Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Gap

This weekend we are blessed with the company of Sam and Paul :-)
We've had gale force winds and driving rain throughout the night and it's freezing cold.  There is a mega swell too, so despite the weather we dragged our visitors out for the morning, because when there's a big swell one has to visit The Gap!

I have no photos to do the power of The Gap justice, but when we pulled in to the car park, there was salt spray shooting 15 metres into the air, all over the cars.  And the wind!  We battled our way along the path, being buffered and saturated all the way, until we got to the new platform.  It is quite a sight, standing safely over the ferocious seas, watching the swell whoosh up the sides of the cliff face and straight up into the air.

Good job we were rugged up in our warmest clothes, it was freezing and we were wet!  But what fun! :-)

 Along the path past the Natural Bridge the seas were pounding the coast.
 The Salmon Holes were rough as well and we were pleased to see that no idiot fishermen were on the rocks, the swell was whooshing over the rocks and no-one would have stood a chance.
 We are home now, salt encrusted but dry and warm, it was a great morning!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Egg Wonder

As it seems to be for much of the lower half of WA, it's been cold, wet and windy.  The fire has been keeping us warm, and we are not venturing outside much at the moment.  My morning chore however, come rain or shine, is to tend to our feathered friends.
 Here is Puddles, with the white feathers on her head, and below is Spuddles, checking out the food bowl while one of the chookies looks on.  You can see their lovely blue clamshell pool in the background, full of muddy water from their muddy feet.  The brick in the middle is in case a chook decided to fall in.  We're down to three chooks at the moment, the biggest one was suddenly unwell a couple of weeks ago, and was gone within 36 hours, I'm glad she didn't linger.  We've been getting a small but constant egg supply over winter which is great.
 Da-dum!  I am a little OCD and keep a tally of eggs, and a few days ago the 2000th egg was presented to us over almost the last three years, aren't they clever girls!  Thank you chookies.
 I had a surprise a few days ago, on the floor in the chook house I saw what at first I thought looked like a potato, but no, it was a different egg, a sort of pale dirty grey/green colour.  Curious!  Then for the next five days I've been finding, in one of the nesting boxes, 2 chook eggs and one duck egg, yes, it's a duck egg!  I don't know which one out of Puddles and Spuddles has been the clever clogs, maybe both and they are taking in turns.  I am mega impressed that whomever it is has jumped up into a tiny hen sized nesting box which is 40 cm up off the ground. 
 This is what a Muscovy duck egg looks like.  The shell is very hard, it needs a good whack to crack it.  The white is absolutely clear and the yolk is big, there is a lot more yolk to white compared to a chicken egg.  With trepidation we hard boiled a couple, having heard from other people that duck eggs are a bit strong, but we both really enjoyed hard boiled duck egg.  The yolks are richer and thus have a lovely cream texture, and they didn't taste strong at all.  So, how about that hey!  :-)
The poor roos are wet and bedraggled most of the time, but they revel in the odd sunny afternoon and lounge contentedly amongst the citrus trees.  If it rains they duck underneath the citrus to keep as dry as they can.
 I call this young fellow Frog.  Steve can't see it at all, but his markings remind me of the back end of a frog, like its back legs are straddling the kangaroo's nose.  Allow me my insanity okay :-)
Speaking of Steve, he has been keeping dry by pottering in the shed, doing woodwork.  He wanted to have a go at making a wooden replica pistol, using only wood and nothing else.  He even made wooden screws!
 I like that he's used different types of wood to produce different colours.  Well done dear, very clever, it's beautiful!
After three years of looking at unpainted doors and door frames in the house, I have picked up a paint brush.  God doors and frames are tedious to paint, so fiddly.  But it is a necessary evil.  Thankfully the paint has sat in the shed in good condition, we were worried it would all be dried out.  Steve has set to work filling and sanding the many screw holes in the frames.  Slowly but surely it shall be done.
Mum, this photo is for you ha ha.  I know you will be thrilled to see that the guest loo door and frame are now painted and look spiffy and magnificent.  xx
 The magnificent sunsets continue, colours of the skies, lovely.
On a more personal note, you may be wondering why I have been so lax with blogging of late.  I do apologise for this, I feel bad when I don't feel like blogging or feel like I have nothing of interest to say. 
I've been through the many depths of hell over recent months with a condition that has caused me to have hardly any sleep.  Finally I have a diagnosis, it's called Willis-Ekbom Syndrome, or as more commonly known; Restless Legs Syndrome.  And what a pain in the arse it is.
I was spending up to three hours a night kicking my legs, stretching, walking around, riding the exercise bike, exercising, trying to sleep on the floor, the settee, the spare bed, the chair, until for some explicable reason, the creepy crawly or sort of crampy or electric shocklike or numb sensations in my legs (that are only relieved by constant movement) decide to settle down again, and in my exhausted state, after staggering around the house in the dark, I could finally sleep. And because it all seems so bizarre, it took me a while to go to the doctor, but as soon as I started stumbling over an explanation of what was going on, he knew exactly what was wrong with me. 
So, I am now on a trial of different medications, and for the last ten days I have been on a low dose of a Parkison's drug, a type of dopamine, and it is an absolute miracle.  From night two all the horror stopped and I have slept! Slept long and well.  It's amazing, and wonderful.  I just hope now that the drug, called pramipexole, will continue to do its magic for me.  It has a list of side effects as long as your arm, but thankfully I don't seem to be being troubled by any, apart from a mild headache in the morning, but even that is getting better.
So, I am feeling so much better, so much so that I have decided to paint the bloody doors!  It is an insidious and erratic condition and I hope it will stay under control.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Mystery Of Frogs

