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First post for 2014

Happy New Year to all my loyal readers – I do appreciate those that follow this blog which seems to have often fallen by the wayside in the past year.  I am  amazed that my stats show constant visitors even during times posts have been scarce or non existent!  WordPress provides a useful breakdown of one’s blog each year and I thought it might be interesting to share some of their info here.

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
In 2013, there were 27 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 711 posts. There were 234 pictures uploaded, so that’s about 5 pictures per week. Visitors came from a total of 87 countries and the busiest day of the year was August 25th with 118 views. The most popular post that day was Cumquat Marmalade.

I had no idea Cumquat Marmalade could be a hit topic!

Most folk seem to publish a list of events, achievements or items made during the past year – with an average of only one post per fortnight, you can see that my stitching output did not amount to much – goodness knows where the year went with so little to show for it.  I took thousands of photographs, and I did a little travel – to Singapore for a couple of weeks, and to Alice Springs for a 10 days photograph tour.  I received the Intermediate Certificate from the Embroiderer’s Guild for completing certificates in Surface Stitchery, Crewel, and Canvas Work over the last three years. (Then swore I would never do another!)  I lost my beloved Maggie in October, and I made some major life decisions – bought a block of land and engaged an architect to design me a new home, and began to prepare this place for sale.

2014 will be a busy one with many challenges – a new knee in March, the sale of my current home, and the construction of my new one, plus a possible move into a rented place until the new one is completed.  I can’t wait for it all to happen, and am already able to visualize what it might be like living here.

South Facing and main entrance

South Facing and main entrance

North facing living areas and patio

North facing living areas and patio

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Christmas Eve Kindness

I have become a bit “Bah Humbug” about Christmas – hate the commercialism of it all, am bored by carols that I have been hearing for the last three months, don’t have any strong religious beliefs to give it meaning, and generally feel the “good will to all” aspect has long gone in this troubled world.  However, even this grumpy old woman can still be surprised and reassured that some good will remains in our community.

I have just returned from a last minute shopping trip to a bigger town than this one, where I purchased a 10 kg box of nectarines, destined to be made into my annual batch of chutney based on a recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s big orange cookbook.  Now, I am waiting for another knee replacement which will happen in March, and until then my left leg is quite misshapen, my knee is very painful and I walk slowly with a very obvious limp – a bit like the rolling walk of a drunken sailor.  Having purchased my box of nectarines I was making my way to my car, when a woman with a young child asked if I needed a hand………usually very independent I acknowledged I was struggling and gratefully accepted her offer.  She left her daughter outside the fruit shop with instructions not to move, took my box and carried it to my car on the other side of the road.  As I thanked her and wished her all the best for the festive season and 2014, she said she had had an awful year – she had crashed her car, there was serious illness in her family and mentioned another disaster as well, so she hoped the New Year would indeed be a better one.  Amazing how someone with their own difficulties could still reach out to a perfect stranger – it was unexpected and much appreciated.   At that point I gave her a big hug, wished her well, and we both went on our way.  I hope her action made her feel good – I certainly did.

Merry Christmas everyone.  May 2014 be a good one for you and yours, I wish you health and happiness.

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A Mid-Summer Sunrise

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Mags – Thanks

Thank you to all those who have left comments about Maggie, they are all very much appreciated.  Bella and I are doing OK.

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This one was taken when she had lived here for about six months.

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Building a Home

Down by the lake this afternoon, I discovered yet another pair of wrens who seem to be building a nest in my bonfire pile, which is still too wet to light (and obviously now will not be).  At least, she was busy collecting tiny bits of interesting stuff, while he mostly posed around the place in the setting sun, singing his heart out.  As usual, a woman’s work is never done………

Talking of building homes, that is what I shall be doing in the next year or so.  Much as I love this gorgeous place, three acres of garden, carting wood for fires in winter,  the steps into the house, and a few other things have made me decide it is all too much for this old bird, so it is to be sold at a date yet to be determined.  I had a birthday a week or so ago, and on the day committed to the purchase of a smaller block of land in this town, and will build a custom designed sustainable home on it.  I imagine the process will provide lots of fodder for this blog!

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Little Blue Man

This little fellow is a mature male, with full gaudy plumage – just gorgeous really!  For those who may not know he is a Superb Fairy Wren – quite tiny, but very handsome, while his mate is dull light brown and a bit boring!

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The Daffodil

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Written by William Wordsworth in 1804, this is a poem that most of us learned at school, I certainly did and can also remember my Father often quoted it, but usually in some mangled humourous form as well as the real thing.  This area of Central Victoria is awash with them – gardens (mine included) and fields are sprinkled with patches of gold, bunches are being sold cheaply at roadsides, and as mentioned in the last post, a nearby town is having a festival in their honour, which included a daffodil themed Scarecrow competition. To me they signify that Spring is really here and their gorgeous colours are a welcome sight after the wet and dull winter in this very cold climate.
These are some more shots from the Daffodil Festival in Kyneton, and around the area.

 

 

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Only in the Country!

I have often written of the joys of living in a small town, the sense of community, wonderful countryside, friendly folk, a more relaxed lifestyle, slow food, local produce markets and special events like a festival in praise of the common spud. There are tractor pulls, vintage tractor ploughing by the local farmers who relish putting their trusty old machines through the mud once more, and various other sometimes eccentric activities to enjoy.

One town nearby is celebrating its annual Daffodil Festival, so despite having a garden absolutely full of many varieties of Daffs, I went to have a look at what was going on.  I cannot see the connection to the Daffodil, and was surprised when I came across something I had only heard about, but never seen – Ferret racing!  There were about 30-40 folk, young and old, each with at least one ferret who were competing for a number of trophies.  The ferrets all had names, very smart carrying cages with hammock type beds made out of polar fleece in which to lounge until it was their turn, and much chat amongst the owners.  The race consisted of putting the ferret into a 3 metre long piece of poly pipe, and the first one completely out, tail and all, was the winner. Not all of them were speedsters either!  Amazing!  Luckily I had the camera with me. Click on any image for a larger view.

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