Saturday, February 28, 2009

Galaxy #1221Z3 meets LG U990

Long Story Short:
Cell phone contract ended
Got new phone with new contract
Added one of my beads to new phone
We all lived happily ever after
The End

Totally groovy bead Im so glad I kept for myself, I loved making Galaxy beads.

I miss making beads! Beady types will notice how dodgy the wire wrapping is. I could hardly believe how difficult such a simple thing has become with these hands of mine, even with dead soft wire. But Im pleased I got it done and can now enjoy this little fellow. (9 x 14 mm)

Totally groovy phone, totally! I would gush about it in more detail, but we arent that sort of blog. Will say this, IT ROCKS!

I do find I spend alot of time playing with the little fishy...he swims around on the screen on his own, but if you touch the screen - he swims over to investigate. My goodness, I am too easily entertained these days.

PS: Ces- I had the macro out to shoot shells with the same day I took these shots - will have them up shortly!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Turdus, full of it!

Twenty five minutes to get it down and keep it there. Epic!

But it was five minutes more before this youngster would attempt flight.

When he took to wing, still exhausted, he could only achieve enough lift to drag his toes along the ground! And that only for six feet where he landed under the neighbors car.

I dare say he would have had to climb a tree to roost for the night.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Little Turdus gets some 'grub'

It took this young blackbird 25 minutes to get this huge curl grub down, and keep it down. (Dont worry, you only have to see it go down once, but we do have Part II tommorrow.) I think a more experienced bird would have let this monster go.

Blackbirds are introduced to Australia. I HATE their incessant rearranging of the bark mulch in the garden, but I LOVE their song. If you pass by my home, you may see me sweeping the bark from the pathways and back into the gardens, stopping occasionally to shake my fist at a blackbird and mutter various names at it.

Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) at Wiki.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hollyhock, Chaters Double

Late to the party, is a Chaters Double Hollyhock. I had just resolved myself to this one not blooming this year, and POP! Off it went. I love the fluffy texture of the fresh blossoms, but do not particulary relish how tatty they look shortly thereafter, as you can see.

This is another surprise in seed buying on ebay. Its supposed to be a single pink. And if you remember, the single pinks were supposed to be reds. Round it went, good thing I am well and truly over having planned themes/colours for the garden.

Recent rain has put Mother Nature in the mood to grant me a reprieve in the garden. Many seedlings are erupting throughout the bare patches. This is the absolute beauty of allowing some plants to set seed, as opposed to diligenly dead heading everything.

So far Ive spied seedlings of hollyhock, nasturtiums, cosmos, sweet pea, and salvia farinacea (a real favourite of mine). With just a bit of care and a little weather luck, we will be lush and lovely again in no time.

I invite you to join me now, in a sigh of relief. Ahhhhh.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How tiny are they?

Compared to a regular sized honey bee, pretty darn tiny! This fellow was collecting pollen, whilst his Mates were drinking nectar. He let me get very, very close, but I needed to get a little closer for better clarity.

However, each time I advanced he flew off the the next flower. Oh well, try again another time, eh?

Macro lens experiment, December 30th.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another look -Epidendrum, Crucifix Orchid

I had resolved to write more, but...

You know, everything after but is an excuse.


In the meantime, here is another look at that red Epidendrum. One of these days I will get a shot that Im really happy with - getting closer!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dont argue with Bunya Nuts

So I dropped it, but onto the concrete first, just for a few photos!

After that I spread some of the nuts in a few spots of the garden that might foster germination. Others went into pots. With some considerable luck, perhaps we will have seedling Araucaria bidwillii to post about one day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Voice of the (Bunya) Nut

It had been sitting in a shady spot on the concrete porch landing. Now at the end of January, it was completely dried out, and very much lighter.

As I pick it up, a number of cockroaches run out. A disgusted, but alarm tinged "UGH!" escapes me. No doubt the roaches made similar exclamations, as I turf them out of thier beautiful home with flicking fingers.

Now at my leisure to study it, this orb of a nut felt brittle.

Then as I turned it over in my hands it made a sound!

A papery, urgent whisper...

"Drop me on the earth!"

We had thought we might try eating some of the seeds, but after my close encounter with its former residents, the roaches, No Thank you!
But we will attempt to germinate them as per the original plan.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Future Food: Bunya nut - Araucaria bidwillii

Collected from the road side in early December. About the size of a human head, and weighs 2 kilos, thats just shy of 4 and a half pounds!

For more information, and to see the tree these monsters come from check out Wiki's Araucaria bidwillii page.

Sorry theres no more time today - miss you all!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Grand Finale of Sun Shots

This was the best sunset ever - last shot from the series.
Argh! There was no time today to write a thing, and I dont hold much hope for tommorrow, but fingers crossed!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A few minutes later...

Another shot from the December 1st file, taken just a few minutes after yesterdays. The shot for tommorrow was taken a few minutes after this one.

I remember that evening. I was cooking dinner when I noticed how colourful the sunset was, and dashed out with the camera for a couple quick ones. The only thing that brought me back to reality was the smoke alarm going off. Dinner was charcoal, so we had a pizza delivered instead.

The colours of this shot are just as they appeared. I cant say Ive seen such a magnificent sunset - before or since!

Synopsis: Rant on digital manipulation and mis-representation of images as technically brilliant, but actually - in reality - fake! If its photoshopped, it shouldn't be presented as though it were not, and what ever happened to learning how to take a proper picture in the first place?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunset Stormcloud

A shot from last December- December 1st as a matter of fact. Thats one folder culled and archived...only 34 more to go. Oh. Yeah. And whats still in the camera.

Guess I should not try a low light self portrait shoot tonight.

Oh, okay. Maybe.

Oh, ALRIGHT!!! But not untill after you cull at least three more folders!

(Aw, Geeze!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Another hidden world under our noses

If you saw yesterdays picture, you see how these little wonders get missed. Each individual flower is tiny. Yet, stick a macro lens up to them and - Whoa! Did you ever imagine such a far out and freaky flower?

But Wait, Theres More ~
Welcome our new Alien Overlord!

Check it out! Bees love this plant, but me personally, I dont think Id stick my head in there and let it tickle my just seems - dangerous to me.

I think these were the first things I shot with the macro. It is not a top of the line lens, (Optex OVL311 Wide angle/Macro Video Lens, with the wide angle segment removed). In addition, it was meant for use on a (video) film camera, not my digital (still) Canon. But it simply screws onto the front of my Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II lens, so how could I resist having a go?

All things considered, the shots are great. But since Im the one that took them, I mostly see where they could be better. Then again, these flowers arent flat. So with this lens, getting every element in focus is, well, probably never going to happen.

Hey, I still get to have alot of fun trying while I save up the big bucks that more suitable equipment will require. And no, if the government gives me any 'economic stimulus money' I wont be using it for photo gear - it wouldnt be enough anyway!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Catnip, Nepeta cataria

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) has terribly interesting flowers to top its furry leaves and square stems. I had a big session with catnip flowers one day with the Macro lens, so I will find a close up of them for tommorrows post.


It is 415pm Saturday evening as I write this. Its been a long grey day with plenty of welcome rain. As I look out the window, I notice the lawn is sending green shoots up. Im afraid The Most DH will have to mow that later this week.

Oh but so cold! I had to dig out my trusty sweatsuit and ugg boots first thing this morning. Ive actually brought in wood to have a fire tonight, this has been one crazy summer, weatherwise.

Not normally a summer dinner dish, but tonight Im making Chilli.

This is so dreadfully mundane, its stultifying. Perhaps Id best leave it till tommorrow? See you then.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lavender on Valentine's

Ah, its Valentines day, isnt it? You know, Ive never been a big fan of it. Reasons varied over time. Many years I was in relationship(s) involving little sincere affection, and other years Id just happen to find myself single each February 14th. Im sure many of you have been there, done that and bought the T-shirt.

