Saturday, 20 February 2010

Tree progress

Here are a few more photos to show you what the tree loppers are doing. The latest estimate is that they will not finish till at least late Wednesday afternoon. Thank goodness they don't work over the weekend so we have some peace and quiet and a chance to do a bit of cleaning up around the edges.
If you click on any of the pictures you should get a better view. The pile of timber is apparently called a pigsty and is to stabilise the limb.

You can get a good idea of the lean on the greenhouse from this picture. We think that it actuall acted as a brake slowing down the fall of the tree.

Who would do this for a living?

There is still a huge amount of tree left and I haven't shown you the picture of all the bits sticking about 50 feet up in the air still! The loppers have been cutting those trunks into wheelbarrow sized pieces to wheel out to the front driveway where they have an enormous chipper running and it hardly even coughs when they throw in the pieces - BUT - it is mind numbingly noisy!!!!
Needless to say nothing very creative is happening at present!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

What happened overnight

I was just going to do a quick post to show you these three cases I have made from the brown paper I showed you in my last post. I love the way they look so different - green chiffon on the left, blue chiffon in the centre and fucshia on the right.................................then
Bill got up at 3 am this morning to let Jock out and look what he found - it happened sometime after 10.30 pm last night and none of us heard it, we all think the tree quietly subsided during the heavy rainfall we were having.

The massive root ball has lifted the greenhouse right up, in the process snapping the mains water, the rain water and the power cabling. Sadly we lost 11,000 litres of rain water as well as having the mains gushing for however long after the event happened till Bill turned the water off at the front fence. From a financial point of view we were lucky the root ball lifted so far that there is no hope of it falling back into the hole as they cut off the rest of the tree. Apparently if that happens, it is our responsibility to have the stump ground, which can cost as much as $2,000.
The flower pots on the ground have landed right way up and all!

There is a very large branch resting on the roof. The insurance company has been wonderful so far - I rang them at 6.30am this morning and they had tree loppers here by 8.30am. The plumber had been so we had water, our electrician son sorted out some temporary power arrangements, and everything was happening.

Here is one of the tree loppers on top of the roof this morning. As I write this in mid-afternoon he is back there again. The chipper has moved into our driveway, there are thumps and bumps as lengths of tree land on the roof, and the noise from the chipper is deafening! They expect to be here for a couple of days yet as we have very limited access and they have to cart everything out to the front in wheel barrow sized pieces! I think we will have recouped every bit of the insurance premiums we have paid for 42 years and then some when this exercise is finished. Thank goodness for insurance.

Here is a photo to remind you of what the tree looked like in more peaceful times!!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

TOM project and rain at the Gardens

I have started on the Technique of the month - see my side bar - and just managed to finish a project before the next one is due! This month it was painted batting and here are a couple of my efforts. I used up ends of jars of acrylic paint to cover some thick polyester batting (no idea if there is a special name for the batting), then when dry I added patches of Lumiere metallics. The whole piece looked vibrant, but was too thich for anything I thought I could do with it so I meandered all over with gold thread and then made a case for glasses. My section of the souvenir shop at the Gardens is nearly empty so I have to get my skates on to fill it again!

This time I used pellon which I painted black, then covered with gossamer fuse and foiled with both gold and copper foils. I overpainted with Lumiere halo pink gold and then a transparent red oxide paint. It looks much jazzier in real life than it does in this photo. I will make this into some bookmarks later today I hope. I had not thought of painting over the top of foiling before so I have learned something new.
Now I have to get back to the basics. I have been using this large piece of brown paper (cut from a carrier bag and crumpled) to clean off the last bits of paint on my brushes for several months and only realised a couple of days ago how stunning it was starting to, later today I shall back it with felt and start cutting and stitching!

Last Saturday we had a social BBQ for our Friends group at the Gardens. This is what happened just before everyone was due to arrive - the rain just bucketed down - and the drainpipes were really doing their job. Thank goodness we just had heavy showers and they were kind enough to fall when we were all under cover, then stop when we were going! We had a lovely evening.

The next day I was walking in the Gardens with my grand daughter and this is how they looked, so green. We have had a wonderful wet season here, lots of rain with no flooding. I dould do with a spot of winter now, I am definitely over summer with 32 degree days and 78% humidity! Today I shall be hiding in the air conditioning as much as possible. Even Jock doesn't want to go outside.

Back soon to show you what I have done. You should be able to click on any of the photos to enlarge them.
I have just checked the side bar for Technique of the Month and it takes you to the Three Creative Studios website. The TOM is in the Free Projects line. Cheers.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Favourite books from my childhood

Today I was reading Ragged Old Blogger's post where she showed some photos of one of her childhood books, and also showed a link to Love Stitching Red - Carolyn Saxby's blog where there are lots of children's books named.
This book is really falling apart after much hard use. Called "The Sun's Babies" by Edith Howes, it was given to my mother when she was a small girl before the first World War. It is full of fairy tales and verses and my younger sister and I loved being able to thumb through it. I think we went looking for fairies in the garden afterwards!

You can see the pages are very dilapidated, but I couldn't bear to part with the book.

