Queen of Sheba Orchid, Eneabba

Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 5.02.20 pmScreen Shot 2018-09-10 at 5.03.02 pmScreen Shot 2018-09-10 at 5.02.54 pmScreen Shot 2018-09-10 at 5.02.39 pmMike and I have been on the hunt for this stunning orchid for over 7 years.  The location is vaguely suggested in Bob Liddelows book “A Guide to Native Orchids of South Western Australia”.  When we realised it was so close to the farm, here in Eneabba we had to keep searching.

We have been doing searches for the Queen of Sheba for about a month now each time Mike’s home from work.  Wesley was with us when we found it and it was such a little victory for our small family!  There were six out in bloom on this particularly sunny morning we found them.

They are a sun orchid so need full sunlight to open… so we were very lucky!  Seeing them in real life, it’s insane how colourful they are.  Such a delightful orchid.

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There has been plenty happening here on the property lately now that spring is upon us.  I’ve been gardening as fast as I can before the summer hits, and chasing Wesley through the bush showing him plants and bugs and spiders!  I’m still working on a community project and have also got word that a story is being published soon about all the spider’s I’ve found around the home.  Exciting times!  I’ll share that when it happens.

Wesley moved officially into his bunk bed this week – which has been awesome.  He’s such a big boy now.  He is a lover of nature, and I have to share this now before I forget.  But last week I found a large dead frog in the yard.  I’d placed it in the garden and told Wesley about a daddy frog I’d spotted.  He picked it up and gingerly played with it for 40 mins or so before Mike took him away.  The thing is, I’d watched him talking to the frog, high fiving it, and shaking it’s very stiff hand.  It was so cute.

This week we’re also preparing to host Great Grandad and Dee!  We’ll also be travelling North to Kalbarri which will also be a first for us.  It’s coming up fast – and we’re all looking forward to it!  I’ll post pictures when the trips complete so you can see what the place is like – apparently, it’s beautiful!

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

Hugelkultur

Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.14.13 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.14.04 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.13.46 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.14.19 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.12.48 pmScreen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.11.44 pmThis past week I’ve been working on an epically large project.  The ground has been dug up to about two feet to be lined with logs and fallen timber in a process of soil regeneration called hugelkultur.

It’s a simple concept.  You’re taking carbon life forms and placing them into the soil to slowly decompose beneath your garden bed.  The results can have a lasting effect for up to 20 years!

The bed I’ve created was lined with logs then filled with jade cuttings and branches from around the house yard.  The next layer was compost.  Topping that was a huge layer of seaweed which we collected from Greenhead.  The seaweed took three trips to cover the entire bed.  The last few steps involve topping the green matter with the soil that was dug out, then adding a final layer of compost and hay or mulch.

My body has pulled me through this process – surprisingly with little soreness.  Overall exhaustion though was at an all-time high after I singlehandedly dug out the pit!  This is definitely a job for multiple people.

Wesley has particularly taken to the pit.  He’s also found great joy in all the mounds he can push his little dump truck over.

Only time will tell if the soil retains moisture – we’re going to let it settle and get some more decent rains on it before moving to the stage of planting.

All in all – this has been a thrilling project.  I really can’t wait to see how the veggies grow!

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.

Wildflowers, Frogs & Jumping Spiders in Warradarge, Western Australia

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.35.11 pmThis preciously small jumping spider was found along a fire break track that I was following during some time spent solo in the bush a couple of days ago.  There were two spotted along several kilometres.  Not sure of the identity just yet…Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.35.30 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.36.47 pmAn unusual flower?Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.37.00 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.36.30 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.37.57 pmEarly in the week to celebrate this little boys second birthday I took him to the ocean.  We also ate raspberry pancakes for lunch with maple syrup.  Mike was away for the official day but is home now and we’ll have a little party for him on Sunday with cake and his mates.  I can hardly believe that our little darling has turned two!!  Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.40.45 pmFound this tiny frog in the yard today whilst mowing the lawn.Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.41.02 pmAlso found this crevasse dwelling jumping spider in the grass later in the afternoon after the lawn mowing massacre.  The ground was just a scramble of insects trying to find new homes or prevent theirs from being looted by opportunists.