Plenty Should Be Enough Placemats

Plenty Should Be Enough

Our new range of paper tear-off placemats:

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Alpaca Paradise is Here

Alpaca paradise is Here!

A paradise for print on demand Alpaca products.

Fully customisable: Alpaca Alpakka Alpaka Alpaga coffee mug.

This head shot of our favourite Alpaca is found on more than 40 print-on-demand products at our store – from truckers caps to wrapping paper – t-shirts to luggage tags, and many more things. See the complete range here:

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Guitar Cases

Our new Guitar Cases

Your music is an expression of your personal take on life – shouldn’t your guitar cases be as well? Stand out from the rest and create your own guitar case with a custom face! Get one bag to match your mood, or easily switch your style any time you want with another interchangeable face.This soft case design combines the protection of a thick padded interior with the portability of a gig bag. Made with a sturdy shell, this versatile case is lined with a soft material to gently cradle your guitar.

We are the Harmonisers! In Australia the guitar might also be called an axe. The emu is a very funny flightless bird. There are many folk songs which include references to emus. Old Man Emu is on these. Have fun with this design. It is fully customisable. Change the text (message and type face – font), the image to one of your choice, and also the background colour. Add other text as required.

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Winter garden

Winter garden
“Never seen the winter barometer this high at this time of the year, “says my ninety-something year old neighbor, Bill. He is not alone in his observations. The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a warmer (and dryer) than normal winter this year. So let us take advantage of this situation and throw ourselves into our garden planning.
Fruit trees are something worth your attention. Now would be a good time to plant them. And if you plead lack of space, let me urge you to consider replacing older trees and ornamental shrubs with new food bearing trees. I have just planted a nectarine (Prunus persica Goldmine), a white-fleshed fruit and self-pollinating variety. I also planted a dwarf Tahitian Lime (Citrus latifolia). The label reads ‘heavy bearing, medium sized fruit, juicy and seedless. I’ve never taken dwarf varieties of fruit trees very seriously but now, with less space, I have surrendered. Time will tell.
Two well established and prolific fruiting Cumquat trees are without a doubt the most successful food producing trees (think marmalade) on the property, and they take up very little space.
Figs are another welcome addition to a food garden. I recently took out a large Preston Prolific – a green fig – and replaced it with a Black Genoa. Time will tell whether or not this was the right move.
If I had more garden space I would also plant a yellow cling peach. These are such a versatile and undervalued fruit and I love them. Apricots also do well here. You will often come across trees in old established gardens with smaller fruit and extraordinary flavor. The apricot should be on the top five food trees list along with almonds and apples. We see well-laden orange trees around the district and the occasional grapefruit. I confess to not having tried either and, having reminded myself of this fact, will now go out and seek this citrus experience.
Before leaving our fruity friends, let us not forget the Nellie Kelly grafted black passion fruit that should adorn every backyard fence. Easy to grow and disease free. And what would a Pavlova be like without passion fruit!
And I shouldn’t forget the rhubarb. A moist spot in dappled sunlight with well-manured soil is an ideal spot for this ever-popular desert ingredient.

Easy to grow vegetables

With so much recent talk about food waste, it is worth considering planting a few vegetables even if you don’t see yourself as a gardener. You don’t need a green thumb for the basic essentials of healthy eating, namely a green vegetable. Seedlings are sometimes a better option than seeds if for no other reason than you get the satisfaction of watching their progress from day one. Plant the obvious things that should be a regular item on your plate. Silver beet – sometimes called Swiss chard – is available in the plain green variety or as the more decorative ‘rainbow’ with bright colored stalks. Plant plenty and anywhere where there is a space. The ‘rainbow’ colored variety is a popular pot plant on a veranda. A bunch of silver beet can be a great little token gift to take to a friend or neighbor when calling in.
I’ve taken to making vegetable soups lately and I like to add a green vegetable. Often I will buy a bag of spinach but being able to collect something from your garden feels so much better. With this in mind I have planted Kale for the first time. While I’m not a fan of the cooked vegetable as such, it is ideal for adding to soups. It is hardy and robust and for that reason I’m including it on the ‘easy veg’ list.
Broad beans are not every ones favourite – I don’t know why. They are fun to grow and provide a vegetable that can be eaten as young pods before maturity or as beans when fully grown. Depending on the variety, the plants can often grow bigger than expected and then fall over. One suggestion is that once the first pods are looking close to being fully formed, pinch out the tops of the plant. This will stop it growing too high. Runner beans climbing up a fence or dwarf beans in their own bed or scattered through the flowerbeds are very worthwhile.
If you have an open space like a lawn area or unused driveway or path and there is a sunny garden spot adjoining, consider growing pumpkins. Once established, the plants will spread over the adjacent land and you will be amazed at how many and how big your pumpkin crop will be. You can store them in a dry shed or spare room or give them away to friends. Note: A friend told me that their pu-mpkin plants had been nibbled at the ends of the runners by deer that venture out of the Muckleford Forest and into Maldon gardens so if you live on the edge of town, you might get a surprise in the pumpkin patch.
A salad crop list is most often headed by that impossible to avoid vegetable – or fruit – the tomato. I hasten to add that this is not a winter garden vegetable and I wouldn’t dare suggest growing hints for fear of retribution from the hundreds of home growers, each with their special tried and true growing formula. But growing a half a dozen plants, either in the garden or in pots can be fun. Plant in late spring and never before Cup Day – or so they say.
One of the most simple green salad vegetables to grow at most times of the year is Rocket. You can literally throw the seed on dug soil and rake lightly. Bingo! Salad greens.
Finally, if you want information about growing your own food, check the shelves at your local library. I find this more informative and interesting than searching online, at least, to begin with. Once you’ve started gardening then online can be a lot of fun.

