Birds

silvereye

Whilst I have been working out in the garden I have had visitors.

Though I have been reminded that we are ‘Social Distancing’, ‘in self-quarantine or self-isolation’ or my pet dislike, ‘Lock-down’ – the visitors still come.

The Wattlebird swoops in close, gleaning from the house gutters a spider or two and taking a drink of water which is clearly still laying in areas after the rains a week or so ago.

I have been making the most of the weather and gradually working on the rock wall, which today I rendered to a more presentable finish. Filling a gloved palm full of render mix and gliding it across the wall in smooth patches that contrasted with the previous layers of concrete.

The sun was hot, but the Grey Fantail was flitting about in cheeky gestures. Moving from tree to tree, shovel handle to trellis. The render was drying nicely.

In the late afternoon the magpies take a visit. As does a turtle dove which are very much less cautious than I ever have experienced these doves being. grey fantail

About this time yesterday as I watered the garden at dusk, I had a nice surprise. The view through to the ocean was now showing the ocean to be a darker colour than its deep blue a half hour earlier. My eye was caught by a blur of bright colour and spots when the male Spotted Pardalote came to the garden. Only feet away from me, it moved about eyeing off the stream of water that sadly just ran across the surface of the sand. Oh, for some decent soil. But the pardalote didn’t appear upset and I soon realised why.

Some silver-eyes also called into the garden to get an easy feed of caterpillars and bugs, and to take some water from the bird bath. As did the pardalote. Then I realised that all through summer as I splashed water in to the bird bath, it wasn’t to no avail. Though each afternoon it was usually bone dry again, when I watered the garden I would splash more water into it. I guess that as I ventured inside to have my meal and attend to house hold duties, outside the birds were paying their visits. Flying in, quickly drinking, and then moving off to their respective roosting places in the long shadows.Red-eared_firetail

In the garden bed, a family of mice scurry about on a sand pile, flicking up sand and chasing each other in what appears to be playful fun. They are looking for the crumbs of the bread buried the other week which despite my reburying, eventually gets dug back up by a hungry bandicoot/quenda, and gets filled in the next day. It tells me that bandicoot is around and has paid his visit.

Much to my delight, the Red-eared Firetails have also been calling in and singing their lovely monotone whistle or high pitched notes. Blue wrens have also been around but have remained a bit more elusive.

I carrying more buckets of sand further up the block to dump them into the makings of a swale. A hard bit of work made easier by the close visits.

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The Wall, The Soil & The Beans

Today, I had the luxury of getting outside early.

Though ten minutes into my day I was already sweating as I carted buckets of sand up the slope to where I am starting the very top swale. It is hard work, but I have a Little Fella with me – more for conversation and entertainment than work however.

Underneath it though, that sweat and ache, the strain on the legs, there was just the hint of a realisation.

This is it.

This is what I have waited so, so long for. So many set backs and time extensions and distractions and deaths and births and renovations and work. So many convoluted things that stood in the way and yet now, when the world is in the grip of fear with the virus pandemic I find myself confronted with the thought that I can enjoy some of this adventure now.

As frustrating as it still is, I can see now the physical forming of garden structures and it gives me renewed hope. A few more joists, another bit of measuring and concreting and it will really start to come alive.

Yesterday, under sheer determination, I managed to get a small part of what is our main garden bed cleared. Once it was nicely flat and I had measured out the wire and stakes I was going to require, I planted my broad beans. Well, the first crop of many.

The bulk of these beans are decendents from a woman who I knew in Perth. Her father had grown them down this way in Denmark, just 50 kms ( about 30 miles ) to the west. I’ve grown other beans from other sources also. The beans I planted yesterday are probably getting a little closer to being our beans. Through all the houses we’ve lived in since those days over 15 years ago, I’ve managed to keep the beans going.

So digging my fingers into that warm soil yesterday, so close to the new earth that I will farm, was a special little moment for me. Like returning home. The beans and the new earth of our new garden, together at last.

wall pp

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Petit Paradis – Soup du jour – Cream of Vegetable

I was preparing sauerkraut late at night in the kitchen. I had some of the nice outer leaves of green, crispy cabbages from the Farmer’s Market and a few other bits and pieces that I really thought would do better inside me than the compost bucket.

I chopped them up roughly and put them into the slow cooker. My thought was to gently cook them through over night and then blend them in the morning.

