A shiny new facility has been installed since I last visited this end of the reserve near my house. For both man and beast, it is a slick design with a quirky twist. I like the bone shaped support for the dog bowl.

I did a taste test. The water is not from the dam below.

My walk was stopped by a flooded path. There has been a lot of rain, in sudden downpours, since mid December and up until now it has drained away reasonably quickly. But the 20mm from last weekend is lingering. The drain in this small retarding dam must be blocked. You can see from the silt marks on the trees how high the water has been.IMG_7560

Fortunately there is an alternate path home, on the other side of the creek. Up a very steep path, half way up turning onto  a narrow track.

This goes across the hill, past a revegetation zone. You can see the main path below. A   clamber down to a stone crossing of the creek and I am back on the main track.

In the early 1980s this watercourse was to be barrel drained and grassed. Local residents objected, not only because we didn’t want to pay for the works, we mainly wanted this bushland to be preserved as it is a significant wildlife corridor. After a long battle we won and a plan was made for the future of this area.

I remember a delegation of young pony riders came to the Council meeting putting a case for horse riding to be permitted on some paths. At that time the former Warranwood Store still had a hitching rail out the front and this was a popular riding track. Everyone agreed that as long as their routes avoided the steep slopes, horses could stay. In all those years the riders have kept to their designated tracks, so there is little in the way of erosion.


My take on Ringo Lake

I started on the Bonnie Hunter Mystery 2018 Quilt On Ringo Lake on New Year’s Day, a day and a half before the big reveal. Obviously this is a smaller version, about quarter size and I have made quite a few variations to the pattern.


Here it is on the design wall after many hours of shuffling blocks and sashings. Ready to start stitching it all together.

If you would like to read how I got to this point here are all my posts about the mystery.

Well here’s a surprise I didn’t know I was going to do the mystery this year either

Mystery progress  How far I got in five days

Mersey Beat My design variation locked in just before the link up opened

A bigger mystery A size increase and further design changes

A close up gives a better idea of fabrics and colours.

Because of my late start, this is the first time I have been able to join the Mystery Monday Link-up where everyone participating in this mystery shares their progress.

I would love to know what you think of my interpretation of this summer’s mystery.

One day in the garden

Here is a list of all of the intriguing  things I noticed in one day in my garden. I hope you also find them interesting.

Owning two young cats means that I do get a bit of a snapshot of what’s moving about in the garden. Skinks are really commonplace, Lulu and Umeko bring them in, and I take them out. Not that easy as they are fast movers. Just as I was taking this one out I noticed the tail.


This elegant little fork in the end of the tail is the result of the tip being damaged, but not dropping off. A new tail has grown, so now it has two.


The case moth the cats brought in yesterday is enjoying the new home I gave it on a Banksia integrifolia that grows in a pot. When I checked this morning it was happily munching on a leaf, but ducked back in while I was getting the camera.

That was when I noticed this big hairy caterpillar on the step rail, right near the cat flap. I know that it is best to keep away from hairy caterpillars, and this one probably gave a cat naturalist a bit of discomfort. I carefully removed it away from the house. It is the caterpillar of the Black and White Tiger Moth Spilosoma glatignyi. The hairs are not venomous, just very fragile and irritating.


As I now had camera in hand I went to check on the first ever bunch of flowers growing on my quandong tree. They are just opening. I hope they go the full cycle and form fruit, although the harvest will be very small.

I stopped to water a few pots at the front of the house, and noticed a very busy buzzing insect. It was moving fast and darting back and forth, so I just clicked in the general vicinity and managed an in focus shot of a Blue Banded Bee Amegilla cingulate. This Australian native bee feeds on blue flowers, but most of the ones on the Dianella were not open.IMG_7525

By mid afternoon it was about 35 degrees. From an upstairs vantage point I have a clear view of a kookaburra nesting box, currently occupied by two adolescent brush tail possums. Obviously finding it a bit hot inside, one has its tail and paws out on the balcony.


A bigger mystery

Woke up unusually early this morning, obviously anxious to get on with the mystery quilt now known as Mersey Beat. It was quite overcast, but I could see in the distance, through a gap in the trees, a strange blob in the sky. Then it glowed at the base for a moment. It was a hot air balloon, very far away, then another and a third one came into view as the first disappeared up into the clouds. They are a popular attraction around the Yarra Valley wineries, the wind must have headed them over Lilydale instead.

So with that diverting start to the day done with I got down to calculating how much extra fabric  was needed to make a bigger quilt. Then off to the quilt shop.

