"Being an artist isn’t just a “right brain” activity---you must use ALL of your brain, body and spirit to create. When the creation is done, the whole is much more than the sum of its parts… and so is the creator." - Lyrae Perry

Home Away From Home

My home away from home in Australia is Stewart & Sue Williamson’s place in Samford, Queensland.  The Williamson’s home is a rambling ranch style, but with the traditional Queenslander design and flourishes, which is both inviting and practical in this part of the world.  Australia has no large aqueduct system for moving water through rural areas.  Aussie homes typically have a metal roof constructed to collect rainwater in large holding tanks.  Many Aussies are happy to be living off the grid where they can, and most homes are also fitted with solar panels to offset the electrical costs.

Williamson Home 5-7-15

I arrived at my friend’s home early in the morning on Monday, May 5, 2015— just in time to see the Australian King parrots fly down to the patio for breakfast on the kitchen windowsill.   These parrots are rare in the US now and it was a real treat to see the flash of bright red and green.  The four males were driving each other off to get a chance at the food bowl.


Farther out in the yard, the largest Sulphur Crested cockatoo in the world (Galerita galerita) was carefully watching the activities on the ground from a tall eucalyptus.  The Galerita shared the tree with two Rainbow lorikeets who were busy preening.

G Galerita 1







Overhead, a group of Red-tailed black cockatoos zipped over the tree tops toward the West.   It’s all very odd for me as an aviculturist to see these expensive and often rare parrots flying around the back yard.  My first instinct is that they’ve escaped and I’m looking to grab a net.  But no… these belong here….and all the bird species are magnificent, including the soft bills.  If you haven’t yet watched the video with the Butcher bird and the Aussie dog playing together, you’ve got to have a look—go here:  http://lyraeperry.com/unusual-playmateshttplyraeperry-comwp-contentuploads201404587px-pied_butcherbird_male-293×300-jpg/

Walking around the back yard are wild Brush turkeys and Purple galinules.  They’re running under the parrot cages to eat the food bits the parrots inadvertently drop. There are so many beautiful and exotic looking animals and plants in Queensland, and the topography of Samford reminds me of the area around Kent, Washington.  It’s heavily wooded with narrow winding roads that hug the  hills.

Eucalyptus trees and shrubs are common in Southern California and were imported from Australia decades ago.  I know I’m in another world, but it is still very familiar here in the land down under.

No matter where you are in the world, chickens have a way of making you feel comfortable.  And, as I stroll down the hill in the Williamson’s  back yard, I hear their familiar noises before I get to the coop.   “Chooks” is what the Aussies call them…and the Williamson’s have Rhode Island Reds, and Barnevelders –  normal colored and blue, which are my favorite.

Barnevelder Priscilla





All the chickens come home to roost here!




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