Thursday, May 31, 2018


We have seen lots of kangaroos around lately. This one kept an eye on us as we walked past with the dogs:
While three others made a get-away into the bush.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


The post-hole digger has had a work-out today:
Making holes for these posts:
Posts are sitting loose in the holes so far - do not panic about their irregular orientation! They are to protect the new water tank (behind the plastic one) from any wildly reversing vehicles.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


The garden bed along the front of our house attracts several species of small birds. It brings me great joy to sit inside watching them so close to the windows. The bethel sage (Salvia involucrata 'Bethelii') provides regular food for several eastern spinebills (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris):
These little birds are amazing. Sometimes they hover like hummingbirds, sometimes they hang up-side down, and sometimes they just sit on the flowers like this. They don't stay still for long, though; they are constantly on the move. And thus very hard to photograph!

In the photo below there is unfortunately a leaf in front of the bird, but you can at least see how long and thin and "spiny" their bill is:
You can also see in the background that the liquidambar still has a few pretty leaves hanging on.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Birthday Flowers

Celebrations continued. The next-door neighbours came for a pizza-oven dinner, and brought me a lovely vase filled with beautiful flowers from their garden:
Proteas, leucadendrons, and a couple of different varieties of thryptomene.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Fun Day

First thing this morning two giant frogs arrived by tractor at the bedroom window:
which freaked the dogs out, but I laughed my head off.
I admired this pair of cute/ugly frogs in a junk shop a couple of months ago, but I had forgotten about them since. And now they are mine!

A bit later in the morning, a garden bed was also delivered by tractor:
A literal garden bed! I think I will plant it with succulents.

For lunch we went to Kambei Japanese restaurant. It is the first time we've eaten there, but I'm sure it won't be the last. The food was excellent.
Green tea ice-cream for dessert:

Then there was some family visiting. A steam train that was running between Ballarat and Lal Lal all weekend chuffed past us too quickly for me to grab a photo.

But I had plenty of time to photograph these critters:
A herd of cows being moved from one paddock to another. There were some quite young calves in amongst them. And a dog having a great time riding on the back of one of the quad bikes. The joys of country living! I don't miss living in the city.

It was a fun day. And apparently there is another gift to come tomorrow!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Welcome Home. And Comments Chaos

Welcome home to my trusty Elna Lotus!
It has been out of action since the 29th of March - nearly 8 weeks. The problem wasn't in the foot control, as I had suspected. It was a burnt out capacitor in the motor somewhere. I actually got it back earlier this week, but late today was the first chance I had to set it up and do some sewing. It is so nice to have my old friend back home again.

Ignore that sticker from Statewide on the machine. I do not endorse them as machine repairers. They put that sticker there in 2009 and it has a permanent adhesive so I haven't been able to remove it yet.


If you have left a comment since some time yesterday, I have not received any notification. If you are also a Blogger user, you may have noticed the same thing on your own blog. Thank you, Google! Presumably this is something to do with changes made for the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) on 25th May. But there are no answers on the Google Support site, only a lot of bloggers asking what on earth is going on.

I will try to reply to comments where I can, but it is quite likely I will miss some. So please excuse me, I'm not deliberately ignoring you! I hope Google can sort this out quickly, because it is a bit of a nuisance.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Week Fifty-Two

Can you believe it?
The 52nd week of my year quilt. And every day was aqua:

25/05/2018    13.8    aqua/teal
24/05/2018    11.5    aqua/teal
23/05/2018    10.3    aqua/teal
22/05/2018    11.9    aqua/teal
21/05/2018    11.6    aqua/teal
20/05/2018    12.8    aqua/teal
19/05/2018    11.1    aqua/teal

This is the third time in the year where I've had a whole week all the same colour. Week 3, week 9, and now week 52 were full weeks of aqua!

You might think that this would be the last week of the year quilt. But if I stop now, the year would have no 26th May. So I am going to do one more week, which will cover a whole year plus 6 days, and take me up to the official first day of winter.  

Linked to Sarah's weekly Weather Report here. Now Sarah has her complete year together as well. Go and check it out!

Thursday, May 24, 2018


This afternoon a friend took me along as a guest to a members' preview of a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Japonisme: Japan and the Birth of Modern Art.

Then before I could get home and write a blog post, Jeanette had written and published her own, and said everything I could have. Even most of her photos are the same as ones I took. So go and read her post here!

Here are a couple of extra photos:
How about that for a vase? Due to certain deficiencies and ambiguities in the labelling of the exhibition I couldn't work out which label belonged to this item. I downloaded the labels from the NGV website, and searched for "peacock", but that turned up nothing. However I now think it is the piece labelled simply "Vase c. 1896", designed by Christopher Dresser.

