Sunday, 11 December 2011

Drowning in words

Sorry about the silence - I have been drowning in words. 4000, 5000...slowly coming to the surface again.

But is it readable?

I shall recharge the camera, get out for a walk, talk to a few bods. 

 I have also started to learn Tai Qi very, very slowly, here, on Monday evenings. 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Clunes Show

Caught the one bus from Ballarat to Clunes this Saturday to go to the Clunes Show.

The one hundred and fifty first Clunes Agricultural Show smelt of pine and eucalypt, wet earth and and animals, with  a tang of cooking oil and hot sugar.

Clunes has a lovely showground. It's green,  full of huge old trees and sits at the very edge of a hill looking over the vast country around.

I couldn't make my camera encompass what I was looking at. The show ring sits against the sky and the mountain, a calmly busy space. This is the best of a poor set of images.

There was a shed full of wool and shearing.

I would have liked to take some bags away to play with.

Traditional bakery contest - I loved the  sponges, fruitcakes, shortbread on their fly-proof  shelves.

Preserves of  pride- jams, jellies and pickles,

Garden produce, and children's artwork.

I admired the goats and chooks of varied breeds and beauty, put some money in the Ferret Society's Ferret Rescue tin and snacked at the CWA stall.

But the best were the miniature donkeys.

I've loved donkeys since I got to look after two of them at Ceres over quite a few years. Could I fit a couple of these into my yard and go walking with them in Victoria Park?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Clean dogs and straw

It's warm enough to put the doggies out now, so I put down some straw for them to lie around in. Kitty has just been clipped (by me) and washed (by me) a heroic job tho' I say so myself.

She was not amused.

Still not amused.

Poor thing, she is 15 and feels such goings on are for younger dogs. I feel sad when I see how frail she has grown.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Victoria Park Spring 2011

 I walked the 4 or 5 kilometers around the big park at the end of my street. It is one of Ballarat's special places. Some native wildflowers still survive among the formal plantings and the huge mown spaces.

There were three parties of anglers along the side of the big pond, lots of dogs and kids running about and picknickers sitting around the tables or on the grass, but it didn't feel a bit crowded. You can see I had no trouble taking a picture without anybody in it.

There was a competition at the Riding Club and dozens of horses and riders sweating a bit in the heat, but they were over the hill, behind the fences and hedges. Just a whiff of sweaty horse and dung, a few horsey noises.

 I counted seven cricket games going on, but the park is so big it swallowed them up. I heard the occasional shouts of crickety triumph roaring out and admired the white clad players against the green grass. There was plenty of quiet for me.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Knitting indulgences

Here are my feet in glorious handknits, but not in socks of my knitting, these are a generous present from a friend.
I took this photo, emulating Jane Brockett, standing on my new white blanket.

And here are the socks again, actually looking better off my feet, on the white blankie, .

And here are the socks looking better than ever (I'm on a roll here) on my autumn-coloured, knitted blanket (it is a proper single-bed sized blanket, not a mere rug).

When a beloved rug of stripey patches that my grandma knitted me fifty years ago finally fell apart, I spent a year learning to plain and purl and perilously cast-off, and made this first blanket.

I loved the colour, texture of the wool and  the click of needles but not, after I made 14 beanies for charity, counting, concentrating and following patterns.
I really enjoyed making the second white wool blanket, triumphantly sewn up two weeks ago.

Now I'm collecting blues and greens from op shops and bargain bins to knit a blanket for next year. I have a beautiful print of mythical waterbirds by Lisa Kennedy in haunting blues and greens in my room and  I want to play with water-cool colours for a while.
(The link is just to a recent exhibition, not to an image of my print)

 I may just keep on knitting patches of colour and sewing them up into thick, soft, warm and pliable blankets. Socks will have to wait awhile longer.

I'm prepared to work on a piece of sewing, to wrestle with it, to try and perfect it. I want knitting to be pure pleasure for a while.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Roller Door

Travelling in to the state archives in North Melbourne

is made a pleasure by a trip to Roller Door.

It's just around the corner and down one block from the North Melbourne station.

It's the best coffee in the smallest of spaces - a back yard garage with a roller door and a tiny courtyard.

 Coffe that's worth a trip in just for a for a cup, a few perfect sweets or a delicious organic savoury something.

Monday, 31 October 2011

For Jake

For you, Jake.

After the birthday lunch,

the papparazzi struck.

Jesse with royal souvenir (thanks Fiona!) eating some of the leftovers not yet packed up to go back to Melbourne.

Sorry about the soggy card Jake!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Bridge, Navigators

Click on these please

Driving out to Navigators on a wet afternoon because I love the old railway bridge out along the Dunnstown Road. It is a  bluetongue lizard of a bridge - squat and solid - over the little hill.

Perhaps Navigators was named after the navvies (navigators) who built the railway underneath and the bridge above?

You can still travel over it, unlike so many of the old bridges round here that just join up abandoned loops of roadway while a concrete bridge carries the traffic along a new bypass.



