Sunday, May 31, 2020

The End of Autumn

I've gone back to part 5 of the Laundry Basket Quilts mystery, which I had skipped over. Here is why:

I wanted to make this as one piece rather than as two blocks with a seam down the middle. That involved a bit of maths or perhaps just drawing what I wanted on a piece of paper and measuring that centre square. Although actually doing part 7 before this was handy because it gave the measurement I needed.

So yesterday I made one half of this, and today I made the second half.

This is my first post done with the new Blogger interface, and I am a bit lost so far. Finding stuff is not easy, although I finally figured out how to make that photo a bit bigger.

Stash report for the end of May:

No spools emptied, none added.
Year to date - no change.

Dress fabric:
None used, none added.
Year to date - up 4.25m.

Quilt fabric:
3.7m used, 3.2m added
Year to date - down 6.25m.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

My Day

It has been a while since I posted, but when you don't go anywhere every day feels the same and it doesn't seem like anything is worth mentioning. However today was a bit different.

Here's today's block for the Laundry Basket Quilts mystery which I am making one block a day:

And here's what a corner of the quilt looks like so far:

I haven't made the block 5s yet, which complete the outer round. I wanted to first get some of the inner blocks done to get a feel for how it was looking.

My last post was about grocery order anomalies. This week's was even more remarkable. When I went to collect the order yesterday afternoon, their system was down and the order wasn't ready. They weren't sure when it would be, but offered to deliver it rather than have me wait around for an unknown amount of time. Later in the evening a car pulled up at our front door, with the grocery order and these bonuses:
A box of "Favourites" and a $20 gift card, to apologise for the inconvenience. Thank you Woolworths for the amazing service, and the early birthday gift.

Nearly 2 months ago I was given another early gift:
It is a large planter box made of rusted metal, which is now in the outdoor living area. I guess I can officially start using it now!

Not a great picture because I forgot to photograph it in daylight, another gift:
And some more:
A beautiful hand-woven scarf which I had seen progress shots of, such as here, but had no idea I would be the lucky recipient of! And a Tuckfields' bird card album, with all the cards! Lots of childhood memories there. Plus some nice warm socks.

A chocolate cake:
No candles, of course, due to the new pandemic-altered lifestyle we are living.

My next-door neighbour brought me a bunch of flowers, all from her garden:

Plus a nodding-violet plant (Streptocarpus caulescens) she propagated from a cutting for me:
So it was a good day all round. I even got a phone call from my son, a very rare occurrence.

I'm told there is another parcel on the way as well, but the post is very slow at the moment. It gives me something else to look forward to though.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Grocery Lucky-Dip

Since it became available, we've been using the pick-up service to collect groceries from Woolworths. In general, the service works well. You order and pay online, then select a pick-up time slot. They send a message when your order is ready, and you let them know when you arrive. They bring the bagged groceries out, you load them into your car, and off you go.

However, we have had a few strange things happen. One week there was a random bag with 2 boxes of frozen crumbed fish fillets that we didn't order. We found it when unpacking at home. No point doing a 50km round trip to take that bag back, as they would have thrown the fish out anyway as it had thawed out.

Another time we ordered and paid for 2 bags of onions, but received 2 individual onions. Nice onions, but a bit expensive at that rate!

Today I picked up our latest order, and when unpacking was surprised by this:
Definitely not on the order! I'll be happy to eat it, as I love Cherry Ripes. I don't know that they really needed to be made into a chocolate block, but obviously someone at Cadbury thought it was a good idea. But how did Woolworths come to add it to our order?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Twenty-Eight Percent

I have now completed part four of the Laundry Basket Quilts mystery from earlier this year, and each corner looks like this:
The Ohio Star blocks at each end were among the eight made for part four. Part five will complete the outer edges of the quilt. I'm making the 100 blocks over 100 days, so it will be some time before that empty grey bit in the middle is filled in.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

On the Beach

Another drive to visit a family member, this time one who lives by the beach. We took the dogs along, hoping to give them (and us) a walk on the sand. I was a bit worried by the amount of traffic as we got near the coast. A sunny weekend day possibly wasn't the best day to choose for this outing.

There were a few people around on the path to the beach:

But once we got down to the shore, there was plenty of space for social distancing:

The dogs even got a bit of a run off their leads:

A fun time was had by all.

