Tag Archives: landscape

The cliffs of insanity

17 May

I love when landscapes, whether they be natural or designed, remind me of places from movies or books.  When we travelled the Great Ocean Road a few years ago this place reminded me of the Cliffs of Insanity, they were simply inconceivable!  I’m showing them today because that’s a bit like I feel with so much to do before the Daredevil’s party.

If you haven’t seen the Princess Bride, and have no idea what I’m talking about, what are you waiting for?

Sam

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Climbing a mountain

15 May

I’m having a love / hate relationship with my post a day May idea.  I love writing my blog, I always have, but hate (well, probably not hate, but mild dislike) that I’ve tied myself to posting each day and thinking about what to post.  I’m sure that I’m going to be extremely proud when I’ve achieved the goal, but for now I’m starting to struggle a little.  It’s starting to feel a little bit like an uphill hike.  You start out fresh, excited, ready conquer the peak, but as the trek wears on your breath shortens, you need more  breaks and it feels like you’ll never make it.  The good news is I’m half way, so to mark the half way point I thought I’d show you my favourite mountains. Theoretically, the rest is downhill!

The weather in Sydney has been pretty chilly this week, apparently they’re starting to get their first snow down in the Mountains.  OK, so we’re in Australia and we don’t have really impressive mountains.  On a global scale they’re more like hills, and the fact that we get excited about skiing these tiny mountains with the smear of snow that we get is a bit comical to those of you who are more enhanced in the alpine stakes, but we love them.  The Snowy Mountains National Park which contains Australia’s highest peak – Mt Kosciuszko, is a fragile Australian Alpine ecosystem.  The Australian high country is characterised by the Snowy Gum which helps to give it it’s unique character.  It’s an area that I find extremely calm and peaceful whether it is covered in snow or spring wild flowers.

Hope you enjoy my downhill slide!  Hopefully we will get to take the Drama Queen and Daredevil to see their first snow this year.

Sam

Photos from Drawn Outdoors, http://www.godadgo.com.au and http://www.boardworld.com.au

Out the Back

14 May

One of the iconic Australian landscape images is of the Outback.  The desert, kangaroos, Uluru, you know the picture.  Like most Australians, I haven’t actually been there.  We like to stick close to the coast most of the time, but Mr Perfect and I did venture a little way back a few years ago and visited Lake Mungo National Park in far western New South Wales.  It was a spectacular and ancient landscape, with an interesting juxtaposition of Natural, Indigenous and European histories.

Love how these landscapes can inspire.

Sam

 

Through the eyes of a three year old.

21 Oct

Ever wondered what the world looked like through someone else’s eyes?  The Drama Queen is starting to love photography and we let her loose with the happy snappy digital camera.  She’s starting to take some great shots for a three year old.  I don’t think the apple fell far from the tree with this one, she loves photographing trees, flowers and landscapes.

I’m loving seeing the world through her eyes.

Sam

To wriggle or rot?

3 Aug

I have been having a debate with myself for a little while now about whether to compost or worm farm.  Yes, I know, I think I might need to go and get myself something a little more interesting, and possibly a bit less smelly to think about.  Really, come on, I could be thinking about plants, flowers, vegetables, hell even mulch is better than compost.  But alas, my mind keeps wandering to whether we let nature or her wriggly friends do the work of turning our organics into garden gold.

I know this doesn’t make for the most exciting reading under normal circumstances, but I figure if I give it the Drawn Outdoors touch, maybe, just maybe I can make the art of decomposition a little bit more interesting.

I’m getting a bit sick of throwing out so much organic waste, when I know that with a little bit of organisation I can be turning this into fantastic free food for my yet to be constructed garden.  The vegie scraps I’m throwing out today could be working for me to feed the food I’m growing tomorrow.

I want to provide the Drama Queen and the Daredevil with a good understanding of how they can impact the earth they live on and the environment around them, and I want our little household to have the smallest impact on the earth as possible.  But what is the best option for us?  Not a huge dilemma, though getting it wrong can create some not so nice side effects. I know there are other fun options for getting rid of your organic scraps in a sustainable way – like keeping chickens (If you’re in Sydney check out Rent a Chook), but the reality is we don’t have so much space, so chooks are out of the question.  So the burning question is do we wriggle or rot??

Worm Farms

Worm farms are the more fun option, particularly if you have kids that aren’t too squeamish about wriggly things.  We don’t have pets, and worms could fill a bit of a gap in the family.  No, you can’t pat them or cuddle them and they won’t come when you call, but neither do fish, and they can teach the munchkins lessons in caring for other creatures.

The pros of the worm farm option are the amount of space required, the relative “tidyness”, their amazing efficiency and the lack of hard work required by us, theoretically the worms do the work for us then provide us with their liquid gold to help our garden grow.  But on the down side, the worms can be a little bit fussy, and if you don’t treat them the way they like then you may end up with not much wriggle going on in your farm.  While worm wee is fantastically full of garden goodness, it doesn’t provide organic matter to add to the texture of your garden soil.

