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Showing posts from January, 2008

More Brickbats and Bouquets

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This follows on from http://franmart.blogspot.com/2007/10/brickbats-and-occasional-bouquet.html.

I'm surprised there has been so long between posting on this topic: I must be getting mellow (or less discerning). However this month there have been a few incidents worthy of recording and donation of awards.

Yer stove
The first brickbat (in fact brickPRAT would be a better word) goes to M A Butterfield. It starts when I went to Leeton on a birding trip in November.

As I was camping I took along our high-tech Mountain Safety Research (MSR) cooking stove, primarily to brew myself some coffee in the morning. We hadn't used this while in the States but my memory was that it was great. So when I got to Leeton I got it out of the bag and it didn't look right. As can be seen in the image to the right there is a rather large wick evident, which didn't used to be there. It looked as though something had fallen off.

The immediate problem - caffeine shortage the next morning - was remed…

More animals

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One of the common sights of Carwoola over summer has been the Eastern Blue-tongued lizards crossing the road. Some of them make it all the way, and as far as I am aware there have been no accidents involving motorists brakng for them (although the motorists do brake!!





The lizards are quite attractive when seen close up. Apparently they do quite a number on the bugs around the place so we're very pleased to have them.






We're less pleased to have these, but I thought this one was quite attractive and it gave me a chance to practise with the zoom function of my camera. It was a reasonable size - perhaps 1cm from proboscis to tail - but not as big as the March flies which can occur.







We now move to animals I really don't want: feral cats. I had let a female and her kitten go for a while in the hope that they would diminish the rabbit population. However I think they have mainly done a number on the local wrens so it was off to the RSPCA to rent a pussy trap. After baiting it with …

A short walk to the Queanbeyan River

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As I have decided to do a bit more biking this year, and my friend Peter was still on vacation, I suggested to him that a ride down Woolcara lane would be a good idea. He agreed so we parked our car at the end of the near(ish)by Sugarloaf Ridge Road and took off.

There was some slight concern that Peter's tyres were a tad underdone as they were slicks which had performed well on the paths beside the Danube a year ago, and the track in mind wasn't quite that smooth or flat. After 7 km this proved to be accurate as a fair sized hole appeared after a reasonably rapid passage over some rocks. The spare tube turned out to function well and we progressed (with somewhat greater decorum on the more jagged bits).







At 14km I found what I thought was the track down to the Queanbeyan River and we set off to visit same with some hope of seeing a platypus. There were lots of wildflowers including this spectacular fringed lily (Thysanotustuberosus) as well as some orchids.






We found the way towar…

January Gardening: Pt 3 Vines

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In a previous posting (http://franmart.blogspot.com/2007/09/persons-at-work.html - go to the end) I showed us, and our friends Rob and Carol Ey, pruning our vines. Well was that ever a success. We have had massive growth on the vines and lots of grapes under the leaves. The following collection of photos show:

the original growth;some of the fruitFrances sewing up one of the lengths of netting; and the net effect.

January Gardening: Pt 2 Fruit and Veg

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We are not yet yet at the season of mists, but the mellow fruitfulness seems to be happening.




A typical carrot, now that they seem to be going down, rather than forking about in the top couple of inches of soil. An onion - see below - and some purple beans (again below).





The next two piccies show baskets of produce with lots of onions, garlic and shallots plus a few radishes and yet more beans. I think I have commented before that we have two seasons: 'Winter' and 'when we don't go to the fruit shops'.















Here are some beans in their habitatand a sample of plums. The latter are interesting in that we are trying to keep them on the tree (and safe from bird attack, but in putting some netting up I knocked about a dozen semi-ripe fruit onto the ground. Some chutney may be in our future.

The final element of this segment is a reference to the Year of the Potato! Frances went bandicooting on 5 January and came up with a rather poor specimen of spud. This was not good news, as …

January Gardening: Pt 1 Flowers

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As previously noted gardening seems to be a bit of a theme in this blog with almost monthly entries. This is not a total surprise to me, as one of our objectives for buying a big place was to have a big garden so we could grow lots of stuff. This month there will be at least 3 pages covering various aspects of this activity.

I will begin with flowers, both in the garden and on the deck. The first image shows a day lily (which despite its name has been enhancing the view from my study for some little time). This is followed by a catus dahlia with some white and red Asiatic lilies.














Now we have a close up of the white Asiatic lilies and some basic white daisies with the yellow flag iris fronds in the background.

















At one point last summer Frances commented that she wasn't going to fill the decks with lots of pot plants. Yeah, right, a theory. With her ability to strike cuttings (and we will not go into detail about the acquisition process) we have a really great set of Fuschias outside a…

Welcome to '08

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The title is self-explanatory. Depending upon how things go a "You're" may get added to the title, but for now let hang with the positive!
The main business here is a review of 2007 against various semi-important headings. (The important headings - health, marriage, family etc are all very satisfactory so don't need to be covered.)

Exercise: I managed 1680 km running, plus 1135 on various bikes (= 189km running) plus 1120 exercise walking (= 358 running). This is about 2% better than achieved in 2006.

Birding: I didn't get out of Australia for the first time in about 15 years so the list was a trifle short. 238 birds for the year and 169 species in the ACT. I did manage 77 species for my home site which was pretty good for 11 months.

Finances: We still have some, despite the efforts of Dubya Bush and his buddies to transfer the entire wealth of the world to Exxon etc.

Travel: We bought a new Subaru when we got back from New York and in the first 12 months managed to c…