Wednesday photo challenge – Satisfaction

July 30, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Leisure activities, Nature, Photography, wordpress photo challenge | 2 Comments
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The challenge this week: Satisfaction.

“Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from doing little things well.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I always get great satisfaction from working outside in the garden. I may just potter about, trimming here or pulling a few weeds there. But I also love constructing things that will improve the look of the yard.

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This week, hubby and I build a flower bed next to the path, to bring some colour and, hopefully attract the bees that we haven’t seen around for months. The bed is part of an extension to a mulched area of trees and shrubs, and I still have some work to do on that. But here is a photo of the completed flowerbed, in which we take a lot of satisfaction. It will be even better when the plants grow more.

New flowerbed 29.07.17

 

What little things give you satisfaction?

 

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My Garden

June 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Australia, Birds, Gardens, Photography | 7 Comments
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I didn’t join in the wordpress photo challenge this week because I always delete my out-of-focus photos, and we were to post a clear photo and an out=of-focus one that we like.

Instead, I thought I would share a little of my Aussie winter garden.

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Here is one of my zygocactus plants, with a jade plant behind it.

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Two varieties of bromeliad, with the green one flowering. I love the stalks of pink and blue. The purple one does not flower as far as I know.

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I have about six or seven different grevillea species in my garden. This is the flower of one of them. Grevillea are great for attracting native birds with their nectar. Most of them flower for much of the year.

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Here is a similar grevillea to the one above, with a beautiful rainbow lorikeet that has come to feed off the nectar.

I love my garden, made up mostly of Australian natives, but with various plants from other parts of the world as well.

I hope you enjoy the colour.

A to Z Challenge – M is for Mowing the Lawn

April 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Australia, Birds, Gardens | 7 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

I love mowing the lawns – do you?

…..

M is for Mowing the Lawn

Back and forth, I tramp across the yard,

pushing before me this raucous machine

that devours grass and sticks and weeds,

masticates them in whirling blades,

spitting out their shredded remains

in long uneven parallels of green.

So often a tedious task, but not today:

A warm afternoon sun draws yesterday’s rain

From moist earth into clear blue autumn skies,

And a light breeze cools the well-earned sweat

That, in humid air, gathers upon my brow.

…..

Around me, in red-flowering bottlebrush trees,

Gaudy Rainbow Lorikeets quarrel vociferously,

Chasing their differences from tree to tree,

Their screeches almost overwhelming the mower’s roar.

Up the back slope, where I have not yet been,

Sedate Eastern Rosellas pluck plentiful grass seeds.

I do not mow all their granary, but leave uncut

The yard’s far reaches, amid tall Spotted Gums.

There, skinks and blue-tongue lizards hide

Among tall grass, bracken fern and fallen branches,

And, at night, brush-tailed possums play.

…..

As I work my way across the lawning grass,

Two lapwings follow in my wake.

Immaculately dressed in light tan and white,

Black collars and caps, and masks of bright yellow,

They show no fear as I turn the mower towards them.

Our lawns and the neighbours’ provide

A constant, well-stocked larder for this faithful pair.

Today, they enjoy a veritable feast,

Darting in and dashing out on red-brown stick legs,

Snatching and devouring their spoils – the unlucky insects

So rudely disturbed by my slashing monster.

…..

As I close the throttle at last, blessed silence returns –

Except for those still-argumentative lorikeets.

The lapwings continue to forage over the sun-dappled lawn;

They should sleep, well-fed, tonight.

The mower garaged, I survey, from the verandah,

A neat, evenly cut lawn beneath tall, sheltering trees,

Enjoying the glow of a job well done, and a feeling of

Intimacy with our local community of feathered friends.

…..

(c)  Linda Visman

Photos on Friday – Bugs in my Garden

January 29, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Insects, Nature | 11 Comments
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I am not a photographer, but I like to take photos of family and the places we go. I also like to take photos of things I find interesting – and that often means something outside, in the bush or by the water.

