Thursday, 26 February 2015

It's Raining!

Hip Hip Hooray, it's raining today!  :-)  We've had 7-8 mm of steady soaking rain so far and that is excellent.  The earth looks contented, the plants are nodding happily and the frogs are singing in a cacophony of voice.  And we are thrilled to have a day off from hand watering.  It gets a bit much sometimes, trying to be really really careful with watering the plants, trying to stick to a weekly limit and being sad that the grass has to go brown and the plants although alive, are a bit limp and tired.  We are keeping on track, we have about 1/3rd of a tank left, with another month of dry weather, so that's okay.  We are trying not to get excited about the drilling guy that is due the end of next week to see if he can hit underground water for us - we won't know ourselves if that happens!
The poor kangaroos are so darn hungry, they are all ribby and are trying to eat absolutely anything.  We are putting a bit of food out for them, some lucerne chaff and some wheat.  I wait until they are not around, then skip around like Hansel and Gretel, laying a trail of handfuls of food all over the place, so they can come across it unexpectedly.  I know, you are thinking just how darn cute I am aren't you.  :-)  And a soft touch.  :-)  But neither of us like seeing starving wildlife and it makes us feel good to help keep them going.  And having it spread out in little piles means they don't get all aggro and competitive with each other, and we get the pleasure of sitting on the verandah watching them eat. 
This is Brutus, the biggest and dominant male.  Isn't he just the prettiest boy, he has beautiful eyes.  And freaking huge muscles, even in his summer skinniness!  We admire him but keep away from him, although he seems to have a very docile nature compared to some of the stupid teenage males.  He looks like a big mooshy teddybear.
 And on the other end of the size spectrum, this is the newest baby out of the pouch, Ghost.  We named him that because he was almost white when he was a tiny boy in Lucy's pouch.  He has darkened up now but is still lighter than the other joeys.  Isn't he gorgeous.  And I know he is a he because he dangled his willy out a few weeks ago.  Did you know that boy kangaroos have spiral shaped willies?  A fascinating fact for you....
 We been noticing a few of these lovely birds around, they gobble up the last scraps of wheat the kangaroos may have missed.  They are Bronzewing pigeons, you can just see a glimpse of the beautiful iridescent feathers in their wings.
 Autumn is the time of year for sunsets, and we are just starting to see the odd splash of colour in the late summer skies.
 Mum and Dad came down for a visit for a few days, it was great to see you both.  We had a lovely time driving around, eating out, and relaxing on the verandah.  We also went to the National Anzac Centre, which was wonderful.  It is an Anzac museum where you are given one of thirty identities of people in WW1, and you follow their story around the building, with the finale of finding out whether or not they survived.  It has been really well done, and the view from the huge picture windows is a sight to behold.
 In the meantime, all those hours hand watering does pay dividends.  We are not growing very much in the way of vegies at present, to save water, but we do have tomatoes!  I can see a session of pizza sauce making coming up.  We grow Tommytoes, they are like a big cherry tomato and sweet and delicous in salads; and Black Russians, a big, dark tomato with a sensational flavour.  Suddenly they are ripening all over the place, excellent!
 And the pumpkin plants that came up out the back, probably from my compost, have grown like the blazes.  The plants are starting to die off now, and we are left with eight big fat healthy pumpkins.  This one is a Jap variety, but I think it is actually a cross between a Jap and a Queensland blue.  This happened last year too after I had grown both varieties the year before, and it makes a very nice pumpkin.
 This one looks to be a straight Queensland Blue.  I see much soup and many scones coming up in the near future!
 Now, I seem to be able to grow good pumpkins, but melons are another matter entirely.  I am determined to grow rock melons, I have tried year after year and the plants just give up the ghost, probably from insufficient watering.  Anyway, this year a small plant plugged on courageously, bore a few flowers, and then one fruit.  I was very excited I can tell you.  Things didn't go quite as planned though, as you can see from the photo below.  The rock melon was indeed delicious, but it was the size of a walnut!  Perfect in every way, but an itty bitty miniature melon.  We got a whole teaspoon of flesh each ha ha ha.
 Here is a lovely photo of He Wot Builds Stuff, looking thoughtful.  I think he was planning his greenhouse/glasshouse, that being his next building project.  Just a tiny one, big enough to grow a few tomatoes and cucumbers through the winter, and a place to germinate vegie seeds early, and get them in the ground with a good headstart.  Photos of the developing structure next time....

