Saturday, June 27, 2015

Of Loose Feathers and Warm Fur

As we settle into winter, there is a delicious chill to the air, and things changing with the seasons.  Chickens stop laying eggs and Angie has decided to moult all her wing feathers, she is a scruffy looking girl at the moment.  Bridget has decided to keep all her plumage, very wise I think. 
 Kangaroos take every opportunity to bask in the afternoon warmth.  This one took it to the extreme, lying on his back for ages, working on his tummy tan.
 We are loving the greenness that is enveloping us.  We've nearly got full grass cover right in front of the house now, just a wee bit of sand showing through.
 Green green green
There is a surprising amount of colour around too, considering how cold it is.  The bell chillies are hanging their with their shiny redness, the yellow bearded iris are shooting up their tall towers of blooms, the yellow abutilon just keeps on keeping on, I've never seen it without flowers and it is particularly abundant at the moment.
 The wattles are starting to flower.  This one is my favourite, a small weeping tree called Acacia fimbriata.  Apart from loads of flowers, they have a wonderful fresh and slightly fragrant scent.
 The kunzea is just starting to flower, the little birds love this big shrub, it's very dense and good for hiding.
The passionfruit vines just keep on keeping on.  I expected dormancy and bare branches by now, but they are still full of leaves and fruit.  A few fruit are trying to colour up  bit, we tried one the other day, lovely passionfruit flavour but rather sour.  Not surprising I suppose, I imagine warmth and sunshine gives fruit its sweetness. 
 Steve has been a busy lad with the planting of the winter vegies.  Everything is growing well.  This bed has celery around the edge, with beetroot, broccolini and cabbages in the middle, with potatoes at the end.  Steve has another potato bed that he planted back in March, we are enjoying yummy King Edwards and Dutch Creams from there now.  Potatoes grow well here, we seem to be able to keep ourselves self sufficient in those, which is great.
 This bed has garlic around the edge, with English spinach and broccoli in the middle, with  Swiss chard at the end.  The chooks love eating the spare leaves from winter veg, any leaves that are hanging down too near the ground I pull off and toss into their yard, they gobble them up.
 These are the broad beans.  Steve has planted a lot less of these this year, they have been very prolific producers over the last 3 seasons and we end up with far too many, so less plants this year and more space for other things.  There is also a bed of carrots in.
There are problems areas here and there.  This is the one we are about to remedy.  These are our hazelnut bushes, three of.  We imagined they would look lovely alongside the house as a nice thick hedge in front of where we park our cars.  But we didn't count on how delicious the leaves are to the kangaroos, so much so that they broke down the small fence we'd put up to protect the plants.  So we had to build a Fort Knox to keep them from being devoured, but with that comes the great difficulty of controlling weeds and kikuyu grass, so it's a sorry looking, unkempt area with sad hazelnuts.  We are going to move them, we've found a spot in the back garden which has a boundary fence, so hopefully they will be happier there.
 I've done stuff all craft this year, just not in the mood, but I am playing with a small embroidery that I started at our annual Stitches By The Sea workshop.  We had to put small rocks, shells, beads, rings etc between two layers of calico, then let our imaginations run wild to create what is called Encrusted Calico.  My shapes of trapped things have become somewhat obscured by lots of stitching, but it's been rather fun. 
 And here, on a final note, is his lordship, with the hint of crazed mania in his eyes as he considers his next evil plot.  But he's also turned into a mooshy bear, enjoying cuddles more than usual and he has the most luxurious, thick, winter coat for me to bury my face in.  :-)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Who's A Big Five!

I popped up to Perth for a visit over the weekend, to catch up with family, and most importantly, to see a special little someone who is a great big FIVE years old!  Who could it be?

Little Miss Granddaughter Riley, that's who!  Here she is looking gorgeous with her pussy cat ears and fluffy vest.  And half of her great grandad in the background, sorry I chopped you off  dad!
 I made cupcakes.  Note to self, don't make thick, creamy icing again, it's too rich and overpowering.
 Here's Paul and his grandma busy in the kitchen, preparing our little party feast.
 Michelle and Stevie were busy with Stevie's new sticker book.
 Riley got busy with her new sticker book too.
 And here is her wonderful dad.
It was a lovely gathering, always great to see you all.  xxxx

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Calculation Annihilation

Our friend Tony kindly let me use a couple of his photos from his visit last weekend, thanks Tony.  I had to comment further on our lunch at Boston Brewery, which as you all know, is the best place in the world to pop in for a delicious lunch.  Here we are, with the boys enjoying their paddles of beer, this is the way to sample Boston's current range.  Their favourite was an English mild style beer, malty and delicious apparently.  I wouldn't know, I had my halo on and drank water.  I really did.
The need for further comment on the visit was this.  I notice Tony's photo is a bit shaky, hardly surprising, we were all gobsmacked and shaking with anticipation when this arrived.  After knocking off a delicious steak each, we all ordered lemon tart for dessert, but as the price for 3 tarts was dearer than a platter that also contains 3 lemon tarts, the boss Al, took it upon himself to give us the platter  instead.  Holy guacamole!  We all slid our spoons into the shiny yellow tarts, surprised at the crunch of the exterior (thin layer of perhaps white chocolate, with a shiny, fruity, lemony coating), then found the luscious lemony custard, meringue and pastry base inside.  We all stared at each other, eyes boggling, as we experienced something akin to perfection.  OMG, it was sensational!  Then we sampled their macarons, brownie and gelati that were also on the platter, nice but nothing came close to those amazing tarts.  Nanna naps were in order for us all on our return home!
The guys from ThinkWater in Albany came and connected up all the equipment to suck the water from the bore hole automatically.  After a couple of minor hiccups the system is up and running.  Down the hole, above the submersible pump that is 46 metres down, are three sensors, to tell the controller whether to pump the water or not.  The lowest sensor, a metre above the pump, is the emergency cut off one, so water always sits higher than the pump thus not stuffing it up by exposing it to the air.  The other two sensors are sitting at about 30 metres and 42 metres down the hole, so when the water in the hole fills to the top sensor, the pump starts sending water to the tank, and the pump stops when the water in the hole gets down to the second sensor at 42 metres down.  Clear as mud?
So, the pump is coming on about 10 times a day for about 15 minutes at a time.  The fill rate of the borehole is fairly slow, the luck of the draw in drilling boreholes, but the system is pumping about 3000 litres a day into the tank, which will be plenty for our small hobby farm needs. There is a float system in the tank so when it is full the bore pump stops.  Apparently, as the bore is so deep, the amount won't change with the seasons.   It will be so good to have this water into the summer, it's like a TimTam tank, just keeps on filling up.  Yay!
Things like this fantabulous lime tree will be very happy with the extra water in summer.  Of all the citrus, this tree is the king and queen, it has grown magnificently and is smothered in flowers and limes.  We've been drinking soda water with lime juice, very nice!
Steve has been busily measuring, calculating and recording what the bore pump has been doing, to build up a bigger picture of amounts of water.  He learned a valuable lesson the other night - never leave your paperwork on the table overnight - the ninja cat from hell considers this a fun game indeed - it's called Calculation Annihilation!
 We have just updated our ten year old audio/visual equipment.  Isn't this a daunting looking exercise!  I claim total dumbness in this regard and hand it over to the guru husband. 
This morning we saw the first emergence from the pouch of Patience's new joey, the one we've been calling Elf.  Not sure if we have a girl or a boy yet.
Elf sat there tentatively for a while then tried out those skinny, gangly, uncoordinated legs, wobbling all over the place before getting the hang of it and have a quick maniacal run around.  So cute.