Marbled Gecko time

Wow, look what we found this morning. A Marbled Gecko, (Phyllodactylus mamoratus) actually two of them. The first was spotted as we packed up all the bottles and cans collected on our walks to go to the recycling depot. The geckos appear to be living in a large stack of bricks, next to where we stash our bottles and cans for recycling.

This gecko must have been inside one of the cans we picked up.

Lucky gecko, found and return to the safety of the brick pile.

Thankfully, we found it in the bottom of this plastic bag at the depot and it got safely taken home and released where it came from. This is a new species for our garden. We have seen Stone Geckos (Diplodactylus vittatus) several times on the brickwork around the house.

A small step towards slow fashion

Like most people I’m attracted to the idea of ‘slow fashion’ but getting there from a large collection of existing clothing can be a challenge. I am regularly culling my wardrobe of good but no longer useful (to me) clothing,which goes to the local op-shop (thrift store), but what I have real problems with are T-shirts.

Mine have a tendency to fray at the neck and sleeves long before the body has worn out. And while I move them from ‘good’ to ‘gym wear’ to ‘gardening’, some of the t-shirts just don’t want to wear out. A case in point is my lovely ‘octopus’ pattern t-shirt from Stringybark. This one was made by the original company owners back in the 1980’s/90s, so it has definitely given plenty of service. It’s had one make-over already, you can see where I removed the original neckband, but I didn’t like this version enough to wear it much. 

The original t-shirt, minus it’s neckband, with the new pattern cut out

Then it dawned on me, I have a sleeveless tee that I love to wear in summer and I suspected it was almost the same dimensions as this t-shirt. Bingo! My sleeveless tee was an almost perfect match. I laid it out against the back of my t-shirt and drew around the armholes and neckline with a tailors chalk, allowing a 1.5 cm seam allowance (I ‘eyeballed’ this). I repeated the process with the front. Too easy.

I couldn’t be bothered dragging the sewing machine out just to sew the shoulder seams, so I back-stitched them by hand. I also hand rolled the edges on the neck and armholes and stitched them down with running stitch, using two strands of a blue embroidery thread I had handy.

Edge treatment and look how good that screenprint still is!
While I was stitching I remembered that part of the reason I didn’t like the previous neckline was that the machine stitching had a tendency to make the edge flare out.

So even though this shirt is not going to get beyond my garden, it will now get plenty more wear. I wonder if it will see out another 20 years of service?

Seed saving?

It’s in our shed, perhaps our darkestĀ  gardening secret, a massive collection of pre-loved, left over, surplus to requirement seeds. Blame frugality or whatever but I have real trouble throwing out old seeds even if they are past their use-by date. That is until a few weeks ago. The revelation came when I was listening to one of Gayla Trail’s Whatcha Growing podcasts. Gayla was confessing she had also shared the same tendency, but with one clear explanation, she was able to change her dark habit and I am also a changed gardener.

Just short of a quarter of a bucket of out of date seed!!!
Just short of a quarter of a bucket of out of date seed!!!

What changed? A plant scientist pointed out to her that just because a seed could germinate didn’t mean it would make a healthy plant. Indeed old seed will most likely produce dodgy or low viability plants, a state which seems to be obvious to any pest or passing disease.

So we began a major clean out (see results above). Maybe I haven’t changed completely because we didn’t chuck the seeds in the bin. Instead we decided to use them as a green manure in the area where our chooks have been undertaking soil renovation.

After the chickens, this part of the garden needs re-seeding.
After the chickens, this part of the garden needs re-seeding.

Believe me this part of the yard was completely covered in grass before we let the chooks in. This should also be a warning to anyone who thinks chickens look good roaming around the garden unsupervised – have you seen what strong digging claws they have? The chooks are now off rota-tilling another section of garden, where the polyhouse normally lives.

Having spread the seed on the ground and raked it in, we just waited for the local Crested pigeons to come along and have a feed. Oh, what a surprise! the Crested Pigeons have arrived.

Half an hour after seeding and the pigeons have arrived.
Half an hour after seeding and the pigeons have arrived.

Despite regular visits the pigeons haven’t eaten all the seed yet. Indeed with several bouts of rain in the past weeks what’s left of the seed is actually sprouting.

And what was the oldest seed we had kept? Several packets of herb seeds from 1997 – now that’s bad.

Joint Effort

Last year TB found the legs of a sturdy cafe table tossed out behind a restaurant in Woden. When I bought my box of hand-painted Mexican tiles at Tiny’s Green Shed a few weeks ago we did a rough calculation and discovered that there were enough to make a table top that fitted those old legs with no need to make any cuts to the tiles.


Table legs after painting

After a quick clean down and paint TB added some wooden slats and a piece of left over wet-area fibroboard from our bathroom rennovation to make the top.


Then it was my turn to do the tiling and grouting. We are both pleased with the result.


The finished product

The table is now in the garden and we’ve already put it to good use, relaxing with a cup of tea and a good book.


Close up of the tiles and a Wagtail mug