All My Trials – Makea Goes to Puppy School

WordPress Daily Prompt – Strategy

With the arrival of Summer, dog training classes have shut-down for two months.  There are some crazy people who will still train in 40ºC, but I’m not one of them.  So rather than reporting on our current progress/strategies, I thought I would share a little tale of my early training exploits with my beautiful Finnish Lapphund girl, Makea.  Makea is now five years old and one of three (very noisy) dogs in our household.

Tracy_Makea_sweetie (002)
Makea Bear (Photo courtesy of Brad Cummings)

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Silent No More

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Silence

I have chosen two photos of outdoor sculptures to represent this week’s theme of ‘silence’.  I used a sculpture last week too.  When you’re onto a good thing, might as well stick to it.

The first photo is of Emile Bourdelle’s sculpture of Penelope.  Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, waited ten years for her husband to return from the Trojan War.  This photo is taken at an unusual angle, looking up at her face.  There is a solidity and stillness to the scene.  The posture does not invite solicitude.  It seeks solitude to wait, and perhaps grieve, in silence.  See the original sculpture here.

Penelope by Emile Bourdelle – National Gallery of Australia

The second photo is of another sculpture,  Heads from the North, by Indonesian-born sculptor, Dadang Christanto.  There is an an uneasy stillness and quietness to the scene that I find deeply disturbing.  In 1965, Dadang Christanto’s father was abducted by the Indonesian military and was never seen again.  As a child, Christanto had to grieve silently for his father for fear of reprisals.  His father’s fate was shared by an estimated 500,000 people; slaughtered by the Suharto-led military as reprisal for a failed coup.  While protest may be silenced the world over and atrocities hidden from view, this sculpture gives voice to its victims.  It reminds us of man’s inhumanity to man.

Heads from the North by Dadang Christanto – National Gallery of Australia

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Birds of Tile & Feather

I might have suggested to a few people that I’ve done artworks (mosaics) of some Aussie birds and promised to post some photos of them.  Lately though, I have been concentrating on dog mosaics, but I find myself returning to birds time and again.  I have tremendous admiration for people who can photograph birds well, because I find it incredibly difficult to take a decent photo of my mosaics.  They glitter and sparkle at all angles, hence it is virtually impossible to take a photo without being blinded by reflection.   I love big bold colour, so I guess a little sparkle goes with the territory.

The first three birds I made as non-Xmas gifts for my family this year.   The Canberra Ornithologist Group kindly gave me permission to produce artworks from their photographs.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Copyright Tracy 2017).  The cockatoos are large parrots.

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Steely Land

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Weathered

This week the theme for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is ‘weathered’.  I have selected two photos of weathering steel to represent this theme.

The first photo is the last part of the sculpture ‘Wide Brown Land’.  The sculpture was inspired by Dorothea Mackellar’s famous poem, ‘My Country’, in which she declared her love for her ‘wide brown land’ of Australia.  The sculpture is made from CORTEN steel, which is, apparently, a ‘weathering’ steel.

Sculpture by Marcus Tatton and Chris Viney (2010), National Aboretum

According to Wikipedia (and it would know), ‘weathering’ refers to the chemical composition of a particular type of steel that improves its resistance to atmospheric corrosion compared to other steels.  “The layer protecting the surface [of the steel] develops and regenerates continuously when subjected to the influence of the weather.  In other words, the steel is allowed to rust in order to form the protective coating.”  Let me get this straight – to protect the steel from deteriorating, you introduce a chemical process that causes it to rust through weathering!

My next photo is of a rusting boiler, the last remnants of the SS Monaro, washed ashore at Bingi Point.  Long before fancy coatings were applied to protect it from deterioration, steel weathered the old-fashioned way.  Ultimately, unprotected steel may weather completely away.

In May 1879, the cargo and passenger steamship, the SS Monaro, struck a reef south of Moruya.  The ship broke up before a salvage operation could be carried out.  Only this rusty boiler remains.

Something’s Cooking in Harden-Murrumburrah

There was movement in the household, for the word had passed around,
That our favourite cafe at Harden-Murrumburrah was open,
And waiting for the throng – it was worth the two hour drive to town,
So my love and I gathered to the fray.
Noted coffee aficionados – or so we liked to think –
Checked our wallets for some coinage and credit cards just in case.
For the coffee lovers love driving to where the coffee percolates,
And dreamt of coffee brewing and eating chocolate cake.

My husband and I love visiting Harden-Murrumburrah, a small country town situated on the Southwest Slopes of New South Wales (Australia).  Agriculture is the main industry in the region.  Redolent of history and with great coffee to boot, Harden-Murrumburrah is just about perfect in my opinion.  Read more

How Does Your Tromboncino Grow?

Weekly Photo Challenge –  Growth

This week the theme for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is ‘growth’.  Here is my photo.  It is the Zucchini Tromboncino.  We haven’t had much luck growing regular zucchini (courgette) over the last couple of years, so we decided to give the big guy a go.

The fruit grow to over a metre in length.  We have been picking them at about 25-30cm as recommended.  We may leave one or two to grow to their full length so that we can collect the seeds for next year.  The vine has grown to such a great height already that I can no longer reach the fruit, so picking them is a job for my love.

Isn’t it handsome?  And, they taste delicious!

Zucchini Tromboncino

Pelican ahoy

I thought I would join in a photo challenge from Debbie at Travel with Intent.  The theme is White.  My participation is inspired by Brian at Bushboys World.  Brian has posted some photos of beautiful white pelicans.   So I thought I would post a photo of a pelican too.  But this one is not real.  It is a mosaic piece I made a number of years ago.


Pelican (2011) – tile on board

Unfortunately, I’ve almost exhausted my supply of the lovely pink tile and there are no more to be found.

What do you think?





December, in Kalgoorlie

Sometimes I get tired of my own voice – which is silly because I’ve tried to spare you every little thought that passes through my mind 🙂 . So I thought I would share another blog I came across recently – Shared Space, Musings of a Dawn Bird. There is a calmness in it that really speaks to me. I guess I’m just a country girl at heart. Enjoy.

A Shared Space

I’ve just returned from my last trip to Kalgoorlie for the year.  The two days went fast.  Too fast.  As I’m booked back-to-back on these trips, I always ‘escape’ to the Aboreteum during my lunch break.  I love my time with the gum trees and birds.

The gum flowers blossom on straggly trees, their boughs droop with leaves, nuts and flowers.  They are ordinary to the naked eye.  I know this because I have ignored them for as long as I can remember.  But, in the absence of other things that catch my eye, Kalgoorlie has introduced me to the beauty of these flowers, and, the perfume of eucalyptus.


The gum nuts are hard, and each frosted nut, perfection-in-waiting.


Evenly sliced around the crown, the flowers frill into bloom.

DSCN9688Delicate and fragile, the bees and birds lead my lens to them.

DSCN9697Some resemble a lashed eye.

DSCN9692Sharing this space with…

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Coffee and Community – With Love

Let’s talk about coffee.  When I talk about coffee, what I’m really talking about is community.  It’s my observation that there is a clear divide in caffeine quoffing.  It’s coffee drinkers versus tea drinkers.  Of course, this is a huge generalisation, but stick with me.  Until five years ago, I was solely a tea drinker; however, sooner or later – when you reach a certain age – tea is no longer strong enough to keep you awake alert.  Alertness calls for something stronger.  I’m not talking anything illegal; I’m talking coffee – specifically three double-shot espressos a day.  Suddenly, coffee is nigh on a religious experience for me.

My husband and I are both introverts.  We don’t socialise much.  Nevertheless, we have found that somehow coffee has a way of bringing people together.  As a tea drinker who has switched to coffee, I’ve really noticed the extra pulling power of coffee.  I’m not trying to denigrate tea, no way.  I can appreciate the allure of tea ceremonies and high teas, but they’re really only for special occasions, right?  No-one queues to buy a cup of tea.  But, there is community in coffee. Read more

Book Review – Chaconne by Diana Blackwood


Ladies and gentlemen, this is my very first book review.  The book is Chaconne by Diana Blackwood.  I have posted it on GoodReads (I think) but I don’t seem to be able to make the tech work to share it to my blog.  I’m still learning.  Anyway, here it is.  Enjoy.

Diana Blackwood has written a well-crafted and poignant coming-of-age story.  Eleanor is a highly intelligent, damaged young woman.  Abandoned by her father as a child and with an absent mother, Eleanor is left rudderless, suffering from a ‘fuzzy sense of being shut out of her proper story, as if she had failed at youth, been found wanting by life itself’.  Eleanor runs away to Europe to find passion and pursue the romance of a new and refined life far from her mother and ‘all the dreary people who had no inkling of who Eleanor Weston truly was’.  The trouble is Eleanor doesn’t really know who she is herself.  Of course, the romance is just a fantasy and the men who occupy Eleanor’s life are self-absorbed, emotionally unavailable or needy in turn.  Abandoned again in Paris, Eleanor takes another lover and moves to Germany.  There is an uncomfortable truth in this story: that men and women sometimes use one another to escape their own demons and for their own convenience.  The feminist in me rails against this, but the unreconstructed me accepts this as an uneasy reality.  Eleanor is no victim, or doormat; she is plucky but vulnerable.  Read more