Journal

Rain, rain, rain…

Near 80% of our annual rainfall usually falls in February or March… this year (as with most weather patterns lately) — there has been a big change. Good rain started a month ago as Summer was ending and hasn’t stopped since… the grass is green, our trees are thriving, mushrooms have come and gone… now, we’re really getting water logged. The soil is covered by standing water (even on our slopes) — water is slowing working its way down Black Mountain to Middle Creek below.

raindrops

Guess its time to get out the gumboots (galoshes) and splash — or better yet — our birthday suit and dance (yet its a tad cold for that!)

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We’re a wildlife sanctuary!

A number of people in the area have agreed to join the Wildlife Land Trust in protecting the local flora and fauna. Since we’ve heard koalas in our canyon during mating season and enjoyed countless varieties of birds, wildlife, and flora — we have been accepted as a member sanctuary.

About the Wildlife Land Trust

In 2007 Humane Society International launched the Wildlife Land Trust (WLT) Australia in an effort to preserve and protect our vital native habitats and the animals that depend on them, in a network of sanctuaries both throughout the country and internationally.

Working under the guiding principle of “humane stewardship”, the Wildlife Land Trust protects not only vast and impressive landscapes but also the smaller, humbler places that provide for the needs of all wildlife, rare and common species alike. Our members make up a community of wildlife carers, conservation enthusiasts and environmentally responsible landowners around Australia. We encourage our members to practice sustainable and eco-friendly land management whilst preserving the valuable ecosystems and native species on their land.

Since being initiated by The Humane Society of the United States in 1993, the WLT has grown to protect more than 1.8 million acres of habitat in Australia, Canada, South Africa, USA, Belize, Romania, Jamaica, India and Indonesia. Our goal is to see the protection of one million acres of wildlife habitat across Australia and to expand Wildlife Land Trust sanctuary partnerships throughout Africa, India and south-east Asia.

Feel free to check out our YUNDA listing on the Wildlife Land Trust website.

P.S. don’t worry about snakes… they are few and far between. ;<)

New year and new attractions

While Nick and his trusting PA (pet assistant) Jaffa toil away…

Brett and Rambaud helped our Sistas prepare their hen house for new chooks. They seemed quite happy with their snake-proofed chook house which also sports an enlarged roost, viewing window, extra ventilation, auto-waterer and many other chicken comfort features!

While the evening sunsets have been fantastic — the early morning fog has been great too. The grass is drying due to incredibly hot and sunny days yet the abundant morning fog is keeping things fairly green.

The skies seem like platinum and silver with numerous shades of light, colour, and textures interplaying… what a beautiful time of year!

Weekend away to Brisbane

Nick and I seldom leave the property for much time together so a trip to Brisbane for a friend’s birthday party and catching up with a few others as we drove along the gorgeous Sunshine Coast was a great mini-holiday!

Jaffa Andy dogs

Jaffa enjoyed a sleep-over with his best mate Andy at our Sistas’… and our helper Rambaud from France watched over our place…

Brett Rambaud Nick

Nick and I enjoyed markets, musicians, antique trucks, and even some beach time.

antique Ford truck ute

Jazzie Smith musician

Juzzie Smith, a Byron Bay based street performing musician, sings while playing several instruments at a time… quite skilful and his tunes eclectic – highly recommended!  Check out a music video at the end of this post…

Maria Ken pool party feast

We caught up with our friends Ken and Maria and enjoyed a feast prepared by her celebrity chef Mother (thanks again!) After an hour or so we could not help ourselves and enjoyed a splash and play in their pool.

Ken Maria kids pool party

Welcoming Entrance and season.

Regular rain has propelled the grass and maintained a lovely green. Even the Frangipani orchard is greening up and the trees are shooting many new leaves. It promises to be a wonderful season.

frangipani orchard

Looking into the forest we find the floor also alive with activity. Can you spot the butterfly? (some might call it a moth)

leaf litter forest butterfly

Speaking of Bees…

We’ve had our first hive since September and as its a smaller 6 frame unit — it seems over-crowded as the bees become hyper active. The FlowHive makes extracting honey pretty simple for us and low-impact for our bees and its made locally near Brisbane. Isn’t it the cutest hive?

Brett bee suit honey harvest

To make room for more honey – it was time to collect our first batch of golden delicious organic honey which the bees have been busy creating from the many plants and trees on our place. The smell was tremendous!

honey harvest

Sadly, during the process they swarmed again and stayed away from the hive for a full day. That means it’s time to capture and re-home them.

honey bee swarm tree

Lucky I found them the nearby tree and was able to knock them into a box from the branch they were clung to. The hive stayed there in the shade while I dashed to Yandina and got our second hive.

captured swarm bees

Capturing them was easy… getting them (mostly) into their new hive was okay…yet they swarmed yet again and flew to another Hoop Pine far out of reach yet still fairly close-by.

Yandina hive bee swarm

So back to the original hive honey harvest… all told, we got 18 litres (~18 quarts) of honey! We’ll sell some yet keep plenty for us ardour many guests. There is an amazing difference in taste in each frame as each worker bee stays on a frame and is fed by drones that work certain plants. Pretty amazing are bees!

bee honey harvest flowhive

First visitors of 2019 and a flower filled season

Ange and her family came through while on a Queensland holiday and we enjoyed lunch together. She and Nick always strick a pose and do a jig!

Wattle blooms

This time of year also sees many Wattles blossom and plenty of pollen in the air. While it’s difficult sometimes for those with hay fever — it really is a wonderful time to enjoy the flowers and fragrances.

bee swarm tree

This being Summer time sees our bees buzzing with activity. Though not quite as floral as Spring, between hot days and many flowers — they are swarming regularly. Luckily, they so far are returning to their hive.

flowhive bee inspection window

Always much to do!

It may be end of year but there is plenty to do! Nick and Jaffa dug the large Johnson Grass from around the frangipani orchard. Okay… Jaffa really was just a watch dog!

When there are breaks between projects — there is always cleaning up after the chooks.

Though there is always much to do when building and operating a working homestead — at the end of each day we take time to enjoy the season — and every day is special in it’s own way… the joy today was a majestic sunset!

sunset colours sky

Holiday visitors

Our dearest Annandale friends (like family) came to Queensland for a wedding and joined us for a few days including Christmas lunch. Our sistas fromBlack Mountain also joined in the merriment.

Jans chook joint sign

Jan was our inspiration for leaving Sydney and finding our very own place to raise chickens. She has long dreamed of doing so herself so I carved this wooden sign for her (which she left for us to look after until she returns). It’s a lovely reminder of the influence and impact of the kindness of cherished friends.

Jose Nick Franks Lookout

Just a few days later we had Mark up from Brisbane with Jose from Columbia. Between beach, sight-seeing, and hiking — we found some time to relax and enjoy a break.

Mark Ashby straddles creek

But only after a hike along the Black Mountain Canyon trail to the creek below. Mark was determined to walkover this pool — and luckily stayed dry (and well stretched! ;<)