My mother used to read this wonderful book to the three of us children and also two cousins who lived with us during the second world war. We would shiver in fright in some of the chapters and cry through the sad parts, but implored her to keep going whenever she said she would stop. The Durack family was one of the first families to settle the Kimberleys in Western Australia, a very, very remote area in the late 1800s when the set up their cattle stations. They had a great affinity with the aborigines in the area and Mary, one of the next generation, wrote some incredible stories incorporating aboriginal lore. Her sister Elizabeth, illustrated them. This story is about two little picanninnies who have lost their small brother and go in search of him.
Some of the illustrations are quite scary to small children, and there are some beautiful line drawings in the book.
We were a family of bookworms who devoured everything. New books seemed to be published just before Christmas and the whole family had books as part of Christmas. My parents read all our children's books as well as us - WE Johns Biggles series was a favourite, as were all the Anne of Green Gables books. I preferred the Emily books to the Anne books, and I particularly loved an English series of books about a schoolgirl called Dimsey. I can't remember the author, but someone else out there may have read them. Of course we acquired all the Billabong books by Mary Grant Bruce as they were published. They are all very dated now, but oh, they were so exciting. Then we graduated to more adult reading, including Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. I didn't realise how lucky we were till I went to boarding school and discovered lots of the other girls in my class were not allowed to read "adult" books till they were in their teens - I think I was only about 10 when I graduated to the adult shelves. Looking back, I am sure I was guided away from anything considered risque!
Time to go, I have to prepare food to take to the Gardens for a members' BBQ tonight and I am going to be late.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Walking the dog

Here are a few photos from the Gardens which I haven't yet shown you.

I loved the colour of the new leaves on this cascading bean tree (Maniltoa lenticellata), there is a closeup below. These were taken lase month.

This gorgeous Bismark palm is flourishing, it has only been in the ground for just over three years. This photo of lagerstroemia speciosa flowers was also taken last month,

then today I was able to take a photo of the seedheads from it. I love the character in them even more than the flowers.
Progress on the tree lopping hasn't been fast - we think the whole tree is actually tipping slightly, so Bill is working out what to do next. It is a VERY large tree and most of the branches on the eastern side have been broken off in storms. The branches spread about 25 - 30 feet across and are very high so the cost of having it sorted will not be cheap. Oh well...........Bill will make the decision one way or the other sometime soon. In the meantime, the hanging branch has been tied back to the tree so it can't do any damage if we have another blow.
I wish we couldget a decent storm, the weather is very hot and humid and very threatening, but the storms keep slipping around us. All very unpleasant. I am glad to read that Canberra had some rain at long last however.
I haven't shown any photos of Jock for ages and he has grown so much. I will try to take some in the next day or so and post them. He loves his walks, but is not very well behaved at present. I think he has reached the teenage rebellious stage! Plenty of training coming up. He does keep us amused with his antics however.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Tree lopping with no danger money!

I had to share these photos with you of my crazy husband high up on the trestle cutting off bits of a branch of our rain tree which broke in the wind last Saturday - it almost broke off, but not quite and is proving very difficult to remove now.

The second photo is up closer, but doesn't show how high up Bill is. I mostly go away so I don't have to look as I hate him being up so high, but I couldn't resist a photo! Not sure what the next move is, I will keep you posted.
Still nothing much creative around here, I seem to have spent the last few days chasing new appliances to replace broken ones. Our cordless phone threw in the claw one week to the day after the manufacturer's warranty ended. Thank goodness for the first time ever we had taken out an extended warranty, which really paid off. I had to sit hanging onto a phone for over twenty minutes being told how important my call was to them, but at last someone answered and the upshot was that I collected a new phone kit yesterday - just had to pay for a new extended warranty. Today of course I have had to work out how to set it all up. Nothing electronic is ever simple these days, but I love my cordless phone which I can cart all round the house and garden and continue doing something useful while I am chattering on the phone!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Wild and woolly weather

I was going to post these photos last night, but I was sidetracked. I didn't come home till 6 pm and by the time we had dinner the tennis had started. that was the end of any useful activity from me for the night. What a wonderful match - it may have only been three sets but the intensity and standard of tennis from both Federer and Murray was fantastic. What a shame they couldn't both win!

We had the highest tide for the year yesterday morning - 6.85 metres (about 19 feet in imperial). There had been an enormous amount of rain up the valley from us overnight and the radio stations were full of dire warnings about what was going to happen. This is a photo of the river in flood taken from the new bridge over the river, with still about an hour and a half before the top of the tide. The bridge is high and dry, but the road was closed because a creek about 500 metres further on was well under water! The Main Roads Department is building another new bridge over the river in the centre of the city which was also closed because of flooding of low lying road just north of it. That left one bridge open and huge traffic jams!

For the first time in about ten years, the Pioneer river flowed into the Lagoons at the Gardens from the right of this photo - usually the flow is in the other direction. Quite a few fish will probably have come in with the water and they stay in the Lagoons for anything up to three years before they return to the sea again during another flood event. A fisheries expert was telling us that there are about 14 species which live in the Lagoons as part of their life cycle. There is a fish ladder in the culvert under the road to help their passage.

We walked further along the paths at the Gardens to see what damage had been done. We didn't have the torrential downpours here in the city but there were very strong gusting winds from an unusual direction and several trees were blown down, which is a shame. This swamp bloodwood is covered in buds, I like the bud structure as much as the open flowers I think.

These crotons really stood out in the overcast skies, the red berries are really dazzling. All the photos should enlarge if you click on them.
Thanks to Doreen, I have been able to add the gadgets on my sidebar. I am gradually learning about blogging.