>Farewell Old Man Winter

>Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness! **


Yes, by the way we strange Australians keep track of the seasons, Spring does indeed start tomorrow.

There’s been a lot of this strange wet stuff falling from the heavens recently and those whose memories can stretch back far enough that they are able to remember life before the drought [ ie more than a decade and a half ] seem to think that it might be something called ‘rain’ … well, whatever the heck it is, the garden likes it.


**~Thomas Blackburn

and no, I didn’t forget that I promised a different species of post today but I’m just so happy to be heading into Spring that I thought you might forgive a small detour :]

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>Figures!

>I’m without the ‘puter for the better part of two weeks and naturally that whole period is jam packed with stuff that would normally get blogged about and a whole slew of fabulous photo opportunities [ like this one of Bear trying to hide from the Weasleys ***]


and now too much time has passed and there’s just too too much of it to chronicle in any great detail, so rather than risk being responsible for mass brain implosions, I’ve had to make the choice to just hit you with the edited version … which is plenty big enough even in its pared back state:

Two weekends ago there was a flying trip to Melbourne for Victorian Opera’s production of Xerxes [ brilliant], DIL’s big berfday and a side order of grandson cuddling [ and I think I might hit you with that set of photos in the next post ] followed by quite possibly the most appalling drive back that I have ever experienced weatherwise.

Then Friday a week ago, Nadie came up from Melbourne to keep David company on Saturday, while I was otherwise engaged teaching a group of lovely ladies how to make fabric-origami happy coats [ like kimono but shorter ] over at their B & B in Daylesford:


Before that happened though, we [ Nadie and I ] indulged ourselves with some baby goat snuzzling when Pete-and-Brenda popped by on their way to have the newest crop of babies de-horned.
This is my gorgeous daughter with Ms Evie, the smallest of the girls

and a box full of bucks –

that’s Mitchell on the left and Cameron. These triplets have the same daddy as my Ruby and Rowan. Val and Olivia you’ve already met, and they looked much the same as here, just a wee bit more robust

ETA: since I wrote this post Pete-and-Brenda have delivered a set of quads – goats not humans – and though they sadly lost the only girl who was incredibly tiny, the three little bucks survived [ James, Lachie and Nathan, named for the grandsons as are Cam and Mitchell ]

On the creative front, Nadie and I both made use of my lino cutting tools … and proving that my DD is just as tuned into Japanese iconography as her Mama …


she didn’t get to see the results immediately, but on Thursday this week I did a print run using the fabulous orange-and-gold offering paper from Lisette
and this was mine:


The only drawback of using this stuff is that the printing ink is so very dense and tacky that it peels the gold leaf surface right of the paper in unpredictable ways. Still there were enough sucessful tries to make it worthwhile.
Thankyou Lisette m’dear – you send the BEST stuff!

There was also a silk paper kimono class at Bendy – this is one of a pair made by Jodi Abel

In addition to all of the above there has been crocheting, the celebration of a friend’s 70th berfday at quilting, another flying visit from Nadie, and now Chris-and-Maz are up for 4 days, having been not-up-here since flipping January 2008!!!!!!!

and
of course, we’re heading into Spring so there’ll be a garden update sometime soon

*** who used to be Fred-and-George but when they went missing for the better part of 8 months, I ‘recycled’ Fred’s name onto Ethel’s deceased beloved, the other Fred. So Fred-and-Gearge, so named for Fred and George Weasley in the HP books, will now and henceforth be simply known as The Weasleys

>Technical difficulties – please stand by.

>Hi all,

Just a quick note to let you know mum is computer-less for the time being. Said computer has, after a 155km drive to visit it’s technician (AKA the boy), decided that all it needed was a change of scenery. I’ll return the little scamp to mum ASAP, but until then you’ll just have to sit tight.

Cheers,

Nadie

>Book Club

>Over on Ravelry, I’ve been keeping a list of books read in 2009 … something that I always have the best of intentions of doing, and something that just never happens.
Until this year
My aim was to read an average of one book per week not counting pattern books, rounded down to 50 for the whole year
I haven’t quite reached that target yet, what with it only being August and all, but still have made a sizeable dint in it, so here’s the list to date:

Goal – 50 books

January:

Dead Beat: Jim Butcher
White Knight: JB
Proven Guilty JB
Witches Abroad: TP
Lords and Ladies: TP
A Stroke of Midnight: Laurell K Hamilton
Mistral’s Kiss: LKH
A Touch of Frost: LKH
Danse Macabre – LKH
The Harlequin – LKH
Blood Noir – LKH
Micah and Strange Candy – LKH
Interesting Times – TP

February( sorta lost the plot a bit )

The cat Who Moved A Mountain – L.J.Braun
Image to Stitch – Maggie Grey
Rhapsody – Elizabeth Haydon [ disappointing ]

March:
Hogfather -TP
Small Favour – JB
The Decorated Page – Diehl
The Decorated Journal – Diehl

April:

Maskerade – Pratchett
Feet of Clay – Pratchett

Jingo – Pratchett
Last Continent – Pratchett
Fifth Elephant – Pratchett

May:
The Truth – Terry Pratchett
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Thief of Time – TP
Night Watch – TP book #30 for the year
Monstrous Regiment – TP

