Happy Valentine’s Day from a secret friend

We have a tall, dark, 6 foot stranger living in our garden. We thought we heard him a few weeks ago. We thought we saw him a few days ago. Then today, here he was staring straight at us. He kept looking at us as we stood in shock. He had never been so close before. We were a little frightened at his stillness. He was hungry and thirsty; he was big and strong. He looked straight at us today, on Valentine’s day. He even left a few deposits!

20140214-191517.jpg

20140214-191554.jpg

Due to the recent bush fires in our area, kangaroos are coming closer and closer to houses seeking a little fresh grass. Colin came out to look; Whitey cat was too use smelling the flowers to notice.

20140214-191741.jpg

20140214-191750.jpg
See you later big guy, but please don’t surprise me behind the camelias!

20140214-191925.jpg

What a winter, but what a wonder…

Ten years on the Mount and what a winter we’ve had. Last weekend we tried to burn our ever increasing pile of winter debris, to no avail. Instead we set about trimming the abundant camellias – one of which shot over the roof of the house! I salvaged its ruby blooms.

20130820-201500.jpg
What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. (John Steinbeck)

It’s been a winter of mists, fogs and log fires. Nothing new here really, but this year every weekend brought with it the wonder of winter! In early August, I raced up to the Mount when I heard there was “snow on them there hills”! I have done this a handful of times over the years, much to the bemusement of friends and family. The last time we had snow on the back deck was August, 2008 but each year, the Mount, at elevation 1013m, is dusted with the soft, white ice. We are 750 metres, so often we just get sleet.

20130820-202127.jpg

20130820-202156.jpg

20130820-202229.jpg
One weekend we ventured to our favourite country town, only to be confronted with thick lunchtime fog!

20130820-202358.jpg
Daylesford on a not so clear day…

20130820-202504.jpg
Brrrrrrr, I can hear you exclaim! Yes indeed, it is quite chilly.

Top five mountain garden tips for winter
1. Weed, weed and then weed again
2. Rake those leaves and clear those paths
3. Watch the bulbs emerge
4. Visit the camellias or pay homage to any floral friend – they love to be admired!
5. Smell the clean, intoxicating air
But there’s one more
Head for that log fire at the end of the day!

20130820-203202.jpg

20130820-203225.jpg
Emerging camellias

20130820-203458.jpg

The beauty of winter can be seen in every turn. The sparsity of foliage is countered by the abundance of those beacons of colour; those buds and blooms that wink at us around each corner of the garden. We can only be in awe.
Thy knowest, winter tames, man, woman and beast. William Shakespeare’s, The Taming of the Shrew.

20130820-204456.jpg

As we prepare for a few more chilly days, wear our coats, scarves and gloves, may the wonder of winter be kind to us!

20130820-211625.jpg
Today’s view from the back yard deck. How is your winter (or summer) experience?

A Very Hot Day

The weather bureau has forecast a day of extreme fire danger today. The thermometer is due to rise to around 40 degrees C. Such are our summers on the mountain and indeed in the southern quarter of Australia. The risk of a bush fire is a real possibility in the months of January and February. We have been very fortunate the last few summers with lots of rain both prior and during the summer months. Not so this season. No rain has fallen for nearly four weeks and this is cause for concern. Having spent many days watering to give the garden a head start, the heat is now upon us.

20130104-142604.jpg
br />;
20130104-142652.jpg
As we are due to go away for our anniversary all of next week and with more hot weather to come we have made a decision to transport the baby chickies and our adult girls to a safer location just in case, about thirty kilometres to caring relatives.

20130104-143001.jpg
This will have a twofold purpose. Firstly, it will allow the young Plymouth Rocks to assimilate with their older sisters. I actually saw them “kissing” through the wire cage the other day.Secondly, it will relieve my neighbours from their very generous offers to feed them each day in our absence. Given the extremes in weather at the moment, I will be comforted that at least I will not need to worry about the chickens while we are away.

20130104-143350.jpg
The sun room has now been dubbed the hot house inferno!

20130104-143619.jpg

20130104-144233.jpg
Much to their disgust, the brown chooks now have to share their lodgings with Psycho, the rooster.

20130104-144802.jpg
Thankfully, we had this nifty chicken carrier to make the job easier. All we have to do now is pray for rain and relieve us of this scorching heat.

The Bush Beckons

Why do we enjoy living here? This is the question I alluded to last time. I’ll give you four reasons.
1. The four distinct seasons
Having grown up in the sub-tropics, moving to a cold climate, seven hundred metres above sea level, has been an intriguing experience. One of the advantages, and there are many, is that the seasonal changes are so noticeable. Compared to hot and humid, here Winter is cold, Spring is wet, Autumn sees the leaves fall and Summer can be a varied experience, hot, cold, and mild.
Earlier today, for example we took advantage of a superb Spring morning to burn off our increasing pile of bush debris. Colin repaired some of our pathway steps, while I raked and trimmed. Our neighbours too joined in the seasonal clean sweep.
The rhododendrons, azaleas and hellebores are out and the kookaburras could be heard overhead. This brings me to the next reason why we live where we do? The wildlife. Stay tuned.

20121020-144816.jpg

20121020-144854.jpg

20121020-145330.jpg

20121020-145640.jpg

20121020-150122.jpg