The jasmine is flowering over the side fence and I can fill the house with it. Some people find the scent of jasmine cloying, but I cannot have too much of it. Creamy and confident, it goes with the everpresent smell of new mown grass as everyone in the street tidies up ready for summer.

I've had an intense few weeks of thinking about where I want to put my energy this year and of learning new skills.

After a couple of years of just taking potshots with a huge and heavy donated camera, I finally bought myself a tiny camera from Aldi and have done a workshop with Aldona Kmiec whose evocative photos I saw at the Foto Biennale recently.

I've always loved black and white and have been experimenting madly.

I've tried a few portraits, some of which I'll keep.

I've done a lot of playing on the internet trying out things like  Flickr, Zotero,Google maps....fascinating stuff, some of it useful, but so time consuming! I can now edit a video with sound (barely), have decided NOT Facebook, found a net of interesting contacts on Twitter, but I haven't had much time for sewing or writing, let alone just walking around and looking. Time to log off, I think, and smell the jasmine.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Loving these flowers

Isn't this delicate, later flowering wattle beautiful?

Now there are so many different wattles in bloom round here, I think I might like a golden garden filled with every possible kind.

Quince and early apple blossom

It's getting hot, too warm for a jumper the last two days. The first of the blowies buzzed inside yesterday.

We're well into Spring, the equinox is coming up in the next day or two. The  quince trees and the early apple are in bloom.

Quince and apples and roses are are closely related. 
I love all three, but I'll have to wait a bit longer for the roses.

One more tree to flower - the grafted apple.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Peach and plum

I found a chopped-up stump by the back fence when we first moved to this house. Thin wands were sprouting up from below a graft line on the murdered tree, so I left it alone to see what would grow back.  These are its fiercely pink, serrated blossoms.
Until it fruited I didn't know what it was. It is, in fact, a peach tree producing quite small, but very sweet and  juicy yellow peaches. It's a tough tree, growing steadily all through the drought.

Not the usual peach blossom, is it?

And this is my adored greengage plum tree, well established when I arrived. 
 In blossom or in leaf it is beautiful and its fruit is a marvellous, gleaming yellowy-green

I can hardly ever bring myself to prune it as I love sitting under the low-sweeping arches of its branches.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Nectarine blossom & hail

Typical frisky spring weather today, rain and sleet and then hail. Beads of ice lay thickly against every corner in the city. I watched the hail piling up outside the library while I hunted about the shelves for books.
I thought the hail would have really knocked our nectarine blossom about, but when we got home (with groceries and  piles of books), there was no sign of storm or ice in our garden. The day was suddenly sunny. So - probably a tree full of nectarines this summer!

Then in the afternoon, with intermittent rain and sun we had a sky full of rainbows.

This week I've been to a free ABC workshop in the library to learn how to put an image and a story up on the ABC website. Next week we'll do a video! I'm loving this.

There are some really good projects going on on ABC Open - love these 'now-and-then pics' of Creswick's Calembeen Park

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Spring poem to chant for Proserpine

What shall she have,
Earth's youngest daughter?
Green combs of willow wands,
Mirrors in the water.

Where shall we go
To do her birthday honour?
Clematis above the rocks
hangs her silken banner.

Heath lights tapers through the bush -
White, and red for morning;
All the tight-balled wattle boughs
Overnight are turning

Each into a golden fleece
Rich as Jason plundered, 
Where across the shining weir
Winter floods had thundered.

Reedy singers call her home,
Little Proserpine,
Cuckoo's flute, dark bittern's drum, 
and wren pipes fine.

Old as moss in glacier lands -
Earth's youngest daughter -
Clean as worship in the hills -
New as lambs and laughter.

Mary Finnan wrote this poem. She  was born near Geelong in Victoria in 1906. She was an artist, teacher, unionist and Red Cross worker. Her poems aren't in print now. I'm going to the State Library soon to look at some of her books.

I've known this poem by heart since I first found it in an anthology of 'bush poets'.

 Proserpine/Persephone's story is a myth that has always resonated for me, as a child and later as a mother. 
 The story of Jason's quest and the plundering of the golden fleece is a good one to tell in goldfields country. 
Outside Geelong is the little town of Ceres where my mother's family lived and farmed in the 19th century. Ceres is Proserpine's mother, of course.

Ballarat Writers Festival

I don't usually go to writers festivals, workshops, symposiums or talks, but yesterday I broke my habit - and I'm so glad that I did.
I spent yesterday from 9 to 5 at the Writers Festival in Ballarat, run by the Ballarat Writers. Lots of my favourite sort of books discussed by the authors, editors and illustrators of fantasy and historical fiction and picture story books. All locally-based Victorian publishing houses and writers. The speakers were generous and in love with their work.
A really rich day.

The festival was held in the Alexandria on Lydiard Street. A beautiful old building with great food and coffee. It was such a warm spring day that we sat out on the balcony for lunch. Bliss!

When I left to go home the lights were coming on but it was still warm and bright. 
Spring is really here.