Sunday, 22 April 2012

Long walk

All right, we'll go for a LONG walk.

Around the glittery lake first

past the old paddleboat - which I've never ridden on.

That's 3 kilometres.

Then 1 km to the park. Shall we take the long way home?

Parts of the park are still glowing.

parts are in shadow.

Slashes of sunlight through the last avenue along Sturt Street.

Almost home.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Generic dog

After a very short while the hole that Paddy & Kitty left in our lives grew too big to live with.
 I went down to the RSPCA a few times and found Mr Pip aka Pippy. He'd spent a couple of months in the adoption pens there as he's six, and while a lovely bloke, is not a spectacular dog. 

In fact, if these signs posted around our local lake are any guide, he is the generic dog.

 This is our Mr Pip.

He has obviously come from a loving home as he is a smart, gentle and trusting dog, used to rides in the car and living with people.

  He's still settling in and we are just getting used to each other, so I walk him on a'gentle leader' and am working on a suitable walking style with him. 
It's so lovely to have an energetic  dog to walk with. We've been on 3, 4 5 km walks most days.

He likes to have a rug outside. He carts it off with him to each new spot in the yard, drops it and sits on it.

Monday, 9 April 2012

A quiet Easter

On Good Friday I ate my hot cross buns in bed. And read three books. And a magazine. And three sale catalogues.
With great pleasure, I discovered I wanted nothing in the catalogues.

On Saturday I wrote and knitted until late in the night. At 12pm I was still wreathed in a web of knitting,  dreaming away, working by lamp and firelight.

It was the quietest Easter-time for years. No egg painting party, no outings, no Easter egg hunt - just a little family lunch on Sunday. 
I didn't even go out to the Highland Pipe Band Competitions.

A chocolate bilby, a chocolate wombat, some eggs.
No rabbits.
Chocolate Rabbits aren't really lovely symbols of fertility to me - they bring to mind Malthusian overpopulation and destruction..
(No offence meant to any bunny in its right place).

I've been feeling a bit wobbly lately. The rest was very welcome.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Natives and newcomers

I met the corellas when I went off to Victoria Park on Friday evening, to take part in a City of Ballarat community consultation about its future.

The park is a huge and beautiful grassy space in the city, and as a former gold mining site has been torn up, planted  with pines, oaks and other exotics but still retains remant native grasses and trees.
It  has a thriving population of native birds including magpies, crows, kookaburras and the seasonal visitors - corellas, cockatoos and galahs among others.

I'd love to see more planting of the native vegetation supporting local birds and insects and beasties in Victoria Park. It's a big park, there's lots of room for us all.

Down in North Melbourne a day or two earlier, I'd found this old, grey, cocoon among the fallen leaves and berries of some peppercorn trees.

Hope you can see where the moth has broken its way out at the top. It got a bit squashed when it fell to the footpath.
It feels like silk mixed with papier mache.

It's the outgrown cocoon of an Emperor Gum Moth.
This huge and beautiful moth has amazing blue-green, pink tufted caterpillars. When I was a child my friends and I would keep the caterpillars in shoe-boxes, rear the moths and release them. The caterpillars ate enormously, and as well as eucalypt leaves, they happily munched on peppercorn tree leaves. Peppercorn trees were imported from South Africa and grown in every 19th century school yard, railway station yard and country town in Victoria.

And here is the old peppercorn tree in the Carlton cemetery, that grows near Yin's great grandma 's grave.

I walked around Victoria Park that evening  with my head full of peppercorns and Emperor Gum moths, thinking how we might all, natives and newcomers,  look after each other.

Two Melbourne cemeteries

I enjoy visiting these two old Melbourne cemeteries every year about Easter, which is when Chinese families here carry out a tradition of visiting and cleaning family graves, making offerings and having a big family feast. 
The oldest Melbourne cemeteries have been built over, so Carlton is about the oldest cemetery in the city now,  right near the university in central Melbourne. 
Pines and peppercorn trees dominate. It is a dry, scratchy bent over old place.

Coburg cemetery, further north, higher up and looking down on the Merri Creek is greener, full of gold green cypress and palm trees,

South Melbourne Temple

This Sunday the family ccelebrated Qing Ming, visiting and cleaning family graves, getting together and remembering everyone.This means a full day travelling to three Melbourne cemeteries and to the See Yup Temple in South Melbourne to make offerings there too.

There's another good link here if you are interested in the temple, which is about the oldest in Victoria and built by one of early Melbourne's leading architects.