Thursday, November 17, 2011

So what does it look like outside today . . . .

Right!  Okay, well, unless you want to get extremely damp, how about you retire to the sewing room and get on with that quilt that has been waiting ever so long for a little work done to it. . . .

This little block is called "flying geese".  Or should that be "a flying goose"?

The quilt I am working on requires MANY flying geese!

So I have stitched and trimmed and stitched again and trimmed again, and then I have thumb pressed and then iron pressed and stacked into piles of 10 on the table, till it looks like this -

and then I carefully counted them all - how many have I got?  1,118!!!

And how many do I need?  1,152!!!!!

Oh boo hoo!!!  Am I NEVER going to get there?

Hey Jo, am I still ahead of you? ;o)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Guess what . . . . . I'm back!!

Oh, dear readers, what adventures I've had!!  I rowed across the Pacific Ocean on a plank of wood with two teaspoons for oars, I won and lost a gazillion dollars at the 'Go Fish' tables in Las Vegas, I scraped the peeling paint from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and gave it a nice coat of Dulux Ceiling White, and I walked backwards up Mount Everest wearing flippers!

In the meantime, the weather has turned warm, hot even, and the garden has been a mass of blooms.  The roses have had their first massive flush and are now crying out for a good dead-heading.  Which I ought to be out there doing.

Instead I have been inside working steadily on the creation of a website of family memorabilia.  What started out as a steep learning curve soon turned precipitous and still stretches out in front of me for a little while longer.  It has called for great attention to small details and has been most rewarding and intensely frustrating all at the same time.

In the meantime, in the garden, I have been made redundant as a 'gardener': I am now solely a 'weeder'.  And if I was truthful with myself, I would have admitted long ago that lurking in the garden here and there are some of the most vile, evil weeds that ever I could meet.  I knew they were there, I just chose to ignore the fact.  That can be the case no longer.

In one particular area of the garden, in amongst the oxalis and radium weed, was a type of grassy stuff which I blithely pulled at, mostly just managing to pull the tops off and not disturbing the roots at all.  I decided I would research what it was - it was just such a mat of growth in the garden, I knew it couldn't be something good.  Oh shriek of horror, it's nut grass!  Every little bit of information I find about it out there in cyberspace tells me that once it is in your garden, it is impossible to remove.  That's it, it's just described as 'impossible' - no herbicide, no home remedy, no nothing - it's impossible!  I have tried to prove them wrong by digging it up and going through the soil with my bare hands, trying to remove every last piece of root and every last 'nut'.  One square metre of digging can produce three bucketsful of nut grass.  And still it comes up.

What I don't understand is, if I pulled the tops off some expensive, nursery-bought plant in the garden by mistake, it would instantly die!  Without exception!  Why, oh why then do things such as nut grass simply thrive on being beheaded.

However, it's not all doom and gloom.  The perfume in the air from the roses has been such a treat, things that make me happy have flowered, like the Johnson's Blue geranium, and my dear old mother's irises -

and the mulberry tree has been almost lying on the ground with the weight of fruit.  There will be no jam this season, unless I hurry up and get myself organised.  The only fruit I've picked have gone straight into my mouth.

One day soon I will be back to being a gardener, not a website builder.  Bring on that day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ahh winter . . .

when there's just nothing to be done in the garden.

Hang on, I'd better just check that in the Womens Weekly Guide To Doing Nothing In The Garden In Winter -

"Paragraph 1 - Roses must be pruned now."


"Paragraph 2 - Spring bulbs will be coming up at this time and care must be taken when stepping into the garden bed to avoid damaging the delicate growth."

But I have to walk on them - how else will I know where they are?

"Paragraph 3 - Now is a good time to get on top of the perennial weeds in the garden.  Weeding must continue at a good pace at this time of the year."

Sigh. . .

Okay, time to take off the hibernation suit (i.e. dressing gown and slippers) and do some work.

Look what my lovely children gave me for my birthday!  I find myself just staring at the yellowness of the daffodil flowers - it is just the most yellow of yellows.  They are gorgeous.  And Olive the orchid (for she needed a name!) has the dearest little oriental face in each of her flowers.  I love them, thank you kids! :o)

And I love freebies!!  And here are two which arrived on my front verandah last week!  Rescued from the Council roadside cleanup by my walking friend, who dearly wanted them for her own verandah but was told in no uncertain terms by her husband that there are already too many chairs on their verandah and that these were not welcome.  So they came to me, just at the right time of the year, when the morning sun streams in onto the verandah and a cup of tea there has become a morning ritual.  Except that I'm lucky if I get a seat!

