Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Unusual Daffodil

At least I think it's a daffodil:
Unusual colour and petal arrangement.

Another clump of them nearby, just about to open:
Found in an old section of a local cemetery. I wonder if they are a random mutation, or an old variety that have been growing here undisturbed for a very long time?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Spring Bulbs

Although I'm told spring doesn't arrive in Ballarat until about October, it really feels like it is here now. The bulbs seem to think it is spring.





The front "lawn" was mown today:
I might even have to stop putting "lawn" in inverted commas, soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

In the Ground

Freed some daylilies from pots, and planted them between the roses:
They include the three I bought at the Macedon Plant Lovers market 6 years ago, which were dug up from my garden 2 years ago and have been living in pots ever since. Also a "black plush" daylily purchased in June at the Spring Park nursery at Eganstown, and another mystery one which no-one remembers either digging up from a previous garden, or buying anywhere lately. So that one will just be a nice surprise when it flowers!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lovely Day Out

Today I drove to Bendigo to attend the Strathdale Quilters Quilt-In. I met up with a friend there and we both enjoyed the hospitality of the local quilters. There was a talk by Strathdale member Sherrie Boston, a very talented and prolific quilter, illustrated with many of her beautiful quilts. Lots of door and raffle prizes were won by lucky attendees (including my friend), and the morning and afternoon teas were fantastic. And I took no photos at all! When the show-and-tell is added to the Strathdale blog, I'll put a link here to make up for my lack of photos.

In the course of the day I completed the binding on my twisted pinwheels quilt, and added a hanging sleeve to my feathered star. Here's the proof when I got home tonight:
Feathered star (June's UFO) on the wall, twisted pinwheels (August's UFO) protecting the table-top from the vase. Jack in the foreground.

Friday, August 26, 2016


Captured by one of our cameras at just after midnight this morning:
A fox casually strolling down the driveway, between the shed and the orchard. Fortunately the chooks were locked up securely for the night.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Peony Joy

This little bit of growth made me very happy today:

Peonies do not like to be moved, and this one has had a difficult life in the last 12 months. It originally grew in the front yard of a house in Coburg. About three years ago, when the gardeners left that house, the plant was dug up and taken away. But a piece of the root was left behind. The root sprouted, but was over-grown by weeds for a couple of years. Then the root was dug up in August last year, and moved temporarily to a garden up the street, just before its home garden was bulldozed and covered in concrete.

A couple of months later, the root was dug up again, and endured a hot truck ride to come here. I didn't have anywhere prepared to plant it, so put it in a pot.  It took a long time to show any sign of life, but in November it sent up a little bit of green. And then, nothing happened. No leaves, just that little green stem. I read on a couple of sites that transplanted peonies will grow "first year roots, second year shoots, third year flowers". I didn't know how a plant could survive a year without any leaves, but it seems this peony has done just that. Presumably that little bit of green stem, and whatever it had stored in the thick root, gave it enough energy to establish its root system last year, and this year there might just be some leaves. This poor abused plant definitely wants to live!

Elsewhere in the garden, my sweet peas have started to climb:

Lots of anemones are opening: 

And the penstemons, which are supposed to flower in summer but have had one or two flowers all through winter, are sending up lots of new growth:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This and That

Noisy visitors this morning:
About 25 sulphur-crested cockatoos, Cacatua galerita, (and a couple of galahs, Eolophus roseicapillus) dropped by as I was eating breakfast. It wasn't easy to get a good shot of them. This is what happens when a dog jumps up on the window seat to get a better look:
Cockatoos taking off!

None of my photos would have earned a place here:
There were some lovely photos, and even the primary-school children had taken better wildlife shots than mine this morning!

Next stop was a small quilt show in Creswick, where this was my favourite:
Kaleidoscopic stars, in purples which of course look bluer here. The card pinned to it didn't have the maker's name or the pattern name, so I can't give credit where it is due. It was for sale for $1500 though.

This made me happy later in the day:
One of my quilts finally hanging in the hallway.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wildlife Spotting

For the last couple of days, I've been fascinated by the Wildlife Spotting website. It is set up to allow members of the public to assist with scientific research into wildlife. You look at photos and identify what animal is in the photo, or if there is no animal at all. The photos are from 6 different research projects, all round the country.

Here are a couple of examples I've seen. Is this a bettong, a bandicoot, or a rat in far north Queensland?

Bandicoot, mouse or rat on the outskirts of Melbourne?
If you aren't sure, there are photos and extra information you can consult. And if you get it wrong it doesn't matter too much, as each photo is looked at by 5 different people, and the answers compared. If they are all different, the researchers know to take a look for themselves!

