Sunday, January 31, 2010

31. Rain!

The dark clouds gathered and it looked like it might rain. Over the last 15 years we have become accustomed to it looking like it might rain but it doesn't. However during the last 6 months when dark clouds appear it has rained. And so it did today. Lovely rain to dampen the dry, parched land. So dry that not much sinks in to the ground. The soil has set up an anti soaking mechanism just like a dry sponge doesn't soak up water as good as a damp one. We had thunder and lightning, Elmo and Timmy weren't too happy about this weather. The rain was loud on our metal roof, a noise we haven't heard very often.

The power went off so no TV, computers, microwaves, kettles, cooking and water. So what can we do? Play scrabble, yes we played scrabble and the game lasted long enough until the power came back on.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

30. Nineteen Eighty-Four

"1984" by George Orwell is one of the books my son Dale has to read for year 12 English. I have heard this book referred to many times but have actually not read it myself. I now intend to read it and find out why it is referred to and what is its relevance to the 1984 Apple ad. Steve Jobs said, "Was George Orwell right about 1984?"

In 1984 I had a one year old daughter and was back at work full time. My world changed and had become pivitol to my family. In fact I did not take much notice of any news or world happenings for the 80's. Having babies and young toddlers puts you in another world. You become so intensely involved with these little beings that all other things go by without you noticing or paying attention. As I had 2 children in the 80's and two in the 90's I lost 2 decades.

So 1984, will I enjoy the read or find it hard work? Anyone else read 1984?

29. Autumn Raindrops

It's still January and so in Australia it's also still Summer. In fact we have a whole one more month of summer to go. However some plants seem to think it's Autumn.
These Autumn Raindrops usually all flower at the end of February not in January. Could it be the cool nights and warm days we have been having. I have been thinking it's very like Autumn weather.
Also at school one of the huge Ash trees is beginning to turn it's leaves yellow. Anyone else see signs of Autumn?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 28, 2010

28. Boggis and Bunce and Bean

Over a road, along a track, up and down hills, through the State Forest, down the pipeline and in a valley there is a chicken farm. At certain times of the year if the wind is blowing the wrong way we can smell it, 2kms away. Wouldn't Fantastic Mr Fox like these chicken sheds. There are three massive sheds full of delicious, plump chickens.

I think of Roald Dahl's book Fantastic Mr Fox when I see these huge chicken sheds. There are three of them sprawling across the valley. I also think of the times Katherine, Carey and I travelled to Melbourne when I was completing my Bachelor of Ed in 1989-90. We would listen to Roald Dahl reading his book Fantastic Mr Fox all the way to Melbourne. (We had cassette tapes and book sets of many stories.) And from then on, I can always hear Roald Dahl's voice in my head, when I read this to children at school. Only an author knows how to read their story with the correct expression. Roald Dahl's English accent also added to the pleasing sound.

And now the movie Fantastic Mr Fox has been released I have to go and see what they have done to his story. I'm looking forward to seeing
Boggis and Bunce and Bean,
One fat, one short, one lean.

Who else might like to see the movie with me?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

27. A Bird's eye view

Ants are an important part of the bush even though we don't like them. They are the garbo's of the bush. There are many ants nests that spread around a slight mound and can be 2 to 3 litres around.

We still laugh about the time the Stewart's came to visit and Heather and Alice stood on an ants nest. City people do the darnedest things when they come to the country. We couldn't understand why they would stand on an ants nest. We tend to go around and not get them angry.

A whole kangaroo carcass can be devoured in days by ants. They circle our bins and send scouts into the house at times looking for food.

The ants were quite busy today but they weren't building towers around their nest holes. Bullants!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

26. Australia Day

Today is Australia day, however Jan 26th has also been John Clarke's birthday. John my brother-in-law would have turned 80 years old today. Sadly he passed away last September when we were up in Coolum which was his favorite place on earth. John's love of Coolum Beach has rubbed off on many of us in the family and his friends.

Australia day was also special for John as he immigrated to Australia in about 1950 from England and was naturalised as an Australian citizen in around 1981. John didn't rush into this and made sure this was a good place to live. He was very proud of being an Australian and his naturalization ceremony was quite important. All family members were instructed they had to be there at the ceremony. Trixie organised a surprise party for after but had great trouble getting John away from the ceremony refreshments and gathering. The surprise party featured good Australian pies and cans of beer.

