Sunday, April 01, 2018

April Fool's Day

I'm not a fan of pranks. In my opinion in general they tend to be cruel and hurtful and I really have no wish to watch someone being embarrassed. With the exception of someone who has behaved badly being caught out and possibly jolted into empathy I don't find another's humiliation in the least funny and the same applies to those so-called funny home videos shows which keep turning up and almost always involve physical injury.

But sometimes a prank is clever and hurts no-one and this video shows one of the best of those. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Early Morning Visitors

I planted some sunflowers in the garden outside the family room this summer. I had a number of reasons

1) I love the glorious blooms - that bit didn't work out because they decided to face north east instead of towards the house.

2) They're tall enough to screen the hideous building behind us at least temporarily - it's a house that cost a fortune, blocked out our views across the valley and resembles nothing so much as a very ugly factory unit (and it's not just us who think that. We've had numerous similar comments from visitors. The neighbours on either side of it had a right to be consulted and have things modified but because we're behind them we didn't).

3) I knew from past experience the seed heads would bring birds - and they have.

I've been trying to get a picture for a week or so but they're very shy and whenever I went outside, even if I was a considerable distance from them, they took off in a panic. So today I decided to try for a video through the window and it worked. 

I was hoping for twenty eight parrots - they are actually western Australian ringnecks but are more commonly known as twenty eights for their distinctive 'twenty eight' call - or some of the pink and grey galahs who live in the adjoining park might call in but I got these instead. They're little corollas which are actually feral in the Perth region. They used to be found only in the north west of the state but over the past 10-15 years with a combination of aviary escapes which have bred in the wild and a changing climate they have become established here. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Food Garden!

My brother calls me a forage and gather gardener. This is something I have in common with his wife, V. Both of us like to feed our families as far as possible from our gardens and most of the time we each provide the bulk of the vegetables and a lot of the fruit for our households - and there's usually some surplus for the neighbours. While the vegetables we grow are very similar some of the fruit we grow is not. V. grows a lot of tree fruits like citrus and stone fruit - and mulberries. Oh those mulberries. They are glorious eating. She also grows grapes and a few sub tropical species. My focus is more on melons and berries like strawberries and blueberries but I also have grapes. Since I like a challenge I've got a few exotics too - well, they're exotic where I live - like pineapples, goji berries, plantains and elderberries.

This year thanks to my illness and my foot fracture my poor garden has suffered because I haven't been able to go out and do any of the many things that need to be done to keep a garden productive.. Pisces has tried but he is not a gardener so pretty much anything beyond putting on the sprinklers on our scheduled watering days has just not happened.

Fortunately I had planted a few things in the food garden before disaster struck and, although they have not been fertilised, some at least are doing well. I discovered this because The Boot (which was in place for nine and a half weeks) and I have finally separated and I can actually look at what's happening out there. The herbs (the various basils, parsley, Italian parsley and chives I put in the garden before Christmas plus the perennials like the mints, oreganos and thymes in pots on the veranda) are all flourishing. Much to my surprise when I got to the pumpkin and rockmelon beds I counted twenty two pumpkins and six large rockmelons and I found some snake and borlotti beans. The rainbow chard, spring onions and capsicums are looking very healthy, too. We even have a few surviving beetroot. As well there are ripe blueberries, a few strawberries and some goji berries and there will be quite a few elderberries in a few weeks.

It's so much better than I expected and while it's not the harvest I usually have it's something - and even being able to go out and pick some herbs cheers me up. Fresh is always good as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


On my Facebook newsfeed I came across one of those sites where you ask for help with whatever - mostly what is or isn't appropriate behaviour. (It was a suggestion of something I might be interested in from Facebook, one I'm never going to be looking at I might add). All I read was the headline and after the steam of rage stopped fogging up my glasses I deleted it.

What caused me so much fury? You may well ask. The person concerned was asking if she was too old to wear jeans at - wait for it - 53. Fifty three! You're still middle aged at fifty three. You could conceivably have children who are nine or ten years old and who might want - expect - to have a mother who is still able to live an active life style so why wouldn't you wear jeans - the practical all purpose garment that's fashionable as well as functional.

For that matter who has the right to tell you what clothes you should or shouldn't wear based on age. I don't know about you but I dress according to what I think is flattering to me and is comfortable. I passed fifty three a while back and guess what in winter I wear jeans - jeans that are slim enough to tuck into my boots, jeans that are figure fitting, jeans that are dressy enough to go out for lunch, jeans that are comfortable and flattering and jeans that are ideal for housework and gardening. Will I be wearing jeans when I'm ninety - and given my family on both sides is long lived there's a definite possibility that I will reach that age? Absolutely. As long as I think they are flattering - and I can do up the buttons and zips - why wouldn't I?

