Saturday, 19 December 2009

End of year report


Much of what will follow has probably already been wittered about in one way or another, and when I think the boredom is likely to be too egregious I'll just bung in a link to the relevant page of the year's Proceedings.

In view of my interests it seemed a good idea to have a wildlife focus for the card.  The background is of Kunzea ericoides which blossoms at this time of year turning the Carwoola countryside white.    Going around the outside of the card and starting at the bottom left we have a Hyacinth Orchid Dipodium roseum, Blue Devil Eryngium rostratum, Golden Everlasting Xerochrysum viscosum,  and a stroppy Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata.  The middle image is of course our resident Tawny frogmouth Podargus strigoides family who again raised two chicks.

It is with some astonishment that I realise we have been living in Carwoola for very close to 3 years.  There are two aspects to this: on the one hand it seems like very little time has elapsed since we left New York, while on the other we seem to have been here for ever.  The"little time has passed" argument becomes very pronounced when I look at a few things which I intended to deal with in the first couple of months but are still on the agenda.  Dominant amongst this group are exterminating the briars and (most of) the blackberries around the paddocks.

I say 'most of' because we do like having a meal of blackberries so will continue to keep one patch for culinary purposes.  The block also provides sustenance in the form of mushrooms when there is any rain.

This leades into the first topic of THE WEATHER.

The following image shows the rainfall for the 3 years we have been here.  For the previous two years there has been a lot of rain in Summer (which I'll define as November to March) with scattered episodes the rest of the year. In 2009  (the green bars in the graph) this hasn't happened.  We got some good falls in September and October but that all got evaporated by a very hot November.  Hopefully we'll get a few thunderstorms in what is left of December.
We are to some extent insulated from the impact of the rainfall as we have a bore which provides water for the garden, although we try not to abuse that source.

Our water supplies inside the house are more fully dependent on what falls from the skies and the capture of this resource looked a bit problematic in the middle of the year.  The story of the new tank was reported earlier.  It has rained three times since that was completed:
  • the first rainfall followed me trying to fix something in the plumbing system and leaving switches in the wrong position so we captured zip;
  • the second fall was forecast well in advance so I made sure that all switches (electrical and plumbing) were correctly aligned.  It started to rain at about 8:30pm. At about 8:40 the power failed and thus the water  stopped being pumped from our catch tank to the new storage.  About midnight the rain stopped.  At 3:38 am a lot of beeping from various appliances said the power was back.  Captured water - very little.
  • the third fall was finally captured and added about 10cm to the new tank.
There are various GARDENING pages on the blog. For those keen on garden flowers there is a category for them in the blog.  As there is for fruit and veg, but I must link again to the spectacular success of the strawberries following Frances' transplanting efforts last year.  We continue to enjoy slurping on home-made strawberry ice cream (as a parenthesis  - growing up in England I loathed Walls strawberry ice-cream with a passion as it tasted yukkaroola - but this stuff is fantastic). 

Our travels this year have directed us to Adelaide for family matters and to South America.  Martin also went to Vanuatu for work matters early in the year, but has now decided that retirement is just too busy to allow work to interrupt it.  Unless of course a trip to somewhere really interesting came up.

OK.  This thing is getting too long so lets cut to the personal stuff, organised in descending order of priority in the household.

The small dog has wiggled and licked and wormed her way deeply into our hearts.  Extreme thanks to Bill and Jean for providing her with care and love while we were away in Peru.  She continues to be very interested in reptiles but thus far, inshallah, she hasn't had a close encounter of the legless kind.  (Although we have seen quite a few Eastern Brown Snakes and one Red-bellied Black Snake around the house and garden.)

Frances is very well and continuing to be a voluntary guide at the National Gallery.  She has done a lot of research for the French exhibition and led a couple of tours thus far.

She is also getting herself around the native plants, both on our block (yes, there is a category on the blog for that) and more widely through our walks with the ANPS.

Her interest in musical instruments continues with practice on piano, accordion and whistle a regular event.

Martin continues to be into birds.   His life list made a major surge (from 1600 to 1815) as a result of the trip to Peru and Chile but a few others have been picked up in Australia as well.  In particular his efforts on the COG Garden Birds Survey has been very busy with:
  • normal survey operations and PR stuff;
  • an excellent redevelopment of the Survey processing system by Sandy Hayman; and 
  • publication of the second edition of the Birds of Canberra Gardens.
The recording of birds in Carwoola is picking up with close to a dozen folk in the area providing records during the year.  If I (that is, Martin) am not careful, this is going to become a big job.  Pole sana - a Kiswahili phrase meaning "I am sorry for you, but it ain't my fault" - although i cannot ths far work who else's fault it is..

It would be nice to say Martin has continued to run marathons or at least half-marathons.  Unfortunately that would be a great big porky.  After dealing successfully with a buggered hamstring early in the year a sciatic nerve problem emerged during the trip to Adelaide.  This has really curtailed running since July with the only exercise highlight being finally getting his 50th Handicap run T-shirt from the Vets.  When the shirt was presented there was some astonishment that it had taken 25 years (at 11 races per year - an 18% participation rate!!!) to achieve this.  Its always good to set a record.

An interesting  - for Martin at least - development during the year has been the appearance of some of his photographs on the ANPS website.  Even better was that some others (of lizards, including the one at the card end of this stuff) made it to the Palerang Bulletin!  Gotta be part of my 15 minutes of fame.

I (that is Martin - to no-one's surprise I am sure) realise I have, so far,said nothing about politics in this.  Basically the year has been good.  Our local Federal member Mike Kelly continues to be excellent and our State member  Steve Whan seems to be getting rewarded for good work.  Nationally it is great to see Tony Abbott leading the Liberal Party (since that should put them in Opposition for quite some time).  Internationally Barack Obama seems to be doing as good a job as possible although I am worried that he still doesn't have an icon on Doonesbury.

Other than the implicit apology for not running enough, I also haven't said anything about sport.  Probably because I feel most sport these days is bullshyte.  The highlight of the year had to be the Yankees getting the World Series and the low point the performance of the Wallabies (Australia's Rugby Union team - who lost to Scotland, rated as the most difficult task in Rugby)!  I was sad for Rob and Warren that the Saints didn't get an AFL flag but the Grand Final  was a great game and losing to Geelong is not bad.  (Unlike losing to Hawthorn or Collingwood which should cause an outbreak of seppuku - if the hara-kiri isn't happening quickly enough).

On to 2010!!

1 comment:

Warren said...

Losing to Geelong sucks! Have a great 2010 mate - see you soon.