We gathered today and had a lovely lunch with friends and family and reminisced good times. Trixie made a delicious lunch that John would have loved and we all toasted his 80th.

In the photos below John is up at Coolum Beach. One is with his Charger, his favorite car. (Hey Charger! 1975?) Imagine traveling along playing Abba music all the way to Queensland. The other photo is an even younger Clarkey (as we fondly called John) and shows a very undeveloped Coolum in the background.

As this blog is stored up in the clouds maybe John will read it.
Cheers! Happy 80th John. We miss you.

Monday, January 25, 2010

25. L's

We've had a learner driver in the family for quite a few months. (Dale) When we go driving we have to keep an extensive log book of all drives. In Australia learner drivers have to drive for 120 hrs in daytime and 12 hrs of night driving. In Bendigo the longest drive anywhere would be 20 mins. I wonder about city learners who sit in the traffic for 45 mins and go 5kms. We travel many kms. Perhaps the rule should be a balance between distance and kms travelled. What do you think? Is 45 mins in a car park worth 45 mins of continued driving?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 24, 2010

24. Ruby

Ruby is a new friend who is learning to go on walks. She now sits sometimes when she is told to and she is also learning to stop at roads.
Ruby is a schnowzer (not sure on that spelling) and she is 3 mths old. Yvonne her mistress is taking her to puppy school and training her. I can see some development in Ruby's behaviour.
Today we went for an 8km walk up to One Tree Hill. It is a climb to the top and was a good workout.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 23, 2010

23. Ghost gums

The ghost gums spread their branches up to the sky. There was a vivid blue sky today after yesterday's hot and windy weather. The ghost gum is actually a lemon scented gum. The leaves have a lemon smell when scrunched. We planted the tree about 20 years ago and like other gums it has grown well.

It's shedding it's bark at the moment as it does this time of the year. The garden appears to be littered with papers but it just large sheets of bark.

At other times of the year the tree has white blossom and is full of bees. When you stand under it you can smell honey.
In November the tree becomes inhabited by green parrots. They twitter and chirp from the early hours which drove Katherine mad when she was studying.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 22, 2010

22. The Flaming Sky

The sky at the end of my day taken during a bush walk with my friend Yvonne and her pup Ruby. Elmo wasn't very fussed about Ruby as she was running along crazy while Elmo just trotted along at his usual speed wemailing along the way.
It looks like flames in the sky.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 21, 2010

21. Trees in the bush.

The trees in the bush where I run are very spindly. It is hard to find any with very thick trunks. The close up picture shows a stump with many branches coming out. This is what many of the trees are like in this area.

Bendigo was originally a gold mining town. People flocked in their thousands in the 1850's when gold was found. There are many mines under Bendigo and it has been known for some backyards to collapse and expose old mines. With so many people and mines the trees all around Bendigo were cut down and used for cooking or for posts in mines.

Bendigo is surrounded by forests which sounds nice for the environment but with recent bushfires is now considered a danger.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

20. School shoes transportation

We now both have new school shoes. Simon was directed by his school to get either one of only 2 brands. Too bad if you have a stubby foot. I was lucky and can get any shoes. I like to wear shoes and socks at school as I find kids tend to stand on your toes or put a chair leg on your toes.

These shoes will be our basic transportation on most days around our
schools. This fits in with the 365project theme of transportation today.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

19. Pancakes

Simon came home from Torquay and mentioned some yummy pancakes he had while he was away. Next thing I know he's made some for his breakfast. Maple syrup, strawberries and pancakes. I think he mastered pancakes. I also think he must be growing again as he is eating a lot these days.

Tomorrow we'll be picking up his school books and dropping off his old uniform for the school to send to an overseas school where uniform is needed. The whole school has changed uniform as they amalgamated with another school and have a new uniform. It has been fazed in over two years.. This year is the year you can't wear the old uniform. Simon has one year left before he heads to Bendigo Senior Secondary College so we have a full new uniform for one year.

Bendigo Senior is a year 11 & 12 campus. All the high schools in Bendigo only go from year 7 to 10. It works out very well and gives them a more grown up atmosphere for years 11 & 12.

