Djeran – Ant Season

According to the Nyoongar Seasons, of which there are six, we are now in Djeran. The winds have dropped the last month or so, particularly in their intensity, with light breezes bringing a welcome freshness to the heat of the days. Scattered amongst this is the occasional rain shower that is replenishing not only the garden, but the rainwater tanks.  Many flying ants can be seen cruising around in the light winds and the boys and I watched great swarms of them yesterday afternoon taking to the air.

The previous day we spent some time at the beach and watched silver gulls soaring high on the breezes catching ants in flight. A heavy rain shower swept over the beach and it was fun to watch the beachgoers bolting for cover. The boys and I didn’t mind so much as we were already in the water. The water itself was quite calm and flat so the rain made a fantastic pattern across the surface and turned the shallows a beautiful shade of pastel green.

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I saw a Willy Wagtail in the garden today, along with finches and wrens. High up on the hill I could hear the rich song of a Whistler. I suspect they were also making the most of the abundance of ant activity.

All throughout the day showers of rain have alternated with bright bursts of sunshine as though flicked on and off with a switch. The kind of rain you just work through as it doesn’t wet through so much and you soon enough dry off soon enough. Except for later in the day when I actually had Mrs PP out in the rain alongside me setting up a new compost pile for the winter (as above).

I never knew what these arched plastic pieces were until a farmer friend told me they were Road Train mudguards which makes sense. I’ve set them up like this a couple of times to make a compost pile that will devour huge amounts of ‘waste’ materials. In this case, old dusty packing boxes and newsprint, along with kitchen scraps and greenery. This is planned to remain in situ for a good couple of months so it is well out of the way of any area that will be utilised in the meantime.

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In one of our worm farms there was plenty of action. These worms were congregating on a piece of decomposing pineapple. Lower layers of the worm farm have plenty of cocoons. They are most active it seems in spring and autumn when there is moisture and warmth. The solution from the worm farm is much appreciated at the moment as I use it to feed newly emerging seedlings in containers. I’ve set up a few containers close to the house as the beds are still taking time to construct with all the other projects still to be done.

Petit Paradis in Collage

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The Eighth instalment of our annual bit of artwork tracking the Two Little Fellas.

This year, on a whim, our youngest Little Fella takes the stage given that he’s played smaller roles in previous pictures and I loved how he embraced his nature playground in the garden – quite literally.

Over the years friends and family have wanted to know a bit of the story behind the artwork so this is a little about this years . . .

In the New Year we will move to Tillellan, the long-term project that is finally nearing completion. The landscaping and backyard will be a project within its own right. In anticipation of the move this years art features some of the elements of the original petit paradis abode.  A kind of thank you and goodbye for our first family home.

This place has seen several families of guinea pigs and chickens pass through it. It was pivotal in my adventures in seed saving and building up varieties, quantities and experience in locally adapted edible species. As a result, much of the growing space was for seed production and really only supplemented our kitchen from time to time with food. Moving to Tillellan we plan to accommodate both requirements.

There was a whole lot I could have put into this picture, but some of the highlights are the Pitaya flowers that made a showy display the last couple of autumns. Our eldest Little Fella is feeding Pinky, Brownie and Missy Miss – some of our current guinea pigs. Our original g-pigs Maiki & Jazz can be found in the picture as well along with various pet chooks that have been on the adventure also.

One of the favourite things about the house that I will miss is seeing the flocks of ibis and pelicans flying past the house on their way out to feed or returning home in the afternoon. Quite regularly we’ve had a half dozen or more pelicans glide low and slow over the houses and past our living area window in the early morning. It is a magical site, especially when they are low enough to hear their wing beats, and I missed it when we rented briefly so I know I will when we move.

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There are various flowers and the quail, some of our container gardens and goldfish and koi. Fruit trees and crops that we’ve had. The garden itself was different with every passing year as it adapted to the needs and requirements of the family and whatever we were doing in preparation for the eventual move. Whether it was sorting out salvaged resources or propagating varieties of plants.

It will be a little sad I imagine to part ways, but we’ve also out-grown it rapidly and its very much a natural transition for us. It would have been just right with the Two Little Fellas, but with the addition of Gran and her various requirements we’ve definitely overstayed.

Summer Sunflowers

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The new garden is struggling at the moment. Bouts of hot weather and wind interspersed with showers of miniscule rain. In between other duties I have chopped and dropped some of the fat hen and other ‘weeds’ to mulch around the edibles that are fruiting.

The sunflowers are opening and in the morning sun are magnets to bees and brilliant in their colour. A simple joy. An inspiration to grow a whole heap of them next summer!

Seasonal Observations for Nov:2017

petitparadis november trio

1 Nov – grape vine is starting to get nibbled at by tiny Vine Moth caterpillars.

4 Nov – Watercress around town in the streams continues to flower. By the end of the month the council had also slashed or mowed some of it down.

6th Nov – Native Christmas Trees begin to flower (pic above) and Albany Blue Bush is flowering.

14th – Citrus Swallowtail Butterflies are sighted more frequently.

17th Nov – further Sacred Kingfisher calls heard in various location around the town. This is not something I have noticed much in previous years.

23rd Nov – Male Musk Duck in courting/display on Lake Seppings.

27th Nov – Vine Moth caterpillars are large and conspicuous on the vines.

28th Nov – Warm breezes with scattered showers. Overcast days. Light by 4am.

30th Nov – about 40 adolescent Ravens were congregated at sundown near the mown down patch of watercress this evening. I am taking this to mean they are grouping together before moving out and finding their own territories. It is not the first time I have noticed this. Very close to the local tip where ‘food’ is plentiful and competition is less.

And so now, with the end of November we move from the Nyoongar season of Kamabarang into the hot, dry season of Birak. The Season of The Young or The First Summer.

 

 

 

 

The Throwing of the Seed

petitparadis garden bed

The new garden is bolting.

Seeds are ripening and reaching for the sky. It is coming to a close, the initial burst of vigor. Underneath this cloak of leaves and seeding pods are pumpkins and melons. Growing, engorging themselves towards mature fruit.

Mrs PP and the Littlest Fella took delight in scattering marigold seed around the garden beds on Monday. Sowing the seed in the simplest of ways with the most rewarding effort.

Despite light showers it is still requiring regular watering and this is the crucial time to get regular water to it so that fruits develop. 

The tradies are amazed at how quickly the garden has ‘shot up’. Now seed sowing is required so that we get a good crop of greens and vegetables during summer.