are you Here, or are you Lost?


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Acacia Desmondii leaves in early morning light


Stand Still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you

Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,

And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,

Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,

I have made this place around you.

If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven

No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,

You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows

Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

In my 365 Photographic Challenge, I have renewed my love of Alice Springs, Australia and nature– especially for trees. Reading David Wagoner’s poem, I think I know why. It has helped me know where I am.

Not lost.


a pumpkin epiphany–In My Kitchen, November


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You know I love my slow cooker (crock pot). Recently I found a new trick that it can do and it has changed my vegetable life. It is so simple I could hardly believe it, but then simple is usually best.

Cook your pumpkin or butternut squash in the slow cooker. Whole. With nothing else. Not even water.

Still life, butternut squash and bouganvillea bracts, edited in Waterlogue

Still life, butternut squash and bougainvillea bracts, edited in Waterlogue

I have tried it both on the high setting, for 4-5hrs and overnight on the low setting. Equally good results.


Wash your pumpkin on the outside so that it is free of dirt or residue. Put it into the slow cooker for whatever time you choose. Put the lid on and let the magic happen.

When it is finished, lift it out with a large spoon underneath it, onto a plate or cutting board. Cut it in half to let it cool enough so you can touch it. Scoop out the seeds, scoop the remaining flesh off the skin and you’re set to go. We eat it as pumpkin mash with a little salt and butter. I freeze it in amounts that are convenient for recipes or serving sizes. The water that cooks out through the skin of the pumpkin is sweet and similar to maple syrup, but lighter. I use it to add back into the puree if it needs moisture for a particular recipe. The amount varies depending on the pumpkin.

And I made this… simple little gluten free Pumpkin Bar/slice from Elana’s Pantry here. Very toothsome.

Elanas Pantry Pumpkin Bars

Elanas Pantry Pumpkin Bars

Happy November everyone!

Special thanks to Celia for hosting our monthly kitchen get together. Visit her through the link and find other interesting kitchens around the world.


the creative life


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For most of my life I have grappled with a couple of ideas; What is an Artist? And why do some of us follow the creative life? In the last 10 days or so I have had Three Awarenesses visit me on these familiar topics, and I wonder what you think about them?

I shared with you recently that I was reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Page after page her insight to the creative process made perfect sense to me. Since most of us humans are capable of being creative (in addition to creating life) she talks about what it means to choose to follow a creative life. For her, it was a very conscious choice.

For myself it was not.

So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? –Elizabeth Gilbert

Calling myself an ‘Artist’ has never sat comfortably. And yet, when it was time to fill out the line beside ‘occupation’, I usually wrote Artist or Designer. What do you think immigration officials would say if I wrote on their form ‘she who follows a creative life’? After they rolled their eyes loudly, they would stamp my passport ‘nut case’. For most of my 62 years, ‘following a creative life’ seems a much more apt description than whatever the vague notion of ‘Artist’ is to most of us.

The only one of the Arts most of my family followed was Music. Though Dad’s love/hate relationship with it left me with an ambivalence toward music I scarcely understand to this day. I just knew that I liked making things, but music wasn’t one of them. The piano and I never understood each other.

So I made things.

Thank god it never occurred to me to deny this urge! I refinished furniture, taught myself to sew, learned to cook and eventually took art classes during my final two years in High School, because previous to that we had no art teacher. Against the odds, and based primarily on my meagre portfolio, I went on to study Art and finish a Fine Arts Degree.

Most of my adult life I have been in paid work with design of various kinds from TV sets to magazine advertising, computer and jewellery; and unpaid creations in mosaic, needlework, cooking, scrapbooking, photography, interiors and writing. It occurred to me about 10 years ago, while attending an Artist’s retrospective exhibition, that if I was ever to organise such a thing, it would be the most eclectic exhibition ever! And so I began to cogitate again upon this idea of what being an Artist meant. I asked myself, what have I been doing all my life?

The only answer I had was ‘I’ve been living a creative life.’

Your creative work is not your baby; if anything, you are its baby. Everything I have ever written has brought me into being. Every project has matured me in a different way. I am who I am today precisely because of what I have made and what it has made me into. Creativity has hand-raised me and forged me into an adult— Elizabeth Gilbert

And so…Elizabeth Gilbert says the choice to live a creative life is ours to make, and do with whatever we will. It is not likely to be remunerated well, or acknowledged at any high level, though some have done so; but living one’s life in this manner, in and of itself, is a meaningful reward. Or not. If it is not reward enough for you, then choose elsewhere. I cannot imagine living any other way. I really wouldn’t know how. To paraphrase Jerry McGuire, ‘Making things completes me.’

