Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hill builder

I often describe myself as a hill builder.
No-one has ever asked me for more information.
I think they think I am refering to a preference for country music.
This could not be further from the truth, even though I do play mandolin.
I'm a hill builder because I build hills
I build hills because I live on a flood plain
This photo is of the blue garden I built after the 1993 flood.
The flood height was the top of those steps in the garden, 6 sand bags high around the house.
No water came inside.
We were not allowed to sand bag anything other than the house which is fair enough.
The garden bed on the left was created from the sand bags around the house.
The stone circle,(which is not totally obvious from these images) I refer to as a conversation circle, because the wall is all at perfect sitting height.
An as it is circular, all persons sitting there would be able to see and hear anyone also sitting there.
I thinks this work was done around 2006.

This is a little hard to recognise as the same gate way.

It is amazing at how quickly the passion fruit vine covered in the fence.
Providing many passion fruits to add to our market stall.
The fence and gate is designed to keep the dogs safe while we are at work all day.
I am pleased to say that I will be at work again as of next week,
just 1 day teaching sculpture.
Students were slow to enroll.
Better than nothing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2nd thoughts

Have you ever woken up, day 2 of a big project
and upon viewing what was achieved the day before
What was I thinking?
That's what I thought when I got down to the garden yesterday!
I was wanting to make a garden bed to plant out some of the many saliva's that I have propagated.
I started to build a retaining wall near the seedling area.
I had dug trenches to try and get the tin level.
It had been a hot day's digging and when I questioned my thought process,
I had words with myself and
decided to trust that I had made the right decisions yesterday.
I couldn't bear to waste another day re digging trenches.

The front retaining tin does come out on to the path a little bit.
I figured that I can move the path easily
and relocate the shrub that was perhaps planted a little close to the path any way.

The post hole digger does make life a bit easier.
The soil is clayey sand.
This section of the garden has been built up over the years, trying to get the garden above flood height.
That's a crazy statement as all floods are different.
In 1993 this whole garden area was under water...Mum and Dad had been growing strawberries here and the plants all drowned, the land did slope away very steeply and I have built it up since then.
The project is no where near finished, no ends on the garden bed,
ordinary soil, no watering system,
Best I get back out there and get on with the job.
I will post a finished picture when it is done.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Leeks and Leaks

I was out in the paddock fixing a leak the other day when I thought of all the tricks I use
to grow great leeks.
Its easy when you know how, and remember to apply the techniques.

Here are some leeks I grew from seed. I plant leeks all year round here.
They take a while to mature and it is essential that I keep planting so as to keep a constant supply for sale.
I push holes in the garden bed with the handle of the rake as deep as I can.
The ground can be so hard I have to dig it over first to get the rake handle in.

Then shake the dirt off the roots of the leeks you prepared earlier, or bought.

Seperate the leeks
do this by gently tugging each individual plant free of the root mass.
With all seedlings be careful not to crush the stem.
Don't worry if you pull some of the roots off in the process, they will grow back.
If you pull all of the roots off you may not be so lucky!
Place the leek in the prepared hole.
No need to back fill, this will happen over time. The only down side to no back fill is that it is easy for birds to come along and undo all your great work, pulling out the leeks without so much as a tug.
I have gotten used to not back filling.
These leeks are self sown from last years crop in this circle bed,
I might transplant them soon as the chooks are coming onto this bed in the next dome move.

Once the leeks are well settled in I then mulch them heavily with horse poo.
This in effect plants them deeper and increases the white stem of the leek.
This idea was trialed successfully last year and I nearly forgot to apply this simple but effective technique
this year.
I have planted leeks in a couple of circles.
Generally in the doughnut depression so their leaves do not interupt the
wateringof the other veges in the circle.
Circle garden beds are a bit of a challenge from a watering perspective.
It has taken me a couple of years but I am finally succeeding.

Back to the paddock leak.
Michael had a lot of help gluing the pipe back together again.

