Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

WELL AND TRULY WINTER

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

My first post for over a month! This is the longest time I have gone between posts since I started blogging 3 years ago. I've been a bit brain-dead.

Winter has finally set in. Although sometimes it is bleak, I still love the view out my back window. I love living in the trees.

Casuarina outside my window




Hairpin Banksia at the base of my casuarina



The trunk of the casuarina is covered in Lichen.

Jasper the grand-dog is snuggled under a quilt.

Jasper under a quilt



Jasper keeping warm.

I go down to my daughter's house- just a few minutes away - on Mondays, to put out her garbage bin. She is away for three months, travelling around Australia in a 4WD and caravan. I put her bin out every week so it looks as if there is somebody there, and take it in on Tuesday.

Even though it is winter the hibiscus in her yard have beautiful bright blooms.
Hibiscus
My daughter thinks these hibiscus flowers are gaudy but I don't think there is such thing as a gaudy flower.


P:-) and I attended a funeral on Friday - down near Nowra. I was amused to see this sign in the cemetery gardens.


Warning at memorial gardens.

It was a fairly new area, with lots of bushland around, but we didn't manage to see a snake. I do think it was too cold. Snakes are cold-blooded and need warmth to become active.

It was a pleasant drive down to Nowra as it always is.


We followed the expressway around the outskirts of  Kiama.


 
Kiama

 
Kiama


 Then turned off the highway to travel through the sleepy town of Geringong.


Geringong



We continued on from Geringong, past the golf course....

Geringong golf course.
....and then down to Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach

I am pleased to be back on track with my blog. Writing each post helps me to see the positives in life.


Interesting sites

1.
 Treehouse over water

Photo source
Treehouse Solling is located beside an old forester’s house in a small valley in Lower Saxony. It stands on stilts without relying on trees for structural support, and it measures almost 400 sq ft over two levels. Click here to read more.


2.
 Dam building threat to Amazon

Photo source

According to a new report, a wave of dam building threatens the Amazon river and five of the six main head rivers in the Andes drainage area, which could permanently destroy the open flow of rivers for countries that use the water.  Click here to read more.

3. 
Mar Chiquita, or Little Sea

Photo source
Mar Chiquita, or Little Sea, is a small beach in a protected cove near the eastern end of a long rocky wall exposed on the coast of Manatí in northern Puerto Rico, about 40 kilometers west of San Juan. The oval shaped beach lies behind the rocky wall in a small cove protected from the rough Atlantic. Click here to read more.

Monday, 9 June 2014

JASPER, A SEWING LESSON AND MEET MY BROTHER




 The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination. 
Maya Angelou

It has been a busy week and I have had trouble with my internet connection as I am changing providers. Luckily, I have a wonderful brother who spent many hours working on it and finally found a solution. In the end it turned out to be a fault at Telstra's end.

Anyway, I am a bit late getting this post out. 

We have had some beautiful weather. I took this photo from my back deck yesterday.

The sun through the trees at my back deck.
We have had our warmest autumn on record and over a week into winter are still experiencing above average temperatures. This has been great for me. I don't have particularly good heating so I have really appreciated the warm weather.

 
My daughter R is currently at Mount Isa, in Queensland. So Jasper, my grand-dog is still here with me. He is great company, although very spoiled, and I am probably the worst offender.

Jasper
He is a Miniature Foxie and very cute.

I had another sewing lesson at Vera's Machine Centre in Fairy Meadow.

Vera's Machine Centre
I am surprised at how long it has taken me to learn to use the functions of my machine. Is it because I am approaching 60?


(Since I was made redundant from my job of teaching teenagers with major behavioural problems I have had certain people suggest I should do some upgrading of my psychology skills and become a registered psychologist.  I did my Masters degree 20 years ago and I would really need to upgrade quite a bit to be registered. All of this would take a few years. Besides costing a fortune, which I do not have, I really do not feel like studying that hard any more. I don't know if I could.)


