Monday, 22 May 2017

What, me worry?



This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au

Alfred E Neuman of Mad Magazine fame is a good source of sage advice. Here is one such example of his sage advice:
Alfred E Neuman of Mad Magazine fame provides sage advice*
Alfred’s catchphrase line is: “What, me worry?” And in uncertain times such as these, such a personal philosophy as espoused by Mr Neuman, is I reckon quite useful.

There have been times in my life when I have been in sore need of plain old good advice. And sometimes that good advice is not to be found anywhere. In those circumstances, not worrying and simply getting on with the job at hand and/or squaring up to the problem seems to work well for me. I reckon that Alfred E Neuman is onto something.

I don’t really know why good advice is hard for us to find, but I have rather suspected for a long time now that good advice is hard for us to obtain because the editor and I are not following the dominant narrative.

The dominant narrative is a collection of stories which people tell themselves which seeks to define the majority cultural practices of a society. Incidentally, those stories may be true or otherwise. The editor and I are hardly that far from the dominant narrative, yet we are far enough from it because we confuse the stuffing out of other people.

The confusion in other people about our lives most often expresses itself in the form of an interview which is conducted by other people. And the questions posed in that interview are remarkably similar regardless of the person asking them. In fact it is a fair thing to say that the questions that are asked of me regularly are identical. This identical questioning by different people cannot be a coincidence. I have already covered one of these questions in a previous blog essay (It costs a lot to live this cheap). That question is always asked: “So, how many days per week do you work?” I always answer that question honestly and then slowly guide the conversation around to how my situation is possible. If the person asking that question takes the time to understand how I achieved this income situation, they may be able to apply the lessons told to their own life and that is generally an excellent outcome for them.

However, this week I wanted to discuss another question that is regularly asked of me (but interestingly never to the editor). That question is: What will you do when you can no longer perform the physical work which is required around the farm?

For a start it is worth noting that underlying this question is a much deeper assumption which more or less says that the dominant narrative provides a useful role for people who are no longer able or prepared to perform work (i.e. retirement and going on cruises), which may not be available to me here at the farm (maybe because of the lack of boats nearby). And their expectation is that this situation will continue into the far distant future. I’d like to address that issue because it is important.

Recently, down here in the land of Oz, the retirement age for persons of my generation and younger was lifted to the age of 70. I feel that the unstated objective of that policy is that I may be unable to receive a pension before that retirement age. Therefore I will have to work until the age of 70, whether I am physically able to or not. Using Alfred E Neuman’s philosophy of not overly worrying, I have long since accepted this fate.

On the other hand, as time progresses, the knowledge of producing foodstuffs appears to me to be dwindling in the general population (following the dominant narrative). I also feel that the foodstuffs that are generally offered to the general populace is declining in quality.

So in answer to the question posed to me, my obscure and mysterious answer is: that I will be useful as long as I am useful. After that point, all bets are off! Until then, I will take a leaf out of Alfred E Neuman's book and 'why worry'?

Autumn is a time of harvesting and preserving the summer produce. It is a very busy time for us as long term readers of the blog will note, this year has been no exception. Winter on the other hand is a time of building or repairing infrastructure. This week, we have been working on the infrastructure.

The walkway above the rock gabion wall looked like this at the beginning of the week:
The walkway above the rock gabion wall looked like this at the beginning of the week
A day of excavations reshaped the garden bed which falls down to that upper walkway above the rock gabion wall. We didn’t excavate too far in one day because we uncovered a huge old tree stump. We’re becoming quite adept at removing tree stumps and in this instance we used a combination of the chainsaw and wedges to break apart the old tree stump. That job of removing the tree stump from the future walkway took several hours.
The path above the rock gabions was excavated this week
Then we began the long slow process of excavating soil so as to extend the rock gabion retaining wall. This is what the soil face looked like just prior to further excavations:
The clay wall ready to be excavated
After a couple of hours of further excavations, a whole lot of clay was removed from the excavation site.
A further couple of hours removed a whole lot of clay
A new rock gabion cage was constructed. For those who are curious, these rock gabion cages take us about two and a half hours to construct from three flat welded mesh sheets.
A new rock gabion cage was constructed
Then further excavations took place. This time I didn’t find any old tree stumps. Instead I found a huge floating rock. Geologists and engineers call these rocks by the technical name of “Floater” because they float in the clay. It took me a while to remove this floater and I used a combination of the electric jack hammer (solar powered, of course)  and hand tools to remove it from the clay. Alert readers will already understand that the floater will make an excellent addition to a rock wall!
A huge floating rock was uncovered in the further excavations
Eventually, the excavations were completed and I was exhausted, however I was able to place the new rock gabion cage in place. That rock gabion cage is now only waiting to be filled with rocks. It is fortunate that during all of those excavations that I unearthed a plethora of rocks.
The newly constructed rock gabion cage was placed into the newly excavated site
Fans of symmetry and order will note in the photo above that the rock gabion cage aligns perfectly with the existing rock gabion wall! This is one of the benefits of performing excavations slowly by hand.

