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Purslane Tea?

This is purslane, growing at my place. The frog is not real.

Purslane is a wonderful plant, a succulent, with excellent beneficial things inside its thick leaves and shoots. Purslane is a wonderful source of Alpha-linolenic which is an omega-3 fatty acid, and for for me, having this plant growing at my home is great, because I don’t eat fish or seafood, which are other sources for this nutrient.

 In a salad, purslane can add a lovely crunch, as well as some ‘mouth feel’ from the mucilage inside those thick leaves. Of you can make a healthy tea from the plant, chopping it up and pouring hot water over it, Leave it to steep for up to 15 minutes, then add honey if you wish, and drink. It is said to have a lemony flavour, but I haven’t really noticed any particular flavour at all.

That said this plant, commonly named a weed, has more goodness in it that that other green plant, spinach, and if you have even a tiny bit of space outside, that gets about half a day of sunshine, find some purslane and grow your own. at the end of the growing season, purslane produces thousands and thousands of tiny seeds. These seeds get spread all around, and the plant will come back again, when Spring arrives.

It is such a beneficial plant, and so easy to grow, get yourself some. The green and pink plant, with tiny little yellow leaves is quietly delightful, in my opinion. And even though I’ve never had it before, I’m going out into my garden in a minute, to prepare myself a cup of Purslane Tea!

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Spring is in the Air, and it’s lovely!

Spring is the time for the flowers to reign supreme with beautiful blossoms, and I am certainly loving the various flowering plants we have in our garden. The new roses planted by my husband have all, or have nearly all flowered, and those that haven’t quite flowered yet, have buds getting ready to show their beauty!

The fuchsias in their hanging pot just keep on keeping on with their elegant little flowers, the pigsface plants in hanging pots are going well too, except for the one that seems to have died … Oh well, the others are currently making up for the loss of that one.

The camelia that arrived when the roses did has finished flowering for now, they’re not a Spring flowering plant though, so I’m happy to wait for another fine showing of their flowers when their time is right. I hope the current growth of leaves continue, and that the plant gets taller and wider. The flowers look so lovely against a green and leafy background!

What else? Well, the thyme, also in a hanging basket is flowering too, tiny little flowers on the end of stems, that go into my cup of herbal tea too, when I have one, which is usually at least once a week. Our bottle brush tree is flowering well too, with its big red bottle brushes.

That is all happening in the back yard, while along the front veranda, the geraniums are almost all flowering still/again. So out of the window next to me, I can see red geraniums flowering, as well as pink ones, while if I stand up, I can see the lovely pink and purple flowering geranium that has interesting pointy leaves.

And if I actually go outside into the front yard, I can see all of the other geraniums we have in pots there, several different red or red and white ones, pale pink, and vivid pink ones. Lovely! And of course, there are always the big and beautiful trees we have along part of our front fence, five pine trees, another conifer that may be a juniper, and the three lovely sheoak trees we have there.

And of course, because we have plants with flowers, and we have trees, we also have the beautiful birds. There are the birds hatched this season, as well as older ones. There seem to have been many new Sparrows born around here, and they’re happily growing up, and doing the things that birds do, cheeping and chirping, looking for food, and connecting up with friends.

There are lots of young Starlings around too, but even better are the native birds that seem to have hatched out in our back yard – the New Holland Honeyeaters. I’ve seen some of the other honeyeaters we sometimes get here too, the White-plumed Honeyeaters, and I love them even more. They are plainer, with their sombre greyish-green feathers, but their quick and elegant flying to catch the flying insects is a delight to see!

Also delightful are the Swallows that visit us, to zoom around and down, to snatch a drink of water from our swimming pool, then up and around and off somewhere else again. Lovely little birds! Also lovely are the Murray Magpies, with their black and white feathers, and their delightful piping song.