Saturday, 14 February 2015

What Sort Of An Egg Is That!

Over the last few weeks we have had numerous trips to Perth.  We said a lovely goodbye to Steve's dad Eric, his funeral was gentle and funny and beautiful.  And he made sure he said goodbye to us all with the huge clap of thunder and flickering lights when the curtain was drawing over his coffin - we heard you Eric :-) xx

Neo the wonder cat has been an absolute trooper, being stuffed into his carrier and enduring 8 five hour drives, he is such a good traveller, not a peep out of him and he just doses.  Until the final trip home when he decided that he'd had enough and proceeded to try and claw his way out!  I spent the last half an hour of the trip with my hand over the mesh and he settled down again, will have to do some darning with fishing line to fix it I reckon.  Despite Neo's one and only brief faux pas, we rewarded his good behaviour by going to the seafood shop and buying his his very own piece of fresh tuna for his dinner - he lurves fresh tuna!
He did lots of sleeping for a few days after we got home and was very well behaved, however the devil is showing its face once again...... :-)
In between trips to Perth we were racing home and watering madly to try and keep most things alive, it is so darn dry at the moment.  It was also a race to harvest the sweetcorn before it tipped over the edge.  I was pleased with the harvest considering we didn't plant too many, and I stripped the corn kernels off the ears and froze them in bags.  Last years I froze both stripped kernels and full ears of corn and I found the stripped kernels were more useful, so did that to all the harvest for the freezer this time.
On a side note, the little drinks fridge outside had a hissy fit - the shelf between the fridge bit and freezer bit came loose and effectively turned the whole bar fridge into a freezer.  Coke cans don't like being frozen, as evidenced by the exploded one on the bottom shelf, and the blobs of frozen coke splattered from top to bottom.  Ah well, might just throw a bucket of water in there to rinse it.
We had a trial run of Skyping with Paul, Stevie and Riley - good fun!  The girls were running back and forth finding things to show us, lovely :-)
The chooks have been decidedly difficult the last 2 months, they've gone from laying about 3 a day, to only about 5 a week.  No idea why, I have tried everything diet-wise, I just can't believe they are lacking in anything, perhaps they are getting a bit old for regular laying.  Oh yes, we lost one too, in the middle of the trips to Perth.  And I am ashamed to say that I don't actually know who it was!  Since we got the two new girls and they filled out and feathered up, I have trouble telling some of them apart.  All I know is that either Leanne or Angelina went to the big chookhouse in the sky.  The others are fine and actually their laying has picked up a bit over the last week.  This morning's batch was interesting, among two good sized eggs was the teeniest little chook egg I've ever seen!  It's not much bigger than a quail's egg!  How odd hey.
I'm looking out the window and there are roos everywhere.  They are so darn hungry with no green grass around any more.  I do throw out a bucket of lucerne chaff or whole wheat for them a few times a week, but I've had to change how I do it - I used to have a few of the girls following me to the place I used to feed them, but when a few of the hungry big males started following me too, then having one growl at me, I decided that I now throw the feed around when the roos aren't around, so they can find it later when I am safely tucked up in my bed! 

On a final note, we have had to absolute pleasure today of watching the most delightful 81 year old gentleman do water divining on our property.  He is renowned for his accuracy.  It was incredible to watch, Steve can water divine to some extent but this guy, wow, he used wires, and a weird plastic thing and a glass bottle of water, and the movement of them was astounding. Me on the other hand, I am the dead earth wire of the human world - I couldn't divine an ocean! I wish we had heard of him and the drilling guy that uses him earlier - if you remember we had a guy in to try and unsuccessfully drill a bore for us a couple of months ago, well, we have since found out he is rather shonky and useless.  So crossing our fingers that Leon, one of the nicest old blokes I have met (sort of guy you'd wish was your grandad), has pinpointed water that Phil the driller can get to for us.