Sunday, September 30, 2007

Zara's Teddy

Fresh out of the washing machine - no eye no nose, just lots of doggy slobber, the occasional errant trip outside, many flights through the air for pickups, and numerous times in Mum's lap for a cuddle.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sometimes It's Truly 'Hell on the Hill'!

The last two days have been a nightmare weather wise, with gale force winds and rain battering our small slice of paradise. Springtime in Victoria is renowned for violent changes, sometimes our fresh garden shoots and early blossoms are often reduced to crumpled left overs in a few wild days.

I woke early yesterday morning and went out to check the sheep, and one of our girls was down on her side, head lifted up and peering desperately at me. She had a lamb almost out on the ground. I rushed down and pulled it out, and checked it for life, but apart from the feet which had been inside its mum, it was cold and lifeless.
She had been a bit on the tubby side, had quite a bit of wet wool to weigh her down, and had laid in the wrong place to lamb.

I called for my man, who lifted her back on her feet, and she rushed off in relief.

The weather was pretty cold, with minus one during the night, so all factors added up to go against the poor little lambie. Mum just couldn't get up to clean and feed it.
We left the baby there for an hour or two, and she stood about twenty feet away and just looked ..... a sad and lonely little lady. My heart really went out to her.

It was pretty distressing, considering it seemed a healthy lamb, and has since caused me to stumble around in the dark late at night and early morning to check on the other three ewes who are expecting. Last night I fell over in the mud again and landed on the broken wrist. I felt a slight crack, and thought I had re-broken it. But it seems OK, thank heavens!

We wondered whether we might source an orphaned lamb from a local farmer, and I read up on the net about skinning the dead lamb with the amniotic fluid intact, and tying it around the orphan. This apparently works at least 50% of the time, but the thought of bottle feeding a rejected baby with a broken arm put me off big time, so we buried little bubby. Poor bereft mum is off with the flock again getting on with her life, so we will too.

The other lamb is doing well and we put a ring on his tail yesterday, which was a steep learning curve, but we couldn't find his testicles to ring those! They just wouldn't drop down for we amateurs. Our sheep farmer friend is coming over soon, so that will have to wait until then.

On a happier note, we went to see our friends' cavoodle puppies on Saturday. They are now 5 and a half weeks old and cute as...............

All have now been sold and will go to their new owners at 8 weeks. Glynnis will miss them now they are all cuddly little people, but she is running out of newspaper!

" God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled. "
... Author Unknown

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Zara's Dolly

"Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap."
... Barbara Jordan

Today's drawing is one of Zara's favourite toy. We call it her 'dolly' to differentiate between that and her 'teddy'. She does know the difference between the two words. Both are stuffed poodle toys, and she has had them for most of her life with us.

This one was given to me by my friend Janis when we got Zara, and she would probably be quite surprised how this little toy has lasted puppyhood and many cleansing trips through the washing machine. She is very soft mouthed and gentle with her toys, and this one has survived with only its nose chewed off. I got to it with black thread and closed up the hole, thinking I might form a new nose, but now the poor thing has only a lop sided grimace left. She doesn't care and carries it around proudly to drop it in my lap so I can have a pretend wrestle with her. She loves it when I make little squeaking noises and pretend it's hiding down behind my chair, only to pop up and delight her.

She is happiest when she has a toy in her mouth so she can start a conversation with me about it. My sock in the morning is a good substitute if no toy is nearby. I have to grab at it as she goes outside to the loo, or my socks and her toys would be spread all over the yard.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our Wild Child

This is today's drawing of our crazy teenager, Zara's collar. Her breeder likens her to a 'wild child', which sounds wonderfully romantic, but to me she's my 'little nutter'.

She is the dearest, funniest, most affectionate creature I have ever had. She's the first on my lap when I sit down for the evening, even though bits of her hang off everywhere now she's so big. She is full of love and kisses for everyone. She worships the 'Princess' Lily, after copping many beatings when she was a pup. Together they run like the wind around the house yard, going neck and neck like racehorses, stopping to tumble at each other on the lawn like puppies.

When we return home after an outing, the front gates get closed, then I let them out; Connor and Lil from the first run, then Zara from the one behind. Lil, in her joy to be out, always waits for Zara to be released, then chases her mercilessly around the yard, grabbing at her legs and bowling her over. Zara has learned to tiptoe out near me, peering round the corners, expecting to be steam rollered at any minute. If I can, I hold her collar, and lead her out safely, holding on until Lil's ruthless exuberance subsides and peace returns.

