Monday 30 November 2020

A Garden Update

After a couple of years with terrible weather conditions for gardening, this year has been as good as you could get.  That, coupled with the fact that Mick has retired and COVID-19 meaning we spent more time at home, meant that quite a bit has happened in the garden.

As well as building the little potting shed and revamping the front gardens, quite a bit else has been happening in the back yard.
There were some more ratty looking shrubs next to the green house, so most of them were removed as well.  
In their place we now have two plum trees, a couple of boysenberries and a couple of fiejoas ,which will be espaliered as they mature.

We don't usually have much in the vege garden over winter, but this year filled it up.  
As a result we enjoyed rocket, spring onions, spinach and peas.  We planted cabbages, but they didn't do much and we removed them in time to start the spring planting.
It was fun playing in the potting shed during the cooler months and allowed us to get a head start with some plantings.
We even had tomatoes in September.  One of our cherry tomato plants was still alive in the greenhouse from last summer and produced this tiny crop before we took out the plant from its pot, ready to plant for this summer's season.  We will be picking mini yellow pear shaped tomatoes before long.
Mick had fun starting flower seeds in the potting shed as well, planting love in the mist, or "carrots" as he likes to refer to them, due to their foliage, poppies and statice.  He also grew tomato seedlings which were enough for us and also plenty to give to friends and family.
We had some strawberry plants in a wheel barrow and there was also a plant under the shrubbery that had been removed.  We must have planted it at some stage and it had sent our plenty of runners.  We were delighted when, at the start of spring, it was absolutely covered in flowers and has been providing us with loads of strawberries.  This has been a total bonus. 
The peas were quite a bonus as well.  We planted them in autumn and by the end of winter they hadn't done much and looked really sick. 
We were pleasantly surprised with the crop we have been able to pick from our small planting. I had said we wouldn't waste our time with them again, but I think I may have changed my mind.

As we started planting out for our summer veges we felt that we didn't have enough room.  There was only one solution.  
Mick has now created a further raised bed, which adds to the courtyard feel around the fire pit.  We have planted tomatoes, capsicum, parsley and rocket.  The plan is, as we start to eat the rocket, we will plant another small patch at the end of the bed so we can have a continuous supply.  We'll see how we go.
Here it is today.

On the flower front, we were pleased that we had quite a bit of colour, even during winter.
The white jonquils we bought at the Young Cherry Festival last December flowered beautifully. 
Early spring saw lots of bulbs flowering.  It is always fun seeing them pop up in various spots around the garden.
The new weeping cherry flowered and looked lovely with the ring of daffodils underneath.
As spring sprung we were treated to wattle, grevillea, bottle brush, wall flower, aqulegia, lavender, valerian, irises and loads and loads of sweet peas. 
They don't call them sweet peas for nothing, the fragrance was divine. There were so many other spring flowering plants as well.
I don't think our hellebores have ever flowered so well. 
Our rose that we purchased in winter has had its first flowering and looked lovely and cheerful.  Our standard peace rose is now flowering and has loads of new growth.
We purchased this little blue wren in a gallery at Hillston our our trip in September.  He looks rather cheerful in the garden.

Most of the spring flowers have now finished and we are entering the hot weather of summer.  Although today is officially the last day of spring, we experienced our first official heat wave on the weekend, with hot, dry winds.  The focus will now be on watering to keep things going.  Our local water storage dam is still full, but we continue to be on water restrictions, only being permitted to water for one hour a day on alternate days.  This is likely to be the best we are ever allowed to have going forward to ensure there is sufficient water available for our ever growing city.
Thank goodness for our several water tanks.

So, quite a bit has been happening and we are really pleased with how things are progressing.  Hopefully, it won't be so long until my next update.

Sunday 29 November 2020

November Goals - How Did I Go?

The month is drawing to a close and it is time to report on how I went with my goals for the month.

As always, we will start with my stitching.

How did I go?  I think I can safely say that my sewjo flew out the window this month.  I've no idea why, but that is just how it is.

If this was my 6th class teacher's report card it would read "Janice needs to get out of second gear".  Yep, that's what he said.  I may need to heed his comments.

However, as I have always said, this is supposed to be a bit of fun and not turn my stitching into a chore.  Therefore, as I wasn't in the mood to stitch, I didn't.  I have lots of things on their mini design boards, ready to go, so they will just sit there until I feel the motivation to get started.

The main goal I set was to finish the clam shell sewing roll.  I know I will have to have a bit of a think and see how to proceed to do the construction.  The fact that it was all just too hard to think about may have a lot to do with my losing my inspiration.

Now that doesn't mean that I didn't do any stitching.  I did.

Normally I would be sharing four Blockhead 3 blocks, but this time I just have one very simple 6 inch block completed.  The other three are a a bit more detailed.  I'll get caught up before too long, so I'm not worried.  
Some secret stitching took place.  A parcel is currently winging its way to Lou in New Zealand.  There is a Christmas item in there, so I did meet that goal.  Funnily enough, there is a finished item in there, so I kind of met my One Project a Month, but will not officially add to my total until the big reveal next month.

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects came to a stand still, but I'm sure I will get to them before too long.  I'm hoping I will spend some time in the sewing room in the break between Christmas and New Year.  It would still be nice to have some more finishes before the end of the year.

As I reported previously, I didn't join in with Friday Night With Friends and as the clam shell sewing roll was to be my WOOFA project, that didn't take place either.

So, how did I go with my non stitching goals?


Yes.  I didn't feel like stitching, but I did feel like reading. Both books were ones we picked up on our last trip away in September.

The English Girl was a bit James Bondish and not a bad read.

Cooper Bartholemew is Dead, was quite different from our usual reads.  It is targeted at young adults, but both Mick and I enjoyed it.  A young man dies by falling off a cliff.  It is put down to suicide, but his girlfriend doesn't believe that would happen.


Yes.  I blogged about the meatball recipe I tried back here.  We haven't been doing much baking, now that the weather is warming up.

I did make a Strawberry Shortcake, adapting the Apricot Shortcake recipe I have previously made.  It was so very good.

No, it didn't happen.


No, we didn't expect to, so no surprise there.

Yes, as I blogged here, we had a great day up in Orange.

6.    GO FOR WALKS    

Yes, but only short ones, and not as many as I would have liked.

Reading this, it all  looks like we didn't do a lot, but we still had a great month.

We had our afternoon at Peel Jam 

We have spent quite a bit of time in the garden.  I will share a separate post on that.

Last weekend we held a garage sale.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Council run Community Garage Sale at Mount Panorama was cancelled and people were encouraged to take part in the Garage Sale Trail.

We had quite a successful sale, which was good.

So, the month didn't go quite as planned, but it was still good to look back on.

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.