Blackouts and batteries

Cyclone Kirrily’s brief visit last Thursday (January 25) left about a third of Townsville without power for a few days, throwing us on whatever off-grid resources we had. Here at Green Path HQ we put Off-grid but not by choice into practice. I’m happy to report that it worked pretty well, but we were very glad to get power (and air-con!) back after only 36 hours.

We shared that blog post on social media in the hope that it would help others and received useful tips in return. Here I want to share and expand upon a comment from Michael Crozier, “Cordless tool companies are just starting to bring out 18V-DC to 240V-AC inverters. Not as powerful as your power station, but great if you already have lithium-ion power tools anyway.”

It was a good thought and prompted me, with his collaboration, to take it further.

Continue reading “Blackouts and batteries”

A star rating for roadside stops

We idly began to develop a system of star ratings for roadside stops on our long trip to Limmen NP in August last year. (It was something to do when there wasn’t enough traffic to sustain numberplate scrabble.) Our recent trip to Blackdown Tableland NP, near Emerald, offered plenty of time to refine it.

view of country road
One star on the Downs

The ratings

* It’s off the road, and that’s all. Just a safe place to pull over, often a simple one-lane widening of the bitumen for a hundred metres.

Continue reading “A star rating for roadside stops”

Diallagy – another reason for leaves to lose their green

Nearly everyone knows that new leaves are often pretty coppery bronzy colours and only turn green when they mature. It’s so normal we don’t think about it.

Everyone knows that leaves go brown, and then usually fall, when they die.

Everyone in temperate climates knows that trees turn gold, orange and red in autumn as they prepare to lose their whole canopy and shut down for winter. (It’s a lovely sight, and it’s something I missed when I moved from Melbourne to Townsville.) Here, instead, many trees drop their leaves for the dry season.

Each of these non-green states is due to an absence of chloropyhll, and each of these transitions is a one-way trip.

There is, however, another transition which is completely reversible and repeatable. Continue reading “Diallagy – another reason for leaves to lose their green”

Birds who have stolen from me

Here, as promised, are some of the birds we got to know at Blackdown Tableland National Park (previous post). It’s also a companion piece to Birds thriving in the ‘burbs, since it presents more birds, some urban and some not, who are comfortable around people.

Stealing and scavenging

There’s a fine line between entering our premises with intent to steal, or raiding our tables while we’re sitting at them, and merely scavenging, i.e., cleaning up after us when we’re sitting nearby or have walked away. These observations cover the whole of that spectrum but don’t include anyone deliberately feeding wild birds. (We very rarely do that and don’t encourage it, because it’s often bad for both birds and humans, although circumstances alter cases.)

Continue reading “Birds who have stolen from me”

Blackdown Tableland

Blackdown Tableland National Park is about halfway between Emerald and Rockhampton, too far from our base in Townsville for a casual visit but well worth a few days if it ties in with other reasons for travelling. That’s what happened in early December: a family member was driving to Canberra for Christmas and I went along for the first part of the trip.

We had a couple of nights in Eungella (like last year but with thunderstorms), a drive down through Nebo and Dingo, and three nights at Blackdown before I turned for home via Emerald, Clermont and Charters Towers. (The two routes, incidentally, are almost identical in both time and distance, a bit under 9 hours for 760 km.)

Blackdown Tableland

view over a broad valley
The view from Horseshoe Lookout

A narrow bitumen road winds up the escarpment to the park entrance and Horseshoe Lookout, continuing as gravel to Munall camping ground and on to Gudda Gumoo lookout and gorge.

Continue reading “Blackdown Tableland”