Zara is now 18 months old, and we share her with her breeder, Katherine Whitely from Aglaia Poodles at Cannons Creek. I met Kathy 11 years ago when she gave me Connor, my first standard, when she retired him from show at two and a half as an Australian Champion.

Zara's father is the highly decorated Viola Canadian Club.
'Richmond' now has 108 Best Exhibits in Show, and the highest collection of wins for an Australian Bred Show Dog.

Her mother is the beautiful Australian Champion Aglaia World's a Stage

Her brother Aglaia Leaps and Bounds (Gilchrist) has recently become Australian Champion, and is growing into a beautiful dog. I decided not to show Zara because our lifestyle doesn't support keeping a standard poodle in show condition, especially a lively gal like our Zara. She'd be mooning behind the bars of her run, while the other two ran free.

When she is three year's old, we will put her in pup, which we are really looking forward to.

All that aside, she is a glorious ray of sunshine, guaranteed to brighten even the darkest day.

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
~Ben Williams

**** As a postscript to this, I have just had a phone call tonight to tell me Gilchrist has gained Reserve Challenge at the Royal Melbourne Show 2007, next to his father, Richmond. Huge excitement!

Monday, September 24, 2007

One Armed Difficulties

Today, I have tried to push my capabilities and get some extra housework done. I figure there are many people out there who are permanently in this predicament, and have to get by.

So I filled the bucket with hot water and got the mop and had a go at washing the floor. I did it finally, but spilled half a bucket onto the floor, which took ages to suck up again. Next I took some plates out to the kitchen and dropped a favourite bowl, which shattered into shards all over the floor. How to pick that up? As you need a hand for the spade and one for the brush, I needed to get really creative.

So many small complications, which take up a large part of my day and energy.

So I stumbled out to the studio and had a go at my promised pen and wash of our new lamb, but, messed that up as well. I will have another go tomorrow.

Things will get better...........

"Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down. "
... Mary Pickford

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Harley Damage

Well, I have processed the photos of my damaged motorbike and sent them off to the assessor. It's amazing how the thousands of dollars can mount up by scratch and dent, especially on a Harley. As my mechanic/repairer says, 'All these marks weren't there when you got on it that morning, and they have to restore your bike to that condition."

True enough.

Apart from numerous abrasions from the asphalt, the front forks have a gentle bend in them, and both of the triple clamps that fix the front end to the bike are both broken. The front tyre is popped and the wheel is bent .... my beautiful bike! Not to mention my wrist.

It's 15 days today, and I have just stopped the pain killers today quite successfully, so it's knitting quite nicely. But the frustration level is high, as there are so many projects I had on the go. Now it's all stopped.................

Tomorrow I am going to photograph my new baby lamb and do a pen and wash of him.

"Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly. "
... Author Unknown

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lambing Time

Well, our first lamb was born yesterday afternoon, and we are pretty chuffed. We went visiting the in laws a few kms away, and came back to a tiny baby just getting up off the ground. Very cute.

In our chatting about neighbours losing lambs to foxes just recently, I went into a spin, worrying about our new baby surviving the night. I rang a retired sheep farmer friend who suggested we bring them into our house yard, which seemed a bit complicated, but we herded them slowly up to the driveway that stopped just outside our house, thinking they might be safe there.

That didn't suit, as the cold wind was picking up and mum camped the baby out on the exposed gravel rather than the straw baled shelter we built. I also spotted one of the other ewes head butt it to the ground, which was too much! So, I got an old play pen out of the shed and put it around my newly shooting roses, put the poodles out for the night in their kennels (shock, horror!), and encouraged mum and babe into the yard. Poor girl, she knew that was where the dogs lived, and she was very reluctant, so we finally had to pick up bubs and force her to follow.

I spent a sleepless night worrying about her stress levels, and the mounting icy wind, but got up this morning to find baby alive and well and having a feed with mum. So we opened the front gate and she slowly led her tiny babe down to the paddock and the morning sun.

All is well, but we have four more ewes to lamb yet, so the playpen can stay there until it's all over.

"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."
... Carl Sandburg

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Old Johnny Rebs

I am determined to get back to work again, so am setting myself a drawing task each day to try and get back into some kind of creative routine. This drawing didn't come easily, but maybe tomorrow will be better.............

These boots have gone everywhere with on my biker adventures, and are battered and stretched and molded to the shape of my feet.

They took many months of breaking in, ruthlessly tearing off skin from my heels; wearing off protective bandaids to bite chunks out until I bled and hobbled. They cost me so much, I was determined to get them to fit, so fat socks, freezer bags and bandages finally tamed them and they became part of me.