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Garden in May

Yesterday was our first frost of the year, and this morning the temperature was -1. Winter is coming!

Here's what's still in flower on this lovely sunny autumn day.


Viburnum tinus:

Red hot pokers:


There are a few different varieties of salvia around the garden, and most are flowering profusely. But this one is only just beginning:
Photographed from underneath because the blooms are way over my head. It is Bethel sage, Salvia involucrata 'Bethelii'. It gets bigger every year, and is now over 2 metres high. It will get moved once it finishes flowering, as it is too close to the house to be this size.


Treasure flowers:

Earlier this morning I watched a spinebill hovering and drinking nectar from this plant. Of course my camera wasn't handy at the time.

Our negative temperatures mean the end of the zinnias:
Not a good photo, but the leaves seem to have just disintegrated in the frost.

The ranunculus are getting in early for spring before winter has even started:

Hakea "Burrendong Beauty" was just buds last month, and has almost finished this month:

Yellow buttons, or common everlasting, Chrysocephalum apiculatum:


Diggers speedwell:

These photos taken in the shade aren't great, but I'm just including them for my records of what flowers in May. This little pelargonium is flowering profusely:

The bergenia has started again:

The very last of the dahlias:

There are a few roses still coming, although a lot of them have had their flowers wrecked by the recent rain.

This flowering quince (Chaenomeles) thinks it is spring:

Japanese windflowers:

 And last but not least, inside the African violets are still going:

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

On the Road Again

From midnight last night, Victorians are now allowed to visit friends and family.

While we have been isolating, some family members sold their house, bought another one, and moved. (It was their chooks who came to stay with us while that move was happening.) So today we took the opportunity to go and see their new property, which is about 150km south-west of here.

It was lovely to see see the house and garden, and just visit! But I didn't think to take any photos until on the way home. So here is some of south-western Victoria:
Quite flat in places.

On the horizon you can see something here:

Zoomed in a bit, it is obviously an old volcano:
But we had to wait until we got home to confirm that it is Mount Noorat, a dormant, not extinct, volcano. Apparently there is a walking track around the crater, so that might be an activity for a future visit.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Blast Furnace

While we've been keeping isolated, taking the dogs for a walk has covered pretty much the same ground each day. This map of my iNaturalist observations over the last two months shows how limited our horizons have been:

At the top of the map you can see a blue marker where we drove up to the Falls about a month ago. Today I felt the need for different scenery again, and you can see the result on the right-hand side. A short drive lead to a few observations of plants and fungi here:
There were a couple of other people in the car park when we arrived, but they were just leaving. So we enjoyed an isolated walk around this historic area, the remains of an iron mining and smelting endeavour at Lal Lal from 1875 to 1884:

There is little left but some stonework, and this ruin of the blast furnace which operated from 1881 to 1884:
It turned out not to be economical to run; iron produced here was more expensive than imported iron. It is a fascinating bit of local history though. There is a Wikipedia article with lots more detail about it if you are interested: Lal Lal Iron Mine and Smelting Works.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Twenty Percent

This morning I made the last of the blocks for the third part of the Laundry Basket Quilts mystery from earlier this year:
The part three blocks were the same as the part two blocks, so I have been making this block for 16 days. I am looking forward to something different now; the fourth part is an Ohio Star block.

Here's what each corner of the quilt will look like so far:
It doesn't seem like much, but I have now made 20% of the blocks.

Friday, May 8, 2020


Just realised it is nearly a week since I did a blog post. What have I been doing?

Apart from my one quilt block a day, I've done little bits of this and that, but I really don't know where the time went.

One thing I have been doing is adding observations to iNaturalist. While wandering around our property, or taking the dogs out, I keep an eye out for little bits of nature to photograph and add to the site. Here are a few of this week's observations.

A skink sunning itself:
I now know it is a Pale-flecked Garden Sunskink, Lampropholis guichenoti.

An interesting bird battle seen while out walking:
Magpies chasing off a galah. I don't know what threat a galah might be to magpies, but they swooped it and chased it for quite some distance.

I didn't have to travel far to see this one:
A superb fairywren after a bath in my birdbath this morning.

Autumn is peak fungi time. I don't know much about them, and it is hard to get them identified, but someone at least identified the genus of this one for me as Laccaria:

As well as adding my own observations I find it interesting to explore observations from all different corners of the world, and to see if I can identify anything. (Usually only garden plants.)