Saturday, April 19, 2014

sharing the crop and the paper makers

We have had a really good apple crop this year, but once again the birds are having more than their share. Most of the fruit I have had to pick earlier than I would like, because of this...

There are - sorry were - 5 apples in this second picture! I have seen honeyeaters and blackbirds and pigeons having their share and today I saw some of the cheeky parrots. At least they come back to the same piece of fruit.

It is a pity they don't like peppers though. We have more than enough of them!

You can get the idea from this that the bush is loaded. And we have a second bush...

Now to the paper making. We visited a co-operative in Ahmedabad which provides employment  and makes paper from recycled fabric. They were working with calico offcuts when we were there, and the output was a fairly thick paper. They use all sorts of fabric and all colours, cut into small pieces to begin. In between the photos of the process are a few interesting little things spotted as we walked around

A board showing the the cycle of fabric to paper

A mound of fabric awaits processing

On the wall
Where they pulp the fabric, and add colour if required. This is upstairs and looks down over the workshop floor below -

No lighting in the building, it is just natural light through skylights.

 The pulp is screened out
And pressed to extract the water

 Someone's cushion

Sheets of paper drying

 The paper close up
and a little broom.
They do printing too, and there were lots of beautiful sheets of paper and books to buy in the shop - some of it very fine.
Of course I bought a few things, but it is hard to know how much you can take, and how much you will be buying elsewhere...

I hope it is a safe and happy Easter wherever you are.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

a little of the animal life

Life seems to be a bit of one step forward and two back lately but I have used the machine in the last week. I did my Quilters Dozen homework and made a small book/folder cover using the clever method which leaves no seems showing (like making a double ended pillowcase and then turning through). I dug out a 20 (!) year old Quilt Encounter workshop sample (pieced, cut with curved inserts) which was just the right size. It is not much in a photograph...
 and here opened out.

One of the programmed excursions on the trip to India was to visit the wetland in the Little Rann of Kutch, to see the bird life and wild asses. We weren't disappointed on either count. Although we didn't get close to the birds they were plentiful on the water - numerous species including lots of flamingos.
This is a shot on zoom, showing only a small area, with flamingos at the back.
We got a lot closer to the wild asses though. They make a beautiful picture in all senses of the word.

We were lucky  to see some of them creating havoc in a patch of crop land on another day. In the vegetation back from the water's edge we saw some blue bucks.

They are a bit like kangaroos - quite a lot of them end up as road kill, because they can leap out across the road quite suddenly.

Cows of course are sacred, and can be seen in the most unlikely (to us) places, wandering in the towns and cities.
These stables in an inner courtyard in the old city of narrow lanes and streets in Ahmedabad housed 13 cows and calves.

Progress on the road was often slowed as we made our way through, or waited for cows to pass.

We saw some of the Rabari people, the last of the nomadic tribes as they moved about. The men tend the animals which provide their wealth and livelihood - camels, cattle, sheep, goats - and move them on foot. The women move the possession on camels, between the sites chosen by the men.


The next were the animals belonging to the family of the master indigo dyer we visited and just to the left of them is where the dyed and printed cloth was laid out on the ground to dry - simply placed on the ground with stones in the corners.

A few birds that I managed to snap...

 and a pigeon fancier in Ahmedabad

We saw a few monkeys - you might have to look hard to spot them on the wall.

There were plenty of bats in the cupolas of the temples
 and I spotted this enormous specimen laid out on a wall one day.
Plenty of squirrels...
 and this one pretending to be a gargoyle
A few family possessions

and pets. There were plenty of dogs.

A treat one day was to see an elephant being used to lift down the branches during tree lopping. A few days later in the same area we saw it (or another) again, this time being loaded with the tree trimmings to take them away.

There was a man on the ground, barefooted and hacking away merrily with a tomahawk to make the pieces manageable. Couldn't get close enough to see if he still had ten toes!

That's it for now.