Sunday, 30 July 2017

Galah vs Human Intelligence Test

This is the sight outside our front door these days, wheelbarrows full of wood to keep us warm.  We are very lucky that our property has plenty of available dead trees, so we don't need to buy any.
 And I'm very lucky to have a terrific husband who spends a lot of time gathering and chopping the wood.  Here he is contemplating the vegie patch while having a rest from filling the barrow.
 I've been busy inside.  I've been making joey pouches, mostly for my neighbour, but I am going to keep a few myself, just in case we come across a joey that needs our help.
 This is square number 39 of 42 for my crocheted blanket. 
 I have finished my canvaswork houses.  And I've already stitched some fabric around it in readiness for its new home.... I am turning it into an Ipad cover.
 The chickens and ducks don't mind this weather at all, here they are busy in my garden, turning the soil over for me.  They do a marvellous job.  And lay!  My word, we are getting 4 or 5 eggs every day at present, well done girls.
 And here are the pesky galahs on the top of the chook enclosure, trying to work out how to break in and steal their food.  They are buggers, they rip holes in the nets, I keep adding wire and they keep trying to out-think me.  It's an ongoing battle of wits!
 This is phase 2 galahs, they are waiting for the others on the roof to get fed up, then they will have a try.
 And here is a successful naughty galah, inside the enclosure, who realises that he's been seen by me and is trying to surreptitiously make his exit along the branch towards the open gate.
 Mr Peacock continues to pop in for a visit.  Here he is wandering around the very weedy corner of the vegie patch, he likes to talk to chooks through the fence.
 Here is mum Elsa with a nice bulgy pouch.  What is interesting here is that I don't know who that joey is, but I keep seeing it with Elsa.  Elsa's joey died earlier this year, but she seems to be looking after this one.  It's old enough not to nurse but joeys need the company of other roos.  Our neighbour had to destroy a female roo she found with a broken leg a couple of months ago, so it's possible this is her joey and now these two have got together to look after each other.  Nice :-)
 The amount of flowers this year never ceases to amaze me.  I love love love the acacias with their cheerful, fresh scented yellow puffy flowers.  In the foreground is a couple of Tagasaste or Tree Lucerne with their many white flowers....the bees just love this time of year.
 These are the Acacia I planted five years ago, Acacia fimbriata, there are three adult trees now, about 4 metres high.  I've planted more since, they grow well here.
 Here's a close-up of Tree Lucerne, it's very pretty I think, and you can see by the flowers that it's a legume, which is always good for the soil.
 I love these orange flowers on Grevillea olivacea.  It's a huge, thick shrub now, the wrens love it, I'm pretty sure they are nesting deep inside it.
 This is Westringia Wynabbie Gem, another colourful native.  They are just coming into flower now.
 This is one of the Correa family, the lovely bell flowers are full of nectar that the birds love.
 A colourful Hebe.
I went grovelling around on my knees down near the creek this morning, there is so much fascinating fungi around. 
 Teeny tiny things, clumps of weeny fairy stools in a variety of pretty colours.
  Weird things that look like coral
Beautiful rippled things that slowly cover tree stumps
 Whilst down at the creek I had to take a photo of our Magic Faraway Tree,  such a beautiful old tree, we absolutely love it. It's like the grand daddy of the Peppermint forest.
 And the creek keeps on burbling along this time of year, it sounds so tinkly and delightful down here near Helga's bridge.
Now Michelle, this photo is just for you ha ha ha.  Inside that blue ring I drew, is a photo of a tadpole!  There are plenty of them in my shallow dish in the shrubbery, but I managed to get a vague shot of one that wasn't quick enough to dash under cover. 
Right, the footy is on, time to pick up my crochet and watch to see if the Eagles can have a win.  xx

