Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pie in the sky?

No, lettuce in a windowbox. Can you claim to be connected to the earth if you grow your veggies in a suspended pot?
Yes! there is that same visceral satisfaction fellow gardeners will know that comes from growing, harvesting and eating your own produce no matter the scale or method.
My  mediterranean mix of lettuce is loving the cool damp winter we are having and I am loving eating it!

Sometimes I feel like 'The Little Red Hen' in the children's story. She grew things all by herself so she ended up eating it all...now if I could just figure out how to grow chocolate!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Magpie madness.

One of the harmless pastimes led by elderly folk is to feed the birds in their backyard. So it is with us, the Prof and I enjoy watching the family of four beady eyed carnivores squabble over the left over dog food on our back verandah while we enjoy our 'petit dejourner' . Occasionally things go awry when one of the bolder or more adventurous birds decides to explore our house in search of the mother lode of dog food.
I awoke this morning to a great ruckus, himself had left the back door open for the convenience of our remaining ambulatory dog (the other having been confined to his bed for the last four years where he is waited on hand and paw). The inevitable happened we were hosting a frightened magpie and you know what magpies do when they are frightened! I spent the next wee while scraping magpie poo off walls, floors and various surfaces around our family room and kitchen!
Thankfully he finally made his way out, lured by more dog food, without further damage to himself or the house.
Not having the time or presence of mind to take photos I am posting a detail from a painting I did many years ago of a magpie taking a drink in our drought ravaged garden when we lived out west and that will have to do.

Another detail to put it in context although this shows only part of the 6  by 4 feet painting.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Groundhog? no, Wattle Day!

Here in the farthest reaches of the universe where everyone hangs upside down, we look to the first wattle to bloom as a promise of Spring. Allegedly there are  at least 365 varieties of wattle (mimosa), ensuring that one of them blooms on any given day in the year. This may be folklore but I believe it, along with fairies, free lunches and the promises made by manufacturers of anti-wrinkle creams!
The earliest and possibly showiest, bloomer is Acacia baileyana, the Cootamundra wattle (Cootamundra being a town way, way out west in the colder regions) beautiful as it is, when it gets to the coast, it goes nuts and becomes a bit of a pest).
Wow what a preamble! The wattle features on the Australian coat of arms and is beloved of bush poets and composers of doggerel. Unfortunately, not many words rhyme with wattle (bottle, throttle) so it is generally referred to as mimosa in poetry.

It's a tricky subject to paint, sharing with many native flowers, a kind of formlessness, but so seductive in real life that it is impossible not to try.  Unfortunately it also heralds the start of the 'sneezin' season'.

Henry Kendal is another of those tragic poets to die young, his most famous poem is 'Bell Birds' which in the days of such torture, was sadly cheapened by the fact that every schoolchild was forced to learn it.

In case anyone is pedantic enough to point it out, the official Wattle Day is now September 1st but like almost everything  familiar and normal , it has been changed arbitrarily from the original day, August 1st. However, dates are irrelevant to when you feel Spring in the air.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I have been busy......

No, not really but I have been working on a new blog.
It was clear that this blog was getting to be a bit of a mess, etegamis in, etegamis out (and shake it all about, so do the hokey cokey....) whoops, where was I?  Aah, yes, new blog.  Thus, I have set up 'Etegami Inbox' to  post all of the lovely postcards I receive HERE.
I shall still be posting my own work on this blog as well as all of the other stuff I warble on about. In any case, please don't abandon this listing hulk of a blog to that Never Neverland of sad unvisited blogs which one sometimes stumbles across. There is something so sad about an abandoned blog. Did the author die? run away to join the circus? become  incarcerated for unspeakable crimes (they seemed so nice too) or just plain run out of things to say? We will never know, a bit like the meaning of life really.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Still raining.

Yep! a whole week and a half of rain, no gardening and not much of anything else. The ash cloud from the volcano is still playing havoc with flight schedules and so no 'better half' either!
I thought this would be an appropriate subject, not only is the lemon tree the one bright spot in my garden but I am trying to get into the mindset of 'making lemonade'.

