What's Happen Heading

Hello,bee in wild plum flowers

When we first decided we were going to do newsletters, I knew that we would do one on the wildlife that lives around here.

I had great fun trawling through all our old photos looking for some of our wildlife photos. While looking through the early of photos, it made me aware of how mature some of our trees have now become. It is amazing how quickly you forget what the tree originally looked like when it was first shaped.

birdsThe first photo is of a bumblebee which is not native to Australia. He had this beautiful iridescent blue green sheen to his body. He was having a grand old time gathering the pollen and allowed me to take photos on the micro setting. Those of you who don’t know the micro setting on a camera is, it allows the camera to focus an inch away from the lens of the camera. Great for the taking photos of insects, flowers and jewellery.

The next series of photos are of some of the parrots that visit our garden.
Pete has been saying that he would like to put a camera hide in our garden so that we could get close-up photos of the birds on our trees. I’m not sure just how serious he is about doing this, time will tell.

We have quite a diverse range of frogs living here. Pete went through a real phase of photographing any frog he saw. He did this over about a nine month period. As Pete is a bit of night owl, most of the photos are at night. I even got in on the act, though I did take my photos during the day. When I saw this little beautiful metallic gold frog, I ran up to the house grabbed the camera and managed to get a nice photo of this little sleeping fella.

kookaburrasIn the next photo, is the pair of kookaburras. I think they might be a mated pair, but I don’t really know anything about kookaburras. We have quite a few different photos with these guys in them. Relatively speaking the
kookaburras are easier to photograph than the parrots.
Less camera shy or something.

We have large flock of wrens birds that live here, but they are even harder to photograph than the parrots! Maybe if we made a hide with mirror attached, we would be able to get a close shot of the male wrens. As the males love to attack the car ‘s side mirrors.

snakeOf course where there is a large population of birds and frogs, you will have predators.
Gonnas are probably some of the larger ones that we get. Fortunately we don’t see them very often, though we did get to witness two large males having territorial dispute last year.
Quite impressive.

owlSnakes is another animal that we get a lot of. They love eating the frogs and hunting through our trees for the birds nests. Which is what I am assuming this snake was doing when Pete photographed him. Pete tells me this snake a pyton. Pete got a range of photos of this snake travelling from one of our trees to the other. As a general rule we don’t bother snakes and they don’t bother us. Though with the poisonous snakes we tend to make sure they leave our area.

I left my favourite photo for last, Pete took this photo at the beginning of spring this year. I believe this is a frogmouth owl. I don’t know much about these birds either, I just like the way they look at you.

Well, that’s all for now. Happy growing.

Part 1

Hi We had a wonderful 13 days in Japan. This photo on the left is of Pook and our son Brin, at the Growing Village Pavilion at Expo site. The Wall Street Journal on the 29th of March says “Growing Village is nowhere near the biggest pavilion at Expo 2005. But it is probably the most authentic effort on site.”. The expo people are some of the most gracious and helpful that we have met when dealing with a big organization. From the people who gave us the information on how to get to expo by bus, to the people who made sure that we would have good memories of expo, to the simple good-bye greeting as we left.

The photo on the right is two of the finished pieces that appear at the expo. We sent 8 pieces in all, some of which is on the photo page. We went to Japan to see our display and to see first hand the other artists work, as we had only seen photos of their pieces before. John Gathright is the major mover and shaker for our art form. He helped make it possible for us to go to Japan. This is the first showing of our work and we are pleased that John and his team have put so much work into getting the Growing Village Pavilion up and running at Expo. They have done an excellent job of showcasing this art form to the world. We also got to meet Ahron Naveh and his wife Roni for a few hours. We wish that we could’ve had more time to talk without the kids with us. Oh well, maybe next time. We would like to thank Hiroko Gathright for taking us out and doing things for us. And a big thanks to Johnny, and Danny Gathright for playing with Brin, and keeping him out of our hair so that we could spent time with their parents.

The Seto Home stay was a great experience. The photo on the left is of Becky and our daughter Shar at the park which was within easy walking distance to our host family Ninomiya. Our hostess Miho, was very helpful and seemed to enjoy our company. We had some of the best food at their place while we were in Japan. Our boy Brin had started to made Japanese sounds (he is only 19.5 months old) by the 10th day of our stay. We went to expo 4 times and spent lots of time walking around Seto. As the culture is so different to ours we found that we learned all sorts of things. Now that we are home we are seeing our culture in a new light. Some things we would like to build in our new home. Especially the Japanese bathroom, which is a room where you shower in and then bath, not a shower stall and a bath. The leaving the shoes at the front door is a great idea.