Anyway, I can now sew my name and do a variety of fancy stitches which I hope to incorporate into some of my felt work. It did take me 2 lessons instead of the 1 lesson usually provided but I got there in the end.


Because of the warm weather my paper bark trees in my front garden have been tricked into flowering only a couple of months after their last flush.

Paperbark trees

They are very pretty but too high up to pick.


My brother Geoff has a lawn mowing business in the Illawarra area. He loves his work and takes great pride in it. He doesn't just mow lawns - he tends them.

Geoff


Instead of a single price per mow, Geoff charges an average of $100 per month during the warmer months of the year, less during the cooler months.  For this he will maintain your lawn and do his best to keep it looking at its best. For your monthly payment you will receive at least 2 mows.  You will usually receive 3 or 4 or more, depending on the weather. Geoff will negotiate a price with you and then he will do his best to keep your lawn looking lush, smooth and green. 

While he is not a horticulturist, Geoff will do weeding, pruning and other gardening maintenance. 

If you are interested in giving Geoff a try you can reach him on:
 0466 955 135.

Or contact him via email at:
 geoff@imowlawns.com.au 

Interesting sites

1 .



Floating Egg House
Photo source
 Artist Stephen Turner created this egg-shaped abode. He plans to use the Exbury Egg, which was made with boat-building techniques, as his living and working space for the next year. Inside there is a stove, a shower, a desk and a hammock. And solar power too. Click here to find out more.


2.

 126 images pieced together to make one of very big tree

Photo source
“The President” is  the name of a giant sequoia located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in the United States. It’s so huge, it’s impossible to look at in one go. So no one has ever taken a proper photograph of its entirety. A team of photographers from National Geographic worked with scientists from California’s Sequoia National Park to take at least 126 separate photos of ‘the President’. The end result was worth all the effort as these 126 photos were pieced together to get a single, stunning full-length image of ‘The President’. Click here to view the image and see more.

3.
 Concrete tube hotel

Photo source

Tubohotel opened in 2010 and lies approximately 45 minutes south of Mexico City in the village of Tepoztlan, Morelos. The rooms are created from recycled concrete tubes & stacked in a pyramid shape, reflecting the Aztec pyramid of El Tepozteco that overlooks the town.
Click here to see more.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

LET EVENING COME

Instead of a quote today I am starting with this lovely poem that I came across. It has simple yet beautiful imagery. A poem, probably of another era and hemisphere, but very evocative none the less.






Let Evening Come 

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
 Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung.
Let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon


Sunday was Lilly's birthday. She is P:-)'s second eldest of 5 grandchildren and is 3 years old. We had a lovely family gathering at Woronora Dam. The area was ideal for small children and decorated with balloons. There were 7 little ones aged 5 and under, the youngest being 8 months old.

Picnic area at Woronora Dam.

There was a special big shiny pink balloon in the shape of a three. Unfortunately despite her parents' warnings Lilly insisted on playing with the balloon and it ended up going skywards, much to Lilly's distress.




But all was soon forgotten  with the cutting of the delicious cake - Jessica from Toy Story.





Issy, aged 4,  made a treasure box with one of her sister's presents.






And at the end of the party the 2 sisters enjoyed running around with the balloons.






I finally finished the felt name I was making for Lilly's birthday.







I picked my first harvest of shallots from my garden.




And Jasper, belonging to my daughter and her husband arrived for 3 months while they travel around Australia in a caravan.



Jasper doesn't know he is a dog. Jasper thinks he is a person and is a rather fussy - or should I say sensitive - but I do love him. He is great company.




Interesting sites


1.

 Amazing Hotels

Photo source
Take a look at some of the most amazing hotels in the world.
Not everyone can afford holiday in one of these locations, however most of us would love to spend quality time with family or friends in these places. You might want to stay in the room underwater or perhaps enjoy your breakfast from the cave facing the sea.
Everyone will find something interesting.

Click here to see some great photos.
 
