"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Creepy Crawlies

In response to Thursday's post, Francie asked me if I'd happened to get shots of any Australian spiders. Thankfully, I didn't stumble across any...! I did however, spot this spider's web on the side of a rock face when we were at Huka Falls in NZ. This opening was a good 8 inches across. At the time, I turned to the lady beside me and asked how much I'd have to pay her to stick her finger in the hole!

I was actually much more horrified (& transfixed) by this colony of giant ants on display at the Sydney Wild Life exhibit. These are Bull Ants (Myrmecia) and can grow up to 1.6 inches in length.

(If you expand these pics, you'll see they are actually quite beautiful.)

They appeared to move incredibly fast on those long legs - I wouldn't want to have to outrun them. Their vision is superior and they can track and follow intruders from a distance of 1 metre.

Well known in Australia for their aggressive behaviour and powerful stings, 
the venom of these ants has the potential to induce anaphylactic shock.

I'm glad he's running the other way!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In Appreciation

Yesterday a very strong wind blew ALL day; only dying down around 7 or 8 last night. It was crazy!  Late afternoon I happened to notice this spider's web clear across the yard, wildly flapping back and forth. When I got up close, I realized just how huge it was: close to twice the size of a large dinner plate.

I had to marvel at it's beauty & strength - I only wish I'd spotted it before a full day of gale force winds had tossed it about.

Nature is incredible when you take a moment to fully appreciate it in all it's intricacy. My nine-bark blossomed yesterday - it looks like it's covered in miniature snowballs :) The teeny-tiny flowers are amazing - there's a star in the middle of each one.

Admire the design in this strawberry. I have been taking a picture of it every day as it grows and ripens. It looks like it's covered in tiny grapes! I am truly awed by nature's perfection.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

They Melted When Their Eyes Met Mine

When I was in Sydney, I managed to meet up with a few of my close & personal friends...

Angelina had her back turned, so I made my move!

Johnny's so hard to read - I wasn't sure if he was annoyed or constipated...

Keith was kind of busy, so I just admired him from the sidelines.

Leo told me his heart could go on - now that he'd finally met me :)

I was very surprised to bump into Heath!

Even JJ Hubby was a little star-struck :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

As I Lay Dreaming

I had a deep, satisfying sleep, but upon rising realized I should have spent the night in my garden instead. It was last June 24th, exactly one year ago, that my first poppy of the summer bloomed. I've been intently watching their progress this year and holding my breath... would there, could there be a chance that I'd get another June 24th season opening? It was looking very close yesterday and I have three followers who can vouch for me on this - you know who you are :) Well, this morning I was greeted with 3 poppies! They are so gorgeous and if you grow poppies yourself, you know how short-lived this beauty is; with petals like butterfly wings, they are here one moment and gone the next.

Summer set lip to earth's bosom bare,
And left the flushed print in a poppy there.
~Francis Thompson, "The Poppy," 1891

There were more miracles that took place while I dozed - it must have been yesterday's intense heat, followed by a cooling rain at some point through the night.

 Two peonies :)

The first few asters opened - still wet from the rain.

Two zucchini flowers :) These were NOT looking anywhere's near to opening yesterday. I planted two zucchini plants this year and it looks like I will be 'harvesting' hehe, close to 30 - maybe more, as they are just coming into flower. I picked up the pair of metal planters I have them in (they're much deeper - close to a foot- than this shot demonstrates) at an antique mall last summer.

Yet another reason I love to blog - how else would I have known June 24th would turn out to be a very significant day in history, lol! My blog is my diary (I've spared you the angst :) and journal - with pics!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sydney Australia, Part 2

Yesterday was our 28th wedding anniversary. JJ Hubby surprised me with this beautiful bouquet - he picked out the vase as well. I love getting flowers more and more with each passing year. Believe it or not, there was a time that I considered fresh flowers to be a complete waste of money - but I've slowly begun to appreciate them in a whole new way - they are fragile, beautiful works of art to be enjoyed - like our lives.

The afternoon portion of our Sydney tour took us to more lookouts, the famous Bondi and Manly Beaches and through a number of very posh neighbourhoods. The above bluff (which I had as my header pic a few days last week) is a popular site where many have unfortunately chosen to end their lives. In fact, an emergency Help Line has been installed along the main walking path in case some lost soul is having second thoughts. Finding this out certainly took away some of it's raw beauty for me.

 When we first arrived at Bondi Beach, this adorable couple immediately caught my eye! 

Totally mesmerizing. I could have stood at the water's edge for hours just taking pics. 
(All of these are definitely worth expanding :)

 Each scene is so transitory and unique.

 Love the layers :)

 Needless to say, I took a ton of shots!

This is Bondi Pavilion, which we had to walk through to get to the beach. It's a very interesting building with a colourful history dating back to the early 1900's when it was known as the "Playground of the Pacific". People bathed in the Turkish and 'Hot Sea Water Baths', danced in the ballroom and it was even used as an officer's club at one point. Nowadays, with a theatre, a gallery, music, art and pottery studios to name a few, it is the cultural hub of Bondi.

 Back on the bus, we headed over to Manly Beach.

The Macquarie Lighthouse was Australia's first lighthouse. First erected in 1818, by Francis Greenway (the famous convict architect, responsible for many significant buildings in early Sydney), the tower soon began to deteriorate and several large stones fell away as early as 1823. When it was commissioned, Greenway had correctly predicted the poor quality of the sandstone being used would result in rapid deterioration - and the tower had to be rebuilt in 1883!

 As we passed by, our tour guide pointed out a neighbourhood with a definite New Orleans flair to it.

 Not great pics, but I think you can get the idea :)

This is what's known as 'Federation' architecture and prevalent from around 1890 - 1915.

 A quick pit stop. We were pretty parched by the time we arrived at Manly Beach...!

There are over 200 stores concentrated in this area, from eclectic to high-end and everything in between; I sure wish we'd had more time there to explore them.

 The clouds that had hung around off and on all day now mysteriously vaporized.

The perfect end to a fabulous day.

 This beach seemed to have a colder, wilder feel to it.

 A last look...

Well, that was our nine hour tour - I hope you enjoyed it! I apologize for the heavy picture load... but if it's any consolation, I've only shown you a fraction of the pics I took :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sydney, Australia

Our time in Sydney, Australia was nothing short of wonderful. This scene was right around the corner from where we were staying - our hotel is just to my right on the same side of the street. Seeing the Sydney Opera House in person was definitely a dream come true. Above me spans the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge - this is where the fireworks are let off every New Year's Eve.

 Sydney is an exciting cosmopolitan city; and like all big cities, a cornucopia of very modern... 

and historical buildings.

Our nine hour tour included stops along a number of harbours and bays - this fabulous tree sits atop the bluff I am pictured by below.

 I really loved this particular spot - you can just see the bridge and opera house off in the distance.

 Here's one example of the many parks we drove by in the downtown core. 

At noon we exited the bus and boarded a boat for a luncheon cruise in the Sydney Harbour. 
We had a few drinkie-poos in celebration :) Oh, and the food was great as well!

Next post I'll show you the afternoon portion of our tour.