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!

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.

A few firsts.

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.24.20 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.22.34 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.22.55 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.20.31 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.20.45 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.21.03 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.22.16 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.22.23 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.23.02 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.23.15 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.23.23 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.23.47 amScreen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.24.07 amThis past week held a few milestones for me.  Some of of the tasks worked well and some were a bit of a fail.  Either way, in taking these tasks on I’ve learned quite a lot and grown even more confident in what I can accomplish.

  1. Drove on my own for 1000km over the course of 6 days. To Perth and Back and then to Geraldton and Back.  My solo venturing for longer distances is giving me this sense of freedom and adventure that I really love!
  2. I picked up a large table and 6 chairs from Perth with Wesley.  Strapping the set on and driving 6 hours was a huge day but so worth the adventure!  At one point I had zero battery on my phone (no charger despite topping it to 100%) and it felt like I was in mission impossible driving up the highway wondering if I was going to find the house before the battery died.  It made for an exciting last 25 minute stretch of road.
  3. I removed a screen door from the front of the house and then helped Mike me install the new door and lock.
  4. Caught a photo of a baby mulga.
  5. Fertilised the lawn with organic lawn feed – but completely over measured and put the entire bag onto the grass (despite using a scale to weigh out a small portion).  The good news – we hope is that organic fertiliser is a lot less likely to burn your grass/garden as it’s slow release.  Fingers crossed!
  6. Strapped on a screen door and drive 4 hours to bring it home.  When I undid the strapping it had sadly been punctured through the box as I’d strapped it too hard!
  7. We dug in and installed a brand new line of sprinklers which will seal off the grass in our yard to fill in the edging.
  8. Tomorrow Mike is going to attempt to harvest his first ever batch of honey from his 5 hives that have been placed on a farm 20km up the road in a dense patch of Red Gum Trees.

Wesley has had some firsts here too!  His past few weeks the words have been spilling out and he’s starting to connect two words together now.  Here are some of the latest words:

Blue, Blue Fish, Eyes, Nose, Hair, Up, Down, Shiny, Yellow, 1,2,3 Down, Yah, Bye Bye Daddy, Roll, Frog.

We have some ongoing projects at the house at the moment, one of them I work on each week Mike is away – and that involves painting the trim and doors of the interior of the home.  That’s really freshening up the decor, I love seeing it all come together.  The project is taking a while but I am enjoying taking the time to put love into each project.

Till next time!

x

Warradarge, Western Australia.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.00.05 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.00.14 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 9.59.51 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.00.20 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 9.59.37 amWhen I first started this blog nearly 6 years ago it was in this exact region of Western Australia that Mike and I were working.  In fact we were working on a cattle property just up the road from this little farm house.

To move back here feels so surreal, and wonderful – it’s as if we never left.  The house is just as charming as when we last lived here and the view… I doubt we will ever tire of these spectacular sunrise and sunsets.

Wuzza and his mates sleep in the driveway in front of the house, and at the right time of morning you can just catch a hint of a grey silhouette and the stunning soft pink and purples that fill the sky just before the sun cracks over the horizon.

We have a number of projects we’d like to jump into on the house, and when Mike returns from work (he’s working offsite on a mine up North) next week we’ll sit down together and come up with a plan and start to prioritise tasks.  For the time being Wesley and I have been doing quite a bit of gardening and have also dug in a watering system for the yard (lucky for us it’s sand so made it really easy).

Wesley is hilariously obsessed with the pet sheep, from the moment he wakes till the moment he sleeps he points them out and asks in his own little way if we can go and see them. Once we are near he squeals and chases th wee lambs and is unstoppable until I scoop him up.

Wuzza is weary of my human baby, but he has come over to say hello a couple of times. He’s my first wooly baby and I have missed him dearly, not sure the same could be said in return… but I’ll be sure to offer him some bread to reestablish a bond of trust.

When we first arrived to the home late last Friday afternoon, there was a gorgeous bouquet of wildflowers, some free range eggs and wonderfully juicy oranges for us to enjoy from Tessa and Brian.  Such a welcome package for a couple of tired travellers!

Walking.

When things aren’t too busy on the farm I often go for a walk with the Tess (the dog).  This time I brought my dslr and crossed my fingers that we’d run into some birds.

Bringing the dog was such a bad call.  I forgot that she likes to bark and chase birds!

We did manage to see a few cockatoos, galas and mountain ducks.   A few times I tried to dodge the dog and sneak over a fence to unsuspecting birds, but the dog thwarted my plans.  Suddenly she was tearing off ahead of me barking and killing any chance I had of capturing these birds up close.  I will admit there was some serious cussing on my part a few times.

Afterward we continued walking and ended up at Brian and Tessa’s (a few kilometres away from our house) and we ran into Chocco.

Tess loves Chocco.  They are like a pair of teenagers around each other, chasing, flirting, fighting.  I get a kick out of watching them chase each other…