Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)


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SEEING RED

But first…I stood on tippy-toes and held a mirror up to the nest and could not see anything! This may just mean that a) I am too short or b) the little ‘uns have fledged.

I did some very complicated calculations and, yes, they may have left the nest.The birds’calculations may well have been more accurate than mine! 

The Man has just come home and, having 8″ on me (No,Muriel!NO!), I got him to do the thing with the mirror.No sign or sound of little birdies so I’m calling them fledged and learning about the world.

Now, on to today’s post title. In my efforts to understand what was happening/not happening with the camera(s) software, I went prowling around snapping dorky pictures and loading them on The Man’s computer. Nothing very flash, but here we go…

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Garden clogs.

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Some of our garbage bins are quite posh!

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Pentas.

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Hibiscus

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Palm seeds.Macarthur palm, maybe.

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Justicia

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Generally just called a “ginger” it seems to be listed in nurseries as Costus comosus.(Spider web is extra)

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Fallen flowers of Brachichyton acerifolia

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Shade sails on a neighbour’s house.


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IN WHICH WINE MAY FEATURE

Well, why not? After all, those vintners have been slaving away in the burning sun, torrential rain, even frost ! It would be churlish not to offer them support.

I found this floating around the interweb, ages ago.If I ever knew who dreamed it up I’ve forgotten, but it’s clever.

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So…things have been a bit quiet on the blog front. I’ve been doing other things.Like sitting on the steps, camera ready, as the sunbirds construct their beautiful nest. They have not nested at our house for a few years, but they’re back now and we’re delighted. The cats have taken up bird-watching. Hopefully, that’s as far as they will take it.

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Mr and Mrs Sunbird begin work on the new house.

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Mrs. S flying away for more material-bits of spider web, feathers, grass, leaves…

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As of today, the little porch overhang seems to be finished and they’re working on lining.

Yes, I have lost some time to watching them! But I must get on with some work of my own…

I’ve bought a press! Quite compact. In fact, I have bigger hand bags! But it will be ideal for my restricted work-space.IMG_2587.JPG

It is a machine designed for die-cutting;probably geared towards people who like to make their own greeting cards. But a couple of professional printmakers trialled it as a printing press, liked its performance and posted their results on-line. Blimey! They should get commission – I think the local stores have sold out and I know printmakers overseas have been buying the Xpress.

So why do I not have any samples to show? Too busy watching birds and spiders! Also need to clean old plates and cut new ones and mix new shellac. But I will share my results.

Did I say “spiders”? Yes, I did. Having “lost” 3 to bird dinners, I was chuffed to find another good-sized Nephila pilipes . And a young (quite small) one had the temerity to make a web from the front of the Mustang to the house supports! The Man needed to move the car so I had to move the spider. I carried her across to a part of the garden where others have had webs and at last sight she was in the big cycad.

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I’ll leave you with one more picture from the garden…IMG_2625.JPG

A small chrysalis. Nope, don’t know whose.If it goes to term I’ll let you know.(I’ll also manually remove that  white mess. Damned scale!)

 

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Not Christian? Never mind, I still wish you health, happiness and a much, much better year than this has been.Wherever you are, whatever you believe, may it not lead to bloodshed.

 


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WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING?

Mr Mago asked me the other day what my favourite wine is. Oh dear…how to answer such a loaded question? Without sampling  enough to get similarly loaded!

I’ve imbibed many a lovely drop of the trampled grape over the years.Many excellent vintages.And some which might have been trodden by Ol’ Gaffer Jarge  still a-wearin’ eez garmboods.

When I lived in London, I was friendly with a very,very knowledgeable wine merchant. Yes, I can hear you all thinking the obvious! But at that time I wasn’t much of a wine drinker.The ubiquitous Blue Nun for “white” occasions and Mateus Rose on girls’ nights out. Back then, I rarely drank red. And never anything sweeter than a Riesling. Today I go more for the drier wines.

And in Tuscany I was known to enjoy a drop of Cinque Terra. And a local trattoria had a jolly nice red.No idea what or from where, but it was a good fit for their pasta.

But over the years I’ve come around to two preferred wines. Gone  the days (nights!) of the Portuguese rose and raffia-bound Chianti. Down in the Barossa Valley, in South Australia, they make a wonderful rich Shiraz with that classic Shiraz peppery “kick.” Pepperjack is my favoured red these days.

