Thursday, December 08, 2016

Still Spring

The weather man is being so kind to us this Spring with a series of beautiful mild days - perfect for gardening - and a decent rainfall every week. I have only had to water the garden once this Spring. Great for the water bill - I wish I could say the same for the electricity !!!

Some more Spring delights from the garden.

My one Rhododendron has been gorgeous - actually I have 2 of them, but only this one actually flowers properly. I have always struggled to keep rhododendrons alive - heavy clay and not enough water perhaps. Anyhow, this one has thrived.

I do love the Phildelphus. The flowers are so delicate and pure.

And the roses have excelled themselves - but please don't ask their names - I am hopeless at remembering names.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Floral Friday Fotos".

Friday, December 02, 2016


We waited a long time for Spring this year and although the heavy rains were welcome, they have made a lot of work in the garden Every vaguely sunny day I have been out weeding, cleaning up the remains of the bulbs, doing lawn edges and tidying after winter. Now Spring is here and almost gone and I still have to clean up the later bulbs, lay mulch, another weeding and a lot of Spring pruning.  Nevertheless, despite the weeds, the garden has really put on a great display.

Early in Spring, the irises were really gorgeous

The prunus showed its Spring coat

The dogwood looked stunning

 The crab apple looked like a bride in her lovely gown

The magnolia looked a dream

The tulips popped up among the bluebells

And the aquilegias came up all over the place

I do love the garden in Spring. Still more to come next time.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Floral Friday Fotos".

Wild Bird Wednesday

I recently spent 5 wonderful days on holiday with a very dear cousin, Margaret and her husband in Melbourne. We wandered through Botanical Gardens, visited Heronswood - home of the Diggers Club -and caught up on years of memories.

John, her husband is a very keen birder, so we were constantly stopping to look, exclaim and snap - with pleasing results. It is so enlightening to walk with someone who knows birds. I am determined to go back and spend some time in John's favourite birding haunts - my birding tends to be limited to our garden.

I will post photos of the gardens later, but here are some of the bird shots I was able to capture.

Black-fronted Dotterel taken at Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens. The shot is not as clear as I would like, but it was taken at a very long range.

A baby Dusky Moorhen. His siblings were off having a great time with mum and he was on his own. He was being harassed by a couple of silver gulls. The next two shots were taken at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

This was very cute. This baby Purple Swamphen was chasing his mother everywhere for a feed, constantly getting under her feet. He was lucky not to be stomped on.

One of my favourite little birds - Superb fairy-wren  - so photogenic. This little fellow and his mate were in coastal scrub at Mentone.

And probably my favourite shot of the holiday. Taken at the Mornington Pier, these guys are proof positive that either birds can't read or that they refuse to follow the rules of man.

Thanks for reading this blog. For more great bird and outdoor shots please visit

"Wild Bird Wednesday"  and "Outdoor Wednesday".

Liz Needle

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sepia Saturday - Four Wheels and an engine

  My final post on this theme. Now for the motorized transport in the family album.

This first shot was taken on the old Batis family property, Daisy Dell, at Nackera which is north of Peterborough in the north of South Australia. The property belonged to my husbands maternal great grandparents. This was taken some time in the late 20s I would think. Have to say they are rather elegantly dressed for the outback. That Number 78 number plate would be worth a lot of money these days.

Here we have a travelling sales rep who was visiting from Peterborough. The gentleman in the white hat is possibly my husband's great uncle. Who knows. Nothing is recorded on the photo.

This photo, taken in the thirties is of my grandfather who was a nurseryman. The nursery still exists, run by his grandsons - my cousins. I love the phone number - ours have 8 numerals

In the forties, my husband's father ran a small mixed farm and also a transport business. He had six sons so I guess he needed several jobs to support them. We saw him in an earlier post driving a horse drawn cart and a sheep.

 I am cheating a bit on this one. This is not our actual car, but in 1955, my father purchased a 1951 Humber Super Snipe - our first family car. Dad was a proud 'pommie' (Englishman) and having come from a well to do family in England, he always wanted the best he could afford, so when he went off to buy a small family car, this is what he came back with - much to my mother's horror as she was going to have to pay it off.

We loved the car however and felt very grand riding around in it. It had real leather seats, a wooden dashboard and a roof window that opened. I wish I could find a photo of it, but I'm not sure I ever took one, to my regret.

When Don and I started dating, neither of us had a car and so we travelled by train, tram or bus or occasionally borrowed his mother's Humber hawk. Great excitement when Don's father, now a used car salesman found us a cheap car - a 1932 B Model Ford which had been converted into a van. We painted it, decorated it, named it Jezzabel and went everywhere in it, usually with a crowd of friends piled into the back which we had fitted out with a double mattress. We loved that car and were devastated when Don's brothers (to whom he had bequeathed it when we married and went to Darwin) sold the old girl to a junk yard a few years later.

Back from Darwin in 1970 we purchased an old Holden ute to use on the farm and this became a familiar sight around the area, carrying everything from hay, to firewood, to Christmas trees, to sheep and whatever else needed moving from one spot to another

We have had many cars since then, but I have to say that the most popular vehicle we have is this one - the grand kids just love it.

Now, I have to say that this last one is not strictly one of our vehicles, but we were in this old tourist bus on Kangaroo Island in 1951 when it broke down and I happened to have my Box Brownie handy. I do enjoy this shot.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Sepia Saturday".

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday

Lots of bird type activity here this past week. We have been involved in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count for the past week and were pleasantly surprised at the number of birds we counted in the 20 minutes each day.

Species included - Australian Magpie, Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Crimson Rosella, Little Lorikeet, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Little Wattlebird, Willy Wagtail, Red-browed Finch, New Holland Honeyeater, Superb Fairy-wren, Grey Fantail, Crested Pigeon, Little Raven, Eastern Spinebill, Common Blackbird, Sacred Kingfisher, White-faced Heron, Grey Shrike-thrush, White-browed Scrubwren and our pet Emu.

Activity also on the nesting scene- but not always happy.  This year we had a number of nests attacked and destroyed including the White-faced Herons, a pair of New Holland Honeyeaters and most recently a pair of Grey Fantails. Fortunately it looks as if the Fantails are nesting again as they have been very busy collecting cobwebs from under the veranda eaves and the furry stuff off the new tree fern fronds.

I was lucky enough to get one of the Fantails to stay still long enough to get a photo. He is rather unusual in that he lacks the white chin and eye patch that Fantails usually sport. One of my bird watching friends thinks he may be somewhere between juvenile and immature - but he is one I have not sighted before. Maybe someone out there can help me out here.

Below is a brown variation of the Grey Fantail who came to visit last year. You can see the reddish chest and the buff eyebrow rather than the usual white.

And finally a Grey Fantail and the brown variation displaying in the birdbath.

Liz Needle  -  linking with 'Wild Bird Wednesday"  and 'Outdoor Wednesday' and 'Wednesday Around the World'.