Thanks boys!  What a shaggy pair of dogs - they need good haircuts and around here, all they get are bad ones!

A hot air balloon company has started having their early morning flights take off from the golf course at the end of our street, and on a number of occasions lately, I've stepped out the front door to hear voices - above me!  It's so amazing, there's just no sound of the balloon, just the people in it talking!

Speaking of talking, here is how you stop talking on your iPhone.  You put it on the roof of the car while you put things in and forget it and drive away and it falls off and another car comes along and runs over it and when you find it and pick it up, except for phone calls, everything else still works - in a sort of fashion.

Okay, time to go pruning!  I'll just take the Band-aids with me.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Excuse me . . .

where did May go?  Did I have a snooze and missed it?  No, I was just in a brain funk with no mental capacity for blogging.

So here it is - June - winter!  Today is blustery and quite chilly, but one of those gems of a day where the air is as clear as can be.

Here's a quick once around this morning's garden . . .

Wintery Crepuscule on the archway.

Wintery Iceberg - sheltered on the northern side of the house, they NEVER stop flowering.

Wintery Brother Cadfael - huge blousey blooms.

Mme Isaac Pereire - a lovely bourbon I bought last year from Mistydowns.

Wintery Abraham Darby - is this the best rose ever?

Wintery Blueberry Hill (?)

You KNOW it's winter when the wattle starts to flower!

Ditto  with the zygo cactus.  These were my mum's, still sitting on the stand she had them on at the retirement village.

And when I took the camera round to get a shot of them, one of the fish in the pond was on top of the weed.  My goodness, how big are they getting - it must be nearly time to throw a line in!

The mulberry tree has lost all it's leaves and I strolled down yesterday to check out the wound where it split so badly - yikes!

Isn't that gross!!  Suffice to say, they are no more!

See Ewan McGregor in the background, standing on the new concrete under the back verandah?  The guys had just finished making it all lovely and smooth on Monday, when Mr McGregor got it in his head he needed to go outside.  Doggie footprints right across the entire slab - had to be all smoothed again!  Bad dog!

I'm having a battle today with an ADSL light which is either flashing or completely off - makes uploading photos very difficult, slow and frustrating.  I've paid my bill - now where's my dependable internet service??  Grrr!

Let's end on a happy note - today is my daughter's birthday!!  Happy birthday, sweetheart!

Sigh!  Seems like only yesterday . . .

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter is a time for . . .

rain!  Why does it always rain at Easter?  Particularly when Easter is at a slightly different time every year? This year, Easter long weekend coincides with our Anzac long weekend - two long weekends together equals one brilliantly l-o-n-g weekend, Friday through till Tuesday, yay! and it's rained a bit every day.

Raindrops on the orb weaving spider web which hangs above the front steps and keeps one on the lookout when one walks on the path at night time!

I have been back in the garden, have weeded and cleaned out the bed along the front of the verandah, filled the bin at least twice, am a little in despair of the bed at the end of the verandah, the only rose doing well there is Lucetta, and maybe Jean Galbraith, I think I will move the others somewhere else (??) I dug out the huge Mexican Sage, which was draping itself over everything, and donated it to my walking friend who wanted one but don't think she was expecting one so big!

I took myself up to Bowen Mountain last week to visit Honeysuckle Cottage Nursery!!!!!!!  Anyone who's been will understand all the exclamation marks.  Such a pity, as finding the sort of plant I like, the so called 'cottagey' plants, is almost impossible at your average suburban garden centre.  I came home with a blue flowering lacecap hydrangea 'Blauling', an Aquilegia 'Ruby Port', which I have bought seeds of before but had no luck in getting them to germinate, and a Japanese windflower, a double pink, which I had at Castle Hill.  The single pink I have here is flowering at the moment, such a pretty thing, I went out a little while ago thinking I would take a photo but the rain was pouring down and their pretty pink faces were all looking down at the ground.  I will try again in a little while.

