Sunday, October 10, 2021

Open and Shut

First a bit of spring from the garden - columbine flowers:

This afternoon I got my Plaid-ish quilt basted. Open pins:

 Closing the pins:

I tend to take photos when the pins are open - probably just because I pause at that point, so I think of grabbing the camera. But then people ask me why I don't close them. Here's the proof that I actually do. I'd stab myself constantly if they were left open!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Sights of October (So Far)

We've been in lockdown for the last week, and still don't know if it will be lifted at midnight tonight (as I was typing that it was announced that our lockdown is lifting. Hooray for us, bad luck for Mildura, who are heading back into lockdown.)

Here are some very random photos of things from the last week. Particularly random as Blogger has loaded them in no order whatsoever.

Crabapple tree glowing in the sun this afternoon:


Deciduous azalea:

We have (or had) 3 of these from memory, but they failed to thrive and were moved to a different spot then overgrown and forgotten about. But one of them is still with us, and popped up a couple of flowers for the first time!

A house we walked past this morning, that I haven't seen before. Their garden looked great, so I snapped a couple of photos to try to work out what plants they had that were doing well in our climate:

This one isn't very informative.

My redbud is flowering. This photo was some days ago, and more flowers are open now. I missed getting a photo in the sun today, so this one will have to do for now:


The yellow flowers here are several species of plants common called "egg and bacon" plants:

They cover parts of our block and look great at this time of year. For the rest of the year you hardly notice them.

This is a photo of something you don't often see:

Not a great photo, but it is the back end of a baby seagull testing its wings. I've heard people ask, "Why do you never see baby seagulls?", and the standard answer is that they breed on off-shore islands. That might be the case near the coast, but seagulls that live a long way inland have to improvise. There is a seagull rookery on the roof of a building in the centre of Ballarat. How did I see that while locked down? I was able to go to work on Tuesday as an "Authorised Worker".

And last, but a long way from least, a wild animal seen on our daily walk on Wednesday:

An echidna!

Now that we are out of lockdown again, I will be able to visit my mother tomorrow. This afternoon I finished some pressing tasks that were hanging over me, so I may even be able to get back into my sewing room soon too.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Lockdown Lottery

Two weeks ago I won the lockdown lottery when Moorabool wasn't locked down and I could go orchid hunting. Today I lost the lottery, and Moorabool is going back into lockdown from midnight for 7 days. In general I don't mind staying at home, but Monday is my mother's 93rd birthday, so this lockdown means I will not be able to visit her. My sister and her family are not in a locked down municipality, but none of them are fully vaccinated. That means no-one will be able to visit Mum on the day.

Fortunately I had her birthday gift ready, so this afternoon I was able to pop over and give it to her before the lockdown starts.

She was in the dining room ready for dinner, so I couldn't give her a sneaky hug. I know the pandemic has caused much more pain and suffering than a missed birthday, but I'm upset about this one. I hope we will be able to have a family gathering at Christmas time.

As I left I took a photo through the fence of the pot of bulbs I put outside Mum's window so that she would have something interesting to look at during previous lockdowns. There were some daffodils, but they flowered during a time when we weren't allowed to visit. Spring stars and tulips are out now:

The tulips haven't grown very tall for some reason, but Mum can see the red of them from her window. 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

WOOFA Report

 September has not been a very productive month for me. I did finish my Greenhouse wall hanging:

After that I intended to sandwich and quilt two of my tops: Scrappy Mountain Majesties,

and Plaid-ish.

I got as far as finding backing fabric, and piecing batting for one of them, but then I stalled. So for October, my WOOFA (Working On Or Finishing A ...) project will be these two quilt tops. (Not that I can believe we are up to October already).

Linked to Cheryll's WOOFA post. I'm sure everyone else achieved more than I did this month! Check it out here.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Garden Tasks

One of my hellebores has produced a large crop of seedlings. I've popped a few in pots, and if they grow well I can pass them on to other gardeners:

This afternoon I spent a lovely hour or so trimming the crepe myrtles:

There are five of them here, although one is in shadow so hard to see in this photo. They are just about to burst into leaf, so I trimmed out crossing branches, and branches growing into the centres instead of out. It is something I used to do to the crepe myrtles in my old garden every year, but that I haven't done to these ones before.

Thursday, September 23, 2021


We frequently find furry caterpillars with red heads and legs around our block, on a few different plants, but have never been able to get anyone to identify what species they might be. So this is an attempt to find out:

Several caterpillars are now living in captivity in this box. If they successful pupate, we will find out what they turn into.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Orchid Hunting

Today the plan was to attend a gathering of 10 people (maximum allowed under current restrictions) to hunt for orchids at Dereel and in Enfield State Park, both of which are in Golden Plains Shire. But from midnight last night Ballarat went back into lockdown for a week, meaning that half of the people who were planning to attend were not able to. Fortunately the person leading the hunt lives in Golden Plains Shire, so the hunt went ahead, and as residents of Moorabool Shire we were able to take part.

