Tuesday, September 29, 2009

still no rain

Still no rain to speak of, water tank levels increasingly critical. It has however got very cold again, with frosts and bitterly chilly strong winds so we are burning logs again.

Unfortunately Clarrie, one of the wailers, had a still born lamb this week. She seems very happy to have her figure back, and is stuffing her face with hay- grass levels in the new paddock also low due to lack of water so stock being supplemented with hay and pellets. An expensive exercise unless we actually manage to get a live lamb or two-Peggy and Lilian are fat, happy, and unwilling to partake in anything vaguely gynecological.

Chooks laying well, so inventive recipes with eggs a regular occurrence.

It is a public holiday weekend coming up, and the start of the school holidays, so we are fully booked and will be busy for the next 2 weeks.

Not much more to report for now- first shed has been erected and fastened to the concrete base. Absco 'easy to build' sheds............are not!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the day the world went orange

There were wild winds over night, and at 7 am in the morning it was unusually dark- on venturing outdoors the cause of the darkness became apparent. The skies were orange.

A massive dust storm from the west had blown in covering everything in orange dust. The sheep were orange, the blossom on the trees was covered in a layer of grit, there was filth everywhere.
Sydney also went orange. NSW has never seen such an extreme phenomena before.

We ventured outside to open the large shed and put the stock indoors, the poor things could barely see through gritty eyes.

Picture below of an early morning cyclist struggling over Sydney Harbour Bridge.

From Protea Farm 1

Spent the day indoors as the winds blew and the dust swirled.We thought we had left the red dust behind when we moved here. Little did we know that the wind would dump it all over us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

waiting for rain

Despite the forecast of rain and storms we are still very very dry here. We even tried an outdoor job today which usually causes an instant downpour- laying a concrete slab for the new woodshed- but the rain stayed away.

James dog put her signature paw print on it for posterity.

From Protea Farm 1

The wailers are looking pregnant now so there should be the patter of tiny hooves soon.

From Protea Farm 1

The rockery is no longer home to the evil reptile, and our tulips are blooming.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

Friday, September 18, 2009

frog invasion

We had a little rain this week, and prior to the downfall small frogs appeared on the verandah, causing Ness to become apoplectic particularly when one sat outside the window looking in.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

She is however not as concerned about the black snake that has taken up residence in the rockery. I spotted him yesterday and got irrationally cross about his existence so bombarded the shrub he was hiding in with rocks. This resulted in a dead shrub and snake disappeared. This morning he was back basking next to the mangled shrub and we watched him slither into a small hole in the depths of the rockery.

This nest is right next to the back door of the adjacent cottage, so we need to do something about it. Not sure whether we could just concrete the opening and hope he does not have a back door, or whether more violent action is required. Not that we would harm a snake, being a protected species and all.

All gardening has been suspended.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

garden makeovers

The weather is hotting up, and guests are starting to use the rather dilapidated wood burning outdoor barbecue so we decided that we would try and revamp the broken old tiles and make it look a bit prettier ( option 2 being demolish and rebuild).

From Protea Farm 1

We opted for a new shiny wipe clean aluminium top rather than retiling, so armed with tin snips and industrial strength cement the face lift began.

From Protea Farm 1

Still not a thing of beauty, but we will test drive it this week and see how it performs.

The rockery is a blaze of colour, mainly due to a splendid plant which goes by the rather strange name of 'pigface'

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1
The raised beds are almost complete, so we should be able to pack the angle-grinder away this week- a large number of bush fires are started by sparks from them apparently.

From Protea Farm 1

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I beg your pardon...

It appears that the one plant that thrives drought and extreme heat over here is the rose. In England we always inherited a rose garden wherever we lived, and personally it is a flower that I really dislike, nasty prickly high maintenance things that they are.

We have located many around the property, and I have had to admit defeat and accept that we now have a rose garden. Every last one that we transplanted and chopped back to within an inch of its life is flourishing, and the guests love them. However I have a particular hatred for pink roses, so Ness is closely monitoring them as they start to flower, with warnings that should they exhibit any pinkness they will be exterminated. Another one defiantly revealed itself as pink today, so its days are numbered.

My paeonies are growing well against all odds, albeit alongside a carpet of ground cover roses ( white ) and the vegetable patch is taking off so soon we will be in the kitchen creating marvellous meals with broad beans.

Mudgee Wine Festival this weekend, so we are back in Geoffrey to accommodate 2 large groups of wine enthusiasts. Life is tough.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

more snake sagas

I know that I am becoming snake fixated, but justifiably so after the email we received today from a friend on the other side of Mudgee.

Fancy finding this on your doorstep?

From Protea Farm 1

Please note that no small cute terriers were harmed in the making of this photograph.

weather warnings

It is now official- Australia has had the warmest August on record with mean temperatures 2.47C above the long term average.The bush fire season has come early, and water is scarce.

A couple of days ago we checked the water tank levels, and the one serving the main house was less than 1/4 full. We have no mains water and rely solely on rain water capture for domestic use and our artificially built dam for garden water. Guests taking baths and showers and selfishly flushing toilets use an alarming quantity.

In the last 24 hours we have had rain! 14 mm so far. Apparently 1mm of rain falling on 1 square metre of roof will lead to 1 litre of captured water in the tank, so this morning I paced out the roof on our place- 300 square metres. So, we have an extra 4,200 litres of water.I think we may need a little more than that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

king parrot

A splendid king parrot has taken residence in a tree above the chicken pen and spends his day watching the strange birds in a cage.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

stock moving

The sheep and alpacas ( or the goats and llamas as the city types from Sydney call them ) are just small dots in the distance now that they have been relocated to their new large paddock.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

I foolishly assumed that we had completed the fencing for a while, but today Ness started digging up gate posts and moving gates around.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

We have started the time-consuming job of unpacking the remaining boxes in the large shed, and some of the many books have been put on shelves in the cottages. I am waiting to see which guest is the first to spot that the quality selection of contemporary fiction currently available only features authors from A-D.

From Protea Farm 1


Yesterday was a good day for creature spotting- we found our first echidna on the property.
From Protea Farm 1

The turtles have returned to the dam, though they submerge their little heads whenever they spot a human with a camera.

From Protea Farm 1

....and a large lizard which we think is some sort of water dragon.

From Protea Farm 1