NOT SURE WHETHER I’M ON A ROLL OR A SLIPPERY SLOPE…

Only a week (ish) since I was entertaining you and here I am again!

Not a lot is happening around here as the rain is still hanging around. That’s fine by me as my herbs are doing well.

But the major overhauls have had to be put on hold until things dry out a bit.

Remember last week I said I was hopeful of masses of crimson flowers on the Megaskepasma eryth…etc? Well…

Blimey!That was quick!

Erm…no. I scrambled up the back fence and took this shot of Bob the Builder’s bush. Hey! It’s not cheating if you tell the truth.

And this morning i discovered this…

Let’s see who can guess what it is. Try not to be too rude. MURIEL!

Our internet/phone change-over is all set now.It took a while and required someone to be here to answer the ‘phone and I have still to compose a non-dorky message. I favour something like: “If your call is important, leave a message and if I think it’s important I’ll call you back.” But The Man says I can’t do that. Wanna bet?

We were enjoying an afternoon glass of wine the other day when I spotted a moth between the window and the wire screen. It was a bit tricky, but I managed to flap a tea towel and drive it down to where I could reach it and release it. There was no time to get a camera (despite having at least two fully-charged!) so I let it go.What was it? Mr or Mrs Dysphania, parent of the Yellow Fellows. Here’s one from the internet

Dysphania numana

(Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

And now it’s lunchtime !

I know the lovely Scarlet staged a Sunday Music coup last week and she can still host that (unless Mago wants it back!)

But I’d like to leave you with some “local” flavour. Just close your eyes and imagine you’re one of the first Europeans to hear this sound. Would it have given you the willies? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLu9GmV2vF0

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BLOGGING?

I suspect many of us are enticed away by the quick-fix of Instagram and suchlike.

And, of course, Facebook has ensnared many bloggers. Yes, I have a presence on that platform, but I have culled a great many contacts who were buying into the bitch-fests. I don’t like hateful comments, especially from people who can’t spell! And it does seem to be a magnet for Brexit and Trump and climate deny-ers and Flat-earthers…

But we’re not about blame here at the Idle Thoughts. Actually, we (and that’s “we” used in the Royal context!) don’t seem to be about very much of anything. Another two months gap in posting. Slacking, Dinah!

A quick update…it has not rained since last Friday. What this means is that I am back to watering some plants! With drinking water! Sacrilege!

I have a few photos to share…undefined…More Yellow Fellows. Dysphania numana cats.

Tithonia, aka Mexican sunflower or tree daisy. Tied back from the driveway and still flinging its gorgeous flowers about. A bit of a thug, but I do love it.

This is a Megaskepasma erythroclamys . And I Googled to see if there is a more pronouncable common name (and you all know how I feel about common names!) Apparently, it’s also known as Red Cloak. Over the years I’ve struggled to keep it alive and this is from a 6″/ 15cm cutting. The rain has been a boon so I’ve planted this and am hopeful of masses of crimson flowers …

And now, my faithful readers, I’d better press the button on this as things might get a bit tricky…we are changing providers and are only part-way through the process.I’d hate to have you cut off in your prime, as it were.

MORE FROM CANBERRA …

Yes, I have been slack in updating things. 

We had a visit from a niece and spent some time showing her local sights. But that will be for another post. Back to Canberra.

Sunday in Canberra is  a market day and we meandered through stalls, some selling handmade wares, but quite a few offering rather tacky clothing, perhaps made locally, but from cheap, hideously-coloured fabrics from somewhere in the north western Pacific. One day, people will wake up to the fact that we have put far too many eggs China’s basket!

These were, somewhat, offset by hand spun and knitted garments. Higher prices, but at least locally produced. 

