Wednesday, January 30, 2013


We've got a bumper crop of huntsmen in the house. Last night there were 4 babies on the kitchen ceiling. Today there's more - one in the laundry room and three on the ceiling in the upstairs hall (photo below):

And then I found this little guy crouching on the wall in the stairwell:

They're all about the same size, just little guys.

I don't know what they're going to eat, as I've not seen many bugs in the house for quite a while, just a moth or two. They're welcome to stay as long as they follow the rules:

  1. Stay away from me
  2. Stay away from the bedroom
  3. Don't eat the canary

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Really Not How I Like to Wake Up

We slept in a little on Sunday morning. It was very cool here overnight and it just felt great to linger under the warm blankets. But then I heard the sound of cockatoos landing on the second floor balcony - just outside our bedroom. We don't want to encourage them to hang around, so I got up and poked my head out of the door to shoo them off and...

SMOKE!  There strong smell of smoke in the air, and a bluish haze.

Stephen moved faster than I thought was humanly possible- had Laka and George in their carriers within 2 minutes while I checked the CFA website. No reports of bushfire in our area - so I stepped outside again and sniffed the air again. Definitely a lot of smoke, and you could see it in the air.

As it turned out, all of Melbourne was covered in smoke from the Gippsland fires (to our south east).

The smoke hung around for a couple of days, but it's clear today. I took a photo of the ridge opposite ours on Sunday and again today. Here's the one from today:

And here's what it looked like on Sunday:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Contending With Another Serious Summer

Since the horror year of 2009, we've been blessed with mild summers. Of course it gets hot every year and dries out to some degree - but the summers of 2010, 2011, and 2012 were pretty easy to deal with. Although there were fire incidents for the CFA to deal with from time to time, it was nothing like what we had in 2009.

But the memory of Black Saturday and the days surrounding it live on, this year more vividly than at other times.

Over the past couple of weeks we've had some terrific heat waves, at one point even as high as 46 C in the city. It didn't get quite that hot on Mount Dandenong, but it's really the wind we worry about more than the heat - and on the day it was 46, well, the wind was howling.

Night after night we see coverage of bushfires which have raged for days and days - both here in Victoria and in Tasmania and New South Wales. Each morning we awaken to radio news reporting the number of fires still burning out of control, and listing the communities which are at risk.

It's sobering, to say the least.

Thankfully, there've been only minor fires in our area - grassfires which the local CFA volunteers pounded with everything they've got - and put out quickly. But we're only halfway though January, and there's been only a little rain.

Grass fire sounds like something that should be easy to catch and put out, doesn't it? I wish it were so. But we're talking about grass that is as high as your knee or higher - grass that seems to be everywhere - even in the middle of the forest - and which ignites incredibly easily and burns hot and fast.

Like other people here, we have our "fire plan" and have a place we can run to if the need arises. We've already taken some things - precious photographs, Aunt Mary's table cloth, my wedding dress, and a few other irreplaceable treasures - off the mountain for safekeeping. And we've got a place to run to if we need it.

We fervently pray that all these preparations - and those being made by our friends and neighbors - will never actually be needed.

We hope and pray for a quiet, safe, and fire-free summer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Post-Christmas Mishaps

Every year Stephen and I enjoy designing and making our own Christmas cards.  We've been doing it for several years, and even have a web page on my website where we display the designs from previous years.  Some years it's easier to think up a new design than others.  This past year I really struggled, so decided to get a jump on it for 2013.

We haven't put away all the decorations yet, so I decided to get a few preliminary photos of Laka and George with various decorations and see if I might come up with something inspiring. For one pose, I decided to try getting Laka standing behind my nativity set. And here she is... moments before "the incident"...



She ended up across the dining room, landing safely on back of one of the chairs. She was pretty pleased with herself, and did a couple of celebratory "wing flaps" from the back of the chair just to tell the world she'd actually made a safe landing (instead of crashing to the floor, which is what she normally does). 

Nobody was hurt, nothing was broken, although I did have a bit of a mess to clean up and....

drumroll please.... 



For once my camera clicked at the perfect moment - a great photo for next year's card! I've got all year now, to think of how to caption that photo... I hope I can do it justice... ... as I did with the one below (from our 2009 card): 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Melbourne Cemetary - and the Elvis Memorial

About eight months after his death, a local Elvis Presley Fan Club erected a very large (and expensive) memorial to The King in Melbourne Cemetary.

It includes a large black tombstone, with engraved photos, set in a man-made "grotto" of concrete and volcanic boulders:

Various succulents are planted around the memorial and on it's top (left/front view):

Fresh flowers and other tributes (including several teddy bears) are left by adoring fans:

The stuffed animals and flowers all look fairly fresh, so I imagine the cemetary workers remove items as they age and start to look tatty.

And here's a photo of the rear, where you can see more of the interesting succulents planted around the top

 While there, Stephen noted that someone had kissed one of the engraved photos (below), leaving a distinct mark of pink lipstick:

A closeup:

Under the photos is the following inscription:


In Evergreen Memory