Saturday, December 22, 2012

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Well its that time again!
Time for the fever of Christmas, the shopping and consuming!
Well I haven't felt that and I don't usually, our Christmas is low key and I like it that way. Might be because I am a long way away from my family and have been for 20 years. I miss having Christmas with them but know it is not going to happen very often because of the distance and the cost of flights at this time and all that happens in my own life here, where I live.

A funny thing did happen to me about a fortnight ago. I put up my Christmas tree quilt that I made a few years ago. Much better than a real tree in my opinion, takes up less room in our small house.
So I put that up and then we had a cold snap and had to light the fire again for a day or two. I noticed that I had a strange feeling when I looked at this scene. A nice feeling but new to me. Next day the fire was lit again and I had the feeling again. Then it came to me what it was. It was seeing a fire next to a Christmas tree. It was a northern hemisphere Christmas! And it felt like an old memory trying to surface, but I have never been to the northern hemisphere. My ancestors came from there so perhaps it was an ancestral memory? Nice thought aye!
And anyway, my mind is once again thinking about what is it to have an Australian Christmas? What is it that symbolises Chrissy here?
My friend D says it is the beach and surfing, it sounds pretty good but I'm not 100% sold on the idea because I don't think of the beach at this time of the year. I'm sure lots do, don't get me wrong but lots don't also. Particularly those who may live inland. I love the mountains!
I don't like those Christmas cards with koalas in Santa hats and the like.

So what is it about this wall hanging? A man dressed in clothes too hot for this country. Surrounded by holly which doesn't have red berries on at this time of the year and is an environmental weed in this country in case you didn't know. Ok lots of presents and a cute puppy, they're ok I suppose.

I made Santa sacks this year for my on-line shop. Sold 2, that was great. But have a look, snow! Ok I had to light the fire a fortnight ago, but no way was there going to be snow here! Pine trees, also another environmental weed when they self seed away from plantations.

This apron my sewing partner made depicts doves of peace, that's nice with holly in their mouths, mmm and some nice words. Not so Australian though. No slight on your apron T, its lovely and I am surprised it didn't sell.

These two table mats are all about stars, so the religious side of Christmas emerges here. The colours also are symbolic of Christmas, red, green and white. That's the red berries of holly, green pine trees and snow!

I don't mean to sound like a Grinch or anything, I just would like to work out what Christmas means to Australians. What would you put on a card to an Australian in Australia and think of Christmas?

Well I have made my mini plum puddings, the best yet my friend D said. I put in half a cup of brandy which had been sitting in a jar with cherries for 4 years. I put in half the jar of cherries too. Wow! Adults only and no driving when you have had a couple of these.
We have a rolled pork roast from locally sourced organically grown rare breed pig. Oh it is so nice. Also a turkey breast, rolled and stuffed with cranberries and something, I can't remember now. Locally sourced also and free range.

We usually have duck for Christmas but Pepes the supplier have been fined $400,000 for sourcing ducks from a place that was treating them badly, so no more Pepies. "Open range" they have on their ducks wrapping but they are kept in a shed. No openness or ranging. Labelling in this country is incredibly poor.
Take free range eggs. The suggested (note suggested not legislated) amount of birds per hectare is 1,500. The egg board wanted to up that to 20,000 birds per hectare!!!!!! Might as well put them into small cages for the amount of room they'll have. And where does the green grass and bugs come from with that close proximity. That's how the eggs get omega 3 from green grass and bugs and sunshine.
Well I have been grumbling today and no mistake.
But on this note I would like to wish all my readers, 2 of them I think, a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Friday, December 14, 2012

A walk in the Garden

Come for a walk in the garden with me on such a lovely day.
I love Calendulas or pot marigolds. I grow them everywhere I live and then they grow themselves for ever after.
Coming up in cracks and in garden beds, raising their bright heads for most of the year. And you can make cosmetics and remedies from them too.

