wings and things


It’s been a busy week, punctuated by strange occurrences. For example, as I rode my bicycle home the other day (from my incredibly long 2 kilometre challenge), I took a short-cut across the front lawn and saw this:


I assumed that it was a cowpat (you know, the stuff that comes out of a cow’s bottom, ordinarily called cowshit but I am being polite), but none of our neighbours’ cattle usually visit, so then I thought maybe the alpacas, Okami and Uluru, had had a pooing competition, but the pile of whatever-it-was was too big to fit either of these possible scenarios, and, even though geese and ducks produce a lot of this kind of thing, they tend to do it all over the place and not in one spot.

Later in the day I told Ming about it:

Me: There’s this huge pile of shxx on the front lawn – have you seen it?
Ming: No, it’s probably your stupid birds.
Me: No this is massive and it looks really weird, like a UFO or something.
Ming: Don’t worry about it!
Me: Would you mind coming out and having a look?
Ming: Grrr – okay.

So I showed Ming and he started to laugh hysterically.

Me: What’s so funny?
Ming: Remember that pea soup you made and forgot to put in the frig and asked me to throw out?
Me: Oh.


Wrong number


I have been trying to find someone to shear the alpacas, Okami and Uluru, because I didn’t get around to organizing this in January. They are not overly woolly and seem to be pretty happy because there is lots of water and shade, but it is very hot and March might be even hotter.

So I got a mobile phone number from someone who knew someone who might know a shearer and yesterday I rang it (assuming I was ringing someone who lived nearby). This was how the phone conversation unfolded:

Shearer: Yeah?
Me: Oh hello, I was just wondering if you shear alpacas.
Shearer (not a shearer): Not me, mate, naah, but me neighbor might.
Me: Would it be okay if you asked him for me? I don’t live very far away.
Shearer (not a shearer): No worries, love. Bloody hot isn’t it!
Me: Yes, that’s what I’m worried about, you know for the alpacas.
Shearer (who I will now call Man): Bitches?
Me: Well, no, it’s two males actually.
Man: Yeah I’ll sort it for you, mate – where do ya live?
Me: Paradise Road – not far from Dardanup.
Man: Where the fxxxx is that?
Me: I thought you lived in Dardanup!
Man: I’m in Queensland, darling!
Me: Oh, I’m so sorry – I think I must have rung the wrong number.
Man: No problems, love, better than the telly!
Me: Well, thanks so much and sorry for bothering you like this.
Man: Best fun I’ve had for ages, mate!
Me (laughing): Good to meet you, whoever you are and thanks!

This would have to be the best ‘wrong number’ situation I have ever experienced!



New life!

Yesterday afternoon, the four new ducklings settled into their pen, then got straight out again!



As I was trying to herd them back in, Gutsy9 followed, extremely curious, but also jealous as she kept biting the bottom of my jeans as if to say, “hey, what about me?”


The gang welcomed the ducklings with a chorus of gleeful honking, then quieter little sighing sounds. Predictably, Godfrey, the head gander, hissed at me threateningly. He has very strong paternal instincts!



But the happiest of the gang was Zaruma, our only remaining duck. His mate, Tapper (the one who used to actually scale the yard fence and get out), was killed by a fox last year, so he has been very lonely. His joy was amazing; he can’t quack for some reason but he was madly wagging his tail. He’s the one on the right with the red face.




The alpacas, Uluru and Okami, settled protectively on the other side of the fence.


Even Baby Turkey became interested in a pecking sort of way.


Woodroffe and Diamond exchanged raised eyebrows.


The ducklings were very curious about the peachicks.


But they were much more interested in their first swimming lesson.




Ming was allowed to come home today, three days after his surgery which was a fantastic surprise (we were told he’d be in hospital until Christmas Eve). I’d been staying in a hotel for a couple of nights and coming and going to the hospital, but checked out yesterday, planning to visit Ming then go home to the farm to feed and water the dogs, birds and alpacas, only to be told he’d be discharged today! So I quickly rang a friend to see if she could do the animals and checked back into the hotel for another night.

Yesterday Ming was still attached to the pain+antibiotic drip, a catheter, and a blood drain thingy, oxygen, and he could hardly get out of bed and walk a few steps, but today he was free of the various tubes and fighting fit – amazing! It is 8pm here and we got home around an hour ago. Ming is in a lot of pain but has three kinds of painkillers so is now in bed.

One of the painkillers has a strange side-effect – Mummy love! It is so hilarious; on Tuesday evening when he finally came out of surgery, he kept looking at me woozily and saying, “Oh, Mummy, give me your hand, hold my hand, I want to have a cubble (cuddle), you are the best mummy in the whole wide world, oh I love you so much” etc. If I let his hand go for a moment, he would yell, “Mummy, I need your hand! Muuuuuuummmmmmmyyyyyyyyy!”

Now this would have been okay if (a) he had a private room, and (b) he had a quiet voice. But he was in a shared room with three men who were all chuckling every time Ming yelled out, “Mummy, hand – where’s your hand?” After a couple of hours of this I started to get a bit embarrassed and sick of holding his stupid hand! His nurse was laughing hysterically (but quietly) at his antics and, as Ming got sleepier, she helped me remove my hand from his so I could escape to my hotel and have a well-earned wine.

My hand is still aching from his grip – so funny!

And so absolutely wonderful!

