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April 23, 2017 / diannegray

Pulling cobwebs from dragonfly wings

Sympetrum_flaveolum_-_side_(aka)

Photo by Aka 

I had a strange experience the other night. I noticed a dragonfly on my front porch that was struggling to get to its feet so I grabbed some cling wrap and wrapped it loosely so I could pick it up and take a better look. I could see its feet were wrapped in cobwebs so I made a hole in the plastic and carefully removed the web until its feet were free. I unwrapped it from the plastic and (you’d think that would be the end of this story and the dragonfly would fly away, etc… but not so) something odd happened.

Once the legs were free it flew awkwardly at my face, so I put my hand up and it landed on my hand with its wings shivering.  That’s when I noticed its wings were also covered in webs. I gently pinched the end of one web hanging from its wing and began to pull. The dragonfly stuck tight to my hand and shook only that wing as I pulled harder to remove the web.  Once that was clear I started on the other wings until all four were clear of webs. This entire time the dragonfly clung tight to my skin and only shook the wing I was working on at the time to help rid itself of every speck of web.  This process took about twenty minutes. When I’d finished, it tested each wing and then flapped them all at once. It then sat there for a moment looking at me before flying off into the night.

I know I tell you that I love animals and they seem to be attracted to me (I wish the snakes weren’t), but this experience took things to a whole new level and gave me a feeling I’ve never had before.  My hubby and my neighbour were watching all this so intently that neither of them thought to film it! Hubby said, “I knew you were Snow White, but this is ridiculous.”

 I had the distinct impression that this dragonfly knew I was helping it.
But it’s an insect – how could it possibly know?

Have you ever experienced a strange animal or insect look at you as if they understand what you’re doing – or am I just turning into a crazy dragonfly lady? 😀

 

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April 10, 2017 / diannegray

The Thoughtful Present

Last week I mentioned to my neighbour (Joey) that I’d been looking for an old tractor disc so I could convert it into a bird bath.  He said he’d search around his shed and let me know.

Much to my surprise he arrived on Thursday afternoon and presented me with a tractor disc he had welded to some old iron legs – and not only that, he’d found some chain left over from the horse and cart days that he attached to a piece of wood he chiselled out so I could place bird seed underneath!

I often talk about thoughtful presents and have been asked a few times what this actually means. The thoughtful present is precious because of the personal value, the care and attention that’s gone into it, the symbolic meaning, and the practicality.

I’ve known Joey and his mother for about 30 years. He now runs the family farm as well as working another job and caring for his mother in her old age. I often visit her, help out where I can and take her to lunch and shopping. He tells me how much he appreciates this, but it’s no trouble at all – I know he’s under a lot of pressure and I love his mother very much. I believe that everyone deserves dignity, respect and assistance as they age and can no longer do the things they were once able to do with ease.

I love my new bird bath and can’t wait to put it to the test!

Let me know what you think of it
and if you have ever received a thoughtful present.

Bird bath

***Have a great week***

March 26, 2017 / diannegray

Shopping, house approval, and a gold star (sorry, ‘star’ should read ‘spider’)

I went shopping today and I don’t know who wrote/approved the sign at Woolworths, but it certainly had me confused (and a few of the staff). So I got two avocados and they cost me nothing because the signage was wrong. Don’t you just love a freebie?

Avocado price

But the big news this week is that the RUC is now fully approved and signed off. I know I’ve been a stranger here lately, but there’s been a lot to organise. There’s still work to do on the incidentals (like painting) but the long hard road of getting the place up to scratch and officially signed off has been worth it.

Glasses of champagne all round!

Champagne

Before the final inspection of the house I saw this beautiful gold spider (I wonder if it bought me luck). It’s tiny (about half the size of my little fingernail) so don’t let the close-up picture scare you. The photo doesn’t really do it justice because it looked like solid gold.

Gold Spider1

And for all those people (including family and friends) who live not far to the south of me I hope you stay safe as Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie approaches the coastline.

Sending love and strength to you xxxxx

Cyclone Debbie

CRIKEY!!!

 

February 21, 2017 / diannegray

Fjord Blue

I’ve had a busy and rather eventful break over the holidays – yes I know I’m a little late returning back to the fold but life got in the way. In early February I got some kind of hideous allergy and my eyes went red and bulged like a goldfish – and if that wasn’t bad enough, hubby got an infection on his knee and spent the first half of the month laid up in hospital. He likes to think he’s super so when they told me he had an antibiotic-resistant superbug in his leg I knew he’d gone just a little too far this time.  I couldn’t drive in to visit him because of my eyes, but my neighbour graciously took up the cause and acted as my chauffeur (thanks Joey).

After a load of antihistamines for me and a good team of doctors working around the clock for hubby, we’re both back to normal and getting on with things. All that nearly came to an end on our first dog walk after hubby came out of the hospital when he accidentally trod on a black snake – luckily it slithered off into the bushes as soon as he lifted his foot off its back. I’m sure he has nine lives!

I was really happy to receive a wonderful review from Jacqui Murray for my novel Wolf Pear. Jacqui is the author of To Hunt a Sub and Building a Midshipman and she gives awesome tips on writing, as well as sharing great descriptions and quotes on her blog WordDreams.

I’ve now got a balustrade on my ‘under-house’ stairs so there’ll be no more gripping onto walls for me as I run down to hang the clothes on the line. The fjord blue colour features a lot on the rails and doors on the outside of the RUC and is in keeping with the original Queenslander design of the house.

