Saturday, July 19, 2014

Winter down in the valley

 Winter has finally arrived down in our lovely valley in the South West of Western Australia.  Lovely foggy mornings herald in lovely sunny days with a bite in the breeze.

 Blood is stirring in the two bulls, don't want to be friends at the moment, doesn't help that the cows are in the paddock across the road.  Very entertaining lots of pushing and shoving, then they get up the energy to be a bit more serious and push and shove becomes a little bit more, this went on for hours then decided it was a better idea to go back to eating grass, so lazy.
                                                      Sun rising in the west
 And of course all that pushing and shoving takes a lot out of you, this big boy was resting right next to our boundary fence.
                     Was time to buy the gumboots, love my gumboots, good heavy duty ones.
         With the winter came the rain, this is after a couple of days solid rain, a little bit of flooding.
 Can you see the steps on the far side of the river, they lead down to what they call a basketweave bridge.  Which is a lot of rocks contained in diamond wire to hold them in place and a concrete path on top, so under all that water is my bridge where I usually cross on my morning walks, the river is running very fast.  So walking across is curtailed for a while.
 For the first time we can see the river in amongst the trees from the back where we rent and down the bank, we are in no danger of being flooded although if it came up high enough we wouldn't be able to get across the bridge into town.  Lots of water lying around too, but it went down quite fast the next day.
 silly chooks in next doors chook run, have to all squeeze into the same hole, keep us entertained when working on the block.
 Son in law Peter made me these beaut vege beds out of old corragated iron, they where a little bit high so we dug a trench and dropped them down in.  Half filled with mulch from trees we had cut down and mulched.  Beds way to big to buy in soil to fill them.  Directors chairs I got from the dump for a dollar each for necessary breaks.  In the background is the South West Highway and the railway line that hasn't been in use for about ten years.  The conifers on the back fence are likely to cack it due to some disease they get here, so thanks to a birthday present from my sister I have planted a claret ash and liquid amber trees and have some wattle ready to plant on the fence line so if and when they go we will still have some privacy and in autumn I will be able to enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves from my back veranda.
 Mulch is all spread out and the garden along the fence line in the orchard will be planted with shrubs for all the little birds as it makes them feel safe to flit in and out of the branches.  Now that we have moved all the mulch and soil it is time to turn the soil and incorporate the mulch through before planting shrubs.  Will wait before pruning fruit trees until I know what I am doing.
 Have planted lots of bulbs throughout the orchard and this is my favourite the dainty snowdrop.  As you can see we have a lot of soursop or as I know sourgrass that we used to chew on as kids, has yellow flowers.  Yesterday was lovely and sunny, John took his whipper snipper and chopped it all down.  I dont want to use roundup or any other chemicals, think if we keep cutting it down before it flowers we might get rid of it.
The reason I won't have a cat here is because of the beautiful birdlife.  Can you see the beautiful robin redbreast.  I thought you only got them in England like you see on Christmas cards, but no, we have one in our orchard along with several females whose breasts are more of an apricot colour.  There are many tiny birds, blue wrens, silver eyes, fan tails, willy wagtails the only ones I can name and it would be such a shame to have a cat kill them, so, no cats.  Can you see the pallets up the top, have started lugging them down to the bottom of the block and stacking most of them one on top of the other, I am making a place for the native bees to make a home.  You push in small branches, pinecones etc and face them a certain way and the native bees will make their nests in it.  Apparently native bees make solitary homes.  This way they will pollinate my garden, neat aye.  I will make an A frame of two and using shade cloth make shapes to grow strawberries in then the fruit will hang down the sides instead of the ground where the snails and slugs get them before I get a chance.  Next is to make some lower beds to grown my raspberries and logan berry in so they don't get away from me.
Well its been busy here down in the valley, enjoying working on the block.  We are waiting for our house plans to be approved which should be in a couple of weeks and then the house will be started, how exciting is that, aye.
Well this has been a marathon catch up on my blog.  I buy my wifi internet by the month and if I havent used it up I lose it, tomorrow is my last day and I have $15 left so here I am at 20 to 9 in the cold trying to get the most out of it.
Hope you are all well and enjoying the lovely winter weather, feel so much more like doing things in winter, it is energising.
love to all

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Display at Art Geo Busselton

 The history of this wonderful building, the Old Court house and Jail is fascinating in itself. This is one of the open cells, note the rings on the wall and the wood flagstones on the floor.  At least the prisoners in this cell had company and a view of sorts.
 Walking down the long passage with the cells on the left, would have been freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer.
 Stretching out your arms your could touch both side walls at once, window is too high to see out.  This cell has been lined with timber so the prisoner could not scratch his way out of the limestone walls.  Tin in the corner would be the toilet so you would sleep with it next to your face unless you slept the other way around. Nowhere for the smell to go, pretty barbaric in those times.

There are about 6 rooms of varying size for exhibiting art, looking through these two you can see down to the cells.  See how thick the walls are in the window sill.
 Down a couple of steps into the space we had for our exhibition, Robins rag rugs hang on the wall.
Glass showcases where perfect for my book art, preventing them from being handled.  More of Robins beautiful rugs in vibrant colours.  One of Claires mosaic birdhouse on the window sill.
 Claires beautiful mosaic teapots, Robins art rugs, isn't that one with the cockatoo's truly amazing, and my art journals that where for sale.

It was a lovely experience and we got a lot of positive comments on our first exhibition, was good advertising.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Exhibition at Art Geo in Busselton

Whew, just made it.  My goal was to make 4 art books for the exhibition at Art Geo in Busselton, setting up tomorrow.  When I agreed to participate with my lovely partners in crime Robin and Claire I knew it could be a bit tricky getting new work done.  However, what with the changing date of Johns surgery (a month sooner) then getting sick myself it became a bit of a challenge, but there you go, got there.  I always find I work better under pressure.
 I am exhibiting 5 of my older art books and of course these are not for sale.  My aim is to share my bespoke books as an art form and also collating memorabilia, family photos etc in a creative medium to leave to future generations.  Something made by hand using tactile objects and not computor generated.
Not that I have any objections to technology being used for art.  The world has become so fast I have to wonder what I can leave to my family that will have meaning and share their heritage.
 The largest of the books has a lovely worn leather cover with vintage lace covering the handbound spine.  Quite heavy and about 3 inches thick.
 Lovely old worn velvet, a big book also, faded elegance.  One does wonder whose hands have fondled these old photo album covers.
 I loved the embosed pattern and old faded blue covers, This was off a collectors book I just changed its purpose.
About half the size of the others but no less precious.  I have collected these old photo albums over a period of time, mostly bought on ebay and at a considerable cost, but you get what you pay for.  The most time consuming part of making these art books is selecting and collating  a miriad of papers.  I like to use only good quality papers, Rives BFK a french 300gsm watercolour paper for its flexibility and strength, easy to fold and just a gorgeous colour.  I have also used printed papers that I have also collected over time, makes a difference and I try to colour co ordinate these.
The exhibition starts on Thursday this week and goes for two weeks.  I will also be holding a workshop on the 28th June following the exhibition.  The building the exhibition is being held is the old courthouse and jail still intact.  I am looking forward to having a better look around tomorrow when we go to set up.  The workshop is in what they call the Fodder room  a purpose room designed for workshops, this is at the back of the garden square next to the building where we are exhibiting and there are a 4 or 5 artist in resident little shops where you can see the artists work and see them working, what a lovely concept.  I am planning on being at the exhibition on the 2nd Saturday to discuss my art books and show the interiors that are not on display.
Long weekend this weekend I believe, fancy a run down to Busselton in the wonderful South West or come down the following weekend on Saturday morning would love to see you.

I am not doing any paintings for this exhibition, going with my first love and passion.  Once I got started I found it just flowed.  Where as with painting I am not so confident.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Oh no, its May

