The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

...You can't hide the truth from them


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Monday, 23 July 2012

Current writing projects ...

I started writing a novel based on my experiences but it's really slow going.  I know that I often avoid writing it because of the associated memories and traumas of my earlier life.  I'm not happy with the title either but it'll all happen when it's supposed to and there's no sense in getting stressed over it time wise.

The second title on the go is 'Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder'.  It's a guide of different ideas and coping mechanisms from my viewpoint.  I'll be sharing some Native Amercian (First Nations)) medicine in the title and touching on quite a varied toolkit.

The third title is my third volume of poetry:  Soul of a Wolf - Poetry of a Veteran (ISBN 9780956488596).  I already have the cover visualised in my mind's eye and have registered the ISBN with Neilsen tonight.

Here's a sneak peak  - the image is just for the web (my friend Derek asked me to post an image of the roses I've been growing - here it is mate!):

Keep an eye on http://www.facebook.com/snowmoonwolf for updates or follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SnowMoonWolf.

All the best


Saturday, 14 July 2012

My garden in July ...

I've just had a walk around my garden.  It's been raining on and off again and the tempratures have still been warm enough to promote growth.

The Buddleia have all flowered, though the largest bush has only just started.  There's a worrying lack of bees and butterflies in the area though.  This time last year the garden was full of insect life.  I'm lucky if I see ten bees a day now.  I haven't seen any butterflies for a few days now.

The special rose that I put my energy into has quite a few more rosebuds and two semi open roses.  The scent is exquisite.  I was hoping to be able to share them with someone special but it hasn't happened ...yet.

The other roses, white, yellows. pinks and reds are all doing well and the climbing roses will have to be trained further round the frames.

The Virginia Creepers are all doing well.  The two new members of the garden have reached the house wall now from their pots and should start their journeys to cover the side of the house.

I have only one piece of fruit in the garden - a cherry that I've been watching as it grew green, turned yellow and finally red.  I'm guessing that it isn't ripe enough to eat yet.  I'm watching it daily in the hope of beating the squirrels and birds to it!

The bird feeders are mainly empty as there is so much natural food out there for them at the moment.  I'm sure it's better for them.  Once Autumn approaches, I'll load them up again.  I can still see all the different species using the garden as they forage for food in the trees and plants.  I've seen more Thrushes than ever before here.

The Water Mint has gone mad!  It's growing high and strong - long may it continue.  I love rubbing my fingers on a leaf for a sniff.  It smells beautiful.  There is some regular cooking Mint too, Roesmary, Sage and Thyme as well.

The Fuschia that seemed to have died off last winter has not only bushed back but has started flowering.  It's a great lesson in never giving up hope.

The Olive Tree has made a comeback.  It seemed to have suffered since the Winter before last but there's lots of new growth on there now and I'm wondering if I'll get any olives this year.

There's no sign of the beautiful Frog that I saw in the Spring or the little Toad.  I'm hoping that they're still alive and around.  There are plenty of insects and slugs around for them to eat.  There's still no sign of any Newts.

I spotted a young Sparrowhawk circling over the garden the other morning, crying excitedly as if to announce the fact that it could fly and hunt.  I suspect it will learn to hunt silently like the adults soon when it gets hungrier.

The Wysteria is growing at a grand rate.  One stem has nearly reached half way accross the garden to the trellis.  I'll tie that off soon.  The bamboo frame will be covered by the Autumn and I can't wait to see the display of flowers there next Spring.  The scent automatically reminds me of Italy.

The front garden is wild now and the various grasses and weeds that those yellow and black striped caterpillars need will be a plenty.  I'll trim that area down when they disappear.  Next year's project is to make a rockery in the front garden.

There's no sign of any use around the Bat box and I've made a note to myself that I'll have three Bee boxes in the garden by Winter.

The evening fills me with a sense of peace when the daylight disappears and the lighting comes on; I visibly relax into the energy of the Garden.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

European Bee Eaters in Italy ...

This species has been on my list of beautiful animals to photograph for about three years now.  I've tried to make contact with a few people that have photographed them over the years ... but, sadly, never received a response that was helpful.

I was in Italy again the week before last.  My friends had told me that they would be introducing me to a friend of a friend who was a bird photographer.  As I was using a budget airline with hand baggage only, I packed some light combats in case I got to go and do some photography with the guy.

I met the guy on the Wednesday, Loui, an Italian Air Force Veteran ... and what's the first thing he says?  'Did I want to see a European Bee Eater colony?'  My response, after picking my jaw off the deck, was 'Ohhh Yes!'

So started a new friendship and two difficult days of photography.  The temprature ranged between 38C to 40C by the second day.  I had a couple of shots that were usable on day one but nothing compared to what I may have gotten if I had my full kit with me.

Loui was busy with other projects and dropped me in the zone, coming back periodically with water so I could hydrate again and again ... and again!  My combats were drenched with sweat by the end of day one and I was at the limit of my body pain threshold by day two ... which wasn't good when added to only having about three hours of sleep in the time I was away on this trip.

It was worth it though!  Day one was mainly a recce to watch how these birds fly, communicate and hunt.  I was very surprised to see that they act more like a tactical squadron of an air force than any other bird species that I've observed to date.  After delivering the food to the nests, the birds would all fly off together to hunt more insects (bees, beetles, butterflies, dragonflies and damsel flies).

One bird would come back before the others and reconnoiture the nesting area, while constantly communicating with the other birds, then they'd all start coming back in and rest in the trees for a little while before delivering the food and heading off again.  

Some birds with bigger prey would sit for longer in the trees and I wondered if they were displaying their catch to other members of the colony with some sense of pride.

As the wind shifted, their flying skills were taxed, particularly around the different plant life that was scattered on approach path to their nesting holes.

 Exiting their nesting holes was a more straight forward task, following a quick peek to make sure no predators were around.

You can view the whole set of images here.

My sincere thanks to Loui for taking me to the colony!

All the best


Osprey - Nature section

Osprey - Nature section
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