cabbage looper caterpillar
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Caterpillar close-up

Cabbage looper caterpillar

Cabbage looper caterpillar

Sunday Stills this week is Going Buggy. Do larvae count? Maybe they are baby bugs? I don’t know if this voracious green caterpillar made it to the moth stage, because after I took its photo as it munched its way among my plants, I tossed it over the side of the balcony.

Cabbage looper caterpillar

Cabbage looper caterpillar

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Lovely, luscious Limoncello

The theme for this week’s Sunday Stills is anything beginning with L; fortuitously, the base for my first batch of Limoncello was ready to be finished. I used this recipe to make it.

Limoncello

One organic, unsprayed lemon (from the tree of my friend Amanda) hangs suspended over pure vodka. (You’re supposed to use muslin or cheesecloth, but as you can see, I used an ‘anklet’ [washed! rinsed! never worn!].)

Limoncello

Let it sleep in a cool, dark place for a month. Well…it’s Sydney, it’s summer, I live in an apartment exposed on two sides to sun and wind, so “cool” was never an option. And I wanted to keep it somewhere that I could take an end photo without disturbing the condensation inside the jar. So I wrapped up the jar in a padded envelope and left it on a shelf.

Limoncello

The unveiling! Wow, look at the gorgeous yellow colour of the vokda after 28 days of alcohol condensation dripping over the lemon.

Limoncello

Add sugar syrup and the fresh zest of a scrubbed (ideally organic) lemon.

Limoncello

Serve chilled!

Comments on the recipe: If you decide to make this, I would recommend that you don’t add the sugar syrup until the fresh zest has steeped. I used half of the amount of syrup recommended (proportionally), and I still found it too sweet. Also, have extra lemons on hand in case you need to add more zest for extra lemony zing.

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Barking mad


(click any image to view full size)

Like a snake sloughing its skin, the gum tree in front of my balcony sheds its bark in spring. Never before having lived 10 feet from a gum tree, let alone one that towers above even the six stories of my apartment building, I am fascinated when this tree’s smooth bark begins to wrinkle and crack. After a few weeks, the fresh new bark appears.

This post is my entry for two challenges: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bark or Leaves and Sunday Stills Shallow Depth of Field.

(post edited on 11 November to include link to Sunday Stills challenge)

Barnstormin’

Over at Sunday Stills, the challenge this week is barns, black and white. There’s a pronounced shortage of barns in my part of Sydney, but Ed has kindly allowed we barn-challenged types to substitute sheds.

This is the closest I could get to a 'barn' in Sydney.

This is the closest I could get to a ‘barn’ in Sydney.

Not one but TWO sheds, spied from my balcony.

Not one but TWO sheds, spied from my balcony.

A lot like Christmas

You know that song that goes “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”? Sydney is doing its best to remind people of the season, just in case you overlooked it. Here are a few images that have caught my attention recently, and are my contribution to Sunday Stills Holiday Lights and Decorations.

I’d like to wish “Happy Holidays” to everyone, and I’ll see you again in 2014.

No chance I could miss this one, as I walk past it twice a day: it's the tree and a wreath in the lobby of my office building.

No chance I could miss this one, as I walk past it twice a day: it’s the tree and a wreath in the lobby of my office building.

Stars line Martin Place and blaze in the summer sun.

Stars line Martin Place and blaze in the summer sun.

Serried ranks of wreaths, Strand Arcade.

Serried ranks of wreaths, Strand Arcade.

Wreath close-up, Strand Arcade.

Wreath close-up, Strand Arcade.

The Christmas tree in Martin Place is to Sydneysiders what  the tree in Trafalgar Square is to Londoners. Here, its crowning star is caught in a shaft of late sunlight and backdropped by an office building covered in scaffolding and netting.

The Christmas tree in Martin Place is to Sydneysiders what the tree in Trafalgar Square is to Londoners. Here, its crowning star is caught in a shaft of late sunlight and backdropped by an office building covered in scaffolding and netting.

The Martin Place tree, against the late 19th century Colonial Mutual Life building.

The Martin Place tree, against the late 19th century Colonial Mutual Life building.

A bauble on the Martin Place tree. I'm the faint pink blob and spot of light in the centre, standing on the steps of the General Post Office.

A bauble on the Martin Place tree. I’m the faint pink blob and spot of light in the centre, standing on the steps of the General Post Office.

Flying reindeer, lights and spheres, in the Westfield Bondi Junction mall.

Flying reindeer, lights and spheres, in the Westfield Bondi Junction mall.

No lights, no designer, no budget. A colleague crafted this message on a writeable wall in our office.

No lights, no designer, no budget. A colleague crafted this message on a writeable wall in our office.