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Sunday, 26 February 2017


My beloved Illawarra Flame Tree is ending its flowering cycle and beginning to put out beautiful bright green and shiny new leaves.


They are so fresh and deliciously bright! 

Want some fresh music to listen to?  Never heard a praise song for the god Thor played on a banjo before?  Well, here it is!

I love the song and I love how Banjoheathen smiles so sweetly at the end because he knows he nailed it!  Ahh, making music, it is such a challenging and satisfying obsession!

My little mummy is still unwell.  Please hold her in your thoughts and prayers.  

Friday, 24 February 2017


Mum is not well and we are spending a lot of time going back and forth to hospital and doctors and so on.

Kitty feels that all busyness should be against the order of nature.

Angus is not happy that his darling mama is not home.

Hopefully mum will be home soon, but we have a gall bladder operation ahead of us when things settle down.

Until then we are all thinking happy thoughts.

Hug your mum!


Monday, 20 February 2017

Chickens and green green grass

It's rained so much, the grass has grown in the paddock!  Who would ever think of such a thing in February!

The chicken's egg yolks have darkened up immensely with access to the green pick, and of course they love it.  They can't wait to get out for their free range time!

Nanny Ogg and Spotty.

Pretty Rover.   
It's weird to have green grass at the same time as the Marri trees are flowering.  This old beauty lives across the road from our gate.  Sadly, I call it the Penis Tree because it has a rather unfortunate stump of dead branch left standing up.   What can I say?  I'm all class! :D

Andrew had some more practice at crew-leading at the brigade on Saturday, with Mirline and Andy for crew here.  No real bushfire, just training.  The cool wet weather has kept fires in the state to minimum.  That's ok, we're happy to stick to training!

This week I felt ready to put my Firey availability back to green for the first time since last year, so am very pleased about that, though I might find it hard to get a place in the trucks with so many keen people now joined up and trained. Our brigade is a nine days' wonder in the Shire because we have had 14 (I think) new members in a single year!  Yay us!  I feel it is the friendly and supportive atmosphere we are building that is doing the trick, and we have every intent of keeping that going.

Niamh's blankie now looks like this:  

I'm enjoying making it, just crocheting away contentedly and choosing from the colours as I go with only a very vague idea of having some busy areas and some calmer areas.

These two are enjoying the cooler weather.   Labs are no fans of the heat, especially black ones!


Thursday, 16 February 2017


Niamh's Afghan is coming along.  I love being able to show you the stages as it goes, and I love the colours.  As mum says, it currently looks like it is made of jewels!

The Proof copy of Land of Giants arrived today.  I love the cover.  It worked!  Yay!  Now I have two matching books in the series, also rather jewel-like, especially when put together.

Painted covers are rather out of fashion in this age of computer graphics, but I do like them, and love how bright all my books look on the bookshelf together. As a bonus of being a self-published author, I get to do what I like.  :)

This gorgeous dog came to the same cafe as us this week. I think he just has the loveliest expression, very like my Keech. Very self aware and conscious and kind.   I didn't go to see him as we had our two silly-buggers with us, but I took photos to show you.  I am such a sucker for black and tan, especially when you add some white.

Doesn't he look like a lovey?  So handsome too, and when he puts his ears up, one is right up and one is only halfway, which is totally charming as well.  :)

Our beautiful local forest is very green just now after all the rain we have had.  On Tuesday we went on the walk down by the King Jarrah that I call the Faraway tree. Tuppy had to be on her long lead because there are lots of roos out there.


Ahh, the Magnificent Faraway Tree is always bigger than you remember!  So hard to capture in a photo, but here I have joined two together to give you a bit of an idea.

The rest of that bit of forest is rather lovely too. Here is another ancient, character-filled  Jarrah on the same south-facing slope. 

I've just discovered and really been enjoying the talent of this young feller, Sigrbodr Gretarrson this week.  Here he is playing the harp.

And here he is playing guitar, a fantastic version of Wardruna's Helvegen.

Amazing!   Colour comes in sound too.  Don't you just love following the music trail on youtube?      



Sunday, 12 February 2017

A Fun Weekend

We did a lot of good stuff over the weekend.  We had Fireys as usual on Saturday morning, and it was a jolly one, with lots of my favorite people showing up. After that we had lunch and watched an episode of an old version of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, which was so relaxing.  Then I played both of my favorite musical instruments, and did some crochet, and then we went off to represent our brigade at a local twilight market event.