Black puppies can disappear into the shadows very easily,
Stella was a bit tired after the third walk out into the paddock.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

 How exciting, a parcel from America,
The other side of the world.
Unique fragile signs! 

I just couldn't resist the blue mug with Dozer on it.
I had to get that for Barney who had a significant birthday recently.
These are Gary Rith pots as seen in his etsy shop on his blog
Gary's third pottery blog. Check them out!
 Stella has quitre a little collection of chewables to keep her happy.
The goats skull is a bit extreme but she loves to cart it around and it makes for a great pacifier.
Sorry to all  vegetarians and anyone who might be upset at her choice of toys.
 She went to the vet for her puppy shots on Saturday, 7.8kgs
The vet conceded she will look like a labrador but will be a bull mastif size.
I have to wean her off sitting on my knee. Shelia still tries to sit on me and she is too big!
These two pots are currently on exhibit in a white cube at Shuggs finacial planning.
The one on the left was made by Bob Rieter, stoneware, burnised with a stoneware glaze.
The one one the right was made by Bob's son, Nicholas Reiter. They will be on exhibit for the month of Feburary. They are also on show at http://whitecubemildura.blogspot.com.au/    
There is a link on my page to White cube, click on the camel teapot, its the link.
This post has vanished 3 times before I pressed publish so I won't linger, Leave me a comment!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shipping container dreaming

I have been dreaming about a pottery studio for  while now.
Ever since our building was demolished to make way for a swimming pool for the special school.
Hard to be cross when it was removed for such a good cause...........
Building permits are difficult to obtain on a flood plain so I have spent some time dreaming of shipping containers which can be picked up and moved if required
A bit like Leggo on a larger scale, 20 ft or 40 ft options.
They are water tight and someone joked with me that I would need an anchor in a flood.

I like the height of the ceilings when the containers are 2 high.
I have a strange belief that high ceilings promote creativity....or is it that I believe low ceilings stifle creativity?

This is my favourite option. I can see this one as I/2 pottery and 1/2 Gallery cafe
I would build a wall to separate the two halves...Keep the clay out of the Gallery!
I dream about one of the lower containers being a registered kitchen so I can value add my garden produce.
I put my tattslotto tickets on every week to support this dreaming.
I also keep a look out for philanthropists with a creative overtones,  I haven't found any yet but I will keep looking

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Puppy and southern adventure

It is usually a 5 hour drive to reach our intended overnight stop on our way down south for our belated Christmas visit.
Unfortunately our radiator gave up the ghost just an hour short of our destination and we had to be rescued by a niece, thanks Kirsty!

We not only had 3 dogs onboard but 20 kg's of tomatoes for making relish.
We were able to squeeze it all into the rescue car and continue on our way, just a 2 hour delay.
Thankfully the family mechanic was able to repair the car the next day.
THANK'S Chris!
All up we arrived at our final destination about 6 hours later than intended under our own steam.
Now for the new puppy. 
MS just couldn't bear the thought of these little puppies meeting their maker if they couldn't find a home.
I am not sure if little is the right word.
Supposedly a cross between a Labrador and a Bull mastiff
Meet Stella

All the dogs just love drinking out of this little pond. They have fresh rainwater available but this  must be more tasty.
7 weeks old. Lucky puppy
Skittles and Stella have become firm friends.
I have noticed that her bite is softening after a lot of play fighting with Skittles

She is a little wary of Shelia who is a lot older and a bit on the intolerant side
of a small puppy and her sharp teeth.

 She is safe from the sharp teeth up here on the chair. Its a tight squeeze.
Hard to believe that she was once a bundle of sharp teeth herself.

A lovely weekend with extended family
Now for the long drive home.
A wake up stop at the Pink Lakes provided a welcome break
I was surprised to read that 100,000 tonnes of salt is mined from this lake per year.
The salt is a soft pink colour, as you can see the country is very flat around here.
The nearest town is called Sea lake.
2 hours to go and we are home.