Australia · family · Mount Warning · pets · Tweed Valley · winter

Another dull day … and Bowie!

For the third day in a row the weather is dull. The sky, which is mostly white with an occasional grey cloud is showing no sign of allowing the sun to peek through – there’s not a single crack in the cloud cover where the sun’s rays could escape. Rain is predicted, but so far we haven’t had a drop.

Given that there’s not much to say about dull weather I decided it would be a good day to introduce the newest member of our family.

Introducing Bowie, a seven-year-old Rag-doll X Tortoiseshell.

My mother-in-law originally named him Beau when she got him as a tiny kitten, but last year both of my in-laws went into aged care. To cut a long story short, my father-in-law had a fall at home in early May, broke his hip, then spent some time in hospital. For many practical reasons he couldn’t return home so he was the first to go into aged care. Meanwhile, as my mother-in-law couldn’t cope with being alone, she also went into aged care, leaving Bowie “homeless”.

However, in our family, the concept of a pet being homeless simply doesn’t fly! Once they become a member of our family, that’s where they remain. So Bowie moved in with me and my husband.

Miss Tibbs was a tad concerned about the “intruder” for about two seconds, but in her usually way she took the changes in her stride and learned how to co-exist with another cat very quickly. Tibbs and Bowie are not besties yet, but they do occasionally play chasing games around the house! I guess there’s hope that they will become great friends yet – he’s only been here a few months.

Bowie – (as in David the singer – Beau is far to proper a name for this happy man!) is an extremely affectionate cat and loves nothing more than to sit somewhere soft and comfy. He’s not huge on sitting on our laps though. He’s loving the soft rugs I have sitting on the bed and the chairs now the weather has turned cold and nuzzles into them like they’re his best friend. He also has a habit of sitting on the back of my lounge chair at night and nuzzling into the back of my head!

I’m sure though that Bowie’s new best friend of all is my printer. He loves it!

As soon as he hears the sound of the printer, he’s up on my desk like a shot!

I’ve also discovered that I have to grab my printed pages fast – Bowie’s claws have gone through a couple!

Bowie really is the quintessential “curious cat”!

This gorgeous boy fits into our family as if he’s always lived here, and now we couldn’t imagine our home without him. ❤

Post Script – After such an incredibly dull day, the sky tonight looks pretty amazing!

birthdays · blessings · family · gratitude · pets

Portrait of a Twenty-Year-Old

She made it! The Queen of my pets, beautiful Phoebe, celebrated her twentieth birthday on Sunday. Or should I say her people-family celebrated for her. I’m sure Phoebe thought it was just another day of sleeping, eating and having snuggles with her people.

Phoebe gave us quite a scare just over a week ago. We thought she wouldn’t see her twentieth – that’s ninety-six in human years – but after spending a night at the vets on an intravenous drip containing fluids and antibiotics, she came home again the next day. She amazed our wonderful vet by pulling through! He was convinced we’d all but lost her.

I wasn’t convinced. I needed to find out the problem before I could make that unmentionable decision. And I’m so glad I did.

She’s still on medication for a severe infection, but look at her now – bright-eyed, happy, and purring with contentment.

Phoebe was born on the 3rd February 1999. My kids – who were all still little ones at that time – found her in a pet shop. How could any of us resist her? We brought her home with us in April 1999, and she’s ‘grown up’ with my children, various dogs, birds, cats who have lived here temporarily when one of my children have moved back home, and she takes our busy household in her stride.

For the first ten years that we had Phoebe she was an outdoor cat, venturing out every morning, returning home either when it rained, or it was time for dinner. After she came indoors for her meal, that’s where she stayed for the night, usually curled up on the end of my bed. When we started to notice her panic when we let her outdoors, we decided to keep her inside. We’ve been told that she probably started to lose her eyesight around that time. And in the last couple of years we’ve noticed her hearing isn’t the best either. When the arthritis set in, she stopped jumping up onto my bed at night, but she still loves to curl up on a comfy chair.

