Sunday, December 31, 2006

Steam cockle train

This is what I had hoped to get up last night, somehow the foreshortening of the engine isnt quite right, actually the whole thing was harder to do than I thought and although I thought I had time to do it, suddenly it was going and I forgot to turn my camera on so had nothing to refer to.
The foal who had colic suddenly was a lot better after the vet had been and although I was up every 2 hours through the night was brighter everytime I saw her. Another, I think our last foal was born last night too on one of my forays down to the stable I looked in the paddock and there he was. Yes he, another colt. I think that makes about 10 colts and 3 or 4 fillies. I need to check my foal book.
Happy New Year to everyone, I am baking a herb loaf of bread and have made the cold cucumber soup. We are going to friends and we all bring something. Heating up at the moment.
No New Year resolutions, it is hard enough sketching everyday for any more!

Saturday, December 30, 2006


aThis is a drift wood and found metal snapper made by Indiana Jones on Kangaroo Island.
I was going to do the steam train we saw while in Victor for a coffee but I came home to a distressed foal with either a blockage or colic and had to get the vet out and that has taken ages.
Not sure of the prognosis I am up to do this and eat and then down to watch her.

Friday, December 29, 2006


I did these using the inktense Derwent water colour pencils, I think they came out a bit brighter than I wanted, but then its better than being wishy washy.
I have spent a mostly boring day shopping, cooking and cleaning. Then I hope I can spend some time for me.
We picked some plums and I have stewed them, I am waiting for the parrots to come and clean us out of fruit but the gum trees are all flowering like mad so mostly they are in them. I wonder if the gums are flowering because they are worried they may die like so many in our scrub.
Getting hotter and a bit humid, came back from walking the dogs a bit hot and bothered. One mare still to foal and I hope within the week.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

View from the Penneshaw house

This is what we saw every day when sitting in the house at Penneshaw, a few pots in front of the windows , quite often a boat trawling in the bay and the mainland across the water. Absolute magic.
I have of course vaguely indicated the road, the agapanthus and left out the roof of the house to the left!
Tony F, I am sad to hear you are carting water but we gathered that was what was happening on most of the north coast. Marron? Perhaps one day we can meet and have some, not that they are my favorite crutacean but then again they dont often come my way!
We are heading up for 40 degrees next Thursday, I think the day I am going to Adelaide, typical.
Today was more boring washing and cleaning after a delightful night at D'Arrys 80th and a wonderful night and morning spent with the Johnstons in their lovely house, came home and decided mine was disgusting but it looks better tonight.
A long walk with the dogs checking water in troughs, they didnt enjoy it and I am not sure I did either, the flies are getting bad again.
I can look at this sketch and dream.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas on Kangaroo Island

This is a bit of a composite of all the strange creatures who come with me to the Island, Some I have made and some friends have made. The tree is surrounded in a collection of bathing beauties or exercise freaks, the very odd collection of Father Christmases that have taken my fancy over the years, the carol singers, angels, stars, nativity scene, candles etc.
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, we certainly managed to relax, walk, catch up with friends, eat good food and drink good wine and I thought came home fitter and less uptight but getting home and unpacking seems to make it all seem far away.
We got off the ferry yesterday, I was damp and frozen, 13 degrees on the Cape Jervis wharf, having sat out all the way home as I usually do, so as not to get sea sick, she rolled a bit but I was ok, the Island disapeared into the mist and light rain and the mainland appeared the sam way.
Up to Pt Willung to a friends boxing day lunch lovely a walk on the beach and some beach cricket and then home to collect the cat and unpack.
All is back in place now but we have to go to McLaren Vale for a friends 80th birthday this evening he is one of Johns fishing mates and a good friend and a wine maker so it should be a good evening.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cast iron gate

I think I originally thought this was a wrought iron gate until I realised my mistake and it is cast. I went to visit a friend yesterday and we spent about an hour out looking at her ponies and this was on the entrance to one of her neighbours properties so as it was a different gate I sketched it. My friends think I am very strange. The entrance as you can see has two gates, the old original one and then a younger more modern style welded up and added so thar large machinery can get through. While I am about it I should draw some stock ramps. I love these cast gates but we have none. Hmm wonder where I can find one!
No more sketches up until I get back from Kangaroo Islans around the 26th but with the new lap top will be able to keep in contact. Seasons greetings to you all and stay safe and happy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One Wise man

I am having a few problems with the finger I tried to take the top off, what with that and a hot and busy day in Adelaide yesterday, I am afraid you get one of the 3 wise men that was in the Christmas pageant today, We have someone who gives camel rides on the beach and the three big camels very phlegmatically took part in the pageant, this was the last one, actually a composite of 3 as my sketching was done under pressure and camels are not as easy as they look! Instead of shops I transplanted a couple of palm trees.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Another gate

