Sunday, 28 February 2016


Mum and Dad have just spent the last six days relaxing at our place.  Little did they know they'd spend most of their time wrapped up in warm quilts, the first half of the week was freezing and wet!
 They bravely sat outside on the verandah though, reading and watching the view and the wildlife.
 We all sat out there for hours one afternoon watching this impressive storm cell approaching from the north-west.
 Eventually the heavens opened, so much so that the filter in the top of the tank couldn't cope with that much rain in one go and overflowed!
 We had a few sunny days though, lovely for toasting oneself with a quilt and a good book.
 I managed to finish making the quilt for the guest bed just in time for mum and dad to arrive.  I'm not sure if I like the green pillow slips though, I sewed some of the strips of colours along one edge.  I might do a white set of pillowslips too and use the green as the back row of pillows, I'm thinking white will look better.  Anyway, I'm pleased with the quilt and it fits the bed just right.
 Neo tolerated his visitors although declined to be particularly friendly.  He spent a lot of time watching aloofly from his man tower atop the bookshelf.
 In the meantime harvesting of vegies goes on.  We are particularly rapt with the tomatoes this year, having grown virtually none the last couple of years.  They are enjoying the extra water from the bore, I think we parched them in previous summers.
 I've done a batch of tomato sauce and am proud to say that it is delicious, something that Mr Heinz would be happy to call his own.  :-)
 Here though I am squishing cherry tomatoes (underwater so I don't get squirted in the face by the seeds) and spreading them on trays, sprinkled with garlic, salt and herbs, to be dried in the oven.  They also turned out very nicely.
 Steve harvested all the sweetcorn in two sessions, so as well as eating it fresh and lovely, I stripped the kernels off loads of them and froze it in 200g packs for later use.  I think there are about 25 packs in the freezer, yay!  Then I dry out the stripped cobs by sitting them on the sunny kitchen window sill for a few weeks, then I dribble a bit of candle wax over them and store them away for winter - they make great firelighters!
 We've had quite a variation in egg size lately, from a small 58 grams to a whopping 84 grams.  We usually get eggs weighing between 65-70 grams.  One chicken must have had a sore bum after pushing that big one out!
 Have a look at this, can you see my beautiful bookend?  I asked Steve to make me a wooden book to use as a bookend, isn't it lovely.  I want more! :-)
 There are so many flowers in the garden at present, I get great joy from wandering around looking at them.  Mum gave me these beautiful Canna plants as an early birthday present, I love the orange flowers.
 At embroidery last year, one of the ladies brought in a heap of bulbs of what she called "Paddock flowers".  I'd never heard of them but apparently they pop up in paddocks, they look a bit like a lily.  I planted them up the back next to a bird bath and was thrilled to see the first batch of flowers blooming last week.  There are three more flower heads coming out of the ground so they should put on a good show for quite some time. 
 My banksia flower is still going, gosh the flower lasts for a long time.  It's now getting the fluffy stuff around the bottom half and the little birds are enjoying it, I guess this part of the flower is producing the nectar.
 My Mirabilis jalapa is growing really well.  I am mega impressed with a plant that has different coloured flowers on the same plant. 
 I'm trying something different with growing pumpkins this year.  This one selfseeded and I am presuming it's a Jap pumpkin going by the shape.  I've tied it up along a fence, I'm going to see if the pumpkins will grow hanging up off the ground, rather than climbing through all my other plants and pretending to be a jungle in its own right!
I've been involved in an interesting mission lately.  Some months ago I was contacted via this blog by a British wildlife artist who has a commission to paint the White-tailed black parrots.  He asked if I knew anyone who did photography of the parrots' natural habitat.  As the White-tails and Red-tails live around here, I offered to do some photography for him. 
It involved taking lots of photos of the habitat trees, and separating the photos into the different tree varieties.  These are the big Marri trees, which produce the gumnuts that the black parrots primarily feed from.
 I also took photos of leaf litter, fallen logs, and other trees growing nearby
I took photos of the gumnuts the birds feed on.  Unfortunately I was a bit early for fresh gumnuts on the trees when I did most of the photography, so I scoured the forest floor for some good shots of fallen ones.
Last week the black parrots started arriving, feeding on the now ripe gumnuts in the very tops of the trees.  The raucous cacophany of the birds is amazing, and you know which tree they are in by the raining down of the chewed apart gumnuts.  This is a photo of what a gumnut looks like after a black parrot has been at it, they break them open to extract the three seeds inside.
The artist's name is Ian Griffiths, he lives in Cornwall in England, and is a very talented wildlife artist, he has won awards in the BBC's Wildlife Artist of the Year amongst others. 
His website is here -
and here -
If you get the chance, do go and have a look, there are beautiful things to see.

I can't wait to see a photo of the painting Ian produces of the White-tails and am feeling rather proud to be able to help out by providing hands-on data re the parrots' habitat.  The poor man must have spent hours going through what I sent him, I think I took 250 photos and some videos! 

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