Friday, December 31, 2010

Washing Off 2010

Last day of the year, with a forecast top of 40 degrees, seemed an ideal day to wash a couple of dogs who were very overdue for it!
This is Scruff, who had a haircut as well as a bath.  Now she is wondering why she can't get through the dog door - it was blocked off to stop her coming inside and shaking.

This is Merle, hiding under a garden bench, sitting in the dirt, licking herself dry. She is a strange dog!

Happy new year, everyone.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Not a very productive day today, so here's a butterfly from Lal Lal on Monday:
It is a male Heteronympha merope, the excitingly-named Common Brown Butterfly. There were butterflies everywhere! The caterpillars of this butterfly apparently feed on grasses like this:
This beautiful grass is hip-high. (It might be Microlaena stipoides - weeping grass.) Obviously the rain this year has been good for it. In fact the whole block looks greener than it ever has. It was almost unrecognisable.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sewing Again

Cut out and started sewing a dress from May 2010 Burda. I'm using some very unusual cotton sateeen fabric which came from the Mornington Antique Centre (should have been called junk centre, really, but it's a shame it's gone). This dress will either be so wacky that I love it, or so wacky that I never wear it outside the house.
Only got the sleeves made before my brain stopped working and I had to step away from the sewing machine before I wrecked something.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Street Trees for Bees

A street near me is lined with beautiful Brush Box trees (Lophostemon confertus).

As well as looking lovely, they provide welcome shade in summer. (That's Max stopped in the shade above.) 

Right now they are also flowering, and each tree is humming loudly with bees. You'll have to imagine the bee in that picture!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Daylily

Another daylily from the Macedon Plant Lovers' Market.  This one is Ginny Mitchell. The picture above was taken at about 10 am, before I went out. (Yes, more rain, but we won't mention that!) The one below was at about 7 pm when I got home.  The colour seems to have faded during the day - or maybe it is just the difference between morning sunshine and evening shadow. It is lovely either way.  I'm glad I saw it, as this is the fourth flower on this plant, and I missed the previous ones.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Quiet Afternoon

Spent a lovely afternoon alone in my sewing room. I made a list of projects I want to make, then started this skirt from Burda, July 1971.
Managed to get most of it done; just the waistband facing and the hem to finish.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas!

Last night I made a couple of quiches to take to each of the family gatherings this weekend. This morning, as I was loading into the car a bag of goodies (pavlova with home-grown berries, a box of cherries, and a quiche) I managed to drop the quiche. The pyrex dish shattered, and the quiche was history. Lucky I had made two, I guess! But this one didn't go to waste:
The chooks had eaten the whole thing by the time we got home. Is it wrong to feed chickens their own eggs?

Also tonight I managed to catch a couple of daylily flowers open.  A few have opened over the last week, but they've closed before I got to them.
This is one that I bought at the Macedon Plant-Lovers Market in September. Unfortunately the labels have faded/washed off/been eaten, but I'm pretty sure this one is "Huckleberry Candy". Isn't it beautiful?

Hope your day has been happy and peaceful, with no worse disasters than my quiche!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Checking on the Hive

Since the new bees arrived six weeks ago, their hive hadn't been opened to check on how they were going It's been rainy, windy, or not convenient, but today finally was a lovely day with no other commitments to stop it happening.

And not a moment too soon, it seems. The bees have filled all the frames in the main part of the hive, and what's going on in the lid?

As the hive mat (that piece of lino in the lid, which should be on top of the frames) was peeled back, it revealed that the bees have built comb to just about fill every available space.

So a second storey (officially it's called a "super", but I like to think of the hive as a house) with eight empty frames was placed on top of the hive, and bees from the lid were gently brushed into it.

Then the honeycomb was scraped off the lid:

Any bees still in the lid were brushed out before the hive mat and the lid were replaced.

Some of the honeycomb came inside for us (and it is very very yummy), and some was left out for the bees to clean up.  Here's a bee who just arrived back from collecting pollen to find some spilled honey.  And in the background you can see how the remaining honeycomb is covered with bees retrieving the honey.

What an exciting day!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Colours

A lovely unidentified red rose in my garden. It has a beautiful perfume, too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Myki Maths

From my Myki statement for today's travel:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

But They're Real

I love the way these echeveria flowers in my garden look almost as if they were made of plastic.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Club Finale

Last meeting of the book club for the year, held in a cafe as our normal venue has already closed for the year.
The person at the library who chooses the books came along too, and we learnt that she chooses the "less intellectual" books for this group. Oh.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

More of This Stuff

Where is it all coming from?
And yes, the windscreen wipers were going, top speed.  A couple of times we just had to pull over to the side of the road as visibility was so poor.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Rain, More Casualties

It seems I spoke too soon when I said 10 days ago that my Corymbia ficifolia was surviving. This is what has happened to those new leaves:
They are losing their colour and becoming crispy. I think it is fair to say that the red-flowering gum is no more.

Unfortunately the correa alba has joined its cousin the correa dusky bells. It is drooping, and on its last legs.
I didn't notice Scruff in the background until I saw that shot on the computer.

So why is everything dying? All my soil is clay, but I think this is the lowest part of the yard, and it is absolutely saturated. It makes "squelch squelch" sounds as you walk on it. The weeds are easy to pull out, because even their roots are rotting away. But here's something you can do with this soil:
Mr Clay Man

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't Stand So Close ...

While waiting for a tram, I looked in the windows of the shops nearby (as you do), and then I noticed this sign.
And so I stood close to it to take a photograph as well.

