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June 22, 2015 / diannegray

You can’t hide your lion eyes

We were watching David Attenborough last week on the TV. This particular program was about lions. When the camera zoomed in on the lion’s eyes, hubby commented that Casey (our dog) has the same coloured eyes as a lion. At that point he started singing (hubby, not David Attenborough)

¸.•*¨*•.♪♫♫♪¸.•*¨*•.♪♫♫♪   You can’t hide your lion eyes   ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸  

If the kids (now adults) were there they would have groaned and said, “dad’s joke”. Now every time I look at Casey that song comes into my head.

Last year I blogged about Casey when I took a photograph and noticed my reflection in her eyes. I won’t bore you with the same pictures again, but if you’d like a memory jog they are in my Interesting Reflections post.

My main character in the novel Let Sleeping Gods Lie is obsessed with eyes. They say we insert a bit of ourselves into each of our characters, so I guess my eye obsession is revealed through this particular character. I wrote Let Sleeping Gods Lie soon after my hubby was assaulted and lost his left eye. I’m yet to write a blog post about that awful time, but the words will come one day.

Last week I tried (in vain) to get a picture of Green Ant eyes, but the bodies are far more interesting than those beady little eyes. Here’s my attempt:



I couldn’t get any closer because these little critters are savage and move fast. Their nests are made by sticking leaves together and they are highly defensive and will attack in numbers. I found myself doing the green ant dance to get them off me several times! The great thing about green ants is that they keep the birds away from the fruit.

You can also eat green ants (the abdomen). They are a good source of vitamin C, traditionally used by Aboriginal people. They have quite a refreshing citrus taste, so if you’re ever lost in the Australian bush…. (ahem – let’s hope not)

The next eye I captured was of a snake. I’m not telling you how I got this one and where it actually was in case my mother is reading. Hey mum – I’m safe! LOL

I made it smaller than my other pictures to lessen the shock value.  If you want a big shock close-up, just click on it. It’s just a friendly python :shock:

Olive python eye1


Now I know what people mean when they say you’re giving me snake eyes.

I tried to get pictures of butterfly eyes, but they wouldn’t stay still like the snake.


Then I saw these two finches who refused to make eye contact with each other.
A male and female – lover’s tiff I imagine.


I received a message from WordPress last week.

Happy Three Year Blogging Anniversary!

I’ll skip away now singing…

¸.•*¨*•.♪♫♫♪¸.•*¨*•.♪♫♫♪  Happy Anniversary Baby ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸  

Have a great week!

June 15, 2015 / diannegray

Some birds and a bird-catching spider

The picture of the spider is at the bottom of this post,
so if you’re an arachnophobe – Run. Away. Now.

I see loads of birds on my daily dog walk around the farm. I try to get pictures of them, but sometimes they’re just far too elusive.  Some look pensive, some look cute and some look annoyed.

I thought I’d start off with the annoyed ones. I could just imagine the first two birds could be the baddies in a Pixar movie.

This is a Metallic Starling which is native to Northern Australia and New Guinea

Metallic Starling3

This Figbird looks like he’s had a big night out on the town with those eyes!


The Kookaburra below must have felt very pensive that day


This little cutie is one of my favourites – the Olive-backed Sunbird chick

Olive-backed Sunbird2

The Cattle Egrets often walk around the freshly cut cane fields looking for insects


There are over 630 bird species in Queensland, Australia. I need to get a little faster with the camera so I can get more pictures for you.

But in this beautiful bird paradise there are also bird predators. The Golden Orb spider is one of my favourite predators because it’s so awesome to look at. Many years ago I ran straight into a golden Orb web and I didn’t think it was great at the time! Neither did my neighbours who thought I was being murdered. But I’ve learned to keep an eye out for large webs now. These spiders will hurt if they bite, but they’re not aggressive (unless you run through their web) and their venom is potent but not lethal to humans.

The Golden Orb spider can catch small birds as well as snakes.

Hubby came across this fine specimen on the dog walk (I told him not to leave the trail!). He noticed it an inch before it touched his face  – maybe he needs glasses.

The photo is taken from the underside of the spider. It was about the size of hubby’s face.

Golden Orb spider1

Can you notice the gold web? This is why it’s called a Golden Orb spider.

Phew – you made it to the end of this post! :D

If you love cooking, check out my daughter’s Little Food Blog. But if you’re going to make dangerously good strawberries and cream hotcake, remember to put on an oven mitt to avoid second degree burns!

June 8, 2015 / diannegray

Back in action

My blogging break took a little longer than I thought it would (seriously – where does the time go?)

I’ve got a few snapshots to show you of my daily dog walk. Rain, hail or shine I get out every day (but not in cyclones or floods, you’ll be glad to know).

Our walk is a couple of kilometres (it takes over an hour so I’m roughly guessing the distance).

I actually borrowed a Go-Pro from a friend so I could take you along with me. I wore the thing on my head and felt like a complete weirdo. But after watching the footage I decided I couldn’t put you through it – with my constant head turns and look up/look down movements the whole film gave me motion sickness. So I decided to stick with the snapshots.

First stop – the creek crossing (we don’t have crocodiles on our farm, thank goodness)

Not sure what hubby's doing. I think he's washing one of the dogs faces

Not sure what hubby’s doing. I think he’s washing one of the dogs faces


Then we head to Banana Corner (and sometimes eat too many bananas)

1banana corner


Mango Alley is next (a lot of the trees on the left are mangoes – nom nom nom)

Mango Alley


Pandanus Place is next

Pandanas Place

This is the burial site of my beautiful German Shepherd who passed last year


Sometimes we’re hit by a sun shower but we don’t mind…

Dog walk5


…and sometimes it’s getting dark by the time we head home

Dog walk7


I’ve taken pictures of birds on my walk and I was going to do my next post on them, but I thought I’d share one with you here because I was pretty excited when I noticed something different about it.

I’ll give you the long shot to see if you can see it (because I didn’t when I took the shot).

It’s a nice big hawk.




Hawk and rat1

Carrying a nice big rat!

***Have a great week***

And don’t forget, Jo has a Monday Walk feature on her blog :D

December 17, 2014 / diannegray

Hello Smiley Face!

I planted sunflower seeds about a month ago and my first sunflower bloomed this week.

To get an idea of the size of it, you’ll see a black smudge just above it slightly to the left – that’s a bee.


 Here’s a close-up for those who can’t see it


I’m taking a blogging break for the holidays and wish you all a happy, safe and loving season.

I also want to take this opportunity to give a big shout out to all of you who have read my books this year and written reviews. It takes a lot of energy to read and review a book and each review is very much appreciated.

Stay safe, have fun and I’ll see you all in 2015!

November 26, 2014 / diannegray

Birthday Bonanza

Well folks, it’s that time of year again. Another birthday for me!

I like this time of year because all the lovely fruit on the trees around here is ready for picking.

I’m sitting on my back veranda (quaintly known as the Writer’s Nook) eating chocolate.

I look up and this is what I see.


You may not notice those things hanging from the left of the tree at first, so here’s a closer view


Common Mango

Then if I wander out the back with my chocolate I see these



And these

Bowen Mango

Bowen Mango

Nam Dok Mai Mango

Nam Dok Mai Mango

Breadfruit - an interesting history with Captain Bligh  and Mutiny on the Bounty

Breadfruit – this fruit has an interesting story to tell about Captain Bligh and Mutiny on the Bounty

Then I spotted this little cutie hiding near the shed

Surprise Pineapple

Surprise Pineapple

I’ve been without internet access for a while so I haven’t had a chance to catch up with my many friends here…

…but it’s back now, so I’m going to have a sip of champagne and read some blog posts before I get whisked off to dinner with friends!

November 13, 2014 / diannegray

Misty Morning RUC

It was very misty the other morning at the RUC. I jumped out of bed at about 4:30 am (yes – I slept in) to find the moon setting over the mountains and a beautiful mist rolling through the sugar cane fields. I sat for a while exploring my inner child – imagining any minute something mystical would emerge from the fog.


That light to the left is the setting moon

That light to the left is the setting moon

Straight on shot

Is that my muse emerging from the fog?

