Native Flora of Western Australia

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.28.08 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.28.30 pmHere is Tessa scouring the ground for signs of orchids and other plants.Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.29.05 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.29.38 pmA native cockroach eating some bird poo.Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.29.53 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.30.09 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.30.32 pmThe stunning spotted leopard orchid.Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.30.49 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.30.59 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.08 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.16 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.30 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.39 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.58 pmHere is a little toad bug.  Can you see him?Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.32.37 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.33.02 pm

These are a few images from a morning out in the bush a couple of weeks ago.  Tessa took me out for roughly 3 hours to several spots along the farm to take a look at what was currently flowering.  The verticordia and leschenaultia were both incredibly diverse with both plants showing several species.  The pale creamy leschenaultia might be my new favourite flower, the colours are muted but at the same time fresh and almost peach like.

I did not prepare for the sun exposure, and subsequently morphed into a lobster come evening.

It was worth it.


Catching Bees & Baking Challah

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 9.46.55 amScreen Shot 2017-09-13 at 9.47.29 amScreen Shot 2017-09-13 at 9.48.22 amScreen Shot 2017-09-13 at 9.48.56 amI’m going to give myself a big pat on the back here – for I wasn’t sure if I could do either these things before I gave them a try.

First I baked my first two loaves of challah bread. ¬†They turned out wonderfully. ¬†The best part about challah left overs – are the epic french toast that can be made the next morning. ¬†I froze one loaf so Mike can enjoy some with us while he’s home too.

I used to work in the financial district of Toronto, and beneath this section of this city lay an underground network of cafes shops and passageways for workers to move between buildings without being exposed to the cold weather. ¬†It is truly an ingenious system. ¬†But I digress – what I found down there was a small bakery beneath my office that sold the most delicious challah buns. ¬†They were golden yellow and would melt in your mouth in only a couple of bites. ¬†They were a huge treat, and since I’ve left the city have not seen any where that sells these special pastries. ¬†So, after what seems like now a decade I’m taking my challah love into my own hands and making it myself. ¬†It’s surprisingly easy to make. ¬†If you’re keen to try making them at home yourself – here’s the challah recipe I used. ¬†I would love to show you a photo but sadly my camera is still broken – but I’ll be making these again and will endeavour to show you the results.

The other was briefly touched on a few posts back.

Bee capturing! ¬†Mike talked me through it over the phone, and assured me I was safely protected by a bee suit. ¬†The bees were full of honey and wouldn’t be able to sting. ¬†Ok, I’m in! ¬†That thrill of trying something new and scary was so rewarding. ¬†We now have a second happy little hive!

They had been swarming on a branch in the yard so I put on the suit and placed a box underneath the swarm.  Then gently moved the branch to drop 70% of the bees into it and close it off.  You basically have to pray you caught the queen, otherwise they will just walk out and fly back to her.  My first attempt looked successful, but a few hours later I found them all back on the branch.  I gave it one more shot and woke the next morning to discover they were all happy and warm inside.  Moving beyond my fear of being stung, I knew it would make Mike really happy if I tried Рso there it is, success!

Today I killed an emu. It was horrible.

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 3.40.14 pmScreen Shot 2017-09-09 at 3.40.37 pmWesley and I were on our way home from Jurien Bay and were halfway home (it’s a 45 min drive) when suddenly in the blink of an eye a teenage sized/aged emu dashed out in front of the car. ¬†It was only maybe 10 feet ahead when it chose to that exact moment to run across. ¬†I didn’t have enough time to stop before we collided.

This is the only thing I’ve ever hit with a car. ¬†On the way this morning I’d stopped to pull a dead kangaroo off the road and slow down for about 3 separate bobtails as they scuttled across the road. ¬†I was one of those people saving the little creatures or giving them a more dignified resting place (sparing other drivers having to swerve as well).

They say when a moment impacts you emotionally it can slow down and time can feel as though it has come to a stand still – though science explains this is just you reliving the moment. ¬†Today it’s fresh and it only felt like a flash of time maybe 2 seconds – but if I recall this moment and the 25 minutes after I hit the emu in a year or so it might seem like every millisecond can be accounted for.

What plays over the next 25 mins will stay with me for the rest of my days.

I was driving 10km below the speed limit which significantly spared our car from any damage.  We were very lucky.   The bird was not.  It had hit the ground severely and as I cut the engine and pulled over to the side of the road I could see it was sadly still alive and very badly injured.

It was very stressed, breathing heavily and every so often it would thrash and kick it’s legs. ¬†I opened the car door so Wesley could have fresh air as I decided what I was going to do about the dying bird. ¬†I knew I couldn’t leave it in this state.

It would be a long slow death on the hot pavement. ¬†The underside of it’s torso was torn open showing it’s yellow fat and red flesh both exposed through the feathers by the impact of the pavement. ¬†It made me sick to my stomach.

Sadly it also couldn’t walk, but it was trying so hard to get up. ¬†I couldn’t get close but it was going to cause an accident if it stayed where it was. ¬†I called Mike to see what I should do, but no answer. ¬†Then I rang Tessa and she suggested the ranger.

At this point a number of cars had slowed down, and a couple of them had stopped to see if we were ok and took a look at the car and watch the bird closely.  One younger guy was really kind and stayed with me the whole time as we tried to track someone to help the bird.

Eventually a police car rolled up and then two officers came out to see what they could do.

For anyone who deeply loves animals like I do perhaps this is a really good time to exit this story.

The male officer asked if there were any babies, and I said no. ¬†At this point he whipped out his baton and extended it. ¬†I realised he was going to try and stun or kill it with the weapon. ¬†I looked away and said to myself “Jesus christ!” as I heard the dull thud of the two crashing together. ¬†I thought it was all over when I turned to see the officer dragging the bird from the road into the gravel and then bush.

Making sure Wesley was still comfortable I was partly distracted when the sound and shock of three gunshots went off.

There was silence, and then the cars all left.

I got in the drivers seat and sobbed for the dead bird.  I felt just awful.  I know there was nothing I could have done to prevent it from happening and yet I was also relieved that Wesley and I were ok.  If we had come or gone any sooner or later this might not have happened.

Emu’s are beautiful and yet oddly stretched out and quite terrifyingly dangerous if you ever manage to see one up close. ¬†They are not known for their intelligence, and I just wish it had seen the car approach and decided to wait just a second longer.

Have you ever hurt or injured a large animal in your car?  How did it go?  

Obviously I did not take photos – but as I often post pleasing colourful images – I thought I’d include these donkey orchids from a few days ago to sort of soften the horror of what’s happened today.

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?  

The August Wrap Up.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.13.43 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.00.32 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.58.11 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.00.39 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.13.02 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.58.20 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.12.44 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.59.27 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.58.47 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.59.36 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 6.59.52 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.00.12 pmScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.12.15 pmSo, August isn’t quite finished however there have been some events of late which I have to jot down or they will go into the void of my brain, certain to never return. ¬†We’ve been on the farm for nearly a month now and as each day passes we become more and more settled into this quiet, secluded and frankly peaceful life.

There has been plenty of elbow grease ignited scrubbing glass and cleaning the fly mesh on windows, floors, prepping walls for fresh coats of paint – all the while chasing, playing and splashing around with our darling little Wes.

Right, here is the list of memories before I forget!

  1. Wesley boldly running at the ocean, and I trying to keep one hand on him while he became soaks and covered in sand. ¬†He was stripped to nothing and continued to enjoy the warm, salty, frothy water for another 10 mins before we called it day. ¬†He was obsessed. ¬†We’re investigating swimming lesson’s pronto. ¬†There is a pool in town and as the weather continues to heat up over the next month – he will be definitely getting some practice.
  2. A massive wedge tailed eagle was about 3 feet from my head. ¬†Funny enough, mere moments before it happened I said to myself – I would love to see one of these eagles much closer than I’ve ever been *usually it’s at a great distance and through the lens of my camera. ¬†This bird was flying just above my right side view mirror and I actually was breath taken. ¬†I could see under it’s breast and beak and in the split second that I actually was looking (my eyes had to go back to the road) I took in the under span of it’s wings. ¬†It was truly incredible.
  3. Wesley grinning with flies stuck in his teeth on account of eating them like they are raisins. ¬†I laugh and gag… He keeps finding them! ¬†He also keeps sampling sheep poop as if it’s a treat. ¬†*I shudder when he offers me them too. ¬†Nah mate, I’m alright!
  4. The thousands upon thousands of blue/black wasps that were in the air yesterday afternoon.  I drove a short while up the road and they were popping off the front window glass.  So much that I pulled over to see what it was I was inadvertently killing.  About 10 minutes later they were completely gone.
  5. The soft call of an owl at three am this morning. ¬†It roused me from a rather odd dream and at first I thought it was Wesley calling for me. ¬†I soon realised it was an owl, and crept onto the porch. ¬†From three am to five am it called out, a beautiful sound in the dark along with one frog and some crickets. ¬†The sky too was glowing with the clarity of millions of stars. ¬†Gosh I’ve got to set up my tripod when it arrives and show you what I mean.
  6. A procession of blue tongue lizards lining the roads as I drove to Perth two weeks ago.  It was almost as if they were out to say hello.  There have been a few teeny tiny ones as well which look like they might have only just been born.
  7. We’ve been out to this really beautiful spot called three little springs with a large portion of the community for a remote picnic. ¬†There were fresh yabbies, pastries, salads and even coffee and tea was provided from a billy can cooking session. ¬†There were plenty of kids, and Wesley powered through the entire day playing in the dirt. ¬†At one point all the older kids crowded around him to play in the sand with them. ¬†In return he stole one boys cookies and ignore their efforts to connect. ¬†He was in the sand play zone! ¬†It’s meant to be an event that reoccurs every 6 weeks and it’s honestly so good. ¬†We saw some many old friends and were introduced to some new faces too, though technically we’re new…but old.
  8. Another Wesley moment – I wish I’d had a camera for it. ¬†He was gently holding Tessa’s bear *she’s made a collection of impressive bears and keeps them in her living room – and as we were distracted talking, I caught him out of the corner of my eye illuminated by the golden afternoon sun. ¬†He was backlit, and pulled the bear close to his chest and snuggled it. ¬†Then he gave it the softest, sweetest little kiss. ¬†He’s just beautifully kind hearted.
  9. Climbing into bed after the sheets have dried in the hot sun. ¬†The smell is so relaxing and comforting – those simple pleasures…
  10. The wildflowers are late this season due to very late rains.  There have been a few orchids spotted and plenty of insects are buzzing about pollinating their little hearts out!
  11. The last and most important of all РWesley has been sleeping through the night for 1.5 weeks.  We are both soaking up the joys of sleeping for long periods of time!  It has been literally life changing.

In about a month we’ll be hosting Mike’s brother Rayden and his sister Stacey for a week and hopefully we’ll have finished some of the major projects built or nearing completion before they arrive.

Rayden had been here a few years back and it’s Stacey’s first time in Western Australia from Melbourne.

We all can’t wait to see them and show them the area. ¬†Wesley is keen to see his Aunt and Uncle – and decide which is ultimately his favourite, ever!¬† Haha the race will be on!