Sunday, 31 January 2010


After the blast of heat, the wind changed and blew a dry thunderstorm over our town.  Then there was a fierce sunset and everything glowed weirdly. I left the dishes and rushed outside, without my glasses, so this is pretty much how the world looks like to me when I have no spectacles to see through. Do forgive the blur and wonder at those hues.

February Dragon

The dragon's breath from the north today has blasted my poor peony - she was in the shade, but I should have moved her inside early on.

I know there's still some hours to go, but it feels like February right now. There are deep  cracks in the dry ground. If we were sensible we'd all dig a nice deep hole, just like the bull ants, and go underground for a month.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Ancestral habits

Kitty is doubly a sheep dog, being a Border Collie and an Old English Sheepdog cross. You can see the ancestral genes in her passionate devotion to straw. When the fresh bedding arrives she lies back in it, and won't get off, even to bark at The New Dog Next Door. Thousands of ancestors before her, no doubt, hid in the straw in the barn and refused to go out in the rain. (Frost - yes, snow -  yes, rain - no) 

Although she does keep an eye on the fence in case the new dog digs under and invades her straw.

Whereas Paddy, being a huntin', fishin', investigative sort of dog, after he has pawed all the straw on to the path to check there's nothing underneath, goes off to forage in the garden.

When the straw gets old and wormy it goes off to the garden and Kitty gets to bliss out on a new batch.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Reading list for the last days of January

With the Australia Day long weekend and a flex day off, this week is perfectly free for lounging about with books. Because I've enjoyed other people's reading lists lately, I've listed four books I've put aside for reading over the tail end of January.

In this collection, I'm just going to read HD's poem of the blitz in London in the second world war, The walls do not fall

I was very impressed with what Gerald Murnane writes about writing, but haven't made it past the first few pages of this famous novel. I'm going to persist this time.

I've read a couple of Raymond Carver's most anthologised stories, including of course, the story So Much Water Close to Home which inspired Paul Kelly's song Everything's Turning to White and the recent Australian film Jindabyne, and I'm looking forward to reading several of his stories one after the other.

And last and most luscious, the fifth book of Corinna, baker, investigator, friend of Goths and witches and resident of the Melbourne we really want to live in.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


 There are amber-red dragonflies, tiny brown dragonflies with a blue lustre and large, almost military, black dragonflies in the garden now.
Because I'm really slow, and impatient with it, I have only been able to catch up with the little brown, blue-glazed ones which hang out on a dead bush in the garden. Lucky I didn't pull that bush out when I was tidying up a few weeks ago.

I like to wear a dragonfly or two in summer.

and this makes  101 posts - but who's counting?

Australia Day Cricket

The Ballarat Indian Association organised a Harmony Cricket Match in Victoria Park for everyone, to celebrate Australia Day

People of all sorts and all ages came and played.

and the balls were nice and soft.

Several games went on at the same time and some of the equipment had to be improvised.

It was very cheerful and relaxed and next Australia Day it will be held again.

This is the best sort of cricket.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Confused chrysanthemum

Summer is not a time for flowers in my garden as I limit water to herbs and trees, but I do have a few pots and this chrysanthemum has been flowering for a couple of weeks now - completely out of season.

Perhaps, as in an old Chinese story, the chrysanthemum spirit is grateful for her rescue - I found the plant withering in a supermarket last year - or perhaps it is my miraculous worm tea. I dosed all the pots with it before Christmas.

Maybe she is encouraged by her neighbours, the pine and the bamboo?

In season or not, she is very welcome.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Blue birds of happiness

Letty, who creates the marvellously evocative blog Poof - And It's Gone, commented on my blue birds yesterday.  They are sewn from this pattern on Spool and they are a great pleasure to make.
Of course you could give them eyes or wings or any other details that seem right to you, but the only thing I've changed from the original pattern is to quilt their tails, which gives them better balance and a little more shape.

When I have two more I'll set them on a mobile of lichened branches.

They are particularly nice to hold if made of pure cotton and stuffed with wool.


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

January 2010

The grapevine and I have both been scribbling away this month.

I 've been back at work a few weeks now. I haven't gone far or seen many people. It's been a quiet time.

I found 3 metres of cotton material for $2.50 in the Wendouree Op Shop to finish off the Carnivale quilt. I did wash it but I haven't ironed it, as you can see.

And I found this dress. It's just like my favourite dress when I was 17, but this dress is only a couple of years old. Memories drift around it as it hangs on the door.

I read a favourite book for the third time.

I finished a basket of birds (I gave the red and pink ones as Christmas presents), found a new cup and saucer, started a new diary, got my pencils out.

And I've been watching/listening to Bush Slam. In two minutes I'll be in front of the TV as Sam Wagan Watson and Kate Fagan make and perform poems at Yarrabah. Try Hotel Bone if you haven't read Sam Wagan Watson yet - there are youtube and other sites to hear him read etc. if you like this.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Can I love these hot days?

After scorching weather for a few days and nights with 40 degree heat (that's 100 & over for fahrenheit people) there's been a little cooling off period and  some warm rain is falling softly on this muggy evening.

I dread the heat and tend to hide away from it but it's going to stay hot here for awhile so I thought I should list some things I can celebrate in mid-summer.

Clothes dry in an hour, no matter how drippy they were when you hung them up, and they smell as if they've been hot-ironed, a lovely, clean, scorched-cotton smell when you fold them up and put them away.

You can lie naked in the night, all your bones melting into the warmth, drifting off to sleep while crickets sing outside and perfume wafts in from the garden (not on 40 degree nights - but I'm not going there, this is about the good stuff).

There's watermelon and peaches and drippy fruit to eat, salads suddenly are completely satisfying and you don't even want to look at cream and cheese and such.

You can spend all day in the garden with a book or sewing because the weeds aren't growing much. What's going to grow is growing and you might as well just let it go just as it will (of course there's the endless buckets of recycled water to cart out - but this is just about the good stuff).

You can walk barefoot everywhere and your feet just feel happy (but not on asphalt on a 40 + degree day)

You can make lots of papier mache stuff because it dries really fast.

You don't need a hair dryer.

No woolly jumpers.

And the summer sky is breathtakingly blue.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Lake Wendouree January 1st 2010

Morning and evening the dogs need a walk. Yesterday evening we bundled them into the car
as Kitty is too arthritic to walk there and back, and took them to the lake.

The water is mostly gone because of the long drought, but we found some.

We wandered around Fairyland

 enjoying the evening of the first day of the New Year

There is just enough water to flow under the beautiful bridge

And leave a pond for some ducks

And for the few people who are still in town to enjoy.

Dogs, of course, prefer a snack to a view every time