Another of our avian visitors that I find delightful are the Galahs. I love these grey and pink cockatoos, with their crazy way of flying here there and everywhere, calling out raucously as they go, fun! There are other birds as well, Magpies for sure, and often, but not as often as is usual, the other black and white bird, the smallest of the three, the Willie wagtails. They like to get a drink from the pool too, as most of the birds do, but they all do it from a standing position, unlike the clever zoomy Swallows.

Watching the birds, and seeing the flowers, I just love Springtime in the garden at my place!

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Exciting Event Today!

Yes, something excited in my backyard today, in the garden, but with no dog involved. I had signed up to do the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, for my first time.

I went our into the actual backyard to do my count today, although you can do it anywhere, not only an actual backyard. I sat down on a chair by our swimming pool, where a few different birds often drop in for a drink.

Today I saw 12 different bird species. There are actually more than 45 different kinds of birds I’ve spotted at our place in Redbanks South Australia, over the years, since we moved here in 1988, and since I began taking more interest in the variety of different birds.

Today I saw all of the regular ones, nothing too special, with a mix of native birds, and non native ones. The most common bird was a tie between the House Sparrow, and the Common Starling. One of the birds I counted was a guess, the Parrot might have been a different kind, but the two of them were zooming past up above, and thinking about it now I wondering were they actually lorikeets. Too late now …

This is how my list looked:
Common Starling × 20
Crested Pigeon × 3
House Sparrow × 20
Magpie-lark × 4
New Holland Honeyeater × 3
Noisy Miner × 3
Red Wattlebird × 3
Red-rumped Parrot × 2
Spotted Dove × 2
Welcome Swallow × 12
White-plumed Honeyeater × 2
Willie Wagtail × 1

with many thanks to the team at BirdLife Australia for sending me this copy of my bird count I submitted today. People can send in as many reports as they want to, up until 25 October.

If you’re in Australia, and would like to be involved, this is a useful page to read first:

FAQ
A useful link if you want to be involved!

Birds bring much interest to my life, with their song, their colours and their interesting behaviour to see. And of course some of them eat bugs that I don’t like, and they can assist to pollinate plants, a very useful thing.

I’m glad I saw one of the birds I love, and always have loved, since childhood, the Crested Pigeon. I was getting worried there, as the time approached the end, with no sighting, and then I spotted two of them off in the distance, above the area near our pond, but up high, over the trees there. Phew!

I’m sure there were many more Sparrows and Starlings around the place, I could hear birds in various bushes, but I didn’t see them, so didn’t count them. I know I will always see those two birds, even with a twenty second count!

There’s one bird I saw and heard earlier today, the Crow, or more correctly the Australian Raven, but I didn’t see or hear any while I was doing my count. I also didn’t see or hear any Australian Magpies, although they are common visitors to our place, and I saw some this morning, in the front yard.

I think for my next count, if I do any more, I will give it a go in our front yard, I get a better view there of the birds from beyond our place, and in the tall pine trees we have out there, along part of the front boundary.

This has all been interesting for me, I hope you found it interesting too!

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Uncategorized

Roses Brighten My Springtime Days!

Recently, my husband bought four roses and a camelia. The plants waited for a week or so, but then they were planted. The camelia had buds on it and quite soon produced some lovely big blooms, in a bright pink hue. Flowering season is now over for camelias, I understand, and the plant is now growing lots of new leaves, but no buds.

We’re not bereft of colour though, because it’s the rose bushes time to bloom. I mentioned on Facebook recently that I was particularly interested in, was the deep red flowering one, and that I hoped it would have that lovely strong ‘rose’ scent.

A friend asked whether it was the Black Velvet rose, and I couldn’t remember the actual name of it, and said I’d report back, once I’d checked. I didn’t get around to it that day, but I’ve just checked the names of all four roses bushes. That particular one is indeed a Black Velvet rose, and I’m looking forward to the first bloom to show itself to my eyes, and my nose too!