But does it make me an artist? And perhaps more importantly does it matter?

The second awareness regarding creativity came to me this week, as I read a blog post by Pip Marks, reviewing an exhibition in Melbourne, featuring artists with disabilities and experience of mental illness. There, with an Artist’s work was this idea —‘when he’s off balance, it helps to be creative and remember famous people who experienced their own troubles’. That idea of creativity helping one to stay balanced hit me with great force.

Of course. Balance.

And finally, the third awareness came Sunday, while reading Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. I was introduced to Vivien Gornick’s work Fierce Attachments, which examines

what is that singular interior orientation that sets the Artist apart from the rest?

and this:

the Artist is no other than he who unlearns what he has learned, in order to know himself –ee cummings

Simple, eh? As I recall, Picasso thought much the same and we all know what a terrible failure he was. And here is where my analysis starts to crumble. We expect being an Artist is a vocation or a ‘calling’ when compared to other professions. A Plumber is not expected to plumb the depths of the human condition! And plumbing is not who he/she is. Though, I daresay, if one is mindful of the life lessons all work is there to teach us, a plumber’s work could also help to ‘know himself’. But ‘Artist’ seems to automatically presume it is not only what a person does, but who they are.

If we are sentient beings with stardust in our DNA, what we are called is probably fairly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. But also we are human, with that pesky brain whose need is to categorise things.

Perhaps an old friend, who paints beautifully, had it right all along. He said he would leave it to others to declare him an Artist, it was not for him to say.

And always remember that people’s judgments about you are none of your business. –Elizabeth Gilbert

If that is so, let it be known, I am happy to remain—not an Artist—but simply, satisfyingly, ‘she who has followed the creative life.’

(A newly launched website, ‘Oh She Thrives’ came into my awareness just as I had finished this piece and it seems pretty interesting. Go here if you would like to see some of their suggestions for staying creatively inspired. I thought they were useful.)

seeing the light at the end


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It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the photography challenge. The land is dry and dusty. The sun’s rays have to filter through a haze. And flies. God, the flies are horrible already this summer. The worst we can remember, and that is saying something where the national salute is a person waving away the blow flies! And somehow, sleep eludes me on a regular basis at the moment.

I think it is the full moon.

You think I’m crazy. I understand.

Regardless, I am managing to get myself up at the usual time of 5.15., so that I have time to go through my stretches and have a glass of water before heading out for the morning walk.

Wildflowers in early light

Wildflowers in early light

Fortunately we are still getting relatively cool mornings, helping to keep me awake as I walk–although the word somnambulist does come to mind and worries me a little. I usually follow the path being lighted by the rising sun, because even nearly comatose, I am still a Light Chaser. On Monday I carefully picked my way through the dry, prickly scrub as I walked to the top of a small rocky outcrop. The sunlight was gentle, filtering through a scrim of cloud near the horizon. It never ceases to amaze me how stunningly beautiful the light can be, even on things I have seen and photographed over and over. It strikes me as a little miracle and lifts my spirits like the best chocolate cake!

Sending kisses!

Sending kisses!

A few days ago, I nearly freaked myself right out of being able to continue. You know how we sabotage ourselves sometimes, unintentional though it may be? A good friend who is also an artist reminded me it is often when we are at our lowest point, or think we have nothing left to give, that we are about to make a breakthrough.

My best friend told me, “It is a marathon and you can see the end, you can do it”. I needed to hear that from her. She has run marathons. She knows. I also needed to see this at my feet a couple of mornings ago. Emerging from the earth, the Universe encouraging me with kisses.

And then, as books often do, one came into my life at the perfect time. It is called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She understands the creative process and the work ethic that goes with it— the fear and the self talk, all of it. She understands. Her words nudged me forward…stay in the moment—stay open to all the little clues and magic coming your way—do the work.

‘The work’ is getting up and out every single day, opening myself to seeing the light and the photo, capture it, edit it and post it. And on a day when I am somehow upright after only a few hours sleep, and I think perhaps I’ve used up all my little miracles from the Universe, there is this. Parigi. (Pair-ee-gee) Parigi is Italian for Paris, and that is this lovely little guy’s name. The lady who walks him in this pram each day told me, his owners didn’t want him any more because he was old and too much for them to look after. So she adopted him. He is ‘really old’ she said, but wasn’t quite sure how old. It is too much for him to walk, so she puts him in the stroller and walks him, occasionally removing him from the conveyance so that he can attend to his ablutions, and feel the grass under his feet. You can see the water bottle in the top, and underneath the blanket is an ice pad that she freezes and puts in the pram in the heat of summer, so he can stay cool. I think she is cool. What a kind person.

