Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gerald and Malcolm

This, as you know, is gorgeous Gerald.  I adore Gerald, he visits regularly, landing right at the shed door and looking in with plaintive eyes or gawking through the window to see what's happening.  Or sometimes he sees me and comes running in that ungainly way that magpies do, with his wings half open and that magpie waddle.  I had been a bit bothered because Gerald seemed to have been abandoned by his fellow magenpies, there used to be a group of six that visited for treats regularly.  There starting being magpie biffo going on, with lots of warbling and swooping and brawling with each other.  End result is that the rest of the magpies don't visit any more.  So, Gerald is getting fat on the spoils of the humans who feed him, but he didn't seem to have any friends.
 
I am very pleased to announce that Gerald has a friend, they have been bosom buddies for about three weeks now, they are always together, so much so that I am wondering if Gerald is in fact Geraldine.  The newcomer is still a little shy, hanging back behind the rambunctious Gerald who shows no fear of us as long as we keep one metre away from him.
So, this is magnificent Malcolm, Gerald's right hand man.  He is very definitely male according to what I've read about maggies, apparently the ones that are a solid black with a lot of white on their backs are usually male.  Plus Malcolm seems to be the guard, he is the one who listens for other magpies warbling, then responds and flies off to chase them out of the trees and off the property.  Gerald is teaching Malcolm about the shed cafe that is open at all hours and Malcolm will now venture to about 3 metres away from us to eat his rolled oats.  We are making a determined effort to befriend Malcolm as we figure that if we do have a Geraldine and these two get lovey dovey and produce young, then Malcolm is the one that will be doing the swooping and protecting the nest, so we hope he will have learnt not to swoop the people that feed him!
 Here they are guarding their property, watching closely for magenpie intruders.
 
The house has had some rapid transformations.  The tradies are now working on the inside of the house, the outside having been finished already.  The first stage was insulation.  All the external walls and ceilings have been padded with thick, luscious Pink Batts.  It's already nice and cosy in the house, much warmer than our unlined shed!  This is the guest bedroom.
 And this is looking from the kitchen to the main living area. 
Three days later the gyprockers arrived, and in two days they've put up nearly all the gyprock boards!  So we've gone from a pink looking house to a cardboard looking house :-)  The transformation is amazing, and so are the acoustics, no longer does it echo inside.  This is the living room from the meals area, it actually looks a bit like a house now doesn't it!
The hallway from the back bedroom looking down towards the living area and kitchen.  Apparently the next week is the fiddly stuff, they have to cut bits to fit around all the windows etc, then they have to start doing all the joins with multiple layers of some sort of tape then lots of stuff they call 'mud'.  End result is lovely smooth walls and ceilings. 
We have just about finished painting the outside of the house, and are well pleased with how it has turned out.  Boy has it been a lot of work, lots of fiddly stuff, and we have both been suffering with sore hands and arms, but we are having a break for a few days so will be raring to go next week to get the outside completely finished.  Off to Perth tomorrow to visit friends and family, it will be lovely to catch up.  :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friends, Fish and Wildlife

We had a visitor for the weekend, Steve's good mate Tony.  The boys planned a weekend of fishing, beer and reminiscing about past fishing adventures.  They had a couple of outings and were happy enough with their haul of skippy, orange wrass and something unidentified that looked like a big parrot fish.  It is to be noted that Tony caught the thumper skippy, a whopping 43 cm long!
Nice haul of big skippy and an orange wrass just for me because I think they are yummy!
 
 
Tony and his haul of fish.  He looks very proud.  
 
Good mates doing the awkward man hug thing for the photo.  Our daughter Michelle was very rude about this photo..... to quote... "Dad has his flanno tucked into his trackies - special occasion?"  Dreadful child. :-)
 
 Goodbye Tony, it was lovely having you to stay, come again soon. :-)
When Steve and Tony left for a early morning fishing trip, they stopped to take some photos of the fantastic mist over the water.  Doesn't it look gorgeous.  (mum, click on the photo and it will take you to a larger image if you don't already know that  xx)
In the meantime, house update.  Last week the rest of the house was delivered via another big truck.  Squillions of Pink Batts for the external walls and the roof space, doors, tiles, oven, skirting, dunnies, bath, you name it, it's here!!  Unfortunately now this means the house has to be locked up unless there is a tradie here working, so we can't wander around inside on our own.  Never mind, we just have a stickybeak when the workers are here.  

