Saturday, April 14, 2018

At Last - Rain!!!

At last the Autumn rain has arrived - and none too soon. The garden is cheering - as am I. Very high winds in some parts have caused a lot of damage with fallen trees on power  lines and many thousands of home without electricity - but I am happy.

More garden visitors for you. This time it is the turn of the honeyeaters. Some, like the New Holland are very common and I have photos aplenty, but others are much more infrequent visitors - or at least seen more rarely and much more difficult to get any photos of, let alone good photos. I do apologise for the photo quality.

This New Holland Honeyeater likes to cuddle up to a tin flamingo in the garden.

While this bare branch on the flowering cherry has long been a favourite roosting spot for a variety of birds.

These fellows had a wonderful time in the bird bath one warm, dry evening.

This is a Yellow-faced Honeyeater - we see him around, but he is shy and I have rarely been able to snap him.

This year for the first time I have seen this one - a white-naped Honey eater. This fellow is a juvenile and is yet to get the characteristic black head of the mature bird. He is recognisable for the orange skin above his eye. We have seen a mature one, but as yet I have not been able to get a shot of him.

Liz Needle

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Waiting, waiting.....

Well today the weather forecast said we had a 50% chance of rain, so we waited and waited and waited. It is now 11.15pm and we are still waiting. Maybe tomorrow..........!!

Meanwhile, on with the show.  This year we have seen so many little red-browed finches - dozens of them. Such pretty little fellows.

                                               How many can I get in one shot?

This little fellow seemed very taken with something in the bird bath. maybe himself?

We have noticed that the finches are very interested in feathers - not just for their nests, but at times they seem to be playing games with them. One will find a feather and fly around with iit, pursued by another who will then steal the feather and play with it. Very funny to watch the antics.

They are very fond of our wine barrel fish pond and will sir on the edge to drink, then hop onto the water lily leaves and walk across the pond. Unfortunately as soon as I get the camera out, they fly off. I was able to get a close up of this handsome boy.

More birds next time.

Liz Needle

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Still No Rain

here we are well into April and we are still waiting for it to rain. I have been so busy keeping water up to the garden that I seem to have neglected all the other things I had planned to do. Now that Bowls is over for the season, perhaps i will be able to get on with it all.

One of the few positives to come out of this extended dry spell is that we have had an unprecedented number of birds visiting the garden - probably for the constant supply of water in the bird baths and   the extra seed we are putting out.

Each day we are visited by a family group of 9 Superb Fairy Wrens - one of them a little male who has gradually been getting his blue colour. We have had up to 40 red-browed finches at a time, numerous New Holland Honeyeaters as well as several Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and White-naped Honeyeaters and others which I am too slow to identify. For the first time in several years we have reasonable numbers of Sparrows and while they are not indigenous, we have missed their cheery presence.

We have had many other species as well, but the wrens will do for today.

These feisty little females are my favourites. So cheeky have they become that they come right up to our chairs while we sit on the veranda. Unfortunately as soon as I go off to get my camera, they disappear!! I love the long spindly legs the youngsters have.

This is the little male who is gradually colouring up.  I was watching him last week as a mature male encroached on the front lawn. The youngster sent him on his way in no uncertain manner.

Here his colour is just starting.

Below is the mature male who was sent on his way.

Liz Needle

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hot, hot, hot

Well, summer has certainly hit here. Second day of temperatures over 40 degrees and the days before and after were and will not be a lot cooler. A week ago we had cool weather and rain and we played Lawn Bowls in the wet - the Saturday before that Bowls was cancelled because the temp was over 38 degrees.

I mention bowls because that is my new addiction. I only started at the beginning of the season and I am loving it - so much so that I played on Wednesday in 36 degrees, practised yesterday in 38 degrees and am playing tomorrow in 35 degrees. Am I mad??  Well I am half English and there is that thing about "Mad dogs and Englishmen" going out in the midday heat.

Here I am in my natty uniform - I do wear long shorts in the heat, but I won't bore you by showing my ageing legs.

The garden is really suffering in the heat and we have trouble keeping water up to it. We only have one tap and with about 2 acres of garden, watering is a slow process. I am always amazed at how the plants bounce back - well some of them don't, but on the whole they survive pretty well.

The poor chooks are feeling the heat and struggle to produce eggs in this weather. Who can blame them? On Christmas Eve our little bantam "Goldie" hatched out 5 chicks. They were not her eggs but the young of our handsome Plymouth Rock rooster "Rocky" and our own hens from a couple of years ago. The chicks are voracious eaters and will soon tower over their little mother.

Rocky and some of his ladies

Last time we hatched out 4 chicks - all hens. This time we have 5 chicks,but I suspect there are at least 2 roosters there!  Decisions to be made at some stage.