So I did get a few things that I liked, and there were more there that I could have bought, but the fact that you almost need a four wheel drive to get up the bank that doubles as the two car parking area really is enough to almost put me off going.  That said, I still love to drive up there just for the view of almost the entire city of Sydney, on a clear day.

Okay, been back out in a lull in the rain - here they are, nodding their faces in the breeze -

They became very invasive at Castle Hill where all the trees made the garden totally to their liking.

So our long, long weekend has been a little dreary, made no better by the fact that I have a cold.  And to make me feel much better worse, I've been getting emailed photos for the last week from my son and daughter in law on their honeymoon in that glorious tropical paradise called the Maldives!  Thanks kids - I'll just blow my nose again before I admire the crystal clear water that you are diving into!  Will just go and put on another jumper before I tell you that I hope that sunburn you've got isn't too painful!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What a magic day!

The first photo from the official photographer -

Such a sparkling day, brightened by the love these two have for each other.

Yesterday, we were standing at the edge of Sydney Harbour as they said their vows under the bluest of skies.  Today, at the same time, the rain started to fall.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You know your garden isn't in good shape . . .

when you look out the kitchen window and this is what you see under the lavender!

Yikes!  When the garden starts reverting to jungle, the wildlife moves in.  It sits under the DA Graham Thomas on the corner of the verandah and eats the yellow petals as they fall down.

The 'secret women's business' is almost complete.

Gardening will recommence shortly :o)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The things we do

Months ago, probably around Christmas, I can't remember exactly, driving down Bells Line of Road on my way to somewhere, I noticed something lying at the side of the road.  It was a teddy bear, lying on it's back.  My initial thought was how sad some child would be without his best friend and that surely once Teddy's absence was noticed, a search party would be launched and a happy reunion would eventuate.

It didn't happen.  Teddy lay there, mostly face up to the sky, once or twice when we'd had a windy day, he was lying on his face.  Then I noticed that the grass at the edge of the road had been mowed, and thought surely he had been rescued.  God forbid that he had been mown!  For a week or two, he wasn't visible - I felt pleased that someone had picked him up.  Then - no, there he was again - the grass clippings had moved or subsided and Teddy was still there.

I'm sure I can't be the only person who had seen him lying there.  It just so happened that the road at that spot is quite narrow with no real place to pull off and also it's just below the crest of a small hill.

Summer progressed with blistering heat and I worried about that poor, lonely bear.  Then I would wake in the middle of the night and hear the rain pouring on the roof.  Poor Teddy, lying in the pitch dark with no-one to hold him.  My determination to rescue the bear grew.

About three weeks ago, we decided to buy some takeaway for dinner and Mike went off to collect it at North Richmond.  On his way out the door, I said "If you get a chance to stop, please pick up the Teddy".  He returned bearless - "no, there's nothing there".   Once again, my hopes rose that Teddy was safe.

A few days later, I once again drove past and sure enough, there was Teddy, still lying in the grass.

Last Thursday evening, after our tragic day where we said goodbye to Daisy, and despite the fact that I was already in my pyjamas and into my first red wine when Mike got home from work, he insisted that we go out down to Windsor for some fish and chips.  It was a vain attempt to make ourselves feel better.  However on the way back home, I said to Mike "Tonight is the night that I WILL pick up the bear".  We were in a line of traffic as we approached the spot where Teddy was, so Mike pulled into a side street until we had a clear road behind us.  Then he slowly drove along the dark road until I cried "There he is!"  The car stopped, I opened my door and reached down.  Teddy was saved!

When we got home, I inspected this poor, saturated bear.  His front half was quite bleached by the summer sun, as he had mostly laid that way.  His back was very muddy.  Through the grass clippings and the mud and the wet fur shone a lovely smile.  He had a label which of course said 'surface clean only'.  I filled the sink with warm sudsy water and plunged Teddy in - after all that he'd been through, I figured a warm bath was nothing by comparison.  It was only as I soaped him up that I realised that there was something hard in one of his paws.  A quick squeeze and a little teddy voice said "I love you, I love you".

I love you too, Teddy.  Did my Daisy send you to cheer me up?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Sad Day

Once again, my world has changed forever.

This morning, at the vets, I said goodbye to our dear Daisy.

How I shall miss her, following me from room to room, laundry to clothesline, out to 'see the grass' last thing at night then straight into the bedroom to be lifted up onto the bed to sleep, waiting at the door for me if I went out into the garden.