Monday, January 18, 2010

18. Boxing cats

So it's not boxing kangaroos this time it's boxing cats. Timmy had a visitor, Milo, Carey and Nic's kitten. Milo chased Timmy around and wanted to play. Timmy had had enough and layed around while Milo would box him. Then they would roll around on the floor together. Timmy made the most noise with lots of meows. Of course Milo still has to learn some table manners and Timmy was quite disgusted to see Milo on the table and the bench at one stage. "Young cats these days have no manners," thought Timmy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

17. Someone's trash is another's treasure

When we bought our block of land (7.75 acres) many years ago this old scarifier was found left down in a corner. So we brought it up to the front and put in the garden.
It was played on often when the children were younger. Carey enjoyed imaging it was a fire truck and taking his cousin Michael on fire rescues. Coincidentally cousin Michael (24) is now going through various tests to become a fireman.
I once gave it a coat of paint. Perhaps it's due for another coat of

Testing the dates

This is my screen shot from my iPhone to test the dates. I'm having
trouble as in Australia we are a day ahead. I have to work out when
the new day begins so when I post it's the right day and number pic so
the numbers match. So here goes, let's see.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

16. Cricket afternoon tea

"Mum I need afternoon tea for cricket"
That's what Dale said on Friday evening. So I made chicken, avocado
and lettuce rolls. Thanks to subway for giving me the idea to buy
french bread sticks and make a long filled roll and then cut it into
smaller bite sized pieces. Hope the cricket guys liked them.
We are not allowed to supply any junk food and if we send cakes or
fatty food they get fined. $$$$$

Friday, January 15, 2010


Had to add Timmy to the gallery. Timmy is hot and sleeps all day in the heat. (and he sleeps all day in the cold, actually he sleeps 20 out 24 hrs a day. ) He stretches his paws out when he's hot. If Timmy is cold, he folds his paws up and will curl up into a ball. Timmy will walk along the back of my couch and rub his head on mine and meow hello.

Timmy is not allowed outside but he escapes sometimes. Our last cat was killed by a snake and cats seem to like hunting so he lives inside. We love the birds in our garden but we also like to have a cat. Cats are well known for their destressing abilities with humans. In fact studies have shown that people who have cats can live longer. But then studies have shown eating chocolate can be healthy for you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

14. White Agapanthas

There are not many flowers that survive in my garden. The agapanthas are lovely and flower in summer after Christmas at my house. You can also get blue agapanthas. Some of the agapanthas haven't flowered. I wonder why? Do they need to be fed?

I have added young gum tree leaves to the vase also. It's my new vase. A triangular vase. I like the plain straight lines of the vase.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

13. Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

Tonight I made an orange and poppy seed cake. My oven doesn't cook vey well and has trouble adjusting the temperature. Things often burn on the outside while they remain uncooked on the insdie. So the cake was cooked 20 mins before it was meant to be and it has cracks. There is an orange syrup you make and tip over the cake while it is hot and the cracks were filling up very nicely with the orange syrup.

I made the cake for lunch tomorrow as two of my teaching colleagues are coming out for lunch. First we'll have chicken and mango salad in a citrus sauce followed by the orange and poppy seed cake with vanilla yoghurt. Luckily today was much cooler so I could bake and tomorrow we should be able to sit outside for lunch.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

12. Birdbath

Originally uploaded by jjash2010
The birdbath was a very popular place this morning for many birds. We were all thirsty this morning after an extremely hot night of temps min 29-32 deg C.

This was taken with my sony HDD DCR SR47. Now I have it on a tripod it's much better. The zoom is amazing 60xoptical just have to keep it still.

Monday, January 11, 2010

11. Echidna Crossing

Originally uploaded by jjash2010
Today on my way into town I saw an echidna crossing the road. It was going quite quickly and making its way to the creek. In fact the creek is called Emu creek but there aren't any Emus there now.

Echidnas are monotremes and can swim. They need to go in the water to cool their bodies down. Every couple of years we have an echidna sighting at Epsom PS. Last year there was one digging a hole near the football posts so we put it in a box and took it down to the creek near school.

The echidna is featured on the 5 cents piece which they have been talking about eliminating from our coins. Do we need 5 cent pieces? The one and two cent pieces have gone already.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

10. Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls
Originally uploaded by jjash2010
Dale has learned how to make my sausage rolls. I believe everyone should learn one of their mother's recipes to carry on the tradition of cooking. Carey can cook scones, Katherine jelly slice ( both Carey and Katherine have learned the potato salad recipe) and Simon can make pikelets, pancakes and chocolate mug cakes. So between all my children they could cook up meal. We all start with the same recipe but we put our own signature on it. Food is a great part of family get togethers that we all enjoy so much.

