Saturday, 22 February 2014

A breath of fresh air

To celebrate the freshness in the air since the rain has come, I have been inspired to start a new crochet project in cotton, using lovely fresh green and cream.


I am making a summer weight bed coverlet - for those in between nights when it is too hot for a doona/duvet but you need more than a sheet alone.  

I am basing the coverlet on this blanket . . .


 . . . from '55 Crochet Gifts for the Home' by Angela King.


I picked up this book last year at the Lifeline Book Fair for a remarkable $4!  It is a lovely book with some rather pretty homeware patterns.


As you can see the 'small blanket' pattern is very straightforward - you just dc (US sc) long strips of 'squares' (each alternate strip starting with the other colour) then join the strips together to make the blanket.


So far, so good!

I am using 8 ply (double knit) cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills, in Honeydew and Parchment.  For my coverlet I have made each strip 21 'squares' long - just short of the length as a single bed blanket (to allow for a border).

I  am finding it a very simple, soothing make.

Probably the only drawback so far is the number of ends I am going to have to weave in.  I usually crochet over ends as I go, but I was hesitant to do that in this project as it looked as if they would be visible due to the colour changes.  I will have to do some experimenting as I do detest loose ends!

I am also anticipating a bit of experimenting to find an edging I am happy with.  While the pattern calls for a fringe (and  I love a good fringe), I want to be able to wash the coverlet without too much fuss and a fringe would be a nuisance.

More anon!

Nandina




Saturday, 15 February 2014

Wet stuff falling from the sky

Rain.  Thank goodness it has arrived.  The ground has been so parched, for weeks, but this weekend it rained, a glorious soaking rain that has settled the dust and cooled the air (and fraying tempers).

It has been just lovely to hear the patter of steady rain on the roof, and it has been such a relief not having to worry about what plants need watering before they completely expire from the intense and ongoing heat waves.


The rain seems to be clearing a bit today, though I can see more rain coming.  The vegies, trees and I are enormously thankful.


But I am lucky.  I live in a place with access to plentiful, good quality town water, collected in large dams built for that purpose, and have a stable income stream from my day job in the city.

My heart goes out to farmers in our region and across Australia who are doing it tough at present.  Some already have layers of debt from previous years when Mother Nature failed to deliver.  Some are not sure if this present rain will actually save them and enable them to stay on the land.  Something is very wrong when our farmers run out of fodder due to drought, bulldoze their fruit trees, and struggle to feed their families.  Our farmers - men and women - are tough, but it's hard for anyone to maintain equilibrium in such tough times.

Our country is where it is now because we 'rode on the sheep's back' into prosperity.  In other words we have benefited, for years and years, from the hard yakka put in by farmers.

File:Sheep eating grass edit02.jpg

[Above image from Wikipedia.]

I rarely get 'political' on this website, but our farmers are the backbone of who we are.  I believe our country are now at a crossroads.  We cannot let things go on the way it is, or we will end up serfs in our own country because Australians will not be able to afford to farm our own land.  Why should foreign interests reap what Australians, through blood sweat and tears, have sown, simply because successive governments haven't had the political will to DO something?  I believe it is in our national interest to generously support not only individual farmers, but more broadly farming and agriculture through government policy and 'fair trade' (as opposed to 'free trade', which just sells us out).  No matter how 'advanced' or 'technological' Australia is, we still need food and water.  These basic elements of life itself should be protected.

So I am posting up a link to Buy a Bale.  This website gives people an opportunity to support our farmers in their time of need.  It hopefully will also send a message to politicians that enough is enough and it is time to truly support agriculture in this country.

<a href="https://www.buyabale.com.au/donate"  title="Donate at www.buyabale.com.au" target="_blank"><img src="https://www.buyabale.com.au/media/B2.jpg" border="0"></a>

Please have a look and open your hearts.

Nandina




Sunday, 2 February 2014

Bounty

We are in the middle of yet another heat wave.  Today was 38.4 degrees Celsius . . . i.e., unbearably hot!  However my diligent watering is paying off and my crops are coming in thick and fast.  I picked these plums today.


The plums are delicious and I have started putting a few of the less presentable ones in the freezer to be made into jam at a later date.  Last year's plum jam was a hit and I have promised my Dad some more this year!

Behind the plums are little tomatoes and zucchinis picked over the last few days.

There are still heaps of plums on the tree - I took the picture below this evening, after picking the ones above.


Ain't nature marvellous?

This is all the more impressive given the amount of fruit I have had to bin over the last couple of weeks,  due to bird damage.  I would say I have lost about a third of the crop to birds . . . mostly cockatoos, I think.  They are a very destructive and long lived species, which means they will remember to come back every year.  On quite a few mornings I have found something like the picture below.


I intend to get some proper fruit tree netting for next year.

I have not picked any quinces yet - it's too early - but they are looking promising.  The picture is a bit blurry as it was getting dark when I took the picture, but you can still see the size of the quinces.  This is the 'Smyrna' variety.


The picture below of the vegie patch shows the size of the two zucchinis in the front bed and the tomato between the beds.  The tomato is now head height and covered in green tomatoes.


We are expecting another hot day tomorrow (37 degrees Celsius) then a respite of cooler weather for a few days.  Thank goodness!  After that it is forecast to get hot again unfortunately.  Still, all I can do it take things one day at a time.

Still, despite the heat I am enjoying my garden's bounty and loving having more than enough to share with others.

Nandina