Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 36 - Back to the correction pile March 1st!

Fire threats have abated so I've lost my excuse to face the ever growing pile of papers to correct. Can you make out the spelling errors on this one? Oh dear.Btw I was only half way through this response when I snapped pic. I should have also taken a pic of some higher standard responses - which I do have !

Day 35 - Chickens and a game of Monoploy then out to a gig

Grandchildren came to visit.Papou played Monopoly with Baya and Ishaa and I spent a lot of time up in the chicken pen observing the new chickens settling in. We suspect one might be a rooster by its more assertive demeanour - time and our ears will tell. In the evening we had dinner at a local restaurant and watched Michael in his band.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 34 - Living with the threat of fire (tof)

Today the authorities were so worried about the fire threat they closed about 400 schools and children's services. People in fire prone areas were told to leave early if they were not going to stay and defend their homes. The Country Fire Authority website has become a constant companion these last few weeks. Thankfully there were no really bad fires today - but we can't relax yet. There has been NO rain for weeks and we are surrounded by so much combustible fuel.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 33 - Early morning scenes

About 8am, the sun was playing in the garden.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 32 - surviving a yr9 extra

My year 7's are on camp so I was given a replacement class -yr9 graphics. They were a bit "ify" at times but mainly okay.

Sedum colouring up

There's not a lot of beauty in my drought parched garden at the moment but sedum is very forgiving. Watered only with grey dish washing water, they are saying thank you with a gradual pinkening of their flowers

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 30 - Another fire threat day

You might wonder what a cat and chickens have to do with a fire threat day. I didn't take any photos of the nearby fire or when we were evacuating - too stressed. The chickens were also evacuated in their cardboard box. They had only arrived that morning with my daughter who had arrived from Warburton - an area also under fire threat. My husband insisted on bringing the chickens with us to the safety of his sister's suburban house. But one was very tricky to catch and we were chasing it around the chicken pen for about 10 minutes - thankfully the fire wasn't on our doorstep. Basil the cat came with us to the suburbs but then promptly proceeded to disappear - for about 2 hours. He is my grandchildren's beloved pet and we had to find him! Anyway he eventually walked back into my sister-in-law's house quite imperiously and much to our relief. Fire threat is over now thank goodness and we are all home again, cat chickens and computers.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday, 22nd Feb - Day 29!

It was the annual Billy Cart Racing Day in Main St, Upwey. Some stayed home to work on the Yurt. Others went down the street and Ishaa had her face painted as a puppy dog - her choice

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday, 21st Feb - visiting Oakleigh Family

My daughter and her family have left the Warburton Valley ahead of an extreme fire danger warning in a couple of days. they will be staying with us until it is judged safe to return home.Hopefully fires won't come to the Dandenongs where we live (they've come before) Anyway, Baya and Ishaa and I headed off to visit our relatives in a suburb about 20 minutes away -as you can see my sister-in-law and my brother are expecting a baby - in June.

Friday, February 20, 2009

20 Feb - Duck tea set

Found this in an antique shop in Daylesford (country vic, aust) last month. Drinking vessels are thimble size. Says "Made in China" under duck as well as chinese characters. Bought it for Ishaa (5 year old g'daughter) to play with but stays at our place for when she visits.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday 19th Feb

Laurie's retirement function and pretty sunset sky

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feb 18th Swimming sports

Today was the school house swimming sports. All of us, (kids and teachers) dress up in our house colours and have fun - or try to! Sue made our yellow capes and we're meant to be wonder women.

Some of my students waiting patiently to get on the bus to go to the sports

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Current book and dressing table - Tuesday, 17th Feb

Significant objects on my dressing table and the book on Australian indigenous freedom fighter Pemulwuy - just getting into it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, 16th Feb - the things my children get up to

Had to cheat a bit tonight as I left my camera at school. These pics weren't taken by yours truly but I found them on my facebook a few minutes ago. Penelope, boyfriend Isaac and Michael attended a wedding in a purple tent in Skenes Creek on Saturday and Penelope sang and Michael was the "human jukebox". Playing his guitar and piano and sometimes drums, performed and sang whatever people requested apparently! Needless to say, he had lots of fun.So did Pen.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday, 15th Feb - Lunch out but home to fire Alert

Lunch with old friends at Samson Hill Winery, Kangaroo Grounds and the view of cityscape from the winery.Some smoke haze at first but cleared later in the afternoon. However,we came home to an urgent fire threat in the next suburb and spent 2 hours frantically filling our gutters with water and last minute clean up round the house. By 8pm, CFA warning downgraded to Alert but important reminder of how close we are to fire disaster.

