Saturday, 27 October 2007

A bit a rain!

Yes we actually got a bit of rain. Yesterday and the day before. I don't know how much but it wasn't a lot. I got to try out the wheelie bin (holds 240 litres) I bought to catch rain water under the back down pipe. It filled up very quickly as it collects water from a large roof area in comparison to the bins small capacity. I was scooping it out and putting it around the yard where the rain couldn't get, i.e. under the eaves. The 4500 litre rainwater tank that Mum got me for my birthday isn't connected to make use of it yet but never mind it will be soon. I also got 3 more bales of sugar cane mulch for the garden beds this morning. I have only spread 1 of them so far. Covering all the garden beds with mulch has become quite an expensive event this season. Last year I used pea straw which was cheaper but isn't available this year due to the drought. I guess the farmers are keeping everything available that they can for stock feed.
Today was the Junee show. I took Mum there for a while. I guess we stayed for about 2 & a half hours. I only ever go to look at the flowers,cooking and craft, and of course to have a dagwood dog. They taste better from a country show than anywhere. They are a frankfurt on a stick coated in batter and deep fried then dunked in tomato sauce that always manages to get blobbed on your shirt. The badge of a country show. I don't bother to go into sideshow alley.
I also like going into the poultry shed to have a look. The prettiest ones I saw today were the big Rhode Island red chooks and the funny looking Indian runner ducks.
There were no horsies at this years show because of the horse flu out break. I usually enjoy the dressage events though.
We sat in the grandstand and watched a young bloke doing jumps and tricks on his motor bike. He was still 15 and was eagerly awaiting getting his learners driving license shortly. It was a bit funny to think that someone so well skilled wasn't old enough to have a license yet. The best part was the 3 little boys sitting with their Nanna in front of us. They were absolutely thrilled and excited by the bike tricks and their faces were priceless to watch. There was also a family , dad, mum and 2 mid teenage sons, doing whip cracking demonstrations and tricks. One of the whips they were using was 27 ft long. The elder son was a world champion whip cracker for his age group or something like that. There weren't a big lot of flowers this year. I have put some of mine in a couple of years and won prizes, but I usually don't bother. Mostly because I have been at work most years.
Today I started wrapping Christmas presents. The ones that need to go to Grafton to my sister and nieces. We will have an early Christmas with them because I know they won't be able to wait to open them and we won't see them at Christmas time.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Good Morning,
I took some more photos around my garden to share this morning. The weather has been hot and dry for the last week. It is pretty early in the season to be so hot and it has resulted in all the flowers coming out in bloom all of a sudden then shrivelling from the heat.
The first one is the little pink pig face out the front.
This is a miniture rose. It changes colour as it ages. I don't know it's name.
Another mini rose. This one is called" mine-no-uki "I think. It suffers from black spot more than the others do.
Another mini rose called over the rainbow.
This is the big rose at my side gate. I have to cut it down this afternoon as Mum has bought me a water tank as an early birthday present which is being delivered after lunch and has to get over and past it. It is about 12 ft high and reminds me of the roses you see in the chintz patterened fabrics. As it is so big the flowers get damaged in the wind.

A mini rose out the back. it fades to a pinky peach colour.
A pure yellow mini with lots of insect damage.
View through the archway.
Buds on the hanging cactus thingy. About a third of their final size but grow super quick and will probably be opening in another week or so.
Mini rose out the side.
I love this boring looking rose geranium. In the evenings when I hand water it the perfume from disturbing the leaves floats up to me and is absolutely heavenly.I got it at a church fete years ago. There is another one in my yard with bigger leaves but the scent isn't so strong, from Jim Webb an old gardener who was in our hospital a while back and who used to run a gardening show for years on A.B.C. radio.
My favourite red rose, the big strong Mr Lincoln.
Two Poppy eyes.
Black aeonium. I hope thats the right name. I got it at the melbourne flower show last year.
The big chintzy rose again.
Poor thrip damaged seduction bush rose. Seduction is a variant of the famous Iceberg rose. The autumn flowering is much prettier.
This medium sized rose is called Cassandre'. I am in the process of training it to go around the archway in the back yard.
A russet coloured Iris out the back.
This is my apple blossom rose. The flowers are tiny, about 3cm across and it is a climber but gets badly affected by hot weather.
Pink columbine.

