Monday, January 24, 2011

Family Wedding.

We are all very excited as a family, as we have our first wedding.

Our eldest child and son is tying the knot in March in Margaret River area of W.A.

He has been living and working in the area for many years and that is where he has met his future wife.

To mark the occasion, I have got my embroidery skills into action and I am stitching them a wedding sampler. I am using a Shepherds Bush kit called "Mothers Heart". It's a beautiful sampler with lovely wording pertaining to Mothers, obviously the wording is inappropriate but I will change the wording to be more appropriate for a wedding. I will then add there names and marriage date.

The sampler is stitched on 32count white linen and uses very soft colours in pinks, mauve's and cream. It is quite pretty, and it has some embellishments on it to enhance the stitching.

I am still several weeks away from completing it, and so every spare minute is spent adding a few more stitches.

Our sewing bee recommences next week after a break over the Christmas period. The girls will really get me motivated to finish it. It's lovely stitching in a group as they keep you to task, especially when you have a deadline.

I will keep updating you on the progress of the sampler over the coming weeks.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Front Garden Transformation.

With great excitement all the plants arrived in cupboard boxes ready for me to plant.

And then down came the rain. We had 88ml over a 24hr period, I am sure that it wasn't welcome by all, but it was great for my little patch. It made digging very easy, and in fact at one stage I was out in the weather trying to finish putting in all the plants.

The front garden is a very formal garden, and follows the Paul Bangay's style of garden. All the plants have been chosen for their drought tolerance. Even though we are having a lot of rain at the moment, after coming out of a long drought, and Sunraysia is well known for our long hot summers. I think all gardeners now garden more wisely.

All the borders have a hedge of Japanese Box which when fully grown will be kept clipped at 60cm high x 45cm wide. Inside the borders in the corners are Cypress.

The boundaries boarding both neighbours I have planted Murraya Paniculata, which well be kept clipped at 1200 high by 600cm wide. In the raised garden bed I have chosen white convolvulus which will spill over the brick wall and should look lovely with their grey leaf and white flowers.

On the nature strip, where there would usually be lawn, I have chosen a ground cover of Myoporum Parvifolium. It has compact low growth with small white flowers. It will cover the area very effectively in a short amount of time and is water efficient.

It was a huge effort to plant around 300 plants in a few days, but I just took it slowly and some family and friends gave me a helping hand over the weekend. David has gone back to work, he will really notice a difference when he is home next.

The last task was to complete the watering system, which all the plants are on automatic drippers which are set to come on overnight. I haven't applied mulch yet, but I have it and will do that task over the next few days.

All the garden beds still need a lot more planting, and as the weeks go on I will add some more. There are quite a lot of roses to be included but I will wait for the cooler months and buy them bare rooted. This will also give me time to decide what ones to plant. I have lots of favourites but as this is a much smaller garden that my last, I will have to think carefully before I order them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Return to the Gardening.

It seems so long since I have been able to recommence the gardening project.

With the Great Vic Bike ride, then busy times with Rapt Up prior to Christmas and of course Christmas and extra visitors it has been many weeks.

Husband David works away, but has a few weeks holiday over the Christmas/New Year period. With all the visitors gone, and the fact that David's time is short, it was the perfect opportunity to try and finish the front garden.

The front garden is a very formal design. David first installed borders to divide garden from paths. We then went and ordered sandstone pavers and a load of river pebbles and the paths started to take shape.

A load of cow manure was ordered and it was my job to distribute it among the garden beds. Not my ideal job, especially on the hot days that we were enduring, but the paver were too heavy for me to handle. By the end of the day though, we had both worked hard and the paths were finished and so were the garden beds.

Next job for David was the watering system, which he had mostly set up last time he was out in the garden so the job was completed.

The infrastructure is now complete and now the fun part of planting will commence. The plants are ordered and I will have great enjoyment in this task.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Great Victorian Bike Ride - Day 9

Day 9 - Eildon to Marysville - 48km.