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Ratus ratus or Rat

Ratus ratus or Rat

“There’s a rat – look!” cried someone sitting at a sidewalk café table in Main Street. And sure enough, heading towards them and pirouetting beneath moving vehicles was a big brown disheveled ratus ratus. And not just any rat. This was heritage from the ends of its fishing line whiskers to the point of its scaly tail.

I couldn’t count how many generations this beastie would represent but we can guess that its ancestors surely reached back to early settlement and the diggings. Think of Dickensian London; think Black Death or Bubonic Plague. Remember those black and white lithographs in old books showing the rat-infested lanes of cities in Victorian England before the days of sewerage and rubbish collections.

Our unhappy rodent did not finish its run but instead turned and headed back to where it had set out from, then disappeared beneath a gate between two shops.

Now for a reality check. All animals groom themselves constantly, even rats and their smaller cousins, mice. So why did our rat look so scary? The most likely reason is that it was scared and it happened to also be in an agonizing death throes. Its crazed dash into what it would normally consider an exposed and dangerous situation came about as it made its final desperate attempt to find water to quench the fires burning in its belly as a result of eating a poison bait. Amen.

In the book ‘Nothing But Gold’ and in a chapter entitled ‘The Neighborhood’ that talks about daily life in the early days of the gold diggings, local author Robyn Annear mentions the problems that the diggers had with rats. While guard dogs were popular, they were too big to be effective ratters. Terriers were few and far between and there were no cats or at least they were rare.

It is on record that an enterprising miner took a dray to Melbourne and returned with cages of cats rounded up in the city’s back streets and lanes. He supposedly sold them for a pound each to residents who, on returning to their quarters, offered their new pet a saucer of milk and a comfortable place to sleep. As we can imagine, moggy had other ideas and quickly disappeared to rejoin the rest of the newly liberated feline gang which then collectively reduced the rat and mice population while at the same time driving the dogs – and residents – mad throughout the night.

A final note from the above mentioned book (available from the Athenaeum Library in Maldon) tells of the many feral dogs. Bitches would have litters of pups in the nearby bush and these eventually formed packs which attacked the miners’ dogs and roamed through the diggings looking for food. The Council put a bounty on dogs, in return for tails, and this brought about the desired reduction in wild dogs at that time.

A Good Year

Does summer really end at the end of February or should it more naturally end at the Solstice on March 21th? I don’t know.

It seems that farmers are generally happy with the summer we’ve had so far and they now look forward to the Autumn Break when the first heavy rains provide green pick and an opportunity to work the land.

Most people probably do appreciate what farmers provide for us but just sometimes we might forget. Next time you buy fresh food at the butchers or the greengrocer, spare a moment to think about where your food comes from and what it took to present it so beautifully in front of you. It will taste even better if you do.

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Mosquitos and European Wasps

Mosquitos! Have they bothered you recently? They confused me this year; they were different – big, black, and stupid. I didn’t get bitten once. A couple of them landed on me briefly and tried to look threatening, wobbled about on super long legs and then flew clumsily off into the night. It could be that I’m too old and bony and they like something a little more interesting or more bloody.

Our local supermarket and chemist ran out of insect repellent products on the Friday the Folk Festival began as did shops in Castlemaine.

So what will come after the mozzies? Locust plagues are a common occurrence in some summers as crops start to ripen and dry off. For most of us the only inconvenience is the splattering of bodies on the car windscreen and front lights although clogging up the radiator can lead to the motor overheating. Attaching a commercial radiator grill protector thingy can be handy.

