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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Aftermath of a Long, Hot Summer.

Original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/03/27/the-aftermath-of-a-long-hot-summer/

It's Easter long weekend. It's not over thirty degrees Celcius. And I'm free (and healthy enough) to potter in my beloved garden.
It's the first time I've had a hope of achieving something useful in the garden for months, without collapsing, getting sunburned or jar my knees digging in the hard-baked soil. Today's mission was a full garden assessment and front yard reconnaissance mission (salvage seeds and seedlings before the beds were dug up).
The view from the front window was testimony to the heat devastation wreaked over summer. Brown sticks jutted from the dusty earth, the only hint of life were the tiny seed pods dripping from their branches. I collected them - brocolli, spinach, parsley - and sealed them in paper bags.
One job done.
Next I ventured out into the wilderness that was once my back yard. The fresh smell of moist mown grass greeted me. Delicious. Inviting. Comforting. Maybe there was still  hope for my beleaguered garden?
But not today.
While the garden is my domain, grass-wrangling and mowing is the perview of my Dearheart. We sometimes joke (half-heartedly) the grass must be alien. We never water it -  not even in the height of South Australian summers. When all else wilts and shrivels, the grass soldiers on, thriving on the smallest hit of moisture.
It rained last night. Just enough to soften the top soil. I tugged at the tendrils of grass covering the bed of irises. It slipped out of the ground. Finally I can pull some of the grass without leaving the roots behind to spawn.
My fruit trees struggle on despite dropping fruit in the heat waves. Small clusters of leaves cling to the branches. A lone lemon jiggles in the breeze. They are in need of well-deserved tender loving care.
The garden has been neglected this summer. That will be rectified. I have a plan to prepare for winter.
  • pull all spent plants from the beds
  • add manure, compost to beds and around trees and irises
  • dig in the beds
  • plant for next round of vegetables
  • add chicken manure to citrus trees
  • prune trees, remove runners from roses
  • Water all with Seaweed solution.
  • Pre-planned winter landscaping: I should also weed the verge near the drive and do planned paving.
  • Weed the never-ending grass from the beds
  • mowing
  • trim back garden bed roses
  • add manure, compost to beds and around trees and irises
  • find any surviving strawberries and coax them back to life (or replace). They, too, are hidden under a carpet of grass.
  • Re-pot roses and fruit trees into larger pots
  • Water all with Seaweed solution.
  • re-planned winter landscaping: Weed the side bed, remove weed matting (was there when we moved in), level bed, add a 7cm layer of pebbles. This will be the base for three large potted fruit trees (when they are large enough)  and a raised vegetable garden.
Garden assessment and reconnaissance mission accomplished.
Now the work begins.
Photos ©2016 Karen Carlisle
All rights reserved.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Photo Friday: Hidden Local History

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/03/25/photo-friday-hidden-local-history/

I'm on a local history research kick at the moment. It started with my tour along Pine Park and Linear Park for A Trail of Tales - which inspired my short story, Hunted.  A few weeks back another opportunity popped up - the Tea Tree Gully Historical Society and Tea Tree Gully Library organised a tour of historical buildings in the area - some now privately owned and rarely seen.
Here is just a taste of the historic architecture and beautiful scenery that accompanied the wealth of local knowledge discovered about the area.
Brightlands brightlandstop_copyright2016KarenCarlisle 
brightlandstop_copyright2016KarenCarlisleoutdoorkitchenpaving brightlandstop_copyright2016KarenCarlisletractor druminor druminorcellar stairsup_copyright2016KarenCarlisle GlenEwin_copyright2016KarenCarlislecellar3 TTGMuseum_copyright2016KarenCarlislefront TTGMuseum_copyright2016KarenCarlislePO TTGMuseum_copyright2016KarenCarlislePOmistressroom
It is amazing so many South Australian (and Australian) firsts happened within my local area. It's prompted me to dig out a box of notes I have for Australian steampunk stories. Now I've experienced the sights and sounds of local settlers to follow up indigenous history of the area, there are several ideas churning in my brain.
I'm inspired.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Serendipity of Procrasti-research

