Queen of Sheba Orchid, Eneabba

Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 5.02.20 pmScreen Shot 2018-09-10 at 5.03.02 pmScreen Shot 2018-09-10 at 5.02.54 pmScreen Shot 2018-09-10 at 5.02.39 pmMike and I have been on the hunt for this stunning orchid for over 7 years.  The location is vaguely suggested in Bob Liddelows book “A Guide to Native Orchids of South Western Australia”.  When we realised it was so close to the farm, here in Eneabba we had to keep searching.

We have been doing searches for the Queen of Sheba for about a month now each time Mike’s home from work.  Wesley was with us when we found it and it was such a little victory for our small family!  There were six out in bloom on this particularly sunny morning we found them.

They are a sun orchid so need full sunlight to open… so we were very lucky!  Seeing them in real life, it’s insane how colourful they are.  Such a delightful orchid.

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There has been plenty happening here on the property lately now that spring is upon us.  I’ve been gardening as fast as I can before the summer hits, and chasing Wesley through the bush showing him plants and bugs and spiders!  I’m still working on a community project and have also got word that a story is being published soon about all the spider’s I’ve found around the home.  Exciting times!  I’ll share that when it happens.

Wesley moved officially into his bunk bed this week – which has been awesome.  He’s such a big boy now.  He is a lover of nature, and I have to share this now before I forget.  But last week I found a large dead frog in the yard.  I’d placed it in the garden and told Wesley about a daddy frog I’d spotted.  He picked it up and gingerly played with it for 40 mins or so before Mike took him away.  The thing is, I’d watched him talking to the frog, high fiving it, and shaking it’s very stiff hand.  It was so cute.

This week we’re also preparing to host Great Grandad and Dee!  We’ll also be travelling North to Kalbarri which will also be a first for us.  It’s coming up fast – and we’re all looking forward to it!  I’ll post pictures when the trips complete so you can see what the place is like – apparently, it’s beautiful!

Campfire, community gathering.

Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.54 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.03 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.10 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.19 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.26 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.34 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.45 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.53 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.04 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.18 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.38 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.35.35 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.38.59 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.39.22 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.39.51 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.39.59 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.12 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.39 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.48 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.02 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.19 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.27 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.36 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.45 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.25 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.18 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.38.34 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.28 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.40 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.08 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.24 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.30.50 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.30.57 amThis past week we had so many sweet little moments savour.  We’d planned a community gathering at the house to enjoy a bonfire and marshmallow roasting.  20 people came out (including kids) and enjoyed a roaring fire (on a cool windy day).  There was a bit of a spread of food too – there were cookies, pastries and savoury quiche to have too.

The kids had so much fun chasing each other and enjoying little “Spud” a mix terrier that was brought along to enjoy his first outing.  They also enjoyed some mammoth sized marshmallows.  They were literally about 4 inches long!

Mike and Wesley and I did a drive to the coast about 20 mins away and found this Arrowsmith Spider Orchid, enjoyed a delicious lunch at the beach and then travelled onward to Lake Indoon on a dirt track.   It was on this path that we came across over 200 endangered, Carnaby Cockatoo who were munching away on the bushes quite happily.

As I hopped out of the ute to take a photo, they took flight and oh my god – it was breathtaking.

There are orchids all over the place and each time I get the chance I pull over to see what’s about.

We’ve been also checking a site nearby for the Queen of Sheba orchid – and think we may have found the spot.  Fingers crossed it opens soon!

Lastly, Wesley had a little friend sleep over this week and they were having a blast together.  They had cots in the same room and fell asleep talking to each other.  They also bust into hysterics when I took them for a drive up our bumpy, sloppy, muddy road.  Since his mates gone back home, Wesley has woken each day saying “Reuben, where are you?” and searches the house for him.  It’s sad, that he misses him that much!  We’ll have to do it again – they were so good together.

Also pictured:

  • This month’s waxing crescent moon (it rises this way each month, this is the first time I’ve been alert enough to grab my tripod and brave the cooler temperature to get the shot).
  • A tribonanthes flower (with the native bee pictured) is so fluffy it could be a teddy!
  • Wesley enamoured with the tiny puppy
  • Two little monkeys jumping in the spare bed
  • Catspaws between my toes
  • A tiny black mushroom sprouting from the sand.
  • Arrowsmith Spider Orchid (opened and closed)
  • Some sort of nymph bug – red and strange looking with large antennae.