Our second fruit tree section. With 2 cherries, a quince, Plumcot, Apricot, Bay, Fejoia. Plus the blueberries in the last post and some raspberries and loganberries. All young and in need of mulching and netting.
We'll get there.
What garden is complete without nasturtiums? My husband thinks they'll take over the world, but I'm not sure of that. They are great weed suppressants, you can eat the small leaves and flowers in salads. They are great decoy plants for pests and they look lovely.
Royal gala apples from our little tree
just a couple of spears, the last for the season I think. They were very good this year!
What is a garden without Basil. mmmmm new plants coming on and ready to be picked!
Sorry slightly blurred but you get the picture. We have had about 2kg from only 4 pickings so fay. loads more to come and they are delicious. Thornless blackberries, everyone should grow them.
Such huge leaves on the mint!
tree onion or Egyptian onion or walking onion. Choose your name?
Well here ends another walk around the garden. Hope you enjoyed it.

My Colonoscopy Adventure

Hi there all you brave ones who want to read this blog,
I want to take you on an adventure into the medical world of Endoscopy.
I had a colonoscopy! I won't go into details about bowel movements so don't freak out, I just want to write down what happened to me.
purple geranium
So before I start I'll just say I went for a wizz around the garden (not what you think!) and took a whole lot of photos of what is flowering, so I can pop them in between the text as a breathing space for you.

Here goes.
The 2 day adventure starts with a good breakfast and eating as much as possible including lunch until 12 noon. Well I ate as much as possible because I was to 'fast' for over 24 hours and I thought I might get hungry.
After 12noon its only drinks, without milk. At 5pm I started drinking the 3 litres of bowel cleansing solution. This liquid actually gathers all thge liquid in my body into my bowel to wash it clean. amazing!
I was told it was really bad and makes you gag! But that didn't happen to me. I had a new one out with lemon flavour. I drank it with a straw so it didn't contact too many taste buds. But really it was just like gatorade and the like.
I like this one even the dandelion yellow looks nice with the others.
I had to drink 1 litre in the first hour and then the other 2 litres before 9pm. Well this was probably the hardest part for me. I felt so full of drink I thought I would burst. Had to keep sipping all night, it felt like. At onwe point my swallowing reflex was refusing to work as I was so full I had to force it down.
Globe artichoke getting ready to open.After the first hour things started to move, if you know what I mean. I won't go into details here except to say it was most strange to be drinking so much liquid and not peeing at all. No bladder action!
Our first Dahlia.

Well the evening went by and I was tired so went to bed. My bowel was empty and all the liquid gone. The notes I was given said I must drink other drinks too or I could become dehydrated. I couldn't fit any other drinks in!
blue lobelia
My appointment at the Endoscopy was for 11am. The notes said I was not to drink anything for 4 hours leading up to the procedure. So I asked M to wake me at 6.30am.

red geraniums, they make a great weed barrier from next doors.
So I woke up and drank 2 glasses of water and went back to sleep.
Felt strange all morning, not hungry at all but starting to feel a bit woozy in the head through lack of food.
Off the the clinic we went.
Before I move on with the story I have to say the nurse that interviewed me beforehands name was Ayla! You know from 'clan of the cave bear'!
This is why I call myself Dayla!
Anyway she was very nice, everyone there was very nice and gentle and caring. I must send them a card of thanks.
I love Aquilegias. Did you know they grow wild in Yellowstone National Park. Whole fields of them, amazing!
So I'm waiting in my paper gown and plastic slippers for them to call me, feeling very apprehensive but a bit dopey in the head due to lack of food. This helped me get through the nerves I think. In I go and onto the bed/table. I look away whilst they put the needle into my elbow pit. Can't bear needles, never been able to. A childhood fear from immunisations!
Doctor comes in and introduces himself. He is very nice too, well I hope so, when he is going to be sticking a long tube up my bum, you do hope so don't you!
Lace cap Hydrangea.
The anaesthetist then puts 2 tubes of stuff into my elbow and I am gone. It was beautiful really to go off like that. Like that moment of going to sleep but you are fully conscious and can really feel yourself going off. I dreamt too, nice dreams, can't remember them now but I was amazed I dreamed. Didn't think you did under anaesthetic.
campanula and man
So then I am being urged to wake up, takes them 2 goes before I put in the effort of waking up. Lying there coming to I realize I am full of gas, oh so full! I roll a bit to my side and let rip! A great long line of pops, ah that feels better. Moments later I have to do it again. Ah bliss!
Shortly after a nurse comes and helps me up then pulls away the curtain round the bed and guess what?
The room is full of people and I have been having a farting festival in my little curtain cubicle.
Calla lilies
Well actually I didn't realise this at the time. All those in the room were at different stages of recovery from their own procedures and sitting on recliner rocking chairs with a cup of tea and a biscuit.
I was placed in one of these and had an apple juice to start off. Lots more gas made itself known but I couldn't let rip in public. Anyway nurse to the rescue and I was taken to a loo.
Chamomile growing in a crack in the path.
So that's about it. Only afterwards did I realise my fopar, but everyone else must have been doing it too.
It had continued into the next day right up until normal movements were resumed, if you get my drift.
I don't feel much different, which is good, means the old bod was working ok before hand.
Results are good, so a happy ending for the end!
One more:
Elephant garlic flower.
Happy days.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wonderful to be alive!