9. Mum's Buffet

Originally uploaded by jjash2010
I finally moved mum's buffet in the kitchen. My father made the buffet in the 1950's and it has sat in a corner of our games room for nearly 10 years. Now it's found a home in the kitchen. Inside the buffet sits a lovely Royal Albert tea set that was my mother's pride and joy of her china ware.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

8. Shady streets in Toorak

Quiet streets
Originally uploaded by jjash2010

Today I ran 4 kms in Toorak and enjoyed the lovely shady tree lined streets. Large maple trees and oak trees line the streets. Hedges are very popular in Toorak and some are trimmed so you can still use the footpaths. It is very green and very different to my bush runs.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

7. Boxing Kangaroos

Boxing Kangaroos
Originally uploaded by jjash2010
The boxing kangaroos were in my paddock this morning and again tonight. This photo was taken with my sony video with 60xoptical zoom. It was way down the back of our paddock probably 200metres away. I had trouble holding the camera still when I took the shot. I'll have to get a tripod.

These fellas were at least 7 feet tall or over 2 metres in metric. You wouldn't want to cross their paths as they can rip you to pieces with their claws. However from a distance they are wonderful to watch. They gracefully bound away and can jump over a 2 metre fence if needed. I have added a small piece of video so you can see some action.

Kangaroos are marsupials which are mammals with a pouch. Baby kangaroos are called joeys and a group of kangaroos is called a mob.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

6. Bollards at Geelong

Bollards at Geelong
Originally uploaded by jjash2010
Today we visited Nicole and Carey (my son) in Geelong. After a lovely BBQ lunch I went for a run with Carey along the streets down to the foreshore and along past the bollards to the beach house. The bollards are wooden statues of various types. These are the lifesavers that we have on many Australians beaches who are mostly volunteers.

Volunteers do a lot in our society and are sometimes forgotten. I liked it when we had the year for volunteers as it brought volunteers out into the public arena. I think many of our volunteers are the true heroes of our world. Volunteers though, are modest and don't like to be made a fuss about as they say they get a reward from the sense of good will they receive from volunteering.

Have you ever done any volunteer work? It is amazing the good feeling you get. A feeling you can't buy but must be loaded with good endorphins.

Oh, back to the run. We ran 5.6kms and after stopping for traffic and crossing roads we made it back in 36:48secs. A bit slow but we had stops and fiddling with the iPod. There was a beautiful ocean sea breeze. Another beach I have ran along. NSW south coast my next target.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

5. Fire Bunker

Fire Bunker
Originally uploaded by jjash2010
Recently I visited Warrandyte in Melbourne, Vic Australia. Last summer there were very bad bush fires with many deaths and homes destroyed in Victoria. We have been advised to get our fire action plans ready. This family has built a fire bunker. The concrete blocks form a square tunnel to a door to a room that is under the hill that is covered in large boulders. The room has storage, lights and an air system. The family don't anticipate using this except for in an extreme emergency when they are caught as they intend to leave the area before the fire hits. The recent fires have been merciless having no rhyme or reason as to what burnt and what was left. Be prepared!

Monday, January 4, 2010

4. Wooden wren

Wooden wren
Originally uploaded by jjash2010
Blue wrens are so beautiful. They seem to like the straggliest bushes with the most prickles. Perhaps they like the protection. My cat Timmy watches blue wrens and their harems in the garden. He meows but has the glass in between himself and the wrens.

3. Kitchen viewer

Kitchen view1
Originally uploaded by jjash2010
Kitchen viewer is my new photo project. I'm hoping people around the world will upload a picture from their kitchen windows. Check it out and upload your picture. During the year I'll be uploading different pictures that will show the seasons.

2. Elmo

Elmo loves to come running with me every day. He seems very sleepy and lazy but as he is a kelpie he never runs out of energy and could run all day if needed. Kelpies are very smart dogs, obedient and loyal. Sometimes they are used on farms for rounding up sheep. Elmo turned 10 last August.

1. My running track

I run each day uphill and down dale through the Australian bush. Sometimes kangaroos, wallabies and foxes cross my path. Elmo my dog attempts to chase them but is commanded to come back to me. He will come to me if it's a kangaroo or wallaby but if it's a fox Elmo runs and is gone in a flash chasing the fox later to meet me along the bush track. Sometimes Elmo is put on the chain if he runs off.