I am staying with my parents in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney at present and the area is in the midst of a bush fire emergency. When I returned to Australia last week I was looking forward to experiencing many of the Australian sights, sounds, tastes and smells I have missed over the thirteen years I have been in Canada. I had no idea I would encounter anything like the current bush fire crisis.
Driving home last Thursday, October 17th, I took the following photos:
When we arrived home we talked to my parent’s neighbour about the closest fire. He assured us that it was not travelling in our direction nor would it when the wind changed later that day. The damage caused by that fire and the many others still burning is extensive. Hundreds of homes have been lost. There is a constant smell of smoke in the air and the sound of sirens and helicopters close by. The view from my parents home on Thursday is below. When I looked out today it was no longer so dramatic but the threat is still serious as the temperatures and wind speeds forecast for the next few days are very high. We have spent time clearing the yard and roof of dry leaves and preparing for a possible evacuation.
There are still over 60 fires burning in New South Wales so please pray for an end to this crisis and for the safety of all those involved.
I am in Australia for a few weeks visiting my family. To help me get over my jet lag I went for a short walk in the sunshine on my first day here. As it is spring many of the gardens are looking colourful. What I am enjoying most, though is seeing plants I haven’t seen in eight years, like the bottlebrush above. I was also amused by the sign below.
We are enjoying some sunny warm autumn days this week, perfect weather for a picnic in Gatineau Park. My parents are visiting from Australia so we enjoyed an afternoon in the park snapping photos and enjoying each other’s company. While eating our lunch we were treated to an impromptu concert at an adjacent picnic table. First the musician played a couple of pieces on the erhu then packed it away and pulled out a trombone!
Yesterday Andrew and I went skiing not far from home. Andrew is keen to ski; I am willing to ski but find the whole stopping or turning thing a little tricky. It was beautiful in amongst the trees after two big snow storms. I wanted photos but the temperature was minus 10 °C so my fingers complained every time I pulled them out of my mitts.
I walked upstairs to my room the other day and saw gold light shining out of my room. When I investigated I saw that the setting sun was shining directly onto the leaves of the maple tree in the backyard and the reflection was filling my room with golden light.
B12 and I are continuing our study of ecosystems with another family so we made the most of the good weather last week to take another field trip. I shared pictures of our first field trip here. Our trip last week was to a local woodland area with many trails which pass through various types of ecosystems. B12 & P12 were on the lookout for the flora and fauna in each different area but ended up being most interested in the birds we saw.
After waiting and changing location a couple of times B & P’s patience with the chickadees was rewarded.
We saw this little nuthatch next.
The highlight of the day came just as we were about to finish our walk. A barred owl swooped through the woods ahead of us. It passed a few feet from B12’s face and then landed in a tree about 15 metres away. We went as close as we could and I snapped a few photos. I’ll include the full photo first to see if you can pick it out; the camouflage is superb. (click on photos to enlarge)
Did you spot it? We wondered what it was doing flying around in the middle of the day. There is a bird sanctuary in the area so perhaps it had a day pass.
For more photos visit my Photo of the Day board on Pinterest
Andrew and I went for a walk on Thanksgiving Monday and enjoyed the sunny weather and the impressive colours. Apparently they are vivid this year because we had a hot, dry summer.
A friend and I took our 12 year olds to Mer Bleue this week as the introduction to a unit on ecosystems. Mer Bleue is a bog and it turned out to be way more interesting and picturesque than they were expecting.
A16 and I spent a few days on Prince Edward Island in August as she was competing in the National Youth Track and Field Championships. Her team along with coaches and a few parent chaperones were privileged to stay 30 minutes out of Charlottetown at a golf resort on the beach. After years missing the ocean I visited the beach as often as I could before and after attending events at the track each day. There are more summer photos here and there will be a post from the Championships next.
Our family spent a week at a lakeside cottage in late July. We enjoyed the relaxed pace, the distance from our work, the opportunity to swim everyday, sleep in and spend uninterrupted time together.
You can see more of our summer photos here