Also from that State (by th’eck! They grow some goodies down there!) is what has become my daily drop. A sparkling brut cuvee which can ride up there alongside Prosecco. Perhaps more importantly, it is  comfortably within my budget!

And for a laugh, because I like a little levity, I picked up some wines whose label caught my eye. Turns out to be pretty good drinking, too! South Africa has some eminently drinkable wines, too;  when I was in New York and my friend had left a bottle for me to enjoy I did exactly that! I can’t speak for their cheeses but the wine is a delight.

I will say I do try to buy local whenever possible. So when I cross The Ditch to visit family and friends Oyster Bay  or Matua or any of the other NZ wineries have my $$.

Bored yet? Think this snobbish wine-listing  is a waste of good drinking time?  Fine!

I’ll leave you with some garden pics. I have a bottle to open…

The last of a really good display of Syzygium wilsonii

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A reliable bloomer, this orchid! Phalaenopsis

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And a Heliconia, known as Crab Claw. I wonder why?

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CORRECTION AND AN UPDATE

In my recent post, here  I said I had a purple Spathyphyllum. Had that been the case I probably could have expected botanists to traipse up the path to see this amazing new plant.

It is, of course, an Anthurium. Talk about brain fade. And I’d somehow managed to post it upsidebloodydown.

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There, that’s better!

The update saddens me. The Dysphania pupa will not be morphing into its moth persona. About half an hour ago I went to check, as I do every day. The leaves were crawling with green ants! I don’t know what happened (this is the first time I’ve noticed ants on the folded-over leaves), but it appears to have been pierced by something. I’m sad.IMG_0387.JPG

But perhaps another Four O’Clock Moth will choose to breed on my tree. It’s why I planted it, after all…

Any readers from my home country will be familiar with manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) so you might recognise this cultivar.Its label says it’s  “Pink Cascade.” Still manuka to me!IMG_0393.JPG

 

 


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A TOUCH OF TROPICAL SPRING

Which, to some readers may seem a little odd.

Actually, it feels a little odd to me as we have had cool, showery days, which is not our usual weather for the season.

No complaints, though! The herbs have kept on keeping on, David Austin’s “Abraham Darby” has rewarded me with over 12 blooms, the best so far.IMG_2509.JPG

Over the past few weeks I’ve been  tidying and training   trying to train a runaway Trachelospermum jasminoides  to grow up to the verandah wires, instead of flinging itself into the clutches of the gingers and taking an orchid with it. Eventually, I saw sense and gave up trying to untwist its wiry stems.Out with the secateurs and damn the consequences! Two nights of rain and some warm sunshine and it was off, like a race horse on oats. And one flower already! (Though this picture is a wee bit of a cheat as it’s on a plant up by the back fence.) Everybody, clap your hands and shout “Hoorah!” for this little sweetheart.Why? The  nasty basta   neighbour over the fence doesn’t like it on the fence.In fact, he doesn’t seem to like anything in my garden! IMG_0376.JPG

I think I may have mentioned that the  &*&%#@***ing Eupanacra caterpillars had chomped ALL the leaves off ALL my Spathyphyllums? I have, over the years, mastered the “Gallic Shrug” as, I think , do all good gardeners. We suffer some predation and enjoy the resulting butterflies.Still, it’s  disappointing when one loses an entire flowering season! But, ta-daa! The rains and not-so-cold temperatures helped and  now I have blooms on 3 white  and one purple.IMG_2511.JPG

Pigeon peas. Being leguminous they are wonderful for fixing nitrogen. And their flowers are lovely, too. Beautiful dark shiny red buds…

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…opening to a rich, golden yellow..

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Petunias are a fantastic filler in blank spots. So many gardeners regard them (and other bedders) as too “municipal-type” plants.I can understand that, but I can also see beyond the the regimented colour bands. When I see broad swathes of red, white and purple petunias I feel as if I’ll be shot if I don’t sing  someone’s national anthem! Feel free to wander around my garden, with all sorts of bits and pieces. You don’t have to salute here. IMG_2487.JPGIMG_2492.JPG

Oops! Did I say “tropical” and then post petunias? My bad…Okay, here’s  something that is a tropical plant. A dwarf Heliconia. Sorry, if it had a varietal name, the label’s long gone.But I think it’s Jamaican Dwarf. The bright blue seeds are what draw my eye.IMG_2524.jpg

A few months ago, a friend dug up some Canna roots for me. I’ve long admired the brilliant red cannas in her garden. Well, the other day, the first flower bud opened. And there will be more!   IMG_2508.JPGThank you, Ali.