It would be lovely if Phoebe made it to another birthday, and maybe she will. But for now, I’m just so thankful she’s well. And happy. ❤

Australia · gardening · photography · son · winter

What’s New in the Garden?

Isn't Miss Tibbs clever? Planted those seedling herself.... ;)
Isn’t Miss Tibbs clever? Planted all those seedling herself…. 😉

“In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there. To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breathe. I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels.” ~ Dodinsky

I don't remember all of the names of my new plants, so I call this one "Tiny White".
I don’t remember all of the names of my new plants, so I call this one “Tiny White”.

Little Miss Tibbs loves gardening. She thinks she is in seventh heaven when she’s sniffing the stories of the breeze, rolling in the freshly laid mulch and basking in the sunshine amid the colourful flowers. 🙂

Under the watchful eye of Miss Tibbs, I planted Cornflower and Foxglove seedlings, the whole way along the line of the fence. I haven’t tried out either plant before, so it will be very interesting to see if they grow well. Both are classed as old-fashioned flowers, and I’m an old-fashioned person, so we will be very happy together if they like their new home. Just imagine the cut flowers I could be bringing inside in a few month time!

My pink Poinsettia spent a number of months in a small pot, now look at it!
My pink Poinsettia spent a number of months in a small pot, now look at it!

My son and his lovely wife-to-be will be married in our garden this September, so the rush is on to have the whole garden looking just right. I’m planting seedlings and flowering shrubs, weeding and mulching, whilst husband takes care of the heavier work to be done.

Husband is tackling the biggest job of all right now by replacing a retaining wall, which holds up our paved area right behind the house, where the main events of the wedding will take place. Over the years the wall had moved and the paving dropped ~ cracks were beginning to appear throughout a whole section of the area, and now, with the wedding imminent, the rush to have it repaired is on!

An all-time favouite edging plant, Alyssum.
An all-time favouite edging plant, Alyssum.

Little Forrest puppy, my son’s dog, and a little adventurer, had discovered how to escape out of the back yard, so my son has begun to fence the back garden into two sections, the upper section will be for entertaining, gardens, and the swimming area, whilst the lower section (where the escapee likes to break out!) will be known in future as the food area. This is where we have our fruit trees, the pecan nut trees and vegetable gardens.

The food area is also the area where my future chook pen will be positioned. safely away from bouncing dogs, and I’m hoping that my future chooks will oblige by fertilising my fruit trees in return for a large run. 🙂 But they will have to wait until after the wedding.

A love of Fuschias.
A love of Fuschias.

I have planted three fuschias in the garden this year, and so far, all three have survived, which is a first for me. Previously, I have tried to grow fuschias in hanging baskets and have lost them all, so I’m hoping they will continue to flourish in the flower beds.

Fuschias bring back happy memories of my very young days, living in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. We had a beautiful fuschia bush, and my “middle” sister (she’s 13 years older than me) would help me to lay the cut flowers between pieces of blotting paper. We would then carefully place heavy books on top of the flowers to “press” them. The same method of pressing worked very well with pansy flowers.

Last week I asked our local stationer if they had any blotting paper and they unfortunately didn’t. He told me they had been trying to get it in stock for some time now, without success.

Sniff, sniff...
Sniff, sniff…

I wonder what Miss Tibbs could smell here? We hear the occasional possum or bandicoot out and about at night. Perhaps they have ventured along this fence at some stage, leaving a scent for another, more curious feline-type animal to investigate.

New Snapdragons.
New Snapdragons.

My daughters loved snapdragons when they were little, so when Emma and I saw these at the garden centre, we had to bring some home for the garden. They are so colourful, and another flower that brings back happy memories of years gone by.

With my first grandchild due in November, I want to have a happy garden in which they will be making their own new memories.

A beautiful climbing shrub, Duranta.
A beautiful climbing shrub, Duranta.

I found a climbing shrub, Duranta, about a year ago. I hadn’t heard of the plant before, but the flowers looked so pretty, so I thought I would give it a go next to the chainwire fence. I think it likes growing there, it has grown substantially bigger since I planted it, and has started to flower again this year. Happy Plant ~ Happy Gardener!

Another favourite, Dianthus.
Another favourite, Dianthus.

I never seem to go wrong with either Dianthus or Alyssum as edging plants for a flower bed. No matter where I plant them in the garden, sun or part shade, they grow well, and continue to flower, year after year.

My faithful little garden helper.
My faithful little garden helper.

Well, that’s the latest of my plantings in the garden for this week. I thought it might be fun to try and keep a journal of what I’m planting, and when they are planted, and if the plants I choose are successful or not, for future reference. It also may be of interest to my overseas friends to compare the difference between the plants we grow in each of our countries.

Fingers crossed, I’m hoping that all of my choices grow well in my sub-tropical climate. The harsh summer time will be the biggest test for them all, but we have a wedding before the heat arrives, and all being well, I will have some beautiful flowers to admire come September, which will double as backdrops for the wedding photos. 🙂



challenges · Changes · gardening · In My World · photography · respect

Words on Wednesday…


Have you ever found yourself living life on a roller-coaster, both emotionally and physically, when all you really wish for is peace? Managed to get conned into playing the lead roll in dramas, whist yearning for a quiet place back stage?

When your deepest desire is to yell out in your loudest voice, “Stop the world, I wanna get off”, you know it’s time to force yourself into a backseat position, where you can flick through the pages of your book unnoticed, hide in a quiet place in the corner of the garden to take photos of flowers and birds, switch off the phone (and/or take the phone off the hook!), batten down the hatches, take a few deep breaths of sea air (how long is it since I went down to the beach??) and get a hold of your thoughts and feelings.


When I visit Tess’s Azalea, shown above, I yearn for my quiet, loyal, well behaved old dog, wishing she could still be the pup in my life. She’s been gone now for eighteen months, yet a visit to her grave usually has me with tears in my eyes, remembering. Don’t for a minute imagine that I don’t love and adore my three grand-pups, Porter, Bella and Forrest….they just aren’t Tess, they don’t walk at my pace, they don’t see the world through my eyes. They are not my pets.


For the last three weeks, just Forrest has lived here, the other two have moved away, and I’ve been able to encourage the birds back into the garden. They fall for bribes of mince and mush every day, and now they are seeing a minimum amount of Dog-Danger about, they are timidly taking their chances and returning to the bird food table.

double decker

The kookaburras are the bravest birds, along with the maggies. Nothing scares them away for too long, not even the pooches! And Forest pup is very young, and trainable. She’s beginning to learn the meaning of the word “no”, which is said often, when I see that little cheeky glint in her eye and suspect she is about to chase a bird!

(Now if I could just train her to stay out of my garden beds!!! Who knows how many “well-matured” dog bones I will find during my future gardening adventures!)

full moon

For my birthday this year, husband gave me a fancy new camera, and when I have saved many, many dollars and cents, I will be in the market for a zoom lens. The lens the new camera came with is marvelous, and the close up photos I have been taking are as clear as a bell, which is very exciting! But when it comes to taking photos of the moon, nothing beats the zoom on my little Canon PowerShot.

gerberas 2

Last weekend I took a visit to our local garden centre to find some colourful flowers for the garden, and arrived back home with a car load. I planted a few, whilst weeding and mulching the new, long garden down beside the driveway, but ran out of daylight. Autumn and winter are wonderful seasons for gardening here, except for the shorter daylight hours!

