Friday, 13 November 2020

Friday Funday - Orange

We knew we would be having a Friday Funday this month, as our car was due for its service.  You see, when we bought our new car last year it came with a 7 year warranty.  However, if we were to take it to the dealer we bought it from, which happens to be in Orange, about three quarters of an our up the road, we get a 10 year warranty.  Many people duck up to Orange to go shopping, but we very rarely make a special trip there, usually just driving through on our way to somewhere else.  Taking our car for its annual service (yes, it only needs a service once a year) is a good excuse for a day out.

So, what did we get up to?

We weren't too sure what we would be doing as the weather was forecast to be stormy and we actually drove through some fog on the way up there.

When we arrange a service, we are able to book a courtesy car, which is very convenient.  Our first port of call was a lovely garden centre with a cafe for a late breakfast.  A very civilised way to start the day.

When we took our car up for its first service at the start of the year we went for a walk through the historic Cook Park.  It was looking very sad, as there were no annual flower plantings in the garden beds, the grass was as good as dead and they were just doing the best they could to keep the trees alive.

It was looking so much better on this visit.

The fernery was open.

There still weren't many planting, but it looked rather nice in the dappled light.

It is duckling time on the little lake.

But watch out for the Cook Park Dragon.

It's nice to see fountains running again.

The sunken rose garden was just coming to its peak flowering time.

The blooms looked lovely after the overnight rain.

Mick waiting patiently under the arbour.

There are some enormous trees in the park. The taller one is a Giant Sequoia.  It certainly towers over the begonia house.

Usually these buildings are closed except for when the begonias are in bloom, but there was an exhibition detailing the history of the Dalton family, who were some of the prominent pioneers of the town.

Our next venture was to visit the op shops on our continuing quest to find an orange spotted mug to replace Mick's chipped one.  No success and no other interesting finds either.

We had noticed an antique shop in the main street, so decided to have a little look inside.  I ended coming home with this pretty green glass bowl.  I don't tend to buy green glass these days, as I don't have room to display all that I have, let alone more, but it is rather unusual  with the embossed floral design.  For once I actually had my UV light with me and was able to check and discover that it is a piece of uranium glass.  That was the clincher in deciding to buy it.

We still had time up our sleeves before the car was to be collected, so we visited the Art Gallery.  They currently have an exhibition of some of their permanent collection.  There were some beautiful works, including ones by Brett Whiteley and Hans Heysen.

When we came outside again we noticed that the weather was building up to another storm.  It was quite a dramatic backdrop to the modern buildings.  The building you can see houses a cafe, the Visitors Centre and the brand new Museum.  Surprisingly, until just recently, Orange has not had a museum.

We enjoy visiting the occasional museum, but don't make a point of visiting every one we see.  This one was really well set out.  The variety of artifacts on display were quite varied, reflecting lots of different aspects of Orange's history, from grand things to rather humble ones.

Of course, I was drawn to the little sampler worked in 1872.  The colours are still so vibrant.

When we emerged from the museum there was a very heavy downpour taking place.  There had even been a bit of hail, which happily we missed.  Fortunately, we were able to make a dash to the cafe next door without getting too wet.

We enjoyed a rather tasty lunch and by the time we had finished eating the storm had passed.

By then our car was ready to collect and for us to return home.

We had initially thought of doing something rather different to visiting art galleries and museums, but the weather wasn't suitable.  We can keep those plans for next year's visit.

When we got home I had to see how the bowl looked under a proper UV light.  Rather well, I think.

It fits in nicely with this part of my display.

Monday, 9 November 2020

Front Yard Blitz

When we bought our house there were established garden beds that were well designed, and well constructed.  The plantings were mainly shrubs and grasses and  featured quite a few native plants.

The front gardens had several wattles and bottle brushes and they were getting rather messy.  We are on a corner block and the street appeal of the two garden beds weren't terribly good.  

The one saving grace was the great show the wattles put on each spring. (Excuse the poor condition of the lawn, as we were just coming out of severe water restrictions and our winter frosts don't help.)  However, the wattles to the right of the photo are not doing very well, with branches breaking out.  They would be about 15 years old, and wattles generally are not very long lived.  Behind the power pole there is a bottle brush that suffered badly in the drought, so is also looking rather daggy.

Also, next to the mailbox is a grass that has sharp leaves and spiky flowers and grows quite large, so it is rather difficult to actually open the mailbox.  It is in its trimmed state in this photo.

At the other end of the gardens is a grevillia with beautiful flowers, but it has grown way too large as well.

So what to do?  Mick decided that the two sad wattle trees (not the one near the mailbox) would come out.

Here's another view, from the house after the wattles had finished flowering.  You can see better how a side had broken out.

The view from our front door.  Notice that the lawn is starting to come back, which is very nice to see.

And from the street.

My goodness, doesn't that look different.

What a change - there's a house in there.......and lots of prunings to take to the tip.  We had decided to keep the ratty bottle brush and give it a very heavy pruning after it flowers.  Apparently they can handle it.

Lots of tilling then took place, which revealed loads of redundant watering system.

Good soil and compost was dug in after the stumps were removed and a golden rain tree planted. 

It is a small tree that should provide yellow flowers during summer followed by decorative seed pods and colourful leaves in autumn.  Together with the spring flowering bottle brushes, there should be some colour all year round.  Well, that is the theory. We also topped the bed off with some pine bark, but no photo at that stage.

After starting to tidy up the one bed we thought the other was still looking fairly daggy, so despite the beautiful golden show in spring, decided to remove the other wattle tree.

Wow! What a difference.  Now we could see the shape of the garden bed.  Another very full trailer load of prunings went to the tip.