2.
 Dean's Blue Hole

Photo source
Dean's Blue Hole near Clarence Town on Long Island, Bahamas, is the world's deepest known “blue hole” - a term given to any deep, water filled, vertical caves or sinkholes with an entrance below the water surface. While most blue holes and sinkholes reach a maximum depth of 110 meters, Dean's Blue Hole plunges to more than 200 meters, which makes it quite exceptional. At the surface, Dean's Blue Hole is roughly circular, with a diameter ranging from 25 to 35 meters. After descending 20 meters, the hole widens considerably into a cavern with a diameter of 100 meters. Click here to see some great pictures.

3.
 The 3 000 year old plant

Photo source
These rocks on the highlands of the Andes looks like they are covered with moss. Actually, they are a type of flowing plant known as Yareta and it lives in colonies which can be thousands of years old. Click here to find out more. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

JASPER IS COMING!



Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.
Roy Reiman



My daughter R gave me these hibiscus from her garden. She doesn't like them. I think they are beautiful.



Hibiscus
R and her husband B are going away for a few months and I am going to look after their little dog Jasper. P:) has been fixing  the back deck for me to make an enclosure for him.

Enclosure for Jasper
P:-) isn't quite finished yet but it should be great when it is finished. I was just going to do something with chicken wire, but P:-) thinks shade cloth would be more dog-friendly.

Meanwhile I have finished sewing some cushions for their caravan. 

Covered cushions

They weren't perfect but I was quite pleased with them and R was extremely pleased. They are cut down cushions from an old lounge and will squash down beside their bed at the foot and to give their legs a bit more room.


I planted some salad rocket in my garden this morning. This is part of my quest to save pennies.

Salad rocket

This is the type of rocket that can be picked continually, although I think it is only an annual. I love rocket and use it a lot in salads so this should be very useful.

I am proceeding with my next felt name. I need it ready for Sunday for little Lilly's 3rd birthday.

Felt name
There is quite a bit of sewing involved in making these felt names. I had thought I might be able to sell them but there is so much work involved I do not know how feasible it would be. I used to take orders and sell them years ago but I used simpler decorations which would be a bit dated now.

I have been making cards and when we went to Davistown a couple of weeks ago I began pressing flowers and leaves for use on cards.

Pressed leaves and flowers
I began by putting them in a small book while we were away and  then transferred them to a larger one under a heavy pile of books when we arrived home. So they should be ready quite soon.

I can never resist a pretty sunset and took these photos from P:-)'s front stairs.


Sunset from P:-)'s place

Interesting sites

 1.
 Tiny underground home in Oregon, USA.

Photo source
This is Dan Price's tiny underground home in Joseph, Oregon, USA. The interior, slightly more egg shaped than round, is only 8ft (2.4m) wall to wall with a roof only 4ft (1.2m) high at the entrance rising to 5ft (1.5m) at the back of the tiny shelter. The room where Dan hatches his ideas for his publications under the title, The Moonlight Chronicles, is sheltered by 2ft of earth that slopes into the woodland where deer roam as free as his creativity. Click here to read more.

2.
 Beautiful landscapes and rich cultures

Photo credit
Traveling around Thailand and beyond (to China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India),  Weerapong Chaipuck manages to take a peek into the lives of ordinary villagers in fairly remote areas. Rather than hitting up the most touristy spots, he dives deep into each country's rich culture to document their realities. Along the way, he's been able to share images of traditional fishermen who work with birds to catch their prey, local flower vendors that sell their merchandise on worn boats as they drift across lakes, and farmers and foragers who work tirelessly to put food on the table in their modest homes.
Click here to see more stunning photos.

3.
The Old Man of Storr
Photo credit

The Old Man of Storr is a large pinnacle of rock located on the north of the Isle of Skye, in Scotland, in an area known as ‘Trotternish’. The 50m-high rocky outcrop of crumbling basalt is prominent above the road 6 miles north of Portree and can be seen for miles around. It is also the highest point of the Trotternish Ridge. Click here to see more pictures of this beautiful landscape.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

MOTHERS' DAY AND MADLY SEWING



This year for Mothers' Day I cooked dinner for my family - a mixture of vegans, vegetarians and avid meat eaters. Always a bit of a challenge. 
Daughter R loves gnocchi with kale pesto so the day before Mother's Day I began with the pesto. It is very simple and healthy so I thought you might like the recipe.