A huge storm rolled over the mountain range this week. The large Bogong moths took refuge under the house verandas during the heavy rain, and so too did the stick insects. There are both huge brown and green stick insects and the other day I rescued this large green stick insect from the loving ministrations of the fluffy canine collective.
The author rescues a bright green stick insect from the jaws of the dogs
One of the reasons for all of the excavation works is that we intend to move the raised potato beds to that new flat terrace above the rock gabion walls. The potatoes in the raised garden beds have been a phenomenal success and over the past few weeks we have been harvesting tasty potato tubers as often as we need them.
We have been harvesting very tasty potato tubers from the raised potato beds
The autumn leaf change for the deciduous trees is almost done. This week the smoke bush put on a beautiful display of colour.
The red smoke bush puts on a great autumn display of leaf colour
As I was excavating soil this afternoon I couldn’t but help notice that the autumn sun caught this lone cosmos plant and the flowers were almost glowing with energy!
The autumn sun was captured by this lone cosmos plant with its many pink flowers
The temperature outside now at about 9.30pm is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 360.2mm (14.2 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 344.0mm (13.5 inches).

* The image for Alfred E Neuman was lifted from the following URL: http://www.madmagazine.com/blog/2015/08/31/alfred-e-neuman%E2%80%99s-words-of-%E2%80%9Cwisdom%E2%80%9D-for-august-31-2015

Monday, 15 May 2017

Sympathy for Smaug


This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au

It is a truth universally acknowledged that dragons accumulate gold. A dragon is a mythical fire-breathing monster which is sort of like a giant flying reptile. Why a dragon would want to accumulate gold is a motivation that is beyond my understanding. However, dragons are mythical creatures after all and as such they don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty little details of life such as eating, finding shelter and paying taxes.

The author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a story of high adventure about a lone Hobbit (a mythical creature) who joined a band of dwarves (another type of mythical creature) who set out on a quest to plunder the accumulated gold which was being hoarded by a dragon who had the unlikely name: Smaug. The dwarves were motivated to set out on this adventure by a desire to reclaim lost property. You see, Smaug the dragon had allegedly misappropriated the dwarves stash of mad cash (gold). Of course we have to remember that Smaug was a dragon, and as such he could fly around causing mayhem whilst breathing fire, which brought unpleasant circumstances for those unprepared for such an eventuality. The friends and relatives of the dwarves had suffered this fate at the claws and fire breathing mouth of the dragon.

The hobbit was a more complex character because he hadn’t actually lost any gold to the dragon. In fact neither he nor his friends and relatives had even encountered a dragon before. As such his motivations for joining the band were a bit obscure. Perhaps the hobbit in question was bored or he was at a loose end one day and the opportunity for adventure arose, who knows?

Whatever the case may be, the merry band of dwarves and one hobbit headed off into the wilds and through many adventures and by dint of good luck, the band eventually arrive at the Lonely mountain and confront the dragon. Smaug was in no mood to hand over the gold. To cut a long story short, Smaug the dragon became annoyed at the audacious dwarves. Smaug  then flew out to destroy a nearby human settlement (as you do), where after much mayhem and destruction Smaug was killed by a champion bowman.

Shortly thereafter, every nearby community realised that the hoarded gold was no longer defended by the dragon and so they all sent any person, who could bear arms, off to get some loot.