Something else, also locally produced, caught my attention. Black garlic! How can I not have come across this before? My life has been missing a significant taste treat all these years! Some enterprising chaps have set up a company near a hamlet called Bredbo, about an hour south of Canberra.  https://capitalregionfarmersmarket.com.au/directory/listing/bredbo-black-garlic-ingelara 

We sampled it at the market. We bought some . We ate most of it at lunchtime! And Sue said she was sure she had seen black garlic in Coles supermarket.Yes! Not the Bredbo garlic, but an import from NZ! (The other supermarket giant does not carry it, but my local branch of Coles does, so for Australian readers, you can buy on-line from Ingelara or the NZ brand).Do yourselves a favour and try some. You can thank me later.

Another highlight of my visit was the National Library. It has a stunning entry, featuring some amazing stained glass. I could write much more about this, but this link will do it far better, and with professional photographs, far beyond my clumsy phone cam attempts (which featured quite a few photo bombs!) 

see what i mean!

  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-19/stained-glass-window-art-national-library/10126590

I could have spent the rest of the day there, but the weather was not sure it wanted to cooperate, so we cruised the bookshop (!) for a while then went outside to look at the sculptures. Next time I’m there I think I’ll spend more time and with a bigger camera!

The thing about Canberra that strikes me is that its modernity of lay-out allows for  BIG features, some permanent, some temporary displays. And you don’t have to brave chaotic traffic to get close to things.

The steps of the Science Museum feature cut-outs of famous scientists.Here are some…

Marie Curie
and Charles Darwin



Faraday and above him, Newton and the apple.


Some more from Sue’s lovely garden…

Camellias. 


Flowering cherry

Rosa banksia alba

Alba again.Just look at all those buds!

And, finally, the bus that carried me up over the crispy-dry Monaro and down to Eden .(see current header)

Bus to Eden

BACK HOME AGAIN

Yes, I have been travelling again. And I’ll tell you about some of my travels, beginning with the new header. This is a view, looking west along Asling’s Beach in Eden, NSW.

But before I got to Eden (oh, go and look at a map…) I spent a couple of days in Brisbane with an old friend …

We were neighbours when The Man and I rented  the house next door to her. She was a keen gardener and our many trips to garden centres, garden parties and gardening discussions probably saved my sanity. There were other things…ginger beer, bread-making various kitchen experiments come to mind

Brisbane seems hell-bent on becoming like Los Angeles…traffic is appalling, it’s often smoggy and buildings are getting taller.

But there is a good bus service operating from  (relatively) close to where my friend now lives. So we parked the car, hopped on a bus and went to Brisbane City Centre. First stop was a concert, put on by the Council for old folk. I think they banked on the fact that most old people are deaf! The sound levels were waaay off the scale and the featured singer screeched. We left after a couple of “songs” and wandered off in the direction of Southbank.

And half way down a main street, H. showed me a Thunbergia mysorensis – alongside some delphiniums, which I thought surprising! It’s  native to the tropical parts of India and ought to do well here, but I’ve never seen one  locally. Maybe I should address that …

I cannot seem to get a link to work, but try Google Images

On to Southbank, site of Expo, 1988. Today, a lovely place to wander or cycle or even run, if you’re that way inclined. Huge trees along the river and garden areas with some seating. And it’s the permanent home now of the giant Ferris wheel. Why the numeral 7  in the hub? I’m guessing that Channel 7 tv is a major sponsor.20181009_112745.jpg

We passed an elderly man (Chinese, I think) squatting  beside the river with a fishing pole. No reel, just a fixed line and old, practised hands gently manipulating it. 20181009_113207.jpg

I’ll leave you with one of the popular areas of the old Roma Street  rail yards. A display, beside a pond, of Brugmansias.20181009_132745.jpg

I’ll be back, maybe tomorrow, maybe later, with more “eye candy.” What’s that you say? I haven’t posted anything funny? Oh, alright. Just as a special treat for loyal readers…20181009_123542.jpg

SIMPLE PLEASURES, SMALL TREASURES

UPDATE…I found the missing tiki! 

Long time, no blog. I have been doing other things…

One of the “other things” has involved gardens. Most of the gardens here just have to tough it out when rain is infrequent. I do water potted things, like orchids and herbs, but cannot see much sense in buying drinking water (via the annual water rate paid to Council) for plants that just let palms “steal” it anyway.

So, here are some of my simple pleasures…

 

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A Yucca;I’m not sure which one as it’s in a garden down the street!

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A pot of lilies that just begged to be added to my cart of groceries one day…They were indoors for a while, then I put them out on the deck where I could water them when I did the herbs’ water routine. Not the intense fragrance of some, but after the sun has been on them it’s a noticeable scent.

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“Grand Duke of Tuscany” jasmine. Jasminum sambac  I’ve cut this wretch back to almost nothing and tried to dig it out since it seemed so unhappy.And then we have a good shower and off it goes again. There’s a story about it’s introduction to Western gardens (via the Duke) and I’ll do some research and tell you the tale another day…

Zyzigium wilsoniiIMG_2538.JPG

Syzigium wilsonii  aka “powder puff”. Another that struggled for years and seems, finally, to have settled. We only ever saw one or two flowers, but last Spring there were several and this year it looked spectacular! Of course, I didn’t get in with a camera til the show was almost over! I daresay Mr Google has a better range.

The Sunbirds re-used their little nest attached to the  cord on the front verandah awning and two chicks fledged a few weeks ago. And then…

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Sunbirds (not the same pair) began building a nest on a string of chimes over the back deck

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WIP.

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Mrs Sunbird is now incubating 1 or 2 eggs.

And now, some of my small treasures…

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Chinese jade ear-rings

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A brooch of NZ nephrite. It belonged to my maternal granny so probably 19th century.

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Another piece of NZ nephrite, left to me by an aunt.

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More NZ greenstone. I bought this when I was in my teens and I should probably give it to someone who could wear it as it certainly doesn’t go over my old knuckles!

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And this, which I bought from a chap in NZ who does some beautiful carving. I’ll give you his Facebook address  His work is well worth looking at. https://www.facebook.com/jeromyvanriel/

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A Maori Hei Tiki. Like all Maori artwork, rich in symbolism, in this instance, a fertility charm! And now, having found it, I must get a jump ring for it so i can put it back on a chain.

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Alas, not NZ nephrite. Not Chinese jade, though I believe this is from China. I have several and wore them as hair clips before I had my hair cut.I wonder if anyone else has them?

And now it’s almost time for lunch! I’ll close with a picture of one of “my girls.”

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Nephila pilipes  Yes, a big one, but does us no harm.She’s one of the spiders who spin a golden thread. If you are brave or curious, go here https://www.flickr.com/photos/18554857@N03/

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…  

Here’s one that we’ll have!IMG_2488.JPG

 

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…

 

 

WHAT THE DESPERATE GARDENER RESORTS TO …

…when the thermometer climbs above 30.

The cats have already hi-jacked  helped me out with Jane’s “flowers in the house.” And I had a coffee break and looked at some of the other floral delights on her blog. Well, I felt  a bit deflated, didn’t  I? So I admit I stole  borrowed Deb’s clever idea and snipped some sprigs of rosemary. But what to put with them? Hmm…something I have never tried before so have no idea how long before the Cape Primrose drops its petals, but here it is, with some white Penstemon.

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And one of the ginger-y  Tapeinochilos which hangs over the pathway was snapped so I trimmed it back and added a stem of shell ginger (that’s a current menace at the back gate as it’s crawling with green ants-ouch!)

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A very paltry contribution, Jane, but things are grim just now. Also, I’m cutting back a lot so that the tree chaps can get in to remove the trees.

And yesterday, I had a little surprise in my mail box – another book in the BookArtObject exchange. I think this completes my group swaps, but, to be honest, we’ve been going for so long on this round I’m really not sure! But here’s a peek …

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And that’s all for now, folks.* I still have some palm trash to drag away from the back pergola and I think making pastry before my hands get bloody and grubby is a good idea, don’t you!

 

 

*was it Bugs Bunny who said that?