Oh! Blah! Blah! Blah! You all know Im quite cynical when it comes to Popular Culture and Social Norms, its just the way I am!

Which is not to say, that IF The Most DH arrived home from work with flowers or chocolate, that I would be cross with him. Au contraire, mon Écouter!

But there is always chocolate in our pantry, and the flowers in our garden smell sweeter than any florist's.

Nothing out of the ordinary needs be done today, since we love each other so well every day. We make it a point to, as it took us such a very long time to find one another.

We hope you find yours too. There really is someone for everyone out there. Be good to yourself!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Quite nearly fifteen minutes of fame

Did you know that Fiona Wyllie, hostess of the ABC Radio Show Statewide, Mid North Coast NSW has been doing a daily segment on bloggers and blogging? Well, I didnt. Darn it!

But yesterday I had the very great pleasure of being interviewed by her for the show. She was absolutely delightful to talk to, and put this Nervous Nellie quickly at ease. If you are anywhere in the vicinity of NSW's Mid North Coast today, I highly recomend you tune in to the ABC at 2pm.

If youre not in the listening area for the show, why not check out Fiona's blog? Im adding her to my reader now.

Thank you Fiona for the opportunity to talk with you and your listeners, Cheers!

Well, after that excitement, who can concentrate? Ciao Bellas!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gigs, Glaciers, Hostages, Fiction!

Well there has been no time to see to the computer's creaking joints as yet.

As a matter of no interest to you whatsoever: on Feb lst I had 9.75 GB of photo data yet to be reviewed (culled). With files coming in and a few managing to be reviewed, as at Feb 10th I have that down to 8.32 GB. When I have finished reviewing all the files to date, then they are archived on two separate backup devices.

So officially speaking, glaciers retreat faster than I can process my photowork. Now thats a joke that was ALOT funnier before Global Warming began to get so much press.

(Here I went on for several paragraphs about how given the slightest provocation, I pick up the camera and run off to shoot. As opposed to sitting here and deciding which shots I will keep or delete. Are you sitting tensely on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, feeling your heart race, rapt in the deepest fascination you have ever experienced? Oh well, sorry! I deleted that bit already.)

Anyhow, another day abbreviated by a doctor. This time The Most DH played the part of the patient, and I the attentive spouse. Makes a change, I can tell you!

An MRI of the knee, after an Xray of the head (to check they really did get all the metal out of that eye from a shed building fiasco some years ago). Now, funny, you have to wait several days for the results - it used to be a few hours - now you must call back in a few days and see if they really are ready...THEN we can return to the specialist....well, really! I had better leave it there before I get started about Public Health (and no, I dont think Private is any better - but enough!)

I only bring it up as being captive in the waiting room allowed me some time to read a book! Yes, time to read a book! And the other amazing and unusual thing about this occurrence is, I brought fiction! FICTION! I hardly ever read fiction anymore. It was a lovely treat.

Not content to just shoot things, lately I cant help but scan them as well. You will recognize the fronds from previous posts. Here one is newly bloomed - still regally purple, while the other has been transformed to the colour of wheat with age and the sun.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gone to seed

The hollyhocks have gone to seed, and with plenty of summer left, are sprouting again from the base of the plant. These new spires are miniatures of the original, but anything that will blossom now is most welcome. Its long past time to plant some annuals for the autumn...Ive been so slack in the gardens these last couple busy persuing other goals, like chasing my tail.

I have undertaken to re-organize the studio/office. Silly me! So much hoarded art/craft material from so many projects. Many unfinished pieces in several mediums, all celebrating anniversaries that make me feel old.

I am salvaging what I can, and giving away anything still useable. Not knowing if or when I may have an improvement to my hands makes me think its the best thing to do - divest myself of all the haunting "Someday I will ... " stuff and just get on with what I am able to do.

Now my poor computer groans under the weight of gigs and gigs of pics...I suppose it's welfare will be the next project.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So, anyway. About Bees...

Before I found myself in Bitter-rant Land yesterday, I was considering with some esteem, our friends, The Bees.

