Saturday, 29 October 2016

Of Blue Boys And Flustered Ducks

Well, it's blowing a gale today so it's time to sit down and write a blog post.  We've been really busy this week, the weather has been perfect and so we've been clearing, mowing, slashing, cutting, pruning, burning, chopping, mulching, setting up driplines and all the other things associated with getting ready for the fire season.  As much as the urge to sit and knit was within me, I ignored it and we both spent all day everyday outside doing chores and are feeling well satisfied with the start we've made.  This is Steve's enormous new woodpile after he chopped down a couple of dead trees, we'll be all set for winter next year!
 We had an hour off to meet Poppy, a gorgeous tiny orphan joey who is being cared for by a friend.  She is apparently at the equivalent of about two weeks from being pushed out of a mum's pouch for brief periods, to learn how to hop and nibble grass, so she's not hopping yet. 
 She drinks a special formula equivalent to kangaroo milk from a bottle four times a day.  When they are really tiny they need small feeds every two hours, so rearing an orphan joey is indeed a huge commitment.  Isn't she adorable, she has been unwrapped from her fabric pouch here as she needs sunshine to get some vitamin D.
 There are kookaburras everywhere, they amaze me with their motionless stealth for ages before they spot and snap up a hapless lizard.
 The Splendid wrens are very active at the moment, it's so lovely watching them.  Incredible that any creature can be so magnificently coloured.
 Here is one of the females, quite a difference to her boyfriend hey!  When she fans her tail the feathers are light blue, but that's the only blue she has.  I love the bright orange of her beak and around her eyes, her very own tiny bit of vividness.
This is Spuddles, the dark headed duck.  She has been great, laying four or five eggs a week for the last few months, whereas her sister Puddles hasn't laid a single one.  But Spuddles went all weird on us at the beginning of the week.
 I kept finding her in the nesting box all the time, she pulled the down out of her chest and made a lovely fluffy, soft nest, then proceeded to sit on hers and the chicken's eggs, a grand total of three.  I take this to mean that she was feeling broody.  I spoiled her fun by grabbing the eggs when she was out foraging, but she went back and sat on an empty nest for a while.  Then when she was out feeding, a chook would dash in and lay another egg, so she would sit on that til I pinched it.  After three days she decided it was more fun to wander in the orchard eating bugs than the boring task of sitting on eggs all day, and gave up.  But she is getting her own back by not laying a single egg for the last five days, that will teach me to upset her!  It would be lovely to have a drake and let her hatch cute little ducklings, but that would mean having to knock off the young drakes and we don't want to do that, so no babies for Spuddles.
 It always astounds me how plants and seeds spring to life after a week of warmer weather.  I planted a heap of veggie seedlings in little pots about a month ago, and this week they are starting to grow.  Tomatoes, spinach, beetroot, cabbage and red onion seedlings can be planted soon, and I'm waiting for germination of numerous beans, peas and cucumbers.
 I love this trailing pelargonium, it has beautiful flowers of the most lovely peach colour.
 The white mulberry tree has heaps of tiny immature fruit on it this year, it must have liked the cold winter.  I think we'll need to net the tree this year to have any hope of indulging in some luscious fruit.
 I love these yellow pokers, they are so cheerful and bright.
 I know this is boring to most people, but the last blogpost showed some cherry blossum, this week we have teeny tiny cherries!  Yeehar!  That would be most satisfying, to have even a small handful of cherries grown in our very own orchard. 
 The nectarines are starting to grow.
 Now the fruit is starting to grow, the big job of netting the trees is underway.  We've got half the orchard netted for now, we've left the apples in the open for the time being as they've only just started flowering, so it's too early for netting those.
The Globe artichokes are springing to life.  We had our first meal of them last week, boiled, then dipping the luscious ends of the leaves into a mixture of melted butter, lemon juice and salt - deeeeevine!
 This is an interesting plant, it's a citrus geranium.  If you crush the leaves the citrus scent is incredibly strong.  It flowered for the first time this year too, so and visual bonus as well.
 And here is the gorgeous boy, watching birds outside the sliding door.  He has his pot of grass next to the sliding door, so he can munch his greens whilst watching the bird and insect world outside.
 I did get back to my knitting, Mum, I have finally finished your birthday socks!  They'll be in the post to you next week.  :-) xx

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