The wildflowers of Warradarge

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.46.23 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.44.21 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.44.36 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.04 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.44.11 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.18 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.59 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.46.10 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.30 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.46.57 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.39 amThis past week while Mike was home, I was able to take some time and wander through some native bush about a 10 minute drive from the farm.  At one location there were some very large gumtrees that I’d been observing as we travelled around and decided there must be some orchids sprouting at their feet.

As I carefully searched the forest floor, I was greeted by several kookaburra cackling in the trees above and even a small euro kangaroo – which took off from her resting place only about 10 feet from where I was walking.  The roo particularly was of interest as you don’t really see many euro’s in the area.  It’s had a more red colour to it’s fur and was more broad in it’s features.

Wandering the bush I felt this sense of excitement and that joy, that comes from looking at beautiful colours and observing the bugs and birds.  We were all moving through the lazy pace of the day, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine.  There were at least 4 species of orchids out – though I’m having trouble confidently identifying the green hooded orchids.  They all look so similar!

I was only away a couple of hours, and when I came home Wesley greeted me with this big beautiful hug.  It was so nice!

While I am here I may as well report that camera has since been smashed.  The lens is in 4 pieces – and I’m not 100% sure my camera body works – as I’ve not got a lens to attach to it.  I had run outside quickly to capture some bees for Mike as he wanted some for a hive.  They had swarmed so I ran out quickly – thinking Wesley was safely playing in the house.  I came back to my camera on the floor…and the discovered that it was a goner.  What a silly mistake!  Thankfully wee man was not hurt at all…the body and lens together are very heavy and could have badly injured him.  Phew!!

We also had about 500k beetles swarm the farm yesterday.  The air was very still and at first all the noise I thought we were being swarmed by the hive I had caught the night before.  The trees were dropping leaves, and the sound of the things hitting the house was almost comical.  The devastation to the bottlebrush trees is incredible – these little beetles sure know what they want to eat!  The were around for about 2 hours – and if I had my camera I’d love to have shown you all the madness.

I’ve been prepping our living room for a bit of a makeover.  Over the past three evenings I’ve been taping, touching up the trim and starting to put up a prime coat in the shade that would replace the current medium green shade.  I was hoping to brighten up the space and make the room feel more open.  I’m now second guessing my colour choice.  It’s this really pale yellow – which I thought would make sense with the 50’s style of the house but it’s not quite right.  We had previously painted several of the rooms various shades of soft grey and I have a feeling that might be the route we take for the living room too.  In a few weeks our shipping container should arrive from NZ so hoping I have finished this before our furniture arrives.

Have you ever painted a wall and immediately regretted the choice of colour?  

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!

The Fern Walk – Tōtara Forest Reserve

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Wesley was in daycare today so I took the opportunity to drive up to the Pohongina and spend some time in the forest peering at fungus and listening to the birds whilst carefully plodding through thick goopy mud.  Within minutes my feet were soaked, normally that would bother me, but today I embraced the icy water on my toes…  It was really fresh and crisp under the shade of the trees, and the chill really invigorated me.

I came home a few hours later feeling much better.  It was exhilarating; exploring, looking to find the gorgeous colourful fungus growing on the ground, consuming the dead bark, and the fallen leaves.  I also noticed a few birds, some tui and fan tails were flitting around taking a peek at me, as I peeked at them.

A man was also fly fishing in the Pohangina river – and I thought of Mike coming out to the same spot in search of trout… Simply put, he is deeply missed around these parts and we are so looking forward to reuniting with him.  We may know in the next week!

Long distance has been challenging, so thankfully there is the forest to help me regroup and prepare for the next few weeks.

Below details a short story taken from the Papatoetoe Central Schools website about the Māori connection to the tōtara tree…  Read on!

The Totara in Maori Legend – Rata and the Tree

Rata was in the forest wandering about wondering what to do about retrieving the body of his father who had recently died when he decided he would chop down a tree and build a waka.

He selected a Totara, felled it, and went home planning to return in the morning to begin building the waka. When he did return he found the tree wasnt lying on the ground as he’d left it but standing as if it had never been felled.

He chopped the tree down again this time trimming the trunk and removing the bark and and went home with the same result when he returned the next day.

He chopped the tree down a third time, this time trimming and shaping the tree and scooping out the inside and decided to sneak back during the night to see what was happening

When he approached the tree in the dark he saw to his amazement that birds and insects were reassembling the tree to return it to its original state.

Rata apologised for chopping down the Totara and explained why he was doing so (to retrieve his Father), then offered to help lift the Totara back into place.

When dawn came Rata was ll alone, the little creatures had gone, and the Totara was back in its original state. Rata vowed to never chop down another tree, and a voice near him told him that he may, but he must ask permission from Tane Mahuta first.

As Rata returned home he came across a mighty war canoe sitting on logs in the forest, and he asked if it was his, and the voice said “yes, Rata’s waka”

Two more nights…

Lately the autumn colours have begun to creep in and transform some of the foliage.  The pops of orange and red are striking amidst the vibrant green landscape surrounding us.  With the change of colours comes a drop in temperature.  It was cold enough to leave the ground thick with a blanket of icy frost this morning.  Needless to say, our log fireplace has been roaring over night and well into the morning.

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In the flurry of recent cooler days, we met our new neighbour, whom has made herself right at home in a paddock up the road.  She is a total punk rocker with four nose piercings and yet is so sweetly polite of her sheep paddock mates.

Wesley is now marching, and has learned so many little adorable things.  From making tiny monkey, lion and chicken sounds – he’s also learned he can transport items in a little trolley and take them with him.  Honestly, I am in total rapture watching him play and discover the world around him, even though I am severely sleep deprived…my fascination is endless.  I often find myself smiling and feeling this huge sense of gratitude for him joining our lives.  Today, he was babbling away in the back seat and I was just headed home with him from the library and I was beaming hearing him.  This depth of love, is profound.

His first birthday party is this weekend.  We’ll have family over for a little party and some much deserved cake!

Mike returns in two days which is so exciting, he has been away 26 days.  It’s been a long stretch but thankfully we’ve made it through despite some adverse conditions!  I have a newfound respect for single mothers.  There have been a few rough moments, but overall it’s not been too bad.  22 of the nights Wesley was not sleeping well – he’s had teeth, sickness and tummy aches, and crazy early mornings.  How do children wake so perky at 5am?  Last night there were some signs of improvement, which are so welcome!

It’s going to be so cute to see my boys reunite, and also have a little sleep break lets be honest!  I do need to recover for the next stretch, that’s obvious by this stage.  My intake of coffee is at an all time high.  One thing that has helped me with the long distance, is not focusing too long on it.  This is one of the longest stretches we’ve been apart and it wasn’t too bad.  This is also largely on account of the amount of attention given to wee Wesley.  That being said, when it does pop into my mind the longing to be held by Mike…it’s pretty powerful.  I miss him so much, I would love a reassuring and comforting cuddle!

Oh, these flowers are from Mothers Day.  Wesley was in rough shape that day with a high fever, and I was given a few hours to rest and recover by Mike’s mum Ann.  She brought the flowers to me from herself and Wesley’s great grandmother.  I wish they could have stayed like this forever, they are like works of art in this image.  So beautiful…flowers just feel like colour magic in any space you find them!

This is a little list of some new music I’ve been listening to the past couple of weeks…if you’re so inclined to give them a try – just follow the link to listen.

Living Days – Thrill Anybody

Woodkid – Run Boy Run

Twin Wave – Matador

The Moth & The Flame – Young & Unafraid

Christine and the Queens – iT

Eat More Cake – Heat of the Night

Georgi Kay – Ipswich – This track features on a New Zealand television program called Top of the Lake – which if you’re looking for something grim, and beautifully shot…check it out.  Have you seen it?  So compelling…and twisted .

Banks. – Trainwreck

x

Holly

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 – we 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