A few years back, possibly 2010, Jo and I and the dogs went for an adventurous walk on the top of Mount Macedon. It was late Autumn and I could sense some rain coming. The walk was relatively short and we figured we would make it. Mount Macedon is 1000 metres above sea level and is lovely place to visit all year round. There are some hidden dangers in the Australian bush.
About 100 metres into the walk I started feeling a little uneasy about the weather. The air had an iciness about it and with rain in late May it could be quite unpleasant if unprepared. I decided to retreat, with my dog Billie, and push back to the car. Jo wanted to push on. I told her, and little Rogan, I would meet them about 2 km down the track, where another larger forest track intersected the walk. That way she did not need to retrace her steps.
I drove on to the the carpark nearest the intersecting point and with Billie, headed 100 m or so down the forest track to rendezvous with Jo and Rogie. They had not arrived yet so I waited a about 10 minutes and there they were. The weather had indeed worsened so we all scurried back to the car.
Upon arriving at the car we noticed that all of us had quite a number of little leeches on our clothing. I had encountered this many times bushwalking and just systematically flicked them all off. Jo, who also knew how to deal with leeches, was wearing tracksuit pants and she had so many she decided to just remove them. There was no-one around and she was wearing underwear. The dogs had heaps of them too so we flicked all of them off and jumped in the car.
Safe in the car with Jo driving, we headed back down to home. The road was empty of traffic. A short distance down the road Jo was feeling a little uncomfortable, around the eye. She stopped, did not pull over, and screamed at me to check her eye. “Can you see anything? There’s salt in the glove-box. Quick!” “Ar yes there is; I’m getting the salt now” I said. Just at that moment, as Jo was applying the salt, a police car pulled to the right of us. Jo’s window was down and we both explained the situation, but not Jo’s attire – it seemed irrelevant.
Thankfully they understood immediately, pulled up in front of us and handed me a bottle of water on the passenger side “Keep it” they said. Jo was able to stop the leech from crawling under her eyelid.
Added for The Changing Seasons December 2018 Thanks Su
Just because I don’t come here often does not mean I going to abandon blogging. It is a pretty special place here and I hope to hang on by a thread for a while yet. Been a crazy couple of months with Mum moving into a nursing home, industrial fire clean-ups and the continuation of the move into our lovely new house. It’s funny being in the ‘burbs again. Like, I’m not big on Halloween; it’s not really an Aussie thing. Yet. But boy did we get swamped by kids wanting lollies. We had been preparing for yearly Melbourne Cup weekend away from it at the Maldon Folk music festival. Jo bought a nice selection of sweets for the campers. Oh no. Spooky looking children in expensive ‘the scream’ masks moving from side to side wanting lollies from the new neighbours. And what is it with the pumpkins? Our pumpkins are good in May!! oh well. The whole event seemed harmless enough. Then there’s Thanksgiving. We don’t do it. But the following day there was all this crap about Black Friday. Grrrrr. To be honest, it didn’t really affect me that much. But surely you have to give thanks before you thanks give? Thanks Su
In the last two months I have been busy with moving and visiting my mother in several hospitals. Mum is 95 and has undergone bowel surgery and is currently in a rehab hospital. She probably won’t be able to go home.
In late August. early September Melbourne endured a horrible industrial fire. I have added a couple of pics.
We have moved to our new house but are still managing the old property as we hope it to be subdivided into two blocks. This is a very involved process requiring all kinds of local government scrutiny. I do not agree with rampant, unchecked development so I am in full agreement with this process.
Our new house is comfortable and is situated on 1600m2 in 10 year old estate. A considerably more manageable piece of land. We are loving it so far; it has a few flaws but what house hasn’t? Our older dog doesn’t like much but the young dog loves it.
Spring has arrived here. We are experiencing warm days and cold nights. Like Su in New Zealand, we have been warned of a horror Summer ahead of us. So I am enjoying these beautiful days. And I am yet to cop hay fever!
