Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Mum, The Roos Really Do Visit!

As the hard work of finishing up all the Christmas food and goodies finally draws to a close, life begins to return to normal.  The chookies have had a marvelous time helping out with finishing up the food, here they are breakfasting on chopped up vegie scraps highlighted with accents of whipping cream and custard.  Those heads didn't come up for ages, they loved it!!
Interestingly I noticed that their feathers have lightened up a lot recently, perhaps the weather?  I know they moult in autumn so perhaps that is the way it works, they go lighter first?
It is very dry here now and as we are on tank rainwater we are watering sparingly just to keep native plants ticking over,  but also employing other methods of water retention in our sandy soil.  Everything has been given a healthy pile of barley straw as a mulch, along with a shovelful of cow poo.  And any work done outside is done with the addition of the trusty fly veil and hat.  Gosh they are a pain those bushflies.  Thankfully they are only at their worst for about six weeks
These are the natives I planted in autumn, and the bigger ones in autumn last year.  Considering that I was frugal with native plant buying and only bought tube stock, which are teeny tiny plants for 75 cents each, they are all growing well.  I've only lost 2 plants out of 70.  They all have their mulch and poo and if there is no rain I am only trying to water them once a week.  Tough little cookies they are.
The fruit trees and vegies on the other hand, are being watered every other day.  Last year we grew virtually nothing in the vegie patch last summer as we were too scared to water sufficiently, but we have wised up this year and worked out how much garden watering we could spare from the tank.  The citrus have suddenly exploded into growth which is very heartening, this is the Eureka lemon tree and all the burgundy coloured leaves are the new ones.
We have a tiny fig tree that has been in the ground for about 18 months, but with the extra summer watering this year it is dripping with about 40 figs which is a hell of a lot for its small size.  And look how big the figs are!! 
The tomatoes plants are growing at a rate of knots.  Only a dribble of fruit so far but that's fine.  We have had to get used to the fact that things ripen later here than in Perth as it is so much cooler.  Perth is the place to grow magnificent tomatoes before Xmas that's for sure.  We are planning to build ourselves a greenhouse of sorts during this year, so hopefully that will give us the ability to grow warm loving things a little earlier.
 The pumpkins are starting to set fruit.
I have a number of rogue pumpkin plants that have sprung up from the compost I used to fertilise other plants.  This beautiful one is threatening to block the gate to the chook yard!  I have read that chooks like a fresh pumpkin just chopped in half so they can hollow it out, so as it appears we will be overrun with pumpkins again, the chookies can feast too!
Steve is thrilled to bits with the progress of his scarlet runner bean plants.  This is something that is impossible to grow in Perth as it is too hot, but they grow well here.  Aren't the flowers pretty.
Far out, take a gander at the sweetcorn.  Can you see me in the middle there, completely dwarfed by the plants?  We have about 80 corn plants in, each with about 4 cobs forming, sooooo, in a few weeks we will suddenly be harvesting a few hundred cobs!  Lots of eating fresh, lots of blanching then freezing, I need to check out some preserving recipes, give some to friends and neighbours, that's what it's all about!  Just got to keep the watering up for the next few weeks.  In front of the corn are the many many potato plants, which we are eating now.  Yum.
Of course when one grows food, one can expect visiting wildlife.  Once we get our orchard fence done we will net fruit trees and berry plants but for now I have my strawberries in pots and I keep moving them and putting a bit of straw over them in a vain attempt to outsmart the parrots.
Hmm, what is that luscious red thing I spy in that little claw?  Yum yum said the parrot, and aren't I cute?  I will just sit here on this handy fence and wait for your strawberries to ripen, human.
In the meantime we will sit atop the net over the potted apple trees and try and work out how to get inside, and gobble up the few little apples that are slowly changing colour.  Little devils!  They haven't got at the apples yet.
There are rabbits everywhere at the moment, and in areas within the forest there is furious digging going on.  Thankfully our vegies are well fenced and the rabbits can't get at them.  Yet.  I suspect the day a rabbit burrows into Steve's precious vegie patch might be the day he goes and buys a gun! :-)
The kookaburras are very active this time of year, 4.30am is their favourite time to start their group hysterical laughter.  With the increased insect life of summer, they like to hunt at dusk for bugs.  One of them regularly sits on the corner of the roof just outside our bedroom, watching for the huge flying beetles he so like to catch and crunch up.  The feathered sentinel.
Mum and dad, these kangaroo photos are for you.  Remember how there were virtually no roos around during your stay?  Our fickle visiting roos often seem to nick off when we have visitors, perhaps the strange car upsets them.  Poor mum would get up early each morning and race to the window hoping to see roos everywhere, to no avail.  Anyway, they are all back again, lounging around just down from the house.  Here is the huge male we call Brutus having a lie down, and his latest female interest sitting in front.  We are very happy to see Brutus actually, he disappeared about six months ago and another big male was around instead.... we thought he may have been usurped.
This is Felix, the newest big male.  We seem to have a lot of male roos around at present, normally we have lots of females and joeys.  The roos seem to have have spread out lately, I suppose with the dwindling green grass they are moving further afield to graze.
This is Lucy, the only female we recognise enough to name.  We think she is quite an old girl, her face is a bit sunken in and she is a bit bony.  But she has bred again and her cute joey is peeking out at us.
I'm sure I've shown you our teeny tiny view before, we see a hint of Wilsons Inlet sparkling in the sun occasionally, and behind that the Denmark hills off in the distance.
Here it is on full camera zoom.  It is an interesting, ever-changing view, depending on the weather and the season.  See that dark green strip above the foreground trees?  That is potato fields in full growth.  Then it will turn yellow then after winter it will be black after they burn the field.  This direction is WNW and our storms come from here.  It is interesting to watch the clouds roll in, and when the view is obliterated with distant rain, we know we are going to get a soaking.  This week however, that view has been virtually invisible as there is a big fire (deliberately lit by some lowlife) burning north of Denmark and the smoke has travelled far and wide.
Smoke makes for interesting sunsets.
The Albany Half Triathlon was held on Sunday.  My sister-in-law Cathy and my niece Steph were officials and after their work was done, came to visit us for the night.  It was lovely to catch up.  They had one of the elite athletes staying with them so he came to visit too.  Here we are saying cheerio to Cathy, Steph and the tall and muscly Eric, who came second in the triathlon.
We are off to visit some friends today, hopefully the boys can catch some fish, whilst Ruth and I can talk gardens and sewing and all the other important things of the world!

1 comment:

  1. You and your growing powers amaze and astound me! Wonderful stuff!