Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Australia Day - Mountain Wildlife style

Since moving here 12 years ago, we have celebrated Australia Day every year with all the enthusiasm of new immigrants proud of their new home! Since we arrived in early January, 1998, yesterday was actually our 13th Australia Day.

We decided to stay local and have a pretty low-key day .... however, that doesn't mean quiet! We managed to see some live music, go to a lookout, drive up a mountain track, followed up with a cafe visit for scones and milkshakes all round, and finally time for a play in a park.

The Blue Mountains - with distant views of the famous 3 Sisters

And in true Mountain Wildlife style - we started and finished with some true-blue aussie wildlife.........

While we were getting into our car to start out, Miss 4 screamed out "Aarrgghhh!! Look - a big giant spider on the car!!!" And boy was she right - a huge huntsman spider had taken residence on the rim of the hatchback. (For those non-locals - a huntsman is a horrible hairy beast, complete with monster eyes and big boots. OK, maybe that last bit is my imagination) I don't normally advocate the destruction of any animals, but anything that comes into my car and threatens my family is fair game in my book. So hubby did a quick-flick-with-a-big-stick, and that was the last we saw of Hunty.

And at the other end of our day, we met another scary local (karma perhaps?) We were in a park in Medlow Bath, when Miss 4 tripped over a tree root and landed too close for comfort in front of a snake. Now apparently, these snakes are supposed to flee at noise and commotion, but this one was more than curious to see what was going on, and slithered on over. Luckily our daughter screamed "SNAKE!!" and hubby (hero again!) grabbed her up and moved away. Less than a minute later, we couldn't see the snake anywhere (not a good feeling) until hubby and Miss 4 came back to the car and snakey decided to make an appearance yet again, right in their path!

A quick detour and we were all out of harms way, but I couldn't resist getting a photo or two.... no, I'm not THAT stupid, I used the max zoom on the camera, I was actually a fair distance away!

It was obviously after some water, there was a tap and bubbler nearby and someone had left a dish of water underneath (for a dog maybe?)

Anyone wanting to ID this slithery creature for me is most welcome - I can only guess at a red-bellied black, even though it was more cream-bellied-grey! they can look like this too.

When we left it was sliding into the grass, happy with it's cool drink, and seemingly unaware of the effect it had on our heartbeats!

It was a good opportunity to have a talk with our kids again about safety and what to do when we see snakes.

Happy Australia Day everyone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bye Big Red, and other comings and goings.

Big Red before he left home today!

Today we said goodbye to Big Red, one of our two Wyandotte roosters. He is such a lovely rooster it was sad to see him go, but on the upside -he hasn't gone very far away and he has gone to a good home.

Xena has taken him to live with her existing chooks and her stunning new Silver Laced wyandotte pullet. Big Red is the result of a Blue Laced Gold (BLG) rooster and a Silver Laced (SL) hen, so he could happily make beautiful chickies with either Silvers or Golds.

"You looking at me?"

It was a very difficult choice between the two roosters we have (which is why Big Red left today at 13 weeks old, not as a young chickie!) In the end it came down to which one was better suited to our wyandotte hens, and which one we were more attached to. We kept Racey, who was initially quite flighty but has since calmed down a lot, and he is very happy to sit and have cuddles! He seems very close to Blondie too, so it would have been mean to break up their little romance! I think he is going to be stunning too.

Racey the Blue Laced Gold Wyandotte Rooster

As a little parting gift, The Boys decided to have a last lie in the sun together, how funny do they look? They lay in the exact same position looking exactly the same way! And stayed like that long enough for me to get a few photos. Thanks boys!

I am just thankful he will have a new home as a breeding rooster, and not as chicken soup! :-O
Luckily for me (and him!) he turned out handsome and healthy! I hope he looks after your girls well Xena.

In other comings and goings, we said goodbye to some lovely friends last week who have headed out west for a new career and new life. At least we had a lovely morning with coffees and cake, for grown-ups and kids to say our goodbyes. And there are promises for cafe mornings mid-way between mountains and the west when school starts again.....!