At that point we removed some grasses, moved some others to fill gaps around the edge of the corner garden and removed some plants that were just too misshapen from being crowded out by the wattles.

We then transplanted a few lavenders from the back yard that had either been self sown or were being crowded out by other plants. The best thing is that you can now access the mailbox without getting attacked by the vicious grass.  Hopefully, that will also reduce the number of snails that take up residence in the mailbox.

The other major improvements were to move our single furrow plough from the back garden, where you could hardly see it, to the mailbox garden and to visit our mate's property out of town and get a few interesting rocks.  Another bottle brush has been planted behind the plough, but it is still quite small.

Our lawn should continue to improve as well after it has been cored, fertilised and some extra seed distributed.

There are two bottle brushes in the corner garden.  This one is just starting to flower nicely.  It will have a bit of a hair cut once the blooms have finished.  Likewise the overgrown grevillia behind it.  We will enjoy their flowers first.

So the big reveal.......

From the corner.  There are now no gaps in the edging of grasses, a golden rain tree in the middle with two bottle brushes, which will be pruned shortly.  There is a lavender and a couple of low growing natives.

The letter box garden looks quite different.  Other than planting a couple of lavenders, the other low shrubs were already there.  There is a very small bottle brush behind the plough, which will hopefully be a bit weeping in shape, once it grows, so it won't hide the plough.

So, a final comparison.......

We're pretty happy with how it has turned out.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

What's Been Happening

Friday night was Friday Night With Friends hosted by Cheryll.  

When I wrote my goals for the month I said "This Friday is the night to stitch along with many others.  I hope to achieve more than I did last month........which wouldn't be hard."

Well guess how much stitching I!!!

You see, I love the idea of stitching on a Friday night, but it is something I never normally do, and when I get down to it, not really something I want to do.  We generally have an easy tea and then veg in front of the ABC on TV and I've never really been very good at crafting while watching tele.

Therefore, I'm not going to beat myself up about it, but from now on I will just cheer all the other girls on from the sideline.

In the mean time, I did actually tick one goal off my list.

I bought some mince on Thursday, intending to make a meatloaf, but saw this recipe in the free paper. I had most of the ingredients, so tried it out.  Success!  I did add grated carrot to the meatballs. We planted some carrots in our greenhouse at the start of winter and they haven't come to much - about the size of your finger.  So we pulled them all up, topped and tailed them and grated them along with the onions.  At least they weren't wasted.

Yesterday we spent the morning being very productive, Mick in the garden and I tidied the pantry, a job I'd been putting off for too long.  Then we popped down to the nursery, as we have been having a bit of a tidy up in the garden.

Our garden is starting to be productive, with our peas coming on, as well as some strawberries, which are a bonus, as we didn't get any fruit last year.  Tomatoes are starting to flower, with some mini ones producing green fruit already.  Getting an early start and no late frosts has helped.

In the afternoon we made a spontaneous decision to go out to Peel Jam.  Peel is a small village about ten minutes out of town.  Peel Jam is a small music and art festival.  It has been going for a few years, but we have never managed to get out there.  It is held in the grounds of the heritage school building which is now a community facility, with the Rural Fire Service shed next to it.

When we arrived we found a small crowd sitting around listening to some great music.  (This is only a section of the audience.)  It was a lovely afternoon to take out a chair or picnic rug and pack a picnic.

Most performers are local, but there were a couple of groups from out of town.  This was "The Hip Replacements", which had a couple of serious musos in their line up.  They played a great repertoire .

The event went from noon to about 9 o'clock. We went out mid afternoon and only stayed for a few hours.  It was nice relaxing way to spend some time.

So, no sewing at all this weekend.  My sewjo seems to have flown out the window just at the moment.  I know it will come back and I will get stuck into my stitching goals then.

Monday, 2 November 2020

My November Goals

It is that time again, time to set my goals for the coming month.

This month I will be paring back my goals a bit, as we expect to be a bit busy.

Here are my stitching goals.


The main priority is to set and meet my One Monthly Goal.  As I have now finished the clam shell panel my goal this month is to turn it into a completed Clam Shell Sewing Roll.  This is a process that I find quite daunting, so setting this goal is probably the only way that I will get stuck in and get it done.


There will be another four blocks released this month, so I will endeavour to keep up to date.


This is one that is not on the high priority list this month. I still have to make one more pineapple block and then make three cushions.  If any of this happens it will be a bonus.


Selecting this project is easy.  I will be working on my Clam Shell Sewing Roll.  There's nothing like having one project tick several boxes.


I will make something.  As with most months, I don't know what as yet.


Hopefully, there will be a completed Clam Shell Sewing Roll to add to my list of finishes.  It would be nice if something else is finished too, but we will wait and see.


This Friday is the night to stitch along with many others.  I hope to achieve more than I did last month........which wouldn't be hard.


It's that time of the year.......

When I look at the list I just wrote, it doesn't sound much less than normal, but it shouldn't be too onerous. I think I can manage it.

Now for my non stitching goals.

1.    READ A BOOK.

I'm sure I can manage to read something, even if it is a smaller book.


We have to eat, so this is something I still want to do.


Even if we just go for a short afternoon jaunt, it would be nice to get out on the bike.  It is a lovely temperature for riding at the moment.......when it stops raining....Did I actually say that, after the nasty drought we have come out of?


I'm pretty sure this won't be happening.  Mick has come out of retirement to do a job which is keeping him a bit busy for a couple of months, so no long weekends away this month.  There is always next month.....and the next..... and the next.


We will definitely fit in a Friday Fun Day.  Nothing planned, but there is always something fun to do.


We will also find some time for this. 

Once again, this doesn't look very pared back, but we'll make it work.  I just need to be a bit more organised than the muddle headed wombat that I usually am.