Friday, October 24, 2014

Yellow . . .

DA Graham Thomas

Iris bought on eBay

Peace - we sure need some in the world at the moment, don't we?

Jean Galbraith

DA Charlotte

Not exactly yellow - Crepuscule coming into flower, it's totally outgrown and destroyed the crappy archway

And a bit of purple on the side -

Clematis on the verandah post with DA Leander

Buddleia alternifolia - love the way the flowers spiral around the stem

And something that's making me blue -

Our Ewan McGregor - chasing rabbits is a dangerous sport.  He has ruptured another cruciate ligament - right one this time, left one two years ago with long-lasting consequences.  He had an operation to repair it last week and is confined to his crate or to the verandah, for maybe up to six weeks.

One day I will add up how much this dog has cost me over the years.  Then again, maybe I won't . . .

Monday, September 15, 2014


There was an enormous Westringia in the front garden, taller than me but just long, bare sticks with leaves only on the ends.  Underneath it was this azalea, little more than a twig with a few miniature leaves and a few miniature blooms each spring.  I sawed down and pulled out the Westringia during this last year.  This is how an azalea says 'thank you'.

Everything is coming into flower.

Especially the white irises.  I trimmed Graham Thomas near the verandah post this winter.  Very badly, I think.

White iris and white daisy.  And white Icebergs which haven't had a winter haircut, because I don't know how to do it properly.

I caught a slow train to the city yesterday and met my sister there.  We went to the State Library to an exhibition called Life Interrupted, a display of diaries and journals written by soldiers and nurses during the First World War.

A lot were in cases opened at pages for you to read.  The remainder were displayed on this wall.  They ranged from leather bound, monogrammed volumes to tatty writing pads held together with string.  Such a variety, but the overall mood of the writing inside them was one of dread.

So nice to walk through Hyde Park on a lovely sunny spring day and down along Macquarie Street where the buildings are such an eclectic mix of styles.  I hadn't been through St James Station for so, so long and I ended up catching my train home there.  In this age of modernising everything, there's something to be said for leaving well alone.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The door of the Kurrajong Garden blog.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Life . . . .

. . . goes on regardless of whether you blog about it or not.

And it's not like absolutely nothing has happened since my last visit here.  Maybe it's a bit more like too much has happened.

On Tuesday, 4 February, my son and daughter in law added a darling little girl to their family.

A five hour labour instead of five days like their first child.  Gotta be happy about that. Welcome, darling Elise.

She decided quite early on that sleeping wasn't her thing, and that yelling for long periods in the night was, but all is settling now.  Her doting parents are exhaustedly overjoyed and her big brother is more than pleased.

A new house guest arrived here in the middle of February.  Meet Jamie Oliver.

So named because he likes to be in the kitchen.  Jamie Oliver was rescued from a high-kill pound and is living here whilst he is advertised on the rescue organisation's website.  Somebody surely wants a little companion to sleep on their lounge!  Trouble is, he's getting so attached to the lounge here and the people who share the lounge here with him, that I'm beginning to see how people who foster dogs end up as crazy dog people.

Punk Jamie Oliver!

Mike has been unwell since Christmas when he had some sort of virus - I derogatorily called it 'Man-flu' and remarked sarcastically about his moans and groans - 'man up!' I said.  About a month ago, he started walking of an evening after he got home from another 14 hour day at the office.  He began to notice a really sharp pain in his belly which seemed to make him breathless.  Off to the doctor he went, blood tests were ordered which all came back okay except for liver function which was a bit off.  Off he went for a ultrasound which showed he had an enlarged liver.  Off he went for an appointment with a specialist who put him straight into hospital for investigation.  For about a day and a half, they treated him for a suspected infection or inflammation of the liver, but quickly after that changed to treating him for a heart issue which, after more tests, turned out to be cardiomyopathy.  And so he has remained in hospital being closely monitored and treated with various drugs to try to get his heart function to recover.  The doctors are hopeful that drug therapy will be enough, a pacemaker has been suggested but is deemed not essential at this point in time.

And so ends the chapter of how our life has been for the last 22 years.  No more 14 hour days stressing at the office.  Some direction-changing decisions are about to be made out of necessity and I will admit to being a trifle nervous of the next 6 months or so.

In the middle of Mike's stay in hospital, I had an appointment at a doctors as well.  There was a 'thing' on my back which irritated me badly, my clothes rubbing against it made it itch and when I went out into the garden, even fully covered, it would sting.  He took one look at it and declared 'a classic BCC'. Basal cell carcinoma - a (thankfully) benign skin cancer.  One of the joys of living under the Australian sun.

