Our dear friend Mark was such a help with whipper snipping our lower path mid year — and he even returned for NYE!
Always great to see you… let’s take off this visit and relax!
We thoroughly enjoy having guests out for BBQs and fun in the bush. Today was no exception (sorry- only the cake made it into a picture!) It was FANTASTIC — thanks Linda! Also, Here the ute got a new shade sail to escape the heat — thanks Jeff! The farm animals carried on (as usual) with the chooks now laying a dozen eggs (why they enter their brood boxes with head to the rear wall — I’ll never know!) Nick, the bestest goat herder, and his little dog made sure the goats were well looked after. The grass is stellar as we’ve had regular rain — its been a great Summer!
We’re excited to have our dear Sydney friends Luci, Belinda, and little Avi come up to see us. They were the first guests to stay in our new Glass House cabin which was finished just in time! Avi was all around the place (yet still to walk) and approved of the cabin and especially the new path.
Lot’s of good food, wine, and merriment over several days before they continued on with their road trip adventure. Nick and Luci even worked on Aura (at least half a day) together.
Not a bad transformation of the old goatel…While the build spanned over a month — the rain and wet added at least 10 days along the way. A few final touches (ie: balustrades, solar hot water) still remain, yet with guests arriving this week, it was time to prepare it for use. Nick pimped the place out and made it quite comfortable for our guests. Speaking of such — come see us!
Nick’s name day started with a foggy bottom from our FAV — very nice this time of year! I helped him celebrate with a happy face muesli “cake” — which Nick enjoyed with a smile! Speaking of such — if chickens had lips — they’d be smiling too. They LOVE the hemp seed feed I feed them and the eggs have been thick shelled, strong yellow yolked, and tasty each day. YUM YUM Hemp meal has twice the protein of regular hen scratch feed, is nutrient rich, and costs the same as average feed.
While we’ve gotten to know the area nearest the gate with the FAV, the forest with our cabins, and flats in between — there still remain areas that we’ve not discovered… While Nick was away in Sydney, Jaffa and I went exploring along our Black Mountain boundary. Its nearly rainforest-esque since we’ve had SO much rain lately. This fallen tree has a stump coated in lichen and moss and fell downhill decades ago — its 100 feet in length and would take 2-3 people to encircle it with arms stretched — what a beautiful massive old gum tree!
The soft woods like Wattles are great hosts for Stags Leaf and other “pests” which I find lovely. These are a few of several on the same large tree.
Though Jaffa took off back home — I continued my hike and after several hours trekking up and down embankments, and over much Lantanna — came across a whole new canyon. This is just below our chicken coop and where several of our water falls cascade into after large storms. The photo hardly does it justice… from our corps it falls around 100 metres (300 feet) down to the canyon floor where a storm creek flows, before rising back 130 metres (400 feet) up towards Black Mountain and our boundary on the South East. Its a spectacular place — Nick spent a week occasionally working with whipper snipper and pick axe trying to build a trail down to it. I encouraged him to pause until we have more time and it cools down — but this area remains on our list of projects to uncover so guests may experience it too.
Our newest addition, the Glass House (trailerable cabin) is progressing nicely — in spite of raining 11 of the past 10 days! (We’ve had another 300mm/6” rain this week alone). A tad muddy — yet otherwise fine.
Formerly known as “The Goatel” — it has been stripped back to the trailer base, refurbished and painted.
Steel frame built, the ceiling panelled, insulated and salvaged tin fitted.
Nick provides provisions and his little dog (Jaffa) close supervision. Putting into place the last few insulation panels leftover from my workshop, reused for our Stanmore patio, and finally, finding their home in the Glass House walls.
Our Forest Lodge was fitted with a burnt orange (Hook’em Horns!) corrugated iron sheeting. With quite a lot left over — what better than to sheet the Glass House in it too… Kind of a “Mini-Lodge”!
Before you builder types say “Brett, that foil is supposed to face inwards” — rest assured, it was done on purpose… The foil under the tin acts as a vapour barrier shedding condensation and any rain water that may find its way through the re-used tin. And, being in the bush, it also (when properly taped) helps keep the ants, crawly things and mozzies away.
Here it is as of now… 3 of 4 exterior walls complete, rain proof, and standing pretty in the forest.