Compost

Compost bins, piles or heaps take up a little bit more room and aren’t necessarily as pretty, and nowhere near as much fun.

So what’s the good, the bad and the unfortunately very ugly of compost??  The way I see it, Compost provides a superior product for your garden, not only do you get the nutrients, but you also get a great texture for your garden soil when mixed through.  Compost is nowhere near as fussy as worms, so you can put almost any organic waste into a compost heap.  The down side is they need a bit more work from us.  Turning, mixing and then spreading the compost requires a lot more work than the worms do, and the space requirement is a bit of an issue for us.  Compost bins or heaps need some space to work efficiently and to be able to be turned and mixed, and space is on short supply here.  And the last down side of compost is that it’s not really all that attractive, and it’s better left out of sight but not out of mind.

The Verdict – Wriggle or rot?

In the perfect world I would do both, but in reality I think worms are our best option.  Worms will take up a lot less space, and maybe we could even store them in the garage and then they won’t take up any of our valuable outdoor space.  The Munchkins will get a little lesson in caring for other creatures, neither of them are too squeamish.  So wriggle is the winner for us.

Maybe I can convince the Strata here to have a communal compost (though this is fraught with management issues to tackle) and we could have the best of both worlds and spread a little bit of green.

This weekend I might go and find us a new pet farm for the Munchkins and turn our waste to good!

Sam

Armchair travel courtesy of Le Tour

15 Jul

It’s the time of year when Mr Perfect, and if I’m being honest me too, become armchair experts on pelotons, breakaways, race team tactics and cycling in general.  We know how much time there is between the GC leaders and who needs to win extra points to snaffle the green jersey.  We go to bed way too late, and we wonder why we’re sooo tired in the morning.  It’s Le Tour de France time, and we are addicted.

There is nothing like a large sporting event to get the armchair experts out, and Le Tour is one of my favourites.  Not only do you get to learn about the technicalities and nuances that make road cycling such addictive TV viewing, but you also get a fantastic tour of the french countryside.  For a landscape junkie, this sporting event is paradise!

Image from news.yahoo.com

Let me just set the record straight here.  Yes, Mr Perfect and I do own bikes.  No, they haven’t been ridden for a very long time – I checked them today, and the tyres are very very flat.  I would not describe us as any form of cycling enthusiasts, not even cycling dabblers.  But we do love Le Tour – I think it is the appreciation of people doing something at the very peak of their ability.  Mr Pefect has the i-phone app, and I’ve “liked” Le Tour on Facebook.  We love Le Tour so much that Mr Perfect added Cadel to the possible list of names in case The Drama Queen had been born a boy.  I think for me, it is the armchair tour of the French countryside that I love the most.

image from news.yahoo.com

I have been to France, though most of my travel within the country was on train, and at night, so the most I saw of the rural landscape was when we walked from Villers Brettenoux out to the Australian War Memorial, and while it was beautiful, the day was really hot and I didn’t appreciate it quite as much as I should have.  Paris, on the other hand, was appreciated to the maximum.  We spent days just walking, exploring, and immersing ourselves in the cultural delight that is Paris.

I have always wanted to return to France and explore Provence, Brittany, The Pyrenees, The Alps and oh, the Riviera…  Le Tour gives us an annual trip to the French countryside without even having to leave the cosy confines of  the couch.  Yes, I know, we don’t feel the sun on our backs, or in the case of this year, the rain on our face.  We can’t smell the flowers, and even worse we can’t taste the culinary delights that are so abundant in the French culture.  Yes, I would much prefer to be there, but without the means to jump on that plane, the annual armchair trip will have to do.

image from news.yahoo.com

As we are on the other side of the world to Le Tour, our telecast starts at 10pm, after the munchkins are in bed.  We can wrap ourselves in a blanket with a glass of wine and a block of chocolate, and travel along with the peloton as it speeds its way through France, and as the temperature drops on our chilly winter night, we can pretend we’re enjoying a European summer.

The overhead footage is stunning as the cyclists pass chateaus, farms, small villages and towns.  I have seen some spectacularly intricate parterre and knot gardens, fantastic forests and rolling fields of sunflowers.  The picturesque villages and historic chateaus are an architectural delight.  And the breath taking scenery as the race hits the mountains stages of the Pyrenees and the Alps is awe inspiring.

image from news.yahoo.com

And then to top it all off, who can’t love a race that finishes, after 30 days, with a sprint up the Champs Elysee?

There is a strong contingent from down under to cheer for, with a real hope in Cadel Evans.  Can he finally break through and be the first Aussie to take out Le Tour.  He’s worn the yellow jersey, won stages, but can he win in Paris? There are the heroes and the villains, the spectacular sprints and the gut wrenching crashes.  As far as armchair sport goes, Le Tour has ticked a lot of boxes.

It’s nearly 10pm, time to crack open a bottle of red, peel open the chocolate and go get me some of that French landscape inspiration!

Sam

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