Sunday, 23 September 2007

Angel Poem

Sometimes, when Bec was younger and wanted a good-night story and it had been a VERY long day...I just used to read this poem out to her. It was easy to remember - I just had to read it from her wall. I also made her a matching bed quilt with plain and coloured patches on, and the same appliqued angels and stars.
'A whispering of angel wings, stargatherers are on the way, little stars go home to bed, when night turns into day'.
Its nice to recall these little things, when you suddenly realise how fast they are growing up...

Hand-made Pictures

Some little pictures I made from calico and applique scraps for Bec's room. I bought some cheap pine frames, painted and 'stressed' them, and aged the pictures with a tea-dye.

Give me a home among the gum-trees....

I guess I've never really appreciated the Eucalypts before today. We're surrounded by them, they drop leaves and gumnuts onto the tin roof and fill the gutters, and they're not particularly attractive (not to mention providing a home for the possums..)

I say 'until today', thats because I was reading an article in my gardening magazine about them. On a hot day, the Eucalypt oil apparently evaporates into the air - which is why the Blue Mountains were so named - because of the blue haze that seemed to appear when they were viewed from a distance. More striking though was the comment about soldiers returning from the 1st and 2nd world wars - well before they reached Australian shores, they knew they were almost home by the strong smell of the Eucalypts. I was struck by the sense of joy they must have felt combined with the horrific memories of war they had escaped, and the awful sorrow that would have been inevitable when they thought of their mates, family members, of all those other brave soldiers who would never again get to smell the Eucalypts and know that they were home.

Kids Quilts

I really wanted to make the kids a unique quilt each. This is Zac's - he helped to design it by drawing lots of monsters, which I then appliqued onto black squares using lots of bright fabrics.
Dan was in the air force cadets when I made his - so I pieced lots of airoplanes together and used the ADF colours for his. Machine-quilted it in a stipple effect which worked really well on the background, and finished off with a tartan border. The little red propellors are embroidered on.

Yes, hi Bec!! I haven't forgotten you... this is Bec's 'handbag' quilt in lots of bright colours. Two of the bags (somewhere) can have secret stuff stored in them, as the flap lifts up to reveal a hidden pocket! Looks great on her bedroom wall - alot of work though!

Spring in the garden...must pace myself!!

Picked a bunch of flowers as they've self-seeded everywhere out the back - and I LOVE flowers... inside the house and out.

Finally got the rest of the soil and finished off my terraced veggie garden. Probably not the most fun part of gardening - but well worth all the effort (and got a couple of young strong lads to help out - thanks guys...)
...short break won't hurt.

Lots of different tomato plants are in. Grosse Lisse, Roma, can't remember the others! I read somewhere that if you put a cup full of milk powder in the planting hole you get a much bigger and healthier crop. The old guy who wrote the article did not know why this works - I don't really care either; in it went.
These are those flowers that have self-seeded everywhere in the back garden - love the colour. Its impossible to grow much else down there due to the poor soil, and the fact that the wallabies & kangaroo's just come straight out of the bush and eat everything! Thats my 'toadstool' on the left - an old tree stump with Zac's old t-shirt folded on it.
This bed is reserved especially for pumpkins. I have butternut variety in there - mounded up my compost and planted seedlings in the top, then watered well with my special brew of liquid fertiliser. Got an old wine making container from a garage sale, with a tap on the bottom and lid. Threw in heaps of comfrey, chamomile and heaps of other herbs that all needed a good trim. Added seaweed and carp fertiliser (half a cup each), sulphate of potash and epsom salts (fistful). Also added lots of liquid from my worm farm. Left it to brew for a couple of weeks - then use it heavily diluted on the garden. Wicked stuff - smells wonderful... Here the pumpkins will have plenty of room to trail over the rest of the garden without getting in the way. Planted some bush beans around the edges (as I got too many and had no more room anywhere else!)
I just couldn't resist this plant - love poppies. Have some seeds coming, but for now, I can sit and enjoy this beauty.

Lots of seeds popping up all over. This is the mesclun. The first to appear was the Bok Choy. Guess I'll have to do some thinning soon though...
At the very bottom of the terraced veggie garden, I found this old gate from our renovations, and manouevred it into place to trail zucchini's and cucumbers up. Opposite, against the wall of the house, is my little greenhouse. Haven't had much success with growing seeds in there yet though - still trying to get it right. Have much more success with direct-sowing. I hope to plant potatoes and sweet potatoes in this bed. Above the stone wall is another large bed, which now contains leeks and red onion plants. (How many do you get in a punnet... never dug so many holes)! Still some room left for chives and shallots.

The herb patch right near the front door now has sweet basil (YES...its back) lots of parsley, tarragon, rocket and lettuce varieties aswell as some capsicum plants and strawberries newly planted, along with all the stuff that has survived over Winter.

