Category Archives: animals

21 for 2021: week 16

Week 16/2021: week of 19 April

This week I started Chapter 4 of the Change Journal, which is called the Circle Trick. This is a technique by Sigur∂ur Ármannsson,  which Tim Jaudszims, the Change Journal author, says he has modified a bit. It asks you to list your tasks chronologically in the order you have to do them if they have specific times they have to be done by, otherwise you can add them however you want. There’s a list of symbols you can use to tag that the tasks, a bit like the symbols that people use in bullet journals.

I didn’t know who Sigur∂ur is so I googled him. He is an Icelandic designer who seems to like fonts a lot. His website is and a quick search of his blog archive finds a post from February 2009, where he talks about his way of recording tasks in a notebook to fit the way he uses the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. He’d been using this system for years, he says, and decided it needed a name, so he called it Circle. Just out of interest, Ryder Carroll, the inventor of the Bullet Journal system, says he was working on his system in 2007 and launched it in 2013.

I’m not going to compare the two systems. They use different symbols to denote to-dos, degrees of importance, and various stages of completion or cancellation (and bullet journalling goes way (way) beyond a simple to-do list). But looking at it from the simplest perspective, I don’t suppose it matters what symbols you use. You might start out with one set and change them as you get familiar with the system, how it works and what you actually need to symbolise. There are no rules. 

I tried it for a week, as a slightly different system to the one I currently use.

I say my “system”. That is, perhaps, being a bit generous.

What I like about Circle is that Sigur∂ur uses it in conjunction with a to-do app, so he might write something on the list, but he might later decide to move it out of the notebook into the electronic system. That item gets marked as completed in his notebook so that he can only see things he has to still do there. Of course, this relies on you actually checking your to-do app.

I check mine regularly.


 Starting out, I felt a bit sceptical of the system as it appears in the Change Journal but, having seen Sigur∂ur’s original post and putting a couple of things back that Tim had removed, I think it makes more sense to me now.

The idea of putting things in chronological order put me off but I don’t think I read it properly the first time because they only need to be listed chronologically if they have to be done at a specific time. Nevertheless, on Day 1, I tried to allocate times to the tasks I wanted to do. I had a seven hour work day and I listed eight tasks, some of which relied on other people getting back to me, one of which was a quick phone call, and others that were not particularly well-defined, breaking all the rules about specifying an actual task.

At the end of the day, I had completed four of my eight tasks, worked on three of them and not done one at all. Actually I had completed five. One of them was to watch some training videos but I didn’t say how much I wanted to do, so I watched two videos and got up to the next written exercise and called it done.

 The photo gives you an idea. This was the only day I allocated times to the tasks. I’d generally do that in my calendar if I needed to get something done at a certain time rather than on the to-do list.

Not my actual tasks

I liked seeing very clearly what I’d done, with a bunch of filled-in circles, and where I’d overcommitted myself with a bunch of open circles. I think this is a technique I could keep working with, or at least incorporate some of the ideas into the way I plan my day. I think it’s worth persevering with.

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. If you read last week’s post, you’ll know that I ordered a new external SSD to replace my apparently failing internal hard disk drive. It arrived on Tuesday and I set it up to be my computer’s main hard drive. Everything seems to be working fine and I’ve had no issues with it beachballing or freezing or being super slow. I really should have done this months ago instead of complaining about it.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent an hour on Sunday afternoon working on this. It’s coming together well, I think.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my Mum on Thursday as normal. She’d got held up at the doctor’s so we didn’t get as much time as we normally do.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I worked on lesson 2 of module 5.
It’s so tiny!

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 1 (1)
  • Things I progressed: 6 (4, 5, 8, 9, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 9 (2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18)
  • Things not started: 5 (3, 12, 15, 19, 21)
Monday sunset

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s another one of my favourite posts from 2011. This one is from 27 October 2011: The big 300, which is about reaching the 300-post milestone and still wondering what my blog is about.

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?

