Saturday, 22 August 2015

Sheep That Bounce

Lots of lovely lovely rain this week, the water tanks are all but full and the winter creek is gurgling along happily.
It has cooled down this week.  This is look of a cat who is waiting for the fire to be lit.  He has become used to having his furry self warmed and cosied with a crackling fire, and gets quite indignant if it isn't seen to promptly.
 So Steve scurried over to the dwindling pile of dry firewood to keep Neo happy. 
 Angie the chicken has decided to lay eggs again, Bridget spits out the odd one, but Angie is a superstar.  Nothing like homelaid dippy eggs.
 We call this lot our flock of sheep.  We don't really need actual sheep, the roos do a pretty good job of keeping the grass down in winter.
 I love it when they hang around close to the house, the citrus grove is one of their favourite spots.
 Despite the cold, we have had a few lovely warm days lately, much to the appreciation of the plants.  The back terrace garden is growing well and it is surprising how much is flowering at this time of year.
 My camellia has settled in and is budding up nicely, producing beautiful, big, pink flowers. 
 The hebe is just starting to flower.
 This is called loropetalum.  It's still quite small but I find it very interesting and different.  The leaves are almost black and it produces bright pink little tassel flowers.  It's a low spreading shaped plant and I'm looking forward to it getting bigger and more striking.
 My favourite, as I have mentioned many a time, is this beautiful yellow abutilon or Chinese Lantern Plant.  It never stops flowering.  The flowers are like downward facing hibiscus flowers, it is so cheerful just outside my kitchen window.
 Things look a bit bare in the dormancy of the orchard.  The plants are toting up their winter chill hours in readiness for spring.
 But wait, there is life!  The almond tree is always the first.  It has just about finished flowering and there are teeny tiny almonds forming, and the leaves are starting to show themselves.  Last year we got seven almonds, how many this year I wonder? :-)
 The early apricot is also just about to burst into blossom.  This is a triple grafted apricot, each of the three branches being different varieties, an early (Story), mid (Trevatt) and late (Moorpark) season variety.  We used to grow apricots in Perth and it was always a crazy rush to use them in the brief three weeks of ripening, a huge glut then nothing.  So the idea of having a smaller amount but ripening at three different times is very appealing, let's hope it grows well.
 The vegie patch has grown like crazy.  In this bed we have broccolini, celery, cabbage, potatoes, beetroot and sugar snap peas.
 And in this bed we have garlic, English spinach, swiss chard and broad beans
 We are lucky here, we seem to be to grow potatoes all year round, and gradually Steve has worked out a system that has him planting out potatoes four times a year instead of twice.  It works well and spreads the harvest out nicely.  This is the newest bed, all King Edwards, growing well.
 Steve is still working on his book.  I love the grain that has appeared in the front.
 And this is the back.  He has started adding some colour and varnish.  I love the aged look it has.
 I'm thinking this is where I'd like it to be kept, right in the middle of the coffee table.  What do you think?
 My little blankie is almost done.  I'm quite pleased with it and feel every so virtuous that it is made from odd balls of wool that would have ended up in the bowels of the cupboard, never to be used.  I'm not weaving in the ends either, I'm going to add more scraps of wool along the two end edges, then trim them down to about an inch long, so there is a fringe. Easy peasy!
 And a new little embroidery project to keep me out of mischief.

Friday, 14 August 2015

She-Oak Shaping

I've just got home after a week in Perth.  Poor old dad finally escaped from hospital after nearly six weeks, so I went up to help him and mum out.  Here's dad in his fantabulous electronic chair that gently lifts him out, rather than having to struggle.  He's learning to walk again and doing quite well with his Zimmer frame, aren't you dad.  Things can only get better from now on hey.  xx
It was lovely to see you both, and sorry I forgot to take a photo of you mum!

I managed to catch up with nearly all the family which was lovely.  I was a bit of a dumbo and forgot to snap photos of Paul, Stevie, Riley, Cathy and Steph, but I did manage one of Michelle and Michael. 
I managed to pop into our old sewing group one afternoon, and spent a pleasant few hours with Leanne and Angie.  Anne sadly was working but I managed to visit her briefly on my way out of Perth....and I forgot to take a photo...... :-)
Boy was I excited to see this handsome face when I got home.  I think he forgot to shave though, look at that bushy beard!
I was also thrilled to see the other handsome fellow in my life.  He ignored me for all of about five minutes when I got home, then proceeded to drape himself all over me, all gooey and gorgeous.
Steve had been busy while I was away.  He started honing down a nice piece of aged she-oak, slowly a shape started appearing.
The smoothing has started and more tweaking of the shape.
He started work on the back too, it's starting to look like a beautiful open book.  I can't wait for it to be finished!
Steve also did some harvesting today, 30 kilos of delicious potatoes - 8 kilos of Dutch Creams, 18 kilos of King Edwards and 4 kilos of Almeras. yum!  He hadn't picked any broccolini while I was away and we are overrun with it, so a big green dinner tonight with a few sausages I think.
While Steve was being busy in the spud bed, I washed clothes and vacuumed and all that boring crap.  I also had to deal with the correspondence from the Taxation Dept, who thought we might like to pay them $600, ummm, no thank you.  I was scratching my head over that and finally found my boo-boo in the online tax return I did just before going to Perth.  Silly me transcribed a figure wrongly from the HBF statement, so I had to do an online tax amendment (easy peasy!) and now we can keep our $600, thank you very much.  :-)

Oh yes, on a final note, those bloody chickens, who have not laid an egg for 2 months, laid FOUR eggs for Steve while I was away.  Hmmph!