Changing Seasons – March 2020 The month everything changed.

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I’ve been wondering what to write for this month when everything changed. The life we knew has been cancelled, our freedoms restricted, our everyday activities challenged.

There were so many ordinary yet pleasurable things that I had planned for March… evenings out at restaurants, theatre, cinema. Trips to our weekly farmers market and local craft markets, museums, the library.

There was a special trip planned, to be with our daughter as she gave birth to our granddaughter. But I’m in Hobart and she is in Sydney. We soon realised that I wouldn’t be able to make the trip so readjusted our plans. I walked up and down our lounge while on the phone with her in the birthing suite, sharing our breathing, positive words and vibes.

So, I have decided to concentrate on the positives, on gratitude and the simple joys.

Our granddaughter arrived safely four days ago, Mum and bub are doing well. I am so grateful for Facetime to keep in touch with family and friends. We can see her cuddled up, hear her unique little snuffles and snores. See her big brother being so gentle and amazed.
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I am grateful that I live in Tasmania. We are an island and our government has taken strong, decisive actions to help keep us safe. This was front page on our Tassie newspaper.
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Nature continues to share it’s wonders. Rain after such a dry summer, nurturing our trees, plants and crops.
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I have paper daisy flowers from seeds I planted last year. Rocket and spinach continue to thrive in our balcony pots.
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A rainbow appeared as I left for work one morning.
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Dolphins played in our river Derwent as I got off the bus on way home. Such a joy to watch.
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There are hints that autumn is here, as our days get shorter.
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I am grateful to be part of this blog community. Stay safe friends.

#2020 Photo Challenge – Blue Tongue Lizard

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We had a visitor to our garden last weekend. I’ve seen a few Blue Tongue Lizards in the wild now, but I was able to get up close to this fellow.
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This month, Jude’s monthly 2020 Photo Challenge is all about texture. I love the contrast of textures in these photos, reptile, concrete and branch. His intricate scales and colouring is also perfect for last month’s topic of pattern.
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And I finally got a photo of his blue tongue.
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Changing Seasons – February

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Another month has flown by, with limited time to post or read other blogs. I aim to participate a bit more in the coming months, as our days draw in towards autumn and winter.

February included some unexpected travel. My flight over Tasmania revealed intriguing circles of green on the land below, where some paddocks and crops have been watered.
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I had a weekend in Sydney with torrential rain and storms, trees down, roads closed, power cuts that lasted days. We take electricity for granted. I missed my regular cups of tea. The choices for meals were limited. When offered a cheese sandwich, my son-in-law asked “Do you mean a raw Toastie?”

Then a road trip to Dubbo in NSW. The drive took us through huge landscapes with big skies.
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Through bush fire impacted areas and communities, with miles of burnt out trees on both sides of the road. There were tinges of green after the rain but still a devasting sight.
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We stopped at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, usually a place filled with tourists. It was very quiet following the fires and now the travel ban on Chinese tourists due to the corona virus. I was glad we could stop, shop, have lunch and support their local economy in just a small way. The Three Sisters Lookout was in the clouds, a beautiful eerie feel to the view.
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This was the view when we were there last May.
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Back in Tassie, we had weekends to relax and reconnect, to enjoy our local waterfront, summer drinks and beach walks.
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This is my contribution to Su’s Changing Seasons Challenge.

Changing Seasons – January 2020

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What happened to January? I don’t know where the days have gone since we returned from our New Zealand holiday. As I look back through my photos for the month, we were busy, making the most of each summer weekend.

We went blueberry picking at a local farm. My first time. The berries are delicious and are “easy pickings” almost falling into the pot as you run fingers gently over the bunch. The bushes are a reasonable height so it isn’t back breaking work either. As well as enjoying fresh berries each day we also have a few kilos in the freezer.

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As we passed another farm shop we bought raspberries and cherries a few metres from the orchards. All these fruit have so much more flavour than shop bought produce.

As we are thinking of changing our front garden to natives, we visited the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and Inverawe Native Gardens for some inspiration.

We are on water restrictions and the landscape is parched, fortunately we have had reasonable rain in this recent days.

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This is my belated contribution to Su’s Changing Season Challenge here.

#2020 Photo Challenge – Kiwifruit Orchard

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I need a few challenges for this new year, so I was delighted to read that fellow blogger Jude has set a 2020 Photo Challenge to “try out various photographic techniques, skills or concepts”

The theme for January is Composition and Framing. I didn’t know about the challenge when I took these photos earlier in the month during our NZ holiday. But these photos seem to fit the bill, taken on my iphone. I have cropped them to straighten and frame them. I need to get away from the Instagram habit of square images.
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Whilst visiting the Bay of Plenty we stayed with friends of friends whose house overlooked this kiwi fruit orchard and I was able to get up close and stand underneath the trees / vines of hanging fruit.
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I like these photos, looking straight down the “tunnel”. But .. the big leaf in the top left of this one is distracting.
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I like the hanging vine in this, but it hinders the sense of distance and there is not so much fruit in the picture.
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The fruit were not quite ready for harvest, but workers had been there earlier, thinning the leaves and removing damaged fruit.

The orchards are bordered by very high hedges which act a wind breaks.IMG_7648IMG_7662

Have a look at Jude’s photo of Godrevy Lighthouse here and links to other bloggers contributions.

Auckland NZ

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We started and ended our holiday in Auckland.
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We enjoyed the views from the Sky Tower. We did not bungy jump or walk around the outside!
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We visited the Auckland Museum at the Domain, a fascinating building with exhibitions arranged into Peoples, Natural History, Warfare and Memorial.
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Thank you New Zealand for a wonderful holiday. We took a while to plan the trip, didn’t try to fit too much into the time available. We met up with friends, relaxed over delicious meals, enjoyed the local food and wines. We walked city streets, sandy beaches and bush tracks. We saw tourist sights and local hidden gems. It was a true escape from our everyday lives.

Coromandel NZ

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The road around the Coromandel Peninsular takes you close to the water, over the hills, through a gorge. The towns are picturesque, but were busy on the weekend closing the Christmas and New Year holidays. We struggled to find a parking space.
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We had some blue skies but on Sunday 5th January the skies turned an eerie orange, due to the bush fires in Australia, over two thousand kilometres away. These photos are straight from my iphone, no filters, no edits to the colour.

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Rotorua NZ

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Rotorua is an extraordinary place. A geo thermal area with geysers, bubbling mud, pools of boiling water, steam rising into the air. There is an underlying smell of sulphur but you soon get used to that.IMG_7476

We toured a Te Puia, a geo thermal park with an interesting guide. But we also found steam, boiling water in cracks in the earth, whilst strolling around the city’s streets.

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Maori culture is on show here. Buildings, such as Maree meeting houses, food stores. canoes, totems. Traditional crafts are taught, such as carving and weaving.
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The Church on the Lake has beautiful Maori carvings and a memorable glass window with Jesus etched, walking on the water. The bodies in the graveyard are interned above ground level due to the heat of the earth.
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