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Showing posts from January, 2019

Monkey Creek Gallery and Cafe

How nice a bird that doesn't move when I want to photograph it :-)

We went for a drive from Lawson to Lithgow last weekend and came back via Bell where we spotted the Monkey Creek gallery and cafe which we have not visited before.  Both were good and with spectacular views in every direction.




The pleasures of leisure

With the current hot weather it seems better to indulge in leisure rather than work. It's certainly too hot for me to progress my garden plans apart from mowing in the morning and evening when it is cool enough to give it a go. The recent rain has the grass growing very rapidly so I have to keep on top if it.
A book I have read recently The Pleasures of Leisure by Robert Dessaix.  I enjoy personal essays in particular those by Kate Llewellyn and Helen Garner.  I find Robert Dessaix a bit pretentious but I liked the idea of this topic so gave it a go.  It was a fairly enjoyable to read through his meandering thoughts on doing nothing (hard to do); doing something and nothing at the same time (e.g. reading); doing more something than nothing (e.g going for a walk); nesting (e.g. housework and gardening, clearly he is a man to consider this leisure); grooming (e.g. taking a bath); competitive play (e.g. team sports), non competitive play (eg. hobbies)

Summer blues

No not sad, glad.  This is the view from my bedroom window at Burnbrae at the moment.  Agapanthus can be a bit weedy but I love them.


Pond Interlude

We were on the veranda watching the languid gliding of the fish,  blue damselflies darting from flower to flower, frogs bopping (their spawn floating among the aquatic weeds),  skinks scurrying on the rocks then with a splash a skink decides to go for a swim -- the fish hide, the damselflies scatter and the frogs go silent.



A poem for today
The Pond by Amy Lowell

Grasses

The drive to Mudgee is always lovely, at the moment enhanced by summer grasses and wildflowers.

Reflection:
Isaiah 40:8 New International Version (NIV)
"The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”

Australia Day

There are little sparrows always hopping about in the garden at Kandos.  I like their cheerful presence.

These little fellows are an introduced species. Like most of us in Australia they are descended from immigrants and have gone on to prosper in this land.

To all of the Aussies I hope you have enjoyed Australia Day today.


Old stuff 28

I was sitting in the shade of the apple tree, once again trying to capture some cool from the intense heat. Lots of apples are falling and they are all wormy so there will be no apple harvest again this year.

This particular apple, fallen with its twig intact reminded me of the old alphabet chart we had at school.  "A is like an apple on a twig a says a, B is like a bat and ball b says b, C is like a cake with a bit taken out c says c".  Below is the chart which I found in an article titled Going to School in the 1940s and '50s.  For anyone who went to school in Queensland in that era this is a great read.  I started in grade 1 in 1959 and everything was just about exactly as described, very little seemed to have changed for decades before the rapid transformation to the style of schools today.




Soaring

On a mighty hot day this week I was sitting on the deck in the shade of the house trying to get a little bit cooler from the breeze that tends to blow most days.  I saw two or three birds soaring on the thermals but I was having a terrible time trying to catch them in my frame and getting the focus.  Nonetheless I had a lovely time of gentle pleasure watching them enjoying the hot day.



The Creek

Because the book I am featuring today is about a creek I decided I should take a photo of our local creek. This is Carwell Creek near our bush block at Clandulla.

A book I have read recently
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for general non-ficton. "The book records the narrator's thoughts on solitude, writing, and religion, as well as scientific observations on the flora and fauna she encounters. Touching upon themes of faith, nature, and awareness."  That subject matter appeals to me. 

However, I have tried to read this book several times. I was determined to finish it (and did) but it still hasn't won me over ... there are parts that are wonderfully poetic but to me on the whole it is too overwrought and has too much detail.

Oranges now

The stone fruits are all but done because the fruit fly got most of the peaches. We have been having daily orange or mandarin juice for many months (since July).  I find it easiest to leave the fruit on the citrus trees and just pick what we want when we want it but as summer rolls on I have found the fruit fly attack the valencia oranges which are later and have a thinner skin than navals.  To beat them at their game I stripped the tree this week as they will keep for quite a while in the fridge.  When I say stripped, I picked all of the fruit I could get from the ground.  I am at an age when climbing ladders is no longer wize.


Ah! Sunflower

All of the sunflowers are out along the garage wall now.  There has been a little bit too much sun lately, the weather has been extremely hot but before the latest blast we got a few of storms to dampen things down in readiness.

A poem for today
Ah! Sunflower by William Blake

God beams

I noticed this pretty sky out at Kandos earlier this week.

Reflection:
Numbers 6:24-26 New International Version (NIV)
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”

Willy Wagtail

I was getting a bit desperate for this week's bird photo so I sat for a while out at Whistlers Rest to see what would turn up.  This is a Willy Wagtail but it would not participate by putting his tail up in his characteristic jaunty way.

I had even less success with the little wrens in the blackthorn - the camera kept focusing on the wrong thing.


Old Stuff 27

Because we are currently living in two houses I had to dig out an old dinner set.  This one screams of the 1970s when we were married.

The blood plums are now being harvested at Rose Orchard Haus - buckets and buckets of them.  There are also peaches ripening but the fruit fly seem to have attacked most of them.  I think I might be glad because I am getting overwhelmed with fruit though my husband is enjoying eating them.

A visitor

We had an unexpected visitor at the front door of Burnbrae this week.  He moved back into the garden by the time I got my camera.

It is a blue tongued lizard.  I hoped he would show his beautiful blue tongue for the photo but didn't want to antagonise him.  He has obviously been in a fight of some sort because he has lost his tail.

We have one or more of these lizards in our garden but we don't see them out and about very often so it was lovely to find one still there.

