Monday, 22 September 2014

Splendid Blue

I know, I know, I have been a Blog slacker lately, sorry.  It's been busy around here!  We had a few days in Perth on short notice after we heard the sad news that Steve's Uncle Albert had passed away.  So we paid our respects at his funeral and caught up with loads of extended family we haven't seen for years.  Steve looks rather handsome all spiffed up don't you think, doesn't look like a bogan at all... :-)
We had a lovely evening with Paul and Michelle at Paul's house.  Fantastic Indian takeaway for dinner, yum yum!
Selfie with Michelle.  We stayed with mum and dad and had a lovely meal out with them at The Mussel Bar in Fisherman's Harbour.  Lovely view and good company, shame I forgot to take a photo of us!  Thanks for your hospitality mum and dad! xx
 Now the other reason for my tardiness with the blog post is that I was determined to get a particular photo.  You see, all my plantings around the place have been for one main reason, to encourage the small birds in and to give them another haven to play in.  It takes time.  We've been thrilled to see Scarlet Robins, Silvereyes, Western Spinebills, Fantails and various wrens in my garden, but the biggest and bestest thrill was the very first sighting of a Splendid wren, together with his tribe of women, pottering around my plants.  They are difficult little buggers to photograph, they never keep still!  Hence it has taken me a few days of stalking to finally get the shots I wanted.  I had to weed the bloody garden for 3 hours before they finally came in to look for bugs in the turned soil.  But it was worth it, isn't he the most beautiful bird you have ever seen.
 And this one is a juvenile male, looking a bit scrappy, having a lovely time beating a hapless caterpillar to death!
And this is the less spectacular, brown female, although she does have a cheerful blue tail.  I love her red beak.  You have no idea how thrilling this has been, to find that these little birds have chosen to spend time in my garden.  Happy happy joy joy!
That's my garden, the fenced bit on the left.  Everything is exploding with spring growth and there are flowers everywhere.  We've just finished doing the first mow after winter, love how spick and span it looks and so green!
 The Kangaroo Paws and Geraldton Wax are positively brimming with flowers.  The Western Spinebills with their long, curved beaks, love slurping the nectar from the Kangaroo Paws.  And the Geraldton Wax is such a dense shrub that there can be a dozen little birds hiding inside it and you wouldn't even know until you walk close by and they all come zooming out!
 My first cornflower of the year, they are my favourite annual.  I don't plant many annuals, but I just have to have these happy little blue flowers.
The Moonglow grevillea is finally starting to grow well after being in the ground for 3 years.  It has lovely big cream flowers that as you can see, the bees love.  I am hoping that grevilleas with encourage honeyeaters into our garden, that's one variety of little bird we haven't seen yet, as our native bushland doesn't seem to have nectar plants, so I've been busily planting a lot.
 I have been so happy with the cliveas this year, never before have I seen such big, vibrant flowers on them.  They are so bright under the big peppermint tree, like orange beacons.  They, amazingly enough, don't need a fence around them, apparently they must taste horrible as the roos don't touch them.
Speaking of roos, our residents hang around most of the time, always interested to see what we are up to.  There seems to be an explosion of joeys in pouches at the moment, soon we'll be seeing the new gangly ones having their first tries at hopping around, such a delight to see.  :-)
We spotted something rather exciting in the garden.  Our first olive tree, which I planted nearly 3 years ago, has stubbornly refused to flower for the last two years.  I've been cursing it, not knowing what I was doing wrong, it gets watered and fertilised, goodness knows what was going on.  Anyway, we were thrilled to see the tree absolutely covered in teeny tiny flowers a few weeks back.  And now there is the start of teeny tiny olives, absolutely gazillions of them!  Perhaps the tree has made up for lost time.  This variety is Frantoio, traditionally I believe this is an oil olive, but the one tiny jar we pickled the first year it went in were delicious as pickled olives, small olives but with a really nice flavour.  So, here's hoping for a good crop!
 We finally managed to have our big bonfire, this time of year there are bonfires everywhere on farms as the stuff to burn is finally drying out enough, plus there is a frenzy of activity with this too as the firebans start in a month.  We have five huge stumps in our bonfire area, that have been there for 2 years now, and have been through at least four burnings, with Steve cramming all the other burnable stuff around them.  These stumps are flippin hard to burn, each time they get a tiny bit smaller but it's going to be a couple more years before they disintegrate entirely.  Had to laugh though, the stump on the left did burn quite well and we were amused to see its shape had changed into that of a giant rabbit, in profile.
We have been busy cleaning up and doing spring plantings in the main vegie garden, this is the second vegie garden where I grew a lot of greens, carrots, onions, beetroot and garlic after Steve kindly manured and tilled the soil.  It needs weeding.  I need to get those cabbages out of the ground, they are all ready.  The onions and garlic will be a while yet, the carrots are almost all finished (they have been brilliant this year), and there is still plenty of beetroot growing.  The chooks have adored having endless supplies of greens, I often tie up huge bunches of leaves in their yard.  At the moment I've run a little fence down near the bottom so the chooks have access to the huge brussels sprouts plants (which although have grown beautiful leaves, have failed dismally at sprouts).  They love it, they spent a large part of their day out there scratching around, eating brussels leaves, dustbathing under brussels plants, I even found an egg under a plant!  We are blessed with eggs with brilliant, fluoro yolks courtesy of all this good green stuff.
Speaking of eggs, look at this, we've just had the one thousanth egg from our gorgeous hens, in 13 months.  Clever girls.
Steve harvested the last of the winter potatoes this morning, and planted up the new bed of spuds.  10 kilos of beautiful, organically grown, King Edward potatoes.  Yum!
 When we moved down here, living in the shed, I planted a small grove of Acacia trees behind the shed, extending out from our remnant piece of bushland.  I planted a lot of acacias around the place actually, but most of them succumbed to sandy, dry soil, or were eaten by roos.  This little area I bunged a fence around and gave them a bit of water.  They have grown like crazy over the last year, considering they were tubestock, so like the size of your finger, some of them are now taller than I am!  I took the fence down recently, figuring that the roos can only reach the lower foliage to eat, which is fine.  Currently the trees are all bursting with brilliant yellow blossom, plus amongst them is my fragrant, white flowered Wedding Bush.  Very happy with this little area.  :-)
 And walking through our foresty bushland remnant, I love seeing the native shrubs in flower too.  The yellow ones are Cutleaf Hibbertia, not sure what the white ones are.  The bees are very busy!
Growing in the grass under the tall peppermint trees, I came across this bizarre thing, looks like something you'd find washed up on the beach!  On investigating,  it is a fungus called Clavaria zollingeri, commonly called Violet or Magenta Coral.  Isn't it amazing!  It's about the size of both my hands laid flat
The creek has been fairly pitiful this year, hardly any flow due to the lack of rain, but we had a welcome 40mm of rain recently, and thus the creek looks lovely again, for a few days, then it dwindles down again.
And with all this busyness going on outside, it is also footy finals time.  It's nice to sit and watch on the tellie, with a cold glass of wine and some nibblies.


  1. Wow Dy, the place looks great what a reward for all the work you have done. I didn't recognise Steve with his haircut and I just LUV the wrens! Great photo's they are so hard to capture.

    1. Thanks Steph. I was rapt with the wren photos. Finally worked out the best way to succeed is to put my camera on an automatic setting called Sport, I guess it gives it a fast shutter.

  2. Lots of wonderful growth, colour, wildlife and eggs... what on earth have you done with 1000 eggs in how long??

    1. Pennie, the 1000 eggs are over 13 months, so an average of about 18 per week. We eat over a dozen a week and the rest we give to friends and family. :-)