It was a really successful event, packed with happy people, and we all had a good time chatting to locals and Fireys from other brigades.  Everyone was recruiting like mad too!

Sunday was working on the property, more Jane Austen, more music for me, and a game of Startrek Catan with Andyroo.  It takes a while to set this game up, and Cyrano decided he had to be involved as usual. We were a bit worried he'd walk across the board and knock everything flying like a giant marauding space-kitty but he was a good boy and settled on his squeezed up table-towel for the whole game.


Andrew beat me soundly, but he wasn't a bad winner at all.  No, all that Mwahahahaha stuff was purely throat clearing!

I always find that particular game rather frustrating, even if I win.  It can be annoying at the start when you aren't collecting any cards or getting to buy spaceships for this or that reason  Generally someone wins just when you really start being able to get moving on your evil plans for galaxy domination!  I still get the urge to play it every now and then. It is so pretty.

Niamh's crocheted afghan is in the early stages, but I think the colours are working really nicely.  I'm finding already that doing one big square offers different colour and pattern considerations than lots of small ones.  I think it could be a bit busy if I don't have some areas of multiple rows of the same plain colour, so I'll incorporate some of those as I go.    

Mister Kitty is extra snuggly just now with the unseasonably cool weather.  Poor darling is on a little bit of a diet because he is having trouble jumping up onto the furniture. He is getting a bit elderly now and not as spry as he was.  We have started putting step ladders here and there for him so he can safely get up to his fave high spots, and I haven't seen him go upstairs via the steep steps in ages. Not sure the diet is having much effect as yet though!

A couple of times this week, he has walked up to me while I was on the computer and insisted on a cuddle, and I have picked him up and cradled a huge bundle of ginger fur in my arms, snuggled up to my face, purring away, until my are muscles call it quits and I have to put him down. He really is quite a sweetheart.  A very large sweetheart!


Friday, 10 February 2017

Wild Weather and This and That.

Mum has a wisteria growing over her back pergola area. For years a Bronzewing Pigeon has made nests there, but we have never seen a baby before. This time, we did, though she or he is already quite well grown.  We didn't get too close but they are very used to us being around them and weren't too worried, just watched us.  How adorable is this?

Here in Western Australia, we've just had three months worth of rain in two days.  It is so odd!  Yesterday was the coldest February day on record at 17C, about 67F.   On the 31st of January we even had a fire in our potbelly!  Unheard of for this time of year, in fact it's not usally safe to do in summer, but the whole place was soaked, so we thought it would be ok.  the stone walls of the cottage have a lot of mass but once they get cold or hot, they stay that way, and if cold, the stone seems to leach chill into the room.  I see why stone castles used large tapestries on their walls as much as possible. 

The dogs and I have still gone walking.  We love it cool!  This is a bush reserve out south of the town.  I hadn't been up this track before and really enjoyed it.
   You can't really capture the feel of it with a photo so I took a little bit of video.  You'll just have to imagine the smell of eucalyptus and the bracing feel of the cool, swirly wind.

I've finished Cyrano the kitty's special little lap afghan, but last night someone else was enjoying it while snuggling up to daddy.
That Tuppy, this is her idea of snuggling. No lap climbing or huggles for her, but she will rest her head against you and let you pat her ear area if you are very privileged.

My next project is an afghan for my youngest niece.  We went and chose colours this week, since it wasn't much of a secret, what with both her sisters already receiving an afghan from me!  I like the colours she picked.  I'm looking forward to starting to work with them.  This time it is one big square.  No joining.  Yay!

   Isn't that a pretty combo of colours?

New family dog, Pippa is settling in well but she blotted her copy book this week by leading Kelly with her and going for a run up the road when Jen took her eye off them to saddle her horse. Thanks to the power of Facebook, they were soon home safely, and Jen only had a few more years taken  off her life as a result.  They were in no way upset about being lost, they were actually quite pleased with themselves.

 Cheeky buggers!  Having had two occasions in my life where a lost dog story didn't end so well, it always chills me to the bone to hear one of our family dogs is missing.  Luckily it very rarely happens to us, but every doggy family has slip-ups occasionally.   What happens after that is just down to luck, or lack of it.   This time, Kelly and Pippa got lucky.  May it always be so!