Put another Wasp on the Barbie

Wet conditions over recent months have raised the question whether to expect more or less European wasps this summer. One view is that heavy rains will have drowned the occupants of the ground-based nests. The opposing view suggests more moisture means more insect life, the main food source for wasps.

I remember 2014 being a bad year for wasps and having lunch with a smoker who insisted we sit outside in the café garden. I still carry this vision of her gently blowing the wasps from her Hungarian sausage focaccia between mouthfuls.

Many cafés suffered considerable financial losses that year as customers sitting outdoors whose jam and cream scones had suddenly become landing pads for wasps, tried to find seating inside but couldn’t. When they could not find refuge they left and some never returned. It seems that we can manage the odd single wasp but multiple beasties on our food is just too much to bear.

Reducing European wasp numbers is much discussed on-line so I won’t go into too much detail here. Sufficient to say that we should invest in wasp traps which you will find in the hardware shop and, importantly, we should set them early, even before you’ve spotted the first wasp. Theory has it that we can reduce the number of nests by catching the newly hatched queens in our traps before they establish nests.

Another theory that I have not tested is that when you see a wasp feeding, it is within 300 meters of its nest and when it flies away after feeding, it flies in direct a line as possible to its nest.

Our fun suggestion is that you feed small amounts of minced steak in sizeable pieces that the wasp can just carry causing it to fly more slowly. Get some kids to follow it if you don’t think you’re up to it. If they complain, tell them it is like a game of Pokémon Go only it’s all natural and really good for you. Come to think of it, there really should be a wasp tracker app for your smart phone.

When you find a nest, hope that it is on council land so that you can call the Shire office and ask that they come and remove it. More likely, it will be on your own or a neighbor’s property in which case, if you or they are not able or are disinclined to risk removing it, then you will need to contact a pest remover.

On a lighter note, frogs are the great beneficiaries of a wet year. I wonder if they are joyfully feeding on the mozzies? They certainly sound happy. Certainly the Grey Box and Ironbark forests which surrounds us has enjoyed the exceptional wet weather.

Chocolate lily and Mosquito

Alive with wildflowers. Dichopogon strictus (syn. Arthropodium strictum), commonly known as chocolate lily,

Whither the Weather?

All this talk of exceptional weather brings us to the fraught question of climate change. That the climate is changing is now much better understood and believed by ninety percent of the population. However, things we can do to help reduce it, are actions which most people refuse to implement or are simply unable to face.

We are told on good authority that we can now expect to experience 10 extreme heat days more than usual in most years. Add another 1 degree and that becomes 20 extra extreme hot days in most years. I wonder how much extreme weather we will endure before we change some of our lifestyle habits?

Environmental degradation around the world is happening at a very fast rate, much of it caused by industry but much more by you and me. We buy all the stuff that industry produces. Those smoke stacks and jet aircraft exhausts belong to us.

What are some of the lifestyle changes we can adopt to make a difference other than the obvious one of refusing to buy into the fashion products market?

I have three suggestions to get you started. 1. Reduce your red meat intake as much as you can, by 75% if possible. 2. Avoid air travel if at all possible. You probably don’t need to see the Mona Lisa, shop in Paris, sample a curry in Chandrapur or a burger in New York. 3. Vow that you will not replace your pet dog or cat when the current beloved fur ball passes on.

I still can’t get the image out of my head of watching 20 tons of pilchards being offloaded onto trucks in Eden and taken to the pet food factory up the road. Two boatloads a week the crane operator told me. That’s 40 tons a week 52 weeks of the year. And that is just one fishing port.

If that all seems a bit hard, wait until you get the power bill for the air conditioner or be unable to use water except for drinking.

Magic Folk Festival

Congratulations Maldon on the wonderful Folk Festival. The atmosphere was ever congenial and despite the mozzies, visitors I spoke to assured me that they would return again next year.

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Jet-ski YouBeaut Bumper Sticker

This Real men don’t Jet-ski bumper sticker is a response to the reduced pleasure of other peoples nature experiences and the bad behaviour of many jet-ski drivers. We have had a number of nasty experiences in Australia recently one resulting in the death of a woman kayaker and the other involving the deliberate destruction of a rare birds nest. Our belief is that a real-man takes others and the environment (above and below the water) into consideration when thinking about their sporting adventures.

From the Sydney Morning Herald – February 2016

“My view is that jet-skis should be banned on the Georges River,” Steve McDonald told Fairfax Media.

“They have been banned on the Parramatta River [and Sydney Harbour and Lane Cove River] since 2001.

“I did a community survey on this recently and more than 80 per cent of people agreed that should occur. Parents say to me they won’t take their kids out on canoes any more because they are scared.