In the rain, the water has run down my legs to pool them with water, sloshing between my toes as I braked and changed gears. On long trips where the soggy weather continued to saturate and freeze my feet, I learned to put shopping bags over my socks and tie the handles around my ankles in an effort to keep the water out. It worked, but didn't look as 'cool' as Harley riders should. Of course, longer boots would have done better, leaving no gap below my wet weather gear, but I never got the courage up to go through that pain again.

Around two years ago, the side elastic began to loosen, leaving the top a bit floppy, so I got very creative and hand stitched a tighter elastic band around the inside edge, which worked quite well.

I am sure they have protected me in the few tangles I have had in my biker history. I also remember the sides of the soles scraping the ground when I rode pillion on my man's old Harley Heritage, which always gave me a fright.

But then, Heritages scrape on everything that require a slight lean.

Well, my dear old Johnny Rebs, we'll see whether the broken body comes back together enough for me to need you again. Time will tell.

"Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. "

Coming Back Together Again

The 'Crazy Teenager' on a drier day.

The day began early with a miserable ache in the broken bits and drizzly rain outside. It was only just light when I let the 'crazy teenager' Zara and Lily out for their morning walk. Lil came back in almost straight away, but Zara disappeared.

Next Door Neighbours

The cattle were in the adjoining paddock next door, and she had been keen to get to know them the night before, so I knew that's where she would be. I stumbled up behind the hedge and she was 'spronging' up and down the fence, with them all standing in a dopey line looking at her. I was getting wet, and a bit desperate when she finished her socialising and took off towards the house. Relieved, I trailed off down the bank after her, and slipped on the mud and wet grass .... down on my bum, crash onto my fragile elbow, and, thankfully, broken wrist in the air.

I cried out with utter dismay, wondering whether I had re-broken something, but all seemed well. With wet muddy bottom on my clean pyjamas, and nerves jangling, I stumbled back to the house, making small sniffly, miserable, sorry-for-myself sort of noises.

My man slept on, oblivious of my distress, so I got myself a morning cuppa, and made an effort to calm down.

The crazy teenager? She spent the rest of her morning either on the chain, or in the doggie run with her bone.

The rest of the day was spent going up to have an x-ray, and to see the surgeon. He unwrapped it and viewed the nicely healed incision with extreme pride, saying it was knitting together nicely. All was cleaned up and wrapped again in the old plaster, not to be opened for another 4 weeks. On the trip back home, I muttered about how the shape of it had changed and was rubbing everywhere, but now, after a few hours, it has settled back into place again.

Tomorrow will be a photographic afternoon, with the Harley repairer needing high quality photos to send to the assessor, so I'll post some broken Harley pics tomorrow night. We can all mourn together....................

"I can't complain, but sometimes I still do."
... Joe Walsh

Monday, September 17, 2007

Still There Pumpin' Air

It's been a difficult nine days. Dealing with constant pain has been a battle, and though I have only tried to top up on meds when it became too much, that wasn't working for me. I've got to get into a regular routine of pill-popping, and bugger the lining of my stomach.

As the pain began to recede from my smashed wrist, I noticed a deep ache in my elbow, which was swollen, and black and blue. Fearing the worst, and more broken bones, I tracked my poor tired man back to Casualty early yesterday morning for more x-rays. These came up clear for fractures, but the doctor said there was probably some nerve damage.

I'm off to the surgeon on Thursday for X-rays and a check-up. At least I will know better the full extent of the damage.

We have been through a whole gamut of emotions this past week. I've snarled and snapped at my man, and he back at me. We're over that now, which is a relief. My deep anger at the doctor who caused it all, and then walked away, has come and gone, and then returned again, leaving me quite exhausted. Anger is so destructive to the sufferer, and the perpetrator often goes unscathed.

He finally rang last night, and I took the opportunity to voice my deep disappointment at his lack of follow up. He had no choice but to cop it, and he did.

I went to see my Harley yesterday, and from first glance it didn't look too bad. But with the damage list in my hand, there are bent and broken bits all over, and the quote is over $6500.

I kinda said goodbye to it then, as I doubt my smashed wrist will ever be able to squeeze that heavy clutch in again. At least the last squeeze on the bars was enough to possibly save my life. Moving faster in that crash would have propelled me under the BMW's wheels.

Today is my first day at home alone, and it's been an uphill battle, but I've worked at making it better.

