The birthday bowl


Eucalyptus trees dominate the Australian landscape.  They are beside every roadway:


 and out in the middle of no-where.  



According to Wikipedia there are more than 700 species of Eucalyptus mostly native to Australia.  Only 15 species occur outside Australia and only 9 do not occur in Australia.

I love the feel of wood and for years have owned a beautiful bowl handcrafted from Norfolk Island pine.  

I also own a chunk of cedar that my father sanded and polished, with his one good arm, during physical therapy after his stroke 23 years ago – it doesn't look much but it symbolises a huge struggle & determination by him to survive:  

During a trip home about 3 years ago I found a beautiful eucalyptus bowl in a gallery.  It was much more expensive than I could afford.  At the time I was in the middle of messy financial negotiations with my ex-husband.  I decided that if he signed the legal agreement I would get the bowl.   I was there for  4 weeks and he dragged everything out until the day before I was leaving!   I raced back to the gallery only to find that the bowl had been sold!  I consoled myself with retail therapy of another kind and bought myself a skirt!!    Ever since then I have pined the loss of that bowl which I never had. 

Well, the manservant has arrived home, just in-time to cook a birthday bbq for me & some friends today, and guess what he had in a big birthday bag for me?   A lovely bowl carved from eucalyptus burl by artisan Les Roberts.  Mr Roberts only has one arm and has developed an special arm support system to allow single armed turning.  



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41 responses

  1. What an awesome story! Your lump of cedar is a real treasure! Your husband must be a really special guy…and when I read that Mr. Roberts only has one arm…Wow! That fact, along with your dad's story gave me goose bumps! πŸ™‚
    Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  2. Well sounds like you were a good girl to get such a nice gift! Such a great looking bowl! And love all your photos the remind me a lot of how some times we take our surroundings for granted! Also a few of the pictures I could seem my nephew crawling over every bit of it looking for whatever creatures he could find!

  3. Wow! Manservant really is a good catch. That eucalyptus bowl is superb, a wonderful choice both thoughtful and very aesthetically pleasing.I used to love the urban myth that Eucalyptus makes the Koala Bear stoned. It was completely put to rest on a visit to a sanctuary on Kangaroo Island, where I was fortunate enough to get to hold a Koala. Absolutely gorgeous creatures but incredibly brittle bone structure. Makes me wonder what on earth possesses them to climb trees to such a height that a fall would no doubt destroy them internally. So placid though. **Sidenote to Manservant** Excellent present. Excellent photos as well, really makes me miss Australia more than ever and I was only there for 3 weeks.

  4. Hi Piscesgal – all those eucalyptus trees in CA probably come from Australia – first planted probably in 1853. Yes, the smell of their oil is wonderful and refreshing.

  5. It is a great looking bowl – nice and hefty. A bit nice to throw the potato salad into. Oh yes – your nephew would be able to find lots of interesting creatures in the trees – including witchetty grubs. You are right – we often live amongst things we take for granted.

  6. He's an excellent catch isn't he! (Hope you are taking notes LOL). I took the gum tree photos over my last 3 trips home. Now that there are none near me I miss them and like to have them in my photo collections. I'm still looking for the perfect photo to frame. LOL the koala story! They are cranky little things – perhaps yours was medicated for the tourists. Did they (the people not the koala) give you a demonstration of blowing a gumleaf? I used to know an old guy who blew one (like a mouth organ).

  7. Thank you Country. πŸ™‚ I can fully appreciate how much you value those little birds your mother painted. There is no value you can put on some things.

  8. Sadly not. I used to get a good tune from blades of grass but never tried a gumleaf. Re the photos, in that case, you are an excellent shot but we knew this already. And they still make me miss Australia.

  9. What a thoughful present! Those trees have so much subtle colors, it always blows my mind. Eucalyptus is being used for a lot of cool things these days too, apparently FSC Certified Wood has a eucalyptus "division" because it's easy to grow (according to them) sustainably.
    I imagine the bowl is really smooth and nice to touch, from the picture anyway! Polished wood is cool. Love the story about its maker.

  10. What a lovely, lovely gift. Thanks for sharing the amazing story.The roads were lined by Eucalyptus trees where I grew up. They weren't much to look at, but I loved the smell of the leaves rubbed in my grubby child-hands.

  11. A lovely post and a beautiful bowl. It reminds me of when my mom (who is dead two years this past March) gave me a mango root bowl as a gift. She said it was made from wood that would have otherwise been tossed. It is the shape of a basket (has a handle). I brought it with me when I moved here, wrapped in loads of towels to protect it.

  12. Hi Ellie – yes the bowl feels beautiful. I love the feel of polished wood. The dining room table is a beautiful wood one that belonged to the manservant's great aunt. My bowl looks really gorgeous placed in the middle of it. (actually the photos were taken on the table).

  13. LOL – grubby child hands. You are absolutely right about the wonderful smell. When I was a child I heard a man blow "music" on a gum leaf and attempted to do the same many times – without success I might add~!

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