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.

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!

Silly memories.

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.20.57 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.21.09 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.21.23 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.21.40 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.22.00 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.22.40 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.23.00 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.23.08 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.23.28 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.23.36 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.24.02 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.24.15 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.24.37 amThe past few weeks there have been a number of special little moments that have made me smile and laugh with Wesley around the home and beyond.  Here are a few of them:

  1. He loves crabs and sharks and well basically all sea creatures.  I was cooking dinner when I felt a little hand sort of pluck the material on my pants.  I looked down to see Wesley wearing the red oven mitt.  He looked up at me and said “craaaaab” which was adorable and so funny.  He loves the mean crab from moana and sort of sings along with the song whenever it gets the part where he says “shineeeey”.
  2. I saw he was about to play with our heater, when I called for him to stop he held a rag at the wall and pretended he was washing the wall instead.
  3. We’ve discovered an area in the woods that has a really cool dirt hill (almost like a bmx set up) and so were scrambling around on it yesterday.  When we were just about to walk back to the car I nearly stepped on this blue mouse spider (related to the dreaded Sydney funnel web!).  Gingerly I tucked it into an envelope and brought it home for identification and photographs.  The experts are looking at it right now and will be back with more info soon!  The blue colouring is exquisite.
  4. We’ve joined a playgroup in Jurien bay which is about 45 minutes away – there are so many kids.  It’s been awesome meeting new people.
  5. Wesley is ever adventurous but there have been a few moments in the past week when he comes back and seeks cuddles.  He’s also given a few kisses (of free will) and that just melts my heart.
  6. We read an illustrated compendium of the sea and he’s nearly memorised the names of all the sea creatures.  He’s really that into the ocean!
  7. It was wee mans first ever time out in the rain to splash in puddles and he took to it so quickly!  We were both soaked by the end!  It was so much fun.
  8. The freaky looking (and ugly) mantis creature is actually not a mantis at all.  Crazy right?  After some investigating and eventually emailing a scientist friend – it was discovered that this thing is called a mantis fly.
  9. Wesley loved running naked in the garden beds after his bath a couple of weeks ago as the full moon was rising.  It was such a warm night so we all sat in the grass enjoying the view.  Tom was with us again for the night too!

Help Ban Fracking in Western Australia

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.03.05 pmScreen Shot 2018-03-19 at 12.56.23 pmScreen Shot 2018-03-19 at 12.58.39 pmScreen Shot 2018-03-19 at 12.59.40 pmScreen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.01.08 pmIt’s been such a beautiful week.  We are so lucky to live in an area incredibly rich in outdoor activities.  We spent time at the beach, swimming at the pool, enjoying a picnic with a friend and ran amok in the yard as the sun began to set each night.

That being said – beyond our personal activities; today is an important day for the region.  The Inquiry into Fracking has now closed it’s scientific submission period.

I’ve written a personal submission and also helped local group P.O.W.E.R Eneabba with their group submission as well.  Many other concerned citizens across the region have also picked up pens, and participated in Lock the Gate workshops to prepare and submit for themselves.  It’s encouraging to see people have hope and passion to keep on protecting this special place.  A statement in the press claimed there were approximately 8,500 individual submissions received by the panel.

The loosely regulated gas industry has been causing disruption in the community since 2012 and are well poised to roll out the invasive gas wells across the region in as near as 2020.

Things are now coming to a head.

We now wait with baited breath to see what the results will be.

Here’s hoping that there are advocates for farmers, the environment and water rights amongst the policy makers sitting in office.

One way you can still help influence positive change, is to sign this petition/.

It calls on the government to impose a full ban on fracking to protect all citizens in the State of West Australia from the risks of water contamination, disruption to the local commerce, agriculture and ecology.

Can you help?

Lake Hāwea Station, New Zealand

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.12.51 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.13.57 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.14.04 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.13.50 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.14.53 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.15.02 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.15.16 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.12.38 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.15.25 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.15.33 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.10.25 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.10.05 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.10.18 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.15.40 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.15.50 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.16.11 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.16.37 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.17.23 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.17.40 amScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 7.18.04 amOur time in New Zealand was wonderful.  We dashed around visiting family and friends across the Manawatu the first few days and then Mike and I parted with Wesley (he stayed with his Aunt Stacey and Nanna Ann) as we boarded a flight to Christchurch.

I almost forgot to add here – that I had a terrible flu and was running to the toilet for a few hours before boarding and praying that I wouldn’t vomit on the plane ride.  Surprisingly I managed (with a lot of will power and a lot of deep breathing) to get through the flight and a harrowing 7 hours drive.  Mike was sooo good to me during that time helping make the journey less brutal by driving, feeding me and getting me into bed promptly as we got to our accomodation in Twizel.  I fevered that night but woke much refreshed the following day.

The area we were driving through was new for both of us and thankfully I managed to stay awake and soak up all the views for a few hours.  The first day it was 30 degrees and quite balmy.  The following morning we woke in Twizel to 8 degrees (the high for the day).  We certainly weren’t prepared for that drastic drop in temperatures – it was unusual for the area as the tail end of an ocean storm had crossed the entire country causing flooding in areas and heavy rains or even snow in our case!

Right, the reason we were on the South island sans wee toddler was to celebrate our friends (Tracey & Elliot Signal’s) wedding.  They are a wonderful couple we’ve known since Mike and I first met at Baker Creek Chalets over 8 years ago.

Mike and I spent one week alone together at Lake Hāwea Station (a merino and cattle propertly) in an old cottage, hiking, skippng rocks on the lake, gold panning, eating, reading and resting.

Our gold panning experience here was quite good – the weather was sunny and warm  which made the cooler waters rushing at our ankles feel a bit like a soothing spa treatment.  It was alot of fun, though we didn’t find anything this time.

Just a little note – The Hāwea Hotel Pub is very well placed with views of the lake and has some excellent food on offer to go with the views!

The little cottage has incredible sweeping views of the lake and some mountainous rugged terrain tucked just behind it for hiking.  Moving through the hills it really contrasted the merino farming we are used to seeing Australia.

There are plenty of decent hikes in the area of Wanaka – and on the first day we did Mount Iron which will have you towering above the little town.  Mike lamented to me that Wanaka wasn’t the same quiet little place as it was when he first stayed back 10 years ago.  It’s now a bustling little town with throngs of tourists.

To paint a picture for you – we went to get groceries the first day at the only supermarket and had to pass through roughly 1000 other patrons to get any food.  It was a frenzy!  There was plenty of produce as this grocery store has come to terms with the influx of shoppers but we hardly bought anything and just rushed to get some essentials for breakfast.  It was insane!

The wedding was an intimate setting on a hill with the view of the mountains as a backdrop.  There was also incredible catered food (it wasn’t a sit down meal but more canapés and little boxes of brisket and charred salmon and plenty of lamb chops!).

Tracey and Elliot looked wonderful and really put on a great event for everyone to enjoy.

We spent the last evening in Christchurch in town, where we enjoyed some wood fired pizza from a trendy quarter in the city.  It was really cool to see some of the new architecture (wish I took some photos!) that has been commissioned.

Wesley had an incredible time playing with Tess, the cats and all the new toys at his Nans.  He was whisked around with Stacey to play dates, swims and all kinds of adventures with family.  I was so eager to see him when we got back and he hardly took any notice of us ahah.