Another year of glorious Waratahs
I love my row of Arum Lilies along my studio. So moist and green...........

A few caring phone calls from family and friends, a walk around my garden to look at the blossoms, a talk to our soon-to-be-mums sheep, and a bit of a scribble in my studio. The head struggled with the scribbles, but I will persevere and see if I can get beyond that. If I can paint, the days will whip by.

Working the pooter is a real pain. Left hand for capitals, keyboard shortcuts, Photoshopping ..... It goes on and on. I have discovered I can lean my broken hand at the side with a 'better finger' resting at the 'shift' button, I can tune in and out of the Caps without too much pain. Right hand for typing, which is a bit slower. I have old photos to work on for a friend but hitting those left hand buttons would take too much maneuvering.

"Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved. "
... Marcus Antonius

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This says it all...........

Midday Sunday saw everything change for the worst

We had a very successful time operating on our beehive. The hive was remarkably tidy, considering we had left the girls to their own devices for so long. I will post some photos when I can get in and sort them out,

I didn't get stung at all, which was surprising, but my Beloved did, twice around the head, which made him a little grumpy. I guess he will step back a bit further next time.

Then we got the bikes out to go for ride to Yarragon, to see a friend's art exhibition. We did that, though I forgot my glasses and had to borrow hers to see.

Next, we parked around on the main street and had a great cup of coffee. We sat in the sun, chatting to a couple we knew about Harleys versus Triumph motorbikes. He was looking at buying a replacement Harley. They walked up with us to our parked bikes, and I remember saying to her, I had never crashed my bike in over 53,000 kms.

We said goodbye and gunned them up the highway, heading for home. We came up the off ramp to the roundabout near the West Gippsland Hospital. My man was perhaps 50 metres ahead, then.....................


This is written for the local doctor who failed to give way to my motorcycle at the hospital roundabout on 9th October.........

I vividly remember the disbelief I felt as you pulled out into my path. I recall my desperately braking to lessen the impact, seeing the side of your BMW fill my vision, the sickening crunch as my bike turned on itself and crashed heavily to the asphalt, gouging the bars down my right leg. I felt my left wrist break as the impact telescoped it into my hand.

You got out of the car, all shock and concern, trying to get me off the road so others wouldn’t run over us. We left the mess behind as we went to the nearby hospital, with me cradling my smashed hand against my chest.

You left soon afterwards as it was your son’s birthday, and I remained chewing on the gas mouth piece and crying for pain relief.

We stayed for 5 hours in casualty, where I was x-rayed, given morphine, and then sent home to attend for surgery at 10 am at Traralgon. I lay awake crying in my bed all night until the pain drove me back to the hospital for more morphine at 5am. I have never experienced such agony in my entire life.

I waited in a corridor until 6pm that evening for surgery. The surgeons told me my wrist had been pulverized into so many pieces there was nothing solid to fix a plate to. There are now just screws attached to floating shards of bone. The plate is also there to stop my hand from ‘just falling forward’.

So now I am home. My partner has taken the week off to help. My hand is useless and very painful. I think I may have torn the cartilage in my left knee again, but have no energy to find out. I cannot drive for at least six weeks, probably longer. I am too traumatized to think about painting for my planned solo exhibition in 2008, and it will be doubly hard to do it single handedly. My plans for expanding my garden will have to wait for this year. The repercussions just go on and on, as my life has been changed forever. My beautiful Harley, that has carried me safely for 52,000kms is scraped and bent. I will sell it when it is repaired as I no longer have the heart for it anymore. My partner will have to ride alone or with friends.

Your BMW was saved by my braking so hard, and was spared with only the rubber marks from my front wheel. I took the impact you deserved.

I harbored a vague hope that I might come home from hospital and find a beautiful bunch of flowers and a get well card from the casual perpetrator of this assault on my life. But no, there is only silence. You have moved on.

I have offered this above to our local newspaper in the hope it might get published..........

"We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one."
... John Updike

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sunday Morning

Looking out my window, and seeing the mist lying down below with sunlight and shadows, I went outside to take a photo of his old '59 Fergie Tractor and the view...........

This morning is a Harley ride down to breakfast in town, and then this afternoon I have promised I must get into our sure-to-be crowded beehive to do some maintenance work before they swarm.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pink Pigs and Brown Noses

The bloody bunnies have eaten all the tips off my roses, and I'm soooo disappointed. I thought it was the woolly jumbuks when they wandered unasked through the top garden, but no, they're also nibbled down below in the studio garden. After having a good sook about them, I got all the dog poo I could find, mixed it up in the pooper scooper with some hot water....... so it made a lovely smelly porridge (are you gagging yet?), then poured the whole horrid lot around the base of the roses. Let them eat THAT! At least they'll get muddy paws and 'brown noses'!