Orchids in Eneabba

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.00.32 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.01.26 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.01.15 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.01.37 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.02.59 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.02.36 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.03.12 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.03.24 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.03.41 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.04.00 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.04.07 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.04.14 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.02.21 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.02.06 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.01.02 pmScreen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.00.47 pmThis past week has been very nature filled.  It’s been really glorious spotting the orchids now that the rains have really set in.  The winter appears to finally be here as this week we actually had the heat on!  Before Mike arrived I was wearing a tank top and shorts most days and wondered if it was going to stay in the mid 20’s for a long time.  Nope!

Wesley was not feeling the huge change in weather last night.  The tin roof of the house sort of amplifies the sound of the rain falling so it’s pretty loud.  To him the noise along with the wind and lightning were just a bit too much!  He had his mum and dad with him to cuddle to sleep.  I snuck off into his bedroom to sleep alone and woke to see Mike and our wee lamb cuddling asleep at 6.30am.  It was such a sweet moment to savour.

It’s been exciting out in the bush, as we’ve spotted 3 new species to us.  The hairy stemmed orchid, the coastal banded orchid and a Queen of Sheba (not flowering but soon to be – pictured above).  Most of the species were found in a Wandoo forest not far from the farm.

See that ant in the photos above, how unusual does it look?  I’ve never seen one with its colouring before.

Wesley has been joining Mike and I together in the bush, and Tessa and I have also spent a bit of time together looking at orchids too.

Nature here is just astoundingly diverse and surprising.  You never know what you’re going to see!

Pictured in this post:

  • Bluebeard Orchid
  • Greenbanded Orchid
  • Wandoo Forest
  • Strange Ant
  • Hairy Stemmed Snail Orchid
  • Mike hand building his new beehive boxes (he’s expanding our 5 to 20!)
  • Queen of Sheba
  • Multiple unopened mystery flowers/orchids
  • My shoes and a large fungus nestled between them

Hugelkultur

Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.14.13 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.14.04 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.13.46 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.14.19 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.12.48 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.11.44 pmThis past week I’ve been working on an epically large project.  The ground has been dug up to about two feet to be lined with logs and fallen timber in a process of soil regeneration called hugelkultur.

It’s a simple concept.  You’re taking carbon life forms and placing them into the soil to slowly decompose beneath your garden bed.  The results can have a lasting effect for up to 20 years!

The bed I’ve created was lined with logs then filled with jade cuttings and branches from around the house yard.  The next layer was compost.  Topping that was a huge layer of seaweed which we collected from Greenhead.  The seaweed took three trips to cover the entire bed.  The last few steps involve topping the green matter with the soil that was dug out, then adding a final layer of compost and hay or mulch.

My body has pulled me through this process – surprisingly with little soreness.  Overall exhaustion though was at an all-time high after I singlehandedly dug out the pit!  This is definitely a job for multiple people.

Wesley has particularly taken to the pit.  He’s also found great joy in all the mounds he can push his little dump truck over.

Only time will tell if the soil retains moisture – we’re going to let it settle and get some more decent rains on it before moving to the stage of planting.

All in all – this has been a thrilling project.  I really can’t wait to see how the veggies grow!

Bull ants and the rain.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.25.43 pmIt was looking pretty dire here until last weeks massive rain storm rolled through.  A week on and the ground is starting to look almost 50% green.  It’s incredible how quickly the germination has rooted and begun to bring more sustenance to these hard working mums!Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.25.29 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.25.19 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.25.09 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.27.12 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.27.36 pm

This is the shell of a woman who’s not slept deeply in two years… worth it though! Wesley is the happiest little person I’ve ever known and I’m feeling so grateful to be his mum.Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.27.51 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.28.03 pmThese are some pea flowers that were open a couple of weeks ago.  The road is starting to awaken and it’s looking like the rains are going to keep coming… hurray!!Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.20.53 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.24.50 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.18.12 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.18.24 pmFound these two lovers this afternoon – they are bull ants and god I’m horrified by the fact that they can also fly.  The male is clinging to the females back here.Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.26.12 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.26.22 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.26.31 pmHere is evidence of some of the rain we’ve had recently.Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.26.37 pmThis is on the road just south of Amboseli.  It was here that frogs could be heard calling to one another – a sign that winter has finally arrived!