Part 2

We recently have harvested the hatstand and Chair. Doug Murry from channel 9 TV Brisbane came and did a 4 min story about the Pooktre garden and harvesting of the trees. Take 5 magazine contacted us and has published a short story on Pooktre. We had a few other magazines contact us from different parts of the world.

With spring arriving we are getting the trees ready for the new pieces that we designed last winter. This year we are going to try a few new types of trees. At the end of September, Expo in Japan will be finished, We are unsure where the pieces that are on display at Expo will be going as there are many different options.

Part 3

We had a lot happening, most recently has been that Richard Reams from U.S.A. as been down under for a visit. He came over in time for the Flower and Garden show that was happening in Melboume. He meet up with Ezekiel Golan and Yael Stav and their son Dean, who are from Israel while they were in Melbourne. Then he flew into Brisbane and we drove down and picked him up. He stayed at our place for a week. He got to see some of our new designs for the Pooktre and we told him of our plans for growing a house here.

Ezekiel and Yael also flew up from Melbourne, luckily for us they had been here before and so they drove up from Brisbane to here. (We are about 2-3 hours car travel from Brisbane) They were also here at the same time as Richard. They stayed about 4 days. They said that our trees had advanced a lot since they had last seen them two years earlier. Which is good to hear, as it seems as if nothing much is changing on a day to day basis.

Part 4

It been about a year and half since we sent 3 pieces off to be dried. We brought them home last week.

The first thing we had to do was build a cage to keep the childern away from the tools that we use for finishing. Then set it up for working on the pieces.

After we have finished cleaning all the bark off, shaping and polishing. We will have 8 piece ready for a showing.

Part 5

It’s been a while since the site had upgrade. I’ve done some major work with the code and it should be a much leaner web site now. Next I’ll be upgrading the way the photos are displayed, and posting new photos. If anyone has any suggestion email me. Well I get back to it.

Part 6

We have decided to do a newsletter. One of the reasons we decided to do a newsletter is we would like to eventually do a blog. So we thought we would ease our way into practising writing something regularly. Most of the content will be written by Becky, but we will both discuss it together, before the newsletter is sent out.
This newsletter will be sent out directly to our mailing list. It will also be unloaded to the What Happening page on our website, a few days later.

As we take new photos regularly, but very rarely update the website. One of the things we thought could go in the newsletter is some up-to-date photos, but I am unsure as to how many photos people would like to see. So I thought I could start with three or so photos.

plum flowers with early morning dew.

Spring is here
grown ballerina tree

If you wish to see more, drop me an e-mail, with newsletter in the subject and let me know how many photos you think would be a good number. I would also be interested in knowing what sort of content, people would like to see in this newsletter. Any ideas or suggestions please let me know and I’ll take them into consideration.

One of the most exciting things, that is happening here at the moment is we are just putting in all the framing work for the new pieces of this growing season. I’ve just started the children’s fort, and what I call the ladder dome. Pete and I have also done the first planting of our house trees. So now we only have to wait something like five or 10 years before we see anything really but it should be worth it.

grown garden table in bloomThe other exciting thing is, we are finally teaching somebody else, what we do. The people that we are teaching had asked us to teach them, quite a few years ago, but we weren’t ready to teach and they also didn’t have anywhere to plant the trees. One of the best things about doing this teaching is actually getting to try some of the things that we just don’t have the space for here. Having spent so much time writing the book Knowledge to Grow. It’s helped us plan out how we would teach what we do to someone else.

With our book, we decided to self publish, but as were both dyslexic, we decided we really need outside editors. So we have outsourced, the actual editing, but not the writing. We have the whole content of the book except the last chapter.

The really funny thing is now that we are into just doing the last chapter of the book. I finally decided to buy some dictation software, so that we could dictate straight to the computer and it has just made our life so much easier. In point of fact, this whole newsletter was actually dictated. So, that is the main reason why we decided to start, doing writing more often. We had talked quite often that we should do a blog or a newsletter. It was just so difficult for us to do the writing. So we’ll see how it goes now that I can actually just dictate straight to the computer.

grown circle tree

Well thats all for now. Happy growing. Becky

Part 7

We were having a discussion about how long it takes to have a finished piece. For a harvesting project the growing time can be anyway from 3 to 6 months or as long as the project needs until it looks right. The necklace that I am wearing was grown in 2003. We allowed six months drying time, and then we removed the bark and oiled it.
Grown neckpiece from wild PlumWhen we designed this neckpiece, we decided to use a gem that Pete’s father Keith had originally found and cut. This stone came from Mt surprise, it’s a 46ct natural blue topaz. The gem was grown in as an inclusion for the neckpiece.