Today is the day of the Australian Rules football grand final. Two avian teams are playing – the Magpies vs the Eagles. I follow neither. I am supposed to have some allegiance to the Victorian team, the ‘pies’, but I can’t bring myself to that place. I will be barracking for the Eagles (from Perth)
I have decided not to add any photographs in this post (but I’m going to) I was hoping I could explain to you, maybe the one or two readers I have, the wonder of this time of Venus’ synodic cycle, which is 584 days or 1.6 years. Put simply, Venus takes 225 days to orbit the Sun, Earth 365, but 584 days for Venus to lap Earth.
Please look at the table below.
Inferior conjunction is Earth/Venus/Sun in a line.
Superior conjunction is Earth/Sun/Venus in a line.
Max elongation W is when Venus is the highest it can be in the pre-dawn sky.
Max elongation E is when Venus is the highest it can be in the post-dusk sky.
The stations are an easy concept to understand but too hard for to describe here. But if you could draw a line of the planet’s position in comparison to background stars, there would be a period when the planet travels in a retrograde direction.
8 15 2015 Inferior Conj. 19:22 GMT … 22Le39
9 6 2015 Direct Station 8:30 GMT … 14Le23
10 26 2015 Max. Elong. W. 7:20 GMT … 16Vi07
6 6 2016 Superior Conj. 21:51 GMT … 16Ge36
1 12 2017 Max. Elong. E. 16:12 GMT … 9Pi48
3 4 2017 Retro. Station 9:09 GMT … 13Ar09
3 25 2017 Inferior Conj. 10:17 GMT … 4Ar57
4 15 2017 Direct Station 10:18 GMT … 26Pi55
6 3 2017 Max. Elong. W. 6:16 GMT … 27Ar03
1 9 2018 Superior Conj. 7:01 GMT … 18Cp57
8 17 2018 Max. Elong. E. 8:09 GMT … 10Li18
10 5 2018 Retro. Station 19:04 GMT … 10Sc50
10 26 2018 Inferior Conj. 14:16 GMT … 3Sc06
11 16 2018 Direct Station 10:51 GMT … 25Li14
1 6 2019 Max. Elong. W. 6:10 GMT … 28Sc45
8 14 2019 Superior Conj. 6:08 GMT … 21Le11
3 24 2020 Max. Elong. E. 7:37 GMT … 20Ta08
5 13 2020 Retro. Station 6:46 GMT … 21Ge50
Now so what, you may say. Fair enough. Well this period of Venus’ station coincides with Jupiter being high in the evening sky too. This occurred at last synodic period also, but it was about a month earlier. Now our relationship with Jupiter is pretty simple. We lap it every 399 days.
Now this is the clincher for me. You may know I am obsessed with the 3D nature of long distance photography. When I look at the stars and the planets, it is really hard for me to envisage 3D, especially at such a grand scale. But with these two planets where they are at the moment, you can. Imagine a big disc, and we are about 1/3 of the way from the middle of the disc. After the Sun sets, you see Venus which is not only closer to the Sun, but is on the same side of Sun as us, and is travelling faster than us. Higher up you see Jupiter, which is on the other side of the Sun and about 2/3 out from the disc. (Saturn is at the limit of our naked eye viewing at 3/3. So your eyes are skimming across this great distance with perception of depth. I just love it. I will get a pic later.
Now the Sun set not so long ago; the first celestial objects I spotted were Venus quickly followed by Jupiter.
Very faint but you can see them. I’ll grab another one later.
Ok, it’s July 31. I’ve had enough of this Winter thing now. I know we still have another three months of it to go down here in Victoria.
I have been playing a lot of music lately so my photos have suffered. And I am itching to get out on the water again. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I’m off to Gippsland again.
Also, Jo and I have been slowly emptying rooms here. After living here for 20 years, we are yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll get there. Here’s some pics from July. Added for Su’s Changing Seasons which can be found here.
June 30 already! It is been a different month for us with me changing to working 0.7, and preparing to move off the farm to a suburban block. I have added the usual bunch of cloudy watery pics with a couple of ring-ins taken by others.
Driving in the country in Australia, especially at night, and more so in Winter, is a challenge due to our lovely furry friends jumping in front of us without warning. This photograph is doctored but is a timely reminder for all of us to slow down a bit and keep our eyes peeled.
