Saturday, August 31, 2013

Phyllis Hatched!!! Phyllis Hatched!!!

To the excitement of all, Phyllis the caterpillar emerged from her "lifeless" chrysalis yesterday! We took her back to the broccoli plants where she was first discovered and released her. She quickly fluttered a few metres away to the neighbour's cumquat tree where she rested for over an hour, finally open in her wings fully. 

I was quite relieved as Sparky and Fire didn't make it to chrysalis stage and I didn't know if Phyllis would hatch at all - but she did and now joins the many Cabbage White Butterflies dancing around our garden.   :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

My Black Prince

There has been a new love in my life for about two weeks now, my radiant  Black Prince, an Echeveria succulent. I'm not generally a fan of succulents but this one captured my heart and now lives at our place. 

Over time it may produce more little rosettes which can be removed and potted to produce new plants. To help speed up the multiplying of this beauty I gently removed the lower leaves and after letting them sit and heal a few days, planted them in another pot.

My Black Prince lives on our sunny back deck along with two smaller succulents  belonging to Miss V and Miss O. Very early in the morning I sometimes spot our resident magpie cleaning up crumbs from our outside table (snapped through the glass door). As long as he doesn't swoop on us, we can remain friends, but it would be nice if he didn't insist on perching in the tree above our family bus and leaving his "calling cards"....

He is a rather handsome fellow and each week I'm becoming more appreciative of his capacity for beautiful song.

I love how Black Prince's colours seem to change according to the light. "A rare and unusual Echeveria with pointed dusty chocolate leaves". Yes, he stole my heart!

Do you have a favourite succulent?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Project Progress

Abundant, zealousness and beautiful, this little orange branch is certainly about to put on a show. We planted this tree three or four years ago but it hasn't produced a single orange yet, despite having flowered for several seasons now. I've decided it's best to pretend it's just an ornamental.....and love it for what it is.

There is a little to report on the sewing front. I've made a few dozen more strip blocks for my Musical Stairs quilt, such fresh spring colours.

A couple of piles were completed like this above, to add to the mix already in hand.

A couple more EPP blocks have been added towards my hand sewn quilt. Slowly, slowly....

Last night I finished a new Shutterfly calendar, one for 2014  as a special thank you gift for someone I haven't met but has gone out of their way to help one of the family. I've ordered several Shutterfly calendars over the last two years and have been very impressed with their quality. I feel they make a personal and useful gift. An email this morning confirmed it was printed and on its way to us all the way across the world in Australia. Anticipation is a wonderful thing!

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Editing Thoughts

We each have the unique opportunity to include or exclude thoughts.
Filter them wisely for they determine the future of your life.

Like editing photos, we need to delete the ones which aren't a true representation, keeping and refining only the best and most helpful.

Photographic note: Tiny moss taken late this afternoon.
Raynox conversion lens + 55-250 kit lens + Canon 600D

Sharing at I Heart Macro.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ducks in a Row?

The Superb Blue Wren is always a delight to see. I snapped this one through bedroom windows yesterday.

The Australian Wood Ducks are becoming more visible wondering our streets at the moment. I wonder if this is the same pair I followed last year as their family roamed around.

We're in the thick of hockey semi-finals this week. Master T and the twins each had wins last night, which happened to be one of the coldest nights we've had this winter. Three more hockey games tomorrow.

Master T pointed out a strange sight behind the hockey fields  - Wood Ducks roosting for the night , all in a row. 

It was a beautiful evening, even if rather chilly!

Photographic note: The moon photo was taken with my Canon 600D DSLR with 55-250 kit lens, leaning against a pole (I don't own a tripod). Manual settings 1/100 shutter speed, f.11, ISO 100. Edited in iPhoto, resized in DroPic for blogging then re-edited in PicMonkey.

Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wings and Song

This gorgeous Common Jezebel Butterfly was resting on some golden jacaranda leaves today. There seems to be an increase in insect activity in recent weeks.

The Cabbage White Butterflies are enjoying the broccoli, no doubt laying some more eggs too.

Phyllis has grown a good deal since we met her (above).

She is now busy turning into much more than a hungry caterpillar.

As I wait for the sun to rise each morning my ears enjoy a dawn chorus from a wonderful variety of native birds.

Pink Galahs, White Faced Herons, a white Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeets, tiny Superb Blue Wrens are some of the birds I have snapped recently - all taken from our back door except the Galahs which I photographed at church.

Meet our resident Australian Magpie! He has been very friendly, even inviting himself inside the back door on several occasions. We have taken to shooing him away - he's a little too friendly for my liking. They can become a pest as some dive bomb people while they are nesting, attacking even children and bike riders, drawing blood.

So far our Magpie has not dived on us and seems content to forage for tasty bits around the yard like this worm today. Magpies have quite a pleasant warbling song.

Here's my favourite little songbird - Miss E singing a song she made up about purple flowers under the ground!

Ducks and human paddlers enjoying Sunday evening on our river together. 

It looks like our almost-here spring will be filled with wings and songs!

Sharing at Wild Bird Wednesday.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August Evenings


Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, 
for beauty is God's handwriting.
                                                 Ralph Waldo Emerson

As the day begins to colour with soft golden hues of early evening, I turn my head skywards to look for wonders. As often as possible I embrace these opportunities. Giving thanks for legs which can walk and eyes which can see, I briskly head off to soak my soul and mind in the visible whispers of God's creative magnificence. I always return invigorated in body and refreshed in spirit.

Each day is a fresh miracle, each sunset a unique masterpiece for us to savour.

                                                                                                                      Late addition - this afternoon

Sharing at Weekend Reflections, SkyWatch Friday.

Friday, August 16, 2013

2013 Sports Day

Miss V's sprint race

Monday was our annual Home Educator's Sports Day, an event which is always a time of great excitement for the children. We meet new families each year, some traveling well over an hour to join us for the day. This year there were over 60 children competing on this late winter's day which started out cool but warmed up to 29C (85F) by mid afternoon, the warmest day since last autumn.

Miss E running the relay

Our twins during their long distance event. 

Finish line - photo by Deanne (thank you!)

After 1200m once again it was a sprint to the finish line, way ahead of the other girls. This year Miss N dived right at the line. I missed it as they finished quicker than I had anticipated. Deanne snapped this shot and I love the focussed attention of the spectators - they know the close nature of this finish each year. The fellow in the blue cap made the final call as to who won - Miss N... this time! Miss just G won their 100m.

Miss E  - javelin throw using a relay baton

Long jump on the grass (as it was in the shade)

Field events for the 2-5 year olds were modified to meet their needs better.

Master T's turn at discus throwing

Miss N

Miss E playing at "real" long jump in the sand

Miss O at shot put

Master T had the best javelin throw of the day

After a picnic lunch, the novelty events, tug-o-war and team chants bring a fun finish to the day. Each child is awarded a certificate with a sticker for every event they participated in, noting any first, second or third placements - a great record of the day's events.

Miss E senior had the job of attaching all the stickers during the day

A big thank you to Bec and Erin who once again did a magnificent job of organising this homeschool highlight event of the year.

Six medallions are awarded each year, Miss G only just outscored Miss N to win the senior girl's medallion this year. The far greater emphasis is on participation and having fun which make the day a success in everyone's eyes. 

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