Sunsets

I am coIMG_1827nstantly amazed at the beautiful sunsets and rainbows here in the Hunter Valley.

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Unicorn Tapestries

So when after 500 years the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries have left Paris – and came to Sydney!  Needless to say, Andrew and I went to see them and I took lots of pictures!

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After our tapestry tour- we visited the rest of the museum and the Shakespeare Library- equally amazing!

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Tasmania-Part 3

After we drove as far south as we could, we made our way back up through central Tasmania.  We camped for a couple of days at Lake St. Claire. It was very relaxing and quite lovely. We loIMG_1562oked for platypus but didn’t see any. This area is famous for its hiking, (which an be quite rigorous) and draws hikers from all over the world.  we did see a Tasmanian devil!  Here is a photo looking out over a stream.  When we broke camp we drove down through the mountains to the Gordon River.

Part of the drive winds down through Queenstown, an area that had been heavily mined. The landscape was so stark that it could have been used for a movie about Mars.

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Queenstown-(Image from  By Armistej at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17603186)

This is the same view we saw as we wended down the mountains.  Finally we came to Strahan, where we camped at a little caravan park.  We took the tour boat for the all-day Gordon River Cruise, which stopped at some world heritage sites.

Here are some images of the riverway.

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we stopped at two islands, one was a protected site – with a catwalk so our footsteps would not disturb (or contaminate) the island.  There were little mud tunnels where crayfish lived and amazing lichens.

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Lestherwood blossoms

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The air was perfumed by the many leatherwood trees, famous for their honey.  There is also the Huon pine, which is not protected. It has wood with a lovely smell. No logging of live trees is allowed, but harvesting of trees mired in swamps is allowed. The timber is so durable that trees that have been lying in water in mud are still sound. I was able to purchase a piece of one the old logs.

Then we stopped at Sarah Island. This island was very small and was used as a convict prison. There were both men and women and the conditions were very harsh.   After that we packed up and made our way back north. The crossing back on the Spirit of Tasmania was quite easy and on disembarking we drove to Victoria then home.

 

 

 

 

Tasmania – Part 2

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We went hiking in the Hartz Mountains along a high ridge. There were lots of beautiful lichens and super big, pesty flies. A lot of my pictures are blurry because even through they didn’t bite they landed all over you if you stood still. So many of my images were click and run. This track ran along to a little lake.

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Here’s Andrew enjoying dabbling his toes in the water. You can’t see them, but they are wet.

The next day, was the ferry over to Bruny Island. Andrew had heard a lot about the unique plants there. Much of the Western side is only accessible by several days journey by foot, so we kept to the more accessible areas.

Below is Adventure Bay, on Bruny Island ( The location of the only petrol station on the island). IMG_1509

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There was a lovely walk up a rocky beach. Someone had piled stones into little formations.  The view of South Bruny was just spectacular.

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That’s Andrew in the lower left corner also taking photos.

Last we went to the lighthouse at the Southern tip, because I wanted to look out towards the Antarctic Ocean. Somewhere beyond the horizon there are penguins.

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The Melbourne Cup

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Every country has its interesting holidays. They celebrate the queen’s birthday is one  example. The Melbourne Cup is a little like the Kentucky Derby, with the exception that pretty near the whole country stops working and watches for a few minutes. Around all this people wear fancy hats and have little parties.  We were in Queensland mid-October, where Andrew and I work as volunteers at the Queensland Herbarium.  Andrew’s Aunt Pam supplied me with some ribbons and fresh flowers and I made myself a hat.

At the end of the day, I donated it to the Herbarium, where it graced the front desk in the lobby : )

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Quilts

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My great-grandmother sent me a quilt top to finish when I was ten. It was so beautiful I was afraid to touch it until I was in my mid-twenties. At that time, I apprenticed with a group of church ladies who quilted tops to raise money for their church. They showed me how to quilt and let me quilt along the borders where my stitches would be covered up.  I learned to bury my knots and finish with backstitches. Later I tried quilting on my own and found that I was one of those people who could not make squares match up.

I was determined to create bed coverings, so I developed my own style. I break almost all the rules ( I still bury my knots and backstich ) but I am able to make sturdy functional and warm coverings for friends and family. Since I save all my scraps, I recently realized that every quilt has at least one fabric in common with one or more of the other quilts. I think the borderless ones work best ( the offset seaming is less noticeable!). They may never win any prizes, but I do enjoy making them!

The first picture below is of my most recent one to date, a sailing-travel theme.  The second is a jazz-themed quilt I made for Andrew. I had a yard of fabric with old jazz records printed so I appliqued these in each square.  The black and white one ( with a little sage green) was for my son. You can see the appliqued rocket ship and there are little daleks and Dr. Seuss characters scattered about along with pieces of pi. The red-black and white one features cherries for my daughter, Cerise (French for cherry). There is also a moose-Maine woods quilt and a Day of the Dead quilt ( for my daughter-in law).

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Coffee

Andrew knows all the best places for coffee. But Australians don’t ask for a cup of coffee- instead the standard request is a “flat white.” Much more potent than the average American cup- this consists of steamed milk and espresso.  These are usually served with a fancy design swirled on top.

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The smallest towns will have several plces selling coffee. In the U.S. it’s common for bookstores to also sell coffee. In Australia I’ve seen coffee for sale at antique stores, gardening centers and bicycle shops.  And they all offer good quality tea as well.

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This shop is nestled in a covered alley way. Great ambience and lovely coffee too.

Sydney Botanic Gardens

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One of the lovely orchids on display. This one reminds me of one of the Philadelphia mummers (Mummers Parade). Just imagine an entire company of dancing flowers!

Doing a little travel back in time here. Just wanted to show some of the lovely images from the botanical gardens in Sydney.  They have lovely events with speakers, movies and amazing displays.

here is a sampling.

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Grevillias and kangaroo paws
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Living wall  spelling pollination (purple flower far left is the “o.” The bees are hanging topiary.

Orchids

Growing up in Pennsylvania, I saw my first wild orchid in Massachusetts- a pink lady slipper. It was quite amazing!  After that I was able to find a few more including some ladies tresses.

Here is Australia I was surprised to find terrestrial orchids growing around my home.  The donkey orchid is pretty (and you can see where the name came from).

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Here is another. This is a red-flowered greenhood, a Pterostylis species. Most are all green with pale stripes.

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This lavender and white one was seen walking along a ridge above the ocean in NSW.