Lots of the photos don't show anything at all, which while it is disappointing, saves the researchers time because they know which photos they don't have to look at. The Tasmanian photos in particular rarely show an animal. So it is a bit exciting when this happens:

Tasmanian devil!

Friday, August 19, 2016


Another sign that spring is on the way:
A pair of crimson rosellas checking out a nest box outside my sewing room. I hope they move in!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Full Day

The brickies returned to bag the walls. First coat on one wall:
and the other:

Look at the mess they are working in:
Glad it's them and not me trying to work in that mud.

After they'd had their morning tea or lunch or whatever their morning meal is, the walls had dried enough to put on the second coat:
I forgot to take any pictures of the completed second coat. The brickies will be back in a week or so to finish off the walls (fill them with concrete, and smooth the tops and those edges where the gates will be).

Meanwhile, I attempted basting a quilt one quarter at a time on my cutting table:
That's just the batting, not the actual quilt top. Doing it this way worked for the most part, but when I had finished and looked at the back I found a couple of tucks which meant I had to re-pin some of it.

Later in the day, the chooks took a trip by tractor:
which they didn't seem to enjoy:
Although once they were in the orchard, and they were allowed out, they looked very happy. It's the biggest area they've had to explore since leaving the city. It didn't take them long to find the rhubarb:
They also enjoyed a dust bath. Now we will have to be very careful to lock their fox-proof pen every night!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Wildflowers in bloom. Sundews:

And a surprise find:
Hardenbergia violacea, sold in nurseries as Happy Wanderer, but growing wild in the bush. In reality it is a very dark purple. I haven't seen it here before but this one is so tiny that it would be easy to miss.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Second Wall

Lovely sunny day! The brickies made good progress on the second wall:
This photo was at 1:30 this afternoon. They did quite a bit more by their knock-off time, but somehow I didn't take a photo later in the day.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Around the Garden

First daffodil open:

And the walled garden now has one full wall:
Brickwork completed, although still work to be done.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Return of the Brickies

I had barely opened my eyes this morning, when the brickies turned up. By the time I was ready to face the world, they had added this much to the wall, and gone off somewhere for morning tea - or maybe lunch? It was about quarter past ten, but I think it was their lunchtime.

And by the end of their day (about 3pm) they had this much done:
Brickies keep very different hours to me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Test One Two

Trying out these after a hearing test today:
At first they were very weird, as I could hear the air travelling through my nose, and the sound of my hair moving against itself if I touched it. I don't like the sound of my voice! And the car seems very noisy. As does my computer keyboard.

I have the hearing aids for a couple of days to see if I like them. So far I've tested them out in a shop (I could actually understand the announcements!) and at afternoon tea with the neighbours (I could understand what everyone said, even if more than one person was speaking!). Will have to try doing some machine sewing before I take them back.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Buds and Birthdays

Pandan chiffon cake I found in Melbourne yesterday.

When it was my birthday (a couple of months ago) I was given a tree peony, and this morning I found it is starting to sprout:

Other plants around the garden are getting ready for spring. A vireya flower bud:
 Beginnings of blossom in the orchard:
 Another in the orchard:

To celebrate the birthday, we went out for lunch. Close to where we ate was an op-shop with some plants out the front, so I had to check it out. They weren't the normal collection of easily-struck op-shop plants like geraniums and salvias. They have a real gardener growing plants for them! Here's one that came home with me: 
A "Coral Charm" herbaceous peony.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Making the Australian Quilt 1800 - 1950

Trip to Melbourne to see a fantastic exhibition
at the National Gallery Victoria - Federation Square, until 6th November.
Wonder what they do with these banners after the exhibition?

The exhibition is marvellous! Wonderful quilts, fascinating history, displayed so that you can get a good view of everything. The gallery wasn't very busy, so I could spend as long as I wanted looking at each piece. And for some, that was quilt a while! I enjoyed examining the details, seeing the choices the maker had made when there wasn't enough of a particular fabric to complete a design, or how a maker had assembled patterned fabrics to make a unique design. 

I bought the book:
which is packed full of photos and info. It includes a few things that weren't on display, like this fabric on the back of one of the quilts:

I love the shapes, which would make an interesting quilt in themselves. Then I wonder why there is no Welsh symbol around Queen Victoria?

The gallery is selling a couple of silk scarves with images of quilts, but they were a little out of my price range. But I consoled myself with this remnant of patchwork-themed silk/cotton fabric from Tessuti, which I will turn into a scarf:

Also at the gallery another exhibition, Glenn Murcutt: Architecture of Faith, opened today. It is a fascinating inside look at the design of a new mosque under construction in Newport. It looks like a beautiful building, so I hope I can go and see it in person once it opens.