Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's the last day of winter . . . .

. . . . and the thermometer on the wall of the family room says it's 28.9 degrees Celsius outside.  That's like 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Blue Mountains are on fire.

Taken from outside our front door.

This is hazard reduction burning.  Fortunately it hasn't been windy, so hopefully the firefighters have everything under control.  However, I'm hearing Bush Fire Brigade trucks with sirens blaring more and more frequently roaring past on Comleroy Road.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads tomorrow.  Wish my dad was here so that I could plant a kiss on his long remembered forehead.  Love you, Dad.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Swallow this . . . .

There is a gap between the rafters of the back verandah and the iron on the roof.  A little gap of about two inches or so - just enough room for a swallow to roost during the night.  And we have had a pair of these fearless birds doing just that for as long as we've lived here.

At about this time each year, up until now, they have proceeded to build themselves a mud nest under the verandah.  Unfortunately, during the last year, some maintenance work under the verandah resulted in the little ledge that they built on being removed.

A week or so ago, I noticed that they had started building their nest up under the roof of the verandah in the aforementioned little gap where they normally sleep.  No, no, I said, much too messy, thank you very much and proceeded to knock down the beginnings of that nest.  I must mention here that some of my early memories of life on the farm at Mizpah are of the swallows trying to build their nests under the roof of the verandah there and of us kids pleading with Dad not to knock the nests down!  Poor little birds, we thought, but of course we were only kids and not responsible for cleaning up the mess these little homemakers make.

My ingenuity kicked in and with great dexterity and a bit of help from the broom, I filled the gaps with pieces of rolled up bubble wrap that I had collected for some reason but probably not this one.

Then I retired to the house and congratulated myself on solving that pesky issue.

Within a day, they had started again a little further down the rafter timber.  This time on the steel anchor hook where you hang a hammock.  I've never been able to comfortably hang my hammock there, because swallows are flying above you all the time yelling at you to get lost.  Once again, I said sorry chaps, go someplace else to make your mess.  I thought a little extra disincentive was called for and once again my ingenuity came to the rescue in the shape of the window cleaner.  It has an adjustable pole, I was able to extend the length to what I needed, and it was close at hand in the laundry.  I should be using it for it's intended purpose - it's almost spring cleaning time.

I'll show you swallows who's boss around here!  Very precariously the window cleaner was balanced between the closest outside light and the steel anchor hook thing.

Cop that, you feathered fiends!

So . . . .  (wait for it!)  . . . .

. . . . they've built their nest on it!

I've quit.

The Welcome Swallow, Hirundo neoxena, . . . . . I don't think so!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sometimes . . . .

. . . . you don't get quite what you paid for.

I thought a patch of yellow freesias on the driveway wall would be nice.  The packet definitely said they were yellow.

. . . . you get more than you paid for.

Jean Galbraith.  An Australian bred rose in the best English Rose tradition.  A sport of David Austin's Abraham Darby.  More lemon than Abraham's apricot, but with the same exquisite perfume.

. . . . you have to stick to your guns.

For ages, I've wanted the Leylandii removed from the garden bed straight outside the front door.  It was a neat little Christmas tree when we moved here, yesterday my son in law, who doesn't need a lot of encouragement to chainsaw down a tree, came and despite Mike's misgivings, the tree is no more.  And the hallway inside the front door is no longer like a dark cave.  And Mr Lincoln will now get a decent amount of sunshine each day.

And we have the makings of next winter's woodpile.

Monday, August 12, 2013


I wish I could describe how windy it is here today.

Does this give you an idea?

The casuarinas bending over sideways in an effort to throw as many needles into the pool.

The pepper tree doing the same.

The was one of Mum's pot plants.  We called it 'the family aspidistra'.  Where Mum had it at the retirement village was in a totally shaded, protected spot and it was beautifully dark green and glossy leaved.  Here it gets the sun, probably too much sun and the full force of the wind, particularly on a day like today.  It has blown completely off it's wheelie thing and I will struggle to get it back on again.

I've been sheltering in the sewing room, doing stuff, and looked up just in time to see this happen outside.  Luckily it fell away from the fence.

This morning, the two dogs were picked up at 7.30am for a half day at the spa.  I actually thought they would be there all day, given the ratty, knotty hairdo's they've been sporting lately.  But the super efficient lady said they would be back by 1pm and they were, right on the dot.

Don't think Merlin appreciates his haircut.  He came back in very grumpily.

Try as I might, I cannot get a photo of these two dogs sitting up side by side.  This is about as close as I could get.

So I'm sewing today, and listening to the walls shuddering against the wind.  I figure nothing catastrophic is going to happen, given that Ewan McGregor is in there, snoring his head off beneath the rattling window.

Posting this while the power is still on.