Saturday, 29 June 2013

Goodbye for a short while

I leave tomorrow to go to Buderim to have surgery to replace my left knee, so I will be out of action for a while.  Hopefully I shall only be in hospital for about 5 - 6 days, then my sister and I can look after each other.  She is in hospital at present, having been admitted in an emergency last Saturday in extreme pain.  However she had keyhole surgery yesterday to repair her diaphragm and should be home by Tuesday. Nothing like a drama or two to liven up the day!

We have continued to have beautiful weather up here for the past week, cool nights and warm sunny days - quite amazing as it is school holiday time.  They have another week to run and there is a change forecast for the coming week, so that will test a few Mums.  Unfortunately, the weather in Southern Queensland has not been nearly as pleasant, with overcast days and showers!

I will take my camera with me so hopefully I shall have a chance to take some good photos to show you when I return.  I may be able to post without photos while I am away - it will depend on how much pain I have sitting in a straight backed chair at the computer.  I know last time I found that very difficult, much to my disgust as I had great plans for doing all sorts of textiley stuff.  I am not taking anything with me this time - but I can always use some of my sister's stash if I feel like it!

I will post again in a couple of weeks.  Cheers

Sunday, 23 June 2013

A magical day

Yesterday The Friends of the Botanic Gardens visited Cape Hillsborough again - about an hour's drive north of Mackay, this time to look at the flora and fauna on the Mangrove Boardwalk which has been built through the low swampy area, then leading through higher grassy open forest before returning to the carpark.  I stayed at the picnic area and set up for lunch, I was not prepared to take the risks of falling and cutting myself on the rocky pathways, but my daughter in law took some photos which I will show you.

 Nikki took this photo on the beach - the sand is full of iron pyrites and glistens gold in the sun - our children always thought the beach was made of gold.
 The pictures are out of order, but this shows some of the grass trees and the dry scrub around them.
 This would have to be the largest green ants' nest I have ever seen - the other name for them is weaver ants as they weave the green leaves together to form their nest, then move on when the leaves dry out.

 Hamish and Alexander enjoyed the walk as well
 This aboriginal midden.  There is probably over a metre and a half of discarded shells here.  It would have served as a meeting place where local people could gather bush food and shellfish and would also have served as a place of education, a spiritual area and probably a place of initiations.
 Although I did not venture down onto the beach, this was the sparkling view of the sea in the morning, taken from the picnic area.

The rest of us were all cold, especially when a chilly wind blew up after lunch, but the intrepid grandkids had to go for a swim!

 One of our Friends lives in the area and invited us all to visit  on our way home.  This is the stunning view from their front garden.  Do click on the photo to enlarge it. That is Cape Hillsborough looking for all the world like a giant crocodile!
 They have about 3 acres of bush, with a walking path through some of it; most of the property is still undeveloped at this stage.
 The bath was there when they bought the property, thankfully there is an indoor shower with hot water supplied - that outdoor cold water bath would be a very chilly experience at this time of the year!
We had all filled up on a very tasty barbecue lunch, but when Caroline provided such a luscious afternoon tea of course we couldn't leave it!

A lovely end to a fantastic day, glorious sunshine, after a miserable overcast, drizzly day on Friday.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

A visit to the beach

We live in a coastal city, but I very rarely visit the actual beaches, so today I took a drive to Illawong Beach, which is mostly known as Far Beach because the tide goes out so far.

 This photo is quite deceptive, I have zoomed in so you can see the coal terminal in the distance - it is actually about 20 km across the sea - you get some idea of the distance from the photos below.  The coal terminal is very large and has another terminal owned by a different company immediately on the other side of it.

The two islands in the distance are appropriately named Round top and Flat Top!  There used to be a lighthouse on Flat Top and up until 1940 all shipping coming to Mackay anchored off this island,  Lighters carried cargo and passengers from there to a jetty in Mackay.  There was great rejoicing when the man made harbour was finally opened.

I love these beautiful old paper bark (Melaleuca) trees on the foreshore at Far Beach.  When our children were small, there used to be a playground amongst them and we had many happy hours there.  The playground has been moved to the other side of the road now.

Today was a perfect winter day and there were dozens of people walking their dogs in the late afternoon.
the photos should all enlarge if you double click on them

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Birthday party and some garden snaps

I have had a wonderful morning today - there was a birthday party for ten year olds organised as part of the celebrations for our Botanic Gardens.  Thirty children registered and they had a fantastic time.  I was supervising a treasure hunt in the shade garden where the kids had to look for all sorts of interesting plants and butterflies etc.  Other activities included planting a seed in a pot (to take home later) and then decorating the pot, fence painting, negotiating a maze, and various outdoor games.  The very last activity was to decorate cup cakes with icing and a variety of bits and pieces - then eat the results!!  There were some sticky messes to clean up later, but what fun.  I am glad there were no more than thirty, that was enough chaos.

We were so lucky with the weather - Miserable misty rain set in about 5 minutes after the cakes were distributed!  The kids were so creative with their decorating too.

 This lovely Costa Potierae is flowering in the Shade Garden, a closeup below

 I have a Sasanqua camellia in my garden which has been there for about forty years and I keep threatening to dig it up and remove it.  Then I get a few lovely blooms like this and it is spared for another year.
 My tree begonias are giving a bit of bright colour and the Whitfieldia below is wonderful for providing flowers for the house.
Watering and taking a few photos is as much gardening which will be done by me till sometime in August.  I can't risk getting any cuts or scratches at this stage, no broken skin is allowed in surgery.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

A workshop and a question

No photos today.  I have spent most of the day at a workshop learning bookbinding techniques, and now I feel quite exhausted.  We had a lot of fun, but the room was remarkably quiet a lot of the time, even though there were 14 people working away - we were all concentrating hard!  We made a sample book using Japanese stab stitch, another concertina book (can't remember what the stitching technique was called) and then made (?) a book using Coptic stitch.  We were using a very heavily waxed thread and I got into all sorts of trouble with tangles in it - I have almost but not quite finished the book, but at least I know what I am supposed to be doing and I will unpick and finish it properly over the next few days so I can understand what I am supposed to do.  I am not sure if I will ever use that technique anyway, the other two look more like me I suspect.

Our email address has changed and I have been trying to find out how to alter this on my registration with blogger - and getting more and more frustrated.  I think I have finally changed my email address for notifications, but perhaps one of my readers knows something more than I do and can help me out.

We had a couple of miserable days during this week which produced some welcome rain, but now we have glorious sunshine and pleasant days - just the right weather for gardening and I am not game to get out there for anything more than watering.  I managed to get three large skin tears early this week, which my doctor says should be completely healed before the end of June.  I hope so as there will be no knee surgery if I have even a small cut - hence the reason I need to be so careful in the garden.  The branches of shrubs seem to leap out at me as I get older and my skin gets thinner.  At least with the cooler weather the weeds are not growing quite so fast.  Hopefully I will have some photos to show soon.