This week I went to two event organised by the City of Hobart’s Bush Adventures team. On Thursday I went to a session about playpus conservation in Hobart’s waterways and learned many things about the platypus. For example, they can climb up waterfalls and their bills are nothing like ducks’ bills. I also learned that the plural of platypus can never be platypi, as that is a Latin plural and the word “platypus” has its origins in Greek words for “flat foot”.

On Saturday, I went on a “fungi foray” with a small group led by mycologist Richard Robinson. And that is the first thing I learned, that a microbiologist who studies fungi is a mycologist. This was a lovely two-hour exploration of some of the fungi growing on the foothills of kunanyi. I think I mainly learned how much I don’t know about fungi—and how many of them there are all around us that we never notice.

I also saw some wicked spider webs.

What did I do for the Earth this week?

A key message from one of the speakers at the platypus session was that it is not enough to enjoy the environment, We have to actively take care of it and protect it. This is something to keep in mind for next weekend’s state government election.

Our beautiful Mountain, kunanyi

What I’m reading this week

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine(Goal = 5): 3
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 2
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

12 of 12 April 2015

Today was the Derwent Valley Autumn Festival, which is one of the biggest events held in the Valley each year.

The weather forecast wasn’t sensational, but there wasn’t any rain or wind forecast, so we had everything crossed that it would be a nice day. It was a chilly 7 degrees in the morning when we woke up, and by the time Juniordwarf and I arrived at the festival just before 10.00 it was 11 degrees. I wished I’d worn some more layers, as the day’s top was only 15. At least it didn’t rain!

1 of 12 - Pre-show selfies

1 of 12 – Pre-show selfies

Juniordwarf and I were scheduled to do a half-hour slot on our community radio station’s outside broadcast from the festival at 10.00 but, due to circumstances beyond our control, we ended up doing the whole hour until 11.00 – which is Juniordwarf’s normal timeslot on the radio, but today he’d been looking forward to getting off early and looking round the festival, so he was a bit irritable during the second half hour.

2 of 12 - On air (thanks to one of our lovely volunteers for taking the photo)

2 of 12 – On air (thanks to one of our lovely volunteers for taking the photo)

He’d been eyeing off this climbing maze from where we’d been sitting, so that was the first place he went to.

3 of 12 - Kid heaven

3 of 12 – Kid heaven

20150412-13 Climbing maze

$5 to play for as long as you like, though I’m not sure it means you get to abandon your child there while you go and explore the rest of the festival. Thankfully I had another responsible adult (Juniordwarf’s grandmother) with me, so I could run off and do a couple of things I needed to get done while he was having fun.

4 of 12 - This looked like fun

4 of 12 – This looked like fun

There was heaps of stuff to do and see and eat and drink.

We bought chocolate wheel tickets.

5 of 12 - Lions Chocolate Wheel

5 of 12 – Lions Chocolate Wheel

We won nothing.

We checked out the local railway society’s display.

6 of 12 - Derwent Valley Railway

6 of 12 – Derwent Valley Railway

Juniordwarf lined up very patiently for a long time to go on this attraction. I know it’s heaps of fun for the kids, but it always seems weird to hand your child over to a complete stranger who then seals them inside an oversized beach ball!

7 of 12 - Juniordwarf getting blown up inside a beach ball

7 of 12 – Juniordwarf getting blown up inside a beach ball

7 of 12 - Who knew rolling around in over-sized beach balls could be so much fun!

8 of 12 – Who knew rolling around in over-sized beach balls could be so much fun!

9 of 12 - Lots of people

9 of 12 – Lots of people

One of the new features of the festival this year was the Taste of the Valley, where local producers talked about their produce. We were treated to a lesson in making beef stock and sauce by the fabulous Ashley from Two Metre Tall.

9 of 12 - Our favourite mad scientist brewer makes beef stock

10 of 12 – Our favourite mad scientist brewer makes beef stock

I thought the raspberries had finished for the season and was pleasantly surprised to find lots of them at Westerway Raspberry Farm’s stall (probably should have taken the picture before I started eating them).

