Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - Black Soldier Fly

This Black Soldier Fly was perched on an agapanthus leaf, next to the tap above a bird bath. I'm not sure I would have even seen it if it'd been anywhere else. I asked it to pose for the camera, and it very politely did! I was so sure it would fly aware when I put my camera in it's face.

Of course I had no clue what it was. Some kind of cross between a fly and a bug. But trusty Google came through for me. I called it a "Black Bug". Brisbane insects has some info here.

I've taken a bunch of mystery shots lately, so Google will be getting a good run!

But back to the Black Soldier Fly. In my searching, I came across an article saying there was fly farming happening (you can find it here on the ABC news website), and Black Soldier Flies are the choice for the farms. 

Why farm flies? 

Because they are a good protein source to feed fish and other animals that will then feed people.

When you google 'black soldier fly' there are an awful lot of hits for selling of them - in pet shops, as larvae or live flies.

There seems to be quite an industry using these to transform organic waste to animal feed. One such article is here, but there seems to be heaps. It seems I've stumbled across a whole industry I didn't know about - not just a fly!

Here's a bit of information from that article:

While the fly only lives for about a week, during that time the efficient breeders lay between 100 and 500 eggs. 

As soon as the eggs hatch, they begin breaking down organic matter into a protein-based substance used to feed animals.

With a current nutritional content of 60 to 65 per cent protein, with the remainder a mixture of carbohydrate and fat, Mr Pike said it made an ideal substitute for soybean meal currently used in many animal feeds.

Did you know about these critters?

Friday, January 25, 2019

Fearless Friday - change

Change. Fear of change.

Changing anything can cause panic or worry or anxiety in many, because change is going into the unknown, and that often brings fears.

I've never had terrible fear of change, but I've always been over cautious about it! I plan changes and have contingency plans too!

But right now, I'm going through some weird, unplanned change. I'm becoming a morning person!

It's a complete and utter shock - to me and everyone else I know. It hasn't been a conscious change, just something that's happened this year. And yes, I know it's only been a few weeks, but it's a HUGE change for me.

This change has had no fear attached to it - because I had no intention of changing. And to make a change without fear is incredibly refreshing.

I can count on maybe both hands the number of sunrise photos I have. This is quite different to my sunset photos which are too numerous to count (I'm talking 1000s). But I took this photo on 6.05 am. I know, insane! And I woke before my alarm, which was set for 5.45 am. I never wake before I have to - or at least I didn't!

I don't know if it's some amazing Chinese herb in my tea, or just that I'm feeling better, or if the yoga meditation I've been going to on Monday mornings has rejigged my system. Whatever it is, I feel like a new person.

I used to do mornings - when camping, for working especially in summer, for special events - without too much hassle. I have never truly enjoyed them, but I did them fairly uncomplainingly.

Then I got Ross River Fever and I could sleep all day, every day. Mornings became something I never saw (but I rarely saw anything at all for a while there). Mornings were a pain in the arse because people made noise, so much noise, and disturbed me when I was trying so hard to sleep and recharge and find some energy. I juggled my life so I could sleep when I needed to, but I was never rested. I never felt rejuvenated or truly alive. Each day was an effort.

Over the last year or so, I've been seeing an acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist, and my health's been improving. I've also been doing a lot of other alternative practices, like energy healing, meditation, mindfulness, grounding, self awareness, past life exploration. I've pretty much tried anything that crossed my path a few times - and this isn't new, I've always been a dabbler in these 'odd' things. It's just that this time, they've had a huge impact.

I hope that these early mornings are a sign of improvement. I hope they signify that my health is getting better. I hope I can keep enjoying every day, and living with more joy.

And I hope I can write more!!!!!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Fearless Friday - turning ideas to action

I'll remain clothed for today's fearless post :)

I have ideas. They sprout in my head all the time. Often when I'm talking with friends, ideas just seem to snowball until we're laughing about our craziness. Do you ever have that happen?