Yellow snappie. Thrip affected. In a pot. 2nd season. Click on any of the pics for a bigger view.
Martha said she is sharing my flowers as hers have been replaced by autumn colours now. Thanks Martha. I share her autumn colours we don't get them much here.
O.k. I have to get going and dress and then cut down my big chintzy rose. My flu bug has reached a turning point over night and my throat is beginning to improve. I took the day off work today to recover and I have tomorrow off as well so I'm doing o.k. Or will be in a few more days. I'm Tough. Australis Robustus Clayii.
Bye Love Linda.

Monday, 22 October 2007


It is 1/4 to 3 in the morning here and I am sitting up at the puter writing and reading because I can't sleep. I have the flu and for the last 4 days have been a misery guts and feeling sorry for myself. My sinus are blocked, my ears are too, my eyes won't stop running and I have no skin left on my nose and my throat is dried out and very sore. Woe is me, I haven't had a bug hit me so hard for a long time. Pete has it too so I got out of bed about an hour ago to let him sleep without disturbing him. Luckily Mum hasn't caught it. I am worried though as it would spoil her trip to my niece's wedding in a few weeks if she does catch it.
Two of my offspring, Michael and Anne Marie are in Wagga tonight, there was an all day heavy metal concert at the uni today and they both went to it. Mike was so looking forward to it as 3 of his favourite bands were playing and having them so close to home is a rarity. I hope all went well for them both and they enjoyed it. I made sure he took migraine medication with him.
The firing of my new kiln that I spoke about in my last post was a dud and I was very disappointed. The temperature got to 1240 degrees which is not far from maturity but something went wrong and the gas pressure kept dropping and wouldn't go up again. I changed gas bottles but that was not the problem as there was still gas left in the old bottle so I guess there is a blockage in the burner jet or in the lines somewhere. It wouldn't let any gas through to relight. I ended up wasting 9 and a half hours of gas. The glaze on a few of the things were almost mature but I will need to start again with most of them. The up side to this is I now know where the hottest spots are in the kiln. I just have to remember where for next time, not easy for me, ha.
On Saturday I went to a Raku firing with potters club members at Fran's house. It was done in the new kiln the club bought recently. I didn't take any pots along to do as I was feeling yuck, so I sat and watched and stayed for lunch. The 2 new members were there and they seemed keen. I also raided Fran's garden and came home with a few seedlings of a geranium she had growing. It was nice sitting under the shade of her alder tree, especially as I can remember how it looked when she first planted it 12 years ago. I have little bits of friends all around my garden. There is Fran's iris, Kath's Iris, Edie's bulbs, Marion's bulbs, Betty's ivy geraniums, Auntie Marion's cast iron plants, grandma Trennery's begonias, June Herbert's funny succulent tree thingy, June Bennett's columbines, Auntie Joan's poor struggling hydrangea, Ellen's fern, Mr Webb's rose scented geranium, Linda's cornflowers, the list goes on. I think it is really nice to have little bits of everybody to remind me of them as well as share bits of my plants around with everybody else who wants them. I have heard it called a friendship garden. That is about all for now. I think I will try to go back to sleep now, even though I don't really feel tired. Bye.
Love Linda.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

New kiln, Gardening. horse flu.