“I think the time has come to ban it. If it’s good enough to ban them in the Parramatta River, it’s good enough to ban them on the Georges River.”

Further Jet-ski reading

Jet-skiers on the Georges River

Injured by speeding jet-skier

Osprey chicks destroyed

… and in the USA

Student kayaker killed by jet-skier

And a coffee cup too!

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Alpaca Products from YouBeaut

Our ever-popular Alpaca is on the move appearing on even more products. All can be customized to suit your particular design requirements.

New Products:

Yes, sometimes we do design a Christmas card. Here is one for 2016. Happy Christmas everyone!

This beautiful customisable wrist watch lets you add your name or the name of someone you wish to give it to. The colour of the watch displayed here is Clear but you will enjoy playing with the colour options available. The animal in the image was photographed by Richard Lee in rural Australia.

You can modify this watch by changing anything on the watch face to other images or colours to suit.

Watch colours

This Pet Party Customizable Hat can be changed to show your very own pet photos and pet name in the text etc. The ultimate custom pet party hat from YouBeaut Designs.

This Backpack is an ideal gift for your Alpaca loving friends or for your very own outdoor activities.

These Custom YouBeaut Designs Slip On Shoes are a delightful addition to you wardrobe or an ideal gift for your friends.

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Hipster Delivery Bike Metal Photo Print

This Hipster Delivery Bike picture from YouBeaut Designs, shows a bicycle on a rainy day in central Sydney. You can change the image or add a message if you wish. Photo by Richard Lee. Copyright Richard Lee.

Product Details

Size: 10″x 8″ Metal Wall Art
Go for a sleek modern look with these stylish metal prints. The high gloss finish accentuates rich colors giving any space an urban vibe, while the metal adds energy and cheer to your design. Lightweight, durable, and easy to clean, these metal prints are perfect for fast-paced, everyday life!

Dimensions: 10″l x 8″w
Made of 0.045″ thick aluminum
Glossy finish
Pre-fitted mounting frame that floats 0.75” away from the wall
Corners rounded for safety
Fitted with an easy to mount hanging wire and wall hook
Water resistant and easy to clean
Full HD color printing, perfect for art and photography

Available in other sizes:

Aluminium Picture sizes.

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Customize YouBeaut Designs Backpacks

This new range of backpacks allows you to mix and match and customize your mood to your style! Introducing the first line of custom printed backpacks with exchangeable and customizable front “faces” from Boldface! A rugged backpack that allows you to easily change the face to fit the whatever style you want to sport!

Dimensions: 17″h x 13″w x 6″d
Front flap of backpack easily swaps out in seconds. Pull one face off and put another face on while keeping the same backpack
Quality, rugged polyester canvas exterior is weatherproof, durable and built to last
Vibrant sublimation printing allows for your images to pop
Roomy main compartment, large zippered front pocket, and convenient side pockets matches your active lifestyle
Built-in laptop sleeve; fits most laptops up to 17″
Comfortable wide padded shoulder straps
Printed in Redondo Beach, CA, USA

Customize I love Japan Backpack
I love Japan Backpack by Youbeaut
Check out more My city town Backpacks at Zazzle
Customize Australian Outback Calling Backpack
Australian Outback Calling Backpack by Youbeaut
Find more Youbeaut designs Backpacks at Zazzle
Customize I love Romantic Movies Backpack
I love Romantic Movies Backpack by Youbeaut
Shop for My city town Backpacks online at
Customize I love Scary Movies Backpack
I love Scary Movies Backpack by Youbeaut
See other My city town Backpacks at zazzle
Customize Don't mess with me backpack
Don't mess with me backpack by Youbeaut
View My city town Backpacks online at zazzle

Customize with words and pictures of your choosing.

See more Bags & Wallets

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Your Named Watch from Toronto

Your Named Watch

Your Named Watch is a fashion accessory for a man or a woman – a custom timepiece and a style statement, May28th watches are the perfect gift for trendsetters! Customize the face of this watch with your name or the name of a loved one. Mix and match watch bands to create a one-of-a-kind, fun timepiece. Color options include: Top Band, Bottom Band and Keeper – Red, Yellow, Purple, Green, Blue, Pink Clear, Turquoise, Orange, Light Pink, Grey, Lime, Coral and Brown. Watch Hands can be Silver or Black.