Kale Pesto  (Vegan)


  •  2 cups packed kale
  •  1/2 cup nuts (I used cashews)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic (or more if you like)
Whiz up in a small food processor.
And hey presto - pesto!

Keep in the fridge and suitable to freeze.

I served this on store bought gnocchi but it could be used with pasta.

I forgot to take a photo of the table set with food, so I won't go through all the details but we had a very nice night - my Mum; my brother; my daughter J; daughter R and her husband B; and :-)P and me.


I received some lovely flowers for Mother's day and had a visit from a very special person, Suzanna, who I call my third daughter. 

Mothers' Day flowers
Wednesday was our monthly trip to Stanwell Park to see P:-)'s GP. The trip takes about 40 minutes. I always like the view as we drive down into the village,

Stanwell Park viewed from Stanwell Tops
Halfway up the photo above on the right you can just see the famous Sea Cliff Bridge.

I am going  into Permaculture in a very small way.

Last year I started a herb garden in pots. It didn't do very well in the last spell of dry weather. I only have garlic chives and lemon thyme left. So I am starting to plant some herbs and vegetables in my garden, amongst the shrubs and bushes. I have started with some shallots which I began planting a few weeks ago.

Shallots and rocket
I have been planting used shallots in my front garden. The tops grow and these can be trimmed and eaten. I love rocket so I have bought some of this to plant and shallot seeds to plant amongst the shallot plants. I hope to thicken it all up to prevent weeds.  This is all part of my saving money quest now that I am on a pension.

This morning I popped down to the fruit market to buy some apples and oranges for the next week.

Apples and oranges

I allow myself an orange for morning tea and one for afternoon tea each day - and an apple for lunch. It cost me $13. I could have bought 6 packets of Tim Tams for that. For the same caloric value, that is eating 3 Tim Tams a day, a packet will last me 4 days. So it would cost me $13 for 24 days (3 weeks and 3 days) with a Tim Tam for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea., compared to $13 for one week of fruit. A lot cheaper than the fruit except it wouldn't be very healthy, and I must admit I do have trouble limiting myself to one Tim Tam at a time. 

It does make you think about the cost of healthy food. 

Craftwise I am working on a couple of projects that I need to get done for next weekend

I am covering some cushions for my daughter R. She is going on a trip in her caravan and needs these done. As always I have ended up leaving it to the last minute.






I am also in the process of completing a felt name for one of P:-)'s little grand daughters.





So I am spending today sewing. 
I had better get to it.
Talk to you again soon.



Interesting sites



1.
 Tiny House
Photo source
Alek Lisefski is a web designer who decided to take everything we know about building a house and flip it on its head. Instead of going in debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars, he built his own home for the low, low price of $30,000. It’s only 8x20ft, but that’s what makes it awesome.Click here to read more and see more photos.


2.
Special town

Photo source

Artist and photographer Michael Paul Smith has spent hours upon hours photographing one special town that he holds very dear to his heart. There is something that always drew him to it, and the images he created are simple, but stunning. They glow with small-town charm and innocence, reminiscent of days and decades past.The town he photographs is quaint and beautiful but it doesn't exist.Click here to see lots of fascinating pictures. 

3.


Sculpted pages

Photo source
 Sue Blackwell  cuts the pages of books with a scalpel, forming the printed paper into various forms. Some are elaborate scenes, sitting atop the books from which they were formed, some as simple as flowers in which the ink from the printed lines is arranged to form the dark-hued edges of the blossoms. Some are arranged as dioramas in wooden and glass cases, at times theatrically lit. Click here to see some close ups.