wings and things

Temperature fluctuations in Australia’s summer

Western Australia has already had a pretty severe heat wave, causing bush fires in the northern part of our capital city, Perth, but now the heat wave is on the eastern side of Australia with temperatures in the 40s. This is particularly frightening if you live in a forested area (which we don’t because the farm is cleared land), but I feel so concerned for those who have lost their homes and lives and/or have been evacuated or else told it is too late to evacuate.

Over here I think we are in for another hot weekend after a semi-cool week. It always amazes me how a 40 degree C day can be followed by a 25 degree C day. And while we broil downunder, people are freezing in the northern hemisphere. I know several bloggers are suffering this severe weather too and it scares me.

Our figs began ripening a week or so ago only to have shrivelled now and, today, the moonflowers came out but, a few hours later, quickly faltered.


With whatever weather you are experiencing I wish you the best.


A peachick + a flame tree + pavlova = a great New Year’s day


It was so funny watching the interaction between Anthony and my ever-curious little peahen, Gutsy9. But Anthony was much more interested in his glorious flame tree….


And my mother’s pavlova!



Neighbours from heaven!

Anthony was in his 60s when he retired from dairy farming, due to a combination of factors including ill health. Now Ming, at 19, has been forced to retire from his job as dairy hand for our neighbours due to his back. Once he is over this second surgery you never know, he may be able to return but in the meantime he has been replaced.

Ming’s boss’s mother came over just before Christmas with a whole bag of different chocolate treats for him; she is such a gem! Below are two photos she took of Ming milking a little while ago. I was so proud of him walking in his dad’s boots and she is so glad they now have someone who can hang up the hose properly better than Ming – ha!

Despite the sadness that Ming has had to give up a job that he’d only just begun to do full-time, the fantastic thing is that we have gotten to know these amazing neighbours over the last three years and they have given us their friendship and support throughout our various ordeals. Ming said to me the other day that his boss’s mother is like his own ‘second’ mother!

I wish this extended family all the very best for 2014 and we feel indebted to them in so many ways. They are dairy farmers from way back which makes them heroes in an era when this kind of farming has become unpopular (due to the necessary 24/7 commitment).




If I had to choose a single word to describe my first niece, I would use the word “twinkling”. She and her husband arrived last night from Scotland just in time for Christmas. They are going to live here now – yippee!

Late last night she got to see her own first niece for the first time. Do you see what I mean by “twinkling”. Actually in this picture both of them are twinkling!

Ashtyn and Neve

My first niece is also my god-daughter as well as being Ming’s cousin and god-mother. I have always been in awe of her ability to twinkle no matter what, and her homecoming is the best gift any of us could receive this Christmas. She is a vital cog in the machine of this family and her presence enables us all to twinkle with delight; when she smiles, her whole body smiles; when she enters a room, she exudes beauty, grace and hilarity. She is fun and laughter and I love her so much and can’t wait to see her tonight at my mother’s Christmas Eve party.

I feel very lucky to have this fantastic, twinkling niece – very lucky!


History in the making?

Background: Oldest dairy in Western Australia.

Foreground: Youngest beard in Western Australia.


Storm 2

Two days ago I went into the local town (Bunbury) to see Anthony at the nursing lodge. It had been raining and windy but I hadn’t actually heard the weather forecast so I was surprised to find tree branches all over the road as I travelled into town. At the nursing lodge, which is right near the beach, the wind was strong but not overwhelming, but 5 minutes into my visit the wind became an audible howl and I opened Anthony’s curtains so we could see. The little trees in the garden were being whipped around madly and I said I thought I better go home as one of the nurses said a big storm was coming.

“Oh sure,” Anthony said, uncharacteristically grouchy, “I’ll be an old man next time you see me.” He was walking me slowly to the exit, then he stopped and looked up at me (I am much taller than him now because of his stoop). “Oh, that’s right, I am an old man aren’t I,” and he chuckled. “That’s for sure,” I laughed.

Outside the rain began to pelt down as I leapt into the car, and my 15 kilometre trip home was hair-raising. There were trees down everywhere in all of the paddocks and the road was almost blocked here and there by trees, branches and debris. As I turned into our little country town a shed was rolling across the road this way and that and momentarily seemed to somersault towards me so I sped up, wanting to get home quickly in the hope things would be better. But when I got home it was worse – the wind was almost impossible to walk against and inside the whole house was rattling. It was about 2.30 in the afternoon so Son had gone off to the neighbours to milk the cows. I turned on the radio to hear the weather forecast and at that moment the power went out.

The weather was so wild that I was afraid to go outside and very worried about Son who soon came back saying they couldn’t milk the cows because there was no electricity. It wasn’t until around 11am yesterday that he and his boss could milk the cows with the aid of a generator for electricity. By this time, of course, many of the cows were suffering from mastitis having missed two milkings.

A few hours later the power came on again but only lasted a couple of hours which is when I wrote my posts and read a few blogs. Then it went off again and only came back some time in the middle of the night last night. Son went over to milk at 3am (it’s usually 5am) and apparently things can go back to normal with milking this afternoon at the usual 3pm.

Another storm is predicted for tonight, but here is a link to a news item. Thankfully, it seems that no person has been hurt so far.

To give you an indication of the ferocity of the storm here on this little farm, one of the massive wattle trees that the peafowl and guinnea fowl sleep in has come down, some of the guttering on our roof has catapulted to the ground, there are huge branches all over the place, bits of the old washhouse have peeled off, the dogs will need psychiatric treatment and I have a new respect for electricity.

And the birds? Without exception, they have all absolutely loved every minute of this excitement and none have been injured. Oh to be a bird!



We are experiencing a cyclonic storm beyond anything I have ever seen before. The electricity has just come on after 24 hours but I don’t think it will last so this is just a quick post. I think the storm has hit a lot of Western Australia. Very frightening.


Around in circles

Peacocks love to show their plumage and in past posts I have talked about King, our big adult peacock, and shared pictures of him in all his glory. Spring seems to be the time of year they do this the most and it’s fantastic to watch.

So the above photos mystify me a bit. Firstly, this is not a peacock (male), it is a peahen (female) and, secondly, it is Autumn here in Western Australia, not Spring. Nevertheless, this wonderful peahen pirouetted nonstop this morning, just outside the back door.  None of her sisters and brothers were around; it was just the two of us.


Put a feather in your cap!

English: A single white feather closeup. Deuts...
Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that people actually buy feathers?

I only discovered this by accident when I was googling something and I ended up seeing a couple of ads on e-bay. People were selling feathers at $3 each, or else wanting feathers. I thought this was extremely strange until I realised that the people wanting feathers were milliners (you know, hat makers).

Well, I have been collecting some of the feathers that the birds regularly shed anyway, and these now fill several vases; I have peacock feathers, golden pheasant feathers, white peacock feathers, guinnea fowl feathers, even chook feathers (I don’t think these are quite so popular!)

I actually find the feathering of our lawns almost as irritating as the poo. For example, when I let ‘the gang’ out of their yards in the morning and they sprint and stumble after me to the breakfast spot, they shed so many of their under-feathers (mostly white and fluffy), that it looks like it’s been snowing!

By the way, it doesn’t snow in Western Australia.

I can’t believe it; just as I am writing this, one of those horrible easterly winds has swooped in and, whammo, the lawn is once again featherless. I hope I haven’t just lost a potential feather fortune.

Put a feather in your cap and, if you don’t have a feather, I