Thorny Devil, Western Australia

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Here is a thorny devil that was found about 15km away from the farm.

Not too sure what the issue is, but I’m having issues posting a 7 second short clip of the this thorny devil walking.  I’ll keep at it (few days now!) and hopefully will have a little video to share with you soon.

This post also features a Lesser Wanderer Butterfly, a jumping spider that mimic ants and some of the dry landscape.

At the moment we’re hosting Mike’s cousin Tom who’s going to be headed inland shortly to work for our old boss seeding in Coorow.  And while we have had him here we took him to the few coastal communities here and found a sea lion looking rather tuckered out.  The local fisheries and ocean officer told us she’d come out and make sure it was ok.

The sea lions generally aren’t found on mainland unless they are tired or injured.  It’s the first time we have seen one here.

Around the yard.

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It has been a week of nature discovery here around the farm house.  Wesley and I found a baby snake at the back step of the house, which is currently unidentified.  If you know anything about Australian snakes please feel free to leave a comment with your guess/species name.

The little jumping spider was also found at the back step this morning.  I was walking outside to hang up laundry when I spotted a little speck.  Moving slowly I peered closely and discovered it was a beautiful basking jumping spider.  Pretty cool colours on it!

The lizard is actually a very small baby dragon lizard.  It was in the grass at the back of the lawn that is growing up the fence.  Thankfully I saw it or I might have accidentally killed it with the scissors I was using to trim the grass by hand.

Butterflies have been flitting around the yard drinking the water that remains on the grass from it’s sprinkler system.

Wesley and I were also exploring the yard and Japanese pepper trees today as they were just alive with the sound of bees darting too and from.

I feel really bad about this hair cut and I’m hoping it grows quick.  Sorry my sweet little boy – if you see this image one day I never intended for it to be this shoddy!

You never know what’s going to pop up around the house – a lot of these things are a first for me.  Wesley is so lucky to get to see all of this right here!

Help Ban Fracking in Western Australia

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.03.05 pmScreen Shot 2018-03-19 at 12.56.23 pmScreen Shot 2018-03-19 at 12.58.39 pmScreen Shot 2018-03-19 at 12.59.40 pmScreen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.01.08 pmIt’s been such a beautiful week.  We are so lucky to live in an area incredibly rich in outdoor activities.  We spent time at the beach, swimming at the pool, enjoying a picnic with a friend and ran amok in the yard as the sun began to set each night.

That being said – beyond our personal activities; today is an important day for the region.  The Inquiry into Fracking has now closed it’s scientific submission period.

I’ve written a personal submission and also helped local group P.O.W.E.R Eneabba with their group submission as well.  Many other concerned citizens across the region have also picked up pens, and participated in Lock the Gate workshops to prepare and submit for themselves.  It’s encouraging to see people have hope and passion to keep on protecting this special place.  A statement in the press claimed there were approximately 8,500 individual submissions received by the panel.

The loosely regulated gas industry has been causing disruption in the community since 2012 and are well poised to roll out the invasive gas wells across the region in as near as 2020.

Things are now coming to a head.

We now wait with baited breath to see what the results will be.

Here’s hoping that there are advocates for farmers, the environment and water rights amongst the policy makers sitting in office.

One way you can still help influence positive change, is to sign this petition/.

It calls on the government to impose a full ban on fracking to protect all citizens in the State of West Australia from the risks of water contamination, disruption to the local commerce, agriculture and ecology.

Can you help?

Lake Hāwea Station, New Zealand

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I almost forgot to add here – that I had a terrible flu and was running to the toilet for a few hours before boarding and praying that I wouldn’t vomit on the plane ride.  Surprisingly I managed (with a lot of will power and a lot of deep breathing) to get through the flight and a harrowing 7 hours drive.  Mike was sooo good to me during that time helping make the journey less brutal by driving, feeding me and getting me into bed promptly as we got to our accomodation in Twizel.  I fevered that night but woke much refreshed the following day.

The area we were driving through was new for both of us and thankfully I managed to stay awake and soak up all the views for a few hours.  The first day it was 30 degrees and quite balmy.  The following morning we woke in Twizel to 8 degrees (the high for the day).  We certainly weren’t prepared for that drastic drop in temperatures – it was unusual for the area as the tail end of an ocean storm had crossed the entire country causing flooding in areas and heavy rains or even snow in our case!

Right, the reason we were on the South island sans wee toddler was to celebrate our friends (Tracey & Elliot Signal’s) wedding.  They are a wonderful couple we’ve known since Mike and I first met at Baker Creek Chalets over 8 years ago.

Mike and I spent one week alone together at Lake Hāwea Station (a merino and cattle propertly) in an old cottage, hiking, skippng rocks on the lake, gold panning, eating, reading and resting.

Our gold panning experience here was quite good – the weather was sunny and warm  which made the cooler waters rushing at our ankles feel a bit like a soothing spa treatment.  It was alot of fun, though we didn’t find anything this time.

Just a little note – The Hāwea Hotel Pub is very well placed with views of the lake and has some excellent food on offer to go with the views!

The little cottage has incredible sweeping views of the lake and some mountainous rugged terrain tucked just behind it for hiking.  Moving through the hills it really contrasted the merino farming we are used to seeing Australia.

There are plenty of decent hikes in the area of Wanaka – and on the first day we did Mount Iron which will have you towering above the little town.  Mike lamented to me that Wanaka wasn’t the same quiet little place as it was when he first stayed back 10 years ago.  It’s now a bustling little town with throngs of tourists.

To paint a picture for you – we went to get groceries the first day at the only supermarket and had to pass through roughly 1000 other patrons to get any food.  It was a frenzy!  There was plenty of produce as this grocery store has come to terms with the influx of shoppers but we hardly bought anything and just rushed to get some essentials for breakfast.  It was insane!

The wedding was an intimate setting on a hill with the view of the mountains as a backdrop.  There was also incredible catered food (it wasn’t a sit down meal but more canapés and little boxes of brisket and charred salmon and plenty of lamb chops!).

Tracey and Elliot looked wonderful and really put on a great event for everyone to enjoy.

We spent the last evening in Christchurch in town, where we enjoyed some wood fired pizza from a trendy quarter in the city.  It was really cool to see some of the new architecture (wish I took some photos!) that has been commissioned.

Wesley had an incredible time playing with Tess, the cats and all the new toys at his Nans.  He was whisked around with Stacey to play dates, swims and all kinds of adventures with family.  I was so eager to see him when we got back and he hardly took any notice of us ahah.

Lovely Things.

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.39.53 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.40.03 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.40.14 amI did not take many images in New Zealand but as usual it was lush and beautiful everywhere I looked!Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.40.27 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.05 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.18 amI’ve seen quite a number of jumping spiders since we first spotted one nearly two months ago now.  All of them have been male, and all of them have been wonderfully beautiful.Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.30 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.41 amThese are juvenile yellow throated miners who were clumped together when I first spotted them.  They were quite noisy calling out for mum n dad to feed them.Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.49 am

I’ve recently returned from a 10 day trip to New Zealand for surgery.  I had been on a wait list for 8 months and so when the date finally came rushed to buy a ticket and Mike arranged to have leave from work to care for Wesley.  10 days in New Zealand were to rest and recover from the near 1.5 years of little sleep or alone time… Mike was so brilliant with Wesley while I was away that I never had to worry, he was in excellent hands.

The surgery was very short and I was basically recovered within a day.

I spent my spare time either pushing my limits physically by hiking, swimming, walking… or resting with family and friends.  One hike particularly stood out for me, as it was just alive with the call of birds.  It was the Fern Track up in the Pohongina, which was a solo venture.  The forest gave me so much energy.  It was a restorative trip and I came home eager to see my little Wesley and embrace Mike with the biggest hug.

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Something else wonderfully beautiful…these flowers were waiting for me when I came home.  Mike and Wesley had set up the home and it was so welcoming and pleasing to be back in our little nook in this world.

Slight side note – While I was away, my favourite artist release a second album (after an 8 year hiatus) and I’ve been enjoying it thoroughly for a few days now.  Fever Ray – Plunge.  Her voice is childish, strained unpredictable, off key and difficult to imagine ever being emulated.  My ears love it.