Sunday, July 23, 2017

Days away and back again

The 4 days away in Caloundra were wonderful. What a busy town, and such a lot going on,   particularly on a Sunday, when the main street was blocked off, and a great variety market stalls were set up, mainly food and arts and crafts, and all manner of interesting passers-by.

We were staying quite close to the beach, so escaped there as much as we could, either enjoying the boardwalk, the rocks and the sand, or having a coffee close by at one of the little cafes and eateries off the boardwalk.  We watched people braver than us swimming and fishing......although the weather was quite warm, the water was freezing. I ventured in just once, paddling my feet, and that was quite enough.

Away from the beach,  we found this pretty garden area to wander through on our way to the art gallery, which had already closed and we missed visiting by about 5 minutes.  It was worth the walk though, with it's sculptures with coloured lights embedded, and the tactile old tree trunks.  We spent ages looking at this amazing wall mural, with it's many interesting and intriguing details. 

There were cloudy sulky sunrises, not like the ones I'm used to, where the sun rises up from the rim, hot and fiery and ready to go.

and then the vibrant glow as the clouds cleared a little and the taller buildings across the way were painted gold

This balcony looking out to sea was a favourite place to sit and drink tea, and while there, I managed to cast on and knit about three quarters of a premmie beanie.

The sunsets were worth watching too.......clouds away to the south, choofing along towards The Glasshouse Mountains..........

and a fiery glow to the west

We had a few stops on the way back.......Woodford for breakfast, Somerset Dam for lunch...where we'd planned to have lunch on the way there, but as we got lost coming out of Ipswich  there was no time to stop.  

This is Peak Crossing, between Ipswich and Beaudesert, where we had afternoon tea.  This dry countryside was such a contrast to our vibrant and green sub-tropics.

 And that's it, home again........and no prizes for guessing what I've been doing since I came home!

We have a neighbourhood picnic today, one of the initiatives that has sprung up following the flood.  There was such a strong sense of community then, with people helping out in any way they could, with cleaning up, making meals and donating freely to those who'd lost everything, that many have been keen to keep that spirit going and get to know our neighbours better.  I burnt the eggs I was boiling to make sandwiches to share for lunch while I was writing this, so I'd better get away and organise something else.

......till next time.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Off to the Seaside

A friend and I are driving north into foreign territory tomorrow, and heading to the beachside town of Caloundra, on the Sunshine Coast.

Image result for images of caloundra

Image result for images of caloundra
Images from Caloundra Tourist Centre

I used to belong to the Down to Earth Forum, (which is now closed) an online meeting place for those interested in simplifying their lives, who came together from all over the world to share ideas about homemaking, gardening, frugality and all manner of other topics related to our homes, gardens and families and just to have fun.  Before the Forum closed, a Queensland get-together was suggested, and this is happening this weekend.  I haven't met any of the ladies who'll be there, but I'm looking forward to meeting them, and continuing our online conversations face to face. Once again, it's a case of the internet being a positive influence and bringing like minded people together.

We're taking the scenic route north, avoiding the motorway and going out through the countryside where we'll will stop for lunch at Somerset Dam.  I'm sure there'll be plenty of litle towns that will beckon us in for a look as well.

See you all next week..........

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

There's a bear in there.......

........and there's another

Oh look...... a kitty, a couple of giraffes and tiny teddies too..........

They're all pretty excited, they're off on a journey today to join lots of other softies on the Victorian Variety Bash, a motoring event that raises money to support children in need.  This year they're driving from Melbourne, Victoria to Fraser Island in Queensland. The toys will be given out along the way by Car 152.  This group is one of the charities that are being supported this month through the on-line group Knit4Charities, which I belong to.   It donates to a variety of charities Australia wide, and members nominate their favourite charities, which are then placed on a yearly calendar.  Each month there's usually 2 or 3 charities for us to choose from to support.  If you like to knit, crochet and /or sew, pop along and have a look at the website.  There's no obligation to make anything, and no minimum number of items to be sent.....that one beanie, toy or scarf will keep someone warm or bring joy to a child.

........till next time.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Winter sun

Winter in the sub-tropics....sublime

This pretty but chilly for here 6 C (42 F) sunrise in gold and grey........

....... became deliciously warm golden light bathing my dining area, perfect spot for that first cuppa

This picture is for Lyn,  to show the creative and amazing tree decoration she sent as a housewarming gift, hanging there for all to see as they come in the house......and greatly admired it is, too.

That's all for today, the garden is calling, so until next time..........


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wandering back in

....for June ScrapHappy Day

But first  of all, thank you to everyone who commented and left well-wishes on my last post. Although I didn't get back to reply to you all, I did read every comment and was moved and heartened by your thoughts and concern.  Thank-you everyone, it meant a lot.

And for all those who asked, yes, my son did make it.  He was in the area not long after I wrote that post, about 3 blocks away, but the road there, just south of me, had washed away and other roads in off the motorway were underwater, so he was unable to actually get to me until the Saturday lunchtime. He had to leave his car and slog through knee deep mud to get here.  He was an absolute god-send, and worked like a trojan to get all of the mess out from under the house, clean mud off pathways, and co-ordinate volunteers who came to help. I am so glad he was here.

And here he is, doing the hard and dirty work
So I was writing a post-flood post, in fact have started a few over the last few weeks, but it just wasn't happening, those words just didn't want to come. Today I wrote nearly a whole post, then realised it was going to be epic once I included Scraphappy, so I ditched it and decided to just do a ScrapHappy post.  The other one will keep for another time.