Here are some flower pictures from my beloved garden. The first one is a bloom from the big old climbing rose on the back of my house. I don't know its name.This orangie rose is beside the red one. I think it is called rouge de marmande or something like that.
A bit of my yard. Perennial wall flowers, snap dragons and little daisies.
This one was taken looking back towards the house. Early spring. I take a pic from here for each season, but as they are from different folders I don't know how to put them side by side to compare them.
A snowball bush, it is also called a guelder rose or a viburnum sterile'. It is out the front. Behind it is a may bush, named from the month it flowers in the northern hemisphere.
A beautiful Iris. I bought this in Canberra last year, this is the first flower. The plant behind it is a big fuchsia, not flowering yet but a good value plant.
And a columbine, also called grannies bonnets. These didn't flower last year and I was going to get rid of them if they didn't this year. A friend gave me the seeds.
A silvery white iris, at the back fence.
The baby doves are almost fully feathered now and can fly and feed themselves, though they still don't have their adult colours and markings.
The new kiln is having it's first firing today. It has a cone 9/10 glaze in it. The pressure gauge I got yesterday from Wagga is not registering. I don't know why. I will get Ray our plumber, to come back and have another look. So I am turning it up a little at a time, so far so good. It is at the 7 1/2 hr mark at the moment with about a hundred degrees to go until it reaches temperature. I can't wait to open the kiln up in the morning to see how it all went. For some reason the primary air intake at the burner has silastic glue in the holes. I don't know why the previous owner would have done that.
My second son had a shocker of a weekend last week. He lost his drivers licence for drink driving. He was very upset and didn't need me to rub it in, he already knew what I would think of it so I didn't. He will get a hefty fine and 6 to 12 months suspension and have to go to court. Serves him right.
I also brought from Wagga yesterday 3 more bales of sugar cane mulch and spread it around my garden beds out the back. With the 2 I put out before that makes 5, but I reckon I could use 3 or 4 more to finish it off properly. I also got a punnet of sweet basil, a golden nugget pumpkin and a white verbena to put in. As mulch,I have used pine bark fines, lucerne hay, meadow straw, pea straw, horse manure, stones and home made compost in the past. They all work, you get more weeds pop up with some more than others. I didn't like the stones much though, as the kids were little and enjoyed scattering them and so did the dogs and I had to pick them up all the time. They also sunk into the ground after a while and became hard and compacted. The idea of mulching is to conserve moisture, add humus, and protect the soil and plant roots from extremes in temperatures. We have had no rain over the past week an a half, not even a sprinkle. One of the nursies at work said the other day, that her farm usually gets 20 inches per year, this year they have had 7 inches of rain. Surely this can't last forever.
In Australia up until recently we didn't have horse flu. Now we do. There has been a campaign going for the past few months to try and stop it spreading but it is spreading, the Riverina area where I live is now on alert. Anyway, the campaign to stop the spread of the disease has stopped horse racing in certain areas in its tracks. Some enterprising people have been finding fun alternatives. Recently in Lockhart instead of their annual picnic races they held sheep races. I heard on the radio this morning of another funny alternate race. They are getting farm dogs to have a race by eating food. The first dog to the bowl of food to empty it wins. Of course there are alternate race meetings held in other places annually. In Hillston I think, there are camel races, In Queensland there are cane toad races, at picnics we have gum boot races and Alice Springs has their regatta where they build boats with no bottoms and race them down the dry bed of the Todd river. Darwin has the beer can regatta, boats or rafts are built out of beer cans. An old saying is that Aussies would have a bet on 2 flys crawling up a wall if there was nothing else to bet on.
Time to check my kiln, get up , get out, get on with it.
Bye, Love Linda.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

