Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Happy Little Flower

Is this not the happiest little flower you ever did see?  I swear that my photo is straight from the camera, it just so happened that the angle of the flower and the shadows created this lovely little bonneted smiley face.  It tickled me no end.
 The other flowers that are making me very happy are these beautiful irises.  They are probably my favourite flower, I love the colour so much.  My friend Ellen gave me a heap of spare bulbs that she dug up from her garden and I planted them a couple of months ago.  I think there are 7 flowering at the moment which is very very good.
 These are Western Rosellas, we don't see them that often, they are very shy.  I thought there was a small wren in the foreground of the photo too, but upon zooming in I discovered that that dark shape is in fact three pieces of giant kangaroo poo ha ha
 Mum and dad came down for a four day visit, it was lovely to see you.  While dad had a nap, mum and I went and had a look at Shelley Beach Lookout.  Always beautiful and this day was no exception.
 Then we drove around the cliff and down to the beach for a walk.  We have always loved Shelley Beach, we used to bring our kids when they were tiny.  It has a marvellous freshwater stream that runs across the beach...great for rinsing sandy little bodies.  I imagine the fresh drinking water helps create a fantastic ecosystem for many species.
 Here's mum having a rest on a convenient rock at the end of the beach.
 Steve continues his great work, this is the new growing area he's created just up from the orchard.  What was only a few weeks ago a weed ridden, overgrown piece of ground is all dug over, paths created, fencing almost finished and the greenhouse built.
 And from the other direction.  We still have to put a net over the top, that will be the last job.
 Little lettuce plants are growing happily in the warmth of the greenhouse.
 Here's a comparison.  These three tomato plants are growing in the greenhouse, watering can for size comparison.
 And these two tomato plants are growing in the open, planted at the same time.  Look at the difference in size!
 Today was an exciting day, we planted five blueberry plants and four thornless blackberry plants, and popped in a dozen strawberry plants along the edge.   Oh my goodness, it will be so exciting to grow a decent number of berries and not have the birds nick them all!  :-)
 The chickens are fascinated with the goings on.  They can't get into the new growing area but hang around, as Steve throws them any bugs he finds as he's digging.  The best bugs are a large beetle larvae, they look like witchety grubs and the chickens go ballistic over them, the lucky chook will grab the grub and take off at a rate of knots, with the others chickens in hot pursuit! The chicken on the right, now named Houdini, is the same feathered friend I mentioned in the last blog, the one that has taken to wandering.  Well, she has become extremely naughty and escapes all the time!  We are finding her all over the place, and within minutes of us putting her back, she's out again.  I think she's realised that the fences hold no bounds for her, I'm surprised her colleagues haven't followed suit actually.  We are now getting four chook eggs and two duck eggs every day, amazing. 
 "Please can I have some breakfast", says Patience with Willy enpouch, every morning she waits hopefully.  She wins us over with her beautiful face.
 Willy is out of the pouch more and more.  Patience is very protective of him and keeps to herself, so the other roos don't come too close to her precious baby.  Interestingly, Ben, the alpha male, is very caring of the joeys, he doesn't seem to mind them at all.
 I love this photo of Patience, she really is the most beautiful girl.
 My crochet hook is still clattering along.  I made the Meandering Pawprints scarf for my neighbour Claire as a present.  I'm rather pleased with how it turned out.  If you are interested in the free pattern, it's here - http://amysastitchatatime.blogspot.com.au/2017/01/meandering-paw-prints-free-scarf-pattern.html
 My newest project is one I've been coveting for a while.  I made myself wait until I'd finished all sorts of other projects for this one, it's called the Lost In Time shawl.  I bought this delectable, gradient yarn called Blueberry BamBam, what a great name hey, produced by Scheepjes.  So the top of the shawl with be cream and it will gradually change to grey then to light then mid then dark blue.  I've got a long way to go and it requires concentration but it's so enjoyable, particularly using a very special yarn. 
Right, I think that's my lot.  Until next time xx

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

What Did The Chicken Say To The Kangaroo?

