30 January 2010

10 things

i haven't touched my knitting needles since the 9th of January

but i've been spinning instead! (photos soon)

i went back to work this week (for two days only) which was a bit of a shock to the system

the children return to school next Monday. Classes 5, 8 and 10, excuse me but how did that happen?

the middle child turned 14 and received his first mobile phone (he was by far the last kid in his class to get a phone apparently). his thrilled reaction? I feel like a REAL teenager now

we celebrated the final Saturday of the summer holidays with a last hurrah at the beach. two beaches in fact. first, Flinders pier, in order to leap off ...

leaping off the pier at Flinders

bomb

followed by Merricks Beach (where I also went in the Spring) for a less windy and more pleasant swim and peruse of the weekend papers

Merricks Beach, late afternoon

there was a koala just as we entered the track to the beach

koala at Merricks Beach

which reminds me, last week when we were at Wye River (Koala Capital of Victoria) the youngest boy and I were toiling up the hill from the beach to the house, when we practically tripped over a blue tongue lizard. son #3 picked it up off the road to ensure its safety because if you're a ten year old boy you grab any excuse to handle a scaly prehistoric-looking reptile, and we admired its, um, qualities for a while. a large jovial looking fellow clutching a beer can approached from the other direction and made a joke about how he suspected the hill was going to be much harder work when it was time to return from the beach. noting his north american accent, we agreed politely then wondered whether he'd be interested to see some amazing australian wildlife right there in our very hands and watched in impressed amusement as he leapt simultaneously backward and upward several feet all without spilling a drop of beer. when he'd recovered and edged closer again (haltingly) he said something about how his wife and sister-in-law had decided to drive to the beach (it is a very steep hill) but he had decided to walk to take in the natural environment, explaining that they were fresh off the plane from Canada (here to play golf, see the wildlife and catch AC/DC in concert) and boy how jealous his womenfolk would be when they learnt he'd seen some real live wildlife already. so i nonchalantly pointed about 3 feet directly above us and said and there's a koala for you and lo, as we all gazed upward, a pair of yellow-tailed black cockatoos soared gracefully above our heads. it was picture perfect and could only have been improved by the sudden appearance of an echidna and kangaroo tango-ing down the hill. he was suitably blown away by all this, particularly the seeing a real live koala up close bit, in the wild, on his fourth day, and confessed he hadn't really believed they existed outside zoos and sanctuaries. we left him there gazing in wonder at the koala and sipping his beer thoughtfully, with us feeling very satisfied that we'd given our amiable foreign guest such an authentic experience so early on in his holiday. i can only hope that the golf and AC/DC weren't a let down.

there is no ten. nine was quite long enough.

row row row your boat

26 January 2010

conversation with a magpie

video

Ok, I promise this is my last birdsong video.

This little fellow has been singing outside the backdoor all day and taking bread from my hand with no hesitation. I think he's my new best friend.

ps. There's a version of this on flickr, but for some reason the video cut out halfway. This is the uncut director's version, complete with commentary and shaky camerawork. (You're welcome).

25 January 2010

18 January 2010

I think I've started something

Yesterday there was a gentle tap at the kitchen window. I turned to find three magpies on the windowsill gazing in at me as if to say Excuse us but we're ready for our quiche now, if that's alright.

I grabbed some crusts out of the compost bucket (eww) and went outside, to be greeted by seventeen magpies swooping down from the trees. I fed them happily for twenty minutes or so, during which time their numbers swelled to twenty-one, and then ran out of bread.

A couple of hours later there was another tap on the window and two maggies looked in at me. This time instead of bread, I fetched my camera.

Please excuse the shoddy visuals - this was shot through the flyscreen of the window. And that's the dog's bed on the table in front of the birds - it had been taken outside for a shaking and airing. Yes, those are stray buttons (and dust) on the windowsill, and for the person who asked to hear my voice, I obliged. (No gorgonzola though, sorry).

16 January 2010

wild life

singing

The magpies have been entertaining me this week. Yesterday I went outside with a piece of quiche in my hand (pumpkin and feta) and one little fella ran straight over and practically begged for some. (I wondered if he was our baby, all grown up).

magpies quite like pumpkin and feta quiche

I pondered whether feeding a bird some quiche smacked of cannibalism, but he seemed to enjoy it. The click of the camera frightened him, hence the wings spread in alarm.

warble warble warble (trans. - I don't want bread, I want more quiche)

When I ran out of quiche I raided the pantry and found a stale heel of bread, but he was not impressed. He warbled for a bit, which brought six of his friends a-zooming in, and so I returned to the fridge and surrendered the last piece of quiche (which was earmarked for the mister's supper, ssshhhh) and they all had a feast.

Time for a quick drink and a spot more singing, this time aimed at the kookaburra who is usually pretty territorial when he's at the bird bath ...

magpie and kookaburra at the bird bath

and then up into the tree with his mates for, yes, more singing.

I had to try and capture it for you, but of course as soon as I started recording they all shut up, except for that stupid crow at the beginning. Do persevere though because after a few seconds they all chime in again. It's the quintessential sound of the Australian bush.



More bird pics here.

