Thursday, 9 February 2017

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As I sit here at table, I can see out into the back garden.  The sliding glass door is wide open and the sounds of the wrens outside is amazing, it's as if I'm sitting in an aviary!  There are dozens of Splendid wrens, the beautiful blue boys, the plainer females, and hordes of youngsters that are just starting to colour up.  I'm so happy that the garden I've planted is a suitable habitat for them, it's such a pleasure to listen to them and watch them bouncing around looking for food.  The Fairy wrens are around too, and boy oh boy if the two different types meet then there is lots of shrieking and chasing!
 The Western Spinebills also spend a lot of time in the back garden, this is a female, she doesn't have quite the striking chestnut colour on her face like her male counterpart.  I was interested to note in this photo that she has her tongue poking out!  I was thinking how extraordinarily long her beak looked, then realised that half the length is her tongue.  She enjoys feeding from the nectar inside these Cuphea flowers, busily poking that long tongue inside the long tubes to get at the sweetness.
 My Red Flowering Gum has decided to bless me with a few flowers this year, gosh it's been a slow tree to establish.  It's worth the wait though, they are so lovely.
 I love these, Melaleuca nesophilia, or Nessie for short.  They are covered in flowers at the moment and the bees are very happy about it.
 The back garden is looking pretty good for late summer.  The drip system for irrigating with bore water has been very successful.  Most of the plants are growing well and tolerating the salt in the bore water with this method, so it was worth the work to put it in.
 There is a bank alongside where we park our cars that is just sand and a bit of grass, it's the edge of the big sandpad that was done when the house was built.  Not very pretty and for a while now I have had the idea of an agapanthus bank.  My friend Ruth, who has loads of agapanthus, very kindly let me come and help her dig up some clumps to thin hers out a bit, and so I prepared the ground, planted them and mulched them.  I cut all the leaves off down to a few inches, and I'm very pleased to see new growth starting to happen after only a couple of weeks.  I think they will look lovely, plus they'll stabilise the slope.
 Steve has been busy chainsawing some of the big pieces of tree that we had cut down a few months ago.
 Here's Split and her joey in the dry dry paddock, crossing fingers that it rains soon.  She is so named because her right ear has a big split in it.  Joey is unnamed for now as I'm still trying to work out the sex.  It's going to be tricky with joey names this year, as the four joeys that are around are all completely unmarked, no-one has a handy white blaze on their face to make them recognisable!
 Here is Twinkle.  Notice the concrete slab that is sitting diagonally across the water container?  That's to stop the ducks from bathing in it!  They have two other, much larger containers to bathe in, but for some reason they like using the little one.  Contrary creatures :-)
 And here is, umm, Jacinta or Ivy, I can't remember!  Riley and Stevie named them and all I remember is that Twinkle had the longest tail.  We lost the third one last week, she's been up and down for a few weeks so it wasn't unexpected. 
 And here are Spuddles and Sparkles.  They are moulting like crazy at present so there are feathers everywhere!  So they've also gone off the lay, which is fine as we are getting a chicken egg a day now, after a month of no chicken eggs.  It's nice to get one or the other or both, just to keep it ticking over.
 These are the first plums we've grown, they are Italian Sugar Plums.  They aren't terribly sweet as we picked them too early, we were stressing out that the green parrots were going to beat us to them! :-)  So we've had a little bit of fruit from half the stone fruit trees which is good, we were expecting nothing after the terrible problems with leaf curl this year.  There are loads of small apples on the trees plus a few pears so in a month or two they should start enlarging and ripening, so that's something to look forward to!
The big excitement is that the sweetcorn is just about ready.  This is the first cob, we had it for dinner last night with roast pork, and it was delicious.  Steve planted 90 sweetcorn seeds and I think 85 of them grew, amazing!  So we are about to be drowning in about 180 cobs of corn, fabulous!
 So, it's birds, plants, kangaroos and food as per usual, it's a good life :-)