Living in the Dandenong Ranges

It is nearly 5 years since my husband and I shifted to the beautiful Dandenong Ranges.  We live in the lower part of the ranges, just above the foothills really, sitting at around 230m above sea level. Not high enough for snow, although that would be nice to see on occasion. But high enough to be clouded in at times and surrounded in a cloudy mist rain. We’re on the right side of the mountains (seaside) to collect a fair bit of rain each year. So far we’ve had 554mm (21.81in) of rain. I decided at the beginning of the year to keep a record of the rainfall here. I wasn’t sure if that was average or what for us but on checking Mt Dandenong (which is at the peak of the ranges and about 1/2 hour drive from us) it seems they average 1164mm a year, so we’re pretty much on track for this area I would say.

I love living in this area, surrounded by bushland and rainforest. Our own property has many deciduous trees on it, planted by past residents in years gone by. Some of our trees are over 50 years old, the eucalypts probably older. One of the things I don’t like is how gum trees just like to drop branches on windy or very wet days, but it seems our lily pilly trees like to do the same. And this weekend our very old willow tree out the back of house decided to do the same. A very, very large bough that took out the eucalypt right next to us. We can be thankful the house and the rainwater tank (spare for the summer) wasn’t damaged along with it.  We’re going to miss the shade they both provided each summer at the back of the house. Thought I’d share some images of our willow tree as it has been in the past.

In the summer

Under the willow tree

Heading into Spring

Willow Tree in flower

Close up – the willow does produce flowers and the bees love it.

260-366 Bees in the willow

Managing your photos

If you enjoy taking photos, as I do, even if it’s not quite as many, have you thought about how to manage the organisation of your photography files and folders? I’ve sometimes wondered how others do it but worked out a system that seems to work for me and, pending finding anything else that might prove to be better, I’ll probably stick with it.

The article at Digital Photography School yesterday covered this topic.

And here are my thoughts after reading that article:

Good article. I must admit I never looked to see what anyone else did for managing their images. I just created my own system. I file images into a folder for each month and each month into each year. Then each image is keyword tagged as I process them from RAW to jpg. But even when I used to shoot just in jpg I still created keywords.  If there’s a special event, like a trip somewhere, or a conference, then I might make a folder specifically for that and file it into that year’s folder as well.


I upload a lot of my images (low res) to Flickr and again, keyword tag them there. So if I want to find something quickly I can either search for it on my Flickr account and then find the corresponding date folder on my computer, or open my Photo managing program and do a keyword search there.


Having the images filed in a date order is very useful for when I want to look for things that I know took place at a particular time – don’t even have to do a keyword search.

I’m always interested in finding out how others manage their photos!  How do you do it?

How to build a pond

Ever thought about building a pond for your garden? We’ve done it several times – every home I’ve owned, has had a pond. And each one is better than the last one. We recently built one for the home we own in Selby, Victoria. This is by far the best pond we’ve ever had. Not the biggest, but definitely the best.  It has gone from this: Selbypond (1)

to this:

Selbypond (10)

to this:

Selbypond (34)

in less than six weeks. It wasn’t without its challenges. My husband and son-in-law began the dig after clearing all the weeds, only to come across clay pipes and we thought we might have to re-think our plans. But a call to the previous owner of the home (we’ve lived here just over 4 years) soon assured us the clay pipes were no longer in use. So we could dig them up.  In one day the hole was dug and leveled off. In the second day the liner was laid, the rocks were collected from the paddock of our property and laid around the edging.  Our son-in-law meticulously laid the rocks side by side, fitting them together, and overlaying them, to ensure they fit properly, placing dirt around some of them. Then the pond was filled with water and plants planted in the rockery above and around the pond. Then fish were added.

Now, just over 5 weeks later, with many more plants added in the water and in the rockery, the pond looks like it’s been there for a long time.

Would you like to see all the steps? Then click here.  Tip: Click on the first image and then scroll through each one for larger viewing.

The Cherry Laurel Tree

We have a magnificent tree in our backyard nestled next to the Lilly Pilly and easily as tall, if not taller.  For a long time we hadn’t really realised there was a different tree there. It wasn’t until Graham and I began working in that part of the garden that we noted some differences. This particular tree, if it has a branch hanging down to the ground will grow new roots and anchor the branch to the ground. Rather strange habit that one. It has beautiful columns of small white flowers in the spring that the bees and butterflies love. It comes alive at that time and is quite picturesque.

We began to research to find out what the tree was. Our neighbour didn’t know, although she’s very knowledgeable about plants and trees in this area and suspected it came from North America. She said the tree was here when she shifted in over 40 years ago. While it grows over her side of the fence it is very much a tree that is part of our garden and provides lovely shade, as well as protection for the birdlife that likes to rest in the tree. Eventually we learnt that it is a Prunus Laurocerasus or Cherry Laurel.  Apparently native to Southwestern Asia and Southeastern Europe.  It’s an evergreen species of cherry and dark in colour. It must fruit around the same time as the Lilly Pilly which will explain why we’d not really noticed the difference before.

Close up of the flowers
Cherry Laurel

The tree in its splendour.
Cherry Laurel

My husband has cut back the branches that were sprouting roots and we have now begun developing a garden, which will happily live in the shadow and shade of this beautiful tree.

Playing with Wordle

I’ve been wanting to design a tshirt to wear when I’m out on photography jobs.  But just wasn’t sure what I wanted on it till I saw similar type of thing for someone else’s tshirt on a different topic. And I thought ‘what a great idea!’. So I’ve been playing with Wordle. Do you know that site? Lost of fun.

But now I can’t decide which design I should use?  #1, #2 or #3? What do you think?  Obviously the white background ones would go on a white or light coloured tshirt and the black on a black tshirt. I hope to get the image of the words on the back and front of the tshirt.