In with the cabbage leaves and hearts went chopped carrots, some celery sticks, a brown onion and some shallots from our garden. Some deep and meaningful grinds of the pepper grinder and a decent pinch of salt. A few leaves and stems of basil. I’d just made a pesto from basil and parsley. Some white potato and a stem of broccoli whose florets we had eaten for the evening meal.

In the morning I blended it completely and after a little more seasoning, served it with the fresh made pesto. Delicious.

soupy pesto pp

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A poem for Autumn

whale watching pp

As morning emerges,

magpies carol.

Softly.

Carried over stillness.

 

In the earth

worms move restlessly.

Slowing.

The winter approaches.

 

These things unseen,

sensed from within,

accepted.

With gratitude.

With reverence.

 

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A Chat Over the Fence

Sometimes, when time permits, I get to have a bit of a chat with our neighbour.

Sadly I am often too pressed for time to get a job done and cannot really settle into a good, decent conversation. Today for instance I wanted to finish some concreting and move the large pile of brickies sand that the Landscape Supply truck had dumped on our drive-way – 1) so that it was gone before any rain showers, which was looking likely, and 2) to claim back the drive-way in case it was required and 3) so that I wasn’t left having to cart around wet brickies sand later on.

Anyway, I was tired and our neighbour is always keen to be giving something away so I squatted down by the fence and listened to the stories, the concerns and held my little bunch of deeply perfumed and freshly picked duet of parsley and trio of basil. And I gave of my time and ear.

Now, the special thing about my neighbour is that, for her and her husband there really is not much of a change to the way of things with risk management for COVID-19 . Yes, there is the odd shopping trip that is probably rather more unpleasant than shopping trips normally would be. Yet she is still swapping home grown vegies, herbs and fruit with her friends (and neighbours!) and not really missing out. Apart from spending more time around the house, her relationships and the swapping of stories, herbs, vegetables or fruit from her garden continues as it normally does. Giving a helping hand.

 

 

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Coastal Views, The STS Leeuwin & Boulders

By pure chance Mrs PP managed to get a glimpse of the sail training ship STS Leeuwin II out in the bay on our way back from school pick-up today. So, off we went to the lookout to check it out.

leeuwin pp

Though a fair way out by the islands it was nice to watch the Leeuwin in action with the sails up and the fresh sea breeze in our faces. Amazing. This trip is a youth voyage where they learn skills such as setting and furling the sails, climbing the masts and working aloft as well as standing watch while sailing through the night.

Meanwhile, the last couple of mornings has seen more heavy haulage trucks slinking past the house around 6 am to dump massive boulders on the foreshore for the sea wall construction.

seawall pp

Late last year and earlier this year, the work was done closer to the Surf Life-saving Club. Now it is focussed on Ellen Cove and the Boardwalk.

Mids makeover 1 pp

Further Links: Live Tracking of the STS Leeuwin

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Gran’s Overnight Palm Garden

grans wheels pp

Gran went on an outing today.

As Mrs PP chauffeured Gran through the countryside, Gran spied some palm trees.

“Palms. I hate palms.” Gran hissed.

“OK.” said Mrs PP. “Why don’t you like palms?”

“They’re prickly. And you’ve gone and planted two palms outside of my house! I much preferred the lovely bushes that were there before.”

“Those palms have been there for two years Mum.”

“Well, I don’t know why you didn’t leave the bushes that were there.”

This conversation apparently required confirmation from myself as I poked my head up from digging in the vege garden as they arrived home.

” . . . and how long have those palms been out the front?” asked Mrs PP as Gran rolled up the ramp to the house.

“Two years.” I replied. “Why is that?”

“Grans just noticed them.”

Just another funny thing that occurs from time to time in our household. The lovely bushes that were there previously have been gone since last September and consisted of fully matured and seeding cabbages, seeding celery and fat hen. They must have done a good job of camouflaging the two butia palms (Jelly Palms) planted in the front garden bed shortly after we moved into the house.

And our brilliantly white bird bath with a Unicorn stuck in the middle of it rearing up on its hind legs stuck between the two palms must have distracted the eyes somewhat.

I think Mrs PP was a little bit disappointed that her mum has thus far completely missed the fact that we’ve also removed a thick bed of geraniums and native iris on the other side of the path in order to plant three hydrangeas. They are what was originally in that spot when the house was first built. A nod to the 1930’s.

Perhaps we’ll give it two years for feedback.

 

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