Parigi, of the pram

Parigi, of the pram

Rain tree and thirsty honey bee

Rain tree and thirsty honey bee

And before the walk finished on that very tired morning, I was lured by a heady aroma that could only be a ‘rain tree’. I looked to my side, and sure enough, there it was in full blossom. Trust me, it is the closest thing to rain we have seen in many months. The honey bees were loving it, and I think maybe they were a little bit tipsy, or maybe that was me in a sleepy stupor…The bees were flying right up in front of the iPhone anxious for long drinks from the centre of the flowers.

And then this…another of one of my favourite subjects, the feather catcher.

'feather catcher'

‘feather catcher’

I am living proof, you can do things even when, at times, you wonder how.

Day 300 is passed. I am taking nothing for granted. But I can see the light at the end and I am focusing on that. Always the light. I can promise you, on day 366, I will miss it, but I will take a well deserved reprieve from the self-imposed pressure. And I can also promise you there is a nap in my immediate future.

by the light of the silvery moon


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Top End full moon

Top End full moon circa 1984

When I read other blogs it often causes me to recall memories that have been tucked away in the back of my mind for a very long time. Photographer, Wes, who publishes Alien Shores Photography blog, posted a quote and photo recently, about the full moon, which illuminated an old memory, out of the dark recesses.

Us at Jabiru, Mt Brockman and Ranger Uranium Mine in background

Us at Jabiru, Mt Brockman and Ranger Uranium Mine in background

A good catch of Barramundi

A good catch of Barramundi

When Don and I were first married, he had a tradition of going camping and fishing every year on the full moon in May. He wanted me to come along and continue the tradition so I did. The reasoning behind that particular time of year was because it was the end of the wet season. The billabongs would be full of fresh water and the barramundi, the prized fish to catch, would not taste muddy as they sometimes did at the end of the dry season when water levels were lower, and muddier. Also, the full moon enabled people to have much needed extra light when camping far out in the bush, where there was no light at all, save a campfire, and what you carried with you…a torch (flashlight).

I was initiated into this particular tradition not quite a year after I came to Australia’s tropical north, Darwin. In our ‘boiler suits’ (long-sleeved coveralls), worn to protect from the mosquitoes, we sweltered. Bathing seemed like a civilised remedy, until I saw how it had to be done. The other couple we were with, got into their bathing suits and rowed the dinghy a small way out into the billabong. Then, carefully, each dipped a bucket into the billabong and tipped it over the other one. The balancing could be tricky… They washed with a bit of soap, and then repeated the bucket dipping to rinse. That was a billabong bath. That happened on the second night of our camp. What happened on the first night was the thing that kept me sweaty…

A billabong bath

A billabong bath

As dark descended that first night, and the full moon peeked over the horizon, my husband and I piled into our dinghy, and the other couple into theirs. We motored quietly over the billabong with a torch in hand. We were looking for red eyes. The red eyes of crocodiles. We found them. Even in those days crocs were common, nowadays I wouldn’t even get into a dinghy on that billabong, let alone for a bath, because there are so many huge crocs. In fact, with the increase of crocs around the edges of Jim Jim Billabong, the campground was moved to Mardugal. We would not be allowed to camp where we camped back then. I suppose ignorance was bliss, since we lived to tell the tale. I have no photos of the crocs at night, but here’s one I took from the fishing dinghy, of a big croc sunning itself along the bank.

Yellow Waters Croc

Yellow Waters Croc

My Mother keeps telling me, it’s nice to have great memories, but I’m not quite sure this is what she has in mind! To me they are great memories from an adventurous time in my life–even if experiences I feel no need to repeat! Happy 88th birthday Mum, you can celebrate the fact that I’m still alive too!

Parenti lizard and a fool behind the lens, too close to be safe!

Parenti lizard and a fool behind the lens, too close to be safe!

treadly trend?