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/03/20/the-serendipity-of-procrasti-research/

I love research.
I suppose it was all those years at university?
Or possibly the endless searching through history books, or peering at low-grade video of television shows to spy that elusive seam on a specific costume?
Perhaps it was uprooting the family to attend the Janet Arnold Costume Symposium in Florence (and my chance to see extant clothing up close and quiz the costume restorers)?
Not forgetting the painstaking translation from Italian to English of hard to find tomes. (A big shout out to our library system and local pick up service. Huzzah!)
My life has revolved around research for so many years - and for so many passions. I've fallen down the rabbit hole often.
This week I have found it hard to concentrate on my current work-in-progress.  So I worked on a short story for an upcoming steampunk anthology. I had an idea. It was to be set near Adelaide. I just needed to check a few facts...
Bring on the procrasti-research!
At least it is something constructive (well that is what I tell myself). But what amazing things I learned! Who'd have thought I would start researching the copper and gold mines of the Adelaide Hills and end up discovering unknown (to me), exciting (again, to me) historical facts  and yet another set of Adelaide firsts?
Let me share my finds with you (and guess which ones you'll find in future stories):
  • Copper mines in South Australia provided a significant percentage of the world copper supply in the nineteenth century.
  • There was a large number of Cornish immigrants to South Australia, leaving the dwindling Welsh mines to work in the burgeoning South Australian mines.
  • South Australia had the world's largest copper smelts (outside Swansea -Wales), in 1849.
  • Mining provided unprecedented economic growth in South Australia (1845-1877) promoting education,  especially the University of Adelaide.
  • Lady Alice Mine opened in May, 1870 at Humbug Scrub. It was a successful copper, quartz and gold mine - so close to home and just up the road from our friend's place where we played D&D regularly for well over a decade.
  • After Lady Alice Mine was depleted, the land was bought by Tom Paine Bellchambers -  a noted conservationist - and became the first wildlife sanctuary established in Australia.
  • In September, 1920 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visited Adelaide, on a speaking tour. He traveled through (my home suburb) on his way to meet Mr Bellchambers and visit his sanctuary.
  • Doyle wrote articles about his visit to the sanctuary (and Australia in general).
  • He stayed at the Gibson's Grand Hotel - now the Strathmore Hotel, in North TerraceAdelaide. There is a plaque to commemorate the event.

This photo of Yella Umbrella Walking Tours is courtesy of TripAdvisor
So my research uncovered, not only titbits to use in future stories, but revealed the author of my beloved Sherlock Holmes visited Adelaide, traveling less than a kilometre from my home.
Oh. My. God!
I love the ideas inspired by research. I love its unpredictable nature, the twists and turns - like those that took me from copper, to wildlife sanctuary, Doyle.
All in one day.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lazy? Long Weekend

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/03/14/lazy-long-weekend/

Australia - land of the long weekend - which means forgetting what day of the week it is.
It's Monday, not Sunday! So this post is late (slap on the wrist for me).
This week has been fraught with many (many) distractions and much procrastination. We had some refreshing rain (the whole month's average in two days), so my garden is finally starting to remember what colour it is supposed to be. Finally! Soon the ground will be soft enough to start digging in the autumn plantings, if the grass doesn't take over before then.
Middle of the week brought on a bit of a health scare, culminating in blood tests and various scans. It turned out to be a fizzer (thank goodness) with pinched nerves and muscle tension being the culprit.
It's a bit hard to get back into the writing grove after that, so I concentrated on business stuff (cleverly disguised as visual art, so my brain wouldn't freak out too much). I designed a new banner for the new book set, Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales, for future events - but I can't decide on the final one.
I'd love your opinion, dear Reader.
Which do you prefer?
POSTER journal 2BlackSMALL POSTER journal 2redSMALL

Which Banner do you prefer
A. Black/white web address at bottom.
B. Red/white web address at bottom.

I look forward to your comments.
Do Quizzes

Friday, March 11, 2016

Photo Friday is Back!

Time for a blog shake up, dear Reader. I've decided I need to flood the world with pretty pictures, so it's time I start sharing my photographic work once more and reinstate Photo Friday.
Photography has long been a passion of mine; I seriously considered photography or cinemetography as a career option. Now I get to play with both. This week I reveal the covers for Viola Stewart's new set of adventures, Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales. The launch is scheduled for 12th June.
There will be two eBooks: Three More Shorts and Eye of the Beholder
Cover 3_final_3 more shorts Ebook SMALL Cover 4d EYE OF BEHOLDER EbookSMALL
and the cover for paperback compilation: Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales  COVER Eye of Beholder flipped option 2 SM CENTERED TITLE
Here are the original photographs:
 ViolaSG_copyright2016KarenCarlisle JackalS_copyright2016KarenCarlisle BastS_copyright2016KarenCarlisle
And, finally, the new promotional banner:
990x350 slider 2b_Journal2_ebook3_4 AVAILABLE JUNE2016
I'll have more photos for you next Friday as well as my usual post on Sunday.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Hunting The Trail For My Tale

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/03/06/hunting-the-trail-for-my-tale/

It's Mad March here in Adelaide. We have the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Writers' Week, beginning of Adelaide Racing Carnival (if you are into horse racing), Adelaide Fringe and Clipsal 500 (car racing).
And this year I got my chance to be part of it - part of The Fringe.
A few months ago, local writers and artists were asked by Tea Tree Gully council to produce works highlighting a local historical park. (See A Trail of Tales at The Fringe.) I knew my short story, Hunted, had been chosen for the website, but had no idea if any of the local artists had been inspired.
IMG_2805IMG_2811UPDATE: 18th February, 2016:
Family and friends were invited to the A Trail of Tales opening ceremony. A quick drive, a short walk and we followed the smell of barb-b-qued sausages. (What is an Australian outdoor event without a sausage sizzle?)
IMG_2833With the official speeches out of the wIMG_2845ay, we sampled the sausage sizzle and hiked up the hill to see the fairy-land created by the artists. Fellow Spec Fic Chic member, CS Dun's poem had been chosen for an extended art display. And so was I!
The Trail: Where to go
Follow the sign up the hill, behind Gallery 1588. Scattered around Pine Park are banners - excerpts of the chosen stories and poems with QR codes directing you to the full text online at the main website: www.atrailoftales.com. The art installations reflect local history, legends and nature. Enjoy the dappled shade and gully winds.
Follow the steps down to the steps, from the carpark. 
TIMG_2869he temperature drops as you near the creek. An ancient gum stands guard against the nearby traffic, fending off the modern world. A banner announces my story and introduces the #HoughtonHowler.
"Alfred squinted into the shadows. A pair of yellow eyes stared back. They blinked. Alfred jumped back, landing on his elbows. A narrow muzzle poked through the foliage. A curled lip revealed long canine teeth. The nose twitched.The creature stepped forward. Water dripped from its brown fur. Stripes covered its flanks. The breeze shifted. It stank of wet fur and old herbs. Alfred wrinkled his nose. It edged closer and sniffed.Alfred slipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out a wad of wrinkled brown paper. He peeled away the remaining toffee and held out his hand. The creature sniffed and tilted its head. Its lip relaxed."Over here!"The creature froze, lifted its nose and sniffed. "
Stand before the tree and look up.
I was so excited to find my story had inspired one of the artists (and it was interactive!) For those who don't live in Adelaide, check out the video. (Warning: Spoilers if you intend on visiting the Trail. It is fun to experience it first hand.)

Many thanks to City of Tree Gully and Tea Tree Gully Library and to Connie Berg who organised the writers. Contributors included: Tea Tree Gully Green Army, Gallery 1855, artists from Off the Couch, Tea Tree Studio and Tea Tree Gully Youth, and writers from The Paddock's Creative Writing Group, Tea Tree Gully Writers' Group and our very own speculative fiction writers group - Spec Fic Chic.
Thank you to members of the Tea Tree Gully Library who were were supportive - especially Symon and David (Library Historian) who is championing the hashtag #houghtonhowler.
A Trail of Tales is at Pine Park (behind Gallery 1855). 2 Haines Road, Tea Tree Gully. It is suitable for all ages and is open until 29th March.