Saturday, September 26, 2015

H2O From The Deep

This may look like a fairly uninteresting photo, but let me tell you it is beholden with delight.  Can you see that shiny new tap on the fence post, Steve connected that up this morning, it's a tap going into the back garden, but the bestest part of all is that it is coming from the bore tank!  Yahoo, the first piped water from the bore, coming from 50 metres underground!  In the photo I've got a clicker sprinkler going in the background, and the native plants are getting a drink.  This summer will be revolutionary for us, to be able to water without panicking about running ourselves out of rainwater.
And here are some of the plants that will benefit.  I am really proud of this one, it's a Dryandra formosa, a relative of banksia, and it has flowered for the first time.  Lovely golden acorn flowers amid florets of serrated leaves, beautiful.
These are the divine, fluffy flowers of Melaleuca incana, or Grey Honey Myrtle.  It's a fairly unassuming tall shrub, but what I love about it is that it has a weeping habit, something I am very partial to in plants.  The foliage is grey and it has these lovely flowers that the bees and nectar birds go mental over.
This scraggy, sad looking specimen that I've only recently planted is a finger lime!  I am very excited about this, I've wanted to grow one for ages and finally found one.  And look, it has quite a few pink flower buds on it with a couple opening up into white flowers.  Hopefully with the summer watering, this shrub will thrive and give us some finger limes.
I love the elders when they flower, great big florets of puffy white, so pretty.
The globe artichokes have a growth spurt the last few weeks, and we were thrilled to find about six artichokes forming. Yum!
The white mulberry tree has started to put on spring growth, with the beginnings of mulberries starting to show. 
This was the tiny shrub I planted in the corner of the chook yard two and half years ago, with the intent of it growing and providing some shade and shelter for the hens.  Well!  It has outdone itself!  This is a Tagasaste or Tree Lucerne, and it is now twice the height of the chook yard and absolutely laden with blossom, to the delight of the hundreds of bees buzzing around busily in the flowers. 
The chooks thoroughly enjoy spending time underneath it, and will take refuge underneath if anything frightens them.  We are hoping to get some more hens soon, we went to a poultry pencil auction yesterday, but as we didn't know how it worked we got a bit scared of the whole thing and came home empty handed.  I will have to chase up the people that breed Hylines for some more, the people we got our original girls from.  Only one original is left, Angie, on the left.  The other one is Bridget who we got a year later.  I want them to be nice, welcoming girls to the new hens.... going on previous experience I think not and I suspect I will be wiring off part of the yard to keep them apart while they get used to the others.
 The big job this week is to get the orchard netted.  We want to avoid the mistake we made last year of presuming that small, hard, green fruit on a tree would be of no interest to a parrot, we were shocked with the vandalising behaviour of the green parrots last year when they broke fruit off just for the fun of it!  So, we are getting in early this year - ha, take that pesky parrots!
 Here is Steve, Under The Dome.  It's rather nice under the net, we've done it differently this year, encompassing two rows of trees under one net, which made the net higher and thus easier to walk under.  Plus we've made the net nice and tight rather than floppy and droopy, and we are both revelling in the satisfaction of it all. :-)
Did you know that we have a resident in our shed?  Can you see the black skink sitting atop some planks of wood?  He is quite big, about 40cm long, and boy can he climb!  We don't see  him at floor level, he will scare the crap out of us surprise us by rustling and poking his head out well above our heads, he likes to climb up amongst the planks and paint tins and other stuff stored in the racking in the shed.  I shall have to think of a name for him.  PS, it is decided, his name is Voldemort
And here is my little darling.  He is still a little traumatised today.  Because the football was on tellie last night.  I am a loud couch potato spectator, particularly when the Eagles are in a close game.  Neo doesn't quite know what to do when I get noisy watching the football, he runs around the house, watching me, repeatedly coming up and rubbing my foot as if to pacify me, then darting off and leaving me to it.  He gets quite concerned about the whole affair poor love.  He had his vengeance though, he decapitated his toy koala during the night....

Friday, September 18, 2015

Of Glistening Webs

It was back to Perth again this week, to help out mum and dad while mum had her other cataract done, so she has two sparkly new eyes now and soon will be able to see better than all of us I reckon.  I made myself busy before heading to Perth harvesting celery and making soup to take with me for mum and dad.
This soup is proving to be a favourite amongst all I have fed it to.  Cream of Celery Soup, you wouldn't think it would be so nice, but it is, and it doesn't really taste like celery, it has an underlying mushroom flavour to it which is rather odd considering the only ingredients are onion, celery, potato, chicken stock and cream.  Anyway, yum!!
 I also made a huge batch of sausage rolls, meat and veg ones and spinach and ricotta ones, nothing nicer than homemade sausage rolls.  The spinach and ricotta ones were better this time, I added an extra egg which stiffened up the mixture so it stayed in shape more rather than oozing out.
 Michelle came to stay with us, she and I crossed over a day so she and Steve had a lovely daughter/father day out which I gather was very nice, would have to be as they lunched at Boston Brewery which is always good.  Neo was very sociable and consented to accompanying Michelle on the red chair.
 We all went to Boston Brewery again for lunch, yum, and we also went to Hybla, a newish place at Middleton Beach.  Very very nice, and very tastefully decorated.  It used to be the family home of the Lee Steere family, and the name Hybla is apparently that of one of Sir Ernest Lee Steere's racehorses.  Well worth a visit.
 We had a big drive around Denmark, visited the Denmark Cheese Factory at Duckett's Mill Winery and bought some delicious cheese.  We drove along the beautiful Mt Shadforth Road, stopping at the scenic lookout (Wilma, the one next to Hazel's parent's place).  As well as lovely scenery there is a paddock with the most beautiful collection of huge bulls, who serenely eyed us while I posed for a photo.
 