Today’s photos are of insects I found around our home during the past week. Two of them are very unusual, and I don’t know what they are. The third is a caterpillar, but I know not what butterfly or moth it will turn into.

I hope you find them interesting too.

The first is a little green bug I found on our verandah table. Its body looks like a tiny green corncob.

 

Little green bug cropped & resized 01

Little green bug cropped & resized 02

 

The second bug, a white one, I found on a young bottlebrush in our back yard. I literally could not make head nor tail of this one!

 

White bug cropped 01

White bug cropped 03

 

The caterpillar was on the end of a stick I picked up in our front yard. Its head is towards the end of the stick.

 

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If anyone can tell me what these three are, I would be pleased indeed. By the way, all three creatures were allowed to go on their way, or stay, unmolested.

Do you like taking photos of little creatures?

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World – 2015 Week #2

January 14, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Gratitude, Leisure activities | 4 Comments
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Share Your World blog badge

Here are my responses to Cee’s Share Your World questions for Week 2 of this year.

 

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

I am definitely a hugger. There is something warm and accepting about a hug, and I love to pass that on to others. We all grew up in a demonstrative family, and it was considered normal to hug when arriving and leaving home; and I hug friends as well as family. I carried that into my adult life and my five sons are all comfortable with hugs. I can almost always tell when a non-hugger arrives though, and back off so they don’t get uncomfortable.

 

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

Boysenberry! However it is a rare treat to have ice cream.

 

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

I like to exercise both. Physically, I am quite active. I mow our double house block which is on a slope, do fairly heavy work in the garden and the house, and go (irregularly) for walks. I can’t be a book-chair or computer potato for too long before I need to move.

My reading, writing and extensive work with my reading group has kept my brain active for some years now, and I love crosswords – both regular and cryptic. My scrapbooking also keeps my creative side alive and kicking when my writing falls off.

 

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Why?

I am certainly not a cat person, and I am astounded at the fuss people make over cats. It seems in many ways they worship them! Cats are beautiful creatures in every way except for one – they are superb killing machines. They seem to be like humans that way; killing for the sake of killing. Much of Australia’s natural wildlife has been destroyed since cats were introduced to this country, taking millions of small animals every year.

Dogs can go feral too, but they are capable of wonderful relationships with people – unlike cats, who use people as their slaves. I would love to have a dog, but circumstances do not allow it.

 

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for the terrific man I married – that is ongoing. I was glad to see it raining steadily for several days, as we needed it for the garden, and to cool off the summer heat.

Next week? Nothing much planned early in the week, but the Australia Day holiday is coming up on the weekend of the 24-26 January, and a cruise with our sailing club to celebrate. Hoping we will both be okay to get the boat out and join in on at least some of the festivities.

 

Linda Visman

Share Your World – Week 50

December 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Posted in Culture, Family, Family History, Gardens, Gratitude, Leisure activities | 6 Comments
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 Share Your World blog badge

 

Many thanks again to Cee, for the questions for this week’s Share Your World.

Do you have a signature dish? If not is there one in your family?

This is a good question for Christmas time, as the only signature dish I have only makes an appearance at Christmas and New Year. It is a trifle, made with sponge cake, jelly, custard, whipped cream and topped with strawberries. When I go to Christmas shared dinners, that is what I take, and it is always very well received.

The trifle recipe is an old family favourite, and is made differently to all the other trifle desserts I have seen. My sisters and I learned it from Mum, who learned it from her mother, though I don’t know how far back from there it goes. Still, a hundred years is a pretty good family tradition.

Do you have a favorite board game?

I haven’t played board games for many years. However if I were to play one, it would be Scrabble, as I love any word games.

Is there a household chore that you enjoy?

Not so much inside the house, I’m afraid. However, I love mowing the lawns and keeping the yard tidy, as well as building anything needed there.