10 of 12 - Raspberries

11 of 12 – Raspberries

We bought soap from the lovely Veronica from Veronica Foale Essentials and her able assistant Kim, who was SUPER HELPFUL!

11 of 12 Soap by Veronica

12 of 12 Soap by Veronica

Unfortunately I missed out on seeing the snakes this year. They are usually a highlight for me, but we didn’t get there before they packed up.

Just before we started getting ready to leave, Juniordwarf wanted to take the camera for a while. So as a special bonus, here’s 12 of 12 from the festival from Juniordwarf’s perspective (slightly cropped but otherwise as he saw it).

It was interesting to see the things that caught his eye. I think I should let him do this more often!

1 of 12 – That looks pretty good.

20150412-02 Autumn Festival

2 of 12 – Cute car

20150412-04 Autumn Festival - Wine Car

3 of 12-  Jane from Two Metre Tall in action

20150412-05 Autumn Festival - Jane

4 of 12 – Pat from Tynwald Estate with some of their Wessex Saddleback ham.

20150412-08 Autumn Festival - Tynwald

5 of 12 – Jam from Westerway Raspberry Farm

20150412-10 Autumn Festival - Berries

6 of 12 – A random festival goer enjoying a Forester Ale from Two Metre Tall

20150412-11 Autumn Festival - Me

7 of 12 – Veronica and her able assistant Kim and a lot of yummy soap

20150412-16 Autumn Festival - Kim and Veronica

8 of 12 – Big Red Box

20150412-17 Autumn Festival - Big Red Box

9 of 12 – A very large dog (he cut its nose off)

20150412-19 Autumn Festival - Dog

10 of 12 – Some coats.

20150412-20 Autumn Festival - Coats

11 of 12 – Wandering players


12 of 12 – One of the four entertainment stages

20150412-27 Autumn Festival - Band



Holiday Day 2 (Part 2): Cradle Mountain

If you know anything about Tasmania, you’ll probably have heard of Cradle Mountain.  It’s one of our most well-known landmarks and is a hugely popular area for visitors.

I’d not been there since I was in high school (so you know, about 12 years ago), when our family spent a weekend there. We stayed at what was then the Pencil Pine Lodge, now Cradle Mountain Lodge. I couldn’t remember much about it apart from some old pictures of Lil Sis and I looking at some wallabies.

This was our destination for the rest of the trip. We stayed at the Cradle Mountain Hotel, which is located outside the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

When we arrived mid-afternoon, it was raining and very windy, so we weren’t really enthusiastic about heading out to do anything. Originally we’d thought we’d do two or three shorter walks in the afternoon, and then aim for one or more of the longer walks the next day. (There are heaps of walks in the National Park, ranging from 10-20 minute walks that almost anyone could do, to the longer overnight walks, including the famous Overland Track, a 6 day hike from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair.)

But the weather wasn’t exactly favourable (I’m not a fan of wind or regular downpours) and we were tired, so we drove the couple of kilometres down the road to the Visitor Centre to see what they recommended.

There are several ways to access the park. You can drive your car in, but access is limited and controlled by a boom gate, so there can be a wait if you want to do that. There is no access for campers and caravans.

You can drive to the Interpretation Centre, which is just after the park boundary. There are several short walks that leave from there, as well as the Cradle Valley Boardwalk that goes from the Interpretation Centre to Dove Lake, about 8 km. It’s also the Ranger Station and has a lot of information about the park.

Rather than drive your own car, you can catch a shuttle bus from the Visitor Centre to one of four stops within the park. This is the recommended way to access the park, because of the narrow winding road and the associated safety and insurance issues. It’s not a road either of us really wanted to drive on, so we decided the shuttle bus was going to be the best option for the next day.

After speaking to the staff at the Visitor Centre, we decided to drive down to the Interpretation Centre, have a look around and do one of the shortest, easiest walks in the park, the Pencil Pine Falls walk. It’s a 10-minute (500 metre), accessible circuit through a pencil pine rainforest, past the Pencil Pine Falls.