Style: May28th Toronto Watch

Diameter: 1.2″
Band Length: 9.5″
Band Width: 0.65″
Water resistant
Battery included
Japanese quartz movement
6 months manufacturer’s warranty
Choose from a variety of watch bands, keeper colors and finishes
Band Material: Choose from Glossy or Matte plastic
Hand assembled and made to order in Toronto
This product is recommended for ages 3+

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Customize: A New Zazzle Location

We have added a detailed page which allows visitors to customize a range of products – YouBeaut Designs Best 50 Customizable Gift Products – at our Zazzle online store. We will expand this product range over the coming months. Do call in and check it out.


Fabrics can be purchased as a fat square, a swatch or by the yard.

What Products can I Customize?

Here is a list of a some of the products you can easily personalize at the YouBeaut Designs online store: Postcards, Drink Coasters, iPhone Cases, Posters, Ceramic Ornaments, Magnets, Keychains, Stickers, Kids T-Shirts. Bumper Stickers, Mouse Pads, Jigsaw Puzzle, Greeting Cards. Clocks, Coffe Mugs, Tote Bags, Doggie Coats, Ceramic Tiles, Teapots, Dinner Plates, Belt Buckles, Throw Pillows, Suit Cases and Fabrics (see the image above).

More Products?

More Homewares and Interior Design products will appear soon.

About the Fabric

Inspiration is at the heart of every DIY project. Whether you are creating a beautiful quilt, refreshing your home décor, or making crafts, our custom fabrics are uniquely designed to inspire you. Our high quality fabrics are fully customizable and printed on demand with eco friendly inks, creating fabrics that are ‘sew’ perfect for any project.

Select from 7 fabric types.
Available as swatches, fat quarters, or by the yard.
Fabric widths vary by fabric type. Details available.
Fabrics by the yard print on 10 continuous yards.
Customize a design from YouBeaut Designs.
Eco-friendly: Printed with water-based Inks and contains no added chemicals or toxins. Fabrics are not suitable for children’s sleepwear or crib use. Amount of selvage on each piece of fabric will vary. Printed in the USA.

Enjoy the experience!


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Wired Unwired

Wired Unwired is an image of a derelict country telephone pole in outback Australia.

Wired Unwired T-Shirt
Wired Unwired T-Shirt by Youbeaut

Browse Youbeaut designs T-Shirts online at

Style: Men’s Basic T-Shirt
Comfortable, casual and loose fitting, our heavyweight dark color t-shirt will quickly become one of your favorites. Made from 100% cotton, it wears well on anyone. We’ve double-needle stitched the bottom and sleeve hems for extra durability. Select a design from our marketplace or customize it to make it uniquely yours!

Size & Fit:
Model is 6’2” and is wearing a medium
Standard fit
Fits true to size
Fabric & Care
100% cotton (Heathers are a cotton/poly blend)
Tagless label for comfort
Double-needle hemmed sleeves and bottom
Machine wash cold

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Customizing: Zazzle Away the Blues

Get rid of the Blues! Imagine designing your very own products. Here you will find a variety of fully customizable products such as clothing and clothing accessories, office accessories, home decor items and much more. You can replace the Blue image or remove it altogether and add a text message instead. Or have both! And while you are at it, if your picture is smaller, choose a background color to suit. Many products offer different models (or styles) and of course, with clothing pick your size carefully. Express your creativity and most importantly, enjoy the customizing experience. Now select a product and get started!

