Happiness as Anarchy #67: Environmental Regeneration

They reintroduced wolves into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 (the last wolves were killed in the 1920s) and the environmental chain reaction is extraordinary. Deer population was reduced, forests shot up, birds came back, beavers got busy, bear numbers increased, and ultimately the river changed course. It’s an uplifting story of possibility and hope that is well worth four and a half minutes to watch the video.

You can also read an update on the research project and science behind it.

Happiness as Anarchy #66: Landscape

Moving through the landscape is something I’ve always found inspiring and exciting. It brings a new perspective and sense of space. Maybe that’s what drives the traveller in me. Maybe it comes from growing up in the bush. Maybe it’s what underpins my interest in wine – a liquid expression of landscape. I love the simplicity of the road trip – you just get in the car and go, absorbing the landscapes into your being as you move, adding to the store of memories collected during a lifetime.

Happiness as Anarchy #62: Colander Bird

The rare and beautiful colander bird is found in a small area north of Bendigo. It lives in low grasslands near the North Central Catchment Management Authority building in Huntly, where it feeds on small pieces of discarded metal from passing traffic. Identifiable by its unique colander-like head and star-shaped markings, the colander bird is particularly impressive glinting in the afternoon sun.

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Happiness as Anarchy #61: Decorative Cabbages

Yes, you read it correctly. It definitely says Decorative Cabbages. These many layered pink cabbages are a cheery addition to the streetscape. I spotted a planter box filled with them in Hobart last week. After the first sighting, I then seemed to see them around every second corner. Some white, some pink, their frilled petals contrasting against the rich green leaves of the background. And if you ever get super peckish, you know you can nibble on a leaf. In truth these are Ornamental Kale, identified by their serrated leaves, but I like the sound of Decorative Cabbage better.

Happiness as Anarchy #60: Big, old trees

In the centre of the central Victorian town of Guildford there stands an enormous, old River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). I saw it for the first time today on my way back from Bendigo. It is, in the true sense of the word, awesome. Estimated to be somewhere between 500 and 1000 years old, it has a circumference of over 9 metres at the base, and has a number of limbs that have curiously fused together. It makes me think the people making decisions to remove the giant trees at Buangor for a highway have never seen the trees in real life. If they had, they would surely understand what incredible living beings they are.

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Happiness as Anarchy #55: Bird Breakfast

Birds are fascinating creatures and so compelling to watch. I find it intriguing the way they bob about in little jerky motions on the ground, but are so graceful in the air. These galahs (and a big bunch of their friends) were completely unperturbed by my giant presence observing them this morning as they hoed into their breakfast. Whatever they were digging out of the grass with their beaks must have been absolutely delicious, judging by the enthusiasm with which they were going about it. Perhaps it was a seasonal special available only briefly, the galah equivalent of white peaches.

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Happiness as Anarchy #53: A New View

New views, different horizons, interesting faces. These are the joys of travelling. Hobart is a beautiful, unassuming city and the walk to the conference I’m attending is thirty minutes of food for my inner artist. I find it so inspiring to look at different streets and houses and trees and faces and bends in the road and then to find the shimmering beauty of the ocean at the end.

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Happiness as Anarchy #43: Lemons

Is there nothing a lemon can’t do? Ask Professor Google about uses for lemons and you’ll be met with hundreds of different applications for the humble citrus, from cleaning the bathroom to speeding digestion. Apparently the even the smell of lemon is therapeutic, which explains why pruning the lemon tree makes me feel so good. My lemon tree has been busy making babies for months, and now it has a dozen or so large, bright fruits hanging from its branches. I love their pendulous nature – like a big round body part – and the juxtaposition of the bright yellow against the vibrant green of the leaves. They hang out their begging me to add them to a zesty cocktail!

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Happiness as Anarchy #41: The Promise of Poppies

To the untrained eye my front yard looks like a mess of weeds, but look a little closer and you will see the poppies coming up in their hundreds. They won’t bloom until spring, but I’ll be watching their progress as they grow up and turn into a big patch of colour swaying in the breeze. I might even attempt to pull out some of the grass growing between them at some stage.

The straight grass-like bits in the photo are indeed grass, but the slightly furry lobed leaves are baby poppy plants braving the winter chill. They will bloom in a wide range of colours, from orange to pink to red, and a few opium poppies are sure to be lurking in there.

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