Sunday, 1 October 2017

Mirabella, Elfrida and Dolly

About a month ago we welcomed three new ladies into our family, I named Mirabella, Elfrida and Dolly.  These ladies came to us mottled, scraggly and confused, their former life of one year having been spent in a large egg laying facility.  I'm very pleased to say that after a month of nurturing, good food, free ranging on grass, insects and scraps, our ladies are near to having all their feathers again, have learnt how to perch, flap their wings, scratch in the soil, peck for insects and bugs, how to have a dust bath and have enjoyed laying eggs in a bed of straw.  While egg production is sporadic for now, I think they are entitled to have a little bit of a rest from egg laying duties.



One of the less exciting things to have happened this September is a month of being unwell.  Every test under the sun has revealed nothing to substantiate a reason for extreme fatigue and weakness.  While I'm grateful that nothing serious seems to be going on, I'm frustrated I can't address anything to improve my well being and there is a big garden waiting outside crying for my attention.  

Despite ill health, time continues to move along.  I've had another birthday and hubby and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in the month of September.  We were able to enjoy a lovely lunch to celebrate the occasion and went for a lovely drive to take in views over Port Phillip Bay.



The heads where Port Phillip Bay meets Bass Strait. 

As we were returning home, driving along a highway we saw these beautiful
 trees in blossom and with the clouds behind made for an impressive display of nature.



On Sunday hubby and I are heading off for a weeks holiday in Cairns to extend our 30th anniversary celebration a little longer.  We hope to see the Great Barrier Reef and if I'm up to it, try snorkeling for the first time to see the coral and tropical finish with my own eyes.  Some warm weather will be most welcome after a cold Melbourne winter.

Anne xx

Friday, 25 August 2017

Taking time

This morning I woke up out of sorts.  It could have been because I have a very sore shoulder from spreading mulch on the garden or the fact that our beautiful rescue dog Lady has been off colour for a few days.  There is nothing tangibly wrong with her, she's just behaving differently  Today has dawned sunny, a welcome change from the rain and grey skies of recent days.  There is just enough warmth in the sun to sit outside without freezing, so armed with my coffee, a dog and a cat for company, I'm taking time out just to be.

Felix

Lady
The promise of Spring is just around the corner with the garden starting to come to life.  I've planted a few things out in the front garden, hardy enough I hope to grow and survive in the difficult conditions of heavy clay soil, multiple tree roots and not a lot of sun in winter.  Ever the optimist I've planted them anyway and we'll see what happens.  I've two pots of perpetual spinach to plant and two Pandorea vines to find places for.  I love these Australian native climbers that flower profusely from Spring through to Autumn.  I've just noticed the oregano plant I bought a few days ago is still sitting in it's pot in the spot where it is to be planted, I must have got distracted.  The rose bushes I pruned hard have leaves on them now and I do look forward them flowering.  I have a new one called Tequila Sunrise which I bought as a standard.  I bought one of these for my Dad years ago to plant in his garden and he loved it.  I like planting roses in my garden in memory of family members passed so now I have a rose for Dad, my Grandmother and my Aunty. 

As I'm sitting here out on the back deck surrounded with building paraphernalia and equipment that belongs in the new garage/workshop when it's finally able to be used, I'm trying to ignore the mess and chaos and instead listen to the birds, the sounds of bees and of course the dreaded blowflies that come out with the first hint of warmth.  I don't know what they do during winter but the moment there is a glimpse of sun, they're out in force saying a very noisy and annoying hello.


It is rather delightful seeing bees as they have a special place in our hearts.  Hubby did keep bees for a while but the last season was so poor for nectar harvest, the hive died.  We have plans to get another hive when it warms up and this time we'll put them in the front garden as they have a better chance of getting more sunshine now the big trees have been pruned.  We are also planning on getting more chooks.  We've not had them for about five years but I do enjoy the eggs of backyard chooks and they are so very good for clearing weeds and turning over the soil.  We've invested in some movable fencing which I can manage to set up and take down on my own and will be able to shift them around the yard to do their thing.  The very nice chook house that hubby built is still standing which will shelter them at night and out of the way of any marauding foxes. 

I'm still trying to finish making a crochet poncho for Genevieve.  She's been waiting ever so patiently for it since last year when I bought the wool as a birthday present.  She spends long hours studying in her room and gets quite cold sitting still.  I made myself a promise to crochet five rows a day, I've not kept that promise so really must get on with it.  Instead I've been reading a book titled "Until We Are Free" by Shirin Ebadi.  I enjoy reading books about countries I know little about and Iran is one of them.  Shirin's stories about her life in Iran and in exile make for an interesting but mostly sad and heartbreaking read.  How this lady has had the strength to continue with her work is remarkable in light of the continuing harassment and bullying from those in power in her homeland. Reading this book has reminded me how incredibly lucky I am for the freedoms we have in my country and something never to be taken for granted.