This gate has some colour added, somehow I like the ones with no colour better. But it does give the impression of seeing through the gate. This is the one to the stallion paddock with the pine forest in the background. Done with pen and then water colour pencils.
Very cold overnight, warm days. Off to Adelaide delivering Christmas presents. Thursday seems not so far off now for Kangaroo Island. Sounds as if the weather may be cool with a possibility of some showers. I hope so.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Pageant

This was done last night in a great hurry and slightly touched up when I got home, we went in for a pre Christmas drink with friends in the town and then walked down to see the pageant, bigger and better than ever and I tried to get this done with people jostling me. The final float with the band in front, managed one man! and the big truck with Father Christmas and the fairy on the rocking horse, not sure why but we always seem to have a fairy on a horse.
We then wandered down the main street meeting friends and some family and on to the pub for a meal and walk up the hill in the dark to friends house and our car and home. I tried to take some photos but ran out of battery so I will see what I got. A great community night.
Had a giggle at our new Mayor wearing next to nothing and the Mayoral Chain, she is going to be different, but at least she is enthusiastic and willing to join in, not like the last one.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Finally some colour

I finally had time to paint the sketch I had done a few days ago of the Willunga hills and vineyards.
AND I am back on the old keyboard and computer and feel so much more comfortable, I really fought with the laptop last night and lost my other blog entry four times and then it published it when it shouldnt have. The joys of the computer.
Everything is a mad rush at the moment and I know this is a bit of a cheat on my walking and sketching but it is a change from gates, more of those to come!
I promise I have been walking but the flies are now back and I hate drenching myself in fly away or whatever before I walk, I dont think it is good for me, and any way, do you really want cow pats, stones and dry ground?
This painting really looked good when I stood a bit away from it, not quite so good close up but I love it, didnt in my wildest dreams ever think I would be able to paint anything like this.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Cocky gate

I said I was going to do gates! This is a dreaded cocky gate, dreaded because whatever you did you managed to pinch your fingers both opening and closing it, and as it had two barb wires it inevitably fell on your feet and tore your pants as it went down. Called a cocky gate because in the old days that was all a poor "cocky" (farmer) could afford. Usually from the malee where times were hard. I had trouble finding one still on the place as with the advent of large tractors they have all been replaced.
Basically it was like a piece of fence with a dropper to hold it up in the middle and a length of wood or pipe, attached to a wire, that went around the strainer post and back onto the gate, held to it with a circle of wire on the top barb.
Yesterday we had rain, lovely gentle rain, only 4 mm but wonderful, cool, clean and smelling wonderful. Now to get some more, which doesnt look as if it will happen for a while unfortunatly.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pot plant

This is a large pot of succulents on my front terrace, It may survive. Part of my evening ritual at the moment is watering the pots, it probably doesnt come under walking but at the moment I walk the dogs aroung the paddock out the back, and feed three ponies by the back gate, do the rounds of hoses that I can turn on in the 2 acres of garden that probably wont ssurvive. Then I water the pots, and that may be all that I keep, the big pots who have more hope of survival than the small ones. I noticed this morning that all the more advanced mulberries on the tree have shrivelled in last weeks heat. Summer pudding made with mulberries is just the best so I hope the ones that were less advanced may ripen, if the birds dont get them first.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I think this may be the first in a series of gates. I open and shut at least four gates when I walk the dogs at night and it suddenly struck me that they are all slightly different. This is an older version of the normal gate with electric fence on either side. These gate posts were made from timber cut on the property, pink gum I would guess.
I am having trouble facing the dryness of our countryside at the moment and keep trying to find something that looks a bit different.
They are forecasting rain today or tonight, only 2 - 5 mm but I will be glad of any, 5 would be nice, but so often we miss out.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Palm tree

These big palms are a part of the Victor Harbor landscape, many planted along the main roads in the centre of town and with the Norfolk Island pines on the beach side. I even have one that came up as a seedling in our back garden.
This one tops the two storey bank building by the railway tracks opposite my second favorite coffee shop.The other night we watched some teen agers having a massive sword fight with a couple of the fronds! They rustle quite alarmingly in a high wind.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Abalone shells

It was cooler in Victor in the afternoon yesterday but still hot and humid and uncomfortable at home so we went in to walk on the beach. I found these Abalone shells, only very small black lipped ones but they have the prettiest insides.
Back in the days when we were diving and there were no such things as permits for taking abalone we used to feast on them. They are wonderful sliced thinly and fried in olive oil with milled black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Food for the Gods. Shows my age too.
The beach we walked on had a dead whale wash ashore on it when we were first married, and I remember we went down to look at it. In those days, well over 40 years ago whales were a rarity in the area, not like now when they are a regular occurrence and I think the whole district turned out to look. It was a huge southern right and I think they had to bury the carcass which must have been a job and a half.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


