Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Dartmoor, Victoria

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now. ~Chinese Proverb

Carved Cypress Tree in the Village Green

We darted across the South Australian border towards Dartmoor as soon as we heard of the Nursery Rhyme/Fairy Tale Cypress Tree. There are 38 characters carved in the old tree planted before World War II.

The carvings have been made by Kevin Gilders, a professional chainsaw carver/artist.

I'm sure you'll recognise many of them, as we did.

After a quick visit to the Village Dunny we left the Village Green and headed towards the main street of Dartmoor.

There is an avenue of trees which has been carved as a memorial to soldiers of the local area. Do have a read about the Avenue of Honour. I found it a wonderful opportunity to share with Ess about the times of war as we wandered along the avenue. She was particularly interested and asked many questions. It was somewhat of a paradox, we came to Dartmoor to enjoy seeing nursery rhymes and fairytales in carvings yet found ourselves immersed in conversation about some important real life issues.

Why were the trees not left alone you might be asking? As I did. It seems that arborists recommended the trees be cut down. They had been planted to commemorate those who had gone to war from the community around Dartmoor. Each tree was planted recognising the direction in which their home lay. I guess if a tree needs to be chopped down then this is a special way for the commemoration of these important people to continue.

Now tell me, which characters from which rhymes and tales did you see carved in the old cypress tree?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Twirly Skirt for Ess...complete and enjoyed!

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" ~Robin Williams

Our days are quite full here. Spring days full of warmth, colour and twirling and whirling with giggles and laughter.

Ess' skirt has finally been finished and, a few days later, is here for you to view.

I do hope you like it. Because you see, it was not I who designed it. I merely put the stitches to work. We used the pattern from here, I chose a selection of fabrics from here, yet it was my dear daughter who designed it. "I want the swirly, whirly, twirly fabric for the main part and the butterfly fabric for the hem and the top (ie the waistband and tie)", she stated clearly. Admittedly it was not my original choice, and I shared with Ess my own ideas. However her reply was, "but Mummy it is my skirt so please can we do it my way!?" It was not really a question and I knew that if I made a skirt of my own choosing it may not be worn, it may not be loved, it would certainly always be remembered as the skirt which 'Mum asked me to choose fabric for, but which she ended up choosing herself.' This was not my desire for a new skirt for my little girl to love and enjoy, to twirl and whirl in, and to consider her own.

Indeed I have come to love this design. I grew fond of the half-finished skirt as it inadvertently became a table runner to brighten our cool spring days last week. Now I have made a table runner for our outdoor area from the leftover fabric. It does look very springy by the fishpond and water fountain, now it is finally warm enough to sit by them and soak in the atmosphere in those few seconds between eating and being needed again - to play, to clean up, to move on to the next thing to keep pace with our little girls.

Enjoy your Spring, or your Autumn up north.

PS Hope you like my new Springy blog header ;) You'll have to pop on in to take a pic if you're reading in a reader.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Port MacDonnell

Praise the sea; on shore remain. ~John Florio

Just when you thought there could not possibly be anymore photos, and that the coastal scenery was a thing of the past, here I am again. Take a look at Port MacDonnell. We absolutely fell in love with this area and, in fact, if we were to come to stay around Mt Gambier again, we would look to stay in Port MacDonnell, it is only about 25mins drive south of Mt Gambier.

This small historic township is known for being "The Rock Lobster Capital" of Australia. However I was very happy to remain ashore here and leave the fisherman to their work. This rugged coastline is renowned for the many shipwrecks around the area. The one which comes to mind is the SS Admella 150 yrs ago, which is arguably the most tragic shipwreck. It was spotted by a Lighthouse Keeper at Port MacDonnell as it was in trouble along the coast at Carpenter Rocks. The ship split in two and people on shore watched passengers die as they could neither get to them or deliver food and water. There were numerous failed rescue attempts.

The above photograph is taken from the site of the original lighthouse - so very very close to the treacherous rocks. I am sure I would have felt uncertain staying here. However who knows what it would have been like 150 yrs ago, no doubt there has been a lot of erosion since then.

Such beauty bursting from in between sandy rocks and crevices. Another delightful South Australian Wildflower!

Little Camel Rock

Many of the rock formations around here have been named. They are indeed very easily identifiable.

Rhinoceros Rock

Frog Rock

We stood at South Australia's Most Southern Point and took stock of where we were - a very long way from most of the larger cities of Australia.

We spent a long time wading in rock pools, exploring shells and building sand castles as one must do on any beach. :)

I admired this absolutely enormous piece of seaweed which was not alone washed up on the shore with so many other leathery pieces of kelp.

As the afternoon sky faded, we drove to Dingley Dell, the cottage of the famous poet Adam Lindsay Gordon. His life story is one worth reading about - very wreckless and tragic.

We concluded our day viewing a beautiful sunset over the southern ocean,

while we waited to view the baby fairy penguins as they came out of their little caves to greet their parents coming in from the ocean with the 'catch of the day.'