We were awoken by the sounds of a family of kookaburra's and our last day began.

It was a beautiful fine morning, slight breeze and the riding was easy. We had a couple of hills but with what we have had to challenge ourselves with over the past few days, they were easy.

The scenery was beautiful. At one point all riders had to dismount and walk across a very narrow wooden bridge, it was a real sight to see 1500 riders strung out, waiting to cross.

The Cathedral Ranges came into our view, with the poignant reminder of the tragedy of the bush fires, but nature is wonderful and the regrowth was amazing.

As we rode closer to Marysville the hills all around were covered with the burnt trees that haven't recovered, and they really did surround the small communities. It must have been such a horrific experience.

We arrived at Marysville at lunchtime to much fanfare, most of that provided by my sister and brother in law who came up to meet us. The community of Marysville has started the rebuilding, but has a long way to go, and by finishing the bike ride there, I hope it encourages people to come up and visit this most enchanting place.

It was great to reach the finish, and it gave us all a great sense of achievement. It was an experience that certainly challenged the mind and body. We had some really tough days but I was surprised that each day we recovered well and seemed to ride stronger the next day. I would certainly encourage anybody to give it a go. It was a fun and enjoyable "week in another world"

Would I do it again.

I most certainly would.

The Great Victorian Bike Ride - Day 8

Day 8 - Yea - Eildon - 64km.

Much warmer riding conditions today and a slight wind. It was a bit hard to get out of bed this morning, although none of us were sore after yesterday. Only 64kms today.

We have now realized why it is only 64kms today. We started climbing straight away with gradual hills to the gorgeous small town of Alexandra, where we had our lunch stop. Alexandra is nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and for us to arrive at Eildon we have to negotiate some of the Great Dividing Range. Why did we think 64kms was going to be a quick ride?

The pain started very soon after leaving Alexandra as we climbed up and up. I can assure you that a reasonable amount of walking was needed, even by our boys in the group. Once again the sag wagon was working overtime, but once again none of us succumbed.

The warbies ( we are right behind you) were also busy helping out with jammed brakes and just moral support with handing out jelly beans for extra energy, anything for a distraction from the screaming leg muscles.

At last we reached the top and the views of Lake Eildon were magnificent. It was worth it ( I think )

Then the wonderful downhill run into Eildan. We crossed the Lake Wall and into the very pretty campsite around the Lake. Would you believe no rain in sight.

It was our last night on the ride and we decided we needed to celebrate. We all went into the village of Eildon for a meal and sat around and enjoyed the entertainment that was provided.

It is hard to believe that we have been riding for 8 days, you forget about all what is happening in the outside world. For me I have just about forgotten that I own an online business that is very busy with the Christmas rush. Thank heavens for my girls that have taken control for me, I know Raptup is in good hands.

The Great Victorian Bike Ride. - Day 7

Day 7 - Seymour - Yea - 85km.

Another day on the road and we were all pretty pleased with how we were feeling after yesterdays long ride.

We left Seymour and had a gentle climb to our first rest area at Broadford before climbing the Murchison Spur to lunch at Strath Creek. The going was very tough and at times we seemed to be going so slow we wondered if we were ever going to get there. At the top of the spur magnificent views and the climb was certainly worth it. The downhill was scary but good, although there were a few casualties, but not in our group.

We rode on through some lovely countryside, a lot of it had been devastated in the bushfires. especially around the Flowerdale area,but new growth was very evident. If we thought it was tough riding before lunch we were unprepared for what was to come. The last 20kms before our afternoon rest area was extremely hard, in fact we had to walk a couple of sections. The sag wagon was very busy in the afternoon, picking up riders that just couldn't go any further. None our group surrendered to the sag wagon though and it was with great relief that we arrived at the rest area with the knowledge that we had a 15km downhill into Yea.

Lovely campsite at Yea and the night entertainment was great. It made you forget what a tough day we had just had.

Of course another night of rain.