What is one thing you will never care about?

Being rich and famous. What’s the point, when it leads to the loss of your soul!?

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week – Being able to at least deliver the Christmas gifts for my grandchildren in Queensland in an aborted visit (caused by my getting sick). Also, spending time with hubby as we travelled to and from there.

This coming week – relaxing for a few days at home before my second eldest son and his family come for a visit from Queensland.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World –Week 47

November 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Posted in Australia, Family, Gardens, Gratitude, Leisure activities, Mental Health, Nature, Reading, Travel | 7 Comments

Share Your World blog badge

Since this has been Thanksgiving in the USA this week, Cee has given us just one question to consider in sharing our world.

List at least 50 Things You Enjoy. 

I am also giving thanks for what I enjoy. These are just as they came to me – in no particular order. I think I got to 55, but I enjoy, and am thankful for, a multitude more than just these.

My 5 sons; photo taken early 1981.

My 5 sons; photo taken early 1981.

*   being with any or all of my 5 sons

*   being with any or all of my lovely grandchildren

*   going for a drive and a coffee with my husband

*   going camping with my husband

*   driving – just about anywhere

*   being in our yard with the trees and birds

*   mowing the lawns

*   going for a sail in our little sailboat with my husband

*   Skyping with my kids & grandkids

*   my owl ornaments

*   being with my writing friends

*   coffee with friends

*   dinner with friends

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*   a good book – print or kindle

*   blogging

*   reading good blogs

*   watching people

*   writing my journal

*   writing stories

*   writing poetry

*   music

*   helping others with their writing

*   thunderstorms

*   putting together our writing group’s newsletter

*   going for a train ride

*   going for a ferry ride

*   mince tarts

*   a glass or two of wine

Scrapbook 2 (1280x662)

*   scrapbooking

*   being around positive people

*   taking photos

*   being by the sea – beach, rocks, cliffs

*   the pounding of the sea on the shore

*   Nature – in any form

*   the Aussie bushIMG_4088

*   a walk in the rainforest

*   a walk by the lake

*   my husband’s love

*   photos – re-living good memories writing my Dad’s story

*   cheese

*   chocolate – but not too often

*   casual clothes

*   shopping for gifts

*   learning new skills

*   the magpie’s warbling serenade

*   the round of rain on the roof

*   the sound of children playing

*   shopping for scrapbooking materials

Eucalypt leaves

*   raking leaves

*   listening to the birds

*   seeing new places

*   a good movie

*   dancing (a rare occurrence

*   feathers

*   our little rocks & crystals collection on the windowsill

(c) Linda Visman

Off with the old!

November 24, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Nature, Poetry | 5 Comments
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I love the spotted gums in our yard. Their trunks are tall and straight and smooth, and their high canopies provide shade from the sun, especially in summer.

In late spring, as they have a growth spurt, their bark cracks, splits and gradually falls away.

IMG_1822 - Copy

IMG_1823 - Copy

 

Spotted gum

sheds its mauve-brown

coat and reveals

a pale green body shirt

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They are lovely, aren’t they?

  •  Poem and photos (c) Linda Visman

 

Share Your World – 2014 Week 40

October 7, 2014 at 12:11 am | Posted in Australia, Culture, Family, Gardens, Nature, Reading, Writing | 12 Comments
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Share Your World blog badge

Every week, Cee, at Share Your World, posts a few questions for us to answer. This is a great way of getting to know others, and to let others know about our own world. Here are my answers to Cee’s latest Share Your World Questions.

You’re given $500,000 dollars tax free (any currency), what do you spend it on? 

I would give each of our eight children $50,000 to reduce their mortgages or, for one, to buy his own place at last. The rest I would use to pay off our own mortgage and to pay for us to visit the countries of our birth for the first time since we left them over 60 years ago.

What’s the finest education?

