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.

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

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.


Taranaki, to close 2016.


We’ve just returned from a few very nice days up in the Taranaki region at Kerry Lane (which is a charming little resort).  Mike’s brother Rayden had entered a tennis tournament so we travelled up with him and his partner Fredrik to watch him play.  Mike and Rayden also played a wobbly doubles match, and in between matches we took in the local scenery.

There was a really charming antiques shop that I managed to find a heavy cotton blanket (it has a gorgeous checked pattern in a cornflower blue with white as a base) that will be perfect for cozying up in the winter.  The blanket, I’d expect to pay somewhere between $100.oo-$200.00 as it is a luxurious heavy cotton.  The store offered 25% off and I scooped it up for a measly $12.00.  It’s hard to find quality in modern goods, so I was pretty stoked!

Whilst Fredrik and I browsed the store, Wesley began to squawk/talk to someone.  I turned and couldn’t help but laugh.  He was “talking” to a very creepy doll.  Minutes later the same thing happened as I approached another doll on the other side of the room.  Thank god, they didn’t talk back.  Though the woman who owned the shop joked she didn’t know what the dolls did at night when she left… I inwardly shuddered.

Taranaki country is quite hilly, and is spectacular to look at whilst driving around.  It’s located on the edge of the Western side of the country.  The mountain is an inactive volcano that is covered with walking trails and waterfalls.  It was here that we found my most favourite of favourite things.  Several species of native orchids were sprouting from the earth.  Actually Mike found them, just to be clear.  He’s getting quite good at it.

The images of the mountain were taken at dusk and dawn…and again during mid morning before our hike.

On the way home we stopped at our friends dairy farm and enjoyed a nice relaxing meal and played with the kids.

We travelled homeward, settled in, and rested.  The last night of 2016 we all tucked into bed for a much welcome sleep.  That is until Wesley woke and partied all night with his dad.

Today we rise to 2017.  We’ll all be another year older soon, and I can’t wait to see what this year brings.  Hopefully… just hopefully it brings a little more sleep.

We’ve just gotten word that some friends from Western Australia are booking last minute tickets to New Zealand for a holiday, and we’ll be seeing them in about a weeks time…2017 is kicking off to a good start!

We hope you have all made it through 2016 with fond memories too.

Holly, Mike & Wesley

Ps:  A couple of the photos of Wesley with family are some images from Christmas Day.  We had a really nice lunch at Mike’s mums which is just a short walk up the road.

A Forgotten Spider Orchid

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I’ve been looking at some photos in my archives today and came across this orchid (just popping out) from our trip to Stirling Range National Park last September.  It struck me, that I’d not noticed this photograph properly when I first reviewed the images.

It’s a stunner of an orchid, and in admiring it…I suddenly had the thought to look up the orchid season here in New Zealand.

As luck would have it – there is a fantastic site that shows the locations and flowering times for the native orchids throughout the country.  There are some even blooming this month.

It looks like the season is heaviest during the spring/summer period (Oct-Jan) which is awesome.  I’ll hopefully be able to make it out and hike some rugged tracks and be able to bend down for long periods of time by that point!

I’ve also been meaning to get some photos of the spectacular jumping spiders here – but each time I’ve been out with my camera they seem to go into hiding.  We’ve spotted at least 10 different species around our home and Mike’s mums.  I’ll have to keep trying.

Lately, I’m mostly resting, meditating, doing prenatal yoga, reading and taking Tess for little short walks.  The link to the prenatal yoga video was provided to me by a good friend (thanks Emily!) recently and has helped me stretch out muscles that have been – lets say mildly dormant the past few months.  The videography is beautiful (as is the music) and even for someone who might not have a lot of experience (if any) with yoga the narration is gentle and encourages safe practice.  If you’re limited in movement this is a great place to start.

We also did a two day antenatal class this past weekend, and also took a tour of the local hospital.  It was so nice to be around other people who were at the same stage of pregnancy, and could laugh together about all the crazy changes we’ve been going through.

This provided a great place for the partners to ask questions and have open discussions about all the things we were unsure of.  I also loved watching Mike dress a baby and wear a pregnancy suit, it was really a great intro to parenthood for us.  If you do get the chance to sign up for a class I’d highly recommend it.