At the library

This week I was killing some time up at Katoomba library.  There is quite a nice view from the desks.  On this day another big build up of clouds.

I was checking the shelves to pick up a few more of the ABC's First Tuesday Bookclub Top 50 Australian Books. (I am currently sitting at 38% read)

A book I have read recently
Wake in Fright by Kenneth Cook.  Chosen because it was the only one on the list I found in the library.    It's a dark book set in the 1960s out Broken Hill way, a disturbing adventure of a school teacher who gets drunk, loses all of his money gambling and finds himself befriended by roo shooters.  I'm not sure I would recommend it but it was compulsive reading ... I sat up late to finish it.

Blackthorn

We popped over to our bush block on the weekend and it was lovely to see the Blackthorn (Bursaria Spinosa) in flower.  They are quite prickly but I left quite a few stands of them to provide habitat for the little birds.  I also read somewhere recently that they have a synergistic relationship with the eucalyptus trees helping to keep them healthy so another good reason to keep them.


Storm's coming

We have had a few storms lately - thunder, lightning and lots of heavy rain - feels like Queensland.

This is a view of one of them advancing towards us at Rose Orchard Haus.

A poem for today
A Thunderstorm by Emily Dickinson

Consider the lilies

We went to church in Rylstone today, there was a infant baptism on so lots of extra people.  Someone was already sitting in my usual seat so I had to choose a different pew so can show you a different window.

This one is of Jesus during the sermon on the mount, the associated passage of scripture is below.

Reflection:
Luke 12:27-31 New King James Version (NKJV)
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

Catch me if you can

The blue wren is driving me nuts.  It likes the dining setting out on the deck but the view is obscured by the fly screen. Whenever I move to get a clear photograph of this delightful little bird it takes off ... maybe next week.


Old Stuff 26

These modern chairs from Bunnings have a very retro style, perfect to go with our back-in-time-house at Kandos.  We currently have them placed in the shade of the apple tree.   I have moved the window box begonias their too because they were finding it a bit exhausting in the sun.

Cicadas

For the past several weeks cicadas singing have been a constant background noise at Kandos. Apparently when cicada nymphs emerge from the ground they climb the nearest tree and shed their nymph exoskeleton.  Once they get rid of their old skin their wings inflate and they fly off.  I spotted these exoskeletons on the branch of the walnut tree.

Street Library

We spotted this street library when we were walking in Mudgee.

A book I have read recently
I understand that Thea Astley won four Miles Franklin  Awards which has only been matched by Tim Winton.  I have never read any of her work so decided it was time to address this.  It's Raining in Mango is a saga covering four generations of colonial and indigenous families in North Queensland.  It was rewarding reading.

Yellow

I have never planted sunflowers before so it is exciting to see the first flower emerge from it's tall stalk.  Eventually there will be a whole row of them against the garage wall.

We are currently harvesting lemons -- lots and lots of lemons.


Red dragonfly

During the hot weather it has been fun sitting on the veranda watching the gold fish, red dragonflies and blue damselflies.

A poem for today
A haiku by Kobayashi Issa.
The distant mountains
Are reflected in the eye
Of the dragonfly.

Showers of blessing

We have been up at the Katoomba Christian Convention Centre this weekend to attend the CMS Summer School.  What a relief to have rain after a run of very hot days ... made it much easier to climb the hill.  We are currently shrouded in mountain mist.

Reflection:
Ezekiel 34:26 New Living Translation (NLT)
"I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing."

Colourful birds

My Canadian niece was delighted with the colourful birds we have in Australia.  Such a shame this one didn't appear when she was here.  We rarely see them in our garden.

Old Stuff 25

When I retired I promised myself that I would not start new projects before doing something about the ones that have been languishing for years -- either finish them or dispose of them.  During the annual spring clean I tidied up my sewing box and found this piece almost finished. Looking at the style I would say this one has been sitting around since the 1970s.  None to worry, retro is all the rage now.

Now it's finished what can I do with it?  Perhaps mount it and put if up in my writing studio.


Sightseeing

We were delighted to have my niece from Canada visiting this Christmas.  This of course meant we did a spot of sightseeing.  Even though this is a familiar view for me, it always takes my breath away.

The wait is over

After a month of sitting tantalisingly under the Christmas tree we got to open our presents on Christmas day - books we bought weeks earlier. 

Among them was one titled 1000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life Changing List.  I think it will be helpful to guide my reading.  I have currently read only 71 of them (a mere 7%). If I read one per week I can't die until my mid 80s.

Another book Poetry Please, is a nice thick anthology of the most requested poems from the BBC radio programme Poetry Please.  This year I am returning to a habit I have followed in other years - a poem a day from my selected anthology.  In the past I have worked my way through A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry; Stressed Unstressed: Classic Poems to Ease the Mind; Poetry by Heart: A Treasury of Poems to Read Aloud; and others. It's a delightful thing to do, the challenge is to stop myself devouring more than one poem a day.

A book I have read recently
I finished Catch 22 aft…

Orchard time

It's been busy lately. Buckets and buckets of apricots most of which we caught before the fruit flies. What to do with so many?  It's a bit difficult to give them away when you have to add - check for maggots before you eat!

In the end I gave up on my aversion to making jam and have quite a few bottles of very delicious apricot jam which I can safely share.

The action has now moved onto processing buckets and buckets of lemons.

The good news is we swapped some of the harvest for eggs.




Happy New Year

To celebrate the start of 2019 City Daily Photobloggers are sharing their photo of the year.  I think the changing light on water always make a beautiful photograph so selected this one in evening light as my favourite.  A short sojourn by the lake signalled the start of my retirement and the chance to begin blogging again - so a favourite for that reason too.

A poem for today
At the Lake by Mary Oliver.