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Living, loving, Laughing and Travelling as much as possible. Come along and join in my life and travels - I'll be happy to have you there with me.

Monday, June 29, 2009

See whats at the bottom of my garden

Every country has its own authors who write for children - here in Australia May Gibbs became famous for her children's stories and her use of the native flora and fauna as an inspiration for the characters in her books

My children weren't raised with May Gibbs but there are many Aussies (young and old) who remember the stories about the gumnut babies, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

This 'nasty' looking character is the Big Bad Banksia Man who is one of the villians in these books

This is my Banksia bush at the bottom of my garden
From recollection its a Banksia spinulosa and has the most beautiful candles
to see these best click on the photo to enlarge

The poor old thing has led a troubled life
When we rented the house out in 1994 he was quite big, as tall as the fence and really healthy. However the renters' children seemed to think its branches were great to use as a step ladder to get over the fence so when we came home in 2002 he really needed some attention
We cut him down nearly to the ground and he is just coming into his own again
You might like to see what his candles look like
I haven't removed any of the old candles so you are able to see them
From fairly young fresh ones

Through the different stages

This is one thats maybe from a couple of years ago and is drying off

This one is a year older and the seed pods are just becoming visible
See the resemblance to the drawing above

This is a clearer view of the seeed pods

And now one that's nearly 'naked' cept for the big pods

And heres one that I love
All those pods are ready to burst

So even if it appears there isn't much life in my garden - it turns out that if you look here and there you might get a nice surprise

Garden surprises

Its that time of the year when the winter jobs have to be done and pruning the roses is one of them
We'll be going off in a couple of weeks and won't be back till the middle of September, it will be too late then to do some of these jobs so for the best part of this week I've been busy outside
Snipping here and snipping there - giving a (sometime) silent yell when my arm or leg or any other part of my anatomy got snared by the thorns
Then the thrill of tossing 'mature' manure and choock poo all over the ground so they will can have a little feed before they really close down for the winter
I covered the top bed with some of next doors oak leaves but if the high winds that are forecast arrive they won't stay there for very long lol
Come Spring and they start shooting it won't look quite so flat and bare. Plus I plan to replant Salvia again to fill the spaces in the lower bed.
Took a photo looking up and down the side fence.
These shrubs are all deciduous, close to the house I recently (in the last 3 years) planted a Forsythia and Weigelia which are just finding their feet and filling a gap between the two large bare shrubs
Flowering Quince aka Chaenomeles, one with white flowers and the other a pinky red.
They flower on the bare stems and are great to cut and have indoors when theres not much else around.
Like the back garden it can be a bit sparse looking at this timeof the year
but once they start to leaf up that fence line is a blaze of colour

But guess what I saw peeking out of the branches as I walked down past the first bush
There were flower buds and the first had started to open

And down below the first of the Bergenias had started to bloom

All is not lost - where there is colour there is a good feeling

don't forget to click on the photos to enlarge

Even tho I thought there was nothing to see I did find few more things in flower
But that post can wait till another day

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lavender round the washing line

In the comments recently somebody mentioned the Lavender growing round the washing line
Nostaligia aside the reason I planted it there (and it could have been anything) was to form a barrier between me and the pole that holds the line up:)
I have a habit of walking in to things and this was an idea I'd used elsewhere to make me aware of where I actually was putting my feet. I'd used the idea in another form in a different house to make little grandchildren aware of the post and not run into it
This photo was taken back in 1994 when it was quite young.
We actually had green grass in those days lol

As you can see its grown quite tall and bushed out lots

I used some old bricks to form a circle a distance a way from the pole
Filled the circle with a few bags of potting mix
and then planted some tiny tubes with established cuttings
and hoped for the best.
That particular spot was a hard place to get grass to grow so I used some big broken slabs of concrete I came across
(courtesy of our council when they were digging up a pathway)
and put crazy paving in the plcae I stand to hang/peg out the clothes
Its just visible in the left of the next picture
This is the side away from the light which doesn't do as well as the other
but I do tend to keep it bare in that spot so I can get in to do a bit of weeding and clear the oak leaves away so the rain can penetrate
In the early spring I give the whole lot a good haircut and a drink of Seasol and wish it luck for the rest of the season
It thrives in a hot summer like the one we just had and the flower heads at the moment are really plump
I love the look and smell of it when its in flower but
funnily I get annoyed if the washing actually brushes against it lol

Friday, June 26, 2009

Theory of Intelligence

Who remembers Cheers?
I really enjoyed that series all those years ago
I don't know if this was actually part of script
but from memory it seems the sort of thing that would have been spoken by these two
Here via our Inbox is
the Theory of Intelligence
'Well you see, Norm, it's like this . . . A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo..

