Friday, December 30, 2005

"Summertime Blues"

Do I like the summer season? Yes, mostly. I like the sunrises and sunsets, the clear blue of the sky and white clouds in all their variety, the birds that whistle in the early morning and evening, the washing that gets dry in a few minutes, the chance to wear fewer and prettier clothes, the longer days providing more opportunity to be outside, knowing that it won't rain halfway through a picnic or outing, the chance to have meals out on the deck, and lots more ....

.... It's just those days when the temperature rises into the high 30s and the hot winds blow that I don't like. I can keep reasonably cool in the house even though we don't have airconditioning, but I hate what those days do to the garden.

We had a wonderful Spring this year. Our water restrictions have eased although not removed altogether, and many plants flowered longer than usual. As a result I'm only now clearing the gardens of spent plants and renewing the mulch cover to try and retain as much moisture as possible. Sweet Peas, Queen Anne's lace, Californian Poppies, Larkspurs, Pink Evening Primrose and Cornflowers have been pulled out; Penstemons, Aquilegia, Sweet William, Dianthus, Silver Pyrethrum, Calendula and Carnations have been cut back; and Alyssum and Gazanias have either been pulled out, cut back or left to be covered up with mulch.

With temps of 38 degrees forecast for the weekend, Richard and I have been spending a few hours each morning pushing and spreading barrowloads of mulch. I was very pleasantly surprised to see just how much of last year's mulch was still providing a good coverage in some areas. The beds look so much tidier and I'm sure the remaining plants are happy to have their roots kept a little cooler.

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The heap from the last couple of days waiting to be put through the shredder, maybe this evening when it's cooler.Posted by Picasa

Forest Litter mulch - sticks, twigs, bark, leaves, soil and the odd unrecognisable item. It's coarse enough to allow the water to penetrate easily yet still retain moisture and coolness in the soil. Posted by Picasa

Getting there. Posted by Picasa

Helichrysum - has lovely silver velvety leaves and seems to never need watering. Posted by Picasa

Euphorbia - flowers have lasted for months, changing from bright green to rosy pink. Posted by Picasa

Miscanthus sinensis - one of my very favourite plants. I love grasses and must get lots more as they are so carefree and drought tolerant. Posted by Picasa

Kangaroo Paw - hardy Australian Native plant with flowers in unusual shades of green, yellow, red, pink, and black. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 26, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005


This time last year I had friends whom I had met through work, sport, hobbies, school, and location. Some of them I saw often, others less so, some not for more than 30 years, but we remained in contact at least once a year, and were interested in the happenings in each other's lives.

This year I feel that my circle of friends has increased beyond measure. Of course, I'm talking about my blogging friends. I've only met one of them face-to-face (apart from my family, of course), and yet I feel that I know many of them at least as well as some of my earlier friends.

I feel there are many whose homes I would be welcomed into, as they certainly would be into mine. We have shared in print and photos family histories, daily events, and hopes for the future. We have laughed at some stories and shed tears over others. We have sent comments of encouragement, agreement or disagreement, advice and humour - and always with interest and concern for the recipient. We come in all shapes, sizes, sexes and ages, and we learn tolerance, compassion, understanding and wisdom from each other.

Thank you,
ShellyC for suggesting that I join the world of blogging ("you might meet someone with similar interests" - how's that for an understatement?), and also Chloe and Calidore for your technical advice in the early days. Since then I have travelled the world each day on my computer and met dozens of fellow bloggers doing the same. It's as yet only the 'tip of the iceberg' and I know there are many more friends out there to meet - when time and other commitments will allow.

So, to all of my new friends, thank you for your friendship. May you all have a very happy, safe and blessed Christmas, New Year and holiday season. I look forward to 'visiting' and sharing with you next year.

Swap, please ...

Please may I swap my predicted 37 degreeC (99 F) day for a cold frosty one?

I won't ask for a snowy day as I will have to collect the grandchildren later on and I don't know how to drive in the snow.

Just a cold, frosty day, long enough for me to turn on the oven and cook a 7kg turkey.

With 37 degrees, I don't want to heat the house up any more, so it looks like I'll have to cook it this evening (unless that 'weather swap' arrives early).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It Seemed Like a Good Idea - at the Time!

On Monday evening Tanya suggested that we get up early on Tuesday, drive to the other side of town and walk around Lake Tuggeranong before having breakfast at the Hyperdome. She could then finish her Christmas Shopping before the shops got too crowded.

It did seem like a good idea, at the time! After a 25 minute drive, we parked in the shade of a tree near the Hyperdome and set off around the lake. I don't know how big this lake is, except that it was 1 hour and 20 minutes fairly brisk walking before we returned. Notwithstanding the aching feet, it was a lovely walk - much preferable to walking around the shopping centres.

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Wedding photo

Following yesterday's posting I decided to add this photo of my parents on their wedding day.
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They had been married for 49 years when Mum died in 1984. Dad passed away in 1991. So last October would have been their 70th Anniversary.

Friday, December 16, 2005


We have just returned from a lovely dinner out to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary.

We have had 38 happy years together, and four wonderful children. We've lived in two States, in the country, in tiny towns and now in Australia's capital city; worked at 2-teacher to 35-teacher schools; been associated with cricket, netball, hockey, gymnastics, basketball, tennis, athletics and softball, either as participants or mostly through our children; lived overseas for a year and travelled to several different countries; lived in six different houses although this is the only one we owned; met many wonderful people and made good friends through those years. Now we are both retired and able to share many interests, including time with our grandchildren.

We are so thankful, and blessed. What more could we ask?

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Why do we give Presents?

We all talk about how Christmas has been spoiled by blatant commercialisation. We don't want to be harassed into buying expensive presents that we can't afford, for people who don't want them, etc. We want to make life simpler, think of the deeper meaning of Christmas and keep spending on food and presents, if not down to a minimum, at least within a budget. We say that we will buy one present per person, and that's it!

Perhaps we should ask ourselves "Why do we give presents to people anyway?" and "Have we let it become such an onerous chore that we just want to get it over and done with, and then we can forget about it?" What about the pleasure we should gain simply by giving a well-considered gift to someone special because we love them, we want to thank them, or we just want to give them pleasure from our gift.

A well-considered gift doesn't necessarily need to be expensive, shop bought, or even new.
Peggy tells of the wonderful Christmas weekend her family has already celebrated with gifts that were either homemade or secondhand. It was the thought and the care that went into their selection and creation that made them so special.

Let's not deny ourselves the pleasure of giving, if it is within our means. Perhaps we could even give our time, our labour, or our expertise as a gift. These things can rarely be given a monetary price, but their value may be worth more than you realise.

Let us enjoy this Christmas, not only the receiving but even more importantly, the giving.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Carols by Candlelight

On this beautiful summer's evening I, along with my son and his girlfriend and several thousand other Canberrans, attended the 61st Carols by Candlelight service in Commonwealth Park. It was a wonderful evening of music and relaxation. Most families took a picnic tea to eat on the lawns as they listened to the Christmas music and joined in the singing.

The crowd builds as the sun sets.
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The Hall Village Brass Band and the Woden Valley Choir on Stage 88.
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Candles, like stars.
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Russ and Shannon enjoying the evening.
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Finale in the moonlight.
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