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

Point Louise, Greenhead Western Australia

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The breeze was so refreshing at the beach yesterday.  I had a few solo hours in the bush and sand dunes keeping an eye on what’s flowering, what bugs are pollinating at midday and where the little jumping spiders are on the coast at midday.  Do they move about in the full sunlight part of the day?

A little treat to myself during this little venture was an iced coffee.  And people! Australia and New Zealand do this right!  It comes with whipped cream on top and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The bitterness of the coffee is all at the bottom, and as you finish the drink you’re left with the sweet taste of ice cream to cool you down.  On a crazy hot day it is perfectly refreshing.

My search for the first two hours proved uneventful, though I did see many butterflies, beetles and wasps (and even one blue banded bee) out hustling between all the flowering coastal plants.

I’d thankfully slathered on a huge portion of sunscreen before leaving.  As I wandered the beach it crossed my mind to remove my shoes and feel that soft white sand and warm Indian ocean between my toes.  As I progressed along Point Louise, I followed a path up the limestone cliffs and began to walk North.

This was perhaps a poor impulsive decision as I then spent the next hour painstakingly walking along a gravely hot path barefoot.  What’s worse?  The sharp pain of awkwardly placing my foot on a rock or the searing pain of the hot ground cooking my feet?  Both at once was fairly uncomfortable.  I had to hype myself up to turn around and walk to full track back!

The good news is during this little tortured walk, I managed to spot what I’d been looking for.  One small brown jumping spider hopped across the path and into the shade.

After several hours out in the sun, I started to make my way home.

Greenhead is a gorgeous little community, with a number of holiday homes to rent a couple of cafes and a small pharmacy.  Now that Christmas is nearly upon us the town will be bustling with holiday makers, children and plenty of happy families soaking up the sun on these lovely beaches.

We’re also settling into the weekend and will be celebrating a quiet little Christmas with Wesley and friends.  Eggnog spiced with a little rum will be whisked up by Mike after a successful and popular batch last year.  He’s keen to try again (it was so delicious and I don’t even like liquor) and today I’ve baked some old style cookies my grandma taught me how to make when I was a child.   I hope you take time to connect with your loved ones, create or uphold traditions and cherish these memories.

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?