Another Country Diary gumboots
Another Country Diary


Links to images and other pages are in blue, mouse-over pop-up comments when I have them are burgundy.
21 July
The hawthorn berries that were once red Christmas tree ornaments, are now yellow and covering the ground and piling up in the gutters outside the Post Office. I was checking my post box and thought that I might just have to consider some social work and tidy the berries up. They're too pretty to have people whingeing about how messy the fallen fruit is. These are some of the street trees that Dave of the Osage orange story helped plant (and that I always thought were some kind of crab apple as the berries are so amazingly large). 
22 July '02 
When it's really cold the ice patterns on the car windscreens in the morning are beautiful. The sun shines on the rear of the cars in our yard and melts the back and side windows, and the windscreens are  back-lit. There's been many a roll of film taken or digital file made of these ice fronds and fractal patterns. 

We use hot water from the tap to clear them, squegee-ing off the excess. Leaving later than usual, I took off with just a few patches of frost left this morning, impatient to be gone. I turned the heater onto the glass but it was glaring in the sunlight so stupidly I pressed the washers. The nozzles stuttered and then sprayed water onto the glass that froze instantly, completely obscuring my view. I had to stop and scrape it off. Some people never learn. (I have done it before.)
23 July '02
Working in my room, I see out to the street past the two big cypresses. I'm often distracted by branches moving in the wind, caught from the corner of my eye. This morning I saw clouds of smoke blowing down the street and it looked more than just a chimney plume. I hurried outside but there was none to be seen, and there were no neighbours houses on fire. Minutes later the smoke was there again and watching closely I realized that it wasn't smoke but pollen blowing from the trees. 

Apparently the cypress (Cupressus spp.) shed pollen in late autumn, winter, or spring. The seeds mature 15 to 18 months after pollination. The female or ovulate cones ripen the second season after pollination, but remain closed until opened by heat or age. Since we don't have bush fires to force the cones to open, it happens on our trees with age. That is unless the cockatoos get them first. See last weeks entry. 
24 July '02
I was in at CAM (Canberra Arts Marketing) trying to get the website content finished. The car park I use is opposite the Sydney building. Those matched pairs, the Melbourne and Sydney buildings are our amongst our oldest commercial buildings in Canberra. Last week there was a fire in the Moosehead Bar and it practically gutted the back half of the Sydney building. I presumed that most of the cleaning up would have happened, but as I pulled up today there where police detouring cars and emergency teams outside after obviously some new collapse. 

The closure of the the bar and club upstairs has changed the social environment for the young adults of Canberra. Kate's boyfriend Kial got caught up when a fight broke out in the club they were in in Kingston. Someone got pushed into Kial hitting him in the mouth and chipping a tooth. Kate explained it was the crowd that usually go to the Moose where it's been easier for kids to get in and drink with fake ID, as teenagers do. I remember the anguish she went through when her friends were allowed to drink and she couldn't, being younger. I didn't hear too many stories about using older friends ID but I'm sure it happened.
25 July '02
I've been taking some photographs for a new website for the National Party, that Doug is doing. It's my first 'political' party gig (years ago the agency I was a producer at, John Clemenger, handled the DLP, the Democratic Labor Party. I remember the animated commercials we did with Alex Stitt, real Reds under the Beds stuff. I think I said that I didn't want to work on their business one year, and that was ok, but the party collapsed before I had a chance to really protest. Their leader drowned himself in a Bacchus Marsh swamp as I recall. (Don't go near the water Natasha.) 

The brief to cover country town life was so attractive, I didn't have to think too hard about my political conscience before I accepted. The local State and Federal Country Party members for the  Bungendore electoral area never seem to get a clear primary vote but wins on Liberal party preferences. Bungendore, the town, votes predominately Labor but the Nat's always sneak back. It's been a fun job, the people are nice in the electoral offices ( as you can see from David in the photograph, displaying his Tim Fischer autographed hat). There's lots more to do for them and I'll have to do a show and tell about it all I guess.
26 July '02
In the three hour drive to Sydney you can see how the climate changes. Usually I feel it, as the air through the vent becomes warmer and I shut the heater off (or turn the air conditioner on in summer). Today I noticed wattle blooming in the outskirts of the city (wherever that is now, seems to start half way to Goulburn). The wattle I saw today was just before Campbelltown. In Canberra the road side wattle is still just dotted with vaguely yellow buds but some of the flowering cherries are out, with their bright pink blossom. There's not much stirring in the garden here, except for the flowering quince protected by the back of the house that's looking like it's just a few days away from burst. I'm going to have to use the copper sulphate spray on the fruit trees in the next few days as soon as the wind drops. 

As you shuttle between the two climates you realize how temperate Sydney is, and although we have more hours of sun, the high altitude, cool climate means some things don't grow here at all. Walking back to my car after a meeting, I saw this magnolia bush in the yard of the church school next to the 3rdMill office in Epping. It was such a riot of blooms that I thought, 'how excessive!' and headed back to my puritan winter landscape.
27 July '02
Taking the dogs for a walk on the weekend usually means that Jan walks the dogs alone, and I'm minutes behind taking photographs. Sometimes I'm so far behind I meet her coming back. She's used to it now. The delay between us is greater if it's around sunset and the light is as clear and warm as it was tonight. I took a number of sunset light images and I've chosen three I really like. They're on a pop-up page here. (3 x 350 pixels wide, approx 150k)
Fred Harden  
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