Covid-safe orchid hunting:

Orchids we saw included:

Dwarf greenhood (Pterostylis nana):

Small gnat orchid (Cyrtostylis reniformis):

Waxlip orchid (Glossodia major):

I think this is a Pink lady fingers (Caldenia carnea), although that hasn't been confirmed by anyone:

Mayfly orchid (Acianthus caudatus):

I took many many photos, in the hope that some were in focus. These tiny flowers are not easy to photograph as the slightest breeze moves them. And I don't have a camera like these ones:

If you enlarge this photo you might just be able to see the orchids they are photographing. From memory they are bronze bird orchids, (Chiloglottis ×pescottiana).

I ended the day with photos of 10 different orchid species, and 20 other species of plants, insects and fungi that were mostly new to me. It was a successful day out for those of us who were lucky enough to be able to attend.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Garden in September

Lots of plants in the garden are waking up for spring. Here's what I found flowering today.

Spring stars:


The pink flowering quince was absolutely buzzing with bees:

But the red one which is also flowering seemed to have no bees in it at all.

In the orchard most of the plums have just about finished blossoming now. The nectarine is looking fabulous:

This peach is pretty:

And this almond is still going:

I think I can see some blueberries in the future:



Leaving the productive part of the garden, here are some hellebores turning lovely colours as they age:

The bergenia is covered in new flower spikes:

Several aloes are sending up flower spikes in the succulent garden:

All the leucadendrons are still flowering. This one is Leucadendron salignum "Jack Harre", a fairly recent addition to the garden:


My protea "Limelight" has a couple more flowers open:

Most of the red hot pokers (Kniphofia) are between flower flushes at the moment, but this one is still going:

Digger's speedwell, Veronica perfoliata, is planted in a few spots around the garden, and is just starting to flower again after a winter break:

I might skip a few because otherwise these posts get too long! Imagine some lavender and rosemary here, plus some yellow and some white daisies. Then there's some spring bulbs:

Imagine some snowflakes and grape hyacinths as well.

Some insect life:

Australian Painted Lady in the thrypomene above, and an unknown caterpillar in the forsythia below.

And an unidentified fly in a daisy:

Borage in front, euphorbias behind:

Behind here there are normally some abutilons, which I have noted before are always flowering. Only they aren't flowering at the moment because someone has "pruned" them back to the ground. Hopefully they will re-grow. There are also a small number of camellia flowers, but they are just about finished. The viburnum tinus further behind here is still covered in flowers.

Lastly, in my shade house, this orchid is still flowering:

That's it for the garden in September, but there are many plants budding up ready to bloom soon. October could be a big month.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


 Time to pick the first crop of mushrooms:

I should have weighed them, or at least photographed them, before they were chopped up and cooked.


A couple of weeks back I was talking to a friend (by phone) about rule compliance here and in her part of Melbourne. I said that around Ballarat it seemed the people least likely to be wearing a mask were young men in hi-vis gear. So when today a few covid exposure sites emerged around Ballarat, I wasn't surprised that several are construction sites.

The result is that from tonight we will be in a strange situation of being "lockdown adjacent", as Ballarat is entering a 7-day lockdown. We don't live in the city of Ballarat, but it is where just about everything we do is. It is where we do all our shopping, and where I work, so in many ways it will be just like being locked down.

Added later: A neighbour tells me that they had booked a week's holiday at a regional tourist destination, but that the accommodation provider has now cancelled their booking because they "live too close to Ballarat".

Saturday, September 11, 2021


Since I discovered earlier this year that Ararat had a gallery that specialises in textiles, I have wanted to visit it. I'm not sure why I had never known that Ararat Gallery TAMA (Textile Art Museum Australia) existed, but perhaps because it has only had that name since 2018. 

With lockdown lifted, but this morning's case numbers so high I expect it to be reimposed at any moment, we grabbed the opportunity to take a drive and check it out.

"Thread of Life" is a display of Japanese textiles, particularly of boro pieces, but also a small selection of other Japanese items from the gallery's collection.

The exhibition that we enjoyed the most was "Obsessed: Compelled to Make", which included works by 15 artists, each accompanied by a video of the artist at work. I was very glad we decided to visit today, as this exhibition closes on Monday.

One of my favourites was a group of small ceramic creatures by Vipoo Srivilasa:

Accompanying video here:

Another was a life-sized sculpture of a woman and companion animals by Tjunkaya Tapaya:

It reminded me a bit of my dogs climbing all over me when I sit down. The accompanying video is here:

We then took a walk around the town. Outside the RSL is this unusual sculpture, "Ghost of Gallipoli":

My photo doesn't quite capture how horrified he looks in real life.

The Alexandra Gardens were a nice place to walk around, with lots of waterbirds on the lake.

Volcanic-looking mountain, Mt Langi Ghiran, to the east of Ararat:

It was nice to have an outing to somewhere I've never been before. I've driven through Ararat, but I think this is the first time I've ever stopped there.