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I hardly ever get the urge to clean, though I hasten to add, I do it regularly. But this morning I actually felt like cleaning. Wiping down bench tops, dusting and vacuuming were all done with peace in my heart. The final phase–mopping floors–arrived, and, as I twisted the wet mop to wring it out, the handle broke. After careful examination I could see there was no way forward. It was done. I had no back up. The Universe had spoken and it said “Go have some fun.”

And that is how this blog post came about.

Along with ‘yarn bombing’, we noticed a little trend happening in various places we visited on our last trip. Maybe it’s called ‘bike bombing’ I don’t know, I just thought you might enjoy the photos. Have you noticed some interesting versions of this where you live?

And just for your entertainment and edification, here are various tidbits about ‘treadle’ that I learned when double checking the spelling.

• also spelled ‘treddle’

• also means prostitute or strumpet (😂)

• ‘treddles’ the plural also means the ‘dung of sheep or hares’ (now they’re just playing with me)

• derived from Middle English, ‘tyrdle’ meaning a ‘small piece of excrement’ (‘turd’–hey, Wiktionary said it, not me, I’m just passing along the knowledge)

I used the word ‘treadly’ in the title because that is what Australians often call a bicycle, as well as ‘push bike’. Is it any wonder English is so difficult to learn?

Have a fun week.

travel is my cheesecake


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Seattle. Home of Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks, to name but a few. We have never heard a bad word spoken about Seattle and so we decided to see for ourselves what it was about. We lucked out with perfect weather in the Pacific Northwest, which was an auspicious start in itself. Apparently October is their driest month, but with temperate rain forest climates, you just never know!

Our first day was spent gathering information for the next day when our friends would join us, so that we could make the most of our subsequent three days. Don wanted to visit the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as he is doing some writing and work in the area of philanthropy at the moment. There was a very interactive display where I learned more about the Foundation’s work. It is a large complex and one can only imagine the ideas that were being contemplated within its walls on that Thursday morning.

The EMP Museum (see above photos), designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry, was a case of serendipity, neither of us being aware it was there. But it was the building itself that mesmerised me, its contents of Pop Culture not being my strongest interest. If you are into Star Wars and Nirvana, though, you are in for a treat!

One of the places near the top of my list to visit was the Seattle Public Library–but not for books, for the architecture. I have never ever been in a library like it. It was truly inspiring and were it not for Ailsa’s recommendation I would have probably not known about it.

Renoir painting, SAM-Impressionist Exhibition

Renoir painting, SAM-Impressionist Exhibition

The surprise of the stay was the newly opened Impressionist exhibition at SAM (Seattle Art Museum). Due to the renovations happening in the National Gallery in Washington DC, paintings from the areas under construction were being circulated around the country. Any time I can see Edouard Vuillard, Manet, Cezanne, Pissarro Bonnard, Renoir and others, is a good day. I do invoke my one hour rule, however. It has been my observation over many years of visiting museums, galleries and architectural masterpieces, that after an hour my brain is sodden with information, dripping out my ears and onto the floors. I simply cannot absorb any more at one time. So my only choice is to see whatever I can as often as possible. Nasty job, but one to which I’m willing to sacrifice myself.

If the Impressionist exhibition was the surprise of the visit, then it is fair to say the Seattle Aquarium was the jewel in the crown. It was the most stunning aquarium any of us have ever seen. It was as close to seeing the Pacific marine life, via deep sea diving, as you could get on dry land. There were even pools created with waves washing over the live anemone and coral, some you were even allowed to touch with bare hands! There was a live octopus, a tank of jelly fish, sea otters and sea lions, eels and on and on.

Dusk view from Space Needle, Seattle

Dusk view from Space Needle, Seattle

A little known characteristic of mine–I do not feel the need to climb or elevate to great heights to ‘enjoy the view’. Taurus, the bull, is an earth dweller, so that may have something to do with it. I’m not worried about heights, I’m just not particularly interested, or moved by them, either. Odd thing? I love climbing to the top of the small rocky outcrops nearby our house, but that is the extent of it. My travel companions seemed more keen to see what was at the top of the Space Needle, so I went along–the first time. I opted out of the second time when the queue was long and tedious and I wanted to be taking photos and having a drink. The Space Needle was erected for the 1962 World’s Fair as an example of architecture of the future. Small problem… it is a hugely inefficient use of space! Still, it distinguishes Seattle’s skyline and judging from the queue, attracts many visitors into the city.

I need to say a word about glass. Chihuly. (pron: che-hoo-lee) If you have never seen or heard of Chihuly’s glasswork, it is truly unique. He is a genius with glass. We have seen numerous of his works over the years and we would never miss an opportunity to see more. His permanent Glass and Garden Exhibition in the middle of Seattle was amazing.