I must say that, of all the formal education I have received – primary (elementary) and high school, Teachers’ College diploma, a university degree and graduate diploma – nothing can compare to the education I have received from life itself. To be open to what is around you, to observe and learn to understand the world, its people and yourself grants you an education that is second to none.

What kind of art is your favorite? Why?

Although many people will say it is not an art, my favourite is writing. I have always loved reading. I love the worlds and the characters and the situations that are created by writers, and I have become one of them myself.

I believe that those who cannot be impressed by how words can be put together in artistic, creative and meaningful ways to create works of wonder and beauty – and even horror and violence – are missing a piece of what it means to be human.

Is there something that you memorized long ago and still remember?

When I was in primary school, I learned a poem that expresses much of what our country (Australia) is. That poem is “My Country” by Dorothea McKellar (1885-1968) when she was in England, and homesick for her own country. It was first published in 1908. It compares the softness of the English countryside with the starkness of the Australian. I love the poem, as I have seen so much of what it expresses.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Through the last week, I spent quite a bit of time in the garden. It is spring here in Australia, and there are so many plants and trees blooming that there is a riot of colour all around us. The blossoms also bring the birdlife, and I enjoy listening to them warble, twitter and even shriek through the trees that surround us.

In the week ahead, I will be spending plenty of hours with my writing group, being stimulated in my word-production, helping others with their writing, and hopefully letting non-members know what we can do to assist them if they want to write.

In Our Winter Garden

August 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Mental Health, Nature, Ways of Living | 9 Comments
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Our Garden sign

It was a lovely sunny August day, winter here in Australia. I had been picking up the small dead branches that occasionally fall from the eucalypts in the wind. I break up the branches, and either put them in the green waste bin to be mulched by the Council, or give them to a neighbour who has a wood burning heater.

Before that, I had helped the MOTH (Man of the House) to fix part of a wire side fence that had been threatening to fall over. Our yard is mostly open, as we don’t like to feel enclosed – just a paling fence up the back, and an open wire fence along one side to keep the neighbour’s dog in. Most of it is hidden by bushes and trees. The other two sides are not fenced at all.

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Our yard is almost all Australian native species of trees and shrubs, a habitat we are preserving for local wildlife such as birds, lizards and any other species that care to make their home here. Yes, even spiders, centipedes and snakes!

I love walking around it to see how everything is progressing. That day, I took a few photos as well.

This ‘Happy Wanderer’ self-sowed at the base of a Spotted Gum, and is growing up into another self-sown native sapling. It is a variety of Hardenbergia, like the one above, which we bought from a nursery.

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Our Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana) has grown well since we put it in as a small sapling three years ago. It is three times my height now.

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The group of plants below really took off last summer. On the left is one of two cycads we planted some years ago. They are an ancient variety of plant, but I don’t know which species it is.

Behind it are ponytail palms (Beaucarnea species). I have only just discovered that they are native to Mexico! In the right front is a Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthus), native to S-W Western Australia. Behind that is a Banksia, and on the far right is a Christmas Bush. Two Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea) once called Blackboys, have been overtaken by the cycads in front of them. They are pretty slow growing.

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Part of our garden has seen an invasion by a foreigner. This plant was probably introduced as an exotic ‘air plant’, but has recently escaped and can be found in many local yards. What we call ‘Old Man’s Beard’, comes from the U.S. Pacific Coast. Because it only hangs from trees and is not a parasite, it has been allowed to grow everywhere.

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From one small piece that blew into our garden 3-4 years ago, it is now well established. It makes this part of the front garden seem very eerie, especially on a dull day of misty rain. The ‘beard’ hangs from the branches of a Pepper tree, two Bottlebrush (Callistamon), and a Tibouchina.

I love our garden. It is a place I can go to when I am stressed and need to feel the soothing power of nature.

The wattle among the Spotted Gums

The wattle among the Spotted Gums

Do you have a garden? What does a garden mean to you? If you don’t have one, would you like to?

© Linda Visman

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