Michelle and I wandered around our place with our cameras, here is Michelle under our lovely Magic Faraway Tree.
 We found lots of sparkling spider webs, dew glistening on the silk.
 The kangaroos are enjoying the warmer weather and the sunshine.
 The orchard is exploding into life now that spring has arrived.  This is the early Angel peach, a flat, white fleshed variety.  Yum!
 The Flavortop nectarine is flowering like mad.
 The Sundowner apple is just budding up.
 I am so enjoying the spectacle of my clivea collection, and this year they are all flowering at once instead of sporadically.
 They are so vibrant and cheerful, and the flowers last for weeks.
 In the bush the wildflowers and shrubs and showing their colours.
 I am most pleased, I can announce that I have finished a project, completely finished it and using it!  I crocheted myself a bag, and lined it with some toile print fabric, adding a few little pockets inside.  I love it!
 It feels beautiful, it's made from organic cotton yarn which is tough yet soft.  And where the colour joins were a bit obvious, I crocheted a big flower and sewed it on.  Yay me! :-)

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Pink Game

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there for tomorrow.  My dad got his present early when I spent half a week in Perth recently helping out, mum now has a sparkly non-cataract eye and is doing well.  I hope you enjoy your DVDs dad xx.

This is what the kids gave Steve, a natty, easy to use coffee aero press.  It sits atop your mug, the bottom filled with ground coffee.  You fill it up with boiling water and push, and coffee appears in your cup.  He also has a nifty little milk frother and some bags of yummy Yahava coffee (Steve has declared Zumo to be his favourite one), he is one happy coffee drinker.  Thanks kids! xx
 
Me, I hate coffee, but I do like hot chocolate.  The milk frother comes in handy for making splendiferous hot chocolate. :-)
 
 As winter comes to an end, there has been quite a bit of harvest from the vegie patch as plants wind up their winter growth, ready to be pulled up and added to the compost heap.  We are very excited about these, being that we really enjoy growing our own potatoes.... it is something that we are truly self sufficient in.  This variety, that we grew for the first time, are Kipflers.  Smaller than other varieties, and distinctively long, skinny and knobbly, they taste delicious!
The English spinach has gone mental.  I've been picking leaves only, a big bucketful at a time, giving it a good rinse and briefly boiling it, then squishing the liquid out of it and freezing it in blocks for later on.  I also made a giant spinach and ricotta lasagne that was shared around the family and declared to be yummy, goodo.  :-)
The celery is ready too, I love growing celery, it does much better down here in the cooler air than Perth.  One of my favourite things to do with it is make gallons of Cream Of Celery soup, which I freeze.  It is delicious! 
How is this for a healthy lunch, homemade hummus and fresh veg.  We can't claim to have grown everything, the capsicum are store-bought..... it's something we struggle to grow - a challenge, once day we will succeed! 
The roos have been relishing the odd sunny day, taking the time to sun themselves for hours.  It's a hard life.  That's Lucy the old girl at the front, right outside the house.
They know how to make themselves comfortable.  That's Lucky spread out snoring under the lime tree.  He was Lucy's joey two years ago and is so named as he nearly got grabbed by a big wedgetailed eagle when he was a wee boy just out of Lucy's pouch.
May I introduce Chip and Jane.  Chip is one of the newer big males, he probably ranks second or third in the hierarchy.  He is named Chip as he has a very dark nose with lighter fur around his eyes and cheeks, and when he looks at you head-on, he looks a bit like a chipmunk.  Jane is named as Plain Jane, she has no distinguishing marks at all, which is how I know who she is, as all the others have something to identify them.  Her new joey's head is just visible between her legs.
 
I haven't told you about Neo's morning ritual, we have called it The Pink Game.  On the end of our bed is an ancient, holey, pink cardigan, and every morning without fail, when I get dressed, Neo burrows underneath it, waiting for The Pink Game.  He can see through it, and waits for hands to hover over him, and attacks!  He can get a little carried away, I have a few scars to show for this fun game, he is such a dag.  :-)
He has good fun playing it, and will stay under the cardigan for ages after I've got bored.
Even better when his best toy, a little koala that Stevie gave him, is involved.
 
BITS AND BOBS
Water status - both water tanks overflowing.  Total water storage 125000 litres
What we are eating from the garden - cabbage, broccolini, English spinach, celery, sugar snap peas,  King Edward, Dutch Cream, Kipfler, Norland and Almera potatoes, bell chillies, herbs, citrus (lime, lemon and orange) and passionfruit.
Egg status - a couple a week, we need more chooks!
What am I making - on a crochet binge at the moment, currently making a shopping bag.  Also having a go at knitting Stevie and Riley beanies with a hole in the top for ponytail to poke through, not sure what they will make of them! :-)