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Hubert the hawk, then ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

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King parrots

Rainbow lorikeets

Finches

When I look out the window into the garden and see all the wild birds feeding, it occurs to me that all the humans who spend most of their daily lives worrying about the performance of the FTSE and Dow Jones Indices are missing out on something vastly more important in life.

When Hubert the hawk, circling at 500 feet, looks down into my garden and sees all the wild birds feeding, it occurs to him that here is a banquet, a smorgasbord, fit for a bird of his dominance and distinction, and whilst dive-bombing at 100 kilometres per hour towards them he thinks to himself  “Hubert baby, this is going to be my lukky day.”

Yesterday, unfortunately for Hubert, he made two slight errors of judgment.  (Plus one of spelling.)

Firstly,the birds saw him coming and took evasive action.

Secondly, Hubert, (having failed miserably in his physics exams at the Avian Academy)  in pulling out of his dive failed to understand that the reflection of clear sky in a glass window was fraught with impediments to high-velocity flight.

Something had to give way.

It was not the window.

Hubert was not a well hawk for at least an hour, but after Dr GOF pulled Hubert’s head back out from way down somewhere near his  gizzard, then gave him two panadeines, a healing blessing, a pat on the head and a sip of altar wine from his apostolic goblet, Hubert wobbled his way back up into a nearby tree to contemplate what might have caused things to go so pear-shaped on what was going to be his ‘lukky day’.

Semi-comatose Hubert

healed Hubert giving thanks

(all photographs by Mrs GOF)

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Plus there’s more;

Today I am handing out gifts.

One gift to Gominoklahoma  and another one just for you.

GOM has now been a blog friend of mine for almost 4 years. There is no finer Drabble (story told in precisely 100 words) composer or witty commenter in my blog world. It is time for me to reward him with a special cultural gift of song from Australia, and one for you too in recognition of the time you waste  spend keeping me company in The Bucket.

Waltzing Matilda’ is Australia’s unofficial National Anthem.

‘Banjo Patterson’ (1864-1941), the principal folk poet of Australia  composed the lyrics in 1895 at Dagworth Station near Winton in Queensland’s outback.
Patterson’s image appears on our $10 polymer bank note.

The first of the following gifts is for GOM who has suffered with great dignity and tolerance through so many of my references to this ‘singer’ over the years.

The second is for you.  (Please share it with GOM too because he deserves better than what I just gave him.)  Noel Watson has been called a  “Genuine Aussie bloke with a voice that’ll pin your ears back.”
Plucked from obscurity, he rendered this extraordinary live performance  sung from his heart at the Aussie Rules Football Grand Final in 1988, and it still gives me goosebumps 24 years later.

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The Undara Lava Tubes

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Another ‘Learning Through Activity’ initiative for Primary School children from The Bucket’s Education Department.

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Hello boys and girls.

Grandpa GOF here again, and today we are going to learn all about Australia’s awesome Undara Lava Tubes. When you finish reading this I’ll show you how to do an experiment at home to demonstrate how it all came about.

Handsome young man and his beautiful daughter in a lava tube

190,000 years ago in the Cainozoic Era, slightly before God was invented and well before Pythagoras discovered the lost hypotenuse, the small volcano Undara made a liar out of all the highly-paid Vulcanologists who had been pretending for years that they knew what was going to happen.

Undara suddenly spewed lava at the rate of 1000 cubic metres every second which is like, well you know, it’s like a really really awesome and cool amount of lava except that it was like really really hot, like 1200 degrees Celsius which is like enough to singe your grandma’s moustache at a really really long distance of like 5 miles or something.

In total 23 cubic kilometres of lava flowed out of the Undara volcano following one dry creek bed 90 km to the North, and another 160 km to the North-West.
As it flowed, the outer layers cooled and crusted over while the hot lava inside continued to flow out, leaving these really cool massive tunnels for us to explore today.

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Practical experiment  (wait till Mom and Dad go out first)

1. Clear the kitchen table. This will now represent the surface of the Earth around Undara.

2. Spread the best tablecloth you can find over the table. We will now call this tablecloth “granite” for the surface of the earth here was already covered with granite rock before the lava flow.

3. Find two of Mom’s best and strongest cups. Turn them upside down on the floor and place two table legs on top of them. See, now the earth and it’s granite layer  have a slope towards the North.

3. Collect all the dry ingredients you can find in the pantry.
Flour, rice, sugar, pasta, salt, cocoa….it doesn’t matter…..just empty them all out onto the table, mix them up with some water then mould them into the shape of the countryside with a volcano near the top and a valley leading down towards the bottom.

4. Somewhere near the back of the kitchen cupboard you will find a large container of Treacle or Golden Syrup. If you can’t find it then honey or maple syrup will do. Tip all the contents of the container onto the top of the volcano. See how fast it flows down the valley? Now, if you quickly grind up some ice cubes in the food processor and sprinkle it all over the top of your lava you can actually make your own lava tubes.

5. If Mom or Dad are surprised at what they find when they get home, just tell them that it was all your very own idea and that you’ve just scientifically demonstrated the plasticity of flowing lava and the creation of lava tubes.

They will be so proud of what you have just done, although it may not be immediately apparent.

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Now, here’s some other cool stuff you can see at Undara Lava Tubes.

Queensland bottle tree

Totally cute Antilopine wallaroos

Extremely attractive tour guide pointing out extensive savanna woodland

You can stay in 2-person or 4-person tents

Or refurbished old railway carriages

Wildlife in the garden

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These are all Mrs GOF’s photographs.

Over the course of a year we have around 40 species of birds which visit our garden, many of which feed on the grain and fruit that we provide for them in limited quantity.

This year several other unusual and normally shy birds and animals have arrived because Cyclone Yasi caused their natural food supply to be interrupted.

For the first time in 30 years we have Rifle Birds, and also the marsupial Musky Rat Kangaroos which bunny-hop around the lawn every morning and afternoon.
They are the smallest of all Australia’s kangaroos and normally live on the floor of the tropical rainforest where their diet comprises fruit and invertebrates.

Dragonfly or some other sort of bubbidge

Male Rifle Bird

Female Rifle Bird

Musky Rat Kangaroo

Cassowary in the neighbour's garden

GOF’s World of Wildlife; Semester 2

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1. Giant white tailed rat.   (Uromys caudimaculatus)

Origin;     God's creation during a moment of mischief.

Habitat;    Excessively widespread.

Diet;         Electrical cable, roof insulation, PVC water pipes, wooden tool handles, plastic tool handles, tubes of workshop glue, all food crops, timber ceilings, wall cladding, plastic buckets, watering cans, and insulation tape.

and rat bait.

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