The forest elves were one of the nearby communities lured by the prospect of all that unprotected gold. Of course the forest elves also helped the human settlement that was almost wiped out by the annoyed dragon (note to self: don’t annoy dragons) and that was a noble act. A separate army of dwarves headed out of the nearby Iron hills to help the small band of dwarves and hobbit adventurers who faced the awful prospect of facing a large forest elf/human army who wanted a share of the gold. The whole situation was a sticky mess and needless to say there was an inevitable clash where the surrounding land was again laid waste. The victors distributed the gold as they saw fit. Perhaps the meek don't inherit the gold. The funny thing is that prior to Smaug's demise, the forest elves, humans and dwarves all got along just fine.

Alert readers with a keen understanding of economics may realise that the sudden increase in the gold supply in those surrounding communities would have an inflationary effect. Gold would clearly not have been worth what it used to be!

To me it all seemed like a lot of hard work and serious discomfit, all for a bit of gold. Our society is much smarter than Tolkien’s fictional world because instead of using gold as a medium of exchange, we use money. And people are always concerned for my welfare in that regard because they occasionally offer helpful hints as to how I can obtain more money. It is very nice of the people to provide those helpful hints which have included: “you should offer accommodation”; “you should sell some of the produce at the local farmers market”; “you should run tours”; and "you should sub-divide your land".

Those suggested activities will indeed provide me with more money. However, if I were to spend my time pursuing those suggested activities I would have less time with which to pursue the projects that we do undertake at the farm, and which I take great pleasure in. The quiet enjoyment of the farm would also be lost.

It is at these times that I recall the words that were attributed to Alanis Obomsawin who wisely said: “When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.” I wonder if the dwarves holed up with Smaug’s accumulated gold after the demise of the dragon realised their dilemma.
Smoke haze in the air produced the most stunning sun rises this week
Smoke haze from large scale burn offs produced the most spectacular sun rise this week. The peaks of Mount Bullengarook which is in the middle of the above photo and Mount Blackwood which is to the right are just sticking their heads above the smoke haze. The clouds which settled in the lower parts of the valley are patches of very cold and very moist air which accumulated in all of the low lying spots.
Given the cold nights, it is a pleasure that the new wood heater is continuing to work well. We have almost completed the many repairs associated with that project. A cowl (a fancy word for a metal cover plate used with chimneys) now covers the rough plaster work where the wood heaters flue enters the roof space.
A white painted cowl now covers the plaster work where the wood heater flue passes into the roof space
The repairs are now complete to the wall where a hydronic radiator was previously located.
The repairs are now complete to the wall where a hydronic radiator was previously located
It may be cold outside, but it is toasty warm in the house. Anyway, cold weather has some undocumented benefits. Now that the days are colder, I am able to mow around that part of the orchard which is very close to the bee hive. Even still, the bees ventured from their toasty hive to check out what I was up to. Fortunately, I was not stung by the bees, and the mowing was able to be completed.
Cold weather allows me to mow around the bee hive without getting stung
Speaking of bees, the agapanthus flowers make great drought hardy nectar and pollen supplies for the bees. And I have huge numbers of these plants which the bees are very happy about. However, at this time of year the long stalks which the flowers sit atop tend to fall over and become a serious trip hazard!
Agapanthus flowers produce reliable and drought hardy sources of nectar and pollen for bees
As you can see in the above photo, the plants produce a lot of flower stalks. Using an electric hedge trimmer, we cut hundreds of flower stalks from all of the agapanthus plants. We then collected all of the flower stalks into many wheelbarrow loads. The wheelbarrow loads were then dumped into two slight depressions in the paddock. I then ran over the entire mass of flowering stalks with the mower. Chopping up the flower stalks has the effect of increasing the surface area of all of that organic matter. That should give the life in the soil a jolly good feed.
The flowering stalks from the agapanthus plants were run over with the mower
Last week we began repairing one of the tables which we’d originally coated with a surface treatment that basically made the table look orange. To be honest, the table looked a bit weird. So, last week that table was sanded back to raw timber, and the table has now had five coats of Tung Oil applied to the surface. I am typing this week’s blog on this desk and I reckon it now looks pretty good.
Five coats of Tung Oil were applied to the table that was sanded back to raw timber last week
Over the past few weeks I have been attempting to learn more about firewood and the science of heating with firewood. It is a complex matter and one which I have not yet mastered despite many long years of experience. Fortunately I received a recommendation from a commenter (kudos to Claire!) for a book on the subject written by Dirk Thomas who has had many longer years of experience as a chimney sweep. A chimney sweep is a person who is paid to maintain wood heating devices. The book is titled: “The Woodburner’s Companion: Practical ways of heating with wood”.