I was watching the little birds through the glass door this morning, they are so clever, I hadn't noticed before but they actually pick the dead leaves up with their beaks and fling them aside in their hunt for tasty morsels.  It struck me then how very happy I am with the ecosystem our property has created.  I have always planted gardens with the birds in mind, nectar plants, bushy shrubs for protection, and the planted areas are close enough together to allow the little birds a short dash on the wing to get from one area to the other and feel safe.  This area was open ground 7 years ago when we bought the land, with the little birds safely hidden away in the bush on the perimeter, but now they abound near the house, in the gardens we have created.  I feel very satisfied and a wee bit proud.
 Not only birds but plenty of small lizards and insects.  I keep trying to get a good photo of this delightful little lizard?skink? It has the most beautiful coloured legs, a vivid orange with black dots.  There are quite a few in the back garden, there is plenty of cover there to keep them from being gobbled up by kookaburras.  This one had a meal in mind, I disturbed them......
 The lizard was having a stand-off with this quite large, very pissed off, reared up on its legs, spider.  I didn't stay around to see who won the battle, perhaps they agreed to call it a day.
 Out the front the sun has shined for brief periods this week.  I believe we have a warm weekend forecast so Helga will be pulled out of the shed so we can finish mowing.  The roos like lying on the grass when we've mowed, here is Lucy all tucked up, having a lovely sleep in the sun.
 And this is Big Ben, the alpha male, also enjoying basking in the sun.  They love it when the weather starts to warm up.
 Michelle gave me this idea of taking a photo from ground level, isn't it an interesting perspective.  The roos were quite fascinated! 
 We have an escapee chicken!  One of our girls has taken to leaping over the orchard gate this week and going for a wander.  In this photo she's just finished having a chat with the kangaroos, and now she's headed up the hill to the house.
 She didn't quite make it to the front door, but here she is peeping over the small hill in front of the house :-) Naughty girl!  When I went outside she followed me back to the chook yard very excitedly..... she has got fed up with waiting for me to get her breakfast :-)
 Here is the lovely Magoo, watching me curiously as I took a ground level photo.  I haven't named any of the chooks (they all look the same!), but this girl I did.  She has a very big floppy comb, which gets in the way of her eyes sometimes, and I see her moving her head from side to side, trying to see past it.  Well, the first time I saw that, visions of Mr Magoo cartoons with his bottle bottom glasses sprung to mind.  So that's why she is called Magoo!
 And here are the duckies.  They are very clever duckies because we have duck eggs again, yahoo!  I think only Spuddles lays, the one with the dark feathers on the top of her head, but Sparkles may surprise us. 
At the moment we are getting 3 or 4 chook eggs and a duck egg every day, we are drowning in eggs!  I do enjoy sharing them.
 The occasional burst of spring weather means things are growing.  Here's another shot of my beloved cliveas, I think they've been in flower for about a month now.  So cheerful and colourful.
 Steve grew another batch of broccoli, the big headed variety this time, over winter he grew broccolini.  This particular broccoli head is going to be in our tummies tonight, with a nice piece of steak and mashed potato, yummo!
 The rhubarb that Steve split up and replanted is taking off with a vengeance.  It is such a reliable variety and obviously loves our growing conditions.
 The pea plants have taken ages to germinate, most of them never came up.  We think it's just been too cold for them.  A couple are growing strongly though, with the start of flowers, and we are blessed with being able to nibble a few peapods straight from the plants this week.  Soon we hope to be inundated with peas as the other tiny plants get a wriggle on.
 Now this is exciting news.  My dear husband has worked his little arse off with construction over the last week.  He has built a greenhouse!  Oh my goodness this will be so useful for us.  Because it's cold here our spring plantings take ages to get going, and sometimes don't survive, but with a greenhouse to get seeds germinating and the young seedlings growing in a warm, protected environment, wow, the possibilities are endless!
Not only has Steve built the greenhouse, he is also finishing the fence and has been digging big holes to put in 2 metre high poles to have a new growing area about 10 metres by 4 metres  that will be completed fenced and netted above.  We plan to grow berries and vegies that are more susceptible to bird and bug attack in this protected area, it's going to be great!  Sucked in Cabbage White Butterflies, find something else to lay your eggs on, hah!
Here I am enjoying the warmth of Steve's fabulous greenhouse.  It's also rather handy if you get caught out in the rain, you can dash inside the greenhouse and keep warm and dry :-)
 Meanwhile I have been busy on the craft front.  I finished myself a crocheted bag to use as a shopping bag instead of plastic bags.  I think it will be quite handy.
 I continue with doing my little bit for orphan joeys, I am doing some sewing for 2 of the local orphan joey carers. 
 This is a hanging joey bag, with three channels at the top so it can be hung from 3 different heights.  The older joeys get tucked up in these, in a bundle of other cuddly covers, but they can then choose to poke their heads out and see what's going on.
 And this is the start of a stack of joey bag liners, made of soft flannelette with all the rough edges hidden inside seams so the joeys don't catch their little claws.  I feel good doing something to help these wonderful women and their joeys.
Until next time... xx

