This is a catch-up post just to clear my mental decks of bits and pieces. I have almost finished the bag of brown alpaca, at least the flick-carding part of it. I have given myself a few little cuts from errant passes with the carder and they of course instantly got dirty. They are not healing well, although this morning they look a bit better. I didn't card last night but knit socks. No doubt The Imp was glad to have my lap back. I think one more evening of carding and the alpaca will be done. I've found how to fix the carder (I think) so I can start carding white to spin.
I've had a bricklayer in yesterday to patch the holes outside and in. The Imp was beside herself with curiosity with what was going on behind closed doors. He was not the tidiest of men (is there one that is?) and I had a major job of cleaning up bits of mortar left everywhere. It's a good thing the rug in the lounge room is not important.
I've got a quote and put in the order for new awnings out the front. I ordered a canvas cover in green with beige and brick stripes. It cost over four times what it cost the last time to recover the awnings. I wasn't expecting that. I have a quote on replacing the brush fence screen at the front of the house. I like the screen as it gives the front some privacy. Once it's done I can clean out the hole that is supposed to be a fish pond and maybe even get it functioning. That will be the end of my renovations for now. I've spent more money than I anticipated but the exterior will be done except a bit of painting and oil sealing the deck.
We've had lovely warm and spring-like weather and I have all my vegie plants ready to go. I hope I can get them in the ground this weekend. I don't think we will have another frost even if the "official" safe date for planting tender crops out is Melbourne Cup day (1st Tues in November), as Memorial Day was in Ohio. My seedlings of cukes and melons are ready to go as well. I'm missing the heirloom tomatoes, and I especially like "Green Zebra". I still have far too many tomatoes. The citrus is in full and fragrant bloom. The junior plums are covered in fruit. I have one iris in bloom but there are lots in the neighbourhood. I'm tempted to leave notes in the letter boxes of the homes of the best iris and ask for extra rhizomes the next time they divide them.
I had lunch with old friend J (I have a LOT of J's in my life, but I don't want to add names) at Old Parliament House yesterday. It was such a lovely day that we ate outside. They have added a little gourmet kitchen shop with locally produced olives and over-priced eggs. They also had waratahs in red and white and I couldn't resist. They are so spectacular. In the gift shop for OPH I got kookaburra and emu Christmas tree ornaments to add to the menagerie on my tree.
Some of you who are my closest of friends and who read this blog may have been aware that, after my trip to the states last year, I was thinking of retiring back there to be near X2 and the other folks I miss. Due to a large number of things, including the parlous state of the US health system and my complicated medical conditions, I have abandoned that idea. I know what's what here. I still love Australia, while I miss many people and things American. I can only hope my various pensions leave me enough room to take a trip over there periodically. And please, you in the states, you are more than welcome to visit here. The plane trip is not that horrible and the end result is surely worth it to see this astonishing country, if not just me.
Book reports: I have finished both Out of Mao's Shadow and The Age of Homespun. They were both extremely interesting books that expanded my mind considerably and I recommend to anyone. Continuing in my China theme I have started Lost Daughters of China as my BBBB. I am halfway through Janet Evanovich's Fearless Fourteen and Stephanie is certainly fearless as always. As usual the plot is bizarre and the action never stops, nor do the laughs.