So this -

has become this -

and is as itchy as hell!

And so there, in a few paragraphs, is the story of the last month and a half!  So much for a blog about gardening - looks like everything but!  Although the weather is cooling down, thankfully, and the gardener has once again become the weeder.  That's just about all I do out there these days.

Time to go and pick Mike up after almost 2 weeks in hospital.  Let's end with a great example of Murphy's law!

A supermarket shopping bag - which are as weak as anything and getting weaker all the time.  Come on, Coles, give us decent bags!

A large (700g) can of dog food, bought from said supermarket.  Does it look like it matches the hole in the bag?

It sure did!!

Do excuse my gungy toenails!

Damn you, Murphy, whoever you are!

Friday, January 24, 2014

It's been HOW LONG!!!!!

Good grief, where does the time go . . .

Now, where were we - ah yes, the ankle!  The troublesome, crappy ankle.  Guess how many torn tendons the MRI showed?  NONE - that's right, not a single one.  What it did show however was a whole lot of fluid in a joint that was obviously (to the person reading the MRI) suffering from a severe dose of inflammatory arthritis.  Easily fixed, says the specialist, and gave me a note to take back to the MRI reading person which somewhere in the doctor-write hieroglyphics said that I was to have a steroid injection into the subtalar joint and perhaps it also gave some instructions regarding ramming that needle in good and hard and pay no heed to the gasps and moans of the subject patient.

It was a singularly unpleasant experience.

However, given that the cortisone takes 10 days to take effect and that it's been 18, I would have hoped that all was now well.  Some days it is - some days, not so much.

Excellent gardening footwear!

If I'm looking like doing a lot of walking during the day, I will still put on the good old moon boot in the morning, otherwise I'm trying to get away without it as much as I can.

And thank goodness I can, because the weather here has been just so rottenly hot.  Up in the 40s celsius.  I've decided that I loathe summer.

And on top of that, up until a few days ago, it resolutely refused to rain.

With my somewhat impaired mobility around the garden, it was decided that I should reduce the size of my garden beds.  And so the roses in what has been known up till now on this blog as the 'western bed'  were earmarked for relocation.  And I decided this because of all the roses in this bed, my absolute favourite was the one furtherest away from the house.  Yes indeed, what numbskull would plant DA Abraham Darby so far away from where it's beautiful blooms can be easily enjoyed.

That would be me.

And so in the heat of a stupidly hot, dry summer and with a stupidly stiff and immobile ankle, I began to dig.  I will not describe here my methods of rose removal - any good self respecting gardener reading this would be horrified beyond belief - suffice to say, it is not a pretty sight.

One of the first moved was Compte de Champagne.  Dug me a pit sized hole among the violets in front of the house and with great difficulty carried/dragged that bush across the garden to its new home.  Only when I was trying to get its new aspect right did I realise that I had also carried a huge wasps' nest, complete with wasps, and two enormous orb weaving spiders!

Next to go were Sweet Juliet and Brother Cadfael.  Poor Brother Cadfael has been very poorly neglected, lots of dead wood and spindly growth.  All of them were given a really good pruning once they had arrived at their new destination.  I had removed a Westringia from outside the front door which gave me room for Sweet Juliet, Brother Cadfael and my beloved Abraham Darby right there on show when I stepped outside the door.  The dear old Brother immediately responded to some love and attention by leafing up brilliantly and he, Sweet Juliet and the Compte, despite the shock of being moved so incompetently and the totally unsuitable weather conditions, have produced leaves and blooms without missing a beat.

And the beloved Abraham Darby?


How ironic is that . . .

I bought myself a Christmas present - a new fishpond for the garden fishes.  It's cold cast bronze over fibreglass and they love it!  After the little concrete tub they were in, they have revelled in the space and have learned how to swim like comets should - i.e. very fast!!

Go fishies, go!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Back to where we started . . .

On 22 August, 2012 I took a foot selfie.  Fractured fibula, six weeks in plaster - all good.

On 28 September, 2012, the plaster came off and I took this foot selfie when I got into the car outside the physiotherapists.

Nothing from inside that plaster that a good loofah and a slather of moisturiser won't fix.