I also expressed a sincere longing for a deeper understanding of them, their families, their classifications, their plant and social preferences etc etc, just before plunging into a desultory despair of disquietude re: my lacking omnipotency.

Anyhow, here is what I know:

The rose's leaves have been carved by a Leaf Cutter Bee. This bee could be considered either a vandal, or an artist. The leaf discs will be used in her brooding nest. The Leaf Cutter Bee belongs to the genus Megachile.

Here is what I do not know:

Is she solitary? What does she look like? Does only the female cut the leaves? What would her brood nest look like? Where is it likely to be? Do they have a sting? Why can I never catch them in action carving up the leaves? Would I mistake her for one of the super fast Blue Banded Bees, who often escape the camera's gaze?

One day when my molecules have rejoined the cosmos, perhaps then I will know it all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

So many bees... little time. I see so many different types of bee in my gardens, and Id love to know who they are. Dang, I was just at the library today! Ah well, even if they have something, it wont be on the shelf where it is supposed to be.

I used to get very worked up looking for books that the computer says are there on the shelf, but arent. Now, I just reserve them online, and let the "librarians" spend all day looking for them.

That must be why they have to have a "certificate*" in "library science" before they can be hired. Is it thier credentials that help them to find books?! Even if they didnt know where to shelve them in the first place?

I have also given up correctly shelving books that I find out of order while looking for ones I am after. It seems to me that if I use my Powers for good, I get no work of my own done.

I did not mean this to turn into a library rant, but, how cathartic.

* "certificate" in Australia = "diploma" elsewhere.
And yes, you must have one in order to be even a lowly Library Assistant. What a crock!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Feb 8th

Last week south of Sydney they had a heat wave, today it arrived here. Have the physical strength of melted wax. Spent the day languidly moving from task to task. Several times I donned a minimum amount of clothing to venture outside and mist the budgies. Immediately stripping off again once inside.

Survival is the name of the game today, I wonder how long we are in for.

I do not know the name of this lovely rose, I bought it bare rooted and labelled 'Iceberg', which clearly, it is not. Ah well, shes pretty nonetheless.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Crocosmia and World Domination

I suspect they are becoming an invasive weed here around Sydney, as I have begun to see them all along roadsides in numbers which suggest a gathering of troops.

In addition to thier bullying tactics with other plants around my garden, the flowers have changed from a lucious deep solid red, to this sort of red-ish and orange affair, which are pretty enough - I admitt! But not the glorious red that won me over. Most likely the colour change indicates that these were a hybrid, which now is reverting to one of its parents types - and 'showing thier true colours' so to speak.

I will most likely be eliminating these after flowering this season, so lets enjoy them now.

More info:
Crocosmia at Wiki
Crocosmia at BBC

Again no time to write, tis a good thing its not what Im paid to do.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pink and Pearls

I know you cant blame me for more shots of these, too lovely to limit! Although tommorrow we will probably move on.

I had hoped today (yesterday, actually), would have more time to write in. But when The Most DH suggested lunch at our favourite coffee house, well, who can say no to that? So off into Sydney we went.

Along the way we had some mints. They were round, very hard, and although indeed minty, they were not particularly nice. I said, "These are very irritating. This must be how oysters feel while they are making pearls."

Some time elapsed. At last the thing was small enough that I was able to crunch it up to smithereens. Where upon I added, "If oysters had teeth, there would be no pearls."

And thats all my time for today, see you tommorrow!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Amaryllis or Belladonna Lily

I am writing this while still a bit groggy, sorry to ramble. But my first appointment for thursday is at 745am, so a scheduled post it must be....

This year features my best ever year for blossoms of the Belladonna lily. The trick to growing these well is to not disturb them. Disturb thier roots and they will not bloom.

However, I have managed to make them happy here in a bed of iris. Now, normally you want to lift and divide your iris every couple years, and youd expect that that would annoy the Belladonnas. But since the Belladonna's bulbs are much deeper than the iris, so long as I am very very careful, I can lift the iris without disturbing the lily.

