Friday, March 27, 2015


Last night the builder emailled me a couple of photos, but as I couldn't relate them to anything (no landmarks in the photos), I couldn't really make sense of them.  They were just pictures of dirt and trees. They didn't look like my land. Today I went to see for myself.

Remember this picture from Monday last week:

Well here's how that looks today:

Slight difference? I wasn't standing in exactly the same spot, but I think you can tell there's a bit of a gap in the trees! The darker ring you might be able to see in the middle is a gravelled vehicle track around the site. Our house will be in the middle of that track.

Actually it doesn't look as bad as I had imagined, but a big part of that is because only the "inner zone" has been cleared. There is another 15m in all directions which was supposed to be thinned out significantly, but I suppose we can do that without the help of a bulldozer at some later stage if necessary. (And I wouldn't mind if no-one ever noticed and we could leave it alone.)

One of two piles of tree trunks:
The timber is not in great condition (many are rotten in the middle), but some may be able to be used more constructively than for firewood. The remainder will be keeping us warm for a few winters to come.

And here is the pile of roots, branches etc:
It is huge; about 4 metres high. Apparently the way to deal with this is to get the CFA (Country Fire Authority) to come and burn it! It seems a waste when we have so much need of organic matter in the soil, but there doesn't seem to be a practical alternative. Any suggestions?

And over to the side, the topsoil from the scraped area:
We can use this to establish some garden areas after the building is complete. But do you notice how small this pile is compared with the pile of branches etc? The topsoil layer is very thin in this area.

So there it is. I am glad I wasn't there at the time. I have watched time-lapse footage of the whole process, which was interesting but less horrific than it would have been in person.

Now on with the building!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cactus Pincushions

This cute display is at Morris and Sons in Melbourne, where a group of my quilting friends from Southern Cross Quilters (SCQuilters) get together once a month.

Just last week I found a sewn version of a cactus pincushion on a German blog: Karl der nadelkaktus (the link to the pattern is the word "hier" in the last paragraph) and thought I would have to try making one. These crochet ones are very cute, though. Perhaps I could make a sewn one with a crocheted flower?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


This is something I don't usually do:
Taking up a skirt! It's not for me; I've never needed to take something up for myself.

Concentrating on trying to keep that slippery fabric in place was made a bit more difficult as I knew that while I was removing a chunk of the skirt, bulldozers and chainsaws were removing a chunk of the trees on our block. I was a bit teary at times. I haven't seen any pictures yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm glad not to have seen it happening.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pullet Egg

One of the new arrivals from December has started laying:
Compare the cute little egg on the left with one from the big Australorp cross on the right.

In other news, I spoke to the earthworks guy today (finally), and now he says he will be there on Wednesday. We'll see.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Loving Indigo

As we still hadn't been able to get in touch with the earth-moving guy, and we have things to do in Melbourne next week, we packed up and headed back to town.

A stop-off in Ballan on the way gave me the chance to see a wonderful quilt show, "Loving Indigo: The world of Shigeko Asada". There wasn't much information on who Shigeko Asada was. Her quilts feature indigo-dyed traditional Japanese fabrics, and are full of symbols and memories of her life. The final couple were very sad; one full of memories of her husband of over 50 years, who died in March 2005, which she stitched in hospital while undergoing chemotherapy, and her final quilt before she died later that year, about which she said, "After embroidering symbols of happiness and good fortune, I set aside my needle."

The exhibition is for one weekend only, with the quilts returning to Japan on Monday. I am so glad I saw it.

A glimpse of the exhibition:

As you can see, many of the quilts are large. As well as being pieced, they are covered in sashiko-style stitching:
The text in the round medallion is a Buddhist saying, "I am content with what I have - he who is content with his lot will always be at peace".

Mrs Asada's final quilts:
On the left, "The Heart Sutra - in sadness", memories of her husband. On the right, "A Pair of Cranes Bring Good Fortune".

Here are close-up views of a few of the quilts:
"The smell of indigo is the scent of Mother - a woman's joy, a woman's sadness."

From the catalogue, "Pieces of indigo cloth which have lived with other women are now quietly gathered here. From grandmothers in the distant past they were handed down unchanged."

It was an incredibly moving exhibition.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Quilting Day

Guess what? Still no earthworks guy today!

At least I got to spend some time playing with my Sweet 16:
The owl is a cot panel I specifically bought for quilting practice (only $4 at GJ's). After I'd stitched around the printed design, I added a few more leaves to fill in some of the background.