A touch of Art Nouveau:
Tiffany "Wisteria" lamp designed by Clara Driscoll,  "Jack in the Pulpit" vase designed by Tiffany himself, and a rather beautiful French display cabinet by Louis Majorelle (who was the father of Jacques, the painter who created the garden in Morocco).

I enjoyed the exhibition, apart from things mentioned in Jeanette's blog post. It is definitely worth visiting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Garden Colour


Crepe myrtle:
Two of the crepe myrtles have lost all their leaves,  two have turned autumn colours, and one is still covered in green leaves and flower buds.

Beaufortia orbifolia:
This is a plant from Western Australia, but we bought it from the Melton Botanic Garden nursery.

Hakea hybrid "Burrendong Beauty":
The flowers will pop open and look like little pincushions when they are ready.

This afternoon we went to look at Lal Lal Falls. We've had drizzly rain for days, but look at the amount of water at the Falls:
None. Although it does look a bit wet, so there must have been a bit of flow recently.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Tank and Feathers

Outside, workers installed another water tank:

Inside I finished quilting the 9th charity quilt:
Not that you can see the quilting very well on the front. Here's the back:
Some of this was practice for this week of Angela Walters's "Free Motion Quilting Along Challenge", a simple feather design. It was good to have lots of room to practice those feathers!

Here's a section of the quilt so you can see the quilting better:

Linked to Lizzie Lenard's Free Motion link-up here.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


My Japanese maple Acer palmatum "Osakazuki" is losing its leaves:
The remaining ones are turning beautiful orange and red shades:
This is its first year in the ground, so it is nice to see that its autumn colour lives up to the label.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


When I arrived home last night I discovered that the population of domestic creatures had grown:

Last weekend our 10-yr-old chook died, which was rather sad. But now we have 3 ducks to replace her. Nett increase in the creature count: 2.

Another unexpected arrival:
A spring star flower open before winter even starts!

Friday, May 18, 2018


Today a group of quilting friends took a trip down to Torquay to visit Jen Kingwell's shop, Amitié.
We sat and sewed, ate lunch from the in-store café, and probably all splashed a bit of cash on lovely fabrics and patterns.

The very high ceiling means there is plenty of room to display quilts above the stock shelves:
See the quilt up above the Featherweight? I photographed that because of a design idea I've had in one of my sketchbooks for ever. I based it on the robe Katharine Hepburn is wearing in this scene in Adam's Rib:
Adams rib trailer.png
Trailer screenshot uploaded by Lobo512 at en.wikipedia - Adam's Rib trailer, as featured on the DVD, Public Domain, Link

One day it will get made maybe!

There is lots of room between the shelves, too. The fabrics are all arranged by colour:
What I didn't photograph are the little baskets of 1/16ths scattered around between the shelves. They're ideal for if you just need a touch of something. For example, the background I've used in this week's temperature rosette came from one, as did today's hexie:

This is week 51. So close to the end. Here are the temperatures:

18/05/2018    13.1    aqua/teal
17/05/2018    10.3    aqua/teal
16/05/2018      9.3    blue
15/05/2018      9.8    blue
14/05/2018    14.3    aqua/teal
13/05/2018    11.2    aqua/teal
12/05/2018    11.3    aqua/teal

It really feels like winter has arrived. I know last year in the week before I started this quilt there were three "green" days - ie temperatures between 15 and 20C. But this year it seems green is gone.

Linked to Sarah's weekly Weather Report here.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Farewell to the Trees

This time for real:
Four boxes of TreeProject seedlings loaded onto the back of the ute. Two other boxes of just-germinated species will stay with us over winter.

Dropped off at a house in Ballarat, where they joined others, and from where they will be collected by the landholder and taken to their final home somewhere way out in the west of Victoria, almost to the border with South Australia.
Grow well, little trees!

One the way home we drove down an unfamiliar road, and saw a mob of kangaroos in a paddock:
 They seemed pretty relaxed about having their photo taken.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Late Bloomers

A bit of sunshine today, which was a nice change. Even the bees ventured out, as you can see in this photo of the finally-opening tree dahlia (Dahlia imperialis) flowers:

Another plant that doesn't start blooming until late in autumn is the bethel sage, Salvia involucrata 'Bethelii'. I thought it might not flower at all this year, but here is the first flower beginning to open:
It flowered all through winter in the city, finishing some time in September. But here it will stop once the frost arrives.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Gallery Visit

This afternoon we tried to go to the cinema to see Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf, which was only showing this weekend. But unfortunately tickets were sold out before we got to the box office. Instead we went across the road to the Ballarat Art Gallery, where we joined a guided tour, then saw the special exhibit Eugene von Guérard: Artist Traveller.

