Monday, November 30, 2020

Humans and green things

 We were thrilled to get some free tickets to the new WA Museum this weekend. It is a fabulous place full of things to discover and stories to tell, that is why the Museum is called WA Museum Boorla Bardip (many stories). In the manner of many museums it has displays of the rocks, insects, plants and animals of our special place here -and also the way in which the people of the land the Noongar and other First Nations took care of it -until the colonisers turned up and changed everything.

Now, in a time of climate emergency, we need to hear the wisdom of the elders. How to take care of the land and have it take care of us. My own little space of garden is my principal source of mental health and joy. For example, this week my DH helped me set up this fountain, which uses a solar pump and a glazed pot. 

It is in a bed on the edge of the patio, and we can see it from the kitchen window. This bed was totally made over in the winter -we pulled everything out and moved the roses in, and planted the new passionfruit and the other things. This spring we have watched it come to life and fill out -and it is bringing me lots of joy. When the fountain was installed my delight was multiplied. I absolutely love it! 

I am told by friends that the birds will discover that they can fly through the spray, which will give us lots of extra entertainment. 

My idea was to add the sound of running water and the sight of splashing water to refresh us in this hot and dry climate- just like the people of Spain and Italy designed in their similar climates. In fact, I reckon we can find other places for fountains in our garden -and they can join the 6 other bird baths I have already! These are in a variety of places and heights to offer water to birds and bees and other wild things. On a hot morning recently the birds were queueing up to get splashy in one out the front. 

It is also why I am researching the kinds of local native plants to set up on the verge after summer. 

Meanwhile, inside our place,  this happened: 

Our grandchildren and their mum and dad came over to help with the tree. We had a lovely time! They decorated the tree, then drew pictures of more trees and stuck them up in the kitchen. The tree tradition comes from northern Europe, where snow and deciduous trees make greenery something to be treasured during winter, along with shiny things as it is so dark -the shortest days of the year. In the southern hemisphere, the Christmas time is very bright and there is no shortage of greenery -even if it is rapidly drying out in the summer heat. 

Our blueberries are ripe at last , and I am preserving lemons for gifts for Christmas. We are picking early tomatoes and I am moving from planting things to weeding and watering -the tasks of summer. 

Here are a few internet things to enjoy: 

humans need green things

And pictures and plants 


Sunday, November 22, 2020


After we got home from Kinjarling/ Albany and felt that it was time to take Dora to the vet. Our young neighbour had done a great job in taking care of her while we were away, but we felt that she was a bit thin. It turned out that she has hyperthyroidism. We have started her on some medicines which we hope will help her feel less anxious and be more willing to eat and put on some of the weight she has lost. I have noticed that she is sleeping more soundly now, which is good. 

 We made progress on the verge garden, spreading a load of free mulch on it. Now we wait until the rains come again in autumn before we plant. The mulch should start breaking down and reviving the soil a bit. Meanwhile I am keenly observing other verge gardens around here to see what grows well. 

This handsome new glazed pot is going to have a small solar fountain in it, among my roses. I can see this garden from my kitchen window. I am thinking about making more opportunities for having more  moving water in the garden -this is my first experiment. We used a smaller plastic pot inside the glazed one, and DH glued it and sealed it. We did not realise however,  that the weight of the water would sink the pot further into the outer glazed pot, so the water level is not where we thought it would be.  DH is having a think about what to do next -perhaps we leave it as it is, perhaps we buy some preparation to seal the outer pot so it doesn't need a liner. The solar fountain is ordered and on its way. 

This jasmine is the best I have ever seen it. The perfume is amazing. It is covering an ugly back fence near my patio.

As a result of all the rain we had in the first couple of weeks of November, everything is looking great in the garden. I have just about finished harvesting the beetroot, and the lettuce is going well. There are a couple of new snow pea vines coming on, and if I take the tomatoes off the vine when they start to turn a bit pink, I have the chance of ripening them up inside before some critter steals them - it might be the 28 parrots.  The blueberries are ripening nicely and I have some mulberries on the tree at last.

I really enjoyed Toby Hemenway's book "The permaculture city: regenerative design for urban, suburban and town resilience" which I got from the library. As I live in a suburban house, it makes a lot of sense and is very applicable to me.

Jason Hickel's book "Less is More -how degrowth will save the world" is a cracker of a book too. Highly recommended. 

Thanks for visiting my blog. Please leave a comment if you like.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Visiting Kinjarling (Albany)


We have been able to get away and have some time down in our favourite holiday destination! Kinjarling- Albany is about 350km south of Perth, a place of fabulous views, white beaches, unique flora and fauna and great cafes and restaurants. Sadly we missed out opportunity to see the whales make their visit this year, but there may be a more kind opportunity next year. Kinjarling is the Minang Noongar word for a 'place of plenty'. Recently the local council adopted a dual naming policy -indigenous place names and English names will be seen together on all signage. 

This beautiful land in the Great Southern region of Western Australia Always Was, Always Will Be Aboriginal Land. The custodians of the land for more than 50000 years are the Minang Nyoongar people. I pay my respects to their elders and their strength.

I think we have been visiting Kinjarling - Albany for something like 44 years! It was the place my DH took me on our first adventure together -which included meeting his parents, who lived there for a number of years. When we lived in Melbourne for 13 years we came home and visited them as often as we could. We have memories of taking our tiny children to the parks and watching them chase the seagulls while crawling in their little bodysuits. Later when DS was a teenager with a driving license he drove us to visit the wineries, while staying sober himself! 

We had a lovely place to stay with views over Princess Royal Harbour. Sometimes it was enough to just stay there, watching the clouds and the boats and the waves.

Kinjarling-Albany is notorious for its weather. As it is on the south coast of Western Australia, it is often brushed by low pressure systems coming in from the Great Southern Ocean. In summer people from Perth go south to avoid our heat. They are often rewarded with drizzly days and cold temperatures. We were lucky this time -four days of sunshine! 

DD wanted to see the trees of the Tingle and Karri forest - a unique and tiny geographical area where the giant trees are found. They grow just outside of Walpole (about an hour's drive from Albany) and we are so lucky that the forest remnant is still there, given the pressure of agriculture and climate change. The trees are big and old -they have the largest girth of any eucalypt in the world. Some of them have hollowed out bases -due to fire and other events -but continue to grow. One of these is easily big enough to park a car inside. We had bought some food from the Denmark bakery -a local award winning business -and found a coffee van in the car park of the Tree Top Walk. Once we had our picnic we had a walk through the forest, admiring the trees and flowers. 

The coastline is a particular feature of this part of our beautiful state. On the edge of the town of Kinjarling-Albany is a national park called Torndirrup, where the Wagyl Kaip people are the traditional custodians. It is a fairly narrow strip of land which has ocean views and views to Frenchman Bay and Princess Royal Harbour. The coast is rocky and the seas notoriously rough and unpredictable. The white sand means that the shallow water near the coast is an astonishing opal or tourmaline colour. This place is hard to photograph simply because the landscape is so big and so beautiful -where do you point your camera? And even then, you can't quite get the impression in a photograph of walking down a bush track and suddenly being on the edge of the hill, with the ocean laid out before you.

We only stayed for four days, but we all feel so much better for having refreshed our memories of this lovely place, during NAIDOC week. To read more about NAIDOC week click here