I'm home after work today and pleased to sit here, kick off my shoes and entertain myself at the puter. Today is the first of 4 days work in a row, not very different but there you go.
Michael and Annie, my eldest and youngest are both in Wagga for the weekend so it is just Pete, Mum and I at home. I want to know when my eldest son will start to act like an adult and become responsible for himself, it drives me mad how thoughtless he can be to everybody else's needs except his own sometimes. Ahhhh!!!! Maybe he will never be a grown up, he is 26 now. I won't tell the story here!
We all went out for tea last night together which was nice. Afterwards Mum and I went to see a ballet. Men in TuTus, which was a comedy, all the performers were men dancers dressed for both male and female roles. Very funny. I have never been to a proper ballet performance before except kids and school type ones. Nobody could watch a show like I saw last night without admiring the skill of the dancers. My favourite dancer was a tiny asian looking man. He was about 5ft nothing tall and I reckoned I could put my hands around his waist and my fingers would touch. Anyway he was very funny and clever, his partner being bigger than him. When he was dancing properly, joking and deliberate mistakes aside, he was amazingly quick and agile. There were lots of puns and tricks and deliberate mistakes during the show, very smart, especially the bit were one of the little swans flew off stage and a dummy fell through the ceiling a few minutes later. Also there was a bloke who must have been playing the part of prince charming who was exagerating the snobbery that would be expected of a prince, especially in the walk/ strutt. He had a bum shaped like an apple and walked along the stage lifting and flexing one bum cheek then the other, very funny. At the end of the performance after the curtain went down, their parting shot was The Dancing Queen song by Abba.
In hospital today was an old lady who used to visit her boyfriend quite a few years back in the long term area before he died. They where both in their 80's at the time. They were both as mad as one another and she used to come every afternoon to visit him and she would feed him up on all sorts of goodies so that he couldn't eat his tea. One day I went into the room to give them their afternoon tea and she was feeding him and he didn't want to eat it. She was slapping him sharply on the bald head and saying "Oh Henry is cranky today!" It was so funny and the poor old guy was nodding away, trying to stop his head from falling off no doubt. I had to get out real quick before I burst out laughing at them.
Something else funny I saw at work the other day. We have another old lady in the long term area who is quite mad but loves attention and talks to anybody who passes by and tries to keep them there to talk to her. A visitor came in who didn't know her or her reputation and she stopped to talk to the old lady. As she bent down , the better for the old lady to hear her, the old lady said to her "My goodness! haven't you got a big nose". I cracked up laughing and ducked back into the doorway so she didn't see me. The visitor replied "Well yes I guess I have " I bet she doesn't get caught again. I am sure our patient hasn't read "How to make friends and influence people" Lol. You never know what she is going to say next. I could tell lots of funny stories along the same vein, but a lot of them would not be funny if you had not worked in a nursing home environment, as there are times when if you don't laugh you would cry. So please don't think I am too weird for laughing at things like this. My credo at work is, to treat everyone there like you would expect your own mum or dad to be treated. Lots of sad things happen, lots of funny too. I guess that applies to everything though doesn't it.
My new kiln is in action, well almost. It is connected up, I still need to get a plug put on the computemp so I can use that and a new gaugeto measure gas pressure, then I will be in action.
A question! Can someone tell me what is a meme? I have looked at some of them on other peoples blogs.
I have been following links on other peoples blogs recently, especially Martha's and Merle's and finding all sorts of interesting people. It is much nicer than T.V. (except for a few favourite shows) and you don't get annoying adds like you do when you look at things on the web.
In my garden there are flowers everywhere and the big old red climbing rose that is on the back of my house is in full glorious flower and the perfume floats into the house. The rest of my roses are not out or not fully out yet. Out on the front verandah the little portwine magnolia scents the air. Ah spring. Goodnight. Love Linda.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Not much happening here, nice weather, still no rain, it has been around the mid 20's during the day and we have been having cool nights making for comfortable sleeping which won't be the case in just a few months time.
I have been taking lots of pictures of the flowers in my garden while it is at its best and each day brings the discovery of a beautiful new bloom. Today the purple/blue iris I have been watching is finally unfurled. Beautiful. I did about 3/4 hr of hand watering this afternoon, just the garden beds, the lawn has started to brown off already so I might just have to let it go. It is really early in the season for that to happen. I have heard snake stories already this year so will have to watch out around my yard after their exploits of last year.
We had a visit from the union rep today at work and everyone wanted a piece of his time. He usually sits at the table in our dining room and has to prompt people to talk to him. Just because I wanted to ask him a question so did everyone else. Ah Well!
The straw garden i made a few months ago has Potato shoots popping up in it , the first few that emerged were burnt off by the frosts but it is going along well now. I have 3 tomato plants to put out but i am not confident there won't be another frost to come which will damage them. I planted some scarlet runner beans and covered them well with straw a few days ago. The seeds are very pretty and were a shiny mid brown with speckles, and look like they have been polished. I have not tried them before , but the description on the packet sounded like they should grow here. They are different from other green beans because they have red flowers and are perennials. We will see. I also planted a small plot of corn and cucumber seeds and mulched them well, they haven't come up yet.
Baby Kate came home from Sydney on Sunday. She had surgery, her kidney was removed and it looks as though the cancer was contained in there so they are not going to give her chemotherapy which is good for her. She is well and happy to be home. Her elder sister drags her around like a sack of potatoes and she is fine. She has got to be tough to survive that eh. They will be keeping a close check on her though.
I had a lovely visit from my Auntie Joan, 2 of her daughters and their kids and grand children on Tuesday. They are from Griffith, and Sydney and it was great to see them, I hadn't seen my cousin Ruthie for 4 or 5 years. I gave her my blog address so Ruthie, if you read this, love ya. Ruth's grand daughter, Megan, is the daughter of M'liss who was my real live baby doll when she was little so it was special to meet her. It is school holidays at the moment and they were traveling around and visiting etc. Nice.
There is a box of Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates sitting beside me on the desk which Mum bought for me yesterday. I am resisting. I have put back on a few of the kgs I so arduously lost earlier this year so I have to be good. In Brad's blog he talks about the weather cooling down and having the urge to cook appropriate food, I am jealous that he can when I shouldn't. I really have to gt back on track or I will spoil all the good work of loosing weight before.
Right my fave t.v. show has started and I reckon its time to con someone in to making me a cup of tea.
Bye Love Linda.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Floriade, Canberra, Wiradjuri reserve, drought.gardening.