Note: Thank you so much to my WordPress and Facebook, and other friends and family (especially my own mother) for all of your prayers, wishes and messages to us. I haven’t had time to reply properly but please know how much your comments, care and love is appreciated by Ming and Muuuuummmmmyyyyy!


Here we go again!

Yesterday Ming and I went up to Perth for the pre-op. things – blood and urine, ECG, consent forms for bone graft and bone marrow, consultations with a nurse, a doctor and an anaesthetist and, in the midst of all of these exciting events, I opened the letter we’d been given on arrival.

Well I got a bit of a shock because his surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday, 17th December! This means he will come out of hospital on Christmas Eve, or may be in over Christmas. Ming is elated it is happening before the new year but, with such short notice, I am a bit panicked about organizing things. He has to be in the hospital at 6.30am which means we will have to go up to Perth the night before and stay in a hotel. I will probably book in for two nights so I can see him the next day but then he wants me to come home again (“so you have time to get my Christmas presents, Mum!”)

This revision surgery is nothing compared to the massive scoliosis op. last year so it should be a piece of cake (I hope!) I took his photo this afternoon after asking him how he felt about the op. His expression is difficult to read but to me it says, “Fine!”


While we’re in Perth, these two guys will look after the farm!



A peaceful place



The Australia puddle and other Spring things

The puddle in our driveway has held the shape of Australia for weeks and weeks and even had a Tasmania, but the latter evaporated a couple of days ago, before I remembered to take a photo. I wish I had, as it might have made me famous! I’ve decided not to get that Australia-shaped pot-hole filled with gravel now, in the hope that next Spring it will once again rain relentlessly and re-create the Australia puddle, with Tasmania, on our driveway. Then I will take lots of photos and have an exhibition and get rich. The reason I didn’t take the photos this time was because it was raining and I didn’t want to get drenched to photograph a puddle (I think that is more for the professionals.)


A blue wren (very hard to photograph because they are so tiny and so fast!) After several attempts to get him in more natural surroundings, he landed on one of Anthony’s salvaged washing machine insides, that we use for an outside barbecue.

A rare vision of Uluru looking calm. He is usually feisty, having to compete for the wheat with all the winged creatures.

G9 in a tree. I have never seen him her do this before (even though I know that, at sundown, she flies up into the wattle trees for the night with all the other peafowl).

Ming, with the dogs.

Something wonderful happened today; I became a great-auntie for the first time. A beautiful baby was born and I mean this sincerely because, let’s face it, most babies are quite ugly for the first few days/hours – but not this one! She is exquisite! In respect of the new parents’ privacy, I will ask them before putting any photos of the kid on my blog.


Gutsy9 is a girl after all!

For those who don’t know, or who have forgotten (as I had until I looked it up on my blog!) last year, on December 9, I discovered a peachick running around outside, apparently abandoned by its many possible parents. So I picked it up and from that moment on, it became my kid via the interesting phenomenon of imprinting. I raised that chick with great joy and for its first week of life took it everywhere with me, inside my shirt, to the nursing lodge, to the shops – even to a restaurant once!

I called the chick 9 (because of the hatch date), then Gutsy (because Ming thought it was a gutsy little thing) and now Gutsy9. A few weeks later a friend came over (who also has peafowl) and said G9 was pied (a hybrid of white and blue) and most likely a male. But, when my friend saw a recent picture, he recognized immediately that G9 was a female after all and I am so delighted because I am overrun with males – son and husband, two male alpacas, two male dogs, predominantly male geese and ducks, AND, half of our peafowl are males, which is annoying for the females (especially now that it’s mating season!)

I love remembering G9’s first days – in Ming’s hands, on Anthony’s lap, and on my shoulder.

Whenever she hears my voice G9 gallops (yes gallops!) to me. Of course, she is always hoping for bread, a favourite treat for all of them, but even when I don’t have bread, she will sit beside me to have her neck stroked. The other peas watch this little ritual with fascination because peafowl don’t like to be touched and, even though they will all take bread from my hand, they shy away if I try to pat them. At least they all accept G9 now – they didn’t to begin with. In fact, they seem to sort of look up to her, amazed at the way she follows me around the garden, doing little twirlies, around and around, like a funny little puppy!


I wonder if December will bring more chicks – I hope so!


Two very wet alpacas

Apparently our phone wiring has had the bomb and that is why the home phone crackles and the internet is having so many siestas. I am tempted to let the home phone die and get one of those usb thingys for the internet. I have already replaced my ancient mobile phone with a new one.

It is still very wet so I am practically living in my wellys.


The alpacas are ambivalent when it comes to the rain. They seem to take everything in their stride, although Uluru looks slightly happier than Okami.



The camellias are responding ecstatically to the rain. Now, even though I can’t think of anything worse than gardening, I do love the dozens of camellias Anthony has planted over the years. The one with the ballerina petals is the only one I bought myself. I took the first bloom into Ants the other day.


I’ll take another one in this afternoon. On my way in, I’m hoping to collect a picture I’m having framed for Anthony’s wall. It’s a photo of Ants at around the time I first met him, 35 years ago. Funnily enough, it is not my idea to put this picture on the wall; it’s Anthony’s. I said why not one of our wedding photos, or that one of you on the motorbike with Ming?. But he said no, that he just wanted himself! His self-confidence is certainly still intact; he even got me to blow the photo up to a bigger size!



The internet is not working consistently at home so am using borrowed minutes to just say that.