I’m concentrating my gardening efforts on the front yard right now, as the back yard is a construction zone. An area of the paving at the back of the house had sunk, so a new retaining wall is in progress, the paving (and there’s a lot of it!) will be lifted and replaced and we may even be adding a covering for the patio area, all being well. (It depends on that little matter of the dollars and cents again!!)

happy faces

My son and his lovely financé will be married this September, right here in our garden! So everything around the house and garden must be just right by then….Adam has lived in this house his entire life, and his baby will have the same address on their birth certificate as their Daddy, when they are born in November.

Last Friday, I had brand new carpet laid in the room which is to be the baby’s nursery. It was Adam’s nursery once upon a time, and now he and Mary are preparing the room for their own tiny baby.

How long will the new family live here? I’m not sure right now. They need security, they are so very young, and with the love and support of both families they should have themselves sorted within the next year or two.

honeyeaters (2)

With so much movement within the house recently, every room ended up in a state of chaos! With my daughter and her two dogs leaving, I took the opportunity to have most of the carpet in the house cleaned, so rooms were emptied. Then rooms had to be rearranged and reorganised. And some rooms ended up with the remains of “items no longer required”, which I have mostly sorted through this past weekend. The sorting, tidying and cleaning has seemed to be a never-ending job!

misty day

My work room/office/sewing room is the last room to clean and tidy, although it isn’t in too bad a state. I spend a number of hours every day in this room, and I simply cannot function in a complete mess, so the room stays relatively tidy. Just a bit of a quick clean should see it as good as before.

We’ve had a lot of rain here during the last week, with the valley being invisible behind a huge cloud of mist some days. I love living on higher ground, where the clouds sometimes find you, and you can hide away from the rest of the world. The temperatures are cooler here than ten minutes drive down the hill too, so I can enjoy a tiny patch of winter….my favourite time of the year. 🙂

misty morning

I took the photo above at around 7 am one morning last week, when the low-lying mist sat on the floor of the valley, covering the sugar cane fields and looking as if the ocean had made its way slightly inland overnight. It’s a beautiful sight to see when this happens.

valley mist

I miss blogging. Actually I’m missing a lot of things that are usually an important part of my life. Husband and I try to have an afternoon cup of coffee together every day, just to chat, and to retain some normality in our lives, as some days it feels like everything is moving too fast and spiraling out of control. Even if we don’t agree on all family matters, it’s good to have an ally, a person around the same age, who views things in the light of people of our vintage. By that I mean as opposed to the younger generation who, as much as we love them and have taught them right from wrong, can at times be strongly influenced by significant people in their own lives, who were not raised with our values, yet they wish to try and enforce their ways onto our family.

moody blues

Recently, I’ve had to put my foot down, so to speak, on a number of issues, which goes against the grain for me! I rarely raise my voice, let alone yell, and a couple of family members have pushed my patience to the nth degree recently, seeing a side of me that is rarely shown to anyone. I don’t apologise for being slow to anger, I would hate to be a hot tempered person, and my family knows I’m serious when I do yell! And sometimes, unfortunately, yelling is called for, when a quiet voice is not being listened to.

Now that peace reigns supreme in the household again, I don’t ever want to be placed in an unpleasant situation like that again!


My two cats have remained my constant, cuddly companions this year. My old Phoebe girl, who turned sixteen in February this year, has the most beautiful soft fur, she’s half Persian, half Tortoiseshell, which often blurs in a photo, but my new camera shows her cuddly coat in photos looking just as it does in “person”, so I’ve been taking more photos of her lately. My last photo shows Phoebe in one of her favourite positions, right in front of the window, where she sees the outside world, which she no longer ventures into, yet I’m sure she remembers.



Last Wednesday I posted a “Wordless Wednesday” photo, just to keep in touch. I can’t promise that I will return to regular blogging yet, what with all of the “happenings” in my world, but I will try to add a short photo post occasionally. “Silent Sunday” may be another option for me whilst the craziness continues.  My mind is a-buzz with the things that I want to do, yet many a day my body travels through the hours taking care of all the things I have to do!

Until next time, take good care of yourselves, be happy, and I hope events in your world are treating you kindly. xx