I am really disappointed ...

that my friend in China can't see this blog because it has been blocked, along with facebook and others!
So now I have a new blog at here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Please visit my new blog from now on ...

at http://carmeljames.com/myblog/


Monday, July 5, 2010

Collecting fire wood

Collecting fire wood with a chain saw is very noisy, and some creatures don't really like it.
This spider was running away along the log that was being cut. When he got to the end, this photo shows he has just started spinning a web that he used to drop himself down off the bit of wood.

This Willy Wagtail was thrilled. He didn't mind the noise at all and hang around most of the time collecting food that was disturbed by our activities. I'm sure he thought Jon and I were just another couple of particularly noisy bulls!!!

(that is Jon in the top left corner cutting wood)

To finish the day off nicely, a herd of weeners that had been feeding on the stock route were quietly led past the front fence to a holding paddock up the road a bit.
A kangaroo tried not to be noticed as he was getting ready for his dinner on the lush green oats.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tawny Frogmouth

The first time we ever saw a Tawny Frogmouth, we weren't really sure what we were looking at. It had the legs of a frog hanging out of its mouth!

Last night there was a great crashing noise out side. I was hoping that a big branch might have fallen off a tree. We went out to investigate and there was a very panicky Tawny Frogmouth. When he finally settled down and froze still, which is their normal defence (they look so much like a broken bit of wood they are almost impossible to see in a tree) we could see that one eye was slightly damaged. At the same time we could here squeals of a fox, so it was easy to decide to capture the bird and look after it for a while. We have a cage that is suitable for this, and we covered it in old towels to help keep him calm and warm. This morning I raked through the garden and got a jar of worms, slaters and maggots, and Jon put them in the bottom of the cage. Being a nocturnal owl he didn't show any interest in them. I guess he wasn't particularly starving.

This evening his eye looked almost perfect again, so we opened the door on the cage, took a few photos and left him alone. Of course he wouldn't move while we were there, and we didn't want to frighten him out of the cage. He flew off all in his own good time.

Bill Bailey

Last Thursday night, in Newcastle, we saw Bill Bailey perform his latest show. The theme was hope and it was very funny. He is such a clever person, so intelligent, a great observer ... all the right values!!! ... and very good with multimedia presentations.
The best 2 hours I've had ... since I saw his last show!

smoking chimney

I think seeing smoke coming out of a chimney is one of the beautiful things about winter. It is certainly one of the reasons to live in the middle of a paddock and not have to worry about what neighbours think.

This was our chimney the other day at sunset. It's been cloudy, cold and just a little rainy since then. (4mls ... not nearly enough for a farming community).

Friday, June 25, 2010

tortoise and full moon

Yet another day working hard in the garden, and we found this tortoise!!! Being the middle of winter, I can only assume it is hibernating. It had pushed its way in under some cardboard that I had put there to mulch the garden. We prodded it to see if it was alive, and it simply pulled its head in tighter. So I put a piece of the cardboard back over it and and scattered a bit of hay over that. I think he is very lucky he chose a 'no dig' garden!

After a lot of hard work in the garden, it's always nice to clean up with a fire ... which we can do because we live in woopwoop! and not in a town, or a city!
It is almost full moon today so naturally the moon rose just as the sun was setting.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

black bamboo grove

Beautiful weather this weekend. Frosts at night but the daytime temp is about 20C so it is irresistible to be outside... and we had a job to do:

This photo shows the patch of black bamboo in our garden.
Over the years we have let it go a bit, a very heavy frost one year killed off the tallest stems that rose about 7 meters and poked out the top of the mass.

Inside it is very thick with dead stems. Walking into the bamboo grove is a beautiful experience so these old stems have become a problem

After 2 whole days of extremely hard work, we now have an open bamboo grove, but an enormous load of dead stems to dispose of.

Friday, June 18, 2010

morning fog

I had a very enjoyable day today ... at school. I went in to help the art teacher with some stuff. Because of the little bit of rain we had yesterday!!!!!! there was a beautiful fog this morning. This was the view as I drove out at about 9am.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

at last, now it's working, but ....

I have finally got my SmartStor DS4600 to work ... or least be seen by the computer, and I can see ... wait for it ... 3 out of 4 raid discs have bad sectors .... Is this normal?

DO NOT buy from this company!!!!