Monday, 17 July 2017

Savage Seas and Majestic Beauty

It's been wet wet wet and cold cold cold, so not much has been happening to speak of.  I am permanently affixed to my chair near the window, ploughing through my obsession of finishing the crocheted blanket to adorn our bed.  Gosh it's been a long process, I started this at the end of March, but I've finished 33 of the 36 ten inch squares needed, so nearly there before starting the joining and the border.  The latest squares at the front of the photo, I really like these ones.
 This is my happy cat, Mr Grumpy, who does not approve of photography.  He has been enjoying the daily fire to keep the house warm, and on particularly cold days he likes to tuck himself up in a cuddly blanket on the settee.  But don't take his photo or he will sulk!
 He enjoys his bird tv in the mornings, through the glass of the sliding door.  He loves watching the wrens eating their breakfast coconut, and chatters at them constantly with the occasional pounce at the glass.  The birds don't give a hoot. These two are female Splendid wrens, they have the blue in their tails but their body feathers are brown.
 We had a week of visits from Mr Peacock next door for some reason.  He made good use of the patio when the rain came belting down.  :-)
Upon reading of a big swell, we took ourselves down to The Gap and Natural Bridge for a look, rugged up to the nines.  It is so exhilarating be blown to kingdom come, watching the savage surf pounding way up the cliffs, whilst safely on the path and behind a sturdy fence.
 This is the water off the far side of the Natural Bridge, it was ferocious. 
The Gap was fairly tame despite the rough seas, the swell was moving past The Gap rather than into it.  I was thrilled to see a small rainbow amid the spray and mist, rising above The Gap.  It is such a beautiful place.
We moved on to The Salmon Holes and admired it from the lookout way above.  We were pleased to see there were no idiots trying to fish, the big swell kept whooshing up the flat rocks and would have dragged anyone fool enough to be down there into the water.  Another place of majesty and beauty.
 We finally climbed the steps at Cosy Corner up to the cliff top, it's only taken us five years ha ha.  It's part of the Bibbulmun Track and we found a pretty trail atop the cliff.  We walked a little way along it, but will save it for another day as we had only dropped in quickly and had no water or wet weather gear with us, so unprepared for a long walk. 
The view from the cliff top was gorgeous, with Cosy Corner below, then Perkins Beach to the left, followed by Mutton Bird, then directly over the bay is SandPatch, which is where the windfarm is, you can just see the turbines over there in the distance. 
 An update on my little frogs, I am pleased to say that I have quite a few healthy little tadpoles living in the shallow dish I hid amongst the plants in my garden.  These were the tadpoles I rescued.  I haven't got a photo as they are shy and hide very well and impossible to see in a photo.  So, in conclusion, the tadpoles have to spend the first few weeks of their life out of water in their jelly, but when the jelly starts to degrade, then they are able to live in shallow water.  If they end up in water too soon then they die.  My observations continue :-) 

Well, I am being summoned by the magpies for some breakfast, so at this point I will say goodbye, until next time.  xx

Monday, 3 July 2017

Frogs Frogs Frogs, Geocrinia Leai to be precise

My frog research continues.  Last time I mentioned that the frogs that sing their cacophony of tck tck tcks outside the back door each evening are from the Geocrinia family, and that I knew there were only half a dozen varieties and only three on the south coast.  I have been doing an intrepid David Attenborough impersonation, creeping around, trying to find one of the frogs so I could identify it.
Success!  At long last while slowly parting masses of thick Mondo grass, I found a teeny tiny frog hiding at the bottom.  The poor love then had to endure a photo shoot, but was returned unharmed soon afterwards.  That is a teaspoon alongside so as you can see, this is a very small frog.
After hours of research, I now know that our frogs are Geocrinia leai, or Lea's Frog or Ticking Frog.  Common as muck in the coastal southwest of WA.  I was hoping for the rare one, Geocrinia lutea or Walpole Frog which is rare as it is only found in a very tiny area around Walpole.  I had visions of a few that had found their way over to us and imagined the thrill of a new colony of rare little frogs!  Nevertheless, I adore our Lea's frogs, despite their lack of endangered status ha ha.
Now I know who lives here, more research gave me more accurate information about the many masses of frog's eggs laid behind the mondo grass.
Some of the Geocrinia frogs' eggs develop fully into tadpoles within the jelly, so no pools of water needed for development.  I thought that's what our frogs did.  But not quite.  Lea's frogs lay their eggs in grasses overhanging winter waterways where the eggs develop into tiny tadpoles within the jelly, and what happens is that when the rains begin in earnest, the jelly starts to dissolve, and eventually the tiny tadpoles drop through the thin jelly into the waterway below where they develop into frogs over the next three months.  So our frogs' eggs are doomed as there is no water source beneath my Mondo grass, only pebbled steps.  I have been busy positioning some shallow water containers in the garden beds, and replanted heaps of Mondo grass around these, so hopefully the frogs will use this instead.  In the meantime I had a good look around at the bottom of the Mondo grass and found a few sludgy areas of dissolving jelly, with live tadpoles within.... so I've transferred those to the shallow containers in the garden in the hope of saving some of them, and a week later they are still alive so I'm pleased. Okay I shall shut up about frogs now :-)
It has suddenly become wet and cold, winter has arrived with a bang!  The broccolini is growing well and we are eating it every other day.  Steve had a dig around and found some new potatoes, so with that and some fish from the freezer, Breaksea Cod and Orange Wrass from Steve and Laurie's fishing expedition a few weeks ago, we enjoyed a delicious dinner.
On July 1st the creek started running, we love it when the creek runs.  The dug out section at the bottom filled up beautifully and looks wonderful although a little muddy for the first few days.
 I love pools. 
And I love the fungi that pops up everywhere amongst rotting logs when the weather is cool and damp.
My Albany Bottlebrush, Callistemon glaucus, is growing well now and is putting on a lovely show of flowers.  It's been in the ground for 4 years and I reckon it took 3 to settle down and grow well, I hope it continues.
I love watching this statue in the back garden that Michelle gave us.  It changes as it weathers.  I still haven't thought of a name for her.
I was thrilled to bits to see Peg the magpie turn up a couple of days ago, asking for some rolled oats for breakfast.  In the past the magpies warble outside our front door regularly, but I haven't seen Peg for over a year, I thought she might have died.  But no, here she is looking healthy and happy, despite only having one foot.
And with her is the gorgeous Gerald-who-is-a-girl, again, we haven't seen her for ages either.  I love the patterning on female magpies' backs, beautiful scalloping but each bird is very slightly different.  The males have a solid white back.
Mr Peacock and his women also wandered in for a visit, they had a bit of a poke around, decided there was no party here, and leisurely wandered off home next door.
I have been making use of the wet weather to continue on with my crocheted blanket squares, 27 out of 36 finished now.  There have been a lot of hours put into this, I estimate about six hours per square, then I have to join them and do a border.
 It's been a learning curve, I have crocheted off and on for years, but only simple stuff.  I have surprised myself, but have to thank the brilliant Esther who produced marvelous instructional videos for each and every square.  This is the most complex one, isn't it pretty!
As my current embroidery project nears completion, I have decided to try and do an embroidery of our house and where it sits, so I've been taking photos whilst contemplating what to do, I am thinking blackwork so I'll need to do a load of photoshopping to alter one of my photos to suit.  Anyway, it struck me when I was taking photos how our house has now seated itself into its environment, it's 'nestled' now, rather than perched.  I like it.
Here's a comparison photo taken in December 2012, just after the house was finished.  That looks perched.  Now the gardens have grown the house looks like it was meant to be here.  :-)
On that note, it's raining outside again so I shall start crochet square number 28 and listen to my audio book....crochet and audio books are a match made in heaven.  Currently I am listening to book 3 of a fantasy series called Lightbringer by Brent Weeks, pretty good.