Other than grubbing out weeds that do not provide much in the way of sustenance for beneficial bugs, I have been busy elsewhere. But I’ll pop in again with, I hope, something entertaining.

What sort of elsewhere busy-ness, you ask? Well, still hammering the writer’s keys , but also reading. I seem to be on a fantasy kick…ask Uncle Google about David Mitchell.

Now…my glass is neither half full nor half empty.I shall rectify that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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ARMED AND DANGEROUS?

Well, ready to do battle with a couple of onions and some parsley…

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We’ve had this magnetic knife holder for a couple of years and today The Man installed it.Why did this take so long? Mostly we were not certain where any live wires might be! And that short bladed chap on the left? Used to be longer until She Who Shall Not Be Named used it on a coconut…

Not a lot to write about , but I thought I might show some recent pictures.

The passion fruit vine which was slugging it out with the wisteria and Petrea volubilis is producing fruit.In fact, we’ve eaten several already and might have had more were it not for some late night thievery.I suspect possums.empty shell.JPG

Several empty “shells” litter the garden…  

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Two of the jasmines are doing well after the unseasonal rain.

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Jasminum officinale (above) and J. sambac (below)

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The Man called me outside this morning to see this…IMG_0206.JPG

And here’s a finger (mine) for size comparisonIMG_2480.JPG

When I find out what it is I’ll let you know.Meanwhile, if any of you can ID it, fire away! 

Mr Google tells me it’s the larva of the Four O’Clock or Peacock moth  we found a few weeks ago! Dysphania numana for those who need to know.

 

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Callistemon. I think its label called it “Green Ice”

 

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I’ll leave you with this Dendrobium orchid. Mr/Mrs Caterpillar has munched through its leaf and now it’s our turn to eat…

 

 


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IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PLANE? NO – IT’S A BLOGGER!

A very lazy,uncaring blogger. But I have had one or two other spanners in the works. Hopefully, said spanners now removed and flywheels operating normally.

Around the traps (the blogging world, that is) there has been some discussion of similar laziness.Why do so many of us seem so disenchanted with what, after all, has been our chosen means of expression and intercourse with other writers? Some of us write for a living  (hah! in my case, a few miserable coins.Occasionally.), some of us write as an adjunct to other work, some of us just enjoy the company we find on the platform. But for whatever reason(s) we have not felt the old urge. No, Muriel, not that urge! Muri-  Nurse! 

The long, cold winter? The debilitating heat of summer? No, I think it’s a relentless overburden of what we’ve been told is “news.” It streams at us, endlessly.Repeatedly.And it’s not always nice. In fact, it’s almost always bloody horrible.

The lovely Miss Scarlet has had a similar malaise, but she’s pulled up her brastra    bootstraps and is posting again http://wonky-words.com/2015/04/28/drive-sexy/

The Banished One never really left us. He sometimes says he has nothing to say.He lies. Even when he’s economical with words, he has pictures. Today, he reviews a New York play.

And the lovely Jane is hosting another round-the-blogs flower show. She’d also noted that many had slipped off the carousel of blogging.

There are many others. And many reasons for slipping quietly away (no, Muriel, not you.)

But I’ll try to pop in here , maybe with something worth reading.Maybe not. But I’ll start with some flowers.

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A proper, professional bouquet! My Main Man had a spell in hospital and his office staff sent him these gorgeous beauties. The gerberas’ heads were collared and stems wired.Very impressed, I was! And, with a little trimming of stems and fresh water they survived very well.

Sadly, there is little  that is pickable in the garden Chez Dinahmow, this being the edge of what we call winter. But two of the plumeria and several Hibiscus mutabilis have put on a good show.That old stand-by, Dietes always stumps up.

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Plumeria (aka frangipani)

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Dietes.Grows with all the vigor of a weed.

Michelia figo

Michaelia figo, “port wine magnolia” outside the back gate. It has set seeds this year!

We walked down to the beach the other day.First time we’ve been there since the wretched crocs and jellyfish closed it a few months ago. I had the little camera in my pocket…

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Looking south east through the curtain of Casuarina. Those clouds? The remnants of the storms that battered the Brisbane area.

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Looking north, across Sunset Bay to Bucasia Beach.

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And I’ll close with a Calliandra, also from the beach walk. I think they’re garden escapees, growing beneath coconut palms at the edge of the mangroves.