In the long distant past, I knew that it was a bad idea to attempt to burn unseasoned or damp firewood. I just didn't realise just how bad an idea it was, because the combination of steam, noxious gases, and low temperatures inside the combustion chamber are a total disaster for steel. The book provided many valuable insights, one of which was a quote from the US National Chimney Sweep Guild for a recommendation for using firewood with a moisture content of 15-20%. A fine recommendation! However, my next thought was: how the heck can you measure the moisture content of firewood? Well, wonder no longer my friends, because manufacturers produce these little digital devices which are able to measure the moisture content in timber (and it can be used for other materials too). I had to obtain one of those devices, and this is what I measured:
Score 35%: Green timber which had been sitting out in the rain
Score 31%: A disc of timber which had been cut from a stump a few months ago
Score 14%: A log of timber which is elevated off the ground, but still located in the rain, which was from a tree that had been felled over five years ago
Interestingly, most of my stored firewood was in the 15% to 16% range which makes for some very good quality firewood. The occasional piece of stored firewood measured 23%, and what was notable about those particular chunks of firewood was that the firewood displayed signs of previous termite damage. Clearly termite manure and the tunnels that the insects make, hold a lot of water. The driest item of timber was the dining table which scored 11% (kiln dried timber). Even the very old timber in the clothes washing horse which constantly sits in front of the wood fire scored 12%.

The core message which I now understand about firewood, is that if you want to use it as a heat source you have to have appropriate systems in place at every single step in the process, from tree to heat. Near enough is not good enough.

The wild birds here are forever mucking around and getting up to mischief. The other morning I spotted a Kookaburra sitting on the whirly gig which sticks up out of the worm farm sewage system. The Kookaburra was enjoying being spun around and around as the whirly gig caught the occasional breeze.
Kookaburra sits on the old (gum tree!) worm farm sewage system whirly gig
A neighbour with an old Medlar tree donated a huge batch of Medlar’s to us which we are slowly bletting (that is a fancy name for rotting / or more correctly fermenting) on every available flat surface of Fernglade Farm. Once the fruit has bletted, we will make a batch of tasty Medlar wine and another batch of Medlar jam. Yum!
A neighbour donated a huge batch of Medlar’s which we are slowly bletting and will eventually be turned into wine and jam
The autumn months are full of colour here and the deciduous trees are slowly doing their thing and they really are putting on a spectacular show:
A Japanese maple puts on a good show at the autumn leaf change
A smoke bush and sugar maple are also showing their true colours
Many of the trees in the orchard are now starting to lose their leaves in preparation for the winter months. Note the plentiful citrus
The orchard autumn colours are really quite lovely
There are still plenty of flowers around as can be seen by these newly planted salvia and alyssum plants
The bees even make a special guest appearance when the sun shines, albeit weakly
Who doesn’t love the very weird chrysanthemum flowers? Such a delight.
And lastly, the fungi are going feral and are all over the orchard
Fungi love nothing better than consuming timber
The temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is 9’C (48’F). So far this year there has been 344.0mm (13.5 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 339.0mm (13.3 inches).

Monday, 8 May 2017

Eyes wide open

This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au

“So this is the end of the story,
Everything we had, everything we did,
Is buried in dust,
And this dust is all that's left of us.
But only a few ever worried.”

The computer room at the University during the 1970’s was an amazing place. I visited the computer room with my mum one weekend afternoon. I can still vividly recall the image of that room in my mind. My mother was there because she was studying an undergraduate degree and I was perhaps a bit too young to be left unattended. The computer room was full of keyboards and black screens with their little green characters. And then there were the huge platters of gold coloured discs which were occasional being dropped into something that looked like to me like a top loading washing machine. The room stunk of industriousness and ultra high tech gear and I felt as if I was in the engineering room of the Starship Enterprise.

It was quite amazing that my mother was even able to attend University because she was a single mother with three children and she also had to work full time. Back then University courses were free of charge. Of course being free of charge does not make them free of work and my mother would have been a rather busy lady.

One of the advantages of my mum being so busy was that I was left to think my own thoughts and become my own person. However, a downside to living with a single mum who worked full time and studied part time, was that there was never much money floating around for us kids. This wasn't too much of a problem for me because I was a self confessed little capitalist who sometimes worked up to three jobs just so that I had enough mad cash to burn on important kid investments such as Space Invaders and pin ball games. I even distinctly recall that one point in time, my mother had to borrow money from me for some reason or other. I was of course happy to offer an unsecured loan at interest with fixed terms to accommodate this need.

The mercenary relationship was a two way street, because when I scored my first full time job as an adult, my mother levied me a regular charge for board which was over half of my take home pay. To be honest, it was financially cheaper moving out of home and in with friends into a share house of five people.

I soon found myself working full time with aspirations of achieving a University degree. This meant that I had to study part time at night whilst working full time. I’d seen firsthand that such an eventuality was a feasible option, and so I just got on with the job at hand.

The very first year of my part time experience at University also miraculously coincided with the re-introduction of course fees for students. I discovered to my horror that I was rapidly accruing a student debt with every single class that I attended.

“Well the signs were clear, they had no idea.
You just get used to living in fear,
Or give up when you can't even picture your future.
We walk the plank with our eyes wide open.”

In Australia student debt is held by the Federal government and repaid through the tax system depending on a persons taxable income. If your income falls below a certain threshold, you don’t have to make any repayments. However, this week the Federal government announced that it would seek to increase University fees by 8%, whilst at the same time reducing the income threshold for repayments for people with student debt from about $54,000 to I believe about $42,000.

Many people who have not attended or have no intentions of ever attending University make the correct claim: Why should they subsidise University courses with their taxes? I am comfortable with this claim. However, that claim also assumes that there is an underlying fairness and equality to government policy, and I am aware that many people who received free University education in the now distant past pay no taxes on their pension income. And I am uncomfortable with such inequalities in policy which are breeding wealth inequality in the community. I for one don’t believe the kids are alright.

“Some people offered up answers.
We made out like we heard, they were only words.
They didn't add up to a change in the way we were living,
And the saddest thing is all of it could have been avoided.”

Today, for some strange reason I was considering the issue of wealth inequality and I recalled a story from my past which highlighted how I felt about the issue of wealth inequality as a very young man.

My girlfriends parents at that time were refreshingly candid about my future prospects in that they didn’t believe I would amount to much. As such it was clear that they felt that their daughter and I were an unsuitable match. I politely ignored them, acted in a surly manner, and simply went about my business. My girlfriend was lucky enough to have been presented with a brand new vehicle by her parents. As a contrast, I had a little very old and very used white Suzuki Sierra four speed vehicle. That Suzuki Sierra was barely reliable and I was forever maintaining it or replacing failing parts.

My girlfriends parents also owned a holiday house on the coast. One weekend the girlfriend invited me to spend the weekend with her at the holiday house which would have been fun. However, that time was also the recession of the very early 1990’s and even though in my youth I was a budding capitalist, I had barely enough income to match my fixed outgoings. And that meant that I did not have the $40 petrol (gas) money to make it down the coast and then back again. You see, my girlfriend had thoughtlessly just driven down in advance in her paid-for vehicle and just assumed that I would follow down later in my little white Suzuki Sierra. Not so! The phone conversation that ensued was less than pleasant as I pointed out these gritty realities in a less than gentlemanly tone.

That evening, instead of travelling down the coast, I ended up visiting some friends who lived only 15 minutes away. Needless to say the girlfriend and I broke up not too long after that incident. Angry on one side of that equation and thoughtless and indifferent on the other, and that to me is how the gritty realities of wealth inequality play out.

“But it was like to stop consuming's to stop being human,
And why would I make a change if you won't?
We're all in the same boat, staying afloat for the moment.”

As an interesting side story: The editor on the other hand owned a large and old poo-brown Chrysler Valiant Safari station wagon that was unable to be driven in reverse. In that poo brown station wagon was often to be found a rather fat brown dog who jumped around the insides barking for the sheer joy of the experience in between chewing the seats. I knew I’d found the right girl (and dog) for me.

It has been another wet and cold week here at the farm. One evening I noticed that the outside temperature had dropped to as low as 3’C (37’F). Even Poopy the Pomeranian (who as everyone now knows is a sophisticated Swedish Lapphund) was feeling a little bit chilly even though he has a double layered dog coat.
The night time outside temperatures plummeted this week to temperatures not seen for six months
At least the new wood heater is keeping the inside of the house toasty warm. Best of all, the new wood heater – which through diligent research I now know is described by the fancy name of "wood boiler" – uses far less firewood than the previous wood heater despite heating a bigger space. Heating a home with firewood is a very complex matter and even after seven years of living with this energy source, we are still learning.