And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first.

This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.
In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells.

Now, as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells.
But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.
In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.

And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kev's Patch

Several bloggers have collaborated after hearing about Peter Cundall's remarks to the Prime Minister and are now lobbying Mr Rudd to incoroprate a Veggie Garden in the grounds at The Lodge
They have set up a new blog to publicise the campaign - Have a read and see what you think..

These are the bloggers involved:



I always thought large establishments had a fresh food garden - obviously I was wrong

Counting down

Well the Winter solstice has been and gone - it is now June 24th and we are on our way to the other end of the year. The days will get longer and the temps will hopefully warm up - not quite to the extent of last summer tho lol
This was the sunrise from my back window yesterday - about 7.30 am and it was another corker.
(Corker - Noun - Old-fashioned slang a splendid or outstanding person or thing)

Melbourne has a temperate climate - we have warmish summers (sometimes very hot) and coolish (sometimes very cold) winters.
It can rain most months of the year - note the word can - thats the thing it can but at the moment ( or should I say for the past I don't know how many years) it isn' :((

Contrary to popular belief we get less rain than Sydney - ours usually comes all year round which makes them think we get more lol
In the comments Aims (Big Blue Barn) and Phillip (Tossing Pebbles in the Stream) asked how cold is cold and mentioned the fact that cold is relative and thats just it.
We like our warm weather - I'm sure the fact that the sun shone was partly the reason many migrants came from the Northern Hemisphere - so when winter comes we feel the cold
Where I live we would get overnight lows of about 2/3/4c - 36/39f BUT often its down to 0c - 32f and sometimes lower depending if there's a blast coming up from Antactica lol
I'm sure to some of you living in other countries that doesn't seem low - but to each his own LOL

Trees native to Australia aren't deciduous - most of the trees in my area would be a Eucalyptus (Gum tree) of one sort or another



Thats why in many if the photos and especially the pictures I took at the park there are no bare trees.

We have no falling leaves, well not many, if you look round the neighbourhood there are lots of trees with no leaves at the moment.

Exoctics have their place in our gardens, remember the one I mentioned that I can see from my laundry and my neighbour has a huge Oak that drops all over my garden.

Have a look at these links for more on Melbourne's climate

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cold but sunny

We've had some really wintery foggy mornings recently
I really find it unerving to take a walk when it's like that
So when the day dawns nice and sunny
I get the shoes on and head for the park I mentioned a while ago.
Yesterday was one of the cold but sunny starts to the day so I headed off just after 9am for a very overdue ramble up and down the windy paths
There was a hint of low cloud but nothing like the peasooper type of the previous days
where I couldn't see one side of the street to the other lol
In the first two pictures you can see the sun just starting to shine through the haze
See the shiny wet grass and long shadows
Damp enough to keep you on the paths or risk getting very soggy runners

Got to the top of the hill and turned round
Even tho' the shadows were still long it seemed far more sunny and inviting
Very deceiving 'cose it was cold all day long

click on photos to enlarge

When I got home I stayed close and did clear up things
Ironed and put away and tidied cupboards
- you know -
all the stuff you should do to make the house run more smoothly
The stuff you don't think makes any difference to that daily running
Until you don't so it
Then you find out it helps if its done on regular basis. lol

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Something old is new again

You're probably wondering why I would post a photo of a
well worn and used old wooden clothes horse!!

During the summer this one (and another one) live in the garage.

We don't use a dryer so they come in handy when its raining and theres washing that I really need to do and get dry. The great thing about this kind is that they fold flat and take up little storage space.
Ignore the bag of cow manure on the deck, its not the usual decorating theme out there but I did some work in the garden on Sunday and as I was clearing up it was easier to drop it there and run inside to use the loo than walk over to the little shed and then come back again.

Yes like a kid who'se played outside too long and left it too late I was desperate lol
You're probably still wondering why the clothes horse is on the deck

It certainly wasn't there till this morning 'cose even tho we've had some very foggy mornings these past few days, the afternoons have developed into glorious sunny dry almost warm enough to wear a Tshirt afternoons and any washing on the line dried in no time at all.
I'm trying to gather a few crafty things together to take away in a few weeks time and remembered the huge great woollen sweater I found at the op shop the other week
and had (over a few evenings as it was so big) unravelled.

