Sunday 30 March 2014

On the Weekend

I had a quick catch up with Chooky yesterday.  I met her down at Anni’s and there was a surprise get together.  Deb just happened to pop in and Roz was taking a class.  Anni was even in residence.  Bonus. I’ve borrowed this photo from Chooky.

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Mum asked me if we had found any more mushrooms  since the extra rain.  The answer was “No”.

Then, I found quite a variety in the garden, while weeding.  These are definitely not edible, then again, maybe they are – I’m certainly not risking it.

This first little one was only about the size of a 5c piece.

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The next one was about the same size, but with a couple even smaller.  They were tucked down the side of a sleeper in a raised bed.

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These were the biggest, being about the size of a 20c piece.

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Autumn is the perfect season for mushrooms.  The pine forests around Oberon (about half an hour from us) are famous for their mushrooms.  Many people come up from Sydney to go foraging.  There is a wide variety, but you need to know what you are doing.  Some are rather weird looking.  There is even a website to assist here.

The only ones I’ve ever seen are big red toadstools with white spots.  Yes, just like all the cute pictures we see.  Definitely not for eating.


Back at our place, we had a magpie pretending to be a finial on our garden shed.  He sat there for ages.

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And, Mother Nature put on another wonderful show on Saturday night.  Quite stunning.  Yes, it was a case of “Red at night shepherd’s delight”.  The weather was glorious today, quite hot and rather steamy.  We are really enjoying this Indian summer.

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Sunday 23 March 2014

The Weekend That Was

Yesterday morning I ventured into town for the local Farmers Market at the showground.  I don’t often get to attend, so I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

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Being the main harvest time of the year meant there was a great variety of produce.

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There was plenty for the garden, once again being the perfect time for planting, especially after the rain we have received.

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Inside the pavilions there were more stalls, mainly the providores.  Oh, so much yummy stuff.

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Of course, all this shopping works up a thirst and appetite, so the local service clubs kept everyone fed and local coffee was ready to go.

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We are very lucky in our area to have such wonderful fresh produce. 

An added attraction this month was the Sustainable Living Expo hosted by the council.  There were several interesting stalls.

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Part of the Expo was the Zoo to You, where an incredibly interesting talk was given.  We met “Tonka”, the baby wombat.  He followed his adopted Dad around all the time.  So cute to see.  I didn’t know wombats had an armour plated butt, till yesterday.

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We also learnt a little about possums.

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I had never thought of bearded dragons as being solar powered before.  Apparently, they are the the perfect pet - you can just cool them down and they will go into a little hibernation while you head off on holidays.  No needing someone to come and feed them while you are away.  Likewise, I had never thought about the fact there are farms commercially growing cockroaches and other bugs to feed reptiles.  I’m sure this isn’t vitally important knowledge to have acquired, but interesting and entertaining, just the same.

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There were storms all around our area over the weekend.  Bathurst received a couple of downpours, but we didn’t get a drop.  It did, however, create a stunning sunset yesterday.

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We have noticed that some of our plants are a little confused with the weather.  They seem to think it is spring.

I always thought a Nashi should flower in October, not March.  Maybe it thinks it is in the northern hemisphere.

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Our neighbour has a row of Manchurian pears in full bloom.

Our may bush is also confused.

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Mind you, it got so hot, so quickly in spring that they didn’t flower properly then.  I just hope they get back into whack after winter.

We have a few other plants giving a final display before we start to get frosts.

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The bees were very industrious on the butterfly bush.  There were even a couple of black and cream butterflies, but they wouldn’t sit still long enough for me to take a photo.

Finally, one more little rose bud.

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Girls Day in the Country – The Swaps

This year we had two separate swaps. 

Firstly, on Friday we had a “Make it, bake it or fake it” Swap among the Blog ladies.

I didn’t have a great deal of time so I did a simple make, with a bit of a fake.  A couple of weeks ago I read on Bloom’s blog that she had found a wonderful new toy.  I arranged to get one for myself and also got one for the swap.  I then made a simple draw string bag to carry it in.

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Ann was the recipient of this little package.

I received a lovely fat quarter bundle and a little mirror from the vintage quilt exhibition in Brisbane, prepared by Jenny. I’ll have fun with the fabrics, and it was a real treat to have a little something from the quilt exhibition, as it was something that I would have love to visit, but just not feasible.

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Kerry had arranged a swap for Saturday using one of Lynette’s little patterns.  The project was for a needle book.

Time was not on my side, so I pared back the stitchery design to just one colour and simplified the stitches.  Instead of making a needle book, I made a pincushion, using some fabric I had, which matched the stitchery nicely, and some ribbon that came from Norway, wrapping a Christmas Swap a couple of years ago.

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For the first time I used crushed walnut shells for the filling.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  I may have to make one for myself as well.

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Funnily enough, Ann received this swap gift as well.

I received a very sweet needle book.  When I saw the wrapping paper I had a sneaking suspicion that it may have been made by Jenny, as it was the same paper as on my Friday night’s gift. 

