Fragments from the Veranda at Home



At home today. Spring arrived Thursday or so I heard.  If the temperature is anything to go by I need expert evidence to convince me.  Definitely still jumper weather. Funny this terminology thing especially when you’ve lived overseas for a long period.


I’m never sure these days what the correct term is in Australia. Is it still jumper?  Is it pullover or windcheater? We seem to use all three interchangeably. Many years ago the jumper was usually knitted with wool, hence the name ‘woolly jumper’.  In the USA it’s usually sweater or sweatshirt, terms I got used to and continued to use. Whew!  Now we have slang where a hooded windcheater is a ‘hoodie’. And don’t get me started on the French!  What about a guernsey?  That was what we called the local footy (football) jumper.


Anyway, despite needing heaters up here, especially at night, I can feel Miss Spring. I’ve been in the garden today. Rains this week so more weeding! I see Miss in the shrubs and plants awakening and opening their hearts in bloom and blossom.  Spring is nigh.  I’m dirty (from the garden) but feeling invigorated. Here’s a few snippets from home taken this past summer (Jan/Feb 2016).  I may have posted some of the images on social media before but a re-post is in order now the winter doldrums are passing. You might enjoy an earlier visit to the front area of our house here under the gum trees.


Leaves? Like many evergreen trees, gums shed a few leaves. Scattered on the veranda is a mixture of gum and vine leaves, mainly gum, all a normal part of living near eucalypts. The rustic aesthetic brought by these tumbling leaves is quite beautiful in its rustic simplicity. I wouldn’t change it.


We planted climbing vines a few years ago on all four sides of the house encircling it for cool and shade and for their simple, vibrant beauty. The wide veranda wraps right around the house in that quintessential Australian farmhouse style.  The creeping vines are the non fruiting ornamental grapevine known as the ‘Glory Vine’ in Australia.




In the last couple of years, the vines have finally started to take off winding, weeping and cascading their way along the veranda, complementing the house as they give us shelter and coolness.  They are easy to grow and maintain, and like most grape vines, are deciduous requiring minimal pruning and spraying. This shot shows the east end.

Recycled old red bricks, laid in the historical herringbone or diagonal pattern, form the veranda and the west side outdoor area.  I was sweeping and tidying when I took these few shots. So easy for photography dullards like me to use the phone for snapping ‘on the go’.




Another view. If you look closely you can see a cream coloured 5 arm retro chandelier hanging from the veranda roof.  Not afraid to juxtapose decor I coated it in a drab cream shade then had it installed as the welcome light. The bulbs now have mini shades that let the chandelier emit soft yellow hues at night like candle light.


The decorative pink shutters, like the ones on the nearby windows, are just that – for decoration. When I found the vintage shutters, they were the drab dark green colour commonly found on early wooden shutters in Australia as in this image here of another pair I have.



My goal was to re-do them to suit my project at the time. When that time came I simply gave them the rustic pink hue.

Being vintage, weathered and worn from years of exposure to the elements, they had a ready made chippy, shabby paint finish with lumps and bumps all of which made it easy for me to get the texture. I added the moulded embellishments including the little cupid angels before applying the new layers of colour.

The final dark pink shade is Burgundy chalk paint by Annie Sloan applied as a wash over the dusty rose pink undercoat (flat acrylic). I’ll talk more about the shutters project later and share more pictures.


The heavy front doors you see were removed from the original Gladstone Railway Station when it was rebuilt in 1929.  I’m still looking for suitable old door handles to replace that temporary faux brassy monstrosity. Ugh! Been there way too long.




This is the new Gladstone Railway Station, SA Gladstone Railway Station built in 1929. Our front entry doors were in the old building.

The Flinders News Achives has a range of photos of early Gladstone and other similar SA rural towns.

When we began our search for the right door(s) we started at Limberlost one of our all time favourite haunts in the SA countryside for rustic, vintage and antique furniture, collectibles, salvage and other recycled stuff.  While Limberlost’s specialty is early Australian furniture and decor including old doors, there’s a ton of other good stuff there including plenty of rusty old farm stuff both inside and out. If you’re like me and like the rustic, primitive, torn and tattered, try Limberlost.




Fossicking is a must at Limberlost. (courtesy Limberlost FB)

Limberlost is minutes out of Laura, a pretty historical country town in the mid north of SA at the southern end of the Flinders Ranges. Well known for the annual Laura Folk Fair and Golden North ice cream, the town is about 2 hours north of the Barossa, north of Clare and the next town north after Gladstone.





Laura is a peaceful, charming town, provided with shops, a hospital, doctors, a pharmacy (containing a BankSA Agency), a Post Office and primary school. It is home to an annual Folk Fair and Golden North Ice Cream.  230 Km from Adelaide, it is only 40 Km from the large regional centre of Port Pirie, either driving on good bitumen roads, or well maintained dirt roads, winding through the crests of the Southern Flinders Ranges. It is surrounded by magnificent scenery.