Von Guérard travelled around south-eastern Australia for 28 years, recording what he saw in his sketchbooks. The exhibition includes many of the sketchbooks, and larger drawings and paintings based on his sketches.

Here's a larger drawing of a local landmark:
"Lal Lal Falls near Ballarat 29th February 1856"

This drawing is owned by the State Library of New South Wales, so it was nice to get the chance to see it in Ballarat. However there is something odd about it. Here is a normal summer view of the falls:
My photo from January 2015. No water falling at all.

And here is a winter view from July 2016:
A bit of water, but nothing like von Guérard's drawing.

In fact the only time I've seen the falls looking at all the way they do in the drawing was after massive spring rains in September 2016:
And then the whole gully was full of water, not dry as it appears in the drawing.

There is a book accompanying the exhibition, which includes a different version of the drawing, although with the same date. The drawing in the book shows a lot less water going over the falls, and looks more like my winter photo. The actual sketch that the two drawings were based on is not on display in the exhibition, so I don't know how much water von Guérard actually saw on his visit to the Falls in February 1856. But I think it is fair to say that he just imagined what the falls might look like with a lot of water in the drawing above.

Elsewhere in the gallery I was quite taken with a Butler's Tray with Folding Stand, made for Alfred Deakin (Australia's 2nd Prime Minister) by  F E Strangward some time between 1910 and 1930:

I love the quilt-like designs made of tiny pieces of timber.

In searching for more information about F E Strangward I found an article in The Argus of 16th August, 1933; a glowing review of an exhibition of his mosaic woodwork in Melbourne. The article was written by Arthur Streeton, art critic for The Argus at the time. There are several of Streeton's paintings in the Ballarat gallery in the same room as this piece of furniture.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Blue Returns

This is week 50 of my temperature-based year quit:
You will notice there are no warm colours this week. Perhaps we have seen the last of yellow.  And then yesterday was our first "blue" day since week 15 (the 8th of September to be precise). We are definitely heading for winter.

This week's temperatures:
11/05/2018    8.9    blue
10/05/2018    8.4    blue
9/05/2018    14.3    aqua/teal
8/05/2018    16.3    green
7/05/2018    15.9    green
6/05/2018    18.6    green
5/05/2018    17.2    green

I used the same fabric for both yesterday and today, which I wouldn't normally do. I've been trying to keep repeat fabrics well separated in the quilt. But we have had rain. The umbrella seemed appropriate for yesterday, and then today it has rained non-stop so I couldn't resist using those gumboots as well. Since it started raining yesterday we have had 35.8mm. Our water tank has gone up from 65% full to nearly 90%. It is wonderful to get so much, although I feel sorry for the people of Hobart who have been flooded by 129mm in the same period.

The alert reader may notice that this background fabric is the same as last week. In fact I changed my mind about last week's background as I was assembling it. You can see the actual fabric I used in this photo of the last three weeks:

Linked to Sarah's weekly Weather Report. The project is drawing to a close. Sarah has only one week to go. Pamela in Japan has completed the whole year. I am planning another 3 weeks, to take me up to the official first day of winter.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Growing Cold

We had some bright sunshine this morning, but around the middle of the day this happened:
The driveway is normally dark grey - close to black when it is wet. The white stuff is hail.

On the other side of the driveway is the rose and perennial bed (surrounded by an electric fence to protect it from wallabies). Behind that there is a row of crepe myrtles, three of which are in this photo but you would have to enlarge it and know what you were looking for to pick them out probably. In the background are the two beds I showed last week.

Here's the view down the driveway towards the orchard and vege garden:
You can see the build-up of hail even at the neighbour's house across the road. While I was out taking pictures, the nature of the precipitation changed. The hail stopped, and a more floaty form of ice fell for a short while. Yes, we had a little bit of snow! But then it changed again, and turned to rain, after which all the hail build-up disappeared.

A week or so ago I noticed a flower spike forming on this orchid:
Fortunately last night I moved all the orchids into the greenhouse, so they weren't out in the hail.

Here's a hyacinth bulb appearing in a pot in the back yard:
I presume a bit of cold won't hurt it.

But I'm a bit worried about the tree dahlia:
The first couple of buds are just starting to open. The weather bureau were forecasting a low of 1 in Ballarat tonight, and if it is 1 there it could be lower here. Dahlias do not like frost. But the forecast has been revised to an overnight low of 3, so perhaps we will see some fully open tree dahlia flowers this year.