Sunday, 28 June 2015

Some colour in the garden

One of the advantages of living in the tropics is that there is still a lot of colour in the garden even in winter - or what is supposed to be winter!

 I have pots of bedding begonias all round the garden.  I love them as they keep on flowering for months on end and always look so cheerful.  When they finally succumb to wet feet they are easily replaced.
 The nodding violets have also been flowering for months.  Bill downloads all my photos for me and he never edits them so you see all the background rubbish because I can't crop them - or I haven't yet worked out how to without my photo editing programme which will not work on this computer unfortunately.
 The zygocactus on the back verandah has been flowering its socks off, but the couple in the greenhouse are only just starting to flower now.  I am not sure what the difference is, but we are enjoying them for longer.
I had to take this photo last night - an improvised wind shield!!!  We have been having very strong winds which interfere with cooking on the BBQ more than somewhat.  I was cross that Bill had not disposed of the cartons when we purchased three new office chairs, but he knew there was a reason why - he can always find a reason to hoard everything!
The wind is still almost gale force today, with occasional showers, but the forecast for rain earlier in the week was wrong.  The three day show was held in brilliant sunshine - really great for those who wanted to attend.
Now I had better get some lunch.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Better late than never

I have been trying to do this post for several days but at last I am here!  The Friends of the Gardens finally made an excursion to a local beach an hour's drive north of Mackay.  The day was fine and the wind was not too strong so we were all happy.

 A friend took most of these photos.  This is a blue tiger butterfly feeding on snakeweed flowers.  We get huge swarms of these butterflies in the Gardens quite often, they make a lovely show.
 We had a park ranger in the group, who said this is the case of a cicada larva.
 He also identified this gorgeous tiny bat as a northerrn tube nosed bat, it would fit in the palm of your hand easily.
 There were a couple of young children in the group so John was explaining to them how the hooks on the legs of this caterpillar, one of the swarming locust varieties, work.  i would like him to have killed it then, but i don't think he did!
 Just showing you what some of the vegetation looked like
 There were quite a few melaleucas flowering
 One minute you are in dense scrub, then a few steps further on you break through to the beach!
 Of course we had to eat after all the walking! The Seaforth Progress Association has erected some wonderful BBQ shelters and picnic tables for everyone to use - they even have lights so can be used at night.
There were two of these lovely Burdekin ducks wandering round and round the shelter, obviously hoping someone would throw them some bread.  Usually they are quite shy, but not this pair - sorry there is only one in the photo.

The weather continues to be quite crazy and still not cold - or not for most people anyway.  Minimums have made it down to 14, which is much higher than the maximums I have been reading on the weather chart for Tasmania!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

How I see the world

I thought you may like to see images of the technology that lets me read and be able to communicate with the world.

This is my computer with the 30 inch screen which has a very high definition.  I can change the colours on t he screen, but for reading text I usually have yellow text on a brown background.  The keyboard is a special one to go with the software and when I want to look at photos I can press a button and the screen has normal colours.  Photos do look rather strange in the colour scheme above!  There is a very convenient wheel on the left side of the keyboard which allows me to magnify or decrease the size of what I am viewing.  There are also lots of other buttons to change bits around which I have never really learned how to use - probably because I am comfortable with what I am doing.  You learn what you need, then get lazy!  I have learned to do  a lot of scrolling however as what you are seeing in the screenshot above is only half the page.  Bill goes crazy trying to whiz across the page but I have got quite used to it.  Fortunately I was always a fast reader.

This next gadget is my wonderful portable scanner called a Zoomax.  It fits in my handbag so I can take it to the library and continue with my voluntary work in the history room there.  As well as magnifying the tesxt you can change the background colour to the yellow which is showing here, or reverse the background - white text on black background.

I don't often use this facility, but I can plug the Zoomax into the AV on the TV so it really magnifies then.  I can also take a snapshot  to capture a piece of information like a phone number which I have looked up in the directory and I can save till I have dialled the number.

Lastly, here is the scanner which sits on my kitchen table and which I use every day.  So far I only use pretty basic operations on it, but there are all sorts of different operations available if my eyesight deteriorates.  I do the crossword each morning while having breakfast and that is an interesting exercise.  I am reading a vertical surface while writing on the horizontal surface below - sometimes takes a few seconds to locate where I should be writing!  I also never see a whole crossword so I need to remember a bit more - and my brain is not always working as well as I would like it to.  They do say that mental activity keeps the brain working, but perhaps I am not doing enough some days!
Thank goodness for modern technology.
I had hoped to post some photos of an excursion planned for the Friends of the Gardens.  We should have visited a local beach last Saturday to see some interesting plants but the weather was against us - cold, wet and windy!  At least we received some useful rain - 19 mm on Saturday and 21 mm on Sunday. We have rescheduled for next Saturday so are hoping for fine weather then.  I am rather doubtful as the temperature is far too warm.  I am writin this dressed in a T shirt and shorts - and this is mid June!!!