Fresh Figs and a homemade chicken coop

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.46.35 pmScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.46.19 pmScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.45.57 pmScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.42.24 pmScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.43.22 pmScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.44.13 pmScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.44.22 pmScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.45.26 pmScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.47.18 pmScreen Shot 2018-02-09 at 8.24.59 amScreen Shot 2018-02-09 at 8.25.17 amThis week Mike and I passionately worked to complete our chicken complex.  The idea originally came to us when we first moved in, that summer was particularly hard for our last lot of chickens due to the sun exposure of the last pen.

We tore down the old space and placed our 16 chickens into a temporary shade sheltered pen for the past 5 months.  In the mean time Mike, Ashley and I have worked together to meticulously measure, concrete and assemble a sustainably recycled shed and pen for our little chooks.

It’s just in time as these birds will begin laying soon.

When we first got them they were teeny tiny chicks.  Wesley harassed them quite a bit with love during their time in the back porch and I was more than happy to take the chicken poop smell outside and while I can’t speak on behalf of the chicks I feel they might have been relieved to be away from prying fingers too.

This pen has ample room and a large shed for the birds to roost and lay their eggs in each day.

We’d love for them to be free range, but learned the hard way a few years back that fox and wild cats are always looking for an opportunity to get to birds left out in the open.  There is already evidence that they have tried digging and also pulling on the chicken wire.

The concept for fox proofing the space involves laying the chicken mesh in two layers about half a foot below the sand and two feet away from the structure.

Quite a bit of sweat went into this project and I think it’s one of the biggest projects we’ve undertook as a couple together.  I call it a sustainable effort because we salvaged the mesh doors and built the hut entirely from other peoples left over metal.  Pretty awesome way to recycle and save some $ too.

For now there are three roosters testing out how fox proof the space is.  Tonight is our third night and I really believe they will be safe.

The other night I heard some terrible screeching outside by a fox and took a headlamp to investigate.  I found it climbing up a fig tree!  The sound is similar to cats fighting.

Speaking of figs, we are now collecting fresh ripened figs in the quantities of about 20 a day.   It might be time to make some jam.

Also pictured:

  • 1 tiny chunky jumping spider
  • 1 large crevas dwelling jumping spider (the spider with the white line)
  • A three inch long little lizard
  • Beyond the bamboo and gumtree there was this wonderful creamy sunset.

Blue Blood Super Moon Eclipse, Western Australia

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.01.40 amScreen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.30.06 amScreen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.27.40 amThese are some images from last night’s super, blue, blood moon eclipse.  We stood out peering at the moon in wonder as the earths shadow slowly swallowed it whole.  The third image is a section of the milky way that was visible in the darkness as the moon was hidden.  It was such a nice night with friends – we’d had a pretty massive dinner together and then were enjoying the sunset on the porch before we noticed the super moon.Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.01.58 amScreen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.02.12 amIt’s fascinating how many orb spiders we’ve seen around the area – this one particularly is striking.  I found a few days back.  The red on it’s legs and abdomen stopped me in my tracks.  It’s also giving me serious cooked seafood vibes with the deep orange red hue.  I cannot stop looking at the perfect like 4 square set up it’s eyes have.  Such a unique placement!Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.03.43 amBrian and Wesley heading into the lambs paddock to stir up some trouble!Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.04.00 amThis tree is the biggest one for kilometres.  You can see it at least 6 km away on the drive up to the property.  We’ve planted a few trees here ourselves (bottle brush) to help close in the yard and provide more shade around the home.  We’ve got quite a bit of firewood to sort out and I think we might set up some form of bonfire pit over winter.  Maybe.Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.04.10 amThese are some gorgeous figs that we’re patiently awaiting.  They have been sitting unchanged for months and only just today are they showing signs up plumping up and darkening to a pale purple pink.  Tessa makes this incredible stewed fig desert with brandy.  I ate it 6-7 years ago and I can still recall the flavour.Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.04.47 amThis last image was taken last week in the light of the half moon.  I was stunned to see this many stars when I reviewed the image on my camera.  It was incredible to see how much light my eyes were missing!

Have you ever taken any night photos?  This is kind of unchartered territory for me, and I’m still learning the basics.  Hopefully the next time I’ve got a bit more skills and can show you the milky way in the next new moon here in Australia.

 

Heres to being open.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 1.33.24 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.28.08 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.04 pmScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.51.32 amscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-1-14-34-pmScreen Shot 2016-02-17 at 7.09.48 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-07 at 6.21.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.35.49 PMLife on the farm is simple, minimalist and starting to shape itself toward being a sustainable little treasure.  We’re excited to now see progress as we take the small but inevitable steps toward a life with less and more good wholesome home grown food.