I've been away a lot,  choofing up to Perth all last week.  First I had big cook-ups at home, so I could take mum and dad some meals for their freezer - serves of their favourite soup, Cream of Celery (it is so yummy and tastes a bit like mushroom soup oddly), half a dozen meals of spag bolog and some serves of our rhubarb, stewed.  Glad you are enjoying it :-) xx

Then I progressed to vegan cooking.  A huge pot of vegetable soup, also a fruity vegan curry and some coconut sago pudding.  Then I was busy making a variety of Bliss Balls and Energy Bars for healthy snacks.  All packaged up into serves and popped into the esky for the trip to Perth.

I do like cooking :-)
Reason being that I wanted to be mum and look after this poor dear daughter of mine, who underwent a complicated removal of half her thyroid at short notice.  We had four days of TLC together when I gatecrashed hers and Michael's house.  I'm pleased to hear that she is well on the mend and ready to return to work, excellent.  Thanks you two for letting me stay and make you eat my food, it was great. xx
Then it was back home to my darling boys (the husband one and the fluffy one), the crackling fire and the rain.  The creek is running really well and the little waterfall is looking pretty.
The kangaroos are looking constantly soggy.  That's Growler on the left, her son Andre second from the right, Jane with the bulky pouch in between them, and I'm not sure who that is on the end.
The back garden at night is filled with the sounds of frogs.  I've been trying to find out which type they are, but they are really hard to spot.  I did find this though, which is fascinating.
I have Mondo grass growing along the sides of the garden steps, it is thick and damp, and blow me down, when I moved the grass away from the wall, I found many small clumps of frogspawn.  I was wondering where all the frog would lay eggs, as apart from one tiny bird bath, there are no ponds or puddles, just the dampness around the ground growing plants.  This frogspawn has been there for weeks, I've been keeping an eye on it, and it looks to me like the tadpoles are actually growing within the jelly.  Maybe this is a variety that doesn't need water to grow into a frog?  It's very mysterious.  I had a listen to a load of frog calls on Google and they sound like the Quacking Frog which is common in the Albany area, I must do some more research, in the meantime I shall keep watch on the taddies and see if they turn into frogs without leaving the jelly.
I love this time of year for the magnificent sunsets.  Beautiful.
Our bell chilli plant is dripping with colourful red fruit at present, making a pretty inclusion to the winter garden.  They are very mild if you only eat the red flesh, but if your tongue goes anywhere near the seeds it's a different matter!!
Yesterday we toddled off with the rest of Australia to vote.  I love country voting, no miles of queues at Perth schools, instead we wander into the tiny community hall in Young Siding, where about 300 Australians cast their vote.  Easy peasy.
Steve has been continuing his self education into woodwork.  His friend Laurie gave him a lovely piece of She-Oak, and Steve has bided his time, trying to decide what to do with it.  I think he has done a wonderful job of what he decided to do with it.
He has made a gorgeous box.  And he cleverly cut the block through, so the grain matches exactly from the lid to the base.  Apparently it is rather tricky to do this straight, he's done a great job hasn't he.  The grain in this wood is just beautiful, and the tiny brass corners and feet make it look really classy.  He's just got to find a nice little latch.
And here are the innards, he dug out the inner hole in the lid and base with a router, I gather it took quite some time to do.  Then he lined it with a piece of black leather.  It's going to sit on our coffee table and apparently it's going to be a lolly box!  Steve thinks he might need a padlock on it - cheeky bugger :-)
On a final note, it bucketed down with rain overnight, so as we always do, in the morning we took a walk along the creek.  It is running the fastest and fullest we've seen it for a couple of years, the first short video is the little waterfall over our one and only rock.
I'm so pleased that all my creek levee banks are holding, apart from sand that has moved down the creek and shallowed a few ponds I dug, it is running exactly as I has hoped.  It's very full here and thundering along.  So pretty.
This is the end of the creek on our land, it is politely overflowing over the final barrier I created, to then flood over to the neighbour's place, where it then drains into a creek along the side of a road and onwards.  Next season I have plans to dig another couple of ponds in the flood area.  Steve saw some wild ducks swimming in the creek pond the other day, wonderful :-)