This is easily the most difficult web site I have ever encountered.

A long time ago, I bought an external back-up device, SmartStor DS46oo and I couldn't get it to work.

I eventually found and downloaded the latest software from www.promise.com and it still didn't work. I decided to ask for help and was required to fill in a form with the most impossibly difficult technical questions .... got a reply telling me to download this and that with no idea of where to find them; very difficult searching, nothing is straight forward, telling me where to go but no links and I don't know what they are talking about. The whole time 2 idiots are grinning at me from the top of the page. After a whole night at this ... I had other things to do, the backups could wait.

Today I had another go at it ... I eventually found my old discussion and opened it again. I was almost finished typing my story when the page disappeared and I was told my time was up, I had to log in again. Those 2 grinning gits at the top of the page just laughed at me! I couldn't reopen the page, it kept bringing up the message that my time was up. I restarted the browser, and of course all my typing was gone!!! I had to start again.

How can any business exist on such an unfriendly verging on aggressively dangerous web site?

My SmartStor DS46oo is still not working. I'm warning you .... don't buy this or anything else that might mean you have to endure the smug grins of 2 know it all imbeciles laughing at everyone who attempts to get support at www.promise.com, I promise you ... it is not fun!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

How we cope with frosty nights.

Frosts outside and this inside ....

with plenty of this.

Not bad!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

revision for an exam on Friday

This is all I seem to be doing these days. These are Chinese characters that I have written on bits of stiff paper. The translation is on the back of them. I sit at my desk and try to learn them. Sometimes it feels like a game of patience. The aim of the game is to put them all into columns of overlapping cards which tells me (for the moment!!!) that I can remember what they are. If it is not overlapping, it means I can still flick it over to see what it means. Here you can see that 2 columns are emerging 2nd and 3rd from the right. I try to limit the time it takes me to do each set ... hence the timer. And then I read the text that these words came from.
Each time I play the game, I get them into columns faster. This is an indication that something is happening in my grey matter!!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Burmese puppet

My aunt brought a pair of these puppets back from Burma about 40 years ago! They are a bit faded, but still really beautiful.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

can't see me!

This sheep knows that he shouldn't be there, and he's obviously trying to hide!

This place is one of the outdoor eating places in our garden. It is lovely to sit here and watch out over the valley.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

slip casting

A few years ago (1993!!!) I was interested in making molds of things. I still have those molds and every now and again someone wants one of the ceramic forms that come out of them. I had an order just the other day for some human skulls. An artist in the US named Charles Krafft uses them in his own creative way. So today, a beautiful sunny autumn day, I worked in my new studio and started casting . If you're interested you could see my stuff at CAJO.
btw, today was a fun day!

Monday, April 26, 2010


This dead tree had been standing just outside our place for more than 30 years, so I guess it had to come down eventually. We heard the crashing sound late last night, but didn't know what had caused it until this morning. Jon and I spent most of the day cutting it into little chunks to fit into our fire place during winter. I was looking forward to finding bird nests in the hollow branches but there was nothing there. However there was a brown snake that slithered out of it ... straight into the garden.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

name this moth!

A moth in our back yard. I have no idea what type of moth it is, but I like its fur coat!

Monday, April 19, 2010

New neighbours

Here is one of our new neighbours! A flock of 17 lads (yes, all rams!) all very quiet and friendly, just trying to seek out a little bit of something to eat in the incredibly dry paddocks. They are quite happy to hang around with the cattle, but they also go off by themselves and spend a lot of time sitting outside our front fence, under the shade of our apple tree.
To try to gauge if anyone is actually reading this blog, I think I will put up a poll. Please click yes or no to the question 'Do you like sheep?' Thank you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Golden Orb Spider

This beautiful creature has made a very large web just outside our back door! She is no threat to us, she might even help out by catching some flies, she's not in the way and she is very interesting, ... so she stays. It will be good to see how long she lasts, but it's autumn here now, and it will be frosty soon, so I suppose by then she won't want to be there any more.
She is called a golden orb because of the colour of her web, it really is very yellow and glows ... golden! Tiny little males live on the outside areas of the web and risk being eaten when they approach the female.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


A beautiful day for flying. I like it when these people who come from all over the world drop in, but today's conditions were too good for that. We live too close to their launch site, and they could go as far as a few hundred kilometers further than here if they are lucky.