one who used to actually scale the yard fence and get out), was killed by a fox last year, so he has been very lonely. His joy was amazing; he can’t quack for some reason but he was madly wagging his tail. He’s the one on the right with the red face.




The alpacas, Uluru and Okami, settled protectively on the other side of the fence.


Even Baby Turkey became interested in a pecking sort of way.


Woodroffe and Diamond exchanged raised eyebrows.


The ducklings were very curious about the peachicks.


But they were much more interested in their first swimming lesson.



Godfrey becomes godly


Godfrey: I’m sorry I bit you yesterday, Julie.

Me: No you’re not!

Godfrey hissing

Godfrey: Yes I AM!

Me: No you’re NOT!


Godfrey: I think you are jealous of me, Julie – face it!

Me: Godsy, it is the other way around! I love the gang as much as you do but, and I hate to break this to you, they love me much more than they love you.


Godfrey: But why?

Me: Well, you scare them. You are so overbearing and bossy and your habit of biting the hand that feeds you is not fashionable anymore.

Godfrey: Oh I think I am going to cry, Julie.

Me: Let yourself, Godsy, and try to remember how we began….


Godfrey: I’m so sorry, Julie.

Me: Good!



Yesterday was a magical day. My cousin and her daughter are visiting from Sydney and staying with my mother so they all came over with lunch. I haven’t seen my cousin for 15 years and it was wonderful! Ming and my cousin’s daughter are the same age and already friends on FB but there’s nothing like face to face. My mother made the lunch and served everyone which gave me more time with the cousins . It was fantastic and I am still tasting the joy of yesterday and looking forward to seeing them again tomorrow before they go back.

After lunch my mother took them to a magical little corner of our countryside called Gnomesville. I stayed home with Ants.

I had had Anthony wheelchair- taxied home for the event but he was mostly withdrawn and became sullen when he had to go back which always upsets me no matter how much I steel myself for it. His withdrawal isn’t intentional; it’s because he can’t focus on more than one thing at a time, so five people conversing excitedly is impossible. I remember when he was being assessed by a Parkinson’s Disease specialist in a Perth hospital, a kind lady who also had PD, befriended Ants and told him about this inability to focus on more than one thing and both Anthony and I realized how true this was for him too. For me it explained why he had become so silent and for him it was reassuring to know he wasn’t the only one to be confused by crowded conversations.

He is getting more and more shark-eyed. You can kind of see it in the photo below which is from ages ago. Now his eyes are often half closed and he looks at me with what seems an expression of malevolence but is really him trying to focus cognitively (well that’s what I think anyway!) He doesn’t know he’s doing it. Ming, on the other hand, appears to know exactly what he is doing with his eyes in an expression of unadulterated sarcasm! The only resemblance between these two sets of eyes is that they are blue.

[Oh, see that little spot next to Anthony’s left eye? That is now the massive skin cancer I was talking about the other day and, yeeha, we finally have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow morning!]

Speaking of blue eyes, my photos of Woodroffe’s and Ola’s blue eyes yesterday intrigued a few people one of whom was Susan at

She is a talented poet and I can’t always keep up with her blog because she is so prolific. I suggested she might write a poem to go with the blue-eyed geese and within what seemed like minutes, she wrote this:

blue topaz eyes
chipped ice set in softness–
unexpected jewels


So I decided to try and find a few more photos of the blue eyes!

And then I found this one. I had forgotten that the geese have an ability to change their eye colour if prompted.




Bubble: I miss the emus.

Seli: So do I.

Woodroffe: So do I.

Angelina: So do I.

King: So do I.

Okami: So do I.

Pearly: So do I.

Malay: So do I.

Phoenix 1: So do I.

Ming: Well I DON’T!


For the love of geese and ducks

The gang get very excited when they see me.

They push the guinneas out of the way and rush towards me gleefully.

Their happy-to-see-me honking is deafening!

Their faces are alight with love….

…. of lettuce!


Gender games

The only one of our geese whose gender I know for sure is Godfrey, which makes him a gander of course.  As for Pearl, Ola, Woodroffe, Seli and Diamond, I have no idea, except that Ola and Pearl seem smaller, friendlier and more polite than the others so I am assuming they are girls. This is Pearl who may or may not be wondering what s/he is too!

Lately there has been a great deal of flirtatious behaviour happening between the gang, which I have prudishly been turning a blind eye too. But today, with Anthony’s help (he is being taxied out for the day, and is much less prudish), I have decided to watch this flirtatious behaviour so I will know which of the gang members are female. That way I will be able to keep an eye on any possible eggs etc.

Watching gender games between geese is not for the faint-hearted.