Yesterday I went to Canberra which is about 3 hrs drive from here and Mum & I had a look at Floriade. It was a gorgeous day, in the low 20's and I didn't need a jumper. It is very dry there as you can see from the pics I took. Anyway the first pic is of a couple of Gymea Lillies that were in an arrangement. They are the most spectacular flower, their proper name is Doryanthes Excelsior, I have one in my garden but it hasn't flowered, they can be temperamental to get to flower out of their normal area. The ones in the pic were touching the roof of the marquee.
The main flower display at Floriade each year is designed with Tulips. Tulips galore, in all colours, sizes and shapes.
Iceland or artists poppies, I don't know which. They make a great display.
More Tulips.
Barrows full of 'em.
These are a couple of small Waratahs. These are our state's floral emblem.
Some bigger Waratahs and native flowers at the bottom of a huge arrangement. Also includes red and white kangaroo paws, apple gum leaves, paper daisies and gum flowers.
A perfect pink Tulip, with little English daisies underneath.
An almost black double Tulip with black viola underneath.
Blood red tulip.
A pristine white Tulip with white viola underneath.
Golden yellow Tulips again with the matching viola background.
Tulips, Tulips and more Tulips. They were planted in themed patterns that made up big pictures that you could have probably seen better if you could look down at the whole thing from above.
A Burgundy coloured specimen.
This red Tulip with white edges and the white one were my favourites.
Yep! an orange one. Also at floriade was a man who was pasing his whole body through a tennis racket. I left when he dislocated his shoulder to get it through.
A double bi coloured tulip.
Last week Mum, Michael, David and Rufus and I had lunch at Wiradjuri Reserve which is just below Wagga. I was shocked to see how low the water level was in the river (the Murrumbidgee) . I don't think I have ever seen it so low in all the years I have gone down here to the reserve. I have been going there since I was a little child. In this pic is my son Michael and Rufus, where in good years they would be under water.
Rufus. I'm the king of the castle! He is standing on a dead tree that is about 7ft across which is usually in the water and the top of it is all that can normally be seen.
Orange mesembryanthem in my front garden. (I hope that's spelt right) There is a line of them along my front fence. Their common name is pig face. Which my daughter thought was very funny when she was little, and she used to dissolve into giggles when she heard it because she thought it was very naughty to say that.
Spraxias, a bulb also in my front yard. I have lots of these. Also known as harlequin flowers.
A dark purple Iris out the back. I was given about a dozen of these last year and am still waiting for the rest to flower to see what colours they are. I know at least 2 of them are this colour.
Picnic at the river again. I took this one because 18 months ago the river level was up to where my car is parked. You can see the high water level bank in the back ground. The water level now is about 50 ft away.
This is looking across at the bend in the river at Wiradjuri reserve. You can walk across the river to the island without getting the tops of your legs wet at the moment.
River silt, I always liked the way that it dried and cracked into these great patterns. When we were kids I would try to pick up the bits without breaking them and float them on the water until they sunk, or skim them across the surface.

Looking downstream.
The amount of rain we have had this season is less than last year. There were such high hopes during winter this year of the drought breaking and farmers outlaid big money to get a crop in the ground, which emerged with great hope of a good season to make up for some of the damage done by the drought over the past 5 years. Now the crops have failed and are dying in the fields. A lot of the crops around here came up nicely, but now due to lack of rain, they are about 8 inches high. Some are being cut for fodder. They are too damaged to bother spending the time harvesting as the quantity and quality would make it simply a waste of time and money. sad.
I have been trying to work out ways to save more of the rainwater we do manage to get without feeling guilty of using water in my garden. I mulch heavily and treat the soil with wetting agents , compost and gypsum etc. . Costs money. Ground still needs to be wet underneath to hold moisture in the soil. I have a water tank which I collect rainwater from the shed roof, doesn't cost money, but there's not a lot of it. I adhere to the water restrictions in place. I mostly use the tank water on the potted plants and for my pottery shed. I don't know if it is fit for human consumption but I wouldn't trust it as my friend depended on theirs and found out it wasn't. I take the water from my fish pond and bucket it around the yard and use the clean tap water to replenish the pond. So I recycle that. I only keep the plants that have proven themselves able to stand up to the drought over the years. If they don't I don't bother with them. I am not willing to let my garden die as I love it so much and have spent so much time and money on it that it is like a part of me. I have heard people say lately that it is predicted that it will be another 2 years before things will improve around here.
Despite the drought, spring and it's new life keep going and proving to me what a wonderful world we are in and just how plants and animals have the skill and will to survive and duplicate themselves.
The biggest of the baby doves is learning to fly. Tonight it was up off the floor and I thought it had it's foot caught in the wire on the side of the cage so I went and got it and sat it on the perch. It was calm and not worried at all about me handling it.
Back to work tomorrow so good night.
Love Linda.