More Plant I.D’s at Fox Hill Hollow

unidentified plantlet

I found this today on my walk and was quite excited as I knew it was an Orchid but had no idea which one!  According to those that know about this sort of thing, the presence of Orchids in an ecosystem means it is healthy, that means a lot to me as our personal goal is to leave Fox Hill Hollow in better condition that when we found it and so it is good to know that our tramplings and explorations haven’t killed the place just yet 🙂

A quick shout out on Facebook got me a plant ID – Green Hood Orchid.  As per usual there are a few different ‘green hoods’ and on closer inspection it looks like this is the Snake Tongue variety or Taurantha Concinna.

Secondly but not quite so excitingly I finally arrived on the land to see this mystery bush flower and it turns out to be the rather common Grey Guinea Flower -Hibbertia Obtusifolia (family Dilleniacea).

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Last of all I was transfixed by the beauty of these seed pods and by the fact that the tree that these pods belonged too had actually strangled it’s companion tree – a lovely old gum.

strangle treeSeed pods

Anyway it turns out that this murderous tree is in fact a bottle tree – probably a narrow leaf bottle tree also known as Kurrajong or Brachychiton Populneus.  This tree is also native to Australia and it is not unusual to find it in New South Wales so I don’t feel so bad about hosting it now.  Here is a fact sheet on my new best friend – this bright and shady tree!

I love exploring and getting to know the land and lucky for us there is so much beautiful countryside out west to explore.



Paralysis Tick Nightmare!

Sadly our Christmas trip out to the land brought with it a near-death experience for Nicki dog.  We’d only been home a couple of days when she started to go wobbly in her back legs, a sure sign of paralysis tick poisoning.   I rushed her down to the emergency vets where it took four hours for them to track down the offending critter under her chin!  Nicki and Maisy are usually treated with Nexgard but I’d forgotten their December dose so by the time we had reached the land and exposed her to the tick she was about 3 weeks out of coverage.

I’m glad to say that Nicki recovered well from her little ordeal only having to spend one night in ‘hospital’ on a drip. The treatment, including the anti-venom and spending New Years Eve at the facility cost just short of $2000 which means we’ll have to hold off on the first stage of our planning application for the house for an extra month to recover but at least we have Nicki!

Since that incident I’ve made two adjustments to our routine.  Firstly, Nicki will be shaved in summer so tics are easier to spot (along with grass seeds and other bugs and bits). Secondly I’ve swapped to Bravecto medication for both dogs as that gives up to four months cover for Paralysis tick at a very reasonable price – I figured that would make it less likely for me to forget, especially during Christmas and holiday season.

Well done Nicki for pulling through, we are proud of you – our Dear, dear doggie 🙂

Here is some info on paralysis ticks. 


You did what? A Naked Bushwalk

One thing I have been itching to do since buying Fox Hill Hollow was a naked bushwalk – just a little one, just once.  While I am one of those people who is happy enough to walk around their house naked I am NOT the topless bathing kind and neither would I tend to visit nudist camps (too many people) BUT I do like to be at one with nature so to speak and bush walking naked really appealed to me.

So I got up and took the dogs on a little jaunt around the block wearing nothing more than my shoes – no shoes in Australia in summer is prickly.

naked bushwalk

There is something quite magical about feeling the light morning breeze and gentle dappled sun on just-woken-up skin.   I felt much more connected to the land than I do when I have my clothes to protect me, more ‘in the moment’ especially as I had to take extra care when walking through the forest to prevent me emerging ‘dressed’ in spider webs and scratches.  I slowed down, more mentally than physically as I became immersed in the here and now of it all.

As I stood upon this falling tree to salute the sun I felt that this type of experience is somewhat missing from our every-day lives.  Sure we can walk around naked at home but most of us can’t go outside that way.  We have a decent sized garden in the Blue Mountains but we are bordered by neighbours on each side and just the other day my neighbour caught me bounding on the trampoline in my bikini and for a moment I felt uncomfortably awkward.  There really aren’t many places that one can go out alone, sans clothes without having that feeling of a constant need to keep checking over the shoulder for other people.

Maybe Fox Hill Hollow should become a haven for nude walkers or maybe I should just keep this little secret to myself….

Too late 🙂


Walks in Roseberg State Forest

As we are still new to the area a fair proportion of my time is being taken up with exploring – looking at what plants grow where, what animals are about, the soil types, terrain and trail quality (for my mountain bike buddies and I).

This weekend I completed a couple of easy loops of one part of Roseberg State Forest and this is how it panned out!


Loop:  Park at Custard Creek Trail Start then walk down Quartpot road to meet the Oaky Trail (2km),  Follow Oaky Trail to Boundary Trail, Walk Boundary Trail to meet Widows Trail. Walk up Widows Trail to meet Quartpot Road then walk back along to the car, taking care not to step on any road-kill along the way (there are always dead roos around here).

10km loop map

Distance: 10.54 Km – you can make it around 1.2KM shorter by taking the Custard Creek Fire Trail straight back to where your car is.

Gradient:  Very hilly!  250 metres climb which does pull the legs a little – it’s great the other way on a bike though 🙂

10km loop roseberg hills

Get-Lost-O-Meter:  People can get lost anywhere but generally speaking this is a very clearly marked route once you find the right starting trail (Oaky isn’t marked from the road, use a GPS).

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I really enjoyed this walk as it was pretty challenging in the leg department but still easy enough to take time out to enjoy the views. We saw wallabies and their babies and plenty of birdlife plus these interesting flowers and plants.

  1. Native Indigo – as a cosmetic chemist I was desperate to take this home and make some dye out of it but no, I decided to leave it for the bees this time.  Good girl Amanda 🙂

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2) I’ll have to come back to this one, no idea what it is but it was very pretty.2015-10-04 13.03.43

3) Oh how I love wattle!  We don’t have any like this on our land at the moment so I had a big case of wattle envy when I found this.  Not sure what type of Acacia this is exactly but I’ll get to it. The bushes were around 2 metres tall.

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4) I was pretty excited to see this sort of shrub growing so close to us too, I think it is a Myrtle – possibly the common fringe myrtle. I’m convinced you could get a good essential oil out of this baby!2015-10-04 12.15.11

5) Now I would LOVE to know what this is. Just look at the beautiful shape of that flower – it’s anthers look like fingers – could it be a finger flower, Cheiranthera alternifolia?

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If you can name what I’ve spotted please let me know as I’m all ears 🙂