Really?  It's a WARNING?   So I'm being advised what I can do to avoid some unpleasant outcome, and the unpleasant outcome presumably is that your motion-sensitive cameras fill up your hard disk with pictures of people waiting for trams.  And I need to be warned about that why?  How about titling your sign "A polite request"?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cherries Are Ready

The bees did their bit, the bird-netting kept the fruit safe, and now:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pest Versus Pest

Today I saw an Indian Myna trying to catch an Australian Plague Locust.  The bird seemed a little surprised that this grasshopper could fly, but they both disappeared from view quickly and I don't know who won.  Who should one barrack for? It's a dilemma!

I had no chance of getting a picture of them, so here's an Indian Myna not being a pest:

In India, December 2008.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


A lovely night out with a great bunch of people, at a restaurant that let us down. So should I name and shame them in the tradition of the powerful Singaporean restaurant bloggers? 

No, I'll just show you this giant slug which was on the pathway when I got home.

Apparently these things aren't natives; they're from Europe. Limax maximus - great slug.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Celebrations All Round

Another end-of-year celebration with another quilting group, but you can read about that here.

First, there was a dual birthday celebration at work:

I don't work there on Mondays, but who can resist two birthday cakes?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

End-of-Year Do Number Two

Another quilting group, another end-of-year get-together.
I was given these gifts by other members of the group. 

Maria made everyone a handy shopping tote which folds up into its own pocket.  I grabbed the one with the orange pocket.  Thanks, Maria!

Marie made personalised patchwork coasters for everyone, using fabrics which related to that person.  Mine has flowers and trees, a dog paw-print, and is in colours I love.  She obviously spent a lot of time choosing the fabrics for each of us, then piecing them.  She told me she made 17 of them for various groups she belongs to.  Wow!  Thanks, Marie!

Would you believe I have another quilting end-of-year do tomorrow?  Then a Hindi one on Tuesday.  Then maybe I can think about getting ready for Christmas.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Lunch

Excitement as Kris Kringle presents are opened at the CBD group Christmas/End-of-year lunch.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just in Time

Finished this set of coasters for the CBD group Kris Kringle at lunchtime tomorrow.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aloe Flower

Aloe aristata flowering in my succulent garden.

This plant was a shrivelled-up thing which had been out of the ground for some time when I was given it by a neighbour. But now it is growing happily, and has sent up this lovely flower stem.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Too Much Rain?

My silver princess has been looking unwell recently, and I think there is no getting away from it, she is dead or dying.

No new leaves are growing, and all the current leaves are gradually turning this colour.

In the same part of the garden, the Correa Dusky Bells is also dying.  The leaves droop like this, then turn brown and crispy.  There's some brown ones in the background of this shot.

I thought the red flowering gum might be going, too, but fortunately it has grown some new leaves.
But that dead creeper along the fence in the background used to be my dusky coral pea.  I didn't even notice it dying until it was gone.

This part of the garden has survived some very dry summers without any water; I never watered it after the plants were established, through all these years of drought.  This year there has been far more rain (another 28mm fell today), and while a lot of the garden is thriving in it, for these drought-tolerant plants it may have been just too much.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This Depresses Me

This is the backyard of property adjoining mine. It isn't spectacular, but it has a few fruit trees, and a patch of green grass. The front yard is much the same; a small patch of grass surrounded by shrubs. A couple of weeks ago the owners, who have lived here longer than me, moved out. I should have guessed I wouldn't like what happened next.

Today I received a letter from the local council, advising me of an application for a planning permit for "development" of the land for 4 double-storey dwellings. Four! On land that currently has a small house and a bit of a garden. They must be going to build right up to the boundary to fit that many homes on it. I really do not want a double-storey building right on my property line, looking into my yard. I have deciduous trees along that fence, so they won't block the view in winter. If they even survive having their root zone excavated for double-storey foundations!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Kangaroo Paws

Last year I didn't get any kangaroo paw flowers, so it is nice to see them back again this year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010


...the quality or state of being drowsy and dull, listless and unenergetic, or indifferent and lazy; apathetic or sluggish inactivity...

Don't know if it's the weather, or if a bug is attacking me.

But somehow I found enough energy to get to the GJ's 25%-off sale, and buy what is probably enough wadding to keep me going until after the next sale (and maybe one or two other things - like a few $1.50 FQs).

Friday, December 3, 2010

One of Those Days

When nothing goes right, but at least the hydrangeas look good.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sewing Day

Spent some time with my sewing machine today.  Made these blocks for a Christmas project.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ash Flowers? No!

Flowers on a tree in a neighbour's yard.

I thought it was an ash, possibly the narrow-leafed ash, Fraxinus angustifolia,  However I couldn't find any good pictures of the flowers on the internet to confirm that.  I wondered why people wouldn't photograph the flowers; they're lovely.  But it turns out I was looking for the wrong thing.

I asked, "If you know what this tree is, please tell me in the comments." and Dee did.  It's a Melia azedarach.  Thanks, Dee!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This morning Valda, a lovely lady who was once in one of my classes (even though she does not love computers!) gave me a piece of this amazing epiphyllum hybrid (strap cactus, orchid cactus). She grew it from a cutting three years ago, and it's been covered in flowers this year.

She generously gave me the last piece with flowers on - the rain knocked out the rest of them, and probably is responsible for the orange spots on these ones.  Thank you!

Isn't it beautiful?  I hope it grows as well for me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Reason

This sign posted by the local dry-cleaner amused passers-by:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cold and Wet at the Convent

Wintry day for a visit to the markets at the Abbotsford Convent.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Democracy Day - State Edition

State election today, and I tried out a polling booth I haven't been to before.  It's at a training and support centre for adults with disabilities.

Between the buildings and amongst the artworks is a lovely sensory garden, with raised beds containing plants of interesting colours, textures, and tastes.  Almost as good was the fact that there was no queue, so I'll have to remember to come back here next election.