Customise Your Horizontal Card
Customise Your Horizontal Greeting Card

Customize Your Dinner Plate
Customize Your Melamine Dinner Plate

Customize Your Large Tote Bag
Customize Your Tote Bag

Customize Your Baby T-Shirt
Customize Your Baby T-Shirt

Customize Your Ceramic Tile
Customize Your Ceramic Tile

Customize Your Trucker Hat
Customize Your Trucker Hat

Customize Your Round Clock
Customize Your Round Clock

Customize Your Toddler T-shirt
Customize Your Toddler T-shirt

Customize Your Coffee Mug
Customize Your Coffee Mug

Customize Your Card
Customize Your Vertical Greeting Card

Customise Your Belt Buckle
Customise Your Round Belt Buckle

Customise Your Puzzle
Customise Your Jigsaw Puzzle

Customize Your T-Shirt
Customize Your T-Shirt

Customise Your Mouse Pad
Customise Your Mouse Pad

See much more by visiting the full list of
products here:
Zazzle Away the Blues

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Pizza: A Short Story

The motor gave a couple of protesting grunts when Rod switched off the old Landcruiser’s ignition, reminding him he must buy oil soon. Tonight’s campsite was much like those of the past week, though the landscape here was not so dry or sparse. A wide expanse of good grass beside the narrow ribbon of road and a nearby creek would provide grazing and water for the horse.
He let down the back of the float and backed Betty out onto the soft grass. The animal threw up her head and shook her strong neck, then pawed the ground in front of her in anticipation. She was happy to be let out and keen to move her large and muscular body.
“Easy girl,” Rod murmured.
Betty snorted and threw up her head again, pleased to be free of the confinement and those long hours in the float as Rod led her down to a cleared spot beside the creek where drovers watered their stock. The Warmblood mare stood quite still at the edge of the water and moved her head one way then the other, her ears pricked and forward to catch any sounds, while her nostrils flared and twitched as she sampled the fresh new smells. In her whole life she had never experienced danger when drinking, but her primeval instinct demanded she check thoroughly before drawing in the clear water now cooling her front hoofs.
Leaving the creek, Rod walked and trotted the horse along the roadside for a kilometre before tethering her for the night. He would ride her for half an hour at sun up before moving on. Betty again stood motionless, listening and smelling the air. Then she walked away from Rod, head down, looking for just that right spot in the sweet grass to begin the night’s grazing.
Rod connected the outside light, then lit the small kero stove and put a saucepan of water on to boil. He peeled three potatoes and a carrot, rummaged through the big wooden box which was his larder, and found a piece of hard cheese hiding in a brown paper bag and a tin of forgotten sardines.
“That’s a bonus”, he thought, and reminded himself that tomorrow morning early would be the best time to catch a rabbit or hare, or maybe a duck at the creek.
Rod had quit his job in Ceduna in South Australia a week before and headed off; intending first to visit his old mum in Rupunyup, just north of the Grampians, then on to his older brother Angus’s farm, farther up at Wedderburn. There he hoped to be able to leave the horse while he sought out and negotiated with Warmblood breeders to find a suitable sire to join her with. Even now, in 1982, the breed was still not common and the stud fee was going to be expensive. He needed to have enough money saved by the end of September. He figured he would go on to Melbourne and find work for a few months, most likely as a security guard with an armoured car company. He had experience and good references from previous stints in the city. Then he would go bush again.
Rod’s plans for Betty had been brought forward a year and without warning. Breaking up with Annie had been sudden and, just as he had at the time of previous break-ups, he’d loaded the truck and moved on.
Rod was good looking — if unusually gaunt, and tall and lean. Born on a farm and the youngest of seven, he had learnt to break in horses by the time he was sixteen. At eighteen he took a teacher training course and became a young schoolmaster in a one-teacher bush school. But the ladies loved him and, too often, he loved them back. That they often had a partner meant that Rod’s life could become suddenly far too complicated and even uncomfortable.
But it was his rare qualities, his speed and style and bravado that combined and made him different to most men. It usually meant that he could rarely stay in one place for very long before finding himself either constrained or unwelcome. He learnt early in his working life how to live alone and be on the move.
It wasn’t that Rod was a bad person — far from it — he had the proverbial heart of gold. He was just too good at inspiring people.
His country-boy agility and enthusiasm mesmerised people and swept everyone along in a world that, on their own, they could never sustain. Women queued to dance with him at country balls. Looking like a gentleman from a period movie in his tuxedo, bow tie and shiny pumps, he carried each one of them around the dance floor with such style as to be something so exhilarating that they most likely never experienced anything like it again; and they talked about it amongst themselves for months afterwards.
To Rod, life was as straight forward as taking a horse over a jump or creek. “A horse doesn’t jump of its own accord,” he would say in a loud voice, and laughing and with merriment in his eyes. “You lift a horse over a jump with your mind. If you didn’t, you’d both end up on the ground. If you don’t know where you’re going, don’t expect the horse to know.”
Tonight, Rod was feeling just a tad more tired than usual, and he was hungry. He thought how he’d love a bath and a shave, and maybe a large pizza with the lot and even to sleep in a proper bed with a mattress. He was still a couple of days away from Rupunyup. He had chosen to come the long way using back roads. It wasn’t that he was in trouble or that anyone was looking for him — he simply wanted to be alone; and he liked to see the country away from the main highways. A young Australian Greek bloke had given him a well worn-map of South Australia and Western Victoria on which was marked the zigzag route taken by men who carried illegal undersize shark from fishermen in the Spencer Gulf to the Flake-loving Melbournites. It went through quite a bit of country Rod hadn’t seen and so this was the route he was following.
Rod had just dropped the potatoes in to cook when Betty gave two short snorts. Rod straightened up and listened, and saw far off headlights coming from the direction in which he would be heading. He knew he wasn’t far from the small town of Bunneringee, so it was more likely he would see somebody go past here than in the bigger more empty country he’d recently passed through. “A farmer going home probably — or maybe a refrigerated van on its way to fetch Flake?” he mused. Continue reading

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Winter Blues & Monet

Winter Blues & Monet

Winter Blues shows a work with a color palette derived from a study of the artist Claude Monet.