This tap with its brass bird as a handle has been much used in the past few days. I have been filling a bowl with a rock in it for the small and sometimes the larger birds to get water.
It was sooo hot yesterday, well over 40 degrees and the garden was shrivelling almost before my eyes.
The water I put out for the birds was also going fast.
too hot to do anything, but a pleasant evening in Victor with friends where the temps were 10 degrees cooler.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Shopping mall lunch

we have just got a new computer, a lap top for John and at the moment that is what we are on, I hate typing on a flat bed, I keep hitting all the wrong things and I think I am too low. I also used the new scanner and have managed to get this very quick sketch on an angle, there were so many people when we finally stopped for lunch between visiting my mother and the dentist, we were going forJapanese but it was very much a hybrid Japanese obento. Any way I tried to sketch people, something I do very badly and in public, dont mind doing it outside but inside I feel I am really being looked at. Oh dear now I have done something and my sketch has moved. I will stop in a minute, just to say that we had 40 degrees here today and looks like at least 41 tomorrow with high winds, we were going cockling but I think we need to be close to home. Everything in the garden has wilted and it is still too hot to water. Tiring.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Smokey Moon

Last night there was a full moon and it looked really strange as there had been a bad bushfire to the north of us and the smoke was making everything a bit hazy and odd looking.
Very hot and windy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Back Valley hills

I did this while I was out feeding ponies, it is looking across our sons property to the neighbours, once all of this was owned by us but not any more.
I was going to colour it but really the shade of brown becomes rather boring and I like the black and white at the moment.
The black dog has been sitting on my shoulder this week and I am finding it hard to get stuff done. I have been really pushing it as so much should be being done.
Today I go to a Christmas lunch, I hope that brightens my day.

Monday, December 04, 2006


With the drying weather and no subsoil the gum trees are losing their leaves in large numbers, the patterns they make are quite interesting and this is what I was looking at while walking last night.
I have a dreadful worry that we are going to lose a lot of old and mature trees this year and the gums on the hills faces will be particularly vulnerable. We lost a lot in the 1982/3 drought and this year is far far worse.
On a brighter note we went to the first of the Christmas parties for lunch yesterday, a gorgeous day, blue sky, not too hot and a breeze with lots of people to catch up with.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Across the railway tracks

Yesterday we wandered around Victor Harbor and I took some photos and did some sketching as well as a cup of coffee. The photo I took from almost the same place as this sketch is in my other blog.I hadnt realised quite how comples this bit of the back that no one goes to was, with a few old walls, old stone buildings, new, new apartments, and the imposing chimneys etc of Adare in the background on the hill. Adare was one of the stately homes so to speak but is now a Christian holiday camp for children. Some bits are a bit "sketchy" but I love doing scenes like this, they are a bit like a jigsaw.
I had a very depressed day yesterday so hence the walk and coffee, I dont know how John can keep on going without getting depressed but I am afraid I do, not helped by hearing that a friend of a friends husband has committed suicide on their property.
Blogger was being odd last night and I couldnt load any photos but after reading the help bit and clearing my cache in fireox it seems to be ok again.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Memory grove corner

While sitting in the car waiting to get Harry off the school bus I sketched this corner opposite. A shed, a very old holding yard one of the Memory Grove trees which is now huge and the sign post. Trees were planted along this little stretch of road to nowhere after I think the 2nd world war, maybe some from the 1st but I dont think so. Pine trees were planted, of course now some of them are betting old and dangerous so I dont know what will happen in the future. These were just the very local farmers boys who were lost not the big one in Victor.
I managed to collect Harry at 12.45 this morning I just hope I manage to do the same tonight, I feel rather weary.
Horrible day yesterday, my eyes are still full of dust, blew like mad and very dusty, a combination of dust and smoke made it look as if it might rain. No such luck.
The second cricket test is on in Adelaide, and according to the commentators it was a lovely day there so perhaps they didnt get the wind.
John describes watching cricket as worse than watching a hen laying contest, I must say yesterday was a bit slow I think the Brits want a draw after the first defeat.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tree trunk

This interesting bit of tree comes from a huge callistemon near the house that is about35 years old. Lots of cracks and crevises but not the sort of bark you can peal off.
Yesterday was hot and windy, today a bit cooler but our morning started very early with the bellowing of cows. The fellow who was to milk them hadnt turned up, with son in law in Melbourne John had to contain them and then ring to find out what had gone wrong. At least there is someone there now and the dreadful bellowing has stopped.
I am getting lots of exercise feeding all the extra ponies and trying to find where taps for water are.