I watched my niece recently and she's full of ideas. The interesting thing with her is that she doesn't hesitate. "Let's do this..." she says and then does it. Sometimes her ideas come on the fly and she follows them. She's 7 and I suspect this won't last much longer. I remember my nephew being similar and at 11, he's much more circumspect now.

In some cases, it's a good idea to second guess your ideas. Crossing the street without looking is something kids do, until they learn to look, because there can be consequences. Sometimes serious consequences.

I suspect I've become a lot more stagnant than I should be. I can twist myself up in a bazillion knots as I examine ideas from every side I can, determining if they're "good". And my definition of "good" has become a lot more focussed that it used to be. In the past good often meant fun, but now it means all sorts of things (like safe, financially sound, a decent return of time/investment, not open to argument from others) and fun is way down the list.

Occasionally I'm still impetuous. Often this results in deleterious events - or so I'm reminded each time I think of being spontaneous! Like last week I was on the beach playing with my niece and nephew and I bolted out of the water as they chased me, and PING!, this muscle in my hip decided it didn't like such activity. So I've been hobbling for a week - and those around me are constantly pointing out that I need to "act my age", not be so silly, and to be "realistic" about the games I play with kids. But heck, what fun is missed if I didn't just spontaneously run or play or act?!?

Same with stories. I have ideas and then I'm frozen as I examine all the implications.

A few years ago, I wanted to write about breath control during sex. But when I mentioned it, I was reminded of the danger in that, and about Michael Hutchence's death, so I have never done it.

My Past Lives story got panned in a workshop because there were too many 'as if' to believe. I went away and did years of searching and researching and most of my 'as ifs' were truths for past lives and soul mates. Without knowing anything about those 'beliefs' I could write things others believe in. Yet, rather than publish that story, I've let it sit and mould on my computer because I let my fear of failure or fear of ridicule stop me acting.

I have an idea for kids' oracle cards, and for a year I've been sitting on it, because I fear I don;t know enough to do that. I fear I don't have knowledge, or understanding, or skills, or a platform, or every other thing under the sun!

I need to get over these fears.

I need to act.

Maybe not every time, because I still need to watch out for cars on the street! But I do need to do things, more than sit on my thoughts and stagnate.

Am I alone in this weirdness? Do you do this?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - chiton

Hold on tight... I got an ID correct first go!

Yesterday, I was snorkelling in the local rockpool with my niece and nephew who are visiting. We were checking out some awesome things, including this 'underwater cockroach', and I said I thought it was a chiton.

Anyway, you know how bad my ID is, so I just wasn't sure.I worried about how on earth I'd dreamed up such a name, and why I'd just blurted it out to kids when I should have been teaching them the correct thing and not making something up.

But ahoy! I was correct! Blow me over with a feather.

So there's some information here on the Queensland Museum site if you're interested in more about chitons.

They're a mollusc (so an animal in a shell) and they like crevices and dark spots. You can see it here tucked in tight next to a rock, in a little crevice with a snail and some barnacles/top hat snails.

Their shell has 8 plates, held together by a girdle around the outside.

They eat algae and small invertebrates from rock platforms.

And I'll bask in this for a while now... :)

Friday, January 4, 2019

Fearless Friday - bodies #2

I didn't think I could write a scarier post than last Friday's but here we go...

In January last year, I was lamenting to a friend that men can just go to the beach in shorts, with a towel slung over their shoulder, and they rarely gave a damn about the gut that may hang over the waistband of their shorts.

Women, on the other hand, although they reach some age of invisibility, become visible if they do the same. But, why is that so? Why shouldn't women be able to wear a bikini with their belly protruding and their aged body showing? Why is that so terrible? Isn't it worse that we struggle into a full piece swimsuit, where we swelter before we get wet and then again as soon as we dry?

She suggested I should be brave and stride out for all womankind in my bikini and a sarong.