Monday, 6 February 2017

Nature, nature all around. And Labradors.

A gecko I found when I was sweeping out the fire-station.  I popped him into a plastic salad bowl to take him safely outside without scaring him into dropping his tail, and only after taking in photos did I realise I had created a masterpiece of surrealism.   

All six of my chooks in one small space.  Unusual. Usually, when let out, they go off like shots, looking or the best places to scratch, especially the youngsters.  That is Rover in the foreground, doing a good impression of a carnivorous dinosaur.  She's extra leggy and does the best dinosaur runs.

And this is dear old Nanny Ogg.  I try not to love my chickens but I can't help loving her.  She is so beautiful, fat and funny.

Tuppy was doing a particularly soft expression for her the other night and I managed to capture it.

And this is her patient face. 
This tree was positively glowing in the sunset as we walked by the other evening.  

The nieces had a lovely lesson on Sunday morning and I went along to take pics.  I think these are my faves...

That little Ollie.  Such a stunner and such a good boy. He LOVES to jump. Mahlee is gorgeous eye candy too.  They are such pretty ponies, both of them.

I'm not very chatty today, I know  We've just spent the weekend making our way through all three Hobbit movies and I'm feeling a bit shell-shocked. For someone who first read The Hobbit at 9 and has loved it ever since, I do find the movies hard to take in places.  I'm of course not always a fan of the changes they made, and there is way too much video game style fighting in it, but I like other things about what they've done, especially the addition of the kick-ass Tauriel, The very druidy Radagast the Brown, and the lovely way they have emphasised the concepts of loyalty and honour.  Ah well, will have to go back to the book now to remind myself how it should really go!!   

This is pretty Sprout, the cat who lives at the local vet surgery. He is a total character, and very outgoing. The perfect cat for a busy vet practice.

Don't worry, there was no emergency, we were just in to get a urine check for Rosie to make sure her bladder infection from a couple of months back hasn't returned. 



Thursday, 2 February 2017

Making of the, "Land of Giants," Cover Art.

The latest book, "Land of Giants,"  is finally up and available on Amazon.  I know it has been a long time between drinks when it comes to my novels, but it is worth it, I assure you!

This novel is $2.99US as a Kindle book.  There are 438 pages in the print edition, a very good length of novel, so it is well worth the money.  It is amazing how often I have bought a Kindle book, started reading, and realised that it was more like a short-story length.  Not this one!

As usual for my novels, this book is a story of friendship, love, courage, growth, humour, magic, and of course adventure!   Add in a lot more music, plenty more amazing beasts, and a trip to a new country in that other dimension where Vikings still rule. My first readers tell me it is a very hard book to put down, especially towards the end.    

To do the cover, I really wanted a bit of an action shot, but I didn't want to give away too much of the story either.   I had a couple of ideas at first but soon settled on a scene from early in the book, with Andy and Lem sailing to rescue Lily, Perry and Bu.  

Having decided on the scene I wanted to portray, it was time to do some thumbnails to see if my ideas would work.  My first idea of having Archelon, the giant prehistoric turtle, come up the front side of the boat didn't work because he obscured things too much.

 So I put him behind the boat and started scribbling to see if it could work that way.

Heh, he looks a bit too happy in that one, but I could see that the idea was possible, so I kept drawing.

Until I had a design I could work from for the final piece.

So then it was at a stage where I could pull out the watercolour paper and draw it for (hopefully) the last time.

And ink it with indelible ink.

And draw and ink the plush-crested Jay on the back cover.  The Jay makes an appearance in the story a couple of times, and I thought he would be a great addition on the cover.  Don't worry, Bu the cheeky dog is still in the story, but she wasn't on the boat so I couldn't draw her there.    

I'm so sorry, I totally forgot to take stage pics while painting.  Again!  I do get so very involved, I forget. A any rate, here it is, all done.

Then it was time to scan the final art and decide how to crop the page for best effect with the text. After that I added in the titles and the blurb on the back, which went really smoothly this time around.  Yay!

What do you think?  Does it make you want to read the book?  I hope so!  It's a stand-alone story so you can certainly read it without having read, "Land of Fire," first, but you very well might want to go back and read the first book when you finish this one.  :D