Clair was really helpful, going through all her fabrics to find one that would work as a substitute neutral. I also needed a turquoise or aqua for the setting triangles as the fabric I had wasn’t quite wide enough. And extra orange just to make sure.IMG_7502

You will notice that the neutral is a bit darker than the original and so is the blue, actually the colours haven’t photographed well at all.

Here are some rough mockups of how the new fabrics will be used. The new blocks will be around the outside of the quilt using the darker neutral. Including in the nine patch and sashings.

I decided against having all dark blue setting triangles. My original turquoise and aqua fabrics are in 5″ strips, too narrow to cut the triangles, so I will be framing the whole quilt by adding a strip of the new fabric, and will make the top part out of two turquoise triangles as per the original design.

The final problem was to work out the size to cut the blue strip. I thought I had it figured out, but just to make sure I used some scrap to make a test piece.


My maths was correct! Now the planning is done time to cut and sew this second stage.

Mersey Beat

The big decision has been made and I have finished putting all the blocks of the mystery quilt together. One small change has resulted in quite a different looking quilt.

The sashings have not been joined on and it is just turquoise fabric where the setting triangles will go. My point matching is not that bad!

I have to say those brown triangles around the nine patches are not at all forgiving, and very tricky to line up. If the quilt name On Ringo Lake makes you think of the Beatles, then putting this version together was more like Gerry and the Pacemakers. A bit jerry built in places and a bit of a strain on the nervous system. I got better once I worked out the key checkpoints as the block went together.

Now I am thinking the quilt is too small, about 30″ square. I started working out if I had enough of the fabric to make eight more blocks and immediately discovered that the cream neutral fabric was almost all used and I have nothing else like it. Fortunately Clair’s Fabrics is just down the road, I might be paying a visit tomorrow.

Near miss and a wonderful sight

A creak and a thump heard yesterday just after the cool change passed through provided the direction for an afternoon walk today. It didn’t take very long to find out the source of the ominous sound. It was just across the road and down a short path into the reserve. Luckily the top part of a tree that came down missed the recently installed park bench, and most fortunate that no one was sitting on it at the time. At least I hope not.IMG_7473

Out the other side of the reserve and through to the road I was dazzled by a tree I am sure was not in flower last week. This Illawarra Flame Tree Brachychiton acerifolius is a small specimen but it packed a punch. I think this is the first time it has put on a show, I am sure I would have noticed as they are a rare sight in Melbourne. Equally stunning was a flowering street tree, probably Corymbia ficifolia, that  I came across as I headed home. It was pulsating with hungry bees that were diving deep into the blossoms.

The best sighting by far was a large mob of kangaroo on both sides of the road that is the divide between the urban and rural zones. In an easement for a future road that will probably never be built were lots of mothers and their young with at least two of them carrying a large joey in the pouch. On the other side, under shade trees in a horse paddock, were what appeared to be the larger males. Maybe it was yesterday’s 40 degree heat that has brought them all closer in. I often see a small group here, but not this many.IMG_7484IMG_7486


Mystery progress

Just to get started here is the first bloom on my small pomegranate that has a hard life in rocky dirt near the base of a very large eucalypt. I took the picture yesterday, it may no longer be there due to wind and extreme heat. For the last few years the number of buds has increased, I counted five this time, but none have made it through to fruit. I thought the colour a most appropriate introduction to this post.


Steps 4 and 6 combined – went together very easily thanks to ‘Mary’s Triangles’ with no chopped off points in sight.IMG_7444

Step 7 – the joining together of two flying geese. I am not doing all of them as yet. It may become necessary to deviate from the mystery instructions if I go with a different block layout.IMG_7467Step 8 – joining the units to make a block. I am just laying them out at this stage. And I have put in sashings and corner stones.IMG_7460

The proposition that has been put to me is that the design would look very interesting if the flying geese all went in the same direction as the goose in the sashing, just as it is in the block above. Because the sashing is between blocks, the alternate ones will have their geese flying the other way.

Here are the two ways I could set out the blocks using the mystery quilt instructions. Geese flying with sashing towards the centre (left) and towards outer four blocks (right). There are turquoise setting triangles and some sashing missing, but you get the idea. I plan to keep the Mary’s Triangles intact on the outer sides rather than leave out the orange. It is a further variation from the pattern but is necessary if I am to have any secondary blocks..

These are the eight variations with geese flying in the direction of the sashing goose.

So all I have to do now is decide which layout I like best and put everything together.


Stop reading here if you don’t like eight legged critters.





Remember the pretty jewel spider. She has had babies!

This morning the wattle near her web had lots of tiny, perfectly formed webs and I could see pinhead size spiders in some of them. One has even caught breakfast.

Not at all easy to photograph in the morning sunlight. The new webs are between three and five centimetres across. You need to click on the image to see anything.