The Great Victorian Bike Ride - Day 6

Day 6 Nagambie - Seymour - 101kms.

Up early for our longest days ride. We were all a little concerned as the terrain looked hilly and of course the distance. Our fears were all dismissed though as we rode off under overcast skies and cool conditions. In fact it was a lovely ride, the hills were rolling ones through mainly national parks and it was just lovely.

Our first rest area was the the small community of Graytown and our lunch break was at Heathcote. At Heathcote we decided have our lunch break in the town, and we had our lunch at the award winning Heathcote bakery, it was worth it... yum yum. Between these communites we passed the 300km mark. All around this area is old gold mining country, and as we rode along you could see evidence of old gold diggings.

After lunch the clouds were building, although we didn't think they were going to produce much rain. How wrong we were!! We had just pulled into the roadside reserve where our afternoon rest was and the heavens opened up. It's been a long time since I have seen so much rain in so little time. At least 25+mls of rain with no where to shelter, we just were so drenched, but as sudden as it came it went and we rode our last 30kms into Seymour in fine conditions.

We arrived at Seymour after having to negotiate washed away roads, (due to the downpour) and another soggy campsite. It continuted to rain all through the night.

I think the drought is over.

I am not sure if it had to be while I was on this ride.

The Great Victorian Bike Ride - Day 5

Day 5 - Rest day at Nagambie.

It was so nice to be able to have a sleep in instead of the just after dawn rising.

It was a lovely day despite raining all night. Lots of activities were planned to make the most of our rest day. The girls in our group decided we would go on the winery shuttle bus and then into Nagambie for the market. The boys being boys decided to go into Nagambie and explore the idea of a pub counter meal.

Nagamabie is a very pretty place and Lake Nagambie is one of the highlights. The shuttle bus took us up pretty country road, although we had to make a couple of detours because the rain made some roads impassable.

We arrived firstly at Chateau Tahbilk. What a gorgeous winery it is. The winery has been in the Purbrick family for 150years. The history and the beautiful old buildings are a site to behold, and we could have spent a lot longer there than we did. It is right on the banks of the Goulburn River, and incorporates a magnificent wetland and wildlife reserve and a cafe. Of course we couldn't leave without a few tastings and the three of us declared they were a good drop.

Next winery was the Mitchelton winery which was the venue for the Shannon Noll concert this evening. It was beautiful too but completely different from Chateau Tahbilk. Of course another couple of tasting we had to have.

The shuttle bus delivered us back to the Nagambie township where we browsed in the market and shops in the main street before heading back to the campsite .

It was a great day, enjoyed by the boys as well and we were all well rested for the next days ride.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Great Victorian Bike Ride - Day 4

Murchison - Nagambie. 69kms.

Overcast morning but not cold. We were on the road by 8am but it wasn't going to be a big day, so had plenty of time to make it to Nagambie. It is very flat around Murchison and very typical dairy country. We rode out to the lovely small town of Tatura where we had our morning break and then back through Murchison before we were really on our way.

We rode mostly beside the Goulburn River, which was flowing very strongly and flooding in some areas, something which hasn't been seen for a long time. Lunch was at the Goulburn Weir and was lovely and relaxing.

Further on down the rode we detoured into the the heritage protected Kirwans bridge. The historic 310m timber bridge has been closed pending funding from the State Government and we all signed the petition to upgrade it and have it reopened.

Just before Nagambie we had to ride on a section of gravel road for 3 kms. We were fine on our mountain bikes, but it was a bit tricky for the road bikes as it was very rough.

Arrived at Nagambie and our camp site was around the lovely Nagambie Lakes. It was a beautiful setting but just as we were getting ourselves organized to have dinner that night, you guessed it more rain ( more like a flood ). It turned our eating facilities into another quagmire but we are getting used it by now, and we just soldiered on.

The entertainment tonight was just fantastic. It was the Legends Live Show impersonating Tom Jones, John Lennon, Micheal Jackson and of course Elvis. We all had a lot of fun before squelching back to our tent.