Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except a cat and a collection of Australian parrots, finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Flowers, floods and a different slant on a vegetable.

Still more plants in our yard have come into flower. I don't know when this will happen again (we could have another drought next year) so I'm taking heaps of photos. Incidentally, don't be fooled by the date on these photos; I can't figure out how to change the date, or delete it from the camera.

This bush will grow larger in years to come (so I'm told), but for its first time in flower, it looks very pretty albeit sparse.

We saw this shrub up in the Dandenongs last year, where it was huge and gorgeous. Not long after that we saw the same plant in a pot, and bought it straight away, knowing how good it would look if it takes off.

One of our several Grevilleas - this one is appropriately named "Peaches And Cream".

Another small shrub that I can't remember the name of, but it's so pretty.

We've got a few small cacti in pots, and they flower occasionally for short bursts. Isn't this one cute!

OK, that's all for the flowers. Now for the floods! The Diamond Creek which runs through Eltham is usually just a trickle, but after a couple of inches of rain last weekend, this is the result!

Barb over at Woof Nanny blog, had a photo of an Asian green vegie like this. Last week I was cutting a Bok Choy up, and remembered Barb's photos, so I got my camera out and took the same shots! Barb said she might make a print using a rubber stamp pad - cool idea!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lilydale Show.

I had a beaut day today! I'd entered nine of my embroidered works in the Show this year and six of them won prizes! I've posted the details here if you want to see more about that. I went to the show with my friend Louise, who is always ready for a bit of fun, and fun we had!

We looked at the rabbits on show. Louise wanted to take them all home, but thought that wouldn't be fair to her beloved cat.

We went into the horticulture and produce shed to escape the heat for a while. People do weird things with fruit and vegetables for these shows!

We had ourselves tattooed. Here is me having Elvis put on my arm! (these only last a week or so - or I can scrub them off now if I really want to!)

Louise got the Cats (Geelong football team) symbol tattooed on her leg.

Louise is checking out the sideshows to see which one we should waste some money on.

She won a deck of playing cards, and I won this cute little felt dolphin.

Lots of rides for the kids. The little boys in these planes seemed to be enjoying it.

Great day for a ride on the Ferris Wheel (but we didn't go on it)

Ken loves these steam rollers and engines, but he wasn't with us today, so I took some photos to show him what he'd missed. That's me standing next to the wheel to show how big it is. (Actually, I'm a bit small, so it isn't a very good comparison)

We needed a rest after walking around for an hour, so we sat on hay bales with cold drinks and lusted after the hunks flexing their muscles in the wood chopping event;-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sugarloaf Reservoir filling up.

We had non stop rain on Saturday - bad enough to cancel the annual Eltham Festival. But great for the gardens, and for topping up our reservoirs. Today was cloudy but it didn't rain, so Ken and I decided to drive up to Sugarloaf to see how much it had filled up with all the rain we've been having. We were astonished to find it looking just about full! Compare this photo that I took back in June this year,

to these photos taken today. It's not from the same spot, but you can see the difference in the water level!

This Crimson Rosella flew off just after I took this pic. If you click on the photo, it will bring him up closer. They are one of our most beautiful parrots.

Took this pic on a whim, because I liked the effect of the reflection.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Whittlesea Show blog link, and our garden.

On my Stitching blog, I posted the news that I'd won 5 prizes for my embroidery at the Whittlesea Show last week. But I wanted to post my other photos of the Show on a separate blog, so if you want to see them, they are here.

I've also posted some photos here of our burgeoning bird families in the back yard aviaries.

Can't have a post without pictures, so at the risk of being TOTALLY boring, here are some more photos of our garden. The reason I'm so proud of it all this year is because in 30 years of living here, this is the best our garden has ever looked. The shrubs and trees we planted 20 years ago are now at their prime, having survived the years of drought.

This dark pink Callistemon belongs to a neighbour, but it is hanging over the fence, so I'm claiming ownership of this branch!

Lovely pale pink Callistemon in our front yard.

Red Callistemon in our front yard. Only a few years old, and the first time it has flowered so profusely.

Red callistemon at the front of our property. This tree is over 30 years old, and hasn't flowered like this for about 20 years.

Everlasting Daisies, a native Daisy that comes in a variety of colours.

Not native to Oz, but Ken and I love Gazanias! Just look at the colours of these two!

Every time I walk up the steps in the back yard, and look at this rockery, it makes my heart sing. Isn't that corny. But it is so pretty, and when I planted those last year, I never dreamed it would look so gorgeous. Guess I've got the makings of a gardener after all these years!

New Do Care client for me.

The staff at Do Care don't muck around. The week after my Japanese friend died, my co-ordinator N. was on the phone, asking me if I would like to take on another client. I was inclined to refuse at first, but I asked her if she had many people looking for a companion, and she said yes. So she came over the following week with a list of people, mostly elderly and none of them living close by except one lady. This lady is the same age as me, lives a few blocks away, and suffers from depression due to chronic ill health and associated disability. My heart went out to her straight away, as I compared my active lifstyle to hers. N. gave me her address and phone number, and set up a day and time for me to visit.

I stayed with J. for two hour on my first visit. We got on so well, and found that we shared many interests, including opshopping! But she hadn't been to an opshop for a few years due to her health, so I suggested that on my next visit, I take her to Savers, one of the biggest opshops around.

On The Day, I picked her up about 10.30 and we got to Savers about 10 minutes later. Well! Did J have a ball! She got a nice pile of clothes, and because I'm a regular donator to Savers, I have a discount card, so J got 15% discount off her purchases, which made her even happier! Some of the dresses were too long, and she was going to put them back, but I said no, keep them. It would only take me a few minutes to shorten them. After an hour at Savers, we went on to Vinnies, then back to Eltham. I had some shopping to do at Coles, and J was happy to follow me around in there, and afterwards we finished up with a coffee at one of the local cafes.