I'll let you into a secret. I even wear shorts in summer. I wear them to the beach and I live in them around the house. They're not brief anymore (not that I ever wore daisy dukes which I don't think suit many people). These days I tend to wear longer ones but they're still above the knee and I don't care what the fashion police think. They suit my life style and as long as they are flattering - and, if I doubted my own judgement (which I don't) I've had enough compliments to know they do - I'll keep wearing them just as I'll keep wearing singlet tops around the house because my comfort is at least as important as anything else. Yes, there are a few flabby bits appearing but that's life and I see no reason to pretend they're not happening.

Do I ever wear anything else? Of course. I have a wardrobe full of clothes to fit every occasion - and they are all chosen to enhance my better bits and hide that which needs hiding (of which there is an increasing amount these days), Like everyone else I like to look my best but I get to choose what's me looking my best, not some arbiter of behaviour or age. I remember fondly my old next door neighbour who passed away at 96 and whose choice for casual wear was shorts in summer and jeans in winter all her life. For more formal times she could and did dress very elegantly but otherwise in her jeans or shorts she looked old but fine. (She also wore a bikini until she died and while that may not have been the wisest fashion choice she made - I confess that it wasn't flattering - I defend her right to make that choice and if she was happy about it then why shouldn't she.)

I don't know about you but I intend to continue to make my fashion choices based on what I think suits me and have no intention of letting age define me.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Bonus Goodies

These are lots of baby rockmelons I've just discovered in the veggie patch. I grew these plants from seed generously donated by the 'volunteer' rockmelon that suddenly appeared among the spring onions last summer. It flourished and produced two fruit - and very tasty they were, too. I saved the seeds, not at all sure they'd be fertile, but they were. Fortunately I had transplanted them and put up a trellis for them to climb on before I broke the bone in my foot which has left me booted and unable to do more than hobble for the last five weeks.

During that time they've been flowering prolifically but until today I hadn't realised that they had fruit forming because the injury has meant I really can't do much in the garden. This is frustrating in the extreme with doing a little hand watering about my limit since I'm not allowed to get the boot either wet or dirty. Pisces has kept up with the watering as best he can but he's not a gardener so the mulch and sheep manure I'd bought just before disaster struck is still sitting in its respective piles and asking him to check what's happening to plants is pretty much pointless. There's no doubt the garden is suffering but there's little I can do about that other than to go out and pick whatever is ripe and within reach of the path and try not to look at the things that are dying. Even that probably doesn't qualify as keeping off my foot as much as possible but hey, it's bad enough not to be able to work in the garden. I need some connection.

Anyhow if I hadn't been doing that I wouldn't have discovered the baby melons, would I? They currently range in size from one as big as a tennis ball to others no bigger than my thumb nail - and there are a lot of them, far more than I anticipated. The thing is because I hadn't realised that they were there I hadn't put any fruit fly baits around - or rather I hadn't got Pisces to put them around. Last year we weren't troubled by the dreaded Mediterranean fruit fly but this year we've already found them in some of the tomatoes. While that's no longer a problem since the tomatoes have all died - no idea why because I can't get out into the garden - melons definitely can get infested, too, so we now have baits 'decorating' the garden. Fingers crossed I'm not too late.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Good News, Bad News and Some Links Just for Fun

It's no secret that the past eighteen months or so have been a bit of a disaster as far as health is concerned for both me and Pisces, culminating for me in a fracture in my foot a few days before Christmas. I'm sure you don't want to hear about all our trials and tribulations so let me give the good news. This is that, one month in, my foot fracture is starting to heal. The bad news is that it's turning out to be a very slow process and it looks like I'll be stuck in the boot for at least another four weeks. It's a pest and not least because I have limited clothes I can wear that won't catch on the velcro that holds it tightly in position. (I usually wear shorts at home in summer so that's okay but for going out I literally have only one dress I can wear over the boot and jeans or long pants are impossible.)

But I'm not complaining too much, although the boot is heavy and hot and not something you want on during an Australian summer (it reached 35 °C here yesterday and today we expect more of the same), because it does have much in its favour over the old fashioned plaster cast. They were much heavier and didn't allow any air circulation. If any of you have experienced 6-8 weeks in a plaster cast you'll remember the smell once the cast came off and much worse the itch that gradually built up until you'd try anything for relief - even the knitting needle that they told you specifically not to use because of the danger of damaging the skin and causing an infection.

It's frustrating, though, and so I went looking for light relief and found this link to cats riding automatic vacuum cleaners.

Then there were these goats having fun.

And, just because it amused me, here are some wild foxes playing on a trampoline.

I  hope you enjoy them, too.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


So much for making plans. Since Christmas I have been ill and what I need while I wait on doctors is something light and entertaining. So here for your entertainment - and mine - are some links.

A spectacular display by the Swiss band, Top Secret Drum Corps, performing at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The brolga is an Australian crane and they perform a graceful mating dance. See. It's celebrated enough to be incorporated into an Australian Christmas carol, the Carol of the Birds by William Garnet James and John Wheeler. This was one of the songs we all learned as kids at school.

I'm not sure that this would appeal to me but then I'm not a female koala.