In the days after the flood, it was incredibly sad to see the devastation and loss in my neighbourhood, and hear of huge losses all over town.  As I resumed my daily walking with Mirrhi, I began noticing pieces of fabric everywhere -  tattered, torn and muddied, some almost colourless after being immersed in water for days – they were hanging from trees, fences and poking up out of the ground. ……whole items of clothing,  parts of clothing and small scraps, all scoured and tumbled and altered by the floodwater....... bit like us townspeople.

I started to gather them as I walked, these small and fragile reminders of loss, and as my collection grew, I thought what a nice thing it would be to stitch them together, make a small quiltlet, not only to symbolise what our town had lost, but also a way of healing for myself, a project to turn my mind away from the clean-up still to be done, and the sadness in and around me, as I turned those scraps into a whole again........different but whole. And it felt good to have a project to focus on, something more creative than swilling mud from place to place.

Pieces of my own prayer flags, some found at the far end of the park, and hanging in my neighbour's trees.
And so I bundled some of the debris still hanging on my fences onto the larger light coloured cloth, and added some  nails and tools that had been sitting immersed in the water and had rapidly rusted to other bundles.......

Putting that muddy flood water to good use, steaming my bundles in it for a couple of hours......phew, nasty smell!

Cooked bundle, left to dry before unwrapping

not very satisfactory colour and markings

muddy marks are good

and rusty marks too
The other pieces I dusted  the dried mud and silt off, and then gently washed them. I used the piece with the rusty marks as the background cloth and then layered and hand-stitched everything kantha -style into a whole cloth.  Pleasingly, the background cloth gave me a high flood line!

The result is this small quiltlet's around 20cms x 23 cms.........onto which I added a tattered and muddied seed packet dug out of the mud…all that I could find of my well-stocked seed tin.....upper right edge ..... and a photo of one of my grandchildren, from a storage box full that were damaged by the flood....centre edge left.  Where the stitch is strong, the fabric is distorted and pulled out of shape…….a little like our own landscape  where the flood waters carved new channels, and deposited huge mounds of mud and silt.  I’ve loosely bound the edges of the quilt, enclosing it, as we were for a time as we waited for the waters to go down and roads to be cleared.

And finally, in the centre, a  rust-dyed velvet heart......a little wonky and out of shape as ours have been.... symbolic of the soft, strong and golden hearts revealed in the community in the days and weeks  after the floods, as everyone pulled together to help friends, neighbours and strangers.

I called it 'Parting the Flood Waters of Sadness'

Joining with Kate and Gun who kindly host ScrapHappy Day on the 15th of every month.  Pop along and see what other scrappers have been up to.

...... till next time

Addendum  I have to give credit to Gracie at Grace and Mending  blog for inspiring me with her wonderful work making art out of old stuff.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mud and water as far as I can see

and it's not pretty

This is day 3 and while I've come through fairly well compared to 60% of the town, I'm not unscathed, emotionally and physically. A lot of photos here of the before, during and after and they tell the story of the inundation, the amount of water dropped on us in a short time and what's left now. What they can't show is the absolute terror I felt Thursday night, as the rain pounded and the river roared right beside my house, like a freight train.  I lay in bed with the dog cowering beside me.... both of us cowering actually....and we listened to the thumps and thunks in the night, as loose debris was hurled into the house, some of it huge trees I saw next day.  I had followed along on a local FB site, shared emails with concerned friends and was on the phone with friends and neighbours as we kept vigil and waited, and checked on each other.  I watched as the SES boats zoomed back and forth along the street, sometimes right through my front yard, to evacuate people from their homes and sometimes their rooftops. I was up and down all night checking the water levels, and by about 4am they were about 15 cm from the floorboards, so I got up and started emptying cupboards and stacking things up off the floor "just in case".  It didn't happen though, no water came into the house, but a lot of people weren't so lucky.

Then  my power went off about 3am, and I was on my own with it.  I had spoken with my son in Sydney and he said he was on his way.  My phone cut out, and so I couldn't tell him you won't get to me, all roads in and out are closed, some washed away, others angry roaring extensions of the river. It was a comfort to know he was on his way, but dam, I wanted him there in the house with me, right then! He's nearby somewhere, driving the countryside, trying to find a way into town.  I'll be really glad when he's here.

Above are all Thursday afternoon as we waited, the river had almost topped the 6metre levee bank by then and the park where Mirrhi and I walk every day was well and truly under water, with it heading rapidly to the road, the main road into and out of town(bottom picture)

These are looking east and north, by 6pm the roads out were under water, and my whole yard was a lake.

 From my lounge room looking towards the river, it was like a waterfall rushing over the levee wall, and the noise was unbelievable.  The levee bank here is 6 metres high and had disappeared completely

 My vegetable garden, only the lemon grass still visible
 Looking north
From the front door, looking south
 About 11pm Thursday from my bedroom window, one of many rounds of the house to check how high the water was coming up. This was still a couple of feet from floor level.
 Neighbour's house Friday morning. this is a new build, pretty messy in there now

Early Friday morning, the rain had stopped, but the river kept overflowing.  Looking from my front door again

Mid-morning Friday, back of my house, looking down at the vegetable garden that was

 Was planning to pick those tamarillos on Thursday and make jam, hope they're still there  

Well that was Thursday night and Friday. The water's gone down a lot and the clean up has begun.  It's been heartbreaking to see the mess under my house, the garden that's destroyed and the amount of silt and mud to be removed from around the house.  More in another post, I'm exhausted now and looking forward to a full night's sleep where I don't have to be up checking water levels.  We were told yesterday that there'd be another major flood last night because of a tidal surge, so I
was awake and on alert all night, but it didn't happen, thank goodness. 

 till next time...