June:
Going Postal – TP
Thud – TP
Free range Knitter – Yarn Harlot
Making Money – TP
Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl and the eternity Code
Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident

July
Prospero’s Children – Jan Siegel
The Colour of Money – TP ( reread) Book #40 for the year
The Light Fantastic – TP ( reread)

August
Reaper Man – TP ( reread )
My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell ( reread after a VERY, VERY long time )
Beasts In my Belfry – Gerald Durrell
Earthly Delights – Kerry Greenwood ( rereread )
Heavenly Pleasures – Kerry Greenwood ( reread )
Devil’s Food – Kerry Greenwood ( reread )

so a grand total thus far of 47 books … and … okay … a lot of ’em are hardly great literature but so what?
I’ve enjoyed them
and as it’s still winter – and as I don’t like posts without pretty piccies – here’s a gratuitous Helleborus

>There are no emus at Emu Creek

>The weekend was event filled and there’s plenty of Blogfodder to be sifted through, but I suppose I really should keep my promises and show you the rest of the animal photos from Friday’s visit to Pete and Brenda’s new place at Emu Creek.

First up [ and especially for April ] the two new Saanan girls. They’re very much shorter in the leg than my elegant Rosie but still very sweet, don’t you think?
These girls will be prolific milkers when their turn comes.

Then Brenda holding the newest of the Damara x Dorper lambs. The minute he was put down on terra-firma, his Mum herded him into the corner and sniffed him all over to make sure that we two-leggers hadn’t harmed him in any way. If you go back to Friday’s post you can actually see him hiding behind mum in the far back left corner.

His brothers and sisters [ and cousins ] were all far more interested in the fresh hay that Brenda had strewn at my feet. I think the general idea was to help me get some good pictures but all I could see was the tops of their heads as they howed in.
Then we went out to see the boys
That’s Lucky on the right and new-boy Chester … He was rescued from Shepparton and was even thinner than this when he arrived. At the moment the poor thing has a coat like straw and almost no hair on the back of his neck from being left on a chain all day long in a too tight collar. You really have to wonder how anyone can abuse an animal like this – and Chester has an impeccable pedigree, so even if they had not a shred of compassion, you’d think simple economics would have persuaded them to look after a big-ticket investment.
Don’t fret though. Soon Pete and Brenda will have him looking as shiny and healthy as “little” Lucky before he starts earning his keep with stud duties [ ain’t life tough?]

Bear [ long hair, at the front] spent some quality family time with his mum [ the little white one ] and litter sister Molly, while Brenda and I hiked over to check on Mama Black Swan who is egg-sitting in the bullrushes in the middle of the dam. The pic was taken from about 50 feet away so’s not to disturb her or to draw the ire of Daddy Swan who was on the same bank as us and quite capable of inflicting injury if we gave him cause.
Mama Swan declined to be interviewed for the blog and attempted to hide behind a screen of vegetation

>Friday Fotos WARNING! WARNING!! Cute baby animals ahead:

>We’re heading towards Spring here in the Antipodes, and we all know what the advent of Spring brings with it, don’t we ?
apart from Hay fever
yup
lots and lots of cute newborn animals.

Lately it seems like every time I go anywhere in the car, I’m besieged on all sides by gambolling lambs and leggy calves.
I wonder if there’s a limit to how much sweetness I can cope with before I lapse into a coma :]

Anyway, today Mr Bear and I went out to Emu Creek to visit Pete and Brenda, our former [ and much missed ] next-door-neighbours, and Bear’s Mama Misty and litter-mate Molly.
Since moving onto larger acreage, there’s been a flurry of animal acquisitions at Capricorn Cottage, and some of them were bought already in lamb/kid to expand the gene pool.

These are the Damara Ewes – probably the goatiest looking sheep on the planet [ and note the dreadlocks of matted fleece-a-la-Buffalo. These girls shed, so they don’t get shorn. Unfortunately the resulting matted felted locks are totally useless for spinning ]
They were bought already in lamb to Dorper rams – another self-shedding breed – and the resultant lambies are just the cutest things.
Then three days ago one of the new nubian does gave birth to Ms Olivia.
and her slightly-smaller-sister Valerie

They have ears that are a good two inches longer than their faces and extremely prominent buck teeth – something that I’m beginning to realise must be a nubian characteristic
The babies are currently bedded down in the kitchen, and being bottle fed three hourly. I think that’s Olivia to the top of the photo.

One of the original does, Ms Scarlett, was showing signs of an imminent delivery but the obtuse little bugger was determined not to do it while I was there,
Ah well. I guess that means I’ll just have to go back for another visit. Gee, life’s tough isn’t it?

>Ethel’s Identity Crisis

>It appears that I have a new addition to my goat herd.
She is a very small black and white goat
… with feathers


Yes m’dears, since poor Fred’s presumed demise at the hands … err … paws … of Mr Fox, Ms Ethel-the-Bereaved has decided that she is now, in point of fact, a member of the genus Capra Hircus, and as such she spends a large portion of her time bonding with the caprine contingent.