Monday, 20 January 2014

Up Up And Away

This time of year I find I pine a bit for the lush green of winter, our open ground is so dry and brown, crunchy brown as our neighbour calls it.  But with the bad comes the good, I am happy to see strong growth on our fruit trees, shrubs and vegies.  Every day we wander back from the vegie patch with a good load of produce, 2 or 3 cucumbers a day, a handful of tomatoes, a lettuce a week, as many kilos of potatoes as we choose to dig up, and now the start of the sweetcorn harvest!  We've had one meal of corn so far and declared it magnificent.  Most of the cobs are still a week or so off being ready but we are hunting though looking for the early ripeners, being impatient as we are.  :-)

Birds are in abundance.  The green 28 parrots are everywhere, and there are small birds twittering all over the place.  We are delighted to see not one but two wedgetail eagles in our airspace most of the time.  One is much bigger than the other so I guess that would be the male.  He was going crazy yesterday flying around calling loudly and repeatedly, obviously looking for his mate.  We were worried something may have happened to her but we were pleased to see them both flying around calling to each other this morning.  They both fly low over the chook yard, methinks looking longingly at potential breakfast!  Lucky we netted the top hey! 

The magpies are at our door a couple of times a day looking for a top-up feed of rolled oats.  I love how one arrives, sees the food, then launches into magnificent caroling to tell the others to come and get some grub.  This is the newest juvenile and my goodness is she a squawky, noisy young lady.  Even though she is quite capable of picking up rolled oats herself and eating them, if her mother Peg (only has one foot) is nearby then she'd rather squawk and squawk and Peg being the good mother she is, gathers up a beakful of oats and stuffs them down this one's throat to shut her up!
The thing I really love about this time of year is the explosion of butterflies.  We have lots and lots of orange butterflies in summer, two or three different varieties I think, but the predominant one is the Western Brown.  The male ones specifically.  They are everywhere, dancing around the dappled shade of the forest and now my little garden has some flowers they are also to be found there.
I love their daintiness.
Have a look at the size of this caterpillar, bigger than my biggest finger!  It was attached to a piece of acacia branch that had fallen down.  Upon perusing Google  I worked out that it is the caterpillar of the Emperor Gum Moth.
It all makes sense actually, we have been seeing these big moths ever since we had the shed built, as they used to sneak in occasionally over summer and then flap around like crazy at night.  Then you would see me crashing around in the dead of night, in pjs with hair askew and slightly wild-eyed, trying to catch the buggers with a net - it is NOT NICE having one, no matter how gentle, flap around your face in the dark!  They are very big moths, this one has its wings tucked in, stretched out they would be about 10 centimetres across.
This week we had the pleasure of the company of my brother Pete and nephew Dylan for a few days.  They tried their very hardest to catch lots of fish, Pete managed a nice flounder and a couple of squid, which he kindly donated to our freezer (thanks Pete!), Steve caught a nice King George whiting, Dee almost landed a couple that were to size but the slippery little suckers escaped.  Never mind Dee, next visit I'm sure you will land the big one! :-)
We visited the Wind Farm, a terrific outing for an hour.  It is very beautiful and also very well maintained with walking paths in easy to manage loops.  It even caters for wheelchairs.  You can get right underneath one of the wind turbines and it is quite amazing to see, hear and feel the raw power as they whizz around.
We had a little walk around the aptly named Stony Hill which provides a lovely panoramic view of Albany, King George Sound and the ocean.  This was the site of a Australian Naval radio station during WW2 and a lookout during WW1 I believe.  Here is Dee showing off his superpowers.  :-)
It was lovely to have you both to stay!
Steve and I took ourselves off for a drive around yesterday.  We cruised slowly though the beautiful remnant Karri forest of West Cape Howe national park and drove to the lookout high on the cliffs above Shelley Beach.
As luck would have it, there were half a dozen people hang gliding so it was wonderful to watch them.  There are big sloping ramps atop the cliff where the rigid wing hang gliders run to take off, and they slowly cruise around up in the air overlooking the beautiful beaches and rocks.  If there is enough uplift they land back on top of the cliff, if not they land on the beach below and their support person drives down to get them.
Free as a bird...
I was fascinated with the soft, parachute-like hang gliders, I'm sure there is a proper name for them but I can't be stuffed looking it up.  The person just walks over near the cliff edge with a large backpack on his back.  From that he unpacks the parachuty hang glidery thing, it takes all of 30 seconds.
He puts the backpack back on his back and clips the sail thingy to the ropes at the front of the backpack, which also takes about 30 seconds.  Then he foofs the sail thingy to get some air in it and it lifts slightly.
Another foof when the wind is right and up it goes!
Then it's a wee jump in the air and he's off into the wide blue yonder!  And what is even more amazing is that the backpack turns into a armchair of sorts, so he is sitting down for a wonderful ride through the sky!  The rigid wing hand glider people do tandem stuff sometimes, I think it is on my bucket list... :-)


  1. Haven't read your blog for ages, Dy, but always good reading! Just caught up on 2 months worth! Just wondering if all the roos are going to be called after my past and present cats?? :-) Anne

    1. ha ha Anne, total coincidence! Lucy is named after Lucille Ball for her long curly eyelashes while Felix is so named because he is merely a scaredy pussycat hiding in a muscle suit, and runs a mile if he sees us. :-)