Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Eastward Ho!

After a couple of friends visited an attraction in Yarra Junction last summer, we made an arrangement for the three of us to go there together this summer. This is the week we settled on. Unfortunately one of us had to cancel, and my own participation was in doubt until yesterday, due to uncertainty about my mother's situation. My first step was to travel 150km east, to spend the night at the home of skippingstitches, ready to travel the last 40km tomorrow.

After visiting my mother (who has been moved to a quieter room, but this one has even less view than the previous one. In the new one, the bottom section of the windows has been painted over.) I took a train to Melbourne, then a suburban train to the eastern suburbs. I arrived early enough for us to take a trip this afternoon to the TarraWarra Museum of Art.

Avenues of poplar trees lining the driveways:

Netted grapevines above the carpark:

And in the foreground of a view very different to the basalt plains of the western side of Melbourne:

The exhibition we had come to see is Assembled: The Art of Robert Klippel. My flashless phone photos can not do the pieces any justice, so click that link if you would like to get a better idea of his work.

The sculptural pieces were fascinating, and made for interesting shadows,

but I liked a lot of his two-dimensional works as well, such as this lithograph with gouache and collage, (Untitled),

In the grounds of the museum is this installation; Valhalla by Callum Morton.
Callum Morton was the creator of the somewhat creepy large head I visited last month. As this explanatory sign says,
this work is also disturbing. There was no simulated smoke or silent attendant today, but the sounds experienced inside the work were unsettling.

I enjoyed this visit to a place I didn't know existed before today, and am looking forward to tomorrow's adventure.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Surprise Creature

Pictures from the wildlife camera early yesterday morning:
A creature I had no idea lived around here:
It's a sugar glider! (Petaurus breviceps)
Where there is one, there is probably a family. They would have plenty to eat here at the moment, as the messmate stringybarks are flowering all over our block. Every morning flocks of dozens of lorikeets and wattlebirds have their breakfast in our trees.

Monday, February 10, 2020


A flower I was expecting:

First flower to open on a Mystic Sparkler dahlia.

And one I wasn't expecting:
Wisteria flower! Just the one, but it is quite a surprise as the main flowering was in October.

Sunday, February 9, 2020


The first field nats trip of the year took us to various sites around Skipton, a town about 50km to the west of Ballarat. We met up at Skipton Common, a 74ha reserve managed by Ballarat Environment Network.

Last year Wadawurrung people conducted a traditional burn at the common. You can read about it and see a video on the CFA website here: Skipton Common Traditional Owner Burn. Part of the purpose of our visit was to see what effect the burn has had on wildflowers. Many native wildflowers are stimulated to bloom after fire.

Some field nats looking for wildflowers:
The wildfowers are generally quite tiny, although once you start walking through the grass you see that they are everywhere. Here are a few we found.

Blue devil, Eryngium ovinum.

Lemon beauty heads, Calocephalus citreus.

Yellow star lilies, Hypoxis glabella?

Magenta stork's bill, Pelargonium rodneyanum.

Our next stop was Stewart Park, which contains the Skipton Historic Precinct and a platypus viewing point. Unfortunately there was no sign of any platypuses, but a swamp wallaby did hop right past us. No photo, it happened too fast. From the viewing point you can see this house, which was the childhood home of Sir Henry Bolte:

Another famous resident of the area was Francis Ormond, who founded the college that became RMIT, and donated huge sums for the building of Ormond College at Melbourne uni. This is the rather scary "Francis Ormond Bridge":
The scariness comes from how much it sways just from being walked on. Hold on tight!

Our next stop was lunch at Jubilee Park, where the trees were full of hundreds of corellas:
Waterlilies were flowering
and a family of non-native ducks followed us, hoping for food, as we walked around the lake:

Our last stop for the day was some wetlands along the Skipton Rail Trail, about 6km east of the town.
A few birds were spotted away in the distance, and some flowering eucalypts were attracting huge numbers of pollinating insects.

It was another interesting field naturalists excursion. I've never been to Skipton before, but will have to return to check out the op shop and the "old wares" (junk) shop that we didn't have time to see today.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Frolic Basting

Today was my quilt guild's monthly meeting, so I took along Frolic and everything I needed to get it sandwiched. There were so many people at the meeting that I thought I wouldn't be able to get it done, because there weren't any spare tables. Fortunately someone more forceful than me had brought along a quilt she was determined to baste. She got people to move, and re-arranged tables, and just made space. I helped her and another quilter pin her quilt, then the two of them helped me:
Hooray, Frolic is ready to quilt!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Indoor Flowers

This Bilbergia brom which has been inside for some months, has popped out a flower:

And the "lumps" growing under the leaves of my African violet are now definite buds:

Now I've noticed the same tiny lumps on another African violet:
I can't see it clearly even with my glasses on, as it is so small. But that tiny light dot in the middle looks like a bud forming on my first African violet, which Sue gave me last May.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


My mother has been in hospital since Monday. When I found out her bed was beside a window, I was happy for her that she would be able to see the outside world. Until I got there and saw the view myself: