Thursday, October 31, 2019

Stash Use

Not much progress on reducing my stash this month. Mostly my sewing activity has been quilting, which does use up thread, but not fabric.
The only fabric used was for binding my temperature quilt and Bloom. Which would have been fine except that I purchased a couple of pieces of fabric I found in an op shop, so my fabric stash went up rather than down. (However I now know that 2/3 of what I bought will be just right for this year's mystery quilt, so that won't stay in my stash for long.)

Stash report for October

Two spools emptied, none added.
Year to date - down 13 spools.

Dress fabric:
None used, none added.
Year to date - down 2.25m.

Quilt fabric:
0.6m used, 1.5m added
Year to date - up 1.5m.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Twin Peonies?

Two peony plants:

On the left is one grown from a piece of root rescued from a garden in Coburg four years ago, and which had its first flower last year.

On the right is Vesuvian, which I was given for my birthday in 2016.

Neither of them look like they are flowering, but in fact there are several flowers on each plant. On both of them the flowers are hidden under the leaves.

Mystery peony flower:

Vesuvian flower:
The difference in colour is because of the angle of the sun on them. In real life they appear identical. What would be the chances of them both being the same variety?

Another plant where the flowers are under the leaves (although in this case that's a good thing as you look at it from underneath):
Wisteria flowering on the pergola.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Too Much

As I mentioned yesterday, there are so many things on this weekend that it became impossible to do them all. We could have got up early today and gone for a bird-spotting walk around Lake Wendouree. But we skipped that one.

Today is the annual Lal Lal Market. We had to pop in and have a look there, just because there aren't many things that happen in Lal Lal:
Notice that grey sky and how rugged-up everyone is. That will influence how many of today's events we actually get to.

There are three gardens open in Buninyong today, so we decided to go and check out one or two of them.

The first one is the garden of the Old Vicarage - formerly the Anglican vicarage. The house was built in 1857, and several of the trees date from that time.

This is probably not the best time to see this garden - the roses are not open yet, but the bulbs have all finished.

The 160-yr-old trees are impressive though. The back yard was not open to the public unfortunately. I'm not sure why this garden was open, as you can see all of the front garden from the street.

While we were in the area we popped in to the Buninyong Festival. I think it is a shame that it is on on the same day as Lal Lal market. I wonder if that was accidental or a deliberate choice. Perhaps the organisers of one or the other thought people might go to both, as they are only 10 minutes drive apart?

There were a lot more people and stalls at Buninyong than at Lal Lal:
 We took a quick walk though but didn't buy anything.

The second open garden, Mossmont, was worth seeing because it is hidden away from the road, so you would never know it was there. The driveway is lined with sugar maples:
This house was also built in the 1850s, and the garden features a 160-year-old elm tree:
Not in leaf yet, but it must give wonderful shade in summer.

A Victorian-style circular garden and fountain:

Orchids in flower close to the house:
I wonder if they move those pots somewhere in winter, or if this spot is sheltered enough for them to be OK all year round?

Garden bed with irises, euphorbias and proteas:

I was surprised to find that this weeping cedar is a deodar:
I've only seen them as upright giants in the Himalayas.

We decided we may as well take a quick visit to the third garden. We drove to the parking area, then walked and walked and walked. The property is on a narrow dirt road, with no room for parking anywhere nearby. So the walk to the front gate took longer than we had planned to spend on the whole visit.

Once at the property, there was a walk along the drive:

Stone walls:

And an amazing view across the valley:
Also a pizza oven, a swimming pool and lots of fairly young trees dotted around between the stone retaining walls.

The garden beds near the the house are in a cottage style, which is surprising given the modern building and the dramatic setting on the side of the hill.

My plan for the afternoon had been to visit Steiglitz for their quilt airing, on the way to the Geelong Patchworkers and Quilters exhibition. But after the busy morning, and given that I still have lots to do to get ready for our own exhibition next weekend, I decided to skip Steiglitz (today is not good weather for an open-air quilt show anyway) and Geelong as well.

Instead I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the binding on Bloom:
Just a few hanging sleeves to do now.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Plants and Plants and

There are so many things on this weekend, it is going to be impossible to get to them all.

This morning I had to go to the guild Sit and Sew, because final arrangements were being made for our exhibition next weekend. After signing up for various duties, I spent some time sewing down binding on Bloom. Now I am more than 75% of the way round it.

The local branch of the Australian Plants Society have a flower show and plant sale this weekend, so that was where I headed when my shoulders told me I had sat and sewed enough. The show is at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, so I popped in to look at the conservatory as well, where there is a display of Schizanthus:

 The massed display is beautiful, but the individual flowers are quite lovely too:
They come from Chile, and their common name is poor man's orchid, although they aren't orchids.

The display of native flowers is quite impressive, although I didn't manage to get any decent photos. This might give you a bit of an idea:

 All the flowers on display were grown by members. There must be some amazing gardens out there!

In the sale area there were a couple of commercial growers, and a smaller section which I think were grown by members. Their tubestock was 4 for $10, so here's my haul of 4:
Two very prickly blue devils, Eryngium ovinum, and two austral stork's bills, Pelargonium australe. I've been wanting to get hold of the pelargonium since seeing it flowering in the middle of a Ballarat winter on an excursion last year. I had a chance of buying a decent sized one for $1 when we had our trip to the Brisbane Ranges in September this year, but I didn't have $1 on me. So I'm very happy to finally get my hands on it!

Friday, October 25, 2019

First Peony

First open peony flower of the year. This is on the peony I rescued in Coburg, which flowered last year for the first time.

The plumber came early yesterday morning, and dug up the pipes to discover that a pipe had split quite near the one that split the first time. Last time he said that the split was caused by soil movement. Presumably the same again. But perhaps the area around it should have been filled with sand rather than clay, both originally and when he did the last repair? It definitely will be this time! Fortunately he used quicker setting glue this time, so instead of 24 hours of no water at all, it was only 6 or 7 hours. And I missed a lot of that because I was in the city. Running water - luxury!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


The builder and plumber turned up this morning and of course the builder decided that the leaking pipe is not a warranty issue. Of course!

I stayed out of it, sitting inside stitching binding on my temperature quilt. And here it is!

The plumber will be back tomorrow to actually fix the pipe. And hopefully that will be the end of the turning the pump on and off every time you want water.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Beautiful irises in the grounds of our motel in Kaniva, glowing in the early morning sunshine:

Kaniva unfortunately does not have drinkable water, although I did find a news story that suggested they might have by 2021. However in the meantime, a huge amount of industrial waste has been buried illegally on a property in the area, which has the potential to pollute the groundwater supply for the whole district. EPA info here: Illegal waste dump. Nice!

The motel provided bottles of drinkable water, but having to use bottled water for cleaning your teeth made this feel a bit like being in India.

Time to get back on the road!

When we drove past this lake on the first day of our trip, it was bright pink. We thought we better stop on the way home to get a good look at this amazing sight.

But this morning it wasn't looking pink at all:
Once we got down to the shore, though, the pink became visible:
Salt-loving red bacteria create the pink colour. There's been a little bit of rain here while we've been away, which must have diluted the lake and the bacteria. No doubt the bright pink will return as water evaporates in the forecast heat today and tomorrow.

Our next stop was this nursery:
Back in August when we visited the Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary we saw a honeybush, Hakea lissocarpha, in flower, and I thought at the time I would love to get hold of one for our garden. When I searched online, the Wimmera Native Nursery in Dimboola was about the only place I found it. They do sell plants online, but it was more fun to stop in:
They have a large selection of native plants, so as well as a couple of honeybushes we bought some eremophilas, grevilleas, other hakeas, and a callistemon. They are all destined for a planned "bird bed", a garden bed of shrubby plants to provide shelter and food for small birds. As well as looking good, of course.

(Several days after we got home, one of our neighbours asked if we had been at this nursery, because she had driven past and seen our car there. You just never know who might be keeping an eye on you.)

Our next stop was at the home of fellow quilter and garden lover Sue, whose blog is Mother Patchwork. Sue gave us a cuppa, then a tour of her lovely garden. She even generously dug up some pieces of alstroemeria for me, and gave me a pot of a recently divided aloe. Thank you, Sue!

Our last stop (other than collecting the dogs from the kennels) was in Stawell, where we got lunch at a fish and chip shop recently voted among the top 20 in Victoria. News article. You can't read the article without subscribing, but you can see the photo.

This was my view as I sat outside waiting for our food. It was nice to have a shady spot to sit, as the sun was bright and strong and quite warm by then.
The food was worth the wait - very yummy.

I took no photos of the rest of the day. But it involved collecting the dogs, who were overjoyed to see us, then heading home to a problem that we could have done without.

On about the first morning we were away, Graeme was checking the monitoring he has on various things around our house, and discovered that about 100 litres of water was leaving our water tank each hour. Fortunately our neighbour was able to come and turn off the water pump to stop any more water being lost. But once we were home we had to arrange for the plumber to come and sort out the leak (again).

Until it is fixed, the water pump is off. Having a shower (which I needed when we got home) involves turning on the pump, having your shower, then turning off the pump straight away. Best accomplished with the help of a friend - you don't want to run down to the tank, which is right near the road at the front of our block, wrapped in a towel!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Eyes on the Road

Here's our first stop today:
The National Motor Museum. It is a lot more interesting that I thought it might be! I was expecting rows and rows of cars. There is a bit of that, of course, but there are also special displays on the social aspects of motoring - how motor vehicles have affected life in this country.

The front entrance is through this actual old service station, which was bought in the 1920s as a prefab from the USA:
When it was going to be demolished it was rescued, restored and reassembled for the museum.

How about this driving outfit?
Fortunately in the Jag we don't need special clothing to protect us from dust, wind and rain!

This display celebrates Aboriginal "bush mechanics" and the art of keeping vehicles going in the outback until they have had it:

Other displays feature drive-ins, travelling hawker vans, outback mail adventures, Alice Anderson's all-women garage, as well as of course a huge range of vehicles.

Cute ones like this 1957 Isetta bubble car:

And very snazzy ones like this Bugatti Veyron:
The fastest production car in Australia. But who needs to travel at 460km/hour?

After eating our picnic lunch in a cemetery - maybe an odd place, but they had a nice shelter and seats there - we hit the road towards Victoria.

We took a break at Coonalpyn, to investigate the rest of their public arts trail that we missed on the way here. Here's the northern end of the silos, which we didn't see before:
"Coonalpyn on Show" was a display of appliqu├ęd panels made by a local sewing group and the primary school, but the shop where it had been on display was empty. "Growing Coonalpyn" is a garden display, but we didn't find it.

The one art project we did find is "Eyes on the Road":
 An eagle's face made of 3,200 bits of folded and painted metal:
It probably looks better when the sun isn't so bright behind it.

Our next stop was Bordertown. On our way I had seen some "Cup o Flora" wicking pots for sale in a shop there, but didn't buy one. Of course later I thought I should have. Fortunately the shop was still open when we drove back through this afternoon, and I bought a couple to try with my African violet babies when they have grown a bit.

Our overnight stop is Kaniva. Like many country towns, Kaniva was once a thriving town but now there are many empty shops. Along the main street there are history panels showing businesses that used to exist:

Several grocery stores, greengrocers, a couple of stock agents, butchers, all sorts of clothing stores have disappeared.

This church is now a garden:

Some businesses have only recently closed down:

But bizarrely, there is a puppet shop looking quite prosperous:
Unfortunately it is closed on Mondays, so we couldn't check it out. It could be that they do a lot of their business online.

Kaniva's tourist attraction is a flock of decorated sheep along the main street. Details here. The sheep were painted by community groups and businesses. Here are a few of them:
 I thought they were pigs when I first saw them.
 Apparently they are based on Texel sheep, which are lean meat sheep.

Only another 300km of our road trip to go. We will be home tomorrow afternoon.