I'm seriously thinking of changing the name of this blog to Etega-me Etega-me as it seems to be about little else these days, meanwhile the many other projects I have lying half finished are rumbling in the background I EXPECT TO BE CRUSHED UNDER A MOUND OF ORIGAMI PAPER AND KNITTING WOOL AT ANY MOMENT!
My dear departed MIL was most anxious when she was terminally ill to clear out all of her craft materials, patterns and half finished projects before she left us so that we would not think her hopeless. It is getting to that stage here but rest assured, barring an unfortunate meeting with a bus, I ain't planning on going anywhere soon.      

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And the Etegami Oscar goes to......

Woke up this morning to find, in the immortal words of  Sally Field on accepting an Oscar  "You really love me!" (or was it that other ridiculous person Gwyneth Paltrow..no I think it was her dress that caused hilarity).
Anyway I digress, a sweet girl has noticed me on her blog at Mari-chan's Vegan Bento Here and she has such nice things to say that I am pink with pleasure. Her blog is new and cute so do check it out.
Good to see that etegami fever is positively raging across the internet (well a little hype doesn't do any harm) if only to keep the snail mail tradition alive. There are a lot of Japanophiles out there and maybe we can recruit them all given time.LOL

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden treasures: etegami

The long weekend is even longer here, raining, small breaks with sunshine, no husband cluttering up the place, plenty of opportunity to paint. The ash cloud from the South American volcano is messing with the airline flights and it looks as if the Prof will be delayed in Singapore at least until the end of the week.
 I find there is a period of time when the other half goes away that is dedicated to general sloth and eating whatever is not on his list of likes. After a few days the novelty wears off and you get a little bit lonely, no-one to dig in the ribs and tell 'Look at that!' Moving on into the second week you establish a routine of your own and after that it is a bit of an intrusion when they return and it takes a day or two to settle back into the old routine. (depends what goodies he turns up with of course!)

I am fascinated by all parts of the lotus, the water repellent leaves, the flowers. the seeds and the wonderful dried seed heads.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sour grapes!

For weeks I have been watching the last  few late bunches of grapes slowly colour up on the grapevine on our pergola. The leaves have dried off into autumn tints but the the grapes were a tantalizing purple. Yesterday I took my trusty secateurs to the vine anticipating a reward for my work...quelle disappointment! The grapes were as as sour as vinegar.
 In a roundabout way this explains the words on my etegami, quoting from Aesop's fable of the Fox and the grapes. The fox you will remember was not able to jump high enough to eat the grapes so he concluded that they were not worth the effort. I guess this is a kind of a morality tale, the fox having 'sour grapes' about his failure. I've always had a lot of sympathy for the fox who could reconcile himself to failure when he came off second best.

Something we all have to do at times. Then again it could just be the pessimist in me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Garden cuttings etegami.

Gardening at this time of the year seems to consist almost entirely of hacking and cutting things. I love pruning or "Fredding" as we call it at our house, commemorating an event when a friend called Fred got carried away with the secateurs and laid waste to his garden. A pruning saw or secateurs are dangerous in the hands of a man, so must be very closely supervised by a cooler head.
In preparation and to psyche myself up for the task  ahead I thought I would make this etegami.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Yes! the kimono that I ordered from Japan has arrived and I am so in love with it! I plan to take it up a little (shorten it) and use it as a dressing gown for my hospital stays.

Mel from Kimono Reincarnate here , a talented Aussie who spent some time in Japan and who crafts beautiful jewellery and other small decorative things from Japanese fabrics, mentioned the name of a seller of kimono who ships overseas and who is a friend of hers. I contacted Higashi-san and for a very reasonable cost I am now the proud owner of two kimono. The second one, a child's kimono will make a lovely wall hanging for my bedroom.
The adult one has a beautiful small allover design of flowers and tiny Pekin ducks on a lovely chiriman(?) silk with a white lining bordered with orange...stunning.
I did try to photograph them but must apologize for the blurry photos, maybe I was shaking with excitement? 
Posting a direct link to Hiragashi-san's shop here the postage is quite high but still a bargain and fun just to look at the lovely clothing.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ballerina blossom.

Posting this etegami for my 5 year old granddaughter who starred in her very first ballet concert last week.
She looked very professional in her pink tutu and when I saw these camellias I immediately thought of her.

I am a little sad because the Prof. is visiting her in Singapore at the moment and I would really like to be there but am instead here at home nursing a cold and a cantankerous 18 year old dog who is deaf and blind and has separation anxiety!

Hark, hark, I hear his bark!...we miss you daddy!!!!!!