So, Black Velvet, Bonica, Iceberg, and Mary Mackillop, these are the different varieties of the new roses in our garden. We also have two other roses in our garden, about 15 metres away. I don’t know what the varieties of these two roses are named, they came with the house, and we’ve been here since 1988.

The bigger bush, is a red flowering bush, and the other one has a yellow blossom. Another rose has popped up next to the yellow flowering one now, and it is very much a basic style, the kind of roses you sometimes see growing wild, a very basic flower. It is a white rose, with a bit of pink on the flower too.

When all of these lovely roses are blooming, I’m sure that little area of our garden is going to be lovely and colourful! Roses are always going to bring good things to a day, when they are flowering! The camelia was certainly beautiful.

Another flowering plant in our garden is the mandarin tree, and that one is offering not much at all at the moment in terms of fruit, but it has a mountain of flowers, which I hope will go on to become fruit this year. Last year the crop was extremely disappointing, with barely any mandarins, after having much fruit the year before, it’s first crop of fruit after the tree was planted.

Spring is surely the most lovely of our seasons, so many flowers to see and sniff!

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birds in garden

Safety in the Garden

Having a garden you love is a great thing. But being unsafe in that garden due to your disability issues is not so much fun. I and my husband and glad that the NDIS is going to make our place much safer for me to be out and about in.

We have a property of one and three quarter acres. Our house and back yard take up some of that area, the front yard takes up more, and then there is all of the rest of it.

There are two stables, and a horse yard, where no equine creature has trod a hoof for many years, that has become the area for bonfires, to dispose of cut back branches and other flammable and unwanted material.

Then at the back, there is a shed/garage with a non-working door, and further to the south of our place, a pond. All around our property are trees, shrubs, and weeds. The place is a favoured place for a wide variety of bird life, both native birds, and others.

Contemplating the pond, with fish living, breeding, and dying has been an interesting place for me in earlier years, but the pond is no longer viable for fish, because of debris dropped from the shade giving trees growing nearby. And sometimes walking to the back of our place is a little dangerous to me, because of my balance issues.

The person we are getting to ‘fix up’ our place will make sure the pond can go back to being a safe and lovely place for me to be at, when I am home, alone. Fish in the pond, and birds flying all around, bring lovely times of calm, when the problems I may have can drift away. If it was unsafe to get there, though, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good.

Having Multiple Sclerosis, the balance issues I have are not surprising, and I am used to that, but I certainly would like to be able to safely get around our place. To that end, we are going to be getting work done by a gardener/landscaper, paid for by the NDIS. I have had some falls in the garden in the past, breaking my ankle, last year, and I’m definitely keen on the whole of our place being as safe for me as is possible.

Water and trees, bird song, and clouds in the sky, what lovely things they all are!

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garden

Plants as Poisons

I’m a writer, and poet, as well as being the editor of the local newsletter for the town close to where I live, Mallala. Some of my writing is nonfiction, some poetry (quite a bit of that), but most recently the type of writing that I’m been putting a lot of my time into, is writing a cosy murder mystery.

And as a person with a bit of an interest in gardening, as well dogs, (hence this blog), the idea of poisons that people can find in their own home, for the purpose of killing people is interesting. I have to stress, this is for the purpose of my cosy murder mystery writing only.

The town where my murder mysteries take place is a made up place, Talloola, but based it is loosely based on Mallala. This connection between plants and poisons, and killing with things a person has easy access to, seems to be an obvious thing to look into, for the purpose of those murder mysteries I’m looking to write.

I’ve begun work on the first book, “Hot Winds At Talloola”, and I’ve come up with titles of I think it was twenty possible books, with a little bit about what each book might be about. I’ve also written some words for book the second book. I can’t remember what the title for that one is going to be – I’m trying to concentrate on the actual writing of the first one.

So why am I here, writing this blog post? Hmm, a good question, that one. Putting off the writing today, will make me work harder at actually writing tomorrow? It’s an idea, but not a very sensible one, not really. Tomorrow is going to have its own distractions. Each day does.

