Saturday, September 6, 2014

Its Spring down in the valley and things are starting to move

Spring is here in the valley and snapped this photo of a little wild rabbit outside the window at 9 am, thought it was a bit late for him to be out in the open.  I know they are a pest, but, oh they are so cute.
 Before spring, a last minute hoorraa Friday week ago it rained and it rained and we had floods, water everywhere, great excitement.  Reminded me of when we where kids dad would take us to see the flooded rivers in New Zealand.
Getting lots of blossoms in the orchard, I put breadcrumbs in the bird feeder, not sure who eats it but its gone when we go back the next day, hoping its birds and not encouraging possums.
 Daffodils all coming out in the orchard, the jonquils are finished now.  The previous owners planted straight rows between the fruit trees, you may see them in the foreground on the left, now I know what they are will dig up and spread around the orchard in clumps next autumn.
 Biggest exciting news is the house has been started.  Above you can see the pad for the garage has been laid, this took a few days.  Timber has arrived for poles, floor joists and flooring.

 Looking from the orchard you can see the brickwork used to build the pad level with the house.
 Poles all up and waiting to be levelled off, this was the day before the storm hit and had to wait a few days for the water to drain out of the holes.
 Putting on the floor joists. Starting to see the layout, and the surrounding land for gardens, love planning that.
 Prefabricated walls and roof panels arrive, $70,000 worth, these should go up very quickly, the hardiplank for the outside walls is also there.
 Thursday the flooring started going down, two thirds finished at the end of the day on Friday, fortunately they covered it all with black plastic as more rain arrived through the night.
 Friday I spent the day turning the soil along the western boundary and planted cuttings and some shrubs, I am hoping the wood chip mulch will loosen the soil up and I believe I need to add dolomite and lime.  Next job.
 The view from the orchard of the house with half flooring done, John was pruning the fruit trees, did a great job as he has never done it before, we also got some pelletised organic chicken manure spread all around the orchard, so should be well watered in.
 It has been up and down as to wether we could build a studio and garden storage underneath and as you can see from John standing checking out the workmanship, there will be plenty of room.  We will be in denial this week as we will be without the van for 4 or 5 days, hell, I can walk down there, about 10 minutes walk and good exercise.

And finally the roses are starting to bloom, picked this lovely lavendar one out of the garden just to share with you.
Hope you all had a lovely Fathers Day weekend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nannup in the South West

 Last friday John and I took to the road our destination, Nannup Garden Festival.  I just fell in love with Nannup, such a progressive little town.  It was a lovely day, took us about an hour to get there, through beautiful natural bush.  Nannup is a timber town and most of the buildings are built of timber which reminded me of home.  How cool are these patchwork quilts hanging out on the line with yards and yards of bunting, lot of work in there.
 This is a Nannup tiger, extinct now but they did have them here.  Carved out of timber.
 yarn bombed bicycle outside the quilt house
 lots of yummy places to eat and this lovely shady hideaway
 guess who, waiting patiently enjoying the sun, a lonely little petunia in a tulip patch
 Just one block back from the main street, this old tractor sitting in the weeds

 Nannup also has a musical festival in this beautiful park where there is a stage and beautiful covered buildings to get out of the sun, they have lights in them so would be quite magical listening to the music  
they have these amazing carved totems at the entrance to the park, must of been about 8 towering above us

 the tulips where stunning in raised garden beds all around the town.
Had to add these guinea fowls, such amazing markings which unfortunately I didn't capture.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Special gift for a special boy

After quite a few years gathering materials for this special present I made this for my son last christmas.  Raymon has been battling with  cancer and then the after effects of the radiation treatment which is still ongoing.
This art journal is made in an old army steel lined case which I think was made for water bottles.  I love how the fabric on the outside and in is all faded and marked showing it was used for a purpose and one can imagine if it could talk it would have a lot of stories to tell.  Across the bottom is a belt of used artillery shells, attached to the right side a used bullet, dog tag and small bottle of sand found in the pocket of the old army jacket i cut up and used on the inside pages, the sand suggests the African desert. . On the left is the 8th army star which my dad fought with in El Alamain and an army photo of my dad on the truck.  One of the pages has the New Zealand badge with his dog tag number.  Tied in the lid is letters he sent back home mostly to his sister as the ones he sent my mum got lost when we moved around, also another photo in the camp.  The pages inside have his army photos taken when he served in the 2nd WW. 1939 to 1943. Following are the pages inside the case.  I made them in a concertina style using string to join.  The pages are displayed on an old english flag, which I cut up and included into the book.

Alex you might be interested in this of your uncle Ray

House started at long last

 This is where we have been doing all the work on our vegetable gardens.  Vege bins dug down into the ground, all filled up with part wood chip from the trees cut down (would cost way to much to fill with soil) and topped up with Mumbullup Garden soil which is very rich, will keep topping it up with this as it breaks down below.  Our pallet table and $1 chairs from the tip where we sit for morning tea or lunch.  Just to the right of the photo you can see the shadow of my Bug Palace, more on that in another post.
 Blossoms coming out on one of the old Apricot trees which may have to come out as it may be in the way of the septic tank.  Apparently it flowers each year but no fruit the other Apricot tree next to it has stopped flowering (maybe dead) so no polination.  Will plant some more if we have to take these out.  Have room for about 10 new fruit trees in the orchard, what fun choosing them aye!
 A few of the old trees have a lot of this lovely lichen covering the branches, look lovely in a vase.
 Builders sign at top of the block.  John cut all the long grass down before this photo was taken so the builders can see better where to put the poles.  in the foreground is the view we will have from the back verandah about 2 metres above ground.
Right, most important thing, the dunny is here so building can start.  Earth mover digging out the pad for the garage which is part of the house.  Will keep you up to date.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Winter down in the valley

 Winter has finally arrived down in our lovely valley in the South West of Western Australia.  Lovely foggy mornings herald in lovely sunny days with a bite in the breeze.

 Blood is stirring in the two bulls, don't want to be friends at the moment, doesn't help that the cows are in the paddock across the road.  Very entertaining lots of pushing and shoving, then they get up the energy to be a bit more serious and push and shove becomes a little bit more, this went on for hours then decided it was a better idea to go back to eating grass, so lazy.
                                                      Sun rising in the west
 And of course all that pushing and shoving takes a lot out of you, this big boy was resting right next to our boundary fence.
                     Was time to buy the gumboots, love my gumboots, good heavy duty ones.
         With the winter came the rain, this is after a couple of days solid rain, a little bit of flooding.
 Can you see the steps on the far side of the river, they lead down to what they call a basketweave bridge.  Which is a lot of rocks contained in diamond wire to hold them in place and a concrete path on top, so under all that water is my bridge where I usually cross on my morning walks, the river is running very fast.  So walking across is curtailed for a while.
 For the first time we can see the river in amongst the trees from the back where we rent and down the bank, we are in no danger of being flooded although if it came up high enough we wouldn't be able to get across the bridge into town.  Lots of water lying around too, but it went down quite fast the next day.
 silly chooks in next doors chook run, have to all squeeze into the same hole, keep us entertained when working on the block.
 Son in law Peter made me these beaut vege beds out of old corragated iron, they where a little bit high so we dug a trench and dropped them down in.  Half filled with mulch from trees we had cut down and mulched.  Beds way to big to buy in soil to fill them.  Directors chairs I got from the dump for a dollar each for necessary breaks.  In the background is the South West Highway and the railway line that hasn't been in use for about ten years.  The conifers on the back fence are likely to cack it due to some disease they get here, so thanks to a birthday present from my sister I have planted a claret ash and liquid amber trees and have some wattle ready to plant on the fence line so if and when they go we will still have some privacy and in autumn I will be able to enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves from my back veranda.
 Mulch is all spread out and the garden along the fence line in the orchard will be planted with shrubs for all the little birds as it makes them feel safe to flit in and out of the branches.  Now that we have moved all the mulch and soil it is time to turn the soil and incorporate the mulch through before planting shrubs.  Will wait before pruning fruit trees until I know what I am doing.
 Have planted lots of bulbs throughout the orchard and this is my favourite the dainty snowdrop.  As you can see we have a lot of soursop or as I know sourgrass that we used to chew on as kids, has yellow flowers.  Yesterday was lovely and sunny, John took his whipper snipper and chopped it all down.  I dont want to use roundup or any other chemicals, think if we keep cutting it down before it flowers we might get rid of it.
The reason I won't have a cat here is because of the beautiful birdlife.  Can you see the beautiful robin redbreast.  I thought you only got them in England like you see on Christmas cards, but no, we have one in our orchard along with several females whose breasts are more of an apricot colour.  There are many tiny birds, blue wrens, silver eyes, fan tails, willy wagtails the only ones I can name and it would be such a shame to have a cat kill them, so, no cats.  Can you see the pallets up the top, have started lugging them down to the bottom of the block and stacking most of them one on top of the other, I am making a place for the native bees to make a home.  You push in small branches, pinecones etc and face them a certain way and the native bees will make their nests in it.  Apparently native bees make solitary homes.  This way they will pollinate my garden, neat aye.  I will make an A frame of two and using shade cloth make shapes to grow strawberries in then the fruit will hang down the sides instead of the ground where the snails and slugs get them before I get a chance.  Next is to make some lower beds to grown my raspberries and logan berry in so they don't get away from me.
Well its been busy here down in the valley, enjoying working on the block.  We are waiting for our house plans to be approved which should be in a couple of weeks and then the house will be started, how exciting is that, aye.
Well this has been a marathon catch up on my blog.  I buy my wifi internet by the month and if I havent used it up I lose it, tomorrow is my last day and I have $15 left so here I am at 20 to 9 in the cold trying to get the most out of it.
Hope you are all well and enjoying the lovely winter weather, feel so much more like doing things in winter, it is energising.
love to all