Red Rhodie just coming out.

Delicious it was too!

I put rosemary in here to keep the weeds down and soften the hard edge. It needed help so in went a whole lot of red geranium cuttings. Starting to look better. I tucked in some yellow sedum, a type of succulent underneath. Will grow low and the yellow will compliment the very blue rosemary and the red G.
One of our white chooks, Dumb and dumber we call them and Big J also known as Julia. They are standing on a chook fodder cage I made out of rigid mesh. I sowed and planted their favourite foods in here. They grow and as they poke their heads through the chooks eat them. But the chooks cannot scratch and kill the plants, so they have greens all year round.

These are our Blueberry plants, all 8 of them. Loaded with fruit and in need of netting. Soon precious!

Blasted Choughs!

They are mad about our windows. Not to try to fly through but to attack reflection rivals. This one is on a decoy mirror we put away from the house. It goes at it for ages.

Crumpet and baby doing well.
Serena getting ready to lay an egg.

Plumpet and her brood are doing really well. She is taking them out to mix with the big girls now. A few altercations, mostly Plumpet getting belted up by her grown up brood. Seems strange but there you go!

See the Lavender Aracauna in the front. Starting to get its head crest of feathers. Lovely grey legs it has too.
Thanks for looking.

Monday, November 12, 2012

bird netting for fruit trees

Polypipe cut at 7 metre lengths and threaded over star pickets makes the structure. We read about it on Scarecrows blog.

The pipe was rural water pipe for drainage. Star pickets 5'6".

We think 7 metres was the maximum you should cut it at as some of the pieces have bent over a bit under the heat and/or weight of the netting. We could drill holes in the top of the pipe and thread wire through. Tying off lengths the same distance apart as the star pickets. This would keep them evenly spaced and upright. But our step ladder is a bit too short for M to reach the top.
Here it is with the net put over. Took a couple of weeks to sew up the holes as it is second hand vineyard net. But it was easy to put up with just 2 of us.

We tied lengths of baling twine to the side at various intervals. The net was laid long ways. I was over the fence pulling the net up and M fed it up and over the hoops with and ingenious device I made out of a small bucket type container wired onto the end of a long stake, so it wouldn't snag the net.

Yesterday we worked like dogs and mowed and mulched and planted out lots of small stuff in here. The plan is to make it a food forest and get rid of the grass entirely.
We planted lots of herbs and flowers in here too, to help with insect attracting, diversity and colour.
We may need to bring the hoops closer together next year but we'll see how things go for now.
Time to think about netting the blueberry patch now.

more chooky pictures

Have I mentioned yet that I love chooks?
Silver campine chick at 8 days old.

3 silver campine chicks

little lavender aracauna peeking out
So cute!
Julia on the left and grandma
the ranga, she lets me carry her around. She is a nice chook.
more soon, hope you can stand it.