Happiness as Anarchy #61: Decorative Cabbages

Yes, you read it correctly. It definitely says Decorative Cabbages. These many layered pink cabbages are a cheery addition to the streetscape. I spotted a planter box filled with them in Hobart last week. After the first sighting, I then seemed to see them around every second corner. Some white, some pink, their frilled petals contrasting against the rich green leaves of the background. And if you ever get super peckish, you know you can nibble on a leaf. In truth these are Ornamental Kale, identified by their serrated leaves, but I like the sound of Decorative Cabbage better.

Happiness as Anarchy #60: Big, old trees

In the centre of the central Victorian town of Guildford there stands an enormous, old River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). I saw it for the first time today on my way back from Bendigo. It is, in the true sense of the word, awesome. Estimated to be somewhere between 500 and 1000 years old, it has a circumference of over 9 metres at the base, and has a number of limbs that have curiously fused together. It makes me think the people making decisions to remove the giant trees at Buangor for a highway have never seen the trees in real life. If they had, they would surely understand what incredible living beings they are.

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Happiness as Anarchy #55: Bird Breakfast

Birds are fascinating creatures and so compelling to watch. I find it intriguing the way they bob about in little jerky motions on the ground, but are so graceful in the air. These galahs (and a big bunch of their friends) were completely unperturbed by my giant presence observing them this morning as they hoed into their breakfast. Whatever they were digging out of the grass with their beaks must have been absolutely delicious, judging by the enthusiasm with which they were going about it. Perhaps it was a seasonal special available only briefly, the galah equivalent of white peaches.

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Happiness as Anarchy #53: A New View

New views, different horizons, interesting faces. These are the joys of travelling. Hobart is a beautiful, unassuming city and the walk to the conference I’m attending is thirty minutes of food for my inner artist. I find it so inspiring to look at different streets and houses and trees and faces and bends in the road and then to find the shimmering beauty of the ocean at the end.

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Happiness as Anarchy #43: Lemons

Is there nothing a lemon can’t do? Ask Professor Google about uses for lemons and you’ll be met with hundreds of different applications for the humble citrus, from cleaning the bathroom to speeding digestion. Apparently the even the smell of lemon is therapeutic, which explains why pruning the lemon tree makes me feel so good. My lemon tree has been busy making babies for months, and now it has a dozen or so large, bright fruits hanging from its branches. I love their pendulous nature – like a big round body part – and the juxtaposition of the bright yellow against the vibrant green of the leaves. They hang out their begging me to add them to a zesty cocktail!

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Happiness as Anarchy #41: The Promise of Poppies

To the untrained eye my front yard looks like a mess of weeds, but look a little closer and you will see the poppies coming up in their hundreds. They won’t bloom until spring, but I’ll be watching their progress as they grow up and turn into a big patch of colour swaying in the breeze. I might even attempt to pull out some of the grass growing between them at some stage.

The straight grass-like bits in the photo are indeed grass, but the slightly furry lobed leaves are baby poppy plants braving the winter chill. They will bloom in a wide range of colours, from orange to pink to red, and a few opium poppies are sure to be lurking in there.

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Happiness as Anarchy #38: Textile Art

Texture is a marvellous thing in the world of visual art, particularly 2D. This evening I went to Anna Farago’s exhibition at the Post Office Gallery in central Ballarat. It’s an interesting collection of quilting, photography, and embroidery. The lines are great, as are the colours – subdued, like the Australian bush that she dyed much of the fabric with – but what I liked most is the texture: lumps and bumps in the fabric, punctures and raised paths of stitching, little valleys along the seams, tiny patterns in the warp and weave. So much going on if you look closely.

I love the movement created by the long stitches in this tree.

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Happiness as Anarchy #29: Weeding

There’s something so incredibly satisfying about ripping little plants out by their roots. My front yard has been a weedy mess due to neglect for a while, but since the rains have arrived I’ve been out there quietly ripping, yanking and pulling those weeds out with a vengeance. My muscles are sore, partly from pulling weeds, partly from walking up and down my hill to collect loads of fallen oak leaves to use as mulch. (No point in weeding if you don’t cover it up with something.) I’m gradually making my way from south to north in the garden bed, and very pleased that I can survey my toils from my kitchen window. On top of the joy of tidy garden beds, today I uncovered a plant I thought long since disappeared. It’s still there, looking quite healthy, and hopefully happier now that it doesn’t have to compete with all the grass.

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Happiness as Anarchy #28: A Walk in the Gully

Winter days may often be chilly, rainy and windy, but they can also be still, sunny and beautiful. I went for a stroll in the gully this afternoon with my daughter to look at toadstools. I wasn’t going to go, but she convinced to me to put my gumboots on and wander down the hill. The toadstools are fabulous, and we have the changeable weather to thank for their existence, as they need some rain, some chill and some sunshine to appear. It’s easy to forget how good it is to wander slowly, simply observing the world.