Sadly, it was a year ago today that we lost our beloved Mister D (a.k.a. Deo)… At the ripe ole age of 14 1/2 years (that’s 101.5 dog years) — Mister D passed away peacefully.
Though we would have LOVED for him to be a part of our new adventure… he passed just two days before we left Sydney for the big drive North. Deo had looked after us long enough. He was da bestest dog ever (thanks for remembering him Joy, Vic, Susan).
We enjoyed every day which was made sweeter with Mister D. He was part of our pack for well over 12 years — yet it was time to let him go to Rainbow Bridge…. we trust we’ll see you again Mister D. Love you always!
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…
The rain has totalled well over a foot in the past month and with sun burts between showers — teh grass is growing wildly and a vivid green. Even the trees are greening up (trunks and all!)
Our wonderful friend Derya came over from Germany to speak at a few geology forums and stopped in while nearby. Its been years since we travelled Spain together. She is a wealth of information about our area as it was formed by volcanos and has much to study in rocks and other formations. She likes our Medusa post.
Even Nick’s little dog Jaffa stops to take in the fukn awesome view (aka FAV). The clouds this day were phenomenal!
Its not unusual as each season progresses for us to find new plants (and animal) around the place. This bush looks like a crepe myrtle and is about six feet tall and rather unremarkable. That is — until it one day had none and the next day had hundreds of half a golf ball sized cherry-lychee-grape-like fruits on its trunk. Its called a Jabuticaba a.k.a. Brazilian Cherry tree and is among the most remarkable trees I’ve seen. We enjoyed 70 or so fruits and wanted to leave them for another harvest soon — yet the local bush rats stripped it later during the night.
While the rain lately has been tiring (yet enjoyable too) — it with the return of warmer sunny days has seen the grass flourish and flowers burst open. There is a wide range of colours, fragrances, and new plant life. Sadly, the cane toads are back as they enjoy the rainy weather. Luckily Jaffa doesn’t bother them as they eject a poison when provoked.
Wild orchids and a range of gorgeous red flowers (anyone know what they are?)
Such varied colours of green and vines flourishing while the gum trees are bursting out of their old bark into new skins which are often quite green.
A fine example of a Norfolk pine cone and its seed petals taken by Derya — what a stellar photographer with SUCH great composition!
We’ve always had a great deal of wildlife around and while remote, being a deceased estate, our place had sat dormant for 10-years before we bought it. That said, we have an abundance of birds — especially when our fruit trees and garden are producing!
Here are a few birds we’ve captured with a photo — too many other birds abound to mention!
This morning I let the hens out of their house and was greeted by a large bush turkey. She got quite close, was mesmerised by our chickens, yet would not join in feeding. We have a few large turkey mounds (nests where they hatch their eggs using natural compost warmth).
Of course, we do have our share of domesticated birds (—er, somewhat domestic :<). This is our most devoted laying hen — she quite likes her bucket nest box and roost.
Bob, the Daddy Kookaburra, keeps a close eye on all new developments… this is him inspecting the new trailer based tiny house Brett is building.
A flock of Kings Parrots (usually males like this one) regularly fight us for our tomatoes — often enjoying them before we do!
We have scores of Pheasant Coucals about — such a lovely call!
Finally, we’re watched over by this gorgeous Silver White Owl (what species is it Susan? ;<)
It’d been April since we’ve had much rain. Much of the grass had long since been brown and trees withering. This week changed all that… We got 16 inches (406mm) which has made the place a mud pit. However, in just a few days the grass responded with such green and trees perked up too.
Jan has long been an inspiration… for a good number of reasons — but namely, us getting our very own place and raising chickens. Brett bought a dozen Rhode Island Red Langhorne cross chickens and after a couple week delay (weather and cabin builds) got the chicken palace completed. It has automatic waterers, feeders, and is both rat and snake proof. While the chickens are yet to lay an egg… they are eating lots of food, pooping everywhere, and settling in quite nicely.
We have a good number of friends who support us with help, give aways, and Herc. Jen and Wille have been so generous and helpful with their renovation — we’ve had some great new plants and pavers from their front yard. Nick and I hired a truck to move the weighty pavers and Jeff brought out some Dracena plants (a.k.a. Dragon Trees in Greek). They are now planted and the pavers are waiting further placement — while we recover from the exhausting task. MANY THANKS Jen and Willie!