Photos of readers

There’s only one submission in the tank after this, and if I don’t get any for several days I’ll be forced to ditch this feature due to lack of interest. However, you can always fix that. . .

Today’s reader is Heather Payne from Australia, whose captions are indented.

It’s been a long journey – 16,500 km and 73 years – from my childhood in the East End of London to retirement in sub-tropical Australia.

After a bachelor degree in Exercise & Sports Science and a graduate diploma in Library and Information Management in Adelaide I sold almost everything I owned and headed north to spent 10 years ‘living lightly on the land’ on a communally-owned property near the Queensland/New South Wales border.

The 1.5acre property where my husband, Phil, and I now live, 60km inland from Byron Bay, is a refuge both for us and for our abundant wildlife.

So many large, hollow-bearing trees have been felled in cattle farming in this area we decided to install nest boxes for various species. I’m harnessed up and ready for the climb to put them in place.

For some years now our property has been invaded, as has much of Australia, by cane toads (Bufo marinus). They’ve devastated native snake, frog and raptor species. We carefully researched the most humane ways of drastically reducing toad numbers. Even so, I can only cope with the gruesome business by clowning it up a little.

I’ve ridden 1000s of kilometers on two wheels. Then I discovered recumbent trikes.


  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    That recumbent trike looks great! Do you find there is any added pressure on your neck?

    • merilee
      Posted July 26, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      I was going to ask the exact same question!

    • Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Hi Diana,
      Sorry about the delay in replying – the veggie garden has been demanding lots of attention!
      I’ve experience no pressure on my neck while riding the recumbent. You *can* buy head supports but they’re mainly used by trikers who use a more (literally) laid back position.
      In fact, in the position I use – comfy – my head and neck are in a far more natural, upright, position than they ever were on my bicycles.
      Also I have quite advanced lumbar osteoporosis and can’t afford a repeat of the numerous falls I had on TWO wheels; three wheels feel so much safer as well as being tremendous fun.

  2. merilee
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Looks like you have great side-view mirrors and a cool horn!
    I saw an even-older-than-us guy the other day in an electric wheelchair, riding on the side of the road, no mirrors, and texting! I believe his days are numbered.

  3. philfinn7
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I am also a retired librarian living near Byron. Beautiful part of the world, and it’s great to see the work you are doing on the land.

  4. john
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I love this “Photos of Readers” feature and certainly hope it doesn’t end. It’s so fun to learn about the lives of other people!

  5. fishnet123
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I have 2 recumbent trikes for sale. I was feeling very good right after the accident & the paraplegia allowed me to ride a recumbent trike with some modifications. However since then other things have happened and I can no longer ride. I have one for me, I’m 6’1″ & one for my wife, she’s 5’2″. Hers is similar to the one in the picture. Mine has an 18 inch wheel on the back. It goes very fast.

  6. rickflick
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Australia is known for it’s great invasions. Long ago, rabbits. Now toads!

  7. C.
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I admit I could never dispatch a cane toad. I’m too sensitive and I think they are amazing. I wish there was another way, but I’m glad people like you are out there protecting the native wildlife from the bad decisions of the past. Damn shame stupid people moved them to Oz. What’s even more depressing is that there are still people who think moving species around is a good idea. It amazes me that I still read about otherwise intelligent people talking about releasing this or that insect or whatever in the hopes of controlling this or that plant or animal as if they’ve never heard about invasive species, or almost as bad are the dimwits who argue that there are no invasive species and that the term itself is racist (yes, people actually think this!). Keep fighting the good fight.

  8. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Good work supporting the birds! Australian land policies (such as paying people to clear native vegetation) have destroyed too much of the the habitats of native animals. I could see unfortunate changes in only 10 years between visits.

  9. Mark R.
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    When reminded of cane toads, I always think of that Simpson’s episode when they visit Australia. At the end, they take off and looking down from the airplane, the entire continent is “eaten”. Sucks they need to be destroyed, but there’s really no alternative.

    Lots of conservation going on with WEIT readers, no surprise, but very encouraging.

    Looks like you finally found your home. Never too late!

  10. Posted July 26, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting, Heather. I could use one of those recumbent trikes. Cool.

  11. Cate Plys
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Love your orange harness outfit, Heather! Not o it is this a great feature, I’d love to see follow ups on readers too—for instance, it’d be great to see some of these nest boxes that Heather puts up.

  12. Posted July 27, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I hope people keep sending in photos. This is a fun feature.

    Thanks for your photos, Heather. Maybe we can see some landscapes from your property some time.

    I’ve done a fair bit of riding in Australia (younger days, another life!) But we covered only a tiny fraction of the huge continent/country.

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