I’ve blogged on my actual writer blog about this procrastination thing, here. Since I wrote that post, and put it up on my writer blog I’ve certainly added a good deal more words to the first of my cosy murder mysteries. Those twenty-five minutes of writing don’t happen every single day, but they could, and I will work harder at making sure they do happen.

Today, after I’ve finished this particular post about the poisons that might be growing in the yards of residents of Talloola, that will be a good time to get my twenty-five minutes of writing the novel, so that is what I plan to do. But thinking about the novel, and in fact the whole series I have planned, one of the poisons I know of is available quite close to the town of Talloola.

And what is this deadly plant, this source of plantly poison? The ‘killer’ plant is Castor Oil plant, the seeds of which contain ricin. I have seen many of these plants along the train track that goes though Mallala, and if there was a murderer in the town of Talloola, they would have ready access to ricin …

Another readily available potential killer is the well known, and widely grown Oleander (Nerium) plant. This plant is commonly found in front and back gardens, and I know I’ve seen it growing in several places in Mallala, and in fact there was such a plant in my own front yard when I was young. The plant has long slim leaves, and brightly coloured flowers. All parts of the plant are poisonous if eaten … I don’t know what they taste like, but perhaps Talloola residents should watch out with salads brought to community events, if they have people there who would like to see them dead …

And apparently the Peppercorn tree is another one that is, or can be dangerous. I didn’t know this before I started looking at it today. I just thought it was and extremely successful, and attractive weed that is growing in many places around where I live.

We certainly have many of these weeds/trees growing at our place, both large trees, and tiny seedlings. The birds and or the wind spread the seeds, and they pop up all over, wherever there is a bit of dirt, that gets water on it. The pink fruit and feathery leaves as well as the drooping habit of the branches makes for an attractive tree, but they will take over, which is why they are deemed to be leaves.

The berries are poisonous, and my cause vomiting and diahhroea, and the sap from the branches may cause dermatitis in some people, and when the tree is flowering, it may cause respiratory irritation, sinus congestion and headache in some people too. Overall, not a pretty plant in the nasty things it may do to a person.

So there’s a few plants that you wouldn’t want to see in your dinner dish, but who knows whether they may show up at a Talloola Community group dinner some time …

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birds in garden

A Poem From The Garden

Sitting inside, but looking outside, this has become a regular pastime for me and I expect many other people too. Staying home, keeping Covid safe, this is a life so many have taken onboard.

But the garden, and the creature in the garden, don’t care about Covid anything – the smaller creatures are far more concerned about Corvids, not Covid. Yes, those bigger birds, the Corvids, Crows, Ravens, Magpies, they prey on smaller creatures.

But they’re not the ones I watch the most through the window just to the left of me, as I sit on my comfy sofa seat, it’s the Sparrows that attract my attention the most. They are the smallest birds I see at my place, but they are there in greatest numbers.

And because I’m a poet, looking for things to write about, (and perhaps putting off more work on my novel), then I have just finished writing a new poem about Sparrows, because Sparrows have been attracting a lot of my attention lately, as I stay home, rather than heading off around the place, in the car.

So this is the new poem I wrote today. I hope you like it!

Through the Window …

Bird watching
becomes
social activity –

Their small lives
surpassing
my own … 

Sparrows,
attuned to Nature
moving forward,

as Winter
shivers
into Spring,

and watching
the birds begins
to feel

not innocent,
but an avid avian
voyeurism …

*****************************

I’d love to know how you feel about this poem, and whether you’ve ever felt like that too, especially in Spring, or near-Spring, when the creatures are all getting together with reproduction on their minds …

Leave a comment, I’ll reply, a discussion can occur!

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Covid-19, growing your own, New Book

The New Covid-19 Garden

Well, to be honest, it’s just the same garden, it’s just that I’m thinking about it a bit more than usual, because I’m home more often, not going anywhere else as often. And I’m working on a project, that has brought gardens into the general conversation, as other people also, are staying home, and getting out more into the garden.

