wings and things


Ever since the peachicks entered our lives, over a week ago, everybird has become very attentive at sundown, including this young couple (the peahen is the second one to finally return although without chicks).
Prince is also quite interested in how Queenie gets the chicks to bed (notice how he has lost all of his long tail feathers – all the peacocks have now).
Gutsy9 is a bit jealous and is always right next to me. If I crouch down, she offers her neck to be stroked.
While Queenie is stirring the chicks up, preparing them for their bedtime transition to the avocado tree, I put the geese, duck and turkey into their yard for the night. I have been trying to flood their pen in order to create a kind of pond for them and it is working.
Queenie and the peachicks take ages to get ready for bed.
So I take a photo of the fig tree while I wait.
The younger peahen flies into the yard to encourage Queenie.
King (undoubtedly the father) also flies into the yard and takes a protective stance.
And then the magic begins. The bigger chick actually leads the way!
Queenie has to help the smaller chick.
But it comes back down again to say goodnight to me.

This is around the same time (7.30-8pm) that Anthony often suffers ‘Sundowner syndrome’ so, once I leave the birds and go into the house, I always ring the nursing home to say goodnight to him. As he almost never answers the phone himself I usually have to get the nurse-in-charge to enable a conversation. Lately Ants has been okay, delusional but not upset. He often thinks he is either at boarding school, a hospital, a party, or a pub.

I tell him about the birds, and say goodnight, with a sense of tentative peace, which is probably how Queenie feels at the top of that avocado tree (can you spot her?)


Mother goose


After weeks of feeding Ola special grain and replenishing her water, and looking forward to her two goslings hatching, I went out this afternoon to find that she had abandoned the nest and there was only one egg there. So I brought the warm egg into the house and put it in my shirt pocket and googled goose hatching whilst stroking the egg and saying little mothery things to the gosling inside it. I found enough information to warrant going outside again and slightly cracking the egg so it could get out.

Well, guess what? There was no gosling; it was just an unfertilized and beautiful egg with a massive yoke – not a chick. And to think I was stroking this stupid egg for two hours when I could have used it to bake a cake! Argh!

Ola is frolicking without those eggs and I am feeling like a goose!


Why didn’t I think of this before?

Every Thursday morning the nursing lodge has a bus excursion and Anthony usually goes. Last Thursday I arrived at the nursing lodge at around noon to be told that Anthony was still out and that the excursion was to Dardanup (our town!) They’d gone up to the hills just past our farm. So, when the bus returned and Ants was being helped back to his room by the nurse in charge of the excursion, I asked if it would be possible for the bus to come to our place and she said yes!

So tomorrow, they are coming here and I am so excited. The nurse said they might make it a semi-regular thing and I wanted to kiss her feet! This would be a stress-free way of getting Anthony home for a few hours and I am sure the other residents will enjoy it too. They always bring their own morning tea and there are enough staff for any toilet emergencies, so I am definitely in yeeha mode! Anthony seems to think it is a great idea too.

I have told the birds that they will have an audience tomorrow between 9.30 and 11.30am, so they are all practising for Godfrey’s contortionist competition.

Another contortionist

A competing peahen

Woodroffe thinks he will win the competition

Pearl will be performing in the pond



This is Woodroffe, navel-gazing.

This is Woodroffe reminding me, sternly, that geese and ganders do not have navels and that, even if they did, they wouldn’t waste time gazing at them.



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.



This wrinkled soul

This soul has developed crinkles like the white linen shirts I used to wear but gave away because I hate ironing.

This soul has developed wrinkles – frown wrinkles – not very becoming at all.

This soul is like a boiled egg – perfect until you crack the shell, peel it off and mush the egg for a sandwich.

A splintered windscreen.

An improbable jigsaw.

This soul has also become argumentative and I am getting really sick of the way it nags, nags, nags; no wonder it has wrinkles.

No wonder it has crinkles.

I know I should probably try to iron out its crinkly wrinkles.

But that would be as stupid as ironing a Sebastopol goose.

I’ll try to make friends with this soul on my way into see Anthony in the nursing lodge.

His soul is much better behaved!


Lovely lethargy: Woodroffe


Once bitten, twice shy

One second after I took this too close closeup photo of the gang, Godfrey (in the forefront – the godfather of ganderdom), bit me hard on the shin and I had to kick him off. He bites me all the time so I am quite used to it now, but this time he wouldn’t let go. If I give him a piece of bread he swallows it whole and then tries to eat my arm. He has trained all of the others to hiss at the peacocks so I am not quite sure why I remain his primary target; I think it’s probably jealousy.

Of course it’s jealousy – yes! I should have realized it before. Godfrey cannot bear it that ‘his’ gang love me more than they love him. They are actually beginning to get sick of his autocratic, dictatorial bossiness. This theory was well and truly confirmed when Woodroffe came to see me a few seconds later to apologize on Godfrey’s behalf and to explain how careful they have to be not to annoy him.

“I love you, Julie,” he whispered.

“I love you too, Woody,” I whispered back, stroking his feathers.


‘I thought this was a bird blog!’

Angelina: It’s a bird blog primarily, of course, but Julie keeps going off topic.

Queenie: I’ve noticed that. She keeps blogging about silly old men!

King: Like me?

Queenie: Darling, never – your tail feathers will grow back soon!

Baby Turkey: I have now held this pose for several hours but Julie still hasn’t noticed!

Diamond: Me too.

Guinneas: I’m sure she’ll get back on topic soon. We always do.

Phoenix 1: She hasn’t taken much notice of me lately either, which is a bit hurtful.

Godfrey: I suggest we all start biting her. Watch and learn.

Emery 2: Noooooooooooooo!

Tina Turner: Yes – Godfrey is right!


A better life?

Today has been eventful.

A lovely place has been found for Arthur (see previous post) and he will be leaving in a day or so. Ming (Son) has told him the hut is no longer safe and we have to have it inspected for wiring (which we do).

One of the guinnea fowl was cowering in the corner of the emus’ lean-to, so Ming helped her get out. I think she wants somewhere safe to lay eggs, so here we go again!

Ming and I went out for lunch despite suffering from gastro. We had to go because it was a promise we made yesterday when we had our long discussion. I had chilli prawns and now feel amazingly better!

Anthony got angry on the phone this morning (first time ever) and said he was hurt (first time ever) that he couldn’t come home for the night so I have arranged to pick him up for the day tomorrow. His uncharacteristic upsetness has cast a shadow on today, but tomorrow will be better.

I have nearly caught up with the washing and folding of clothes.

Ming is a happy chappy.

I am too but I seem to have this spare water balloon full of tears that keeps landing in front of me, making me afraid to smile, or take the next step.

Ming said he read the post about him on Facebook and hated it but then he grinned.

One of my two PhD students has finished and submitted his thesis.

Anthony just asked me on the phone (I ring him several times a day when I can’t get in to see him) if I still loved him and I said yes.

During lunch, Ming said we were not to talk about Anthony so we didn’t.

The ute is making a funny sound.

I had a dream last night that I was having an argument with someone and a hippopotamus squashed her.

The main car’s side mirrors are smashed and I still haven’t rung the insurance company.

Nearly all of the young peacocks now have long feathers.

Wild galahs and 28s are everywhere.

There is a rat in the washhouse which only Ming has seen, so I need his company to do the washing.

I have a mother who is a best friend.

The electricity has not gone off now for a couple of days.

I have resigned from my job at the university.

I will never, ever wish for a different life.

I will never, ever wish for a better life.

This is a better life – this is the best life.