Renowned as the ‘father of French Impressionism’, Monet was inspired by his direct experiences of nature, culminating in the ravishing depictions of his lily and flower gardens in the rural property at Giverny, northern France,

Oscar-Claude Monet was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. Wikipedia

Claude Monet’s iconic garden at Giverny can be seen in an exhibition at the Melbourne National Gallery until September 8th.



Winter Blues is available on the following items: Apparel: Graphic T-shirt, Women’s Chiffon Top, Contrast Tank, Graphic T-shirt Dress, A-Line Dress, Leggings, Min Skirt, Scarves. Cases & Skins: Samsung and iPhone Case or Skin, iPad Case or Skin, Laptop Skin, Laptop Sleeve. Wall Art: Poster, Canvas Print, Photographic Print, Art Print, Framed Print, Metal Print, Wall Tapestry. Home Decor: Throw Pillow, Duvet Cover, Mug, Travel Mug. Bags: Tote Bags, Studio Pouch, Drawstring Bag. Stationery: Stickers, Greeting Card, Spiral Notebook, Hardcover Journal.

Click on the product images above or YouBeaut Designs at Redbubble to visit our store.

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Kerry Gavin: Oriental Lilies

We love Kerry Gavin’s brilliant pastel drawings. Here, in the first of a series showcasing her work we begin with one of her favourite flowers Oriental Lilies.

Kerry Gavin 2002

Pastel Artist Kerry Gavin, passed away far too early at age 49 years. Kerry studied art and design at Deakin University in Geelong in south-eastern Australia from 1973 to 1976. She worked in a variety of creative roles before deciding to paint full time in our garden studio in the Victorian country town of Castlemaine.

Her vividly abundant compositions grew out of a love for flowers, colour, patterns, motifs and the rich artistry found in everyday things. Kerry exhibited widely and her works colour many public and private collections.

Kerry Gavin’s Oriental Lilies: Print on Demand Products




Oriental Lilies is available on the following items: Apparel: Graphic T-shirt, Women’s Chiffon Top, Contrast Tank, Graphic T-shirt Dress, A-Line Dress, Leggings, Min Skirt, Scarves. Cases & Skins: Samsung and iPhone Case or Skin, iPad Case or Skin, Laptop Skin, Laptop Sleeve. Wall Art: Poster, Canvas Print, Photographic Print, Art Print, Framed Print, Metal Print, Wall Tapestry. Home Decor: Throw Pillow, Duvet Cover, Mug, Travel Mug. Bags: Tote Bags, Studio Pouch, Drawstring Bag. Stationery: Stickers, Greeting Card, Spiral Notebook, Hardcover Journal.

Click on the product images above or YouBeaut Designs at Redbubble to visit our store.

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Luggage Tag Monogram

Customise these: Luggage Tag & Bag Labels

Monogram Eyes Open Luggage Tag.

A luggage tag is cool! You will definitely want some when moving around on the planet.
Stand out in a crowd at the baggage carousel with a custom luggage tag from the YouBeaut Designs Bag and Luggage label range. Sturdy and weatherproof, these luggage and bag tags are ready to stand-up to the travel demands of any road warrior or adventure seeker.

Available in this version where you customise your address on the reverse side OR you can choose the optional luggage tag with a standard business card slot and address card. Available in a variety of modern colors and designs.

Note. If inquiring about or requesting individual designs via the Contact Store Owner button on our YouBeaut Zazzle store, be sure to check your junk or spam folder later. Our replies can end up there depending on your mail settings and you won’t see them. Then we both feel ignored and unloved! Call back to to view new designs.

Printed using the AcryliPrint®HD printing process, your baggage tag shows designs, text, and photos in vibrant clarity and brilliant colors. Customize it with your information and escape bag mix ups for years to come!
Dimensions: 2″l x 3.5″w (standard business card size)
Made of ultra-durable acrylic
UV resistant and waterproof
Made of ultra-durable acrylic
Leather luggage strap included
Printed on both sides

Monogram Beach Scene Tag For Luggage

Where are you? tag for luggage

Monogram Thistle Grey Tag For Luggage

Monogram Cranberry Pink Luggage Tag

Monogram Mustard Yellow Luggage Tag

Monogram Teal Luggage Tag

Monogram Orange Tag For Luggage

Monogram Indian Red Tag For Luggage

Monogram Violet Luggage Tag

Monogram Rich Blue Bag Tag

Monogram Bankers Green Luggage Tag

European Auto Collection Tag For Luggage

Monogram Japanese Geisha Luggage Tag

Monogram Eyes Open Bag Tag

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New Unisex Watches

New Unisex Wrist Watches

Show your colors with these vibrant and stylish unisex watches made especially for you.

