Friday, January 19, 2018

Hot, hot, hot

Well, summer has certainly hit here. Second day of temperatures over 40 degrees and the days before and after were and will not be a lot cooler. A week ago we had cool weather and rain and we played Lawn Bowls in the wet - the Saturday before that Bowls was cancelled because the temp was over 38 degrees.

I mention bowls because that is my new addiction. I only started at the beginning of the season and I am loving it - so much so that I played on Wednesday in 36 degrees, practised yesterday in 38 degrees and am playing tomorrow in 35 degrees. Am I mad??  Well I am half English and there is that thing about "Mad dogs and Englishmen" going out in the midday heat.

Here I am in my natty uniform - I do wear long shorts in the heat, but I won't bore you by showing my ageing legs.

The garden is really suffering in the heat and we have trouble keeping water up to it. We only have one tap and with about 2 acres of garden, watering is a slow process. I am always amazed at how the plants bounce back - well some of them don't, but on the whole they survive pretty well.

The poor chooks are feeling the heat and struggle to produce eggs in this weather. Who can blame them? On Christmas Eve our little bantam "Goldie" hatched out 5 chicks. They were not her eggs but the young of our handsome Plymouth Rock rooster "Rocky" and our own hens from a couple of years ago. The chicks are voracious eaters and will soon tower over their little mother.

Rocky and some of his ladies

Last time we hatched out 4 chicks - all hens. This time we have 5 chicks,but I suspect there are at least 2 roosters there!  Decisions to be made at some stage.

Liz Needle

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Sepia Saturday 404

Such an age since I have posted, but here I am back again.  This photo was taken circa 1927 on the occasion of a fancy dress ball in a country town on the Yorke Peninsula - or possibly at Port Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula. (I'm not sure which).

My mother was a young primary school teacher from a strict family and once she left home and went teaching in the country, she had a marvellous social life. Young, bright single women were much sought after in country towns and she and her friends had many admirers among the bank clerks, stock and station agents, farmers, male teachers, doctors
and young businessmen in the local towns.

 These days their social behaviour would be very tame, but in those days some of their high jinks were deemed unsuitable for pillars of the society like teachers and several of them were hauled over the coals and transferred to other towns.

Mum is the one sitting down on the right. I'm not sure if they performed, but they certainly looked the part of gypsy musicians.

Liz Needle linking with Sepia Saturday

On This Day

..................56 years ago Elizabeth St George Hornblower and Donald John Needle tied the knot at St matthews Church, Norwood South Australia  - and in all probability their first child was conceived on that evening!!!

My bridesmaids were three friends from Teachers College - Lia Kontoupis, Kate Mahoney and Chris Wardrop. I made my wedding dress - white satin underskirt with a sheer nylon embroidered overskirt and a wide embroidered cummerbund. The girls' dresses were made by Lia's mother and were in autumn coloured floral nylon over white satin.

I was given away by my father - Austin St George Hornblower - known as Charles, but that's a long story.

Just married

Don's attendants, resplendent in hired dark suits were Francis Hornblower, Fred Needle (best man) and Bronte Schubert.

This photo shows Don , me and our parents Ron and Mavis Needle and laura and Austin Hornblower

The wedding reception was afternoon tea in Mum and dad's back yard at Norwood. We had just finished teachers College and had a year out teaching on the lowest of salaries and were as poor as church mice. I had saved up to buy the fabric for my dress and going away outfit - very expensive, a revolting hat (you had to have one!!) and shoes for both outfits. Don's savings had paid for an engagement ring and wedding rings. Mum gave us 100 pounds for the wedding and we managed on that with 10 pounds left over.

I said it was revolting! The outfit - pencil skirt and jacket was embroidered turquoise linen, which I never wore again as it was too hot in Darwin. My wedding dress was put to good use in a school production of Trial by Jury.

We couldn't afford a honeymoon, but as we were going to teach in Darwin, we figured that would do. We spent the first two nights of our married life in a tiny room at the South Brighton hotel - barely enough room for a double bed. But we didn't care. We fronted up at the Needle home for breakfast the next morning, much to the surprise of the family.

 The next five nights we stayed with Don's grandparents - in a feather bed in a heat wave!!  Don came down with a rash on his body and was most amused when the doctor asked him if he had been doing anything stressful lately - "Does getting married count?" And then off to Darwin to begin married life together!