Liz Needle

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Sepia Saturday 404

Such an age since I have posted, but here I am back again.  This photo was taken circa 1927 on the occasion of a fancy dress ball in a country town on the Yorke Peninsula - or possibly at Port Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula. (I'm not sure which).

My mother was a young primary school teacher from a strict family and once she left home and went teaching in the country, she had a marvellous social life. Young, bright single women were much sought after in country towns and she and her friends had many admirers among the bank clerks, stock and station agents, farmers, male teachers, doctors
and young businessmen in the local towns.

 These days their social behaviour would be very tame, but in those days some of their high jinks were deemed unsuitable for pillars of the society like teachers and several of them were hauled over the coals and transferred to other towns.

Mum is the one sitting down on the right. I'm not sure if they performed, but they certainly looked the part of gypsy musicians.

Liz Needle linking with Sepia Saturday

On This Day

..................56 years ago Elizabeth St George Hornblower and Donald John Needle tied the knot at St matthews Church, Norwood South Australia  - and in all probability their first child was conceived on that evening!!!

My bridesmaids were three friends from Teachers College - Lia Kontoupis, Kate Mahoney and Chris Wardrop. I made my wedding dress - white satin underskirt with a sheer nylon embroidered overskirt and a wide embroidered cummerbund. The girls' dresses were made by Lia's mother and were in autumn coloured floral nylon over white satin.

I was given away by my father - Austin St George Hornblower - known as Charles, but that's a long story.

Just married

Don's attendants, resplendent in hired dark suits were Francis Hornblower, Fred Needle (best man) and Bronte Schubert.

This photo shows Don , me and our parents Ron and Mavis Needle and laura and Austin Hornblower

The wedding reception was afternoon tea in Mum and dad's back yard at Norwood. We had just finished teachers College and had a year out teaching on the lowest of salaries and were as poor as church mice. I had saved up to buy the fabric for my dress and going away outfit - very expensive, a revolting hat (you had to have one!!) and shoes for both outfits. Don's savings had paid for an engagement ring and wedding rings. Mum gave us 100 pounds for the wedding and we managed on that with 10 pounds left over.

I said it was revolting! The outfit - pencil skirt and jacket was embroidered turquoise linen, which I never wore again as it was too hot in Darwin. My wedding dress was put to good use in a school production of Trial by Jury.

We couldn't afford a honeymoon, but as we were going to teach in Darwin, we figured that would do. We spent the first two nights of our married life in a tiny room at the South Brighton hotel - barely enough room for a double bed. But we didn't care. We fronted up at the Needle home for breakfast the next morning, much to the surprise of the family.

 The next five nights we stayed with Don's grandparents - in a feather bed in a heat wave!!  Don came down with a rash on his body and was most amused when the doctor asked him if he had been doing anything stressful lately - "Does getting married count?" And then off to Darwin to begin married life together!

And now 56 years later and still together!!

Liz Needle

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


This year we had a very wet, mild Spring. Great for the plants - but even better for the weeds!! I  started my spring cleaning in the garden in late August and thanks to the rainy weather I still have not got right around the garden. I must have pulled up a ton of weeds, burnt a ton of prunings and clipped miles of lawn edges - and still not finished.

The insurance company finally finished removing the huge fallen blue gum and cleaned up the area where the tree had fallen - only took them 10 months to do it. Now I have a large area of bare ground (except for a fine crop of weeds) to replant and with the hot summer months ahead, I am not keen to subject new plants to the summer heat. I bought a whole lot of stuff at the beginning of Spring as I had expected the area to be cleared by then, but the plants are still sitting in pots and I am in two minds about what to do.

But, as I said Spring was quite lovely and I would like to share some of my garden with you.

White Dogwood

Pink Dogwood


Enough for today. Enjoy.

Liz Needle

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Does anyone feel like I do in the winter - totally unmotivated and in hibernation. Our winter was reasonable mild to begin with, but the last couple of months have been cold and wet and I have spent most of my days by the fire reading, crocheting and playing internet games. All of this is quite unlike me as I am a more outdoor type, but perhaps it's age - this winter I have curled up in front of the fire and hibernated.

I did get my roses pruned and was halfway through the hydrangeas when the wet weather set in and now it's so muddy and wet underfoot, that I can't get in to the garden without sinking up to my ankles. I haven't even done any photography - the flowers look miserable and the birds, like me are keeping out of the garden.

Now there ate a few signs that Spring might be on the way. The daffodils are blooming - so bright and cheerful that it makes me feel happier with my lot. My magnolias are starting to flower and the faithful old camellias just do their thing year after year.

Liz Needle