14th Feb - Valentines Day

Michael's van driving up the driveway and Ishaa up in the backyard sitting amongst all the dried out gum leaves

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday 13th! so far so good.....

Blood red sun caused by bushfire smoke in the atmosphere - the sun was actually really red - doesn't come out in this pic.Very eerie

Pen's working for her dad at the moment - in between gigs.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday 11th February

We were sitting out on our verandah watching the sunset and drinking a cup of tea that our son had made us. You can see my scorched fish ferns that will need more cutting back.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday, 10th Feb

Watching the news and the 7.30 report on ABC. After an extensive report on the Victorian bushfires, some space was given to the north Qld floods.
People interviewed there who had had their houses flooded, felt the Victorian bushfire victims were in a worse position. Hard to say - flood, fire, drought. the Dorothy McKellar poem certainly came to mind -
My Country
by Dorothea McKellar

an iconic poem about Australia

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Feb 9th Monday- back to school after nightmare weekend

It all seemed a bit surreal. After the horror of the news over the weekend, it was school as usual on Monday with bus duty after school.We did have a minute's silence at morning briefing and we are fund raising for the victims. But the death toll has now risen to 131 and the fires are still burning. They could flare up again given the right conditions. And summer is not yet over.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday, 8th February - After the fires the children sleep

welcomed relief from yesterday's scorching heat.the fires are not all out yet but the immediate danger seems to have abated. However, the loss of life and houses has been unimaginable.
In the cooler weather, more work done on the yurt today with the door frame going up. The other pic is a little garden ornament which I recently re-discovered hidden under a mass of fish ferns.The ferns had been killed by the drought and needed cutting back - which is when I found the little sleeping girl and her cat. Ishaa was very pleased when told her about my find. It's got a sort of tomb like quality to it though and today I associate it with the untimely deaths of the bushfire victims - so far 85 people including many children.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday, 7th Feb - SAD Saturday

A sad day to remember - doesn't get much worse than this - record breaking temperatures - 47 degrees, high winds, extensive wild fires over much of the state,significant loss of life (maybe as high as 40 people) huge property losses. Thank goodness no fires too close to our place but stef and family had to evacuate home in Warburton.This little mountain town is surrounded by fires and road out of town is blocked. They spend the night in safe accommodation- hopefully danger has passed.
During the day I found this little possum under the upturned bird bath. He had dug his way under to escape heat. We poured water in the little trench he had dug and draped a wet towel over the whole area. By the end of the day he had recovered and happily ran off.
Other pics show a dirty afternoon sky - combination of dust and smoke and pretty bell shape flowers that my succulent plants produce.

Record breaking 47 degree day with widespread bushfires, great loss of life - maybe up to 30 deaths

Friday, 6th Feb

There is still green in my garden

Mystery Pic (But I know what it is and what it signifies)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Feb 5th - Thursday, My Day Off!

My day off - very precious but always try and fit in a swim at nearby pool. Been doing it for about 5 years now and have worked up to 20 laps or 1 kilometre - every few days. Could probably do more, but psychologically geared to stop at 20 laps. Pic below shows my reward - food and drink - yummy soy latte coffee, fruit salad and a piece of poppy seed cake.
Always have something to read - don't want to talk to anyone! At the moment enjoying A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy. Never read this one and mum found an old copy in the Daylesford book shop and gave it to me. It's a bit ponderous in parts, not one of his best sellers. But very enchanting and delightful, vintage Hardy

First Collected work and piano practice - Feb 4th

Year 7's completed a mini bio on a fellow class member about whom they knew very little. Had to interview each other, make notes and then create a colourful good copy - to be displayed on wall

I'm enjoying my return to piano playing although I need to practise much more than I do.I'm focussing on just 3 or 4 pieces and working on playing them perfectly - the advice from my teacher (my son)Well, I'm getting there