Sunday, 31 May 2015

Gardening matters - and some very large prawns

My orchids are flowering again, with absolutely no help from me. That is the sort of orchid I like - they hang under the tree and occasionally get watered!

The photo is not wonderful as they hang very close to the ground and I am not very good at getting down low!

The cardinal creeper is also putting out lots of flowers which the honeyeaters and the bees a
all love.  They have such a lovely shiny  .surface to the flower.

This next photo was taken several m months ago.  The bromeliad flowers are looking very sad now and I would really like to cut them off and trim up the plant....But...the sunbirds and my native bees are still in there every morning so the sad plants remain. 

This, however is one branch of the Abelia which was definitely pruned off - after Bill had taken to it with the pest spray.   He did not think there were many wasps there, but well over 50 flew out into the spray - and hopefully died. one had died earlier after it stung me - ouch!

Now to the prawns.  A friend of ours brought these monsters back from Cairns.  I have no idea what variety they are, but they are the largest prawns I have ever seen, and they are not as large as some he brought last year.  I fried them in some clarified butter and lime juice - they are nice but we both prefer the smaller tiger prawns.  We would not dream of offending him by rejecting the gift though.

I hope you have all enjoyed your weekend.  This is the last official day of Autumn here, but it feels like mid summer.  I believe it is due to turn very cold in Brisbane overnight so perhaps we will have a cold snap by Tuesday. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A birthday present

Twelve years ago this weekend, our Botanic Gardens officially opened.  The Friends have just purchased a Golf Buggy for Staff and Friends to use around our extensive grounds.  Fortuitously it was ready to hand over in time for a celebratory morning tea.

We invited some of out Councillors to come along and do the honours unwrapping the buggy - after we had wrapped it (in a cover we have bought for it) and decorated it with streamers!
Everybody is thrilled with the present.  I have sat in it but Bill has been for a ride already!
The paper work and regulations we had to work through to donate this to the council were unbelievable, and we are still not completely sure we will be allowed to take members of the general public for a ride - something to do with the limited registration which we have paid.  Volunteers are okay, we are covered by a different insurance! 
The volunteers who usually have to wheel heavy trolleys with water cans on to water new  plants in areas without reticulated water will be dancing with joy - they can load up the golf buggy and travel half a kilometre or more in style.
 Autumn has really arrived here.  Thankfully we had a gorgeous day on Friday, but since then the wind has got up and a drizzly rain with very strong winds has arrived. I had planned to spend the day in the garden, but instead I have read some blogs and put up a post as well - some achievement!
 It is just on twelve months since I lost my sight so I am getting used to what I can manage to do now, mostly by just ignoring the loss. 
 I hope you have been enjoying your weekend. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

I may or may not have some photos

We have returned from Bundaberg and I discovered that I could point and snap and I ended up with some quite reasonable photos!  I have been tearing my hair out as I followed my usual procedure and loaded all the photos, then tried to write text around them.  I am not sure if it is just blogger or my Magic software, but nothing will work - grrrrr!  When I press the space button I was taken all over the place, even to another blog which I had read this morning.  I will try to post some photos at the end of the post and hope you can see what I have been talking about.
The ladies were treated even more luxuriously e
than ever and a diet was definitely the order of the day by the end of the week!  We had wonderful lunches and dinners of local delicacies as well as (unnecessary) morning and afternoon teas.  We visited a macadamia nut factory which was really interesting.
I grew up with a macadamia nut tree in our back yard which we knew as a Queensland nut tree, and the people who lived on the coast knew them as Bauple nuts.  They are really delicious, but have a very hard shiny brown shell covered by a tough outer husk.  We used a vice to crack them, but others used a hammer and a hole in concrete!  I hope I can publish the photo of a large container of the nuts ready for exporting to china.  There someone runs a sawcut round the shell, after which the nuts are steamed and sealed in a bag which contains a small key, ready for retailing.  The customer twists the key in the sawcut to access the kernel inside - ingenious!
We also visited a seaside resort Bargarra which is now a very trendy place, full of lovely coffee shops and wonderful gift shops.  When we sat down for coffee we found a selection of small gifts in front of each or us, including a photo taken the day before of the group, attached to a little easel.  Our hosts thought of everything!
We had  a two hour cruise in wonderful weather on the Bundy Belle, sitting in the sun being wined and dined in absolute luxury without even having to move out of our seats - it was all brought to us.  There is a lot of history along the river and the Captain made it very entertaining.
The best was left to last - a cooking demo come workshop in which we all participated, then ate some of our results for lunch.  Wayne had us all chopping and slicing and peeling green prawns or stirring pots on the cooktops he had .  We made a beetroot risotto topped with scallops and prawns, figgy linme chicken, sweet potato rosti, beans with garlic and feta cheese, and a very rich dessert of pastry shells with caramel topped by a chocolate cream!
The gods certainly smiled on Bundaberg for the conference.  It finished on Thursday and the heavens opened on Friday.   There was really terrible weather from the south of the city to the north coast of New South Wales, with five people dying in raging flood waters.
We drove north in lovely sunshine!

Sorry about the shadow on the photo - not testing my luck any further!