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

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.

Lesuere National Park – Western Australia

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Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 7.28.00 amScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 7.28.14 amScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 7.28.27 amScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 7.28.54 amIt’s no secret that Lesuere National Park is a place that I love dearly.  It’s 2.5 hours North of Perth and only a 15 minute drive to the ocean front town of Jurien Bay.  The park is sprawling, vast and incredibly beautiful as it stretches across 272.4 km² of conserved land.

We are lucky to live only a 25 minute drive from the park.  Which means I get to see it often!

I’ve only just scratched the surface and stayed on the marked trails or along the edge of the lazy 14km road that takes drivers on a slow moving tour of the landscape.

This past Sunday I ducked out alone, to savour some time in the bush completely without distraction.  It comforting to know this place is protected with a Class A conservation status (it’s been protected since 1976).  People will be able to enjoy it’s natural wonders for decades to come!

Verticorida, Pink, Red and Yellow

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.48.13 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.46.03 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.45.36 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.46.26 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.46.40 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.46.50 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.45.24 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.48.03 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.48.28 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.47.28 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.47.45 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.48.53 pmThis morning before Mike left for work, I went to the spot where he found the pink verticordia that were featured in yesterdays bouquet that I posted.  There were some really stunning bugs flying about, and the colours of freshly popped flowers made it looks like a fairy tale – somewhere that we could only imagine.

It’s been a whirlwind week being home – and the past 24 hours particular were social, busy and brought many creatures into our travels.

Whilst I did not have my camera, I did manage to spot whilst driving:

  • 1 ornate dragon lizard
  • 1 thorny devil
  • 1 yellow pale snake that I’m not sure of what it’s called
  • 1 other new lizard that I have never seen before soaking up sun on the way to Coorow.  Next time I’ll stop and see what it actually is!  It sat near the edge of the road doing what in yoga is called cobra pose.

Did you see the scorpion above?  This is the first ever live one I’ve seen, and it was using it’s stinger to keep me away!  It was just underneath a box that was left in the sun.  I was getting ready to clear away some rubbish when I saw this strange form moving in the dirt.  Yuck!  I’ve always been afraid of them but this one being only 2 inches wasn’t very intimidating.  Note to self though – keep your eyes on the ground for Wesley will certainly try and mush it or eat it.

We met Mike in Coorow yesterday for his cricket game, and then travelled onward to our friends farm to have a little hang out in front of the lake.  The kids were all entertained by the water and dogs.  They had a huge sail put up for shade and a fake lawn with a boat to play in and a bbq for us all to enjoy.  We didn’t stay as long as we would have liked, but did travel back home before the sun got too low.

There is one type of verticordia in this batch that I’ve not yet spotted before.  It almost looks like a cross between a tea tree plant and a larger verticordia.  The colours out in this patch of bush are incredible at the moment.  The yellows, pinks, deep reds and creamy pale flowers stand out amongst the thick shrubs and deep blue sky.

There hasn’t been a cloud in sight the past couple of days, and yet again the temperatures are beginning to rise.  Summer… is almost here.

The jumping spider is one of the larger that I’ve spotted.  It had a glossy almost waxy spot on it’s back – I chose this photo because of the aqua thread coming out it’s rear…looks like a star trek beam for teleportation ahah.

Well – it’s been an epic week back, and nature has also not disappointed!

Lovely Things.

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.39.53 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.40.03 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.40.14 amI did not take many images in New Zealand but as usual it was lush and beautiful everywhere I looked!Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.40.27 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.05 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.18 amI’ve seen quite a number of jumping spiders since we first spotted one nearly two months ago now.  All of them have been male, and all of them have been wonderfully beautiful.Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.30 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.41 amThese are juvenile yellow throated miners who were clumped together when I first spotted them.  They were quite noisy calling out for mum n dad to feed them.Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.49 am

I’ve recently returned from a 10 day trip to New Zealand for surgery.  I had been on a wait list for 8 months and so when the date finally came rushed to buy a ticket and Mike arranged to have leave from work to care for Wesley.  10 days in New Zealand were to rest and recover from the near 1.5 years of little sleep or alone time… Mike was so brilliant with Wesley while I was away that I never had to worry, he was in excellent hands.

The surgery was very short and I was basically recovered within a day.

I spent my spare time either pushing my limits physically by hiking, swimming, walking… or resting with family and friends.  One hike particularly stood out for me, as it was just alive with the call of birds.  It was the Fern Track up in the Pohongina, which was a solo venture.  The forest gave me so much energy.  It was a restorative trip and I came home eager to see my little Wesley and embrace Mike with the biggest hug.

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Something else wonderfully beautiful…these flowers were waiting for me when I came home.  Mike and Wesley had set up the home and it was so welcoming and pleasing to be back in our little nook in this world.

Slight side note – While I was away, my favourite artist release a second album (after an 8 year hiatus) and I’ve been enjoying it thoroughly for a few days now.  Fever Ray – Plunge.  Her voice is childish, strained unpredictable, off key and difficult to imagine ever being emulated.  My ears love it.