I was planning on taking some of the wool with me to knit some slippers
And decided to give it a wash first

Only problem was I should have washed the garment before I unravelled it

I'd rolled it into balls and they don't wash very well, if at all.

My problem then was how to get it into skeins ??
Winding it around the back of a kitchen chair didn't work

The backs of ours have a wider backrest and you can't lift the skein over it.
I know that 'cose after a few rounds I tried lol
Tipped the chair on its side to try round the chair legs
Same problem

The chair legs splay and are set wider at the bottom than closer to the seat.
I tried that as well lol
So wandering round the house desperate to wash something
( well not really desperate but the sun was shining I wanted to get it done)

I spy the clothes horse in the garage doorway.


Winding the wool across the top from one wooden section to the other made a perfect skein
And very soon they were soaking in a bucket of wool wash
When rinsed and spun I hung them over the hook of a metal coat hanger
Then hooked the hangers outside on the line so the wool could dry.

Now the huge great, what looked like a very rarely worn sweater
That cost me the grand total of $2
Has been transformed into nice sweet smelling clean yarn
ready to be knitted into other garments
Who says I'm just a pretty face - I's got brains as well lol

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sunrise Friday June 12th 2009

It was really really cold this morning when I got up and this was the view from the back bedroom window when I opened the curtains

So I thought you'd like to see what the sky looked like first thing this Friday morning
here in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne

This was taken at 7.15am
And the same view 2 minutes later
See how much more colour there was in the sky

This was times at 7.16am taken between those 2 shots looking in another direction

don't forget to click on the photos to get a better view
What a glorious way to start the day

Now if you pop over here you can see that Joolz had a similar look at her house

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On a day like today

Well on a day like today I'd like to hibernate and not have to relate to anyone

Its cold - miserably cold - and wet - which I don't mind as we need the rain

and I feel like poor Maxine

Then theres the demands from a paid worker from the charity

I do a great deal of voluntary work for.

Needing facts and figures I have already provided for them.

Feeling a bit cheesed off by her demands as I'm not a paid worker

and think she should be more in control as her position is quite senior

As she answers to the CEO I get the feeling she thinks along the lines of Maxine
in what she will do and what she wont.

And if there is someone else to do that work for her - well she calls that delegating.

Thats fine for any employee she has in her dept. but I get cross when she starts on me lol

And then there's the waist line issue lol

Cold wet weather means no walking
Shouldn't do but it does in my house

Fancy a 21 year old anyone - as long as he buys me a drink as well lol

Oh no - too many points and we are back to square one again

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The things you find on the internet

You know how you find an interesting crafty blog and then follow a link from there and then another link elsewhere and in the end you are miles away from where you started and 2 hours have passed since you first sat down at the computer

Well if you are familiar with that process you will know its amazing what you can find when its cold and wet and you have nothing to do (well thats not really true) but trawl the internet for interesting and amazing things.

This is a white plastic garden chair, usual variety, available for sale in loads of places

Many of us have them, they are handy to have and come in useful when the company decends on us and there aren't enough of the nice comfy new padded ones that match the table.

They don't absorb spilt soft drink (or hard drink either:) ) or get stained by sticky fingers and they stack which is great 'cose then you can hid them away in the shed or the garage till the next time

Anyway thats not the amazing thing I found

This is

Whats that I hear you ask
Well that is one of those common and garden variety white plastic chairs
Complete with a knitted cover

Would you believe a student in London used the concept of knitting a chair as a project for her degree in product design
Have a look at these links and tell me what you think



Its so unusual it even made me want to use up a lot of my very large stash of wool that is sitting around in big boxes out in the garage
Well - that was until I realised I would have to go outside in the cold to start looking through the boxes and also find one of those garden chairs to do some measuring lol
I hope she does well in her studies and that the show she organised that was on last week in London was a success

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The tale of two cold cats

What do we have here - a very nice warm fire

Oh I think I'll go and see if there's anything left in the food bowl

in front of this lovely warm fire

Is it alright if I sit here?

You didn't say you were coming back

Ok I'll share if I have to

But you have to lie still

Mum !!!

Oh, alright I'll behave

Oops I think this mat has shrunk

Peace at last

Its cold outside so anyone with any sense will be lying on the cat mat