When I was a child my imagination wasn’t restrained by rules and rights and wrongs. Anything was possible and a mist, like the one I saw the other morning, would have opened all sorts of doors to the unknown. Stories of witches, monsters or fairies would have emerged to scare the living daylights out of my younger sister.

As a child it was a lot easier to flex that imagination muscle in my brain.

When the fog lifted I realised I no longer look at things like I use to when I was a child. This thought opened a door to that inactive imagination muscle, so I got it to work on the treadmill. I’m getting it into shape and it’s paying off.

I’m writing again and I’m sure I caught sight of my muse emerging from the fog, but it was early in the morning and I had sleep in my eyes.

The previous day the sugar cane next to the RUC had been cut – maybe this caused the fog, or the return of my muse. Either way, life is magical again.

This is one of the last fields to be cut. The cane cutting season will officially close this Saturday

This is one of the last fields to be cut. The cane cutting season will officially close this Saturday

 Have a mystical, magical week and take a few moments to sit back, relax and look at this beautiful world like a child again.

October 23, 2014 / diannegray

My mind is a garden

I’ve been suffering a severe bout of writer’s block for some time now, so I’ve taken out my frustration on the garden. I’ve cleared out decades of weeds, prepared the ground, planted seeds, pulled out more weeds and watered my babies into existence (then pulled out more weeds – they sprout everywhere!)

This has got me thinking (which can be a good or bad thing), that gardening is a lot like writing.

There are mountains of weeds in my mind that need clearing out. I guess weeds are something and a good sign that the fields of my mind aren’t barren. But there’s been no control over the growth. I’ve let things in and allowed them to grow without weeding them out. Instead of focusing on plants of substance I’ve been focusing on the negative things that creep in and grow so big that only a tractor can pull them out by the roots. Yeah okay, that sounds painful…

When we write we need to focus on the plants of substance and get rid of the weeds. We can clear the ground and plant the seeds, but we can’t expect them to grow without water and care (and pulling more weeds that sprout around them). Anyone can think of a story, but preparing it and spending the time to nurture it into existence is an art.

I see the farmers in this area out there every day on their tractors. They seem to work dawn till dusk seven days a week. They’re relentless because they have to be – after all, it’s their livelihood. They see me working in my garden every day. They give me a wave and tell me I work too hard. I give them a wave and tell them they work too hard. It’s like Groundhog Day, but sometimes you need that when you’re clearing the crap from the garden of your mind.

I gather the leftover mud and old sugar cane leaves from the fields and put them in my garden. I guess in that sense I’m harvesting what is discarded to add nutrients to the soil. When I write, I use experiences and emotions in the same way to add layers and sustenance to my stories.

Growth has its seasons and after all the work I’ve done on the RUC and in the garden I feel like I’m just coming into Spring.

All of the above is just a quick snapshot of my messy mind (sorry, I couldn’t take a photo).

Below are photos of how the real garden is progressing.

The corns seems to be growing well. I've put wire over the ground to stop the bandicoots from digging.

The corn seems to be growing well. I’m staggering the planting so that it doesn’t all fruit at once. I’ve put wire over the ground to stop the bandicoots from digging it up.

For your viewing pleasure, a close up of the corn

For your viewing pleasure, a close-up of the corn

The seriously sick avocado plant that was in a pot for 12 months has now bust to life with new leaves and flowers

The seriously sick avocado tree that was in a pot for 12 months has now burst to life with new leaves and flowers

I saved the old green laundry tubs from being trashed and planted cucumber in them. On the right is the old boiler and I planted zucchini in it

I saved the old green cement laundry tub from being trashed and I planted cucumber in  it. On the right is the old boiler that I dragged into the garden  to use for zucchini plants. I just love recycling!

My passion fruit vines are growing like Jack and the Beanstalk and I found this beauty the other day

My passion fruit vines are growing like Jack and the Beanstalk and I found this beauty the other day

Speaking of gardens – check out the latest review of my book Wolf Pear  by the amazing author Billy Ray Chitwood

Do you ever take two things, like gardening and writing, and compare them – or is my mind just growing nut trees?

Have a great week


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