Our chicken coop is nearly finished, the lawn is drought hardy, the compost is heaped to the brim and the plans for the next phase are nearly under way.

Lately I’ve helping the community rally together against the Fracking Industry (as that fight is unfortunately still ongoing and will be a long process) in partnership with Lock the Gate, immersing myself in the joys of raising Wesley, copywriting from home and learning alongside Mike that the potential to make inner change is huge.

We have both been reading a number of books on mind development, cognitive decision making and positive communication.

Do you ever read books like this?  What’s a book you’ve read and felt really resonated with you?

For me the #1 is The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer – it’s simply given my mind a real shake up.

This is another year that is going to be filled to the brim with love, adventure, open hearts, cuddles, dancing, singing, photos, hiking and plenty of learning.

Maratus Spider – Western Australia

Maratus Jumping Spiders Western AustraliaMaratus Jumping Spiders Western AustraliaMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia MaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia MaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia MaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia FemaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia FemaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia FemaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia FemaleScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.34.36 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.34.48 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.34.59 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.35.12 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.35.28 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.34.29 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.36.40 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.37.18 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.37.33 am

These are some of the exquisite spiders and insects that we’ve found around the home over the past couple of weeks.  The Maratus spiders shown are both male and female (the first 9 images).  What’s interesting about them is right now they are out an about in the natural world – where as many of the species are untraceable at this time of year.

We ask ourselves – why is this particular species active?   I’ve spent the past few weeks observing the yard at all times of day and found something of a patterned emerging.  Only after the sun began to lower, and the time beyond 3.30pm would I ever spot the Maratus.

The large orange wasp, stings her prey and creates a tomb like space for the creature to lay dormant and become host to her offspring.  Many jumping spiders become entombed and it’s no wonder they are hard to find when it is warm and the wasps most active.

Mike helped me out with spotting and found the female Maratus which is so small that when you take a photo and blink – if she’s moved it’s quite challenging to locate her again.

Lucky for us all – the temperatures here have been mild (mid to low 30’s) and the breeze cool.  Summer so far has been wonderfully warm.

Do you have spiders in your yard? 

I’ve read recently that jumping spiders are the most common across the planet.

The first 1.5 years.

Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 8.25.12 amScreen Shot 2017-12-28 at 8.24.24 amScreen Shot 2017-12-28 at 8.24.55 amScreen Shot 2017-12-22 at 8.30.02 pmIt’s said that a baby absorbs the most information during the first three years of life.  Wesley is now 1.5 years old and truly amazes us with his little discoveries each day.

His mind is like a rocket ship, fuelled and taking off into the great unknown – so ready to take it all in!

We’re now entering a period of new word development.  Some days he surprises me with 4-5 new words and has become more aware of when to say hello and bye.  He’s quite good at waving me off and saying “bye”!  He has even memorised a few parts in books (that blew me away the first time it happened).  He has a little library and we are lucky to be able to borrow some from Eneabba.  At this stage we probably read together at least 2x a day.  He’s often found tucked away somewhere quiet flipping pages, gently peering at the images.

Some of the words he’s learned so far:

Fish, Sheep, Boo!, No, Vroom Vroom, Car, Shell, Flower, Yeah, Ball, Moo, Teddy, Apple, Hi, Bye, Uh Oh, Mummy, Dada, Meow, Duck, Quack, Milk, Dog, Bubble, Egg…

Our darling Wesley has been climbing, feeding his toys and taking them on trips around the house, running, reading, dancing (such a good dancer!!) playing and beginning to take trips with us to the potty.

Here are some songs we’ve been dancing to lately:

He is very generous with his kisses, cuddles and even food.

Sometimes I hold him in the middle of the night and he snuggles into my chest like a koala.  It is then that I can truly measure how large he is for my top half of my torso is engulfed in his hug.  Long gone are the days when we gingerly held him and tapped our palms on his back for little belches.  When he was just born his whole torso fit in the palm of my hand or the crook of my neck.  He was incredibly delicate and precious to hold.

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Now I’m being swallowed in his size – it’s as if I can barely comprehend how this happened…When did you become my big boy?

Time is moving too quickly.   Everyone says that, and it’s true.  In my mind I flash forward to his first bike ride, bus to school, kiss, heart ache…

Day by day, inch by inch he will slowly transform into an independent person who will learn to lead his own way in this world.  We’ll be delighted to keep watching him and showing him everything we can so he can shape his own idea of what his new shiney world will look like.

I can only hope he will still love hugs and cuddles for a little while longer.