In between all these spectacular things, was the spectacular time with our friends. It was three days we will never forget.

My silhouette looking at a projected image of the room in which I actually stood in the Hermitage three years ago.

Only a projected image of the room in which I actually stood in the Hermitage three years ago, but it evoked fresh emotion.

But wait, there’s more… there is the return to OZ. This time we decided to stop for a couple of nights in Melbourne to shake the travel dust from ourselves and have a look around. As luck would have it, the Exhibition from the Hermitage was at the National Gallery of Victoria and so once again, our eyes feasted on some of the greatest art our species has to offer. We actually saw a couple of the same pieces IN the Hermitage a few years ago and there was something deja vu and goose-bumpy about it all. That is twice in one trip that I was brought to emotional response from beautiful art. What a privilege.

We always enjoy Melbourne for its uniquely European/Asian/Australian vibe. There were times when I wondered where I was–fresh off the plane and with the exotic faces and languages around me. I was reminded what a ‘yarn bomb‘ looks like! It’s a real thing and it was happening in Melbourne, and apparently, all over the world. If only I could knit.

Also we had a look inside the Bank Museum–boring name for a very interesting place. The original ANZ bank building has been thoughtfully conserved, retaining much of its character, but brilliantly attached to the new, very modern, headquarters. In the photo above you can see the new tower’s architectural nod to the original building. I just love it when cities mindfully restrain themselves from destroying everything old and replacing it with new.

And so, what does cheesecake have to do with travel? I will leave you with this photo of my dear, lovely, funny Mother, who says (and I quote)

Eat cheesecake and break a few chairs”

The photo that will haunt my mum

The photo that will haunt my mum

Travel is my metaphorical cheesecake, and breaking of chairs. My life has been greatly enriched from it, though I don’t mind telling you, a few pieces of real cheesecake have been consumed along the way… once, even in a limo in New York City. Oh yeah.



you are invited to my virtual exhibition…


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(We are almost home and I will write a bit more about our travels soon. Meanwhile here is a post I wrote in response to a couple of requests about the jewellery I have made.)

Is there a modest way of saying ‘here, look at my work?’ Probably not. But lets pretend you’ve come to a gallery to see a retrospective of one facet of my work over the last 20 or so years–the jewellery facet. Pun intended.

I started making jewellery and sold it at the markets, but I quickly realised how exhausting this was with a four year old child to raise, who was my main priority. So after a couple of seasons of markets, I found a ‘teen boutique’ here in town. They were looking for some different pieces to add to their selection of off the rack jewellery. This was long hours for not much pay, but great experience for me. For a while I even sold some early pieces in a local art gallery, as well as a gallery in Melbourne. Sadly, I don’t have photos of those pieces. The photos kind of fell in the crack between analogue and digital photos. I would sell pieces at the gallery for a while and then take them out. Not being a machine, I found I needed a break from the constant creating and assembling, not to mention the very tedious paper work and accounting.

So the gallery and I had an agreement, they would have my work whenever I wanted to take them some. I have not really felt moved to create anything in over a year and a half, until a few weeks ago. My hairdresser asked me if I would make him a one off selection of pieces to sell in his Christmas boutique in the salon. I said I would, and for one nanosecond I was actually excited about it. And then the stress hit. So, it was quite a push to get myself over the line for this one. I’m a woman of my word, however, and I delivered the 30 pieces he asked for, on time.

And now, I’m pretty sure I’m over it. I still have all the gear, it hasn’t gone out the door, so I can’t really say never again. But let’s just say, this retrospective is probably living up to its name. It’s in the Past.

Here are a few of the hundreds and hundreds of early pieces I made:

And here are some representative pieces, interspersed with some fun Waterlogue App edits from photos of the latest group now on sale at Headlines in Alice Springs. Thank you for attending my virtual exhibition.

more tidbits from the traveler


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This week we saw more of the country, in the local sense and the broader sense as well. I find that I crave more rural travel experiences these days, excepting the odd few days in a city here or there.

My Uncle retired from engineering design to farming. It was in his blood. I think it either is or it isn’t, and like many callings, there is not much to do but scratch the itch! So after a career that included early design work on the ‘sloop nose’, as it was then called, Concorde, as we all know it, he retired from his former life and in his mid-sixties, began his farm dream on 200 acres. He says most of his Angus cattle are really pets. They have a great life in various pastures full of clover and plenty of water. I can see why he loves it.

