A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

Another Country Diary gumboots
Another Country Diary

After about a week of these diary entries, they go to the archive.
Tuesday 30 November '04
I'm polishing up some of these entries after Christmas, so some of these photographs I loaded to the site weeks ago are all old hat. Like this picture of the (hopefully) giant Atlantic pumpkin taken as the image file says on 30 November, so I'll pretend that this is its entry. (You'll see from the next diary entry that it's much bigger and has a pumpkin already). I'll just have to type faster to keep up.
Wednesday 1 December '04
The first blush of colour in the berries raises taste expectations (and fear of harlequin beetles). This year I'm not letting them get to plague levels. There's pyrethrum spray standing by, which is about the only insecticide we use other than a handful of snail pellets around new seedlings. By this time of the year though, the snails have gone into hiding and there's only been a few snail stomps after rain. We used to fling them to the chooks when we had chooks, now they just add to the bad karma that comes with gardening. 
Monday 13 December '04
I've been heading to Sydney each week as we prepare for our Regional Food magazine (and it just might happen). I left Sydney late (about 5.30pm) the day of a sudden storm and while I expected the M5 to be slow, I wasn't prepared for a stop-go two hour trip from the city to the toll gates on the edge of the freeway (usually 15 mins.). There had been flooding in the tunnel as I saw in the paper the next day, one car abandoned. Half an hour earlier and I'd have been in it myself. As well having all the computer systems stuffed up, there was a fatal accident to ogle at, and we crawled along. This Ned Kelly mask is one of the speed signs at the tunnel entrance and makes as good a comment as I could think of about how we're still just hanging on the edge of technology, by good will rather than superior control of the natural world.
Wednesday 15 December '04
Elizabeth Rogers is leaving town. Elizabeth has guided Canberra Arts Management (CAM) through to its current indispensable role in coordinating the promotion and advocacy of the 100 plus Canberra Arts organisations that make up it's membership. I met her four years ago when I said the CAM web pages sucked and offered my help. "I know, how can we fix them?" was her reply and I was hooked. The resulting site, designed by Swell, with a donated 3rdGen CMS backend and maintained tirelessly by Helen Drum doesn't suck at all. If you want to know ALL the arts events happening in the region, go to the CAM site www.canberraarts.com.au.

Elizabeth is taking up a marketing position at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and she'll do it well. That's her above at the Christmas lunch we had at Dijon. Thank you for the lunch, and good luck in Sydney Elizabeth

Thursday 16 December '04
These deco garden objects are the seed heads of the few leeks we didn't get to eat (they'd gone quite woody and tough, with just a few layers that were edible. The last meal of them was a cheese and leek tart that Jan made, where we shredded the softer green bits.) I'll leave one to go to seed and remove the rest. 

The rain (yeah!) had started to split the cherries, I waited for a few days but decided to pick them when another shower was forecast. They were still not really ripe, there were occasional darker ones, but they were all quite fleshy. We ate the really ripe ones, and after the others sat there for a few days, I pipped and dried the others. Drying concentrates the sugars and the become like a big dark red sultana. The bowl of them on the table didn't last very long. I polished off the last few on top of my morning muesli.

Saturday 12 December '04
The National Portrait Gallery has an exhibition called Masters of fare: chefs, winemakers, providores that "celebrates men and women who have championed the unique culinary characteristics and produce of Australia, enriching our lives with new ideas and new flavours over the past forty year".

Have a look at the website, you'll get a fair idea (sorry) of what the content is. There has been an attempt at creating a thorough history, so there's a lot of very ordinary photographs (and a few paintings) included that seem more at home in a museum than in a quality portrait gallery. There are short pieces about why each of the people are important that will take you an hour to read (again of varying quality - almost as if they ran out of steam in researching) but you'll gauge all that from looking at the website and seeing the comments.

There are some standout images however, the poster image of Sydney restaurant Aria's chef Matt Moran taken by Murray Fredericks and Lisa Giles is pure Caravaggio, quite stunning. And I really liked the quite image of Lynwood Cafe's Robbie Howard taken by Martin Mischkulnig.

I'd been planning a visit to the Portrait Gallery and happily it coincided with a concert of Moya and John's combined choirs - Worldy Goods (that Jan sings in), Can Belto and their Tuggeranong older people's choir Out of the Shower.

In the main entrance hall with the Christmas tree and the lovely chocolate box picture of John and Janet Howard on the wall at right, I felt I had to take some more pictures for them as well. The concert was really dynamic, the sound in the hall bright and clear.
It's beginning to look like Christmas.

Friday 17 December '04
That's daughter Kate and proud mum Jan when we went to Parliament House Great Hall for the University of Canberra graduation day. The students and staff looked great all dressed up, and Kate has decided that she wants to go on and do a Masters so she can have one of the cool floppy hats they wear for getting a Doctorate. I suggested it would be cheaper to buy the hat, but it does look like she wants to go on from her Sports Science degree and do Physiotherapy. She'd be good at that.
Saturday 18 December '04

There are some old style roses growing on the fence between our front and back yard, I've photographed them often. They're such a delicate flower, while I was photographing these, one of the petals just dropped of in a slight breeze. They're perfect for an instant and we enjoy them as we can.

A lot stronger are the pomegranate flowers when they first form. (The pomegranate tree featured in a diary entry here).
They've a tough shell that splits and folds back, exposing the centre.



Then they unfold this this startling red flower, that drops after a week or when they get blown around a bit. This red is one of those colours that are made for a computer monitor, you'll never get a pure photographic print of one.



These moths arrive at this time every year (I'm sure there's already a diary entry or two). The white bar along the top are their antennae and they're not usually folded against the body like this, usually two feathery horns. The body camouflage doesn't work on a house wall, but against the right tree trunk, the serrated edges and almost cork like pattern would fit right in.

Tuesday 21 December '04

Schools out. And Bungendore is still the kind of town where kids can still safely pull their sister along in a billycart on the bumpy footpaths.




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Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden