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

Aunt Stacey & Uncle Rayden

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.04 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.15.24 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.20 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.15.47 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.15.55 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.26 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.53 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.11 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.41 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.37 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.28 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.47 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.54 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.19.05 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.17.54 pmWe have just had a really magical week with Rayden and Stacey.  They travelled to the farm from Melbourne and Adelaide respectively to come and spend time with us over 5 days here in Warradarge.  It was clear that right away there was going to be a super show down for top Aunty/Uncle title as deemed by Wesley.

They were hilarious playing with him, dressing him, bathing, changing and for four long nights they tended to his every need through the night.  Mike and I both found it a treat to have had the help round the clock and honestly to lay in bed just a little longer than usual in the morning was the best thing ever!  Sleeping in is rare these days.

We did quite a bit over 4 days…

  1. We devoured some really delicious home cooked food.  An epic lamb roast with roasted veggies and some home made pear and blue cheese pizza as well as some super local pork for dinner – Mike also spoiled us all with an egg and bacon breakfast which was gobbled up in mere minutes.
  2. We spent time at the beach in Greenhead.  This was where Wesley proved that it would take at least 4 adults to keep him from getting into the ocean.
  3. A little hike at Mount Leseure to enjoy the wildflowers and check out the landscape
  4. The gang even went to tennis for a hit on the courts (I stayed back to garden and also head to the bush).
  5. Risk was played rather competitively, with Mike being the ultimate winner!
  6. Rayden transformed into a professional TV chef teaching Wesley how to make chocolate biscuits for us all to enjoy during one afternoon when wee man was getting a little cranky it was such a great activity that perked him up.  He was such a diligent little helper!
  7. Rayden and Stacey helped me set up three large (50 foot) garden beds in our front yard, and brought in his expertise setting up a compost heap for us in the yard beyond the house.  It was so good to have the extra hands and energy to really crack into the work.  This also involved shovelling sheep poop from under the shearing shed for an hour – we did a huge amount of work!
  8. Mike spent some time managing some bee hives and caught one more on the last morning (we now have 5!!)
  9. Stacey and Mike went for a hike and enjoyed some nearby caves and Lake Indoon while Rayden and I stayed with wee man baking.
  10. A trip to the garbage dump haha was a memory for all to cherish too!
  11. Video chats with Great Grandma Izzy, Aunt Valerie and Great Uncle Andrew also topped off a pretty magical week.

Stacey takes some top points for changing some poopy diapers – and on that alone she should probably take out the lead, but there was a lot of love shared between the 5 of us and Wesley would be hard pressed to choose his favourite.  He was laughing, running around and being his curious little self during the trip.

The help over 4 days not only with Wesley but with some major jobs around the house was so appreciated.  We’re so lucky to have such incredible family and will cherish the times we share with them for years to come.

Today Wesley and I are back into the swing of things – we hiked to the top of Leseur this morning and have had a really chill afternoon.  We’ll be hosting a friend for dinner this evening and have a few dates out this week with some new local friends from Germany and Canada.

I’ve also got to plan out how much more manure will be needed for the gardens and work with Mike on how we will plant and grow food for us and for the markets in Jurien.  Big plans!

It’s going to be a great week, even though we miss Mike – we have plenty to keep us entertained and dive into the adventure of life on the farm.

Till next time!

Ps: red spotted jezebel butterfly and jewel beetles feature above if you’re curious.

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 – Wesley 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!