 

I hope everyone out there is well and got off to a better start to 2017 than we did.

***Have a great week***

November 18, 2016 / diannegray

Red and Green Week

Everything seemed to be going red and green this week. I had three sets of Red Finches hatch at the RUC. There were four nests but unfortunately I saw a snake in one on Monday night and by the time I pulled it out (yes, you read that right) the finches were gone (I was sad but I guess snakes have to eat too).

But the others all fledged and are now healthy and chirping around the cane fields.

red-finch

This cute little guy (below) opened his mouth when I was taking my shot. I wonder if he was yelling at me because I couldn’t save his cousins?

Red Finch Mouth Open.JPG

Here are their nests. The first is a ‘before it’s fitted out’ shot.

Nest before.JPG

And the next one is ‘after the birds have flown the coop’ shot.

nest-after

I bought the nests at a town & country shop close by for under $5 each. They’re pretty cute!

Now for some green

This little guy didn’t jump on me when I took his photo – so I was pretty grateful for that!

frog

The Lichee trees are in full fruit and they’re very red and green!

The night of the election a spider jumped in my salad (I didn’t know if the spider or Trumps win gave me a bigger fright). I didn’t put the picture here because I thought it may freak you out too much – but I did tweet it if you’re brave enough to have a look. What a waste of a delicious salad! I had to have ice cream for dinner instead.

***Have a lovely week no matter what colour yours is!***

November 4, 2016 / diannegray

Guess what I found on the back of my pants?

When I returned home from my grocery shopping on Thursday I brushed my hand over the back of my pants and found this:

plastic-diamond

It’s some kind of plastic diamond sticker. I figure I probably sat on it when I had my coffee at the mall. I felt so stupid special. I’m sure most people at the mall would have thought I was starting a new trend.
“Wow! there goes the lady who sticks plastic diamonds on her bum! I want to be just like her.”

Apart from this making me enormously popular, my week was interesting – so here are some titles:

Monday

A Spider Ate My Mouse (Horror) – What is happening in the small town of Rucville? A woman battles a hairy eight-legged force who takes up residence on her computer mouse. Does she finish her novel, or run screaming from the house to fight again another day?

Tuesday

Sleepless in the RUC (Action) – A local resident stands against teens who decide to try out their new four wheelers at all hours of the night. Can one man really scare off these jokers? You bet!

Wednesday

Water! (Drama) – When a tractor catches fire the driver decides to head straight for the RUC to find water. The lady of the house is not impressed (unfortunately I didn’t get photos).

Thursday

The Diamond  Buttock (Comedy) – How long can one woman walk around with a diamond stuck to her bottom when she’s not Kim Kardashian?  Will she ever be able to find the diamond’s rightful owner?

Thanks to those who played along last time I did my Week in Titles. Marsha Ingrao and Irishnana and (of course) the lovely boss-lady who inspired me, Jo (who doesn’t have a website so I can’t link here).

*****

Before I sign off – I’ve changed my book covers for hard copy on Creatspace. Take a look on the right of the screen and let me know what you think       ➡ ➡ ➡

 

***Have a great week!***

September 26, 2016 / diannegray

My Week in Titles

I don’t know about you, but I really start to struggle when I know I have to name something (a child, a book, a poem, a pet…), but some people can pluck fantastic names out of thin air and it seems effortless to them. Grrrrr

When I worked full time I had a wonderful manager who was organising training for the team and she asked me to write two lists:

  1. Work I’m really good at and love doing
  2. Work I’m not so good at and don’t like doing

She tricked me because she took all the things from my #2 list (like mathematics, finance and contract management) and enrolled me into training. Had I been smarter like one of my colleagues (who said they didn’t like writing, sending emails and internet searches) I would have been enrolled in some really fun courses.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how wonderful my manager was and how she steered me towards some great career goals – so I decided to write my own #1 and #2 lists to see how much my life has changed over the years and maybe get stuck into some new forms of training.

The first words to come up in my #2 list were naming things and writing titles.

Hence, the name of this post. For each day of last week I wrote a title for a book or movie and just for fun I added a genre and short description (short descriptions also give me the cold sweats).

Here goes:

Monday

Dog Fight (War) – All hell breaks loose when an elderly man finds a box of old bones in his freezer and throws them to the dogs under a house called the RUC.

Tuesday

The Horses of Cane (Comedy) – When two horses escape and declare the sugar cane fields their new race track the farmers can only look on in disbelief (with hilarious ‘R’ rated out takes).

Wednesday

Children of Satan (Horror) – A trip to The Mall becomes a nightmare for an unsuspecting shopper when she realises its school holidays.

Thursday

The Pudding Burned (Romantic Comedy) – A gas cooktop provides a valuable lesson for a married couple on how to work together when a tea-towel catches fire.

Friday

Leap (Thriller) – A man discovers how high he can jump when a red-bellied black snake crosses his path.  On landing, he is shocked to learn his wife can run faster than Usain Bolt.

Saturday

Seed (Crime) – Who is stealing the bird seed? The twist in the end will shock you!

Sunday

The Line (Drama) – One woman’s struggle with a clothes line in desperate need of repair will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Which one would catch your attention of it was a movie or a book?
(you can say none of them and I promise I won’t be offended)

****

That’s enough silliness for now. If you feel like writing your week in titles just link back to this post and I’ll link you into my next post.

Here is a picture of the horses that escaped and caused chaos to the farmers on Tuesday.

horses

 

***Have a great week!***