Thank you for reading this rather wordy blog post, it seems I always have too much to say.  :)

Anne
 
P.S. I'm very happy to say Lady is well again today.
P.P.S.  I've just received word that a place that rescues chooks has just taken delivery of one year old layers and I might be able to get some on Sunday.  I've seen some photos of them and they need some TLC of which I have oodles.  A nice warm coop, good food, kitchen scraps and free ranging will have them happy and healthy in no time with bright red combs instead of pale pink ones.






Monday, 21 August 2017

Baking for builders

I've been busy baking while we've had builders.  There is nothing more rewarding than cooking for hungry men who appreciate your efforts and also enjoy a latte from the coffee machine on a cold day.  I stuck with baking basics like muffins, lemonade scones (so easy) and Jubilee Twist.  The latter recipe comes from the Country Women's Association cookbook and an old favourite Mum used to bake.  While I was busy baking, I was reminded how Mum used to be busy baking when we had shearers working on the farm.  It certainly was a busy time as she had to cater for morning and afternoon tea as well as lunch.  That doesn't happen any more as the shearers take care of their own catering now.



It's very quiet here today at home as the builders have finished most of the major work with just a few bits and pieces to finish off.  There's no radio playing, no builder singing his heart out to songs from the 70's and no banter from the other builder about how lousy the singing was.  I've never seen two tradies get on so well, laughing, joking and talking while they worked.  What a pleasure it was to have them work on the garage/workshop. 



This lovely new and expanded space (very old and asbestos garage was demolished) that very obviously needs a paint, will house our two vehicles and give hubby workshops space with storage for his tools and handyman supplies.  There is also a designated space for him to put a dark room.  There is lots of work to be done but that will be fun for hubby.

Bye for now,
Anne


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Good intentions

Hello.  All my good intentions for regular blogging went out the window didn't they?!  One minute I'm posting about a caravan holiday and the next minute I'm not.  It's had something to do with technology, specifically my laptop not recognising some of our holiday photos taken on my mobile phone.  I guess I just gave up, put it into the too hard basket especially after even my tech savvy husband couldn't make it work either.  Perhaps I'll just jump back into blogging about everyday stuff and see what happens from there.

It's been rather busy in our little patch among the trees.  In fact we've had two big trees heavily pruned in our front yard.  Sycamore Maples do not belong in this country, they are a bit of a weed in our forests and we decided that even though they provided lovely shade in the summer, they had to go as they were way too big.  Every living and non living thing under them was covered in sooty mold and black muck.  The result of this major pruning is the amount of wonderful light now in our front yard. 

One of the problems with having big trees pruned is the potential for existing gardens underneath to be extensively damaged.  The tree pruners/loppers were not overly careful with my garden and made a huge mess, they dropped some rather large logs without a rope.  A 15 year old camellia shrub just about to flower was terribly damaged, I wasn't too happy about that.  There are logs still on the ground waiting to be given away for fire wood, meantime a plan is starting to formulate in my mind as to how I might reorganise and replant this space.

The other major thing to happen is our old garage made from asbestos has been demolished to make way for a new workshop/garage.  Hubby desperately needs somewhere he can work on all his projects with good benches and a place to put all his tools.  The tools have been living in the house for a good number of years now and it will be nice to give them a proper home.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post after such intermittent blogging.  

Anne


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Caravanning

Hello lovely people.  After an absence of some time I thought I'd try blogging again.  So I'll leap right in and share a recent holiday hubby and I took in our little caravan to the south of New South Wales for two weeks.  We are relatively new to caravanning with just a couple of years under our belt so we are still learning but it is so much fun.

Our first stop overnight was in Marlo still within the state of Victoria.  I've never been to Marlo before and I was enchanted by this sleepy little coastal town.  We took a stroll down to the jetty and were entertained by a local seal looking for fish scraps.

The view as we walked down to the jetty.

Marlo jetty.

From the jetty I was able to take some photos of bird life with the zoom lens.

A pelican preening in between looking for breakfast.


Australian pied cormorants sunning themselves.

On the far left is a White faced heron, Ibis and Pelicans.  A few ducks too, of course.  

The local seal was initially hard to photograph but I managed a few photos and was delighted when he/she came right up under the jetty.





We only had one night and morning in this lovely area and we will go back for a longer stay at some point.  On the drive out of Marlo we drove past the Snowy River and a lovely estuary which was stunningly beautiful and full of bird life.  I believe there is a board walk along side the estuary and that will certainly be on the agenda next time we visit.

Overlooking the estuary with the ocean beyond.

A seagull hopefully waiting for the ibis to bring a tasty morsel to the surface.

Ibis

White faced heron.




Chestnut teals.



There is something quite beautiful about an Australian country road and this one was opposite the estuary.




My next post will be about the next stage of our holiday.  Thanks for reading after my long absence.

Anne xx