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.

Blue Blood Super Moon Eclipse, Western Australia

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.01.40 amScreen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.30.06 amScreen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.27.40 amThese are some images from last night’s super, blue, blood moon eclipse.  We stood out peering at the moon in wonder as the earths shadow slowly swallowed it whole.  The third image is a section of the milky way that was visible in the darkness as the moon was hidden.  It was such a nice night with friends – we’d had a pretty massive dinner together and then were enjoying the sunset on the porch before we noticed the super moon.Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.01.58 amScreen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.02.12 amIt’s fascinating how many orb spiders we’ve seen around the area – this one particularly is striking.  I found a few days back.  The red on it’s legs and abdomen stopped me in my tracks.  It’s also giving me serious cooked seafood vibes with the deep orange red hue.  I cannot stop looking at the perfect like 4 square set up it’s eyes have.  Such a unique placement!Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.03.43 amBrian and Wesley heading into the lambs paddock to stir up some trouble!Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.04.00 amThis tree is the biggest one for kilometres.  You can see it at least 6 km away on the drive up to the property.  We’ve planted a few trees here ourselves (bottle brush) to help close in the yard and provide more shade around the home.  We’ve got quite a bit of firewood to sort out and I think we might set up some form of bonfire pit over winter.  Maybe.Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.04.10 amThese are some gorgeous figs that we’re patiently awaiting.  They have been sitting unchanged for months and only just today are they showing signs up plumping up and darkening to a pale purple pink.  Tessa makes this incredible stewed fig desert with brandy.  I ate it 6-7 years ago and I can still recall the flavour.Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.04.47 amThis last image was taken last week in the light of the half moon.  I was stunned to see this many stars when I reviewed the image on my camera.  It was incredible to see how much light my eyes were missing!

Have you ever taken any night photos?  This is kind of unchartered territory for me, and I’m still learning the basics.  Hopefully the next time I’ve got a bit more skills and can show you the milky way in the next new moon here in Australia.

 

Heres to being open.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 1.33.24 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.28.08 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.04 pmScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.51.32 amscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-1-14-34-pmScreen Shot 2016-02-17 at 7.09.48 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-07 at 6.21.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.35.49 PMLife on the farm is simple, minimalist and starting to shape itself toward being a sustainable little treasure.  We’re excited to now see progress as we take the small but inevitable steps toward a life with less and more good wholesome home grown food.

Our chicken coop is nearly finished, the lawn is drought hardy, the compost is heaped to the brim and the plans for the next phase are nearly under way.

Lately I’ve helping the community rally together against the Fracking Industry (as that fight is unfortunately still ongoing and will be a long process) in partnership with Lock the Gate, immersing myself in the joys of raising Wesley, copywriting from home and learning alongside Mike that the potential to make inner change is huge.

We have both been reading a number of books on mind development, cognitive decision making and positive communication.

Do you ever read books like this?  What’s a book you’ve read and felt really resonated with you?

For me the #1 is The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer – it’s simply given my mind a real shake up.

This is another year that is going to be filled to the brim with love, adventure, open hearts, cuddles, dancing, singing, photos, hiking and plenty of learning.

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.

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?