Sorry for a lack of uploads on my blog.  Things have been kind of crazy.  Foremost John's health.
16 days ago John was admitted for major surgery, the removal of his large bowel.  This was a worrisome time for me seeing him in so much pain and trying to understand what it means to lose one of your organs.  It has been a learning process, not only on his progress but other patients in his ward.  It has brought home to me how important it is to look after our health.  For the last 6 months we have been on a Palleo diet and I think this has helped in his recovery, it has also been apparent to me as I haven't been as diligent as I should while in Perth (chocolates, ice-cream and cake my demons) and I have been battling massive allergy's resulting in asthma, back on track now though.  I cannot wait to get back to my new home in the valley.  Should be any day soon, I know John will welcome his own bed and the peace and quiet with open arms, this should speed up his recovery.
Secondary the building of our new home.  We have had a change of direction and a wake up call on reality, dreams are all very well, but I always maintain a house is only a building, a home is what you make it.  We have decided not to go with Storybook homes, the wait was too long to get the plans and in that time with Johns health issues we decided that we possibly where a bit naive in our abilities at our age to to do the owner builder thing.  So we have put it in the hands of a lovely local builder, he has been so very helpful in making the process as stress free as possible with fitting in with our budget.
Thirdly, me being me, I am joining two very talented artists Robin Inkpen who creates amazing handmade rugs and wall art, and Claire Maslin with her beautiful mosaic art, in a two week exhibition at Artgeo in Busselton, you will find us in the Courthouse Gallery  from 28th May to 11 June.  Following up with a workshop in the Fodder room behind the gallery 28th June.  I am exhibiting my mixed media soft assemblage art books of memories.  I guess there is nothing like pressure to get things done and I am definitely under the hammer to get more pieces done in time, and I can assure you it is a challenge with most of your materials still in packing boxes, but if its meant to be I will get it done.
John on right with his best friend from Gisborne.  Upwards on onwards now John.  Enjoy the journey.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Yay we have rain

As you can see from this photo taken through the kitchen window, we have finally got rain.  Good ground drenching rain, no storm, but over three days about 10 hours of steady rain.  The trees in the orchard will love this and I am hoping we don't lose any.  There are three citrus trees, not sure yet what they are, but two have been suffering terribly so I am hoping this will revive them.
Nothing much else happening to report.  Surveyor was going to do the features and contours this week and will be sending a report which will go to the builders to determine if the plan we are thinking of will work.
Well thats all the news for now, hope you had some rain

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Life is slow in the valley

6.30 am this morning this huge truck rolled up, rattled its way down the gravel road, turned around then stopped just in the view of my kitchen window. Being nosey, I had to watch to see what he was up to, could have been a cattle rustler.  Hmmm, no, this other truck about half the first ones size rolls up, drives past the big one then backs right up to about a metre between them.  You gotta admire these truck drivers, they know their stuff.  To my entertainment they dropped a ramp between them and loaded cattle from the small truck onto the big guy, what a racket.  Then little guy goes away, big guy sits.  about 5 mins later little guy rolls back in again and repeats the process.  I am surmising the big truck was  unable to get to the yards where the cattle where and it took two loads to full the big truck up.
Very entertaining, as it was only dusk I had to lighten the photo so you could see the smaller truck, it had two trailers and if you look close you will see the white cab and dark colour trailers.

And great grandma with newborn little Amelia Joanne, just a handful.  The age I like them best.
Its 27 degrees today and very pleasant, I love anything below 30 and above 20.  No rain yet, forcast for Tuesday Wednesday next week, so its still bottle watering the fruit trees.
Life is good down in the valley

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Now the fun begins, tree removalists yesterday

 This is the block before the tree removalist's came in yesterday
 We have been working away at cutting this large rose back, there is a wisteria climbing through it as well we discovered.  Lot of dead wood underneath and old timber thrown there.  Jeff next door took the top off it after this photo was taken which made it much easier to tackle.  Still some dead wood and of course the cuttings all to be dragged down onto the bonfire which we cannot light until late May, but it is accumulating.
 John making a dash down from the top of the block before more branches came down.
 They where very persistant getting this Carob tree trunk and roots out.  Look at that wonderful soil, no more sand for me to plant in, yay!!!
 and the last tree standing that had to come down.  We got all the wonderful mulch, now to wheel barrow it all down into the orchard, the fruit trees will be very grateful as they havent had water for ab out two months, apart from the hand watering we have done taking bottled water each time we go.
 and timber!!!!
 This was fascinating, that green machine is a stump grinder and is being operated by the guy on the left by remote control, did such a great job.
 Looking up from the orchard
 and down from across the road
 Just waiting for our little house to be dropped in,  next step is getting the surveyor in.
These two big gum trees where the last to go and once they came down and all the debri cleaned up, opened things right up.  Will have to get more trees in once the house is built as a bit exposed on the Western boundary where the worst of the heat comes from, but that will be the garage and kitchen.  The guys from the tree romovalist's where absolutely great, such a clean job, would recommend them to anyone.