Warradarge, Western Australia.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.00.05 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.00.14 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 9.59.51 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.00.20 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 9.59.37 amWhen I first started this blog nearly 6 years ago it was in this exact region of Western Australia that Mike and I were working.  In fact we were working on a cattle property just up the road from this little farm house.

To move back here feels so surreal, and wonderful – it’s as if we never left. ¬†The house is just as charming as when we last lived here and the view… I doubt we will ever tire of these spectacular sunrise and sunsets.

Wuzza and his mates sleep in the driveway in front of the house, and at the right time of morning you can just catch a hint of a grey silhouette and the stunning soft pink and purples that fill the sky just before the sun cracks over the horizon.

We have a number of projects we’d like to jump into on the house, and when Mike returns from work (he’s working offsite on a mine up North) next week we’ll sit down together and come up with a plan and start to prioritise tasks. ¬†For the time being Wesley and I have been doing quite a bit of gardening and have also dug in a watering system for the yard (lucky for us it’s sand so made it really easy).

Wesley is hilariously obsessed with the pet sheep, from the moment he wakes till the moment he sleeps he points them out and asks in his own little way if we can go and see them. Once we are near he squeals and chases th wee lambs and is unstoppable until I scoop him up.

Wuzza is weary of my human baby, but he has come over to say hello a couple of times. He’s my first wooly baby and I have missed him dearly, not sure the same could be said in return… but I’ll be sure to offer him some bread to reestablish a bond of trust.

When we first arrived to the home late last Friday afternoon, there was a gorgeous bouquet of wildflowers, some free range eggs and wonderfully juicy oranges for us to enjoy from Tessa and Brian.  Such a welcome package for a couple of tired travellers!

Manitoba & A New Slightly Altered Dad

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.31 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.42 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.46.58 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.47.41 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.47.54 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.02 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.15 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.28 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.55 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.18 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.44 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.56 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.50.10 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.50.25 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.50.38 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.51.32 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.51.51 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.52.08 amWell, sitting here in our living room it feels surreal that we were just in Manitoba, Canada for 10 days. ¬†Wesley and I flew over to spend time with my dad who’d just survived a harrowing ordeal which involved a complicated emergency surgery. ¬†Frankly we were expecting him to be in serious shape when we boarded the plane. ¬†The dad that we encountered was walking, eating and generally moving about without too many issues.

His recovery was to put it simply… Amazing. ¬†

Our trip was initially meant to be much longer – but travelling solo with Wesley and trying our best not to get in the way…it became clear early on that we wouldn’t stay longer than we were needed. ¬†So 10 days it was. ¬†My sister and her husband Jordan were our hosts along with the two dogs Odie and Maggie. ¬†Dad was driving himself by his second day and it was really nice to know he’d be basically independent.

The weather at first was quite a shock.  We arrived to -16 degree weather, though over the course of a few days spring took hold and began to thaw the snow and ice.  The dogs were a huge source of entertainment for Wesley which was awesome Рwe were inside quite a bit of the time.

We’d never been to this area of Manitoba before, and in all honesty – I felt like such a tourist! ¬†There were little details I was noticing that the younger me wouldn’t have really paid attention to. ¬†The plants, cats tails, a red squirrel, the geese flying in for spring and the grass turning from brown to green in only a few short days. ¬†We stayed in a trailer at Ron and Madelines property, which was great to escape and sleep in peace and quiet whilst listening to the geese fly overhead. ¬†The property has a very large oak forest which we also had the pleasure of tramping through a few times. ¬†I can only imagine how much more beautiful it is in the summer with the leaves and greenery.

One of the day’s Wesley and I joined Ron (Liz’s boss) and he took us out to do some bird watching. ¬†We spotted 2 eagles and several different species of hawk. ¬†He also took us into a Hutterite colony and we got an up close and personal view of what it’s like inside these exclusive communities. ¬†I might write more about that at a later time. ¬†I did refrain from taking photos – out of respect. ¬†I didn’t want them thinking we were there to gawk.

