Friday, 19 May 2017

Magnificent May

I love the month of May, the temperatures are becoming deliciously cool, the rains are becoming more frequent, and, best of all, it's the month for magnificent sunsets. 
As the cloud clusters intensify, the colours and light that peek between are a sight to behold.
 The creek should start running in a month or so, so I am trying to get the bottom of the creek dug out again.  I did this last year, digging out years and years of built up sand until I found the hard, gravelly, actual creek bed below.  It was a big job last year but totally worth it, as we got to admire a pretty, gurgling creek with little pools instead of a big flooded area.  There's not so much to dig out this year so I'd best get on with it before the creek starts to run!
 These are the back garden beds just outside the kitchen.  They are looking really good, the plants all grow massively this time of year, and I am staggered by the amount of colour.  But.... I really need to do a huge prune, but it's so hard!  It's too pretty!  I shall leave it for another few weeks and then think about it again :-)
These gorgeous little birds appreciate my overgrown, flowery garden.  This is a male Redwing Fairy Wren, he and his harem of girlies spend a lot of time here as do the troop of Splendid Wrens, a few White Browed Scrub Wrens, a few Western Spinebills and a bombardment of Silvereyes.  The nectar feeders are in heaven, as many of the plants I put in produce nectar, I did that quite deliberately to attract them.  The wrens love the thick cover of foliage and spend their days foraging through the undergrowth looking for bugs.  They also love desiccated coconut that I put outside for them.
 Speaking of birds, relative peace has descended in the chook yard.  Everyone has pretty much learned their place and our eight feathered friends spend most of their day harmoniously free ranging in the orchard.  Here they are having breakfast together, the new girls are starting to grow their new feathers so don't look quite so scruffy. 
 Although we have a cosy chook house with roosts and nesting boxes and plenty of soft hay for sleeping and laying eggs, the new girls still have their own ways of doing things.  None of them would venture into the chook house at first, choosing to sleep in the corners of the chook yard.  Once it started raining I put a few protective measures out for them, I stuffed a load of hay behind the feed bin and one of two of them were snuggling up there.  I also added this old washing basket in another corner.  I cut out one side and lined the floor with hay.  This has become the preferred nesting box and we find most of the eggs in here now.  I think now, 2 weeks on, that most of the girls are sleeping in the chook house at night, although one still chooses to sleep under the washing basket.  Each to her own hey :-)
 This is the old girl Patience.  We thought she had past the age of breeding like Lucy has, but we were surprised recently to notice that she has a very definite bulgy pouch happening!  She's doing it at a different time of the year to most of the others, the other girls only have the beginnings of teeny tiny pouch bulges.  It will be lovely to watch for the first sighting of the tiny little face peeping out.
We had a visit from the rams again, just for half an hour or so.  I still don't know where they live, and it's pointless ringing the ranger as they flit in and out so quickly the ranger would never find them.  They look very well cared for so presumably they find their way home.
 As I am the queen of unfinished items, I am rather proud of myself for actually finishing the project we were given at our recent embroidery workshop day.  It's a needle packet holder.
 That's the inside, it holds four needle packs, or 8 or 12 if you stuff them in, then it just folds up.  It will be useful.
 This is the progress I have made with my crocheted squares that will become a blanket cover for our bed.  It's a crochet-along, so each week we are given a new pattern for a square, which we crochet using our own pre-chosen colour scheme.  I am way behind but that's okay.
Speaking of crochet, I think it's time for a cuppa and a look at this week's new crochet square pattern.  See you next time! xx

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Feathers Feathers Everywhere

I popped up to Perth for a few days to visit mum and dad.  Hello dad, you do look comfy in your reading chair xx
I gave mum her Mothers Day present early, I crocheted her a shawl using autumn colours that mum likes.  I hope you find it useful mum xx
 I so enjoyed making mum's shawl (and if anyone is interested, it's called the Sunday Shawl and the pattern is HERE) that I made one for myself, but I chose cool colours. 
 I don't like wearing jumpers so this will be handy for warding off a wee chill in the air.
 After being eggless for the last few months, we took delivery of four new laying hens.  These are another hybrid breed called Isa Browns, very similar to our Hylines.
 My word they are a scruffy looking lot, they are all moulting as are our two existing hens, so there are feathers everywhere!
 Once again they all look like little vampires with their white faces....although called 'free range' bred, that is a highly variable description and I suspect these girls are from a big barn.  They don't know about roosting, I don't think they've ever seen grass before because they were fascinated with it and spent two days nibbling it.
 But it doesn't take them long to learn how to behave like chickens.  This one is wallowing in the pleasure of a lovely, mucky dust bath while her friend looks on.  Slowly they have plucked up the courage to venture out into the orchard, eating grass, catching bugs and laying eggs in all sorts of secret places.  I love seeing them slowly relax and realise they have a marvelous, stress-free life ahead of them.
 Spuddles and Sparkles on the other hand are not impressed.  The normality of their world has been somewhat disrupted by this wayward bunch.  It wont take long, after a week or so peace will descend once more in the chook yard.  :-)
 I spent a day replacing the net that protects the top of the chook yard.  Initially we installed it to keep birds of prey out, but it is also handy for keeping out parrots.  Except when the old net becomes full of big holes then these smart galahs work out how to get into the yard and pig out on all the chook food.  It was getting out of hand, we'd wander down and find a dozen or so galahs in the chook yard so now they have been foiled with a new net, ha!
We went and bought some more chook food and I also grabbed a small bale of hay as I am going to clean out the chook house and replace the old chaff that I use on the floor to keep it cosy.  That chaff will be great scattered around the fruit trees as the old chook poo that is mixed in with it is a great fertiliser.  Steve has a nice big bag of sawdust in the shed that I'll use on the floor this time, but I wanted to scatter hay over the top as well.  When we took the hay and the feed out of the car, we left it on the settee outside the front door ready to move today, but when I woke up this morning I could hear strange noises just outside the bedroom window, what could it be?
Naughty Andre, that's who!  He found the hay, decided it was yummy and sat there munching on it.  You're a scallywag Mr Andre :-)
We had a lovely treat recently, we took ourselves to the Albany Entertainment Centre to see The World Of Musicals.  It was a troupe of ten young West End performers, who have travelled around the world doing their show in small venues.  Basically they perform the best songs from the best musicals, complete with costumes, lighting and backdrops.  It was a really good night and we were pleased to hear they are coming back next year with a whole new repertoire.
Yesterday was Stitches By The Sea, an annual embroidery day with our Albany day group, the Albany night group and the Denmark group.  This year is was the Albany night group's turn to host the day, and they turned on a feast of yummy food and the project they set up for us all was good fun and not too hard.  It will become a needle packet holder and we were stitching the design to go on the outside, in the colour of our choice.  It's always nice to catch up with everyone.
Well, the sun is shining, the birds are tweeting and I have a basket of washing to hang on the line.  Then I'm going to sit out the back with my audio book and do some crochet.  What a way to spend a Sunday, lovely :-)