All year, it's sat in my head.

In winter, I bought a bikini online because it was cheap, and it was a step towards being brave.

This week, it's hot. And I know it's summer and it's meant to be hot, but summer on the coast can sometimes be hot, cold, or somewhere in between. At the moment, we have a hot spell. And that bikini called...or rather, the one piece repelled

So, I was brave - in a timid way! Late in the afternoon, I went to my beach, to my usual spot which isn't near the flags (and although that sounds dangerous, it's not really because the flags are only there for a few weeks of the year and when I have a dip outside of life-saver season, I swim here, so it's where I know. When kids visit, I go to the flag area and sometimes it seems much worse than my spot!) and I swam. I took off my sarong, and bared my belly to the world.

And that the 'world' was devoid of people, that was only a good (and lucky) thing!

It was freeing, wonderful, cool, refreshing. It almost felt like I was naked.

And when I told my friend, she told me that a whale to one fisherman was a mermaid to another - it just depended on how long they'd been at sea!!! :) :) :)

That's my fearlessness in the Christmas-New Year period. And when I retell this story, I may leave out that the beach was deserted!

Note: There are no photos of this event. No photos of the bikini either. The bottoms look like they could house a small family!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - immature Koel

 I have quite a 'birdy' backyard because I chuck out seed randomly and because we've got lots of trees around us, and I've got no pets.

Between October and December, we have Koels and Channel-billed Cuckoos and Wattlebirds arrive with all the raucous squawks and squeals and yells associated with them. The mornings become quite deafening, and take some getting used to for me who likes my morning sleep in!

The male Koel is black with a red eye. In most birds, the males are beautiful and the females dowdy, but I don't think this is true of the Koels. The female and immature Koel are very similarly colours. The adult female has a red eye, and the immature Koels have a black eye.

In the top left image, there are two Koels sitting on the waterbath and I can't decide if it's a Wattlebird or another Koel in blurry flight. In all the other shots, the Koel has a black eye, so an immature bird. I have seen the black male (but no photos this year), so I hope one of the two on the waterbath may have been the adult female.

I think this immature bird, and the female, are stunning. Those gold feathers on the head glistened beautifully in the sunshine. The banding is quite spectacular.

I'm so impressed that I was able to get these shots. I had to creep out, and I've cut away a lot of the image to show them up close, but the birds must be getting used to me, because I was probably within 7 m of him/her.

Have you ever seen such a pretty bird?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019

Happy 2019!

As we wave farewell to 2018, I think many people will remember it as a year when the world seemed to turn upside down!

I'll be remembering at the year when my health improved, when I embraced alternative  / complimentary therapies and found some relief. The year when I didn't lose my voice - not once! The year when a few repeat events came around and I handled them differently. The year when I did a lot of work and reading into alternative practices, and stepped more closely towards all sorts of right-brained beliefs. The year I spent with Tarot cards, self-reflection, past lives, fears, dreams, memories, oracle cards, self-help books, and dancing along the edges of science and magick.

What does 2019 hold?

There's always a moment as the year clicks over, when it's like starting a new story - there's a whole blank page/notebook, just waiting for characters and adventures and romance and action. But for me, until I start writing the story, I have no idea where it may go! Sure, I'll have a few thoughts, but no hard and fast map or plan.

My thoughts for my 2019 are:
  • get a few self-published stories out
  • focus more on my writing career, and less on the every day tasks that consume me (but somehow still pay the bills)
  • remain healthy
  • keep exploring all aspects of the world
  • keep exploring my right and left brain, and working to see if they can balance better
  • run my OWL on Getting Comfortable Writing Sex
  • do a few local workshops
  • put together some 'help for writers' tips/articles
  • work with other authors
  • keep enjoying the amazing creatures in my backyard
  • meet more readers and writers
  • enjoy every day of life!

Do you have plans for 2019? Or any thoughts of what you'd like to achieve/do?