Choose from one of our designs. We haves already included a name on the first 3 watches that you will change to your name or the name of a loved-one or friend. You can also choose from the eight different colors below and design the watch face yourself. It is a fun thing to do! Add a picture and/or text and background colours to suit. We love these watches and hope you will too. Note: You can see ALL of our wrist watch styles and designs by clicking here!

Customisable Name: Life's a Beach Watch
Customisable Name: Life's a Beach Watch by Youbeaut

Customisable Name: Orange Watch
Customisable Name: Orange Watch by Youbeaut

Customisable Name: Tropical Seashore Watch
Customisable Name: Tropical Seashore Watch by Youbeaut

Click on a watch in the colour of your choosing and begin to customise it. Personal pictures and messages can be included. Let your imagination run wild – or not. Actually, you can put your design on the face of the watch and then pick a matching watch band, or two, or three! That’s right – each watch face is interchangeable, so you can choose from eight fun and trendy bands and sport a different look each day of the week.

Modify Watch

Modify Watch

Modify Watch

Modify Watch

Modify Watch

Modify Watch

Modify Watch

Modify Watch

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Spring in Central Victoria

Spring in Central Victoria.

Lambs are everywhere. Early spring has truly sprung around our district and, I suspect, right across the land. There is lots of paddock feed for the winter born livestock and hopefully, the season looks bright for crop farmers too.

Flock of Correllas

New life is everywhere. In the surrounding bushland, four species of Greenhood orchids are in flower while the distinctive little shiny bright red and green, Climbing and Scented sundews claim their space. Meanwhile, leaves of the Bluebeard orchid show in dark green clumps heralding a good show of flowers in September and October. But the most common of all the orchids is still to emerge. The purple flowers of the Wax-lip orchid will be the dominant flower amongst the ground-cover plants from around late September on to November.

Wildlife is in evidence both in and out of town. The call of foxes seeking a mate can still be heard from the middle of town in the early hours, and beware the speeding night driver who does not heed the dead ‘roos and wallabies beside the road. There are plenty of live ones still able to grace the front of a car or enter, unwanted, through the windscreen.

Animals move around right through the year, but probably more so in late winter and spring. Echidna, that delightful ponderous but forever busy icon of the Australian bush is one of the more vulnerable creatures that everyone will come across as it ambles across a country road. Reduce speed as soon as you spot one for they will not hurry or respond to your car horn.

A young koala was spotted this week close to a bush road not far from the railway line in the Maldon Heritage Reserve and whilst not a common occurrence, local sightings happen throughout the year. Like the echidna, koalas too are slow to cross the road and cannot be urged on with car horns.

Pairs of Crimson Rosellas have argued among themselves (and with the occasional pair of galahs) for the right to set up house in the numerous nesting holes in the Elm trees in Maldon’s main streets. Colourful and cheery, they help bring the countryside into the town.

One of the odd-bods of the bird kingdom is the Lapwing or Plover. You will surely have seen a pair beside the road in both an urban or rural situation. A white and black head and chest with brown wings and back, and with reddish legs, they stand about like they are waiting for a bus, sometimes walking a few paces before walking back to where they were before. Territorial is an understatement and beware the cat or dog (or human) that ventures too close, particularly during the nesting season. Plovers fly around at night doing laps of the block or the town, making a raucous ‘pee-wit’ call. The birds lay their two eggs usually in stones or small rocks that act as camouflage from marauding crows and other nasties. They are odd because they seem not to notice that where they nest is often in a ridiculous spot. Last year I saw where a pair had nested in the large parking area in front of the Castlemaine warehouse from where milk is distributed around the region. Trucks and vans moved over the area constantly and although most drivers did their best to avoid the nesting spot, it was not safe for long. Similarly, Maldon folk who choose to take the rustic route to Castlemaine via Lewis road might have noticed a year or so back, that a pair of Plovers had nested right on the edge of the road. A local landowner had obligingly put up a simple framed sign warning ‘Nesting plovers ahead’.

The less welcome wildlife is also on the move and raising young, most common among them being the domestic pigeon – a recent messy problem for the town – and the murderous Indian Myna or Arial Cane Toad (my name for it), which arrived in Maldon just a couple of years back and now challenges native birds for nesting spots and food as it spreads rapidly across the country.

The earth – or this part of it at least – seems to be in a period when we can experience extreme weather events, most notably drought but also sudden and severe storms. At such times it might be easy to forget the wildlife around us. But we must not forget.

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