Magnetic sunsets

Our stay on the island has ended but not without a dramatic twilight farewell. These sunsets mesmerized us as we gazed out to Horseshoe Bay. We marveled at the beauty, the russet colours and time, for us, stood still.

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Mother Nature is reminding us to take time to be still, appreciate and embrace serenity.

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Sunsets herald a new day and celebrate our existence. We are grateful to have escaped the cold for a short time and now return to our mountain home. I hope you can find some time to stare out into your sunset afternoon.

A Funny Place To Lay An Egg

I thought I was seeing things this morning. We were sure we had locked up all the chickens yesterday afternoon. We do have a renegade brown hen, she is always late and always the last to go in. So why could I hear her outside the kitchen window and why was she on the back deck at 9 o’clock? At this point I raced out to check on the others. Miss brown chicken eagerly followed me. She went in. A quick check confirmed that all the others were present. On returning back upstairs something caught my eye. Was that two brown eggs nestled on the stoney landing just under the kitchen window?

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20121116-204538.jpg That means she had escaped twice – chicken Houdini! It seems that the construction of the new chicken house had dislodged some of the netting and she simply jumped up onto the 6′ fence and out!

20121116-205208.jpg Two friends on the back deck.

20121116-205259.jpg The whole gang out today.

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20121116-205847.jpg This evening’s back deck view – 19’C down to 6’C at night – still cool.

The Lilac Tree

In deepest darkest winter I often look out of our back windows and try to remember the lilac tree in spring. Now that it is in full bloom, it is most certainly a place of great serenity. A garden, even though it is hard work, is a place to find that peace and tranquility which is often lacking in our busy lives. As school teachers, we find the garden conducive to thoughts and ideas as well as a place of welcoming for our neighbours.

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20121112-211447.jpg The back deck overlooks this great tree.

20121112-211839.jpg We had the great privilege of meeting the woman who planted this stunning specimen. Susan was a nurse with four little children and doing it on her own without any formal horticultural experience. It was her elaborate combination of colours, scents and shapes which we tend. We are then custodians of her vision and her carefully orchestrated plan to create a place of calm.

20121112-212458.jpg I truly believe that we must devote time to nature, admiring each and every change in the garden.

20121112-212833.jpg This afternoon I spent time admiring the lilac tree from beneath its arching branches. It gave me a different perspective from each angle; it engaged all senses – it’s wonderful colour, its delightful distinctive perfume, even the currawong flew in to sing its distinctive song among its flowers!

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20121112-214035.jpg I hope you can find your own place to contemplate, even for a short time, leaving the hectic pace and place, for a moment in a garden, whether it be your own or a communal one. I leave you with today’s warming back deck sunset!

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The New Chicken House

As we continue to feel sorry for our Pecker, the Plymouth Rock rooster, we have plunged ourselves into working on the new chicken house. For many years we admired our neighbour’s little cubby which was built for their young daughters’ guinea pigs. His girls are now in their twenties and the house now has a new owner with new ideas for his garden. It was with much delight that we were informed that he no longer wanted the little house.

20121106-201451.jpg A working team was assembled to remove and reconstruct.

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20121106-202749.jpg While the workers dismantled, it was clear that somebody – me – needed to provide food for these hungry builders. The day called for a hearty spinach lasagne, a large salad and perhaps a crisp white wine. The weather is warming up quite nicely but it is still cool enough at night for a substantial meal.

20121106-203357.jpg Now we have the walls and floor stacked up like dominoes and the tin roof nestled under the lilac tree. The remaining chickens scratch and scrape round it and this afternoon’s view from the back deck summons us to dinner after a hectic day’s work.

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A Sad Day

First thing this morning we checked on Pecker, picked him up and took him into the garden; sat with him and gave him his medication. His comb was still a little blue. There was a little shiver. We returned him back to the rabbit hutch; he stood up, looked around; his gurgling seemed a little less intense. I could see him from the kitchen while I prepared breakfast. We kept the lid open so he could look out. I even thought he seemed at ease listening to the morning household noises.

It was unusual to have rooster looking at me in the kitchen. The cats wandered around, quite in their own world. Remembering the vet’s instructions, we left him quietly and went about the day’s chores. We also had to go to the airport too pick up our daughter. In all, we were happy that he was standing; was comfortable and warm – he eve began to peck at some food and began making some faint crowing noises. He would sleep until we returned and then we would take him back into the garden for another look around.

Poor Pecker was not to see his beloved garden again. Poor Pecker didn’t make it – he left us while we were gone. I began to cry. Colin wrapped him up in the red blanket which had kept him so warm two nights ago. He found an old disused worm-farm box and gently placed him in it. He buried him at the bottom of the garden near the purple irises.

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20121104-165210.jpg He was the friendliest rooster – enjoy the garden, Pecker. Our backyard view today is basked in sunshine. It is a tribute to all the pets who bring sunshine into our lives; who love us unreservedly; who make our lives rich by their constant companionship.

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The Backyard Deck

The great Australian bush property or indeed city dwelling is incomplete without a deck. For us, our deck serves many purposes. It is an extra “room” where we can stop and sit under the shade of a leafy tree, enjoy the company of our neighbours and friends, observe the birdlife and even dry our clothes. This is the third reason reason why we live here: the opportunity to share our unique setting with others.

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20121028-194909.jpg Over the years, the deck has hosted Christmas lunches, friendly afternoon teas and smokey barbecues. It looks down over the bush setting of eucalyptus trees, the chicken house, the bird bath and the weeping cherry. Ever afternoon casts a different atmospheric effect. Here is today’s view.

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20121028-195602.jpg The colorful bird is called a king parrot: orange chest and green feathered back. Do you have a deck, verandah or patio?

Antipodean Sunset

After a long day at work waiting for the weather to warm up, we arrived home and unexpectedly found ourselves in the garden. There were many jobs to do. Our Italian adventure had superseded all else and our garden was in need of much attention. Recent high winds had further added to our workload with our gum trees shedding bark, twigs and branches.

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Reassuringly though, the clematis had begun its short, yearly ramble over the tin shed. Easing our efforts were the flowering trees and shrubs with the magnolia taking centre stage in the afternoon light.

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After two hours, a quick interlude and glass of wine with the neighbours, were further rewarded with an ochre sunset. Daylight saving does have its rewards! This time two weeks ago we were roaming the streets of Verona – a world diametrically opposite to the one we inhabit. Where would I rather be? I’ll let you know!
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