Dear, sweet, bossy girl.  Mouser extraordinaire.

She flies on little angel wings and my heart is broken.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I have this nagging thought . . . .

that I've forgotten to do something.  Something important . . . maybe that's not quite the right word . . . something usual . . . perhaps that's closer to my feeling . . . what can it be . . .

I remembered to laugh as I wrapped my future daughter in law in duct tape to create a clone that I could use to create her wedding dress.

I've even remembered to start making the dress, and the bridesmaid's dresses with her help, although as it is very much "secret women's business", no glimpses will be had here.

I remembered to admire Crepuscule on the side gate archway - then had to tie the archway more securely to the fence when the wind threatened to blow the whole thing over!

I remembered to travel to Tasmania in November for my nephew's wedding.  Such glorious weather, such a quaint place, such lovely gardens everywhere.  We stayed in Ulverstone and the foxgloves were flowering - every second garden had glorious foxgloves with flower spires almost to the guttering.  Did I take any photos of them - of course not!  Everywhere we went, the camera was stowed in the bag in the boot of the car!  In our wanderings from Launceston, where we landed, to Ulverstone, where we stayed, we even drove past Forest Hall, Susan Irvine's garden.  It looked a little sad.

The wedding, however, was a lovely happy occasion and we enjoyed ourselves greatly.

When Crepuscule was flowering so profusely, as in the above photo, I did forget to look under it's spreading limbs at the fishpond underneath.  Then I remembered and found the last flowers on the water iris I bought last year on eBay.

Gosh, I'm so glad I remembered to look.

The clematis outside the kitchen window has flowered, despite it's less than ideal position.  This photo was taken in November and it is still flowering.

Hagley's Hybrid, I think it's called.  There's another thing I ought to remember.

I remember that my new quilting machine arrived in the first week in December.  I can't wait to get back to quilting, after my dressmaking is finished.

And I didn't forget to take a photo of Leander being generous again, remembering my previous complaints.

I remembered to travel to Dorrigo again on 11 December, to celebrate my Auntie and Uncle's 75th Wedding Anniversary!

When you're 98, a cupcake for morning tea with a houseful of friends and relations could probably only be topped by a card from the Queen!

They were even on the tele!

While we were in Dorrigo, we got a call from the nursing home at Glenhaven to say that Mum had had a fall out of bed, and that she hadn't been very well.  We got back home on the Monday evening and on the Wednesday, I went down to see her.  I remember clearly how shocked and distressed I was to see her.  I remember feeding her her lunch - it was Christmas lunch and her roast turkey had been totally pulverised so she didn't have to chew it.  Even so, there were bits that she couldn't manage.  I haven't forgotten how she was trying to talk to me but her voice was a whisper and she could manage only a word then couldn't seem to find the next one.  How I sat there, holding her hand and how I felt my whole world start to tilt.  I remembered to arrange with my sister in law to meet at the nursing home on the Friday morning, but I didn't guess that my brother would ring me at 7.00am on Friday, 17 December and say "she's gone".

I didn't forget to go to my brother's house the following day to help my siblings arrange for my dear old Mum's funeral, but I didn't guess that while I was there, I would get a call on my mobile from Mike to say that his Mum had just passed away as well.

I remember clearly the 5 days that passed before the funeral, I remember dreading the day coming, I remember arriving at the cemetery, the service, I remember how her 2 sons and her 4 grandsons carried her from the chapel to the steps, I remember holding so tightly to my son's other hand as we carried her to her resting place where we had carried my dad 24 years before.

And I can't forget that the following day (Christmas Eve) we went back and did it again for Mike's Mum.

I remembered to go down to my brother's house this last Saturday, to find all Mum's remaining possessions in boxes and laid out on tables for distribution to us children.  I'm thinking about how relatively smoothly the day went, but how when I got home that evening, I just couldn't bring myself to take the stuff I had got, out of the car.  I didn't do it yesterday morning either, instead had a bridesmaid's dress sewing day.  But last night, I remembered to carry in the boxes from my car and opened them.

How can you cry over a pile of coat hangers?  I guess it's not the coat hangers themselves, it's just the knowing that you will never hang up a skirt or a blouse for your mother ever again.

My sorrow at the moment is drowning me.  I just want everything to go back to normal.

So I've remembered what it is that I forgot to do . . . it was to blog about it.