Looking down the terraced veggie patch at the side of the house. It gets the sun for most of the day - the tomatoes, beans, sweetcorn, onions & stuff should do really well - but the asian veg & lettuce - after this first crop, will probably have to go into a cooler part of the garden. There's also some broccoli, beetroot, silverbeet and more capsicum in various beds. And more parsley and basil, of which you can't have too much of.

Ahhh...the deckchair..gardening books and seed catalogues...bliss.

The frame all ready for the beans. There's climbing beans, sugar-snap and snowpea, and cherokee wax bush beans on the other side, which did really well last year.

This tomato plants off to a good start. It's a 'tiny tim' or something, and more of a bush type. Have seeds of 'tommy toe' coming soon, as it again, it did so well last year. If something works well - stick with it. much for a relaxing weekend!! Might just have gone a little overboard on the seedlings me thinks!!

Farmers Market

Enjoyed a lovely Saturday morning at Glenbrook market, and brought home some delicious organic produce. Wholegrain sourdough bread, garlic, Fuji apples (my favourite), bok choy which I used in a stir-fry that evening and some grapes. Its a pity its only on once a month - hope to get to the Blackheath farmers market one other week of the month though. Forgot to take my camera - so next month I'll take some pics while at the market, as there's some great stalls of local food, crafts etc - although its hard to capture that lazy 'browsing round the market on a sunny weekend morning' kind of atmosphere!

Monday, 10 September 2007

'Bellbirds' by Henry Kendall

This poem was first published in a work entitled "Leaves from Australian Forests" by Henry Kendall in the year of 1869.

By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,
And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling:
It lives in the mountain where moss and the sedges
Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges.
Through breaks of the cedar and sycamore bowers
Struggles the light that is love to the flowers;
And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing,
The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing.

The silver-voiced bell birds, the darlings of daytime!
They sing in September their songs of the May-time;
When shadows wax strong, and the thunder bolts hurtle,
They hide with their fear in the leaves of the myrtle;
When rain and the sunbeams shine mingled together,
They start up like fairies that follow fair weather;
And straightway the hues of their feathers unfolden
Are the green and the purple, the blue and the golden.

October, the maiden of bright yellow tresses,
Loiters for love in these cool wildernesses;
Loiters, knee-deep, in the grasses, to listen,
Where dripping rocks gleam and the leafy pools glisten:
Then is the time when the water-moons splendid
Break with their gold, and are scattered or blended
Over the creeks, till the woodlands have warning
Of songs of the bell-bird and wings of the Morning.

Welcome as waters unkissed by the summers
Are the voices of bell-birds to the thirsty far-comers.
When fiery December sets foot in the forest,
And the need of the wayfarer presses the sorest,
Pent in the ridges for ever and ever
The bell-birds direct him to spring and to river,
With ring and with ripple, like runnels who torrents
Are toned by the pebbles and the leaves in the currents.

Often I sit, looking back to a childhood,
Mixt with the sights and the sounds of the wildwood,
Longing for power and the sweetness to fashion,
Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of Passion; -
Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters
Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest-rafters;
So I might keep in the city and alleys
The beauty and strength of the deep mountain valleys:
Charming to slumber the pain of my losses
With glimpses of creeks and a vision of mosses.

(The bellbird itself is a very small greyish bird. Its call or melody is simply one singular chiming note which seems to ring through their environmental habitat - the mountains and their foothills of Eastern Australia. They may be heard clearly in the quietness of the mountains and hills, although are rarely seen).

Spring Garden

The turtle.

Our new front door has made a huge difference to the entrance.

The Elderberry bush is really taking off. Just got to learn how to make the wine like my Auntie Barbara used to...

Ahh, the nerve center. Compost bin and worm farm.

First daffodil in the garden - one of my favourite flowers.

Cute birdhouse made from a coconut shell.

Making Birthday's Special!

You can't go wrong with a beautiful table setting.
..and a lovely candelit dinner. Roast lamb with mint aioli, hasselback potatoes and steamed spring vegetables in a lemon butter sauce on this occasion. Kids enjoy designing and making the menu and may even volunteer to be the waiter/waitress for the evening! (bribery works well).

Desert was carrot cake with raspberry ripple ice cream

Simple glass candlesticks that I've added wire and beads too, joined into a 'candelabra' with a glass bead necklace. The tablecloth and placemats/serviettes are fabric offcuts that I've hemmed around.

Home-made Chocolate truffles in a christmas sleigh (one of my many 'garage sale' finds)!

One of lifes greatest pleasures has to be picking fresh flowers from the garden, that you've grown yourself from seed. Dan made the pot a long time ago when I was doing some pottery with them.