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Birds Eye View From A Drone

The wildlife is showing itself more and more as we head deeper into spring.  Voldemort spends a lot of time sunning himself on the arm of the settee.  Did you know that King Skinks love banana?  I throw him a couple of small pieces most days and he gobbles it up.
 There are a lot of kookaburras around at present, sitting motionless waiting for a snack to show itself.  I guess they are nesting and feeding hungry babies?  I like this photo as it shows my bank of clivea that are bursting into beautiful orange flower.
 This is Coco the Quenda or Southern Brown Bandicoot.  We were really surprised the other morning to see it scoffing the wrens' desiccated coconut just outside the back door.  Normally it does the rounds outside the house just on dark, we always know when its around as Neo starts darting from window to window watching it.  This one turned up at 9.30 in the morning.  I love that it has coconut all over the end of its nose :-)
 I'd love to know if it's male or female.  Apparently the female has a backwards facing pouch, to keep the dirt out of it when she is digging.
 Here's a little video of the Quenda.
 I've been busy in the kitchen making hordes of sausage rolls amongst other things.  This picture shows the filling being put atop the pastry sheets before brushing the edges with egg and rolling them up.
 All cooked and ready to be bagged up for the freezer.  When I make them I do it enmasse, nothing more satisfying than knowing there are over a hundred of them in the freezer, healthy homemade sausage rolls, ready to pull out for a quick lunch.
 Steve, who is the bread maker of the house....we have a bread making machine, has been experimenting with making bread rolls lately...they are SO GOOD!  Surprising really as it's the same bread mix to make either a loaf or rolls, but it seems to taste better as rolls.  Which is not necessarily good as we scoff far too many of them!  He went a step further the other day and had a go at making focaccia.  It came out of the oven beautifully crusty, the only thing we did wrong was leave it a bit too long before eating it, so by then the lovely crunchy crust has gone soft.  It still tasted really nice though.
 We welcomed the arrival of eight family members on Saturday, so I busied myself earlier in the week with finding spots for enough beds and making them up warm and cosy as the weather is frankly crap at present, cold and very very wet.  This is Michelle's bed, it's actually in our walk-in wardrobe!  We named it Harry Potter's  Cupboard Under The Stairs and Michelle declared it to be very comfortable and cosy :-)
 I love taking shoe photos when there are loads of people here.  They were all rather soggy actually and were drying out.  Stevie and Riley and I had huge fun on Sunday afternoon playing in the creek despite the weather.  We took off our shoes and rolled up our pants and stomped around, wriggling our toes in the sand, flinging mud around and made excellent dams.  It was very good fun :-)
 Paul brought his drone with him, here he is with the girls driving it with a little remote control. 
 We were amazed at the footage from the drone, it's wonderful!  Here is a still shot of our place.
 And a still shot of the vegie patch, chook yard, orchard and my front fenced garden.  We were amazed to see how straight all the lines are.
And here is a video from the drone.  Absolutely amazing!
 And finally, here is my ta-dah moment, my crocheted blanket is finished, it is on our bed and I just love sleeping underneath it!  It kept me busy over the whole of winter. :-)

Until next time.... xx