Last week Jo and went to see a special viewing of movie called Brothers’ Nest. Shane Jacobson attended the screening with an introduction and post movie Q&A session. I enjoyed the movie very much. It could be classified as a black comedy. For Australians it is nothing like Kenny. It’s distribution may be limited to Australia. Jo and I are in this photo but we cannot be resolved.
Thanks again Su for running changing seasons. See her blog here.
I get out sampling a fair bit these days. It’s a great job; I’m so lucky to have it this late in my career. The youngies put up with my whinging about my back or something else that might be bothering me. We get the work done no matter what the weather. On Thursday 21 June, our Winter solstice, we a had a glorious day for sampling on the Bay. Port Phillip is a large (1930 sq km), very open and mostly shallow embayment. It is separated from the sea by a narrow opening referred to as the rip; mainly because with tidal changes, the sea rips through there at quite a rate. Having said that, we do not have tidal variations seen in other parts of the world like Cornwall or The Kimberley; the Bay would indeed be a very different place if that was to occur. I have seen seals, dolphins, penguins and many migratory birds in the Bay. Whales visit, but I am yet to see one. Being next to a city of more than 4 million people, it has been hammered over the years. Treated sewer still empties into it; it has been over-fished and subject to many nasty pollution events. At its northern, southern and western ends it is has been deeply dredged for shipping. Despite this, it is still beautiful. Here’s some pics from the other day.
Mal, left, is checking data from the profiler, far left. Chris is filtering samples. I have completed my phytoplankton tasks
At the centre of the bay, we try to hook on to the buoy, rather than anchor, as the bay is 24 m deep. The hooking rope was damaged so we were unable to.
Late again. May started warm and ended quite cold. The fire is chugging along quite nicely and days are short. And at the end of May I got the dreaded Manflu.
It has been a month of car breakdowns. I have a bad habit of holding on to cars for too long and yes, they breakdown spectacularly. I’m out of pocket over 2 K and this car is running nicely one minute then all of a sudden, no transmission. On the freeway, thankfully out of the burbs. I just managed to get the car off the road, rang roadside assist and waited in the cold on the other side of the armco railing for a tow, because every monster truck that went by would wobble the car. That’s cars.
What a great day I had with the sampling team on Port Phillip Bay. The Bay was lumpy but we managed to finish all 6 sites, replicates and blanks. And we did all of this in 9 hrs.
Later in May our team headed down to Lake Wellington, the westernmost lake of the Gippsland Lakes, to investigate more sampling sites and to be involved in a media event. Lake Wellington is a large shallow brackish lake. It is partially surrounded by farmland and an RAAF air base. The LaTrobe River empties into it. I had initially requested to be not interviewed but I gave in and accepted it in the end. I was zero prepared. My colleague did not skip a beat but I bumbled my way through my bit. Thankfully, the editing skills of the journalist made me sound like a professional.
Now I’m 60 I’m grabbing every opportunity I have to make my life more interesting. I have not always done this; I don’t regret it because you can’t turn back time. There are also many very valid reasons why I have lived my life as I have to date; not a topic for these pages as I would bore you to tears.
I’ll add some photos below for Su’s changing seasons .
Looking west from Mt Macedon
Looking south-west from Macedon
Melbourne through the haze from Mt Macedon
Me sampling at Lake Reeve taken by Chris Garland
Lake Reeve at Loch Sport taken by Chris Garland
Sampling at Lake Wellington taken by ABC journalist
April for me has been mixed, with some highs and some lows. I know people like a good read, but I live my life with Jo and the dogs, play music, take photos and measure things. I wish I could enjoy writing but I just make a hash of it most of the time. Here is some photos from April 2018. Still warm here, even today on May 1. Colder nights and mornings. The beach is all (mostly) packed up, with our caravan still in a suburban driveway waiting to be brought home by a suitable vehicle. Thanks again Su for you inspiration and changing seasons initiative.
I turned 60 in March. This cake was baked by a colleague pictured below on the boat. Thanks Chris
As I approach the end of my wonderful 4 weeks off work I realise I have done a lot of things but I have not reconnected with blogging. I’m so glad that Su has kept the changing seasons going because I can continue to drop in here at least once a month. It’s been an eventful month with spending some time down at the beach, home and a few days in the mountains. Here’s some snaps