Today - 3 December, 2013

After struggling for almost sixteen months with pain and swelling, I had an appointment with an ankle specialist last week.  Today I've had an MRI and been fitted with this fabulous device called an aircast or moonboot.  The specialist is of the opinion that I have torn peroneal tendons in my ankle, which would have occurred the night I fell down and snapped the fibula.  This is yet to be confirmed by the MRI, and I won't know for sure for another week and a half.  In the meantime, it's now summer and this is a very tightly fitted piece of plastic.  Which I may need to wear for three months . . . i.e. till the end of summer.  Happy days.

Monday, October 28, 2013

About stuff . . . .

We survived our 'catastrophic' Wednesday, when the winds howled hot and angry from the northwest, bringing the fire at Bilpin to about 13 kms from here.

"How far is it to Bilpin?"

"About 20 kms, if you drive along Bells Line of Road."

"Do fires drive along the road?"

We were showered with burnt gumtree leaves, talking on the phone on the back verandah, one fluttered down beside my foot and I picked it up.  It was still warm from the fire.

Wednesday's smoke travelled south (to the left)

On 'not so catastrophic' Thursday, the wind turned around and howled cool and snarly from the southwest.  The smoke that was travelling south on Wednesday, travelled north on Thursday.  I figured the fire was on a zig zag course for Kurrajong.

Thursday's smoke travelled north (to the right)

On Friday, it was as still as could possibly be.  Almost all day.  The smoke was tired from travelling first south, then north, and decided to settle down for a nice long rest.  Over Kurrajong.  Cough, cough, cough.  Even the dogs were sneezing.  You could scarcely see the neighbours' houses.

Since then, the weather has calmed considerably and we've relaxed somewhat.  Water bombing aeroplanes and helicopters continue to fly over daily, but we hardly look up at them anymore.

Logically thinking, I couldn't see how a fire was going to reach us here.  We are surrounded by other houses and relatively open country.  Our house isn't nestled in the bush like the houses at Springwood and Winmalee.  But I couldn't shake the thought that, well, what if . . .

So I did pack a large box of photo albums and a small box of 'treasures' including jewellery, thumb drives of irreplaceable information and our passports (although Mike's expired almost a year ago - he's obviously not planning any travel anytime soon!)

Mike saw the stuff sitting in the hallway by the front door and insisted he needed to add some stuff as well.  Out came a handful of files - all to do with his cars!!  If the worst case scenario had occurred, we'd have saved the paperwork - but not the cars themselves!

Anyway, on this day of strange limbo living, I got to thinking about the things I have - the stuff.  I did a walk around of the house and mentally noted all the stuff that I would indeed want to save in the event of an oncoming fire.

In the sewing room, instantly I see my sewing machines.  That's plural.  How could I leave them?  On the quilting frame is a quilt that I've almost finished quilting for a dear friend of mine.  How could I leave that?

Then there's my stash!  Gulp!  Both of fabric and knitting yarns . . . .

In the next room, lying on the bed, is a quilt top that I've been making for years for my son and daughter in law.  It started with a piece of fabric that they bought on the trip to New York.  It has thousands of little pieces of fabric that I have stitched together and it means a lot to me.  How could I leave that?

In the hall is a cupboard of things, a conglomeration of ornaments, vases, school craft creations and antique things, all with significance attached.  In the top is the hat that my Dad wore whilst mowing the lawn the day or so before he died.  How could I leave that?

In the next room, in the top of the wardrobe, are boxes of memories.  First baby shoes, paintings from school, ballet costumes, my wedding dress from a million years ago (no, I'd leave that).

In the next room is a trunk that belonged to my mum.  It contains some of her belongings.  In the wardrobe is a box containing the wedding dress I made for my daughter in law a few years ago.

In the kitchen, there's my coffee machine, my KitchenAid mixer and my AGA stove.  All replaceable, but I love them.  Among the knick knacks is the little teapot that my Mum got from her family for her twenty-first birthday.  It has been broken and glued quite a number of times, but she treasured it.  On the wall is a weather house.  Is that what you call it?  Where the girl in her sun bonnet comes out of the house if the weather is fine and the man in the raincoat comes out if the weather is wet.  It was a wedding present of my Mum and Dad's when they were married in 1948.  How could I leave that?

I've come to the conclusion that I would need a semi-trailer and at least three days notice if I was really required to evacuate my treasured belongings.

And yet, I see on the television the people who have indeed lost everything.  Notwithstanding the shock and the sadness of losing all their possessions, often the comment is made "but we're all safe, that's what really matters, the rest of it was just stuff . . . ."

What would you choose?  Could you quickly decide what items you would save of your 'stuff'?