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.

Simple pleasures.

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.43.06 amThis is a detailed image of the smoke bush flower – it’s wonderfully soft.Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.42.46 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.45.11 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.44.16 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.44.49 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.43.59 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.43.44 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.40.08 amWe installed a cotton hammock on the porch facing the sprawling landscape back in September.  You’ll occasionally find me lazing about in the shade in it when Wesley is napping.Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.42.16 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.41.42 amThis was Wesley’s first time playing in a sprinkler… he was so excited!  Rightfully so, it was 36 degrees that day (it’s still spring here!)Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.41.07 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.40.39 am

A few days back I took a quick glance around – everything is coming together and just looked cozy and clean and clutter free.  We don’t own much, and those things we do have here all serve a purpose.  I said to Mike shortly afterward that there wasn’t much I need to be comfortable and happy here.  I’ve come to love the butter coloured walls I painted back in August, they work well with our furniture and brighten up the living room in a way that is really fresh and uplifting (but also subtle).

After I admired our space, I told him my short list of simple home pleasures…

  • a scented candle
  • a good book
  • fresh clean sheets
  • a nice bottle of wine
  • a new outfit quarterly (haha I threw that one in at the last second) Some of the clothes in my wardrobe have been a part of my life for many years now.  I have dresses and items that are 10 years old now, I still wear them.

I think Mike’s list is even shorter:

  • chickens
  • bees
  • fresh underwear

Another simple pleasure to relish here is in the image of the dip in this post.  It has been recreated through a recipe from a German friend who lives inland.  I’ve now had her cucumber dip a few times (near eating most of it myself almost to the point of hoarding it from others!) and it’s insanely good and simple!

Cucumber Dip Recipe

  • 1/2 cup grated lemon zest (you don’t need to add the lemon zest but I’ve added it to add even more zing!)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1 medium size clove of garlic grated (in the fine grater)
  • 1 whole cucumber grated with the skin on (in the larger grater setting) be sure to squeeze out as much of the water as you can
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all the items together and serve on whatever you like!  It literally takes 5 minutes to make and about 5 seconds to eat.

Dear reader, what are the simple pleasures you enjoy in your life?

Native Flora of Western Australia

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.28.08 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.28.30 pmHere is Tessa scouring the ground for signs of orchids and other plants.Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.29.05 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.29.38 pmA native cockroach eating some bird poo.Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.29.53 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.30.09 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.30.32 pmThe stunning spotted leopard orchid.Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.30.49 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.30.59 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.08 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.16 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.30 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.39 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.31.58 pmHere is a little toad bug.  Can you see him?Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.32.37 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.33.02 pm

These are a few images from a morning out in the bush a couple of weeks ago.  Tessa took me out for roughly 3 hours to several spots along the farm to take a look at what was currently flowering.  The verticordia and leschenaultia were both incredibly diverse with both plants showing several species.  The pale creamy leschenaultia might be my new favourite flower, the colours are muted but at the same time fresh and almost peach like.

I did not prepare for the sun exposure, and subsequently morphed into a lobster come evening.

It was worth it.

 

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.