Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Signs from another time

The other day I was wandering around the area near my house and for the first time I noticed this sign.

Crazy what you see when you stop looking at the footpath! Isn't that name fantastic? It conjures up a whole different era doesn't it?

So I made an effort to look up more around the neighbourhood, and was rewarded with this gem.

I love the irony of a peeling painted sign advertising long-lasting paint. Mind you, I'm sure it's been up there for decades! Also, how wonderful is that red nextdoor to the sign?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Backcountry escape

Last weekend a friend suggested that we go skiing for the week. I explained that I had essays due, deadlines approaching, etc. and that it probably wasn't a great idea. Then I did what I normally do when confronted with such a situation, and decided to work myself ten times as hard in the few days on either side of the trip and do it all. Last Monday involved crazy amounts of rushing around all over town handing in 10,500 words of assessment and hiring skis, but it was definitely worth it. We set out late, arriving in Mansfield after midnight, and then the next day drove up to the mountains for some backcountry skiing.

Mark skiing.

We didn't see a single other person until we returned to Mansfield on Friday. We skied on wonderful snow along tracks used by four wheel drivers in summer. We camped on summits with beautiful views. We talked about the world, the environment, what we plan to do with our lives, moments that have changed us, why we only ever eat alfalfa when we're hiking - you know, all the important stuff.

One of our campsites.

I love the similarity between the lines of the trees and clouds.

My mum's favourite tree - snowgums.

You can just see Mt Buller in the background to the right of the tree.

For some reason my shins got really sore and swollen, so we camped in one spot for two of the nights so I could rest and ice them. This is how I spent the day:

Making cups of tea.

The morning's teabag, ready for re-use.

Reading old favourites.

The perfect week to counteract being locked in a study for weeks finishing essays!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Between the passing showers

I snuck out to take some quick snaps in the demi-second of rain-free weather so that I could show you the evolution of my funny little coconut pot:

Some string, knots, and I've got a funny little hanging coconut pot.
It's quite nifty, they hang off odd little nails along the fence where I can admire them. A word of warning though, they dry out very quickly, so I've only managed succulents in them, everything else has carked it too quickly.

Another great ideas for quirky pots are Claerwen's op-shopped wooden bowls over at Home Girl, I definitely want to give that project a shot!

My housemate recently gave me this book:

The Thrifty Gardener, by Alys Fowler

It has some fantastic ideas that are right up my alley, even if I have doubts about whether I'll manage to find such glamourous boxes to recycle.

Lovely photography as well, sorry the re-photographed photos aren't quite as impressive!

Alys also had a blog over at the BBC Gardeners' World, she's wrapped it up now, but to be honest, I think the book's better! There's a few other projects in it that I want to try, if I do I'll put some shots of them up.

And finally, I just thought I'd include a shot of what I'm looking at this week.

I read somewhere that having fresh flowers nearby had been proved to help creativity, and I thought my essays would benefit from some creativity. Instead, I think my procrastination methods may have got a little more creative! Not sure about the actual essays though. Hmmm.

Friday, June 5, 2009

You think you know someone, but then

Take my nice succulent here:

Nice, squat little succulent.
And then one day it suddenly hits something like adolescence.
It gets all leggy.

And starts brandishing brightly coloured make-up around.

Next thing I know I'll be driving it home from parties in a car that smells like a brewery while it tries to enunciate each word very clearly as proof that it's not under the influence.

Elsewhere in the garden, suddenly the Spoon Lilies decided to flower this year, and now have bright red fruit too. (Their leaves are the ones in the header - they're one of the only things that reliably grows in our garden other than weeds. Seems a strange choice on their behalf given that they're native to warm, tropical areas, which is so far from Melbourne right now!)

And my vegie patch is putting in a valiant effort at growth.

Poor plants barely stand a chance against the aphid infestation, crap soil which the plane tree in front of our house constantly sends fibrous roots up into, and wan sunlight.

A passerby said to me the other day 'I always admire your garden, it's so fantastic what you're doing'
'Are you kidding me?' I asked, 'It's totally infested with caterpillars and aphids!'
'But at least you're trying' she answered.
And even if it's not as produce-filled as all the gardens of so many other bloggers, at least I know many more people in my local community now because they stop for a chat while I'm out the front gardening and ask about my vegie patch, and talk about their vegie patch, or the vegie patch they're thinking of starting. (One guy told me that they'd converted an unused laneway into a vegie garden, but I've looked high and low for it, almost to the point of trespass, and I can't find it.) So if nothing else, maybe it's inspiration for others to consider planting vegies in their front garden. I think they probably look at mine and think 'No matter how bad mine is, it's at least going to be better than that!'