I think so long as I continue with my very careful iris care, that the lily will continue to perform splendidly. And really the Belladonna lily looks better - to my eyes anyway - with the iris's leaves around its bare stems.

You see, Belladonna lily sends its leaves up in the winter here, they do thier job and whither away. So come summer, it blooms on naked stems. Thus the common name "Naked Ladies", which sounds trashy to me. The latin is much more refined.

Northern Hemisphere readers beware! Up there Hippeastrums are often sold as Amaryllis, they are in fact not the same thing at all, FYI.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Still drowsy - back to bed for me - otherwise well and still have all the bits of me I wanted to keep - Hooray!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spying more splendour, through the grass

Now looking through fronds of the Purple Fountain Grass, we spy a jerry-built bird bath, and our next mark.
Today is the day for the surgery I mentioned here (#12), so I may well be seeing the world as through a veil today. Anaesthetic and I have a complicated relationship. If you dont hear from me tommorrow, dont wait. Its a public hospital...Okay, well, dont worry unless Im gone a really long time. But seriously, I should be fine and surfing the net nearly as soon as I am discharged. See you there!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Purple danced with the Roses

For me, part of the allure of the grasses is the way they give another voice to the air. The sounds grasses make with a breeze, or gale. The air and the grasses sing a duet, and they dance it as well. Iam easily entranced by thier interaction, and sorely long to join them. I dont think I belong in the suburbs. I feel smothered by the people, and cut off from the spirit of the Earth. In my front yard here in the suburbs, I dont feel free to cast off my fetters and dance with the wind and the grass. I am living in the wrong time, arent I? And speaking of time, I must run again - pity, what I had to say here could have been alot more eloquent but for the want of time.

If no one is looking, go dance with the grasses!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pennisetum Advena Rubrum, Purple Fountain Grass

Purple Fountain Grass, Pennisetum Advena Rubrum. A fabulous specimen, and the plant that made official my love affair with grasses. I had managed to acquire a much longed for Miscanthus Zebrina last year, but its been rather dissappointing. I paid $26 for said Zebrina, and only $16 for the Purple Fountain. Get the Purple!

Things have been so busy lately that, when I go out in the morning, Ive been meeting myself coming back. Today I have a couple hours I can spend with the computer, although they are not all strung together. So I am attempting to post via the Installment Method, a sentence here and half a paragraph there - as time and brain cells allow.

Therefore, although there may be content here, it may best suit those with short attention spans. If you find yourself confused....Oh look! A possum!

Iam still at a loss as to what to blog about. Still have the question looming in my mind about where I am going with all of this, but Thanks to you, I no longer wonder if there is any value in doing as I have done. (MWAH!) Thats been a gift to me. Id much rather entertain than well, bore, I suppose.

So, we might have a bit of a catch up in the garden photo-wise, but while I do that I may try to write more. Or I may not. Its very hard to say right now, what with the whole spinning around chasing my tail thing shortening my attention span. (Possums?)

There are literally hundreds of shots backlogged for culling and cropping and sorting - Oh My! I will have to either stop shooting (GASP!) or get on with the rather more tedious business of housekeeping (GROAN!) ...

At that last ellipsis moment, as I was staring at 544 shots of Honey on a Plate in the Sun, The Most DH suggested we go for a ride. It took precisely one milliseconds consideration. "I will cancel my 3 o'clock." Soon we were off.

I brought along the camera of course, but we didnt go anywhere exciting or new or see sights that merited leaving the air conditioned Rover - except one.

I am working on two different series of photos behind this blog. They are more social commentary than fine art. Well, I guess that depends on what one considers - either, really. I only mention this as the shot I did get today makes an official start to the second series. Which is exciting for me, to come out of the conception phase and into the actual work.

So, garden shots! Here is a lovely, fresh shot of my Purple Fountain Grass. Shot from below to emphasize that glorious golden summer morning sun, before it got too hot to bear being outside. I love the lens flare I got from the angle, although it is hard to see at this size.

Enjoy your day! If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, I wish you warmth! For the Southern, cool!