Also today, I photographed the Pink Pig letterbox, which was next door to the lovely cow boxes shown on the last post..

We went to the local Rokeby market on the most perfect of days, where my friend Glynnis had her first market there for the season. Glynnis makes the most glorious goat milk soaps which we are totally addicted to, and use all the time. (see her web site: ). She was flat out selling soap to all her faithful customers, so we wished her happy birthday and continued cruising the stalls.

We also saw an artist friend Laurie Collins, who makes the quirkiest metal animals out of scraps, and sells them all over the place. He was full of wonderful tales about a recent trip to the Chinese sister city of our Warragul. He and five other artists carted their work over for an exhibition; though his never got out of customs, which was a disappointment. But he really enjoyed the interchange, and said the Chinese were planning a reciprocal visit next year.

He sported a stylish new Chinese style waistcoat, which was made especially for his very tall body.

We have two of his funny animals at home, which we enjoy enormously.

One of Laurie's creations for sale at the market

"Humor is a reminder that no matter how high the throne one sits on, one sits on one's bottom."

Local Humour

I was offered a commission to do a painting yesterday. She asked for a large gallery wrapped canvas to be sectioned into six, and on each section, could I do something intrinsically 'countryfied'? It sounded like great fun, and we discussed old clotheslines with washing hung up, our old Pope hand mower, a campfire with a billy on it, and a wagon wheel. So, I had a bit of a root around in my photo files and found a few treasures.

I had to go do a food shop in town, then came round the long way to see if I could find some old letterboxes. I did find these......
Maybe a bit silly for my country painting, but how cute are they? The one next door was a beautiful pink pig, and for the life of me, I don't know why I didn't photograph that as well. Next time. I'll put it in when I do.

My vegetable garden is now all planted up, with every bit of space taken. A while ago, I spotted a method of gluing carrot seeds onto strips of paper, then laying them on the dirt and lightly covering them. So, on a day when I felt like wasting time (maybe not!), I cut out long strips of toilet paper, mixed up some flour glue,and dabbed a row of seeds an inch apart on each strip. Then I promptly forgot them, as I'm prone to do, and they languished unplanted up on the top of the spice shelf.

So, in a wakeful moment in the dark of the night last week, I remembered them (no, I don't dust there often enough!), and got them down today and planted them in neat rows. All I have to hope now is they take off.

"A good gardener always plants 3 seeds - one for the bugs, one for the weather and one for himself."
... Leo Aikman

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Birthday Present for Glynnis

'Fergus' ~ 8" X 10" Oil on canvas board.
I can't wait until Saturday to give this to Glynnis for her birthday. This is also one of my 'small paintings' and I did it this morning.

I guess she'll spot this on my blog, so an early Happy Birthday dear! You can have it when it's dry.

This painting is done from some photos I took of her proud 'cavoodle' daddy, Fergus', whose three babies were born a week ago.

"A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked".
... Author Unknown

Monday, September 3, 2007

Coal Creek Historical Village - more

Coal Creek is perhaps 25 kms from us at Korumburra. It has had a difficult recent history, with management disputes and lack of money being the most damaging.

It nestles into the hillside on the outskirts of town, and carries many refurbished old buildings, including 100 plus year old houses, a school, church, and shops. Most have been moved from elsewhere and rebuilt. Sadly, the lack of money is now showing in the peeling paint, and rusting machinery.

Finally, a decision has been made to clear out a lot of the more unproductive collection, and restore what is left. I'm not sure where these items will go, and it seems a shame to lose all that history, but letting it rot is just as bad.

In its heyday, there were demonstrations of farriers, spinners, wood lathers, and numerous other dying skills. The day we were there for my photography, there were still children in costume in the class rooms, and having a great time in the gardens looking the old trains, etc. There was an old geezer giving an historic talk on his days at the old coal mine. Periodically, there would be a staged gas explosion from deep in the mine, giving us all a fright.

When I heard it might close down totally, we rushed there to document how it was, hence my painting subjects, and we are relieved that now the decision has been made to re-open in 2008.

I will possibly time my solo to coincide with the re-opening, We'll see............

".... if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree. "

...........Michael Crichton, Timeline

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Today's Work

Work out in the studio today was very productive, and I have pretty much broken the back of my 5th painting for my Coal Creek Solo. I love the colours and most of the brushwork is pretty pleasing.