If you haven’t been to Laura or Limberlost you are missing out, truly missing out on meeting the ‘great’ man called Jim. Go to Limberlost and see Jim. What a great Australian!  Set among majestic gums, Limberlost is in old buildings just a few minutes north of Laura on the left off the main highway. Look for the shabby sign on the left.




Back to home. There are miners couches and some farmhouse style tables ensconced on the veranda and a few smaller outdoor tables on the pea gravel area under the pergola. We simply lift and shift the tables off the veranda into the sunshine if needed. Nothing like bon appétit Australian style!

There are wooden chairs on the veranda some painted, chippy, rickety and rustic, some not so much. Old, well used and pre-loved. Orphans when I found them

Creating a peaceful and inviting space on the veranda means a serenity different from inside the house. The veranda draws you especially at sundown and later for that soft talk under the stars.

The miners couches are wooden couches or day beds with a flat base cushion for sitting and ample small cushions for plumping up and moving to suit your position. 16b1596c1cd912187d4efad511899b31[1].jpgThe one in this image is a fairly common design style. I’ll talk more about these iconic Australian seats later. Cats? You can see why they inhabit the veranda.





You can’t help but spend a lot of time basking in these outdoor spaces in the spring and summer months. I’m so over the cold up here and so, so waiting for the warm! Roll on Miss Spring!




Here’s dear sweet thing Edith Piaf laconically gazing at me with those yellow eyes half open, “Not another photo Karen. So boring.” Sometimes she yawns it’s so boring.  Fat, scrumptious is this dolly, a very patient model most of the time. Edith is a Burmese brown tortie.




And here’s dear sweet Jean-Louise or ‘Scout’, a  cream lilac Burmese who never ceases to share her boundless love and affection for all except Gracie. We first met Gracie also here as she shared a bottle of red wine with us that mellow summer evening.


For some inexplicable reason Gracie is on Scout’s hit list, literally.  It’s not simply about disliking Gracie. Gracie enrages her. If insulted, Scout will first tense and crouch, growling and eyeing her witheringly before leaping and charging at Gracie, airborne sometimes. Another round of the great Barossa cat fight ensues. While Scout’s intent is to knock Gracie out cold, the score card is quite even. Sometimes Scout wins, sometimes Gracie, sometimes there is no winner when we step in and break it up.




The flowering pink plants are Mandevillas.  Absolutely gorgeous ‘in the pink’ fast climbers that make me smile whenever I see their brilliant colours in the summer.  I have about 6 now in pots all waiting for a transplant to larger pots.  All I can say is that if semi-tropical plants like this grow for me then they are simple to grow — plants for dummies — as I’m definitely not a gardener! I know the basics and stick to easy reliable things.






The usual family visit by our semi-resident ‘roos.




I couldn’t possibly have anything that looks remotely new or modern out here including gates and fence posts. I can’t honestly remember a time when I didn’t love old and vintage, a love that’s not abating in my wizend age and dotage. Don’t we all become wizer with longevity? I must have rustic DNA.

Obviously, I have to mix old and new but that’s mainly inside where we have modern conveniences. We don’t use the old wood stove for cooking everyday and have an electric stove with gas hob.

One thing I miss on the veranda is the porch swing like we had in the USA much like in this image. The gently swaying swing on the front porch was a regular sight HWD039[1].jpgaround Alabama and Tennessee and even around Orlando and Dallas on older styled houses. You would buy the wooden swing from Walmart and assemble it yourself. Easy DIY. What can’t be bought from Walmart? Splash on some oil, stain or paint and hang. Sturdy too.





But it’s not only porch swings I miss or Mexican food or frozen margaritas. What I need is cornbread with pinto beans and fried okra done down-home Alabama style.  Oh for some biscuits and gravy! Very soon after arriving in Alabama, in the early 80s, a plate of home cooked ante-bellum food was deposited in front of me. ‘Confederate gastronomyM F K Fisher called it.  “What this?” I thought.

Didn’t take long to get used to traditional Southern cuisine especially when home cooked by women born and bred in the heart of Dixie as my mother in law was, a true Alabaman.






I share the magnificent autumn colours of glory vines covering a veranda in these two views from The Field Of Gold



This picture from Libertine Eats – Grapes Honey Nougat shows the glory vines in full bloom covering a pergola or veranda. When our vines are more fully grown we will capture these beautiful colours in all their richness and glory. The outside space here is for many things. It’s peaceful and private as we have no neighbours close or within view and cats, kangaroos, magpies, crows, cockatoos and galahs can’t talk. Occasionally, a tractor can be heard or seen putt, putt, putting over this rich Barossa terroir up and down the contoured rows of vineyards next door.

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