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Yes, I was right.  What a coincidence.

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I love the rich colours Jenny used, the snail button and the lining fabric on the inside also matches, with snails and other bugs and flowers.  Just perfect.

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Taking part in the swaps sometimes creates a little pressure, but is worth it to join in.

By the way, I used the little rechargable LED lamp for stitching on the Saturday and it was fantastic.  I’m very happy to have stumbled across it.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Girls Day in the Country – Heading Home

After a hearty breakfast, it was time to track everyone down to say goodbye till next time that we meet somewhere.

My trip home took me via Scone, Muswellbrook and then across the Bylong Valley to Rylstone and then on to Bathurst and home.

I stopped for a quick cuppa at Scone and didn’t like the look of the weather in the direction I was heading.  I think this group of motorcyclists were also a bit wary.  I checked the radar and it was quite an intense storm.  Fortunately, it was also rather fast moving and had passed before I reached that area.  Phew!

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More storms building up ahead in the Bylong Valley.

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There was quite a bit of rain around as I drove along. Up until this stage I had missed it all.  The dull light gave the grass an unreal appearance, it was just sooo green.

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I love the eroded sandstone cliffs.  They seem so very old.  This is especially so, as there are aboriginal paintings in some caves in the valley.  The area reminds me of the book I read as a child called “The Nargun and the Stars” by Patricia Wrightson

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In the short time I was looking at this area the rain came across.  I didn’t miss this lot, but fortunately, it wasn’t torrential, just good soaking rain.  Bring it on.

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No wonder this is my favourite road.  The scenery is absolutely stunning.

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See the little poster on the tree.  Yes, this gorgeous valley is coveted by coal miners and coal seam gas explorers.  There is a big fight going on to try and save the valley as a prime agricultural area.

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We have travelled through here all my life, and it is always lush compared to surrounding areas and has always been famous for its black angus cattle, long before they became the breed of choice.  At the Hunter end of the valley there used to be wonderful horse studs, but they seem to be mostly gone, as have the vineyards at Sandy Hollow.  It is quite sad.

This is why they are fighting to save the valley.

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Aren’t they magnificent.

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OK, I’ll get off my hobby horse now.

Further along, I decided to call into the rest area at Sofala to have a drink and was rather surprised to see the red coats about to fire a cannon! 

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Then I remembered there was an event “The Siege of the Turon” taking place.  So, of course I had to stay and watch for a little while.   It was a nice interlude before my final leg to get home.

The weekend was terrific.  It was so nice to see all the other blogging girls again and to meet a few new ones to me.  Kerry did a fantastic job organising everything and Lynette was a delightful tutor. 

Once again, I slept well on Sunday night.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Girls Day in the Country - Saturday

Finally the day we had all been waiting for arrived.  Firstly, Fiona and Alison had to check out where we would be sitting. 

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I always love to see how Kerry has decorated the hall.  She comes up with a different and creative theme each year.

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The centre pieces were rather cute and very clever.

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Here are our crew, Alison, Fiona, Dzintra, Lynda, Cheryl, Jenny, Janice and Maree.  It was a nice table to be on.

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Our tutor this year was Lynette Anderson.  She had created the sweetest little sewing bag as our project.

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OK, time to open our blue boxes and see our goodies.  We were able to start working straight away, as the stitchery design had been ironed onto the fabric with stabiliser on the back.  How good was that.

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Here we are, hard at work.

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Dzintra was very proud of her first hexy.  Only another 93 to go.

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There was a well stocked store if we felt tempted to purchase some more patterns.  Such lovely projects.

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At lunch time we had a visit from Tracy from Sunny Corner Farm.  It was great to catch up.

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This is what I achieved during the day, in between chatting.  Lynette showed us a new way to do needle turn appliqué, so I was happy to have it completed on the day, while it was fresh in my mind.  Now I just have to finish the stitchery and then make the 94 hexies required for the bottom of the bag.

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Here is our official bloggers picture, which I have borrowed from Chooky.

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After our day of stitching we were treated to Lynette’s Trunk Show.  We could bring drinkies along.  Lea was prepared.  The things she had hidden in her lovely bag.

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Lynette gave a really interesting chat on her quilts and the process of designing and printing  her fabric ranges. 

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Some of her quilts were on display around the hall.  Beautiful work.

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Fiona and I being groupies.

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In the evening we gathered again at the caravan park for a barbecue dinner.  It was a relaxing way to end the day, being able to mingle and chat. 

Alison and Fiona.

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Suzie, Gail, Jenny and Sue.

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Finally, we were able to have show and tell, as unlike the previous evening, the weather was perfect for sitting outside.

Sue’s Red Home quilt.

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Chooky and Dzintra with their Gardener’ Journals quilts.

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Jenny’s beautifully pieced quilt.

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Gail’s Quilter’s Journal.

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Ann with her Lynette Anderson top, ready to be quilted.

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Ann also showed here Some Kind of Wonderful, recently quilted by Belinda Betts.

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It was a very full day, but thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.  I know that I, for one, slept very well that night.