12 January 2010

escaping

splash

Melbourne is in the middle of a three day heatwave with the mercury going [way] over 40. My widget tells me 44 degrees Celsius (yesterday) is 111 degrees Farenheit, so I've been hanging out a bit on Flickr gawping at the amazing photographs of the frozen northern hemisphere, as I sit in front of the fan with a cold wet flannel around my neck, eating enormous bowls of ice cream.

The trains are all breaking down, the pregnant elephant at the zoo has put her birth on hold (true!), there are Total Fire Bans and catastrophic fire warnings all around and last night the temperature did not get below 30 degrees, making it the hottest night ever on record. I don't even feel human in this heat.

Swims in the river and a trip to Beastland to see a movie (Fantastic Mr Fox - recommended) got us through the last two days. I think it might be back to our favourite quiet waterhole at the river today.

Ok enough whinging. I'm going to have a mango icy pole for breakfast.

11 January 2010

home

It's almost worth going away just so you can come home.

I haven't even unpacked yet but I have sewn a new cushion cover for the couch.

new cushion cover

(Yes, it matches my skirt.)

The choughs were thrilled to see the birdbath filled with fresh cool water and our resident magpies have been singing almost nonstop. On the first evening home we sat outside with the soft dusk wrapping around us, wine in hand, listening to the kookaburras laughing and we breathed a big long out breath.

Children squealed and romped on the new trampoline.

jump

Best Christmas present ever. I've even had a go on it myself.








Note to self: pelvic floor exercises

7 January 2010

the fallback post, or What I Knitted in 2009

knitted in 2009

I had a whole post planned and halfway executed, in which I chose a photograph from each month of 2009 and wrote a few snippets about events, reflections and just life, as a kind of summary of the year. But when I came to the photos I realised I had somehow saved only tiny thumbnails and now I've lost interest. I may tackle it again but in the meantime here's the fallback post, the one where I boastfully shout looky here at what I knitted in 2009 aren't I oh so clever.

I was going to also make a mosaic of what I sewed in 2009, because for once I actually have enough to create a mosaic, but there are quite a number of things I haven't yet photographed, including the three (!) items I sewed on Christmas Eve Eve when I should have been packing but decided packing was really quite boring and what I needed to do was sew a new summer dress for the imminent tropical holiday not to mention a new bag and another skirt. Oh yes. So the sewing mosaic will have to wait until I've hemmed the black linen pants I made on craft weekend (so they can be included in the tally) and photographed all the items, and you know by then the moment will have passed so you'll probably not see it.

So, knitting 2009. It was the Year of the Shawl, definitely. I started off with the all garter stitch Wool Peddler's Shawl in olive and charcoal, and discovered that I absolutely adore knitting and wearing shawls. Next up came a shawl with a slightly more interesting pattern, and then I launched into lace shawls, knitting the Shetland Triangle twice in a row, once in a winter weight chunky yarn for myself and once in sock yarn for a swap. Shortly after that came the delectable Ishbel which I gave to my mum for Christmas. (I'm pretty sure she likes it, although the present that brought tears to her eyes was the calendar I made featuring photographs of her grandsons. That was a successful gift and I think it will become the new tradition).

Sock production continued in 2009, with four pairs, all of which I am extremely pleased with. There were four hats also, two of which barely left the heads of their recipients all winter long. Son #1 still wears his on almost a daily basis, no matter how warm it is. (He's weird like that. But lovable).

As for 2010 knitting, I have already completed my first finished object (on 2nd January) - a little cover for the mister's mobile phone. He recently bought a new phone and hasn't been able to find a cover for it and when I offered to knit him one, expecting him to cough and politely decline, he accepted. If you're interested (because I'm not sure it merits its own post), you can view it here. Yes, it's made from leftover sock yarn from the Mystery Socks of a couple of posts ago.

I also foresee several more socks and shawls in 2010, and a couple of actual cardigans and jumpers, shock horror. Woot.

3 January 2010

Saturday evening

We went to the beach in the cool of the evening, for fish and chips and a late swim.

a sunset swim

hiding

boogie boarding at sunset

fresh from the surf

2 January 2010

mysterious

Mystery socks, complete

This is the second Christmas day in a row when I've cast off a pair of socks in the cool calm evening after the turkeyhampudding feast. Last year it was the Ugly Brown Socks for the husband. This year it was for me.

Mystery socks, complete

These were the Mystery Socks knit-along run by the talented Kirsten from Through the Loops. Each week in October a different part of the pattern was released and as the month progressed, socks emerged from needles all over the globe. Knitters with more highly developed planning skills than I wound their skeins of sock yarn into two balls and knitted both socks at once, but I had to wait until I'd finished the first sock on the 31st of the month before I could commence the second one.

They were worth the wait though. The pattern is exquisite, beautifully thought out and full of lovely details - check out the tiny cable detail in the middle of the ribbed cuff, and also the way the cables along the foot turn into little petals at the toe. Just lovely.

Also, they fit me perfectly and I'm pleased with how my dyed yarn turned out.

Win win all round.

1 January 2010

May your 2010 be filled with ...

sublime views
the view was framed as if it were one of the artworks

sunshine
dive

a sheep or two (or at least some interesting artworks)
rock sheep

and a dash of silliness.
me and my boys in the funny mirror

Happy new year to you.