We also had a lovely time on the weekend seeing Jacqui and Mick again (more coffees and cake involved- do you think this is a problem?!!) It is so good making new friends with similar interests, who- if it were not for the wonder of blogging- I would probably never have met, even though we live nearby. You made quite an impression on our kids too!

And hello to K&L ! more locals who have been reading my blog, and who appear to have been drawn into the wonderful world of chook-keeping and the wonder of wyandottes..... beware .... you will never have enough!

Our son feeding Big Red this morning

Monday, January 18, 2010

I smell Autumn.....!

I know it is far too early, but I truly smell Autumn in the air today. Everything tells me it is already here today -the temperature has dropped, the wind is blustering and the sky is that super-intense blue with the sun blazing but the heat is just not quite reaching the earth. And mostly, I can smell the crispness in the air.

All of these are typical of our early Autumn weather here. Strange thing is, it is only mid January! Spring doesn't start officially here until March.

Yesterday we were slapping on the sunscreen and hats, today it was socks and hoodies just to play outside in the backyard! When I was younger, it could never be too hot for me, 40 was bliss. But now, by the end of summer I am pleased to see the back of the scorching heat and searing, bushfire-risk temperatures.

The highest temp this afternoon outside has been 21 degrees c, what a change from the high 30's of last week. Apparently they are on their way back later in the week, but hey, I've seen a glimpse and I'm telling you ...... Autumn will be here before we know it. I'm looking forward to it already!

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010- Oh what a start....!

I've been out of blogland for so long it is getting a bit silly now.... I had intended on a short break over the Christmas hols, but with some lovely festive words to wish you all well and share the joy, however circumstances once again overwhelmed my intentions.

First let me be positive - We had a really lovely Christmas, a great day during which we opened some beautiful gifts, our children were excited and amazed and full of the joy that only children can bring to you on Christmas morning, we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch of cold meats/prawn and mango salad/other salad-y stuff (great food, but not too much that we regretted it!) and laughed a lot together as we tried to play on our new toy, a wii we received from my husbands parents. Really enjoyable.

Then ...... New Year's Eve.

It came with a bang, actually several bangs. Some moronic neighbours closeby thought the best way to see in a New Year is clearly with some explosive noises in their backyard. Not fireworks, just the ear-ringingly loud explosions. Clearly these must be people without children or animals, (and without any consideration for anyone elses). So our start to 2010 was divided between trying to comfort our dog, (who was shaking uncontrollably and so scared he didn't know where to hide), checking our sleeping children to make sure they weren't doing the same, and outside in the dark chook pen with a torch making sure that they hadn't all died with the shock (which apparently is more common than you'd think).

The following day at least we had some friends over for a coffee/ kids play/ wii time, which was heaps more fun than the previous night. We had planned a BBQ with more friends, but wet weather put the dampers on that.

Then it all went wrong.

I managed to get myself a hefty dose of food poisoning (my own fault- I left some fancy cheese out of the fridge too long, put it back in and had some the next day) Nothing like a dose of listeria to turn you inside out. I'll spare you the details, but I lost about 5kg overnight (which ironically WASN'T one of my resolutions this year). After the dehydration and meal-missing for 2 days, a migraine kicked in which lasted nearly 3 days. Could it get worse?
We all know when your immune system is down, colds come from nowhere to seek you out, and so it did.

So now I sit here, full of cold, worn out and red-nosed as Rudolph himself. All of this in the first week??? And let me tell you, the combination of 7 days of rain, being sick, and 2 children at home does not make for domestic bliss!

I had such high hopes for this year too. It is a year of big changes for us - our children start 'big' school (kindergarten!) and we are hoping to finally build our home and move in before the end of the year. (I'll do another post on that some other time, as that is a story in itself!)

Well, I am hoping that all my illness this past week is getting itself out of the way for the rest of the year so I can enjoy good health for the other 51 weeks!

Finally, I wish you all a belated happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, and hope 2010 brings all that you need!