When I did the photo shoot for this body of work, I wanted to use the abstract shapes of the machinery, etc, and not be able to identify what each group of objects are. My male friends are happy to describe what they they think they are but I don't listen. I am essentially a realist, but wanted subjects that had a more contemporary feel. Plus, I love any kind of machinery, and walking round the historic village of Coal Creek and looking at all the 'junk' sent me weak in the knees. Beautiful!

I regard my photography as an important part of my creative process, as I suffer from PTSD, which involves a serious undermining of the concentration process. Sadly that leaves me pretty much 'PD' (photo-dependent!), but I am so lucky to be able to still operate on a professional level where three years ago I couldn't have.

Once I get into my emerging painting, nothing else matters, so what more could I ask? So, painting number 6, bring it on!

First I might do a couple of small ones, as I have some ideas............

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures."
.....Henry Ward Beecher

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Man's Shed is his 'Cave'?

A man's shed is sacrosanct. He meditates, cogitates, solves his life issues, rests from the outside world, and repairs, renovates and creates.

My man's shed is a marvel of masculinity. His tools are organised into places only he can find, and mostly have been painted with some kind of sticky oily substance to make them last longer. So completely gucky, you have to wash your hands afterwards, or wear gloves. Perhaps that is so I won't want to touch them.

My tools, that I had when I moved up to 'his place' many moons ago, have since been set aside in a box labelled 'Robyn's Tools', but I can't find them!

His tools have been collected from his teen years on, and often there are many more than one of each. There are strange, rusting pieces of metal and wood that have no apparent use, and are kept 'just in case'. There are old rabbit traps, possum cages, cross cut saws, rotting bridles and harness pieces. Any interesting signs and nick nacks from our Harley Davidson life end up nailed on the door that leads to 'the 'bikes'. Other stuff is collected to go up on the wall of our promised barby area, when it arrives.

The Hallowed Harley Portal

His idea of heaven recently lay in 'moving his jars of nails, etc, 'from one side of the shed to the other', in a major clean up, which exposed parts of floor we hadn't seen for some time. This stretch of floor is inexorably shrinking as the new projects get going.

He has been hankering after a new compressor, so he 'can blow up the tyre on his wheelbarrow', and after a year has just got one. It's a fabulous four horsepower something or other, and is not nearly as loud as the last one, which could be heard roaring from the house. I am sure that it contributed to his rapidly advancing hearing loss, along with the chainsaw, lawn mower, and footy turned up loud on a Saturday afternoon.

But this weekend, he has repaired a beehive for our girls to expand into, and painted our new pine veranda chairs in fetching stripes, so I musn't complain. Many good things emerge from that shed door, including him..............

Happy Father's Day!

If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle.
...Rita Mae Brown

Planting for Spring

It's hard to believe that Thursday was a glorious 25 degrees C, Friday was zero and diabolical, and today is clear and sunny again. They say rude things about Victoria's weather, 'where you can get three seasons in one day'. Actually, it can be pretty true.

The vegetable garden has been cleaned out and some of it planted up. It's not a big one, maybe 4 X 5 metres, but I sure try to pack heaps in together. We built it onto the side of the house, for ease of watering and nicking out at dinner time for a quick pick. Broccoli and lettuce, etc, can be 15 minutes from garden to table, or less! Just long enough to wash the dirt off.

You can sure taste the difference..............

This is our second year in this spot. I mulched it well last year to keep the weeds down, and that worked a treat, plus it kept the soil cool and moist.

Now it has rotted down, it has been turned into the soil as compost, and a new layer will be put on top once everything is planted.
If you don't produce, you're out!
I still have broccoli, silver beet, cos lettuce and rocket (seeded from last year), chives, parsley, asparagus, leeks and some slow growing brussell sprouts which are taking forever!

New additions are eggplant, cucumber, tomatoes, capsicum. There's more to plant, but now I have to get clever to fit it all in!
The Berry Run, just starting to shoot.

At the end, we have a 'berry run', with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries and black currants, all fighting for space. I have two boysenberries elsewhere which I might bring closer to the easy watering spaces nearby.

The blackbirds
love the berries, but will have to find their way through the bird nets when they start to mature.

I also put rubber snakes in to deter them from digging the soil of the plants, but found one almost almost chatting to one last year! So much for that idea.

We fenced it all with mesh to keep the crazy teenager out. She's such a busy girl, and loves to roar through the gardens. Nothing is sacred!

"If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?"
......Author Unknown