The only thing I am sorry about is that we did not stay to dine at Periwinkles. This is no doubt, one of the reasons I need to stay in Port MacDonnell next time:)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Yeah they were all Yellow"

Tell me how many beads there are
In a silver chain
Of evening rain,
Unravelled from the tumbling main,
And threading the eye of a yellow star: -
So many times do I love again.
~Thomas Lovell Beddoes

The lovely Nina of Nö's Familie was given the challenge to find seven light blue things around her home which you can see here. She has passed the task on to me to find seven yellow things here. At first I was very challenged at the thought of the colour yellow as it is perhaps my least favourite colour. I do not wear it well at all. Yet as I have been enjoying working with a bit of yellow of late, I knew I'd accept that challenge.

The yellow pansies blooming beneath our budding roses were the first yellow things that came to mind. Nearby I see the bright yellow faces of the Johnny Jump-ups, jumping up year by year and endearing us all to them once again.

While in the garden I also discovered some bright yellow gumboots often worn by the owner of the sweet little yellow watering can as she accompanies me around the garden, now requiring more and more water as the days warm. It is definitely Spring here now.

As soon as Ess came home from school, we were all on the hunt for yellow things. We found this buzzy bee, a recent garage sale purchase made by Ess for little Eee who was in need of a moneybox. She absolutely loves placing money in through the slot, opening the bottom to watch it all fall out and resuming the task of refilling once more.

The bright yellow duckies in our bathtub bring smiles to all. Some were gifts as Ess was born yet the two smallest were kept by my Mum and passed on to me. They were mine as a child, loved especially by Mum as "they float so well and don't have a hole allowing them to fill with water and hence mould", she recalls!! Daddy even found a few more things in our bathroom on his return. Not so pretty to photograph!

I have loved watching Ess wear this sweet little vintage dress with yellow ladybugs all over. The cotton is so soft, no doubt worn thin by the many times I wore it as a child.

The bright yellow ribbons I made for Ess to wear on her Sports Day earlier this year.

A bright bowl of fresh fruit - bananas and lemons from Grandad's tree - sitting on our Spring time table outdoors. Finally it is warm enough for us to dine al fresco (and not yet too hot!)

And a highly coveted mango, fresh from Australia's Northern Territory, much loved by myself and my daughters. Sadly my Generous Gentleman never seems to get a look in when these are around.

I am sure I have found at least seven things!!

All the while I have been singing this Yellow song in my mind. As I reflect, I note that all these yellow items represent the things in our home which are important to me: my family/my children, my garden, wholesome nutritious, fresh food.

Thanks Nina for a lovely challenge. I'd like to pass this challenge on to Diane, alecat and Jackie to find seven red things. Have fun! And of course, if you have a red song, I'd certainly love to hear that as well!)

"Look how they shine for you" ~ ColdPlay

Friday, October 23, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Mt Schank

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir

Mt Schank
Australia's Youngest Volcano, aged 4600 yrs

Despite the fact that noone really knows when and if this volcano will erupt again, we took the exhilarating walk to the rim of the crater.

This interesting little fellow was spotted along the way and admired by our two little nature lovers. His face is rather ferocious looking, but beautifully red! (Oh how I love red at the moment. Bright, happy, rich, cute on little Eee ....that's another story!)

Once at the top, it was just too much for my Generous Gentleman and 5 yr old Ess to resist walking down into the crater following this path. (Can you spot the path, zigzagging down on the right, through the grass?)
Little Eee and I remained on the rim, enjoying the amazing views of the surrounding area... so lush, so green.

We spotted dewdrops on leaves...

...wildflowers blossoming beneath our toddling, wandering feet...

...and finally Daddy and big sister returning to the rim, ready to make a descent once more.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Mount Gambier

"How many cities do you know that are built on the slopes of an extinct volcano?"

The Blue Lake (not yet turned the turquoise it's famous for in summer, but still an amazing hue)

As a result, there are certainly no shortage of things to do while staying in Mt Gambier. There are just so many caves, sinkholes, craters etc. to explore, wander by, walk around and climb. We enjoyed a 3.6km walk around the famous Blue Lake (above). That was just before I came down with the tummy bug our family had been passing around so I'm not sure how good it was for me. Let's just say I really enjoyed being able to lie down that evening after a very busy day of sight seeing.

First stop was the Umpherstone Sinkhole. This was once a cave which formed through the dissolution of limestone.

The sinkhole was created as a result of the roof of the chamber falling to the floor of the cave, creating the prefect environment for its 'sunken garden' in the 1800s. There was a lake in here at that time and the owners used to picnic here using a boat for enjoyment on the lake.

I have never before seen anything like this and it is a sight to behold. So beautiful during spring with flowers blossoming and lots of greenery due to the consistent winter rains.

Limestone rock forming the edges of the cave over which vines have been growing for decades.

The beauty of blossom.

Our next stop was the Cave Gardens.

It is so easy to drive past these gardens and not notice anything there at all. It is all underground I guess and at the moment it is next door to a construction site, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled as it is yet another sight to behold.

This cave was originally the source of water supply for the early settlers. Now the Blue Lake provides water for the city.

Rather than there being a sunken garden at this site, there are beautiful plantings all around the cave including lovely rose gardens which are just about to burst into blossom. The rose buds enticed me to linger longer waiting, yet we could not.

This striking Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) being decorated by a busy bee was a magnificent sight. Look at the intensity of the red colour in this blossom, contrasting so beautifully with the golden yellow and sky blue of the upper petals. A magical sunset!

Our New Treasure

Lilypie Maternity tickers


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