These Covid-19 Lock In times are a bit scary, really, when you think about it, so being in the garden, where Nature is in charge, and life is so much more predictable can be such a soothing thing for us. You plant seeds, and as long as they get sunshine and water, it is almost guaranteed the seeds will grow, and the plants you wanted, will arrive.

Many people have begun a new vegetable patch, when they’ve never had one before, or they may be extending what they have in their vegetable patch, so they are growing all of their vegetable needs, and don’t have to venture out to the shops to get them, they only need to go into the garden for them.

At the moment, in our garden vegetable patch, we have growing Snow Pea plants, Garlic, and possibly some baby spinach. I say possibly, because these plants are tiny, and they may be weeds, we’ll just have to wait and see how they go/grow … We have some other things growing soon too, there is another raised garden bed, manured up and ready to go, as soon as Graham, the main gardener is ready too!

I have fond memories of picking fresh Snow Peas last season. There’s nothing fresher than picked from the plant and popped into your mouth, to chew on and swallow, yum!

Snow Peas from last season

I’m spending most of my time inside though, working on another Covid-19 related thing – a book. The title of this book will be “Plague Invasion – Creative Writing Responses to Covid-19”. If things go to plan, this book, an anthology, will be finished and printed, ready to be launched in early 2021. I’ve put a call out to the online world, and to writers and poets I know, for poetry and prose, to go into this book.

The works are coming in, the book is growing, larger and larger, as I insert each new piece of writing. I’ve made the decisions about this project, and have noted the feedback received, and adjusted things accordingly. It’s looking good so far, but is definitely not enough of a book yet, I have more work to do in placing already received works, and also getting more in.

All contributors whose work is accepted will receive a free copy of the book (postage and handling must to be paid for if you live outside of Australia). I’m excited about the growth of this ‘plant’ and hope the product is delicious!

If this interests you, I am asking for submissions of up to three poems (thirty lines or fewer), and/or up to three pieces of prose, with a total word for the three combined of 2,000 words. Submissions are to be sent to kittycordo@gmail.com before 31 July 2020, and I hope to find your words arrive in my inbox soon!

I’ve been blogging about this project quite often, and if you’d like to read more about it, go to my writing blog

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growing your own, Uncategorized

Growing Our Own, Again

My husband and I went out to our vegetable patch this morning to see how the newly planted seeds are going. I already new there were two seeds that had popped up, because I saw them when I was out there yesterday, to get some herbs for a cup of herbal tea. And while I was out there this morning, I did the same.

I didn’t know exactly what the seeds were that Graham had planted, but when we were out there this morning, he told be me he’d planted snow peas and baby spinach, both excellent vegetables to have growing fresh, in any garden, surely?

We’ve been getting lots of sunshine, combined with the occasional stretch of rain, both necessary items for a growing garden, and there are now more than double the number of seedlings growing in the vegetable patch, as well as some opportunistic little weeds. I pulled up the cheeky little weeds, and marvelled at the lovely new plants that are supposed to be there. I love Nature!

I also have some things growing in the kitchen, just for a bit of fun. One of the things is for show, not for food, a cutting of a geranium. It’s growing in a nice sized jar, in water. That cutting has been coming along nicely, and now has roots growing. In the same jar, I have now put three cuttings of the mint we have growing out near the vegetable patch. It’s a chocolate mint, and yes, it smells of chocolate, when you sniff the leaves.

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The red capsicums there were bought, not grown by us 

I’m hoping that soon, there will be new leaves coming on the mint cuttings, and I can use them to make my cup of herbal tea, or to pop them into a meal, for a slight hint of choc mint flavour and scent. I’ve also begun adding two other herbs we have growing outside, basil, and tarragon to my herb tea, as well as the thyme growing in a hanging basket on the patio, just outside the back door. I enjoy my cup of herb tea, every now and then, using our own fresh herbs.

