Australia · daughter · Halloween · Mount Warning · spring · subtropical weather · Tweed Valley

Storm Warning on Hallowe’en

Today I am getting in early with my post. There’s a storm warning in my area, with strong winds, hail, and possible power outages. The valley, as the picture shows, is cloudy and hazy. There’s also a strong, warm, notherly wind blowing, so we have the front of the house closed to the heat.

Meanwhile, it’s Hallowe’en! I’m not sure if Covid will have any affect on the number or trick-or-treaters about, but I have bags of individually wrapped chocolate treats prepared.

In years gone by when my children were living at home, they used to get into the spirit of the day. I wrote a post in 2014, showing Emma having her makeup done by Hayley. Here’s one photo, and more photos can be found in the post, Lady of the Dead.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Australia · birds · daughter · family · grandchildren · kitchen renovation · Mount Warning · spring · subtropical weather · Tweed Valley

An Out-and-About Day

For a while now, husband has been trying to convince me to go to a local kitchen installation showroom to find some inspirational ideas for our kitchen renovation. What with uni, I have constantly resisted, but now we are actually getting into the reno, I made an appointment for 11am today.

As soon as my daughters heard I planned to go out, they organised me to have morning tea with them first! So we met at a lovely little coffee shop beside the Tweed River in Tweed Heads.

Little Aurora just loves her special “coffee” – a babycino – so seeing her so excited when her cup arrived, I just had to take a few photos.

For a two-year-old, she manages a “big girl’s cup” very well. (I think she’s had a lot of practice!)

And she didn’t plan on leaving one tiny bit in her cup! Her face looked very chocolatey by the time she had finished. 🙂

I had limited time though, so had to have a quick cuddle with both Aurora and Eli before I left. Aurora wanted to play her new favourite song for me, which is from a movie I haven’t seen yet.

And I had a big cuddle with handsome little Eli before I had to leave too. 🙂

When I arrived back at my car, I could see three pelicans in the distance, so had to take a quick photo of them before I left.

It was really worth the trip to the kitchen showroom. Everything I have on my wish-list was there – the doors and door-knobs I like, tiles, taps, cupboard fittings … we were so impressed that we have a rep coming to our house tomorrow to quote on a complete new kitchen. That will save a lot of time and effort for husband who has a million-and-one other projects to work on anyway.

The down side is that they are booked up until February next year, but we can still install the new range so we can use it over Christmas. It’s a free-standing cooker, so the new kitchen can be fitted around it.

In Mount Warning news, the valley is a tad hazy this afternoon, but we haven’t had a storm today for a change. It’s awfully humid though, so there’s probably rain about.

Australia · garden flowers · gardening · in my garden · mangoes · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · palm trees · pets · photography · recipe · spring · Tweed Valley

A Day Spent in the Garden

There is a hazy film hanging around the valley today. Apparently, a blustery storm travelled across the state from west to east – so to the New South Wales coast – yesterday, kicking up dust as it went. My guess is that this is the tail-end of the dust, and we haven’t had any rain to wash it away.

Tonight my body aches from head to foot, but I’ve had the most wonderful and productive day in the garden. I’ve done a lot of pruning with the garden shears today, so even my hands hurt! By 3 pm I decided to call it a day, but paused to look over what I’d accomplished. Up in the pecan tree I could see several Figbirds, so zoomed in on them with the camera to get a close shot. The light, or rather lack of light, wasn’t in my favour, so it’s not the best photo. If you look closely though, you might notice the ring around the eye of the bird in the fork of the tree – that’s the male, and the other bird higher up the tree is a female.

Those cheeky birds were pinching my mulberries! I went down to have a look at the tree, and some of the fruit are looking pretty scraggly now, as you can see.

I decided to go right down the back and see how the orchard is going. We’ve done a lot of clearing down there during winter. The whole area had been taken over by gamba grass, which is classified as a weed in our area, but we’ve got rid of most of it now. We have to keep a lookout for any new shoots coming through though.

My poor grapefruit tree looked pretty dismal when we found it amid the grass, but look at it now! It’s covered in flowers, and I’m so pleased to see it looking so incredibly healthy. It’s quite an old tree, I think we planted it about twenty-five years ago, and every year up until now it ends up covered in huge grapefruits. It looks like it will be the same this year too.

As you can see, the whole valley has the smoky-haze appearance today. If you look closely at this photo though, on the right there’s a bare-branched tree with more figbirds in it! I think it might be a Jacarada tree, so I’ll keep an eye on it and get some photos when it flowers.

And here are the figbirds closer up! I wonder, are they all after my mulberries?

Another tree in flower is my Pomegranate. This is a fairly new addition to the orchard, but it had some beautiful big pomegranates on it during summer. There’s quite a few flowers on the tree now, so I could be in luck again this year.

Our lovely old Mango is preparing for summer fruit too! I had a great time last summer making Green Mango Chutney with freshly picked fruit from the tree and the next day my eyes were puffy and I had blisters on my face, hands and arms. It turned out to be a reaction to a poisonous substance in the sap of the mango tree that I had an allergic reaction to! But the chutney was great. 😉

While I did my gardening, my son’s dog Forrest – who lives permanently at my house now because it’s the only place she’s settled – and my Labrador, Bronte, followed me everywhere. They are good company, but it’s very difficult to get them to sit still long enough to get a photo of them. This photo of Forrest is a tad blurry, but the best I could get.

The Figbirds often sit atop these bunches of palm tree berries and I’ve often taken photos of them, from a distance,  munching away on them. They were too busy with my mulberries today and seemed to have forgotten the berries, so I got a much closer photo of them on my way back to the house.

This is a Prince of Orange in my pool area.

And these pretty Daylilies are in the pool area too.

I absolutely love Evening Primrose flowers. They are such easy plants to grow, they are basically the plant-and-forget variety. And every summer the plants multiply, so I get even more flowers.

I love the closeup detail too, the veins through the petals and the dainty yellow carpel and stigma in the centre. (I think that’s what they are called, so correct me if I’m wrong.)

The only way I could get a photo of Bronte today was when she was on the other side of the pool fence. Every time I pointed the camera in her direction, she would run to me for a pat, so you’ll have to excuse the shadow of the fence across her fur. Actually, I’m surprised the sun shone long enough to form a shadow, it’s been such a dull day. It’s been very warm though, I think about 27 degrees Celsius, so around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a high temperature for a spring day, but cooler weather is predicted in a few days.

So that was my day today, a wander around the garden after I finished my chores there, and it was a wonderful change from sitting at my desk. I’ll have to get back into uni tomorrow, but I think I’ll feel better doing so after having a break. 🙂