During the installation of the new wood heater we moved one of the hydronic radiators. The repairs to that wall where the radiator used to be are now almost complete. In another week, nobody will ever know that there even was a hydronic radiator in that location.
Repairs to the wall where the hydronic radiator was removed from have continued and now only painting is required to complete the repairs
Sometimes we get things right the very first time that we try a new activity. Other times, we have the opportunity to go back and re-work a project using the experience that we have learned in the intervening time. This latter option has been the case this week. A hardwood table which we had purchased for a song and had been repaired last year was subject to one of our experiments. Unfortunately during those repairs we’d experimented with a particular timber finish. The result that the timber finish produced was not good (ie: the stain was orange in colour). This week, we sanded the table back to the raw timber:
One of the tables from the Table Bunch blog post was sanded back this week as the finish was very poor
Then we went back and used the old faithful timber finish of: Tung Oil, which provides a beautiful glossy and very hard wearing surface for timber. We have applied one coat of Tung Oil and there are another five coats yet to be applied:
A coat of Tung Oil was applied to the table which was sanded this week. Five more coats of Tung Oil to go!
Along the road above the house, we planted a series of bottlebrush native plants. The fancy name for these trees are: Callistemon and Banksia species. They are called bottlebrush plants because the flowers look exactly like bottlebrushes, and I must add that the local honeyeater birds adore the flowers for their nectar.
A hedge of bottlebrush (Callistemon and Banksia species) plants were planted along the road above the house
I almost lost a beautiful apricot coloured rose which was unfortunately planted in a dense herb bed. The growth in that herb bed was so thick and rampant that I could no longer see the rose. This week, I took a very sharp brush hook to the rampant growth in that herb bed and rescued the little apricot coloured rose. Once I discovered where the rose actually was, I relocated the rose to a spot where it would be unlikely to be out-competed by the other plants.
An apricot coloured rose was rescued and relocated from a very dense herb garden bed
Earlier in the week I had brought a huge load of mushroom compost onto the farm. Unfortunately I’d purchased far more mushroom compost (the curse of Cherokee!) than I could reasonably handle and so the extra mushroom compost was used to top up some of the newer garden beds.
Mushroom compost was applied to some of the newer garden beds
Another grove of blackwoods (Acacia Melanoxylon) and sticky wattles (Acacia Howitti) was also planted out this week near to the very ancient canoe tree.
A grove of of blackwoods (Acacia Melanoxylon) and sticky wattles (Acacia Howitti) were also planted out this week
Nowadays I spend more time cutting back rampant plant growth than planting new plants. None of that cut organic matter goes to waste because I dump it in a new garden bed which is near the chicken enclosure. Over time, that organic matter will break down into very rich soil.

One of the strangest things that I have seen in urban areas was people hauling organic matter or cut grass off to the local landfill. I use the fancy word “strange” to describe that activity because they are actively sending their soil fertility to a landfill!
All prunings and plant cuttings end up in the new garden bed near to the chicken enclosure
The rain and change of soil temperatures has produced copious quantities of mushrooms in the orchard:
The rain and change of soil temperatures has produced copious quantities of mushrooms in the orchard
The leaf change is continuing to put on a good show here (and in the valley below) and Japanese maples are one of my favourite plants. It is also a pleasure to not have to deal with the pesky tourists!
The leaf change is continuing to put on a good show here and Japanese maples are one of my favourite plants
Despite the cold and wet weather, there are still plenty of Autumn flowers here:
Pineapple sage looks great and the honeyeaters love the nectar
Succulents enjoy the occasional burst of Autumn sunshine
Chrysanthemum flowers are a harbinger of colder weather (and mothers day)
The many Pentstemon’s are also producing a good display of flowers
“With our eyes wide open, we walk the plank, we walk the plank.
That was the end of the story.”

The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 8’C (46’F). So far this year there has been 339.0mm (13.3 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 330.8mm (13.0 inches).

A special shout out to the exceptionally talented local artist Gotye for his song “Eyes wide open” which was ripped blindly in this weeks blog. Some may know him for his famous song “Somebody that I used to know”. His back catalogue of works are outstanding.