I have a little bud vase in the kitchen too, and in that vase, I’ve put two garlic cloves, that had sprouted, and begun growing a stem. I’m thrilled with the way these two cloves are now growing, with lots of roots growing into the water in the bud vase, and with the stems growing and growing. From one leaf only growing on each, there are now three leaves on both of the cloves. I can imaging easily snipping off a leaf every now and then to liven up a cheese dish that needs an extra something.

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Growing, and growing. They look like spring onions, don’t they?

The garlic green parts can definitely be used as you’d use spring onions, giving a subtle garlic flavour to the food they’re served with, rather than the big bash of flavour as a clove would impart. Growing our own feels like a good thing, a very good thing. Many people, in our new Covid-19 world, are finding they have the time to look to the garden for their fruit and vegetable produce too, now.

If you’re one of those people doing the same, or you have any questions, I’d love to hear about it, please leave a comment.

 

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Covid-19, dogs, multiple sclerosis, weather

Missy’s New Friend, and Other Things

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Missy’s new friend?

My husband is currently doing a Lock Down cross-season cleaning session, and finding many interesting bits and pieces in search of a particular (unfound) thing. One of the treasures he found, was a soft toy I’d forgotten we even had. I don’t know how or why it is in our house, but given we used to breed Schnauzers, which is what the soft toy actually is, it isn’t that surprising we have it.

Missy was already in her favourite resting and reclining place in the house, her sofa, and Graham calmly placed the toy there, to see what she’d do, I guess. Or he may have just been putting it out of the way, while he kept on with his looking, and cleaning, and discovering.

Judging by the look on Missy’s face, I’m certain she is not keep on sharing her sofa with this particular ‘creature’. In fact, Missy got up about ten minutes ago, and the toy fell off the sofa, and Missy has stretched out more to reclaim her space. I love watching our dog, and interpreting what she does. I may well get it wrong sometimes, there’s nothing to be ashamed about there.

Trying to understand our pets is a good thing to do, and remaining open minded as we do this is important, because at times we may get it wrong, and our pets will try to teach us the truth. I know Missy as well as I’ve ever known any of the dogs that have been in my life. Missy and I have a connection, in that we both have a chronic auto-immune illness that requires treatment so we can live our best possible lives.

I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Missy has Canine Dry Eye. For my illness, I take a Gilenya capsule every morning. For Missy’s illness, she has Optixcare drops put in her eyes in the morning and evening every day. She will need this for the rest of her life. It’s usually my job to tend to Missy’s eyes. The illness causes ‘gunk’ to accumulate in Missy’s eyes, and she can’t see properly, so the ‘gunk’ has to be removed (carefully), and then one drop of Optixcare is put into her eye, and gently rubbed in.

This is a pretty well ‘in your face’ treatment, and Missy and I have developed a good understanding of it being a good thing to have done. Missy trusts me to be careful when I do this, and i trust Missy not to bite me if I accidentally hurt her slightly as I do it. It’s a good relationship, we have, Missy and I, one built on sharing, and doing our best to do what we do. Missy doesn’t mind if I sit on her sofa, at all.

To get back to the beginning of this post, the thing Graham was looking for was our Scrabble game. We’ve had this game for a very long time. It was in my family when I was young, and my mother gave it to me around thirty years ago, baby longer than that. We’ve played this game lots of times, and Graham and I decided last night, that we’d play Scrabble today.

A good idea, for sure, except, after and extensive search, the game remains unfound … Graham is the finder in our house, and if something goes missing he is almost always the person who will find it. He is a methodical thinker, rather than one who has flashes of brilliance … It works. Usually. But the Scrabble game remains unfound.

Is the day ruined? No, not at all. Graham is doing something different, something that will be of value to him, once it’s all done. And me? Well, hey, I’ve had something new to write a blog post about! It’s all good, if you can call anything about this crazy Lock Down Covid-19 time, good.

 

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