We are almost finished painting the outside of the house, another couple of determined effort days and I reckon it will be done.  Then we'll have a painting breather for a while and get back to the neglected vegie patch.
This is the natty little crane on the back of the truck for lifting the loads off.  It has a cool extension arm so the driver was manoeuvring the loads in between the verandah posts to put the stuff under cover.  I was watching very carefully to see if he scratched off any of the paint on the posts, but he was a deft handler and everything was left intact.  :-)
We popped into town last week and had great fun finally ordering our solid fuel heater for the house.  After much research we chose this one, a Saxon Walnut.  It's not too big, heats up to 17 squares, and it has a lovely bay window.  It has a fan to distribute the warm air and we paid extra for decorative mesh over the flue, which looks lovely.  Can't wait to use it!!  We've got so much cut wood piled around from the trees that were felled to make way for the house, it pleases me that we are using a renewable resource from our own property.  We've bought some blue gum seedlings to plant lower down the hill for our own woodlot later on.
Speaking of cut wood, isn't this interesting.  I took this photo the other day of these jarrah logs that Steve cut about 3 months ago.  I think that bright green ring that's developed is fascinating and very beautiful.
Steve was moving some logs the other day and came across this little fellow.  It's a young King's Skink.  They get to be quite big and can give you a bit of a shock!  This one was rather cute though, albeit rather cross to be disturbed.
 
 Spring is in the air and we are seeing a lot more birds again.  Our regular vegie patch guards are always around though, just love the Scarlet Robins.
The new bird find we were very excited about is this one, a Red-Tailed Black Parrot.  They aren't seen very often so we were thrilled to see this male and a female in the jarrah trees behind the house.  They are big birds and this boy was not at all happy with me walking near him to take a photo, his crest went up and he screeched and screeched at me!  If you click on the photo for the bigger image you can just see a hint of the red in his tail, it's not until they take off that the brilliant colour becomes apparent.
 A very blurry shot, but it was the best I could manage of this cross boy taking off. Look at that tail!
 Our broad beans have trillions and trillions of flowers on them, but they are not being pollinated so no pods yet.  I did a bit of reading and discovered that it's still a bit cold and also that bees are the primary pollinators of broad beans, so I was very pleased to hear the buzzing of bees around the flowers on warm and sunny Saturday.  There is a bee's bum hanging out the bottom of the flower if you look carefully, and hopefully it is pollinating that flower to turn it into a broad bean pod for us.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Close To The Edge

I love driving Helga the ride-on mower, I never knew before how much pleasure I get from planning my route to mow around obstacles, trying not to double back where I've been before.  It's sort of my little challenge to myself you know?
 

Anyway, yesterday dawned bright and sunny and as the grass has started to grow I thought I'd take the opportunity to do some mowing.  The other challenge I give myself when mowing is to see how close I can get to edge of obstacles with Helga.  See how magnificently close I have cut alongside this garden bed with Helga the hulking beast?  Pretty good huh.
And I zoomed around the perimeter of this tree, shaving off the grass but leaving the shrubs intact.
 
There, doesn't it look lovely, all neatly mowed.  But wait, something is not quite right.
Ah, yes.  There was the little incident of the park bench.  You know how I like to get as close as I can to things, well I was manoeuvring nice and close to the seat of the bench, but I forgot that the legs stick out further.  Crunch, Crash and Oops.
Gerald wasn't fussed and had nothing to say about the incident, he (or maybe she) happily continued eating a piece of apple.
Mum and joey (how is that, having a lie in the paddock whilst still warm inside your mum's pouch!) were oblivious to the incident and quietly chewed their grass.
Pepper couldn't have given a rat's arse about the incident and continued snoozing in her comfy bed.
However Steve and his evil cohort Tony on the other hand, let the incident take the forefront of the evening's conversation and much jocular stupidity ensued.  Here they are relaxing after a day's fishing looking like butter wouldn't melt in their mouths. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Favourite Photos

As I have not much to talk about apart from house painting at the moment, instead I thought I'd show you my favourite photos from the last few years, either from our property or around Albany in general.