And now 56 years later and still together!!

Liz Needle

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


This year we had a very wet, mild Spring. Great for the plants - but even better for the weeds!! I  started my spring cleaning in the garden in late August and thanks to the rainy weather I still have not got right around the garden. I must have pulled up a ton of weeds, burnt a ton of prunings and clipped miles of lawn edges - and still not finished.

The insurance company finally finished removing the huge fallen blue gum and cleaned up the area where the tree had fallen - only took them 10 months to do it. Now I have a large area of bare ground (except for a fine crop of weeds) to replant and with the hot summer months ahead, I am not keen to subject new plants to the summer heat. I bought a whole lot of stuff at the beginning of Spring as I had expected the area to be cleared by then, but the plants are still sitting in pots and I am in two minds about what to do.

But, as I said Spring was quite lovely and I would like to share some of my garden with you.

White Dogwood

Pink Dogwood


Enough for today. Enjoy.

Liz Needle

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Does anyone feel like I do in the winter - totally unmotivated and in hibernation. Our winter was reasonable mild to begin with, but the last couple of months have been cold and wet and I have spent most of my days by the fire reading, crocheting and playing internet games. All of this is quite unlike me as I am a more outdoor type, but perhaps it's age - this winter I have curled up in front of the fire and hibernated.

I did get my roses pruned and was halfway through the hydrangeas when the wet weather set in and now it's so muddy and wet underfoot, that I can't get in to the garden without sinking up to my ankles. I haven't even done any photography - the flowers look miserable and the birds, like me are keeping out of the garden.

Now there ate a few signs that Spring might be on the way. The daffodils are blooming - so bright and cheerful that it makes me feel happier with my lot. My magnolias are starting to flower and the faithful old camellias just do their thing year after year.

Liz Needle

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Return

An aptly named title!!  It is March since I posted to my blog and so much has or has not happened since then. I'm not sure why I have neglected my blog. Maybe the cold!!  We have had a very cold dry autumn and winter this year and sitting at the computer has been a chilly operation.

We have had a new slow combustion fireplace installed and that has made a difference to the temperature in the living rooms, though I am not sure that we have saved on wood as promised by the salesman. Maybe because Don still builds the fire up as if it was still an open fireplace.

We have also repainted the three main rooms in the house - similar colors, but fresh and clean with sparkling white woodwork.The last time they were painted was in 2000, so we were due for a  new paint job. 

The very large tree that came down in the storm in January has finally been removed by the insurance company - after 5 months of havoc in the garden. The tree is gone along with two others that had been weakened by the fallen tree, but what a mess the tree loppers have left with their large machinery. The assessor came out on Friday and now begins the probably lengthy process of getting the insurance company to foot the bill to put the area back to rights. Hopefully not another 5 months because as soon as we get the winter rains, the area is going to be a disaster area.

It has left us with enough wood for the next few years and a mountain of mulch for the garden.

More later. This has caught us up a bit, dear readers - if there are any of you left - which I doubt.

Liz Needle

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday

A visit to a local wetlands this week gave me a chance to snap some of the water birds. To my surprise I also saw a new honeyeater, but the little devil played funny games with me and would not stay still long enough for me to identify it, let alone get a picture in focus. Next time maybe.

Laratinga Wetlands  at Mount Barker in South Australia is a great spot to see birds, especially water birds, or just to walk and enjoy the scenery. Easy walking paths also cater for wheelchairs or prams so the area is very family friendly.

There are a number of the more common water bird species and they are quite used to people walking around, so there are many photo and observation opportunities. This first white ibis pair I spotted in the front paddock at home on my way out.

A pair of Spur-winged Plover. This is a sub species of the Masked Lapwing. Both subspecies interbreed so that many of them share characteristics of both breeds. The plover has a black neck band and smaller wattles.

A purple Swamphen.

Another White Ibis.

A Dusky Moorhen in non-breeding plumage.

And to my delight  on my way home, I spotted this black swan with two youngsters on a large dam.

All in all a pleasant hour snapping.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Wild Bird Wednesday" and "Outdoor Wednesday".

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Colour in the Garden

With the coming of Autumn, the garden is looking a little tired, but there are still some spots of beautiful summer colour.  Before long the trees will show their autumn colour and then we will be into winter. So, let us enjoy these vibrant colours for as long as we can.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Our World Tuesday".