Friday, 17 June 2016

Picture Of Innocence

We had a visit to Perth last weekend, to visit two special little girls.  And one of them was turning six!  Happy Birthday to you dear Riley, you are growing up so fast!  We had a lovely time with Stevie-Lee, Riley, Paul and Michelle with pink cupcakes.  :-) xx
Sock knitting continues, I haven't done much this week but I've turned the heel so it's smooth sailing to the toe.  Can you see that small green and white thing? It's a knitting row counter.
And see this innocent face?  Neo is obsessed with the row counter, but he doesn't just come along and play with it.  He casually sidles past, apparently to give me a cuddle, but in fact to see if the counter is out and about, he oozes nonchalance and acts as if he doesn't care.  Then he wanders off for a few minutes, washing his leg or something, the picture of indifference.  Then at some point he will wander past my chair again, stopping to give me an arm rub, and deftly but quietly hooks that counter onto the floor.  Then he goes off again, pretending nothing has happened, but he knows exactly where it has fallen.  Then, a bit later we can hear him playing, batting something around on the floor and he is discovered.  Sometimes I see him do it but more often than not I don't, and it's not until I need to use it that I realise and thwart his cunning plan.  He is a devil :-)
 While I have been knitting, Steve continues his pottering in the shed.  I am mega impressed with this wooden gear he's made.
 This machine has something to do with the start of it all.  He started off with an old, weathered  piece of 4x4 jarrah, then turns it into a cylindrical shape, then slices a skinny piece off that to start making it into a gear.  He is a clever clogs.
And the galahs are busy at work too.  Up to 40 busily feed in the kikuyu grass and do a fabulous job of dethatching it.
 It looks like a mess when they have finished, but after all the dry stuff blows away we are left with grass in really good condition.  Well done feathered workers!
 Meanwhile on a warm area of grass lie Lucy and Rabbit, curled up in the sun having sweet dreams.  They do this for hours, it's like have long tailed pet dogs out the front.  :-)
 The orchard is settling down to dormant winter mode, with the chooks doing a good job of keeping the area under the trees fairly clear of grass and weeds.  We are attempting to reshape the Granny Smith tree at present, the main branches are growing very upright, which will make the fruit grow too high on the tree eventually, so we are persuading the branches to grow more outwards by tying them down, giving the desired vase shape for a fruit tree.
 The ducks have a new pool.  I popped down to Bunnings and bought a clamshell paddling pool after my buddy Ange told me they were only $13.  I sunk it slightly into the ground, built up the soil on one side for a ramp and popped a few pieces of wood around the edge for steps.  Then I got worried that a chook might fall in and not be able to get out so I plonked a large brick into the water for something to stand on.  The ducks have steadfastly refused to use it.  They sidle around it with one eye on it, obviously fascinated, but wont dip their toes in, preferring instead to swim around, one at a time, in the small plastic baby bath they've had up til now.  Update:  I've just been down to lock the chook yard up for the night, and the water is all dirty, which means they've finally agreed to swim in it.  Hoorah!
 Effing mice!  When Steve built the chook shed, he used leftover building materials from our house, and was thus able to give the chooks a double walled shed, complete with insulation in the walls.  Well, the bloody mice worked out how to get in between the walls and have set themselves up a cosy home amongst the insulation.  Then they proceeded to start chewing holes through the thin inner wall so they could visit the chook shed restaurant in the evenings.  I really don't know why chook feeders hang off the ground, mice can JUMP! They are cocky little buggers, if I go into the shed and stand there quietly, there will soon be little faces peering out of the holes!  We didn't consider this hiccup to the double walled, insulated chook shed.  Oh well.  As long as they keep their eyes off OUR house!  They are clever little things, when we were about to leave for Perth, we popped the bonnet on my car to top up the washer fluid, and we found the remnants of tomatoes atop the motor, where some smart little mouse found a nice warm spot to have his dinner!
 The citrus are doing well and producing a good amount of fruit.  I love how winter is citrus time, particularly the oranges, they look so pretty on the tree.
 Da Dum!  This is our very first mandarine!  The tree only produced one, but it's the first one so that's very exciting.  It blew off in strong wind last week, but it was yummy regardless.  We've started eating our Navel oranges now, which are also good.  We love orange slices with Blue Castello cheese, yum yum yum.
One of best things about winter is that the wattles start to flower.  They are so beautiful and smell lovely.  This one is Acacia fimbriata.
The other best thing about winter is water.  Both our tanks are overflowing which is amazing considering it is only the middle of June.  We've had heaps of rain so we are happy.  The creek continues to be marvelous too.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Of Expanding Fungi And Rampant Rhubarb

Wow the mornings have been chilly lately.  But we are trying to do more walking with the intent of fitness and vitality, both of which are sadly lacking at present.  We took ourselves down to Cosy Corner early one morning.  What a sight, just look at the fog on the water!  We couldn't see more than ten metres out from shore.  Spooky and lovely.
 Slowly as the sun rose higher, the battle between it and the fog began.
 After our walk, we drove up to the lookout atop the cliffs above Shelley Beach.  As you can see, the fog was fast receding by then, and was sitting way over the other side of the bay.
 And here's Shelley Beach, that faces the other way, into the morning sun.  No fog there, just clear and beautiful as usual.  There is one lone fisherman on the beach, I wonder if he caught anything?
We have bought ourselves an exercise bike, figuring that while we watch tv we could be trying to get fitter.  You'd think living here would keep us fit, but it's funny, because the ground is so uneven, with rabbit diggings, sticks and big grass tufts, it's hard to do a walk at a good pace, because you're busy making sure you're not going to trip over anything.  So our walks are more like strolls.  We are mournfully pathetic on the bike at present, managing only a few minutes at a time.  I do turn the resistance up so it's harder to pedal though, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  :-)
 Do you remember this photo from last week, of teeny tiny pinhead sized fungi that started growing at a base of tree alongside the creek?
 Look at it now!  I can't believe how much it has grown!  I love fungi, it's so interesting.
 I noticed something very exciting in my nicely running creek.  Tadpoles!  Yahoo, the ecosystem approves of my creek digging!  Trying to take a photo of tadpoles is something else entirely, the water was flowing fast this morning as we had a nice lot of rain overnight, so I managed to find ONE tadpole to photograph.  I have circled it in green in case you missed it ha ha.
 Meanwhile in the veggie patch, which is awaiting weeding and winter planting, the rhubarb continues to excel itself.  Normally it would be dying down over winter, but there's no sign of that happening yet, so I picked heaps and stewed it up with a few of our homegrown Granny Smiths, and froze it in containers for later desserts.
 Drum roll.......
I have finished my socks!  And I love them, they are really comfortable and keep my feet at just the right temperature.  I have learned a few things too, they are a touch loose, so the next pair I make myself I will drop a needle size to make them perfect.  But as I am not really a knitter, and have always struggled with it, I am patting myself on the shoulder for a job well done. :-)
 And I have started the next pair already!  These are for Steve.  I've got enough of this blue/black colourway to make a pair, which seems reasonably boyish in colour, so they are for my dear husband. 
 Not much happening on the embroidery front as I am a knitting addict at present.  This is what we did at our Stitches By The Sea workshop day with the Denmark group, lavender bags.  This is the embroidery that is on one side of the bag.
 And here is my gorgeous boy, sitting on my lap under my sewing light, the LED globes illuminating him in a beautiful, smoky way.