I suggested to J that we visit a different op shop once a month, and she thought that was a super idea! Next month I'll take her to the new Salvos store in Watsonia. It's been there a while, but they have doubled the shop size by purchasing the office next door and knocking down the dividing wall. It's always fun to go opshopping with a friend, but even more special when the friend is someone who doesn't leave her home except to go for medical appointments. Lovely to share her enjoyment of what is for me a simple day out.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Change of topic: whinge about computers.

Since Ken bought an Apple I-phone, we have discovered that both of our computers are woefully inadequate to cope with today's technology. I've known for ages that mine is obsolete, because it is becoming increasingly difficult (impossible!) to read some websites and blogs with the ME operating system on my 10 year old computer. Ken's laptop is about 6 years old, and uses the first XP operating system, and we've found out that is also too old to do some things on his computer.

When he bought the I-phone, the bloke at the Telstra shop reconfigured our Telstra account, supposedly saving us about $30 a month on our combined bills for the landline, my mobile, Ken's mobile, internet access and Foxtel. Along with this deal, we got a new cable modem free of charge. This was delivered during the week, and according to the Telstra salesman it was easy to install - "just rip out the old one, and plug in the new one!" Yeah, right. Don't you just HATE being a senior citizen and having these bloody kids tell you how easy it is to do this and that? Ken spent FOUR hours last night, trying to connect it. He plugged everything in all right - I'm darned if I know how he can figure out where all those cables go, but that was the least of his problems. There was a CD in the package with the modem, that had to be put in his laptop, and then he had to follow the prompts to connect our computers to the new modem. By 2 am, he was on the phone to Telstra to ask for help. Of course, he got someone in India or the Phillipines or somewhere...they couldn't understand Ken, and he had difficulty understanding them, so in the end Ken said politely "thanks for your help", hung up and went to bed!

I got up early this morning and rang another Telstra number that I found on an old instruction book, and I got through to a very sympathetic Aussie lady. I begged her to organise a technician to come here in person and set up the system, but she was able to check on her computer (signs of Big Brother here) what Ken had done (or tried to do) last night, and she said it appeared that he had successfully connected the modem to our computers. She then connected me to a 'technical support' person - overseas again - who went through a few technical issues, and finally got us back online. Phew! We still don't know what advantage (if any) the new modem has for us, as the original (10 years old) modem seemed to be working just fine. We are told this is a super duper WI FI modem...I still don't get this wi fi business. It sounds like hi fi to me and I know what that is (I was around before stereo was invented), but wi fi is a mystery.

Ken had an appointment with his cardiologist today (who is very pleased with Ken's heart, and doesn't need to see him until June next year), and after that, we went over to Greensborough to claim a refund from Medicare for the bill. While we were there, we decided to have a look at computers at Harvey Norman. Not to buy one, just to look. A very helpful (young, but surprisingly patient with us oldies) salesman took us over to the computer showroom and showed us all the latest computers, costing well over $1000. I was horrified - 'isn't there anything cheaper?' I asked. He said there may be, but it wouldn't be any better than what I had now, which I thought was ridiculous, 10 years down the track. He said no wonder mine was slow and couldn't do all the things I wanted it to do; I'm left with a glorified typewriter, I suppose. Ken's is a bit better, but he can't view his camera video clips either because the program you use to do that is no longer supported by XP. Geeeeeeeeezzzzz!!!!!!!!!! One starts to wonder if it is all worth the trouble....then I think about all my cyberspace friends and I think it IS worth the trouble, so we are going to have to bite the proverbial bullet and lash out on at least ONE new computer. But I do hope we can find something for less than $1000. That's an awful lot of money.

More garden stuff. Our garden after the rains.

Statistics about our rainfall have been bouncing around in the media every day lately - too many to detail here. Suffice to say that Melbourne's gardens are flourishing, and our little patch is throwing up some surprises.
Geraniums live through just about anything I've found, but they do look a lot healthier than they did a few years ago. This is one of ours:

And this one is in a neighbour's garden. Eat your heart out, Isabelle!

This Pelargonium was not looking very happy until last week when it suddenly produced these blooms.

The Trailing Lotus which got off to a slow start earlier this year is now spreading rapidly, to the point of being classed as an invasive pest! But that's okay, I can trim it back.

We've even got our own mushroom farm in a shady spot in the front yard.

My pots of herbs are doing well: Parsley, Mint, Rosemary and Chives.

This small shrub is a Native - Geraldton Wax.

Geraldton Wax flower closeup.

Our Staghorn (Elkhorn?) has fully recovered, after nearly dying during the drought, despite me hosing it nearly every night last summer. All it takes is REAL rain, not the stuff from the hose!

The Dutch Elm tree in the front yard didn't appear to be affected by drought conditions, but it has been slowly eaten away every year by the elm beetle. Right now it looks lovely with all the spring growth, but that won't last long unfortunately. We were going to pull the tree out, but after consulting a horticulturist about it, he begged us not to, as there are not many surviving in Melbourne now, due to the elm beetle infestation. Well, I don't know...I'm sure I've seen a few around in the inner suburbs, but we've left it there for the time being. The bright green does look pretty against the dark green of the photinia hedge.

Now this is a real surprise. This bottle brush tree (Callistemon) hasn't flowered for years, and the only reason we haven't pulled it out is because it was still alive, even though it didn't flower all that time. Voila! This year, heaps of buds, and the first flowers have just come out. Beautiful bright red! Worth waiting for.

adopt your own virtual pet!