One afternoon we drove my mother to visit the tiny town (pop 100) she grew up in, Pt Isabel. Afterward we drove the few miles to a section of the Ohio river that she had fond memories from her times dating my Dad. She loved that afternoon and we enjoyed it too. We spent a good part of the week visiting with my Mum and helping her get a new pair of glasses as well. It was busy.

We had planned a small side trip a few months previously, almost a pilgrimage, to see a piece of classic American architecture, by renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Several years ago we visited his studio and home in Oak Park Illinois and it captivated our interest. We stayed at the Inne at Watson’s Choice, about half an hour from Wright’s design for the Kaufman family, Fallingwater. We even managed to sit in the rocking chairs on the porch at the Inne, and visit with our friends from Virginia who met us there.

I confess to having tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat for most of the tour of Fallingwater. It meant so much to me to finally get to see this amazing work of design architecture. Every single cupboard and shelf was bespoke. In 1937 the cost soared to over five times the original budget, a final cost of over $150,000 USD. I’m thinking only the very wealthy could afford to build it today. That it was used only as a weekend house is even more unbelievable. We were not allowed to take photos inside, so I guess you will just have to go there yourself. You won’t be disappointed. We also visited another nearby house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, called Kentuck Nob. It was beautiful too, but it didn’t move me like Fallingwater. The grounds contained a number of sculptures and art installations, however, curiously even including a piece of the Berlin Wall. Again photos were only allowed on the exterior, so add it to your list while in southwest Pennsylvania.

I’ll leave you with a gallery of photos that will tell you more than my words. As with any trip, there has been so much more to our visit than even this shows. I wonder, have you ever visited a place that had no real personal connection, but felt the experience deeply? Please say ‘yes’ so I don’t feel so lame! We still have a week more of travels, so another travelogue update will be coming soon. xx

tidbits from the traveler



Book cover showing Amish style cap

Book cover showing Amish style cap

There are always iconic images I see when we travel, that for one reason or another I am unable to photograph. On Friday when, after 20 hours of airports and flying, we emerged in the busy Dayton, Ohio airport, amidst the frenetic activity sat a very placid young Amish woman. Her attire was the clue–demure traditional floral dress extending to the floor, and white translucent hair cap framing her expressionless face. I dare not intrude to take a photo, but the picture is in my mind. Having come straight from Australia, and having watched The Last Cab to Darwin film on the flight, I could only think, ‘Toto, we’re not in Oz any more’. What a startling contrast, a movie exploring the rougher edges of the Austalian Outback, followed by a piece of America that is steadily disappearing.

Niece and newest member of the family

Niece and newest member of the family

On our second day in Ohio, my niece had organised a family gathering at her house. With a new 2 month old baby, and only a few months in their first house, I thought it was extraordinarily generous of her.

Everyone arrived at the appointed hour, even a strange looking Amish farmer–oh, no, wait– that’s no Amish farmer, that’s my brother! (Are we seeing a theme here?) Apparently he had a sort of bet with a friend that he would sport a beard until a new car he ordered in kit form arrived. (Yes, you read correctly, a kit car that he will build by himself) He is normally clean shaven and said he hates the beard but as long as he’s determined to see through his declaration of not shaving, he has decided to have some fun with it. He drove to Amish country, not far away, and bought an every day authentic hat and appeared at the gathering in his alter ego form! He said he felt he was helping awareness of this lifestyle that is on the wane. Later he told me he has realised his purpose in life– to be the ‘crazy uncle’, every family has one! The role fits him perfectly. But he is also an extremely talented machinist and above is also a photo of him in his shop. He specialises in reconditioning old and antique tractors, literally creating replacement and non-existent parts using a computer program and mathematics and then fabricating the parts from a block of steel. He is also a blacksmith and an all round creative guy.

We’ve had a bit of a drive through the country area, near where my brothers live, and where we grew up and it is lovely in the early autumn. Today is the first day of Autumn here. Most of the trees have not yet begun to change colour, but we can tell the change is near. I’ll leave you with a couple of snaps that remind me of my childhood here. It isn’t quite the same now, but I can see from whence I have come.

Golden Rod weeds and grapevine.

Golden Rod weeds and grapevine.

Thistles in 'fluff' stage.

Thistles in ‘fluff’ stage.

(I’m writing in the little spare time we have– to be continued same time next week!)


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