Monthly Archives: October 2008

Lizard update – or Farm-Zoo

At the farm yesterday, Lillian said “Can we go and find the lizard?”  (i.e., the lizard we had found and then released again a week previously).

Again I was prematurely pessimistic: “Well, we can go and have a look.  But you know we probably won’t be able to find it!”

We went down to the vegetable patch where we found it last time.  We lifted up the same sheet of galvanised iron, and there it was!

We took it back up to the house.

This time we kept it for a day.  We made a home for it in a cardboard box.  Then we made another one, because it fouled the first one with a big runny poo, which is quite a mystery because when you inspect its underside there is no sign of it having a bottom.   We tried feeding it insects; it seemed to eat a mosquito but didn’t want to eat a blowfly.

Lillian played with the lizard a lot, becoming increasingly comfortable holding it, picking it up, stroking it, cuddling it, letting it lick her with its long blue tongue, etc..  It was becoming quite a pet.

Teresa thought that Julie, the chihuahua who is used to getting all Lillian’s attention, was quite jealous – how could Lillian ignore her in favour of a… reptile!

Naturally the question arose as to whether it could come home with us.  Even Teresa liked the idea; the lizard had grown on her.   But we convinced Lillian that we didn’t know how to look after it, and we could have it as a pet on the farm, and find it every time we go.

After the excitement of finding the lizard again had receded a bit, I said:

“You know what?  I know where there are some… ducklings!”  I had seen some wild ducklings on one of the dams when out walking earlier that morning.

So of course we went down to try to catch a duckling.  Lillian thought to take the blue fishing net with us.  Walking to the dam, we saw two adults and about ten little brown ducklings, huddling together.  They were all standing absolutely still, hoping we wouldn’t see them, even when were were only metres away.  Then as we swooped they scattered honking and chirping in all directions.  Using the net we caught two of the ducklings as they tried running away through the grass, but then I accidentally let one get away.

So we returned to the house with a duckling to add to our collection.

Then Teresa noticed chirping sounds coming from the swallow nest on the verandah.  We thought maybe there were some chicks there.  I climbed up onto the woodpile and stuck a finger in the nest.  Out flew two baby swallows!  One just made it to a nearby tree, then fell to the ground.  We quickly caught it too.

So now we had a lizard, a duckling, and a baby swallow.

Since we also had two dogs with us, Lillian thought the farm was becoming like a zoo – a farm-zoo.  Our own farm-zoo, in fact.

After holding the swallow for a while, we put it back in the nest.

Later we took the duckling back down to the dam, and sat and watched it for a while.  Its parents ran off into the distance.  Lillian was worried that if we left, the duckling might get eaten by a fox.  I said that as long as it stayed on the water, it would be OK.

What an exciting day!  At dusk, as a wombat wandered by the verandah, it was no big deal.  Just a wombat.

Before we left the farm today, we put the lizard back under the sheet of iron that seemed to be its home.

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Lets find a lizard!

We were walking around at the farm inspecting the fruit trees when we came across the dried out, mangled carcass of a blue-tongued lizard (technically, eastern blue-tongued skink).  Very interesting!  We took it up to the house to show Mummy.  One leg was relatively clean and intact; we cut that off to keep.

Lillian: “Can we go and find another lizard?”

“No, we can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Well, you can’t just go and find a lizard! They’re not easy to find.  You just have to wait until you come across one.”

Lillian reluctantly accepted this disappointing news.

So we went down to the vegetable garden to do some watering. On the way there, going down the steep embankment, Lillian tripped on a stick and fell face first.   She cried for much less than a minute.

At the garden, which has young pumpkins, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, eggplan, chilli and garlic, Lillian spent a while watering, which which of course included spraying me a bit.

I lifted an sheet of old corrugated iron to move it.  Underneath…

“DADDY! LOOK! A LIZARD! PICK IT UP!”

So we picked it up and went up to the house to show Mummy a real live lizard this time.

(Note the face paint, still on from the fete the previous day, and the plaits, still there from the day before that.)

We put the lizard in a cardboard box.  Lillian wanted to take it back with us to Parkville, but we thought the lizard would be miserable and wouldn’t have anything to eat. So Lillian gently released the lizard into the fernery.

We’ll look for it again next time.

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Fete & fishing

We spent most of Saturday at the Christ Church Foster fete.  Lillian had her face painted by the local school librarian – a butterfly of course.  She spent a while painting plaster figurines, received mystery present, had two ice creams and a barbecued sausage on a slice of white bread (she ate just the sausage).   She went in the children’s fancy dress competition but didn’t win (she wasn’t in fancy dress) but received a chocolate frog consolation prize anyway.  She found herself a little princess figurine in the garage sale and bought it for 20c but later dropped it, breaking the head off.  She had much attention from older women, most of whom knew her from church.

After the fate, when Daddy had finished help with packing up, we went down to Port Franklin, a tiny riverside holiday village.  Liz (wife of Tim Fletcher, the minister at the church) took us down there, saying that there was good fishing.  And indeed the kids there on the wharf were catching quite a few fish – most trevally (too small, and being thrown back in) but also flathead, mullet and “Australian salmon”.  Lillian was fascinated, running from one spot to another to catch the action.  She became a little helper for one boy, fetching his bait, and even getting to hold his line.  New she really wants to get her own gear and go fishing herself.

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Snapshots

The most fun way to get up in the morning at the moment is to be wrapped up in the doona like a caterpiller in a cocoon, and then carried out into the kitchen.  The cocoon then falls away to reveal a butterfly.

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This week was her very first swimming lesson.  She took to the various exercises fearlessly and energetically, though not always successfully.  But half way through, loudly and in front of the various watching parents etc.,

“Daddy, I need to go to the toilet.”

“Well just hold on a bit…”

“No I can’t…”

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Daddy’s new flourescent yellow bicycling safety jacket arrived in the mail.  He tried it on.

“Eeewww!  You look like a workman.”

She proceeded to stuff an old plastic bag into the pocket of the jacket.

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Lillian is being put to bed.

“Daddy, can you bring me a glass of water?”

“OK.”

“But only fill it half way.  Because if you fill it up, you know what?  You’re wasting water.”

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We’re reading Pinocchio (for the third time now) but Daddy likes to say “Cchinopio”.  This makes Lillian very cross.  “Daddy!  YOU DON’T SAY IT LIKE THAT!”

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Lillian looking a bit cross:

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