Agriculture and mass farming is hugely popular in the region.  We were staying in a little town called St. Pierre Jolys which has quite a french influence.  Most of the accents in the region had a slight french style to them which is unusual to find outside of Quebec.

My twin sister also made it down for a day en-route to Alberta to spend some time with the family and meet Wesley for the first time.  Here he was lunging in for a bite.  She was excellent with him, and gave me a bit of a break to shower and was super helpful.

He picked up a few interesting skills whilst we were there including: biting me when he wanted food, eating dog food (almost daily) and throwing a ball for the energetic and friendly Odie. ¬†Thankfully on the way home Wesley stopped the biting. ¬†I’ve a large bruise on my left are from one good chomp he gave me…and refused to release the skin from his teeth.

I drove on the right hand side of the road, which at first was kind of a dangerous transition. ¬†After a day I was ok… but I did blame it on the epic lack of sleep and jet lag.

We ate poutine a couple of times (it was so goooooood) and also brought back some moccasins to keep my toes warm this winter.  They are sheepskin lined and are like heaven on my feet.

All in all it was a successful trip. ¬†We survived the journey to and from (thankfully Wesley is a people person – he made so many friends during each leg of the trip) and it was fairly easy going to and from…lots of games and singing and horsing around on my part to keep wee man entertained. ¬†Travelling with a little baby is daunting, but at the same time it made it alot more fun than usual. ¬†I probably wont be putting my hand up again for that any time soon – but it is nice to know that Wesley loves the planes and is stimulated by all the people. ¬†He was adorable.

Coming home to New Zealand – it was so beautiful to see the green and even though it’s raining and a little chilly we’re sooo pleased to stretch our legs and settle into our little life here again. ¬†Mike had flowers waiting and firewood stacked along the front of our home. ¬†Such a wonderful welcome!

But… I’ll warn you all now. ¬†We have news. ¬†It involves…relocation. ¬†To another country…

Can you guess where we are headed?

I’ll reveal this to you shortly!

Take care all and be well

x

Holly

The first crop of onions.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-37-50-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-33-16-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-01-at-9-04-17-amscreen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-27-13-pmTo put a seed into the soil is to believe in the future.  You trust that earth, water and time will bring you nourishing food.  Time has brought us 8 red onions and a random white one.

They grew in rather close quarters, and a tiny lesson has been learned.  We must plant them at a greater space to allow for bigger bulbs next year.

I’ve trimmed them and foolishly placed said onions onto the mantle in our kitchen. ¬†Now, I am airing out our whole home from the intense perfume of fresh onions.

Another novice mistake.

Now they sit on the porch airing out for a few days before I store them in the cupboard.

Do you have a recipe that features onions that you love? ¬†I’ll probably need to get through these red ones rather quick! ¬†

We’ve been misted today in a dainty almost microscopic rain. ¬†You know the kind that lightly falls on your face and skin, it feels refreshing? ¬†Eventually it saturates you to the core, and yet at the same time is lovely because it is warm. ¬†Summer rain, is so pleasant.

This constant rain has made New Zealand’s soil fertile and created an optimal growing season in many regions. ¬†Palmerston North has had one of the wettest summers on record. ¬†We can only help but flash back to our struggles in Eneabba trying to grow our food in the hot heat of summer. ¬†We watered it endlessly. ¬†Many of our plants died. ¬†Here, we hope for some more sunlight to help ripen our green tomatoes. Though, I’ve heard they are good fried green anyway!

The light at sunset…

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Last night, I stepped outside just as the sun was setting.  Almost every night, we enjoy this delicate gold aura that is cast over the trees and fields, it is simply wonderful.

These are some of the images I took then, and also this morning as Tess and I enjoyed our little walk up the road.

Good news – we found out she can stay with us here! ¬†We’ll be working on bringing her kennel over soon and am so looking forward to having my little buddy nearby each day. ¬†She’s so cute in the morning when she says good morning.

About the images…

  1. Moving to a new country, we have tried our best to be frugal setting up our home again. ¬†Here is a porcelain pitcher that I scooped up at a local second hand shop…it’s become our little flower holder…and also death vessel (these flowers are now a week old). ¬†Picked from our driveway. ¬†I have no idea what the tree is called…
  2. As of today I am recovering from a pretty wicked head cold – Mike has been so kind, looking after me, starting/stoking fires and bringing me all kinds of healing natural foods and medicines. ¬†I’m just beginning to feel my nasal passage again! ¬†This couch nook has been my home for a few days… the crackling fire and fresh air from the windows have been a huge source of comfort. ¬†I’ve basically slept in an upright position for a few nights, trying my best not to suffocate in my own boogers.
  3. We’ve planted some fresh vegetables; dwarf tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and carrots are all sprouting in the small planter boxes that we have resting in the Northern sun on the porch.
  4. These last few images are of our neighbours sheep. ¬†They face our home…what I love is the abundance of fresh fruit…and how relaxed these sheep are. ¬†It’s very peaceful to watch them grazing just as dawn hits each day.

Locals protect Western Australia from Fracking Industry

The town of Eneabba consists of one convenience store, one auto body shop, an elementary school, one tavern and one petrol station.

It is a dry, sandy, vast, empty, desolate landscape.

Total population? 286.

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I will admit freely, that on first glance there was not much to be enthusiastic about Eneabba.

When my partner and I moved to the area we had to convince ourselves that we’d made the right decision. Mike and I discussed this as I watched the rolling horizon sprawl for miles from the passenger seat in our pathetically small car.  I had been warned, but had no idea how people survived let alone farmed in the brutal conditions on this land.  We were only meant to stay for three months. I just needed my second working holiday visa (which in Australia means you need to work in a remote area to extend your visa for a second year).  I was going to check in, do my hard time and then leave. I couldn’t wait to make my exit, and we’d only just arrived.

Through blood, flies, sweat, love, fire, and tears; we lived, worked and relaxed alongside the locals in this isolated town for two years.

Over time, I became enchanted with the place.

The community in Eneabba welcomed us with open arms.  The landscape slowly revealed it’s many natural wonders.

When I wasn’t chasing sheep, or rounding up cattle I was crouched in the bush with my boss observing the exuberant displays of colour exploding through the spiked, brutal bushes from May to December.  She was passionate and quickly showed me the endless variety of wildflowers on her property.

And honestly? It was astounding. The drab lifeless bush that I had initially scanned and discarded was in fact teeming with thousands of varieties of wildflowers.

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Among biologists, this region is regarded as one of the main biodiversity hotspots in Australia (and also world wide). There are over 12,000-recorded species of wildflowers in Western Australia. In fact this region is so highly regarded in it’s diversity that the likes of Sir David Attenborough have been here to study it’s wonders. As a relative comparison the British Isles have 3842 types of plants on record.

While the native flora and fauna have adapted to the harsh, dry conditions; mankind and our counterparts have not. The region‚Äôs water is supplied by tapping into subterranean aquifers. This (apart from rain water ‚Äď which can be sparse) is the only source of water in the region. The locals rely heavily on the bore water to survive and sustain their livelihood (farming cattle and sheep as well as cropping).

This place is special. It’s also worth saving.

The land in this region is currently being pursued relentlessly by the gas industry.

The locals have previously protected the land from coal mining, and have come together again to help protect the countryside from gas mining. ¬†Coorow Shire (where Mike and I spent a season seeding just before we moved to Perth) has just recently called for a moratorium, and it’s very hopeful to know that many other local shires will indeed follow suit.

Right now people are fighting to protect this shared water source from pollution, and prevent future generations disparity over poor choices in our lifetime.

Eneabba is one of those towns.  In fact there are many small communities that are fighting against this terrible industry worldwide.

Australia, United State, Canada and many other countries are all entangled in this mess… If we all speak up and act, it will discourage this damaging, unregulated, dangerous industry from taking hold in small communities and steer us to embrace energy sources that are indeed sustainable.

Please share this blog if you are concerned for future generations right to safe water.

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© 2014 Redterrain