Pencil Pines Circuit

Pencil Pine Circuit

Pencil Pines (Athrotaxis cupressoides), are trees that grow sub-alpine areas above 800 metres, and can live for longer than 1200 years.

10 minutes was quite doable for us. We got a bit wet, the camera got a bit wet, but we saw an amazing waterfall and it was a lovely little walk as an introduction to the park.

Pencil Pines Falls

Pencil Pine Falls

Pencil Pines Falls

Pencil Pine Falls

Pencil Pine Circuit

Pencil Pine Circuit

Pencil Pine Circuit

Pencil Pine Circuit and mood-enhancing rain drops on the lens

We decided to leave the rest of the walks for the next day, when the weather was predicted to be better, so we went back to the hotel and spotted some wildlife outside.

20150117-123 Echidna at our hotel

We had dinner at the Grey Gum restaurant at the hotel. The food was fantastic. (The poor old iPhone 4 doesn’t do a great job of food photos.)

Pork Belly entree

Pork Belly entree

Duck main that Juniordwarf chose

Duck main that Juniordwarf chose

Steak main

Steak main

We were all looking forward to the next day.

12 of 12 December 2013

Thursday 12 December was a pretty ordinary school and work day.

1 of 12 – School bank day.

Image2 of 12 – Lunch order day (Thursdays we have to remember two things!)

Image3 of 12 – This flower caught my eye on the way to work.

Image4 of 12 – Demolition watch. Two diggers working together to bring down the window frame. They cut through the concrete, then one holds the beam while the other one shears through the steel reinforcement.

Image5 of 12 – Writing Xmas cards.

Image6 of 12 – Two of my favourite pens (from the Xmas card task): a roller ball and a ball point, both by Lamy.

Image7 of 12 – Our two newest family members, Flip and Smudge.

Image8 of 12 – Hoping for a fine day soon so I can get these pretties into the ground and covered from avian predators.

Image9 of 12 – The temperature at 7.45 pm. So far, most of the summer days have been more like winter days. I don’t like the cold, but am more fearful of the hot windy days we got in January this year and am in no hurry for those days to return.

Image10 of 12 – Every time I think I can put the clothes airer away, it rains on washing day and out it comes again. And stays for weeks.Image 11 of 12 – I made this tree a few years ago and Juniordwarf has taken on the job of changing the numbers. It’s about as Christmassy as I get.

Image12 of 12 – The art of Robert Lopshire. Juniordwarf’s class has looked at several artists this year like Monet, Matisse and Miro. Then they did their own artworks in the style of the artists they’ve studied and had them displayed in blocks around the classroom. At teddy school they’ve done the same thing. A couple of weeks ago teddy school looked at Robert Lopshire, who is a children’s author and illustrator. He’s written books like Put Me in the Zoo, which are part of Juniordwarf’s Dr Seuss library. So the teddies drew their own interpretation of the illustrations from the book, and they are now stuck up on the wall in our own art gallery.Image

P365 – Day 285 – excursion (12/10/2011)

Juniordwarf’s class went on its first excursion today.  A bus trip to a nearby wildlife sanctuary, Bonorong Park.

The school asked for parents to go along and help out, and I decided to volunteer.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a day with 40 or so kids, other than that there would most likely be a fair amount of noise, and a lot of coordination would be required to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be!

It was a lot of fun. The kids were very well behaved, and they had a great time.

I’m glad I went. I enjoyed the chance to talk to some of Juniordwarf’s classmates and to share their excitement at seeing all the animals. It was the first time I’d been there, and I’d like to go back another day to show Juniordwarf the areas that we didn’t get to see today.

Our tour guide and the wombat


Banjo the koala

Koala mum and baby (hidden by leaves, but it is there!)

Koala on the move

Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devil and feeding babies

Juniordwarf feeding a kangaroo

Juniordwarf feeding a kangaroo

‘Kanga Country’

‘Kanga Country’

Blue tongue lizards

One of the highlights of the trip – the peacock

P365 – Day 149 Deyrah Dexter

Today’s post is an unexpected set of photos for Frogpondsrock’s Sunday Selections project.
This weekend was starting to look like another one of those weekends where I spent most of it moping around the house. I’ve got another cold, which seems to just be a continuation of the last two – or the last one that lasted a month, whichever way you want to look at it – and didn’t do much yesterday as a result.
Today was going to be much of the same, but a friend texted me last night and said she was going to look at some cows and asked if we wanted to come along.
Well looking at cows sounded like something Juniordwarf would like to do. It didn’t sound too strenuous, it wasn’t too far away and it would get us out of the house, so I said we’d love to go.
The cows in question were Dexters, which I’ll admit to knowing nothing about until today.
The Dexter is a fairly small Irish breed, about one metre tall, which was brought to Australia in the 1880s. They are bred both for beef and milk, hence their tagline ‘beefy little milkers’. You can find out more about them at the Official Dexter Cattle Australia Inc. website.
The property we went to is Deyrah Dexter, in the Derwent Valley. Daryl and Sue held an open day today, which was part of the 2011 Tasmanian Heritage Festival.
Juniordwarf was very excited about going to a farm, and he was hoping to see sheep and pigs as well, but I think not being able to see those animals was well outweighed by being able to get close to these beautiful, docile cows.
Typically for a little kid though, he ended up being more interested in the cow poo than the cows themselves, and was quite delighted when one of the cows actually did a poo right in front of him.
The cows were great and didn’t mind a bunch of strangers standing round in their paddock watching them and patting them. I got a bit of a surprise when, standing next to a hay bale, a cow’s head suddenly appeared practically under my arm to get some more hay. They certainly weren’t shy.
We also got an opportunity to sample the Dexters’ ‘beefy’ nature, with a sausage sizzle. They make a very nice sausage. Juniordwarf thought so too, as did the farm cat, which was quite determined to take Juniordwarf’s away from him.
We left with my friend and her partner very interested in getting hold of a couple of these lovely cows, once they have the land to do it. I’m very excited for them.
Juniordwarf attempting to pat a cow

P365 – Day 93 autumn festival (Sunday Selections)

On a chilly, windy autumn day, where the rain threatened but never arrived, we went to our town’s Autumn Festival.

After a bumpy start, where the ever-present wind blew Juniordwarf’s lunch off the table, upsetting him to the point he wanted to go home . . . ‘I don’t want to be here,’ he said . . . we had a lovely day – me, Juniordwarf and my Mum. Slabs spend most of the day on the community radio station marquee, promoting the station and fund-raising.

Here are some photos of what we got up to over the course of the day . . . which have become my photos for frogpondsrock‘s Sunday Selections project. (Go on over and check it out!)

Juniordwarf rode on a pony. Here’s two little feet.

We watched some medieval jousting.

We saw a pit of snakes. Juniordwarf was really into the snakes. I was worried at one point that he wanted to jump in there with them.

We got the best value entertainment for $3 on this climbing maze, which kept Juniordwarf entertained for at least 45 minutes. I’m not sure if he was meant to stay on for that long, but there wasn’t a crowd waiting to get on and no one told him to get off, so if he was happy, we were happy.

What that meant was that one of us could stay and keep an eye on him, while the other one could go off for a few minutes and take photographs of things that caught our eye . . .

. . . or have a relaxing glass of wine (2004 Riesling from Kinvarra Estate, if you’re interested).

Juniordwarf thought it was a great game to walk as far away from us as he could and then come running back.

And he insisted on getting a lollypop. ( I just realised I don’t know how to spell ‘lollypop’. Is it ‘lollypop’? or ‘lollipop’? Or doesn’t it matter?)

The last thing we did was watch some amazing acrobats. How I managed to capture this shot I’ll never know because this particular stunt was so quick.

All in all, we had a really fun day.