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January, 2008:

Farm Flora

It really is amazing how pretty weeds can be; but then any plant growing where it is not wanted is by definition a weed. 

Cape Weed (Arctotheca calendula) originally from Cape Province in South Africa is an attractive, hardy groundcover with yellow daisy-like flowers.  The only problem is that it is too effective as a groundcover when it escapes from the garden starving the grass of light in spring and early summer.  Once the full heat of summer has burnt the Cape Weed off, all that is left is bare earth.  There is one thing though this weed is valued by some graziers for the nutritional value that it offers stock (Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority [^]).

Cape Weed

Another pretty pasture weed is Onion Grass (Romulea rosea [^]), however this appears to have no redeeming features other than it’s looks.

Onion Grass

Finally an innocuous example of farm flora – lichen on the trunk of an ash tree.

Ash Tree Lichen

Martin Luther King Day

Monday was  Martin Luther King, Jr Day in the USA.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love
will have the final word.
Martin Luther King, Jr. via ( [^])

Let’s hope that this dream can become a reality.

Summer Wanders #4: Laughing Kookaburra

While we weren’t entirely wandering,  this photo is taken on the shade-sail at Mum and Dad’s house, it was quite a way from home.


Apparently this kookaburra has taken to visiting on the off-chance that a goldfish in the pond below may be on the menu.  A small compensation is that it is happy to hang around and have it’s photo taken.  For those of you interested in goldfish safety – there is a net covering most of the water, and the fish have worked out that the surface isn’t a safe place to be.

Kookaburras are the largest members of the kingfisher family, they eat other birds, insects, small mammals, small snakes and lizards.  The snake eating part definitely makes them useful to have around.  Apparently their name is onomatopoeic, that is it imitates the sound that it is describing (like meow), so the name represents the sound of their call.  Once a kookaburra has caught large prey they either hold it in their beak and bash it senseless on an appropriate hard object, or drop it from a height.

The Australian Museum Online [^] and Wikipedia [^] have some more information about Kookaburras if you are looking for some.

Summer Wanders #3: Flinders

A follow-on from the Snorkeller the other day.  Here we have the Flinders Jetty looking across Western Port Bay to Phillip Island (Google Maps [^]).  


The main claim to fame for Flinders is it being the point where the first telegraph line to Tasmania left the mainland.