This particular photo was taken in June of 2005 . I had been trying to describe this to someone on a forum that I visit. I have been meaning to have a nice photo taken of it and put it up on our web site. I just haven’t got around to it.

Really there are many things that can be grown in one or two seasons. It’s a matter of thinking in the small scale and looking at the things that you use in day to day life. For example, I have been growing some hand mirrors. These will be ready for harvest soon, and I am looking forward to dried and finishing them.Peter harvesting a growing chair

This chair was planned in 1998. We harvested it this winter of 2008.

We have been having some issues with the drying of our pieces. Our pieces have some cracking occurring. This doesn’t affect the strength of the piece as all the cracks flow with the grain of wood. These cracks may end up being considered like inclusions in gems.

This chair is in our third group of pieces that’s going though the process of drying. We believe the major problem has been not getting the trees dried out below our average humidity before we removed the bark for the finishing.

We have a few different ideas about how to achieve our goal of having beautifully finished pieces with no cracking. But until you actually put this into practice it’s all still experimental but I will share one or two of our ideas with you.

The first idea, to move the piece to somewhere where the humidity is a great deal drier than here for a year or two.

Another idea is, after leaving the piece for two or three years to start drying. Then trim the excess length off, once having done that, carve and finish the trimmed parts leaving the bark on the rest of the piece. Then use the piece as intended. Then, in 5 to 10 years time, the piece should have completely evened out in its drying. It should now be safe to remove the bark, without the piece cracking. Well that’s our theory, anyway. I will certainly be letting you know how the different ideas turn out, though it may take a few years before we have turned the theory into practice.

wild plum regrowth

This is a photo of the regrowth from our harvested chair. If we didn’t have so many projects on the grow, we would use this regrowth for a new project. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time or the manpower to take advantage of these lovely shoots.
Well, that’s all for now. Happy growing. Becky

Part 8

growing gate personHello,
We had Martin Volz interviewer and Richard Waugh photographer, out to visit us recently, for the Smart Farmer Magazine. This magazine is distributed throughout Queensland Australia.It was fun having a professional photographing our trees. Richard photos showed us aspects of our trees we haven’t noticed before. When you’re living so intimately with something it can be easy to overlook certain details.

Our camera does have a remote control but I have no idea how to use it. So I was pleased when Richard took a group photo of our family. After seeing this photo I’ll have to make more of an effort to learn how to use my camera properly.

Our family with the growing chairThese first two photos in the newsletter were taken by Richard who kindly said we may use the photos.

When Martin interviewed us he used a digital voice recorder. The beauty of this was we were able to have a normal conversation, which Martin then created into an article for the Smart Farmer Magazine.
It’s always enjoyable to read a person who writes well.
Becky with Growing garden tableI would love to have a digital voice recorder that would work with my Dictation software. We could use the recorder while we are out and about.

During spring Pete decided to do a photo shoot. So I put on my favourite dress, and we spent an hour or so doing photos.

Pete and I never took many photos and it wasn’t until we had the children that we owned our own digital camera. Digital cameras are great, because you are not limited to the number of photos you can take. Our theory is if you take enough photos you’ll end up with a few good ones. The downside is I am a bit of a hoarder, and I am reluctant to delete ones that seem okay, which means we are fast running out of disk space.

We have been slowly learning, different techniques while photographing. It is surprising how nice the lighting can be on overcast day. Becky on the growing chairVery early mornings is good lighting as well, fortunately we not usually up that early. We have had some days where the lighting at sunset was just spectacular. I’ve have a lot of trouble trying to catch the ambience in photos.

One of the things that Pete knew that I didn’t, was about checking the background before you actually took the photo. So some of my very early photos are cluttered with items.

I like the look of the trees, with the morning due or just after a light shower. The bark becomes a beautiful chocolatey colour which contrasts lovely with a green lawn. Pete likes to take photos of the trees at night with a flash, this gives each tree a very dramatic effect against the night sky.

For Pete’s last birthday he bought himself a tripod. We’ve been able to get much crisper photos now. Pete has also done a series of photos of the children playing in the people trees using the tripod. I am planning to turn this series into a type of animation. Becky in our garden

Not really sure what method I will use to achieve the end film, but it should be fun trying out the different methods. I’ve played around with morphing software, and photo editing software so somewhere between the two we should get an okay film. I also should have a little play around in film software.

I quite like the idea of buying a camcorder, when we do I will have to buy more expensive tripod so we can do sweeps and pans of the garden.

Well, that’s all for now. Happy growing.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }