They’re quite beautiful, self assured, pristine in white with fine yellow crest, a group of eight or nine Sulphur Crested Cockatoos arrive for a late lunch on the deck.
They look a little surprised as I take to them with my Starwars ‘Lock and load’ pump action water pistol. Flying off, indignant, raucous screeching and so they should be after munching through a few more sections of deck. Water spray is a small price to pay.
They are the vandals of the bird world, a Clockwork Orange bunch of droogs bent on mischief with casual violence thrown in gratis. These are the birds who walked along the handrail and ate a forearm’s worth of newly erected door jamb and followed that up with a few fingers worth of freshly painted window frame …. I’m not fond of these birds and I find that the word insolence readily comes to mind when I reflect on their behaviour towards me. Silly to give them human characteristics, perhaps, but King Parrots truly are regal, being unafraid as kings should be. So – Cockatoos, nonchalant, clever to the point of cunning and one will perch on the topmost branch of an old Gum tree next door surveying the gardens all around.
I feed the birds but not so regular now, – a bit of seed for the parrots and some porridge, softened oats really, for the Magpies, the Currawongs, the Satin Bower birds and the Wattle birds. Sometimes Galahs grace me with their presence, with their pink and grey feathering and it’s a colour bath to the eyes with the appearance of the King Parrots and Rosellas.
There’s a certain amount of ‘give and take’ when the birds feed. Yes, there’s the pecking order but the smaller birds dart in and out to claim some share without too much opposition. Some eat seed but not porridge and vice versa … with the exception of both pigeons and Cockatoos. Pigeons eat everything very fast. Then they move on. They’re on a mission. I try not to feed them.
The Cockatoos arrive, take over the place, push the other birds around and away, eat both seed and oats and follow it up with some decking.
“They’ve been known to shred trees!” he added darkly. It’s true.
I like Autumn, the cooler temperatures and the different tasks. All the garden tools with wooden handles get a light sanding and some linseed oil applied to rescue them from summer’s use and to weather them through the winter. Autumn is the time of cutting so it’s good to have cleaned up the fire hazard next door with my reciprocating saw – what a useful tool - and to get rid of the evidence. It’s like nothing has happened and it’s always looked this way and there’s something very satisfying about this type of garden creativity. Making things disappear.
My musical skills are adequate but minimal and I’ve written my songs using simple chord structures and without anything but basic strumming. I don’t know what to make of my own work, some lyrics now make me wince but I loved them all when writing them and what’s done is done.
The phrase ‘winners and losers’ was in common use, or so I remember it, before political correctness thought it controversial. I did wince then at its common use because all of us can be seen as losers … there’s truth in it, for me, certainly – ‘Songs of a loser’ … someone who didn’t quite ‘get it’ or missed the moment but got the point … hmm … so eventually I stopped playing my songs at the local pub, at their open mike night, and put the guitar away.
Anyway, time passes … practice, practice and improvement follows. In that wider field of musical expression I’m making progress, albeit slow and it’s not a race, it’s an interest lifelong.
It’s that perfect time of the year when the length of the day equals the length of the night. Dawn at 7.05 a.m. and dusk at 7.04 p.m. while the moon is ‘waning gibbous.’ What an evocative phrase my computerised weather forecast uses. Storms roll through here with lashings of rain but the flood, fire and drought which much of the country endures, as yet, leaves us untouched, the garden is green.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, I’ll dig up and move a Tree Fern. It’s only to move it by a few feet but it’s a better spot for a few reasons. The sixty or so, slow growing Tree Ferns in this garden all have room to unfurl their fronds easily while this one is a bit restrained and on a pathway. As this Tree Fern is now only knee high, I’ll be able to move it, without too much effort, to where its large fronds can also move freely. It’s a good time of year to make this move without giving too much shock to the plant. They’re graceful creatures are TreeFerns. They like a bit of space, allows them to dance in the moonlight.
Last evening I transplanted a potted Frangipani, very tropical and a bit root bound, into a much larger container. I’d love to have them here but they don’t survive the winters – it’ll go back, before the dead of winter, to a warmer land, able to stretch in its bigger home.
It’s been a weather report, a grateful for small mercies note.