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

Farm endeavours.

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.54.18 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.52.35 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.54.57 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.53.59 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-14 at 5.11.23 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.55.40 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.53.13 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.54.07 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.54.29 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 6.00.20 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.53.41 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.53.32 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.52.14 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.52.48 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 6.00.42 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 5.52.59 pmIn a few short months we’ll have been living in this little house for a year.  When we first arrived there was considerable time spent drafting a plan to rejuvenate the sand filled yards surrounding us.  It’s been many years since someone we here to properly tend to the gardens, and even 7 years ago when we first lived here we made several attempts to tame the landscape and they all failed (apart from this one strange tree that is overtaking part of the house and more pest than shade giver).

We have dreams of an orchard, lawns, veggie gardens, native flower gardens, trees to provide to luxury of shade and a new chicken coop,

With no one living in the house for a few years nature had crept in and the interiors and they needed to be reclaimed by mankind.  That would involve fixing a leaky roof, cleaning dust laid windows, vacating the space of vermin and spiders as well as painting or repainting several rooms.

Tackling these projects solo with a toddler (as a part-time single parent) is no easy feat!  Mike is away at work in the northern tip of the State every second week leaving Wesley and I to our own devices.

Thankfully we have a very happy boy who loves to participate and join me outside.  For this I am ever grateful as it’s allowed for a few projects to begin and move in slow but steady stages.

This week I’ll be painstakingly dragging a wheelbarrow back and forth 150 metres to the old shearing shed near the house.  It’s a treasure trove of sheep manure!  To make this monotonous task more fun, I’ve given Wesley a harmonica and he hops into the wheelbarrow as we traverse back and forth.  He plays a little tune, and sometimes will stop and yell at me: 123 GO! When I set the whole thing down to give my arms a break.

It’s hilarious, and frankly Wesley’s company during the whole task has made it so enjoyable that when I went to do a load during his nap today – I missed his music and silly personality keeping us both entertained.  The job seemed a real effort without him.

We’re only into the start of winter, but with these beds not completed we’re going to be missing out on crucial rains!  We should have pushed harder to get this started but it was contingent on a lighter wheelbarrow (that only arrived this week).

Our chicken coop is up and working fabulously.  There are two separate pens one about 3x bigger than the other.  Our hens are all very happy laying at the moment.  They have such a grand, shaded space that Mike and I are both very proud to have built together.

Three bottlebrush trees, 4 macrocarpa trees, and one silver princess have been planted around the yard.  Several more will go in as we see how things fare the next few weeks.  Shade around this house is lacking so it’s an ongoing project.  All of the trees are natives and should be very hardy for drought.

Our mango, feijoa and avocado trees are another story.  These are doing ok – but only time will tell if they survive.  To have these fruits at our fingertips would be so wonderful.

Some of the plants mentioned above were given to us at a native plant giveaway last weekend by a group based in Jurien Bay (of which I’m now a member!) who survey the local flora and do bush tours together.  I’ve found my people!  They were given a grant to grow and distribute these native plants to locals to encourage more people to keep drought hardy species and grow native gardens, which is a fabulous idea.

Pictured are some trees, plants and bugs found around the farm the past couple of days and some of the aforementioned projects!

Huge thanks to Sally’s Baking Addiction for sharing her insanely gorgeous white cake recipe online.  We made it for Wesley’s birthday party.  It was so so so good.  Check out the recipe here. A testament to it’s goodness – I woke 2x in the night to polish of a few more pieces of the vanilla buttercream cake.  Wesley crammed much of it into his mouth during the cake cutting ceremony and discovered a love of frosting!  Even now a week later I’m still drooling thinking of it and I’m not even a baked goods person…

I’ll share more on the progress of the house and yards as we soldier onward!  For now, even though progress is slow – it still feels oh so good to see hard work coming together.  Even if it is inch by inch.

Heres to being open.

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Our chicken coop is nearly finished, the lawn is drought hardy, the compost is heaped to the brim and the plans for the next phase are nearly under way.

Lately I’ve helping the community rally together against the Fracking Industry (as that fight is unfortunately still ongoing and will be a long process) in partnership with Lock the Gate, immersing myself in the joys of raising Wesley, copywriting from home and learning alongside Mike that the potential to make inner change is huge.

We have both been reading a number of books on mind development, cognitive decision making and positive communication.

Do you ever read books like this?  What’s a book you’ve read and felt really resonated with you?

For me the #1 is The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer – it’s simply given my mind a real shake up.

This is another year that is going to be filled to the brim with love, adventure, open hearts, cuddles, dancing, singing, photos, hiking and plenty of learning.

Peacock Jumping Spider – Western Australia

Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 1.31.51 pmScreen Shot 2017-09-16 at 1.46.46 pmScreen Shot 2017-09-16 at 1.47.09 pmScreen Shot 2017-09-16 at 2.00.22 pmSo after 4 years of diligently searching the bush, parks and house yards across Australia, we have found an elusive peacock jumping spider in our very own back yard!

They were quite a bit bigger than I had anticipated and were easy to identify with their little white socks on the middle legs.

These spiders have some incredible colouring and are known to dance and court the female before mating.  If the male successfully dances for her affection she will breed with him, if not there’s a chance she may kill him.  The odds are dire!

To see some more examples of these incredibly vibrant little spiders please check out this page.  There is currently a group the dedicates time to finding and identifying these spiders (Project Maratus) and I’m just waiting to hear back from Michael about the type that this little spider might be.  I think he’s quite common at this stage.

The first two images were taken last night at sunset, and the last was today at midday.  It appears the colours become more vibrant in bright lighting.

We actually found two yesterday, along with an ant mimicking spider, and some Christmas spiders today as well.  Mike and I had been moving some scrap metal and digging up old posts when we discovered the colourful little spiders.

The yard is smouldering today as we burned and cleared some plant matter and burned down one dead tree.  The air has that campfire smell, combined with working in a 30 degree day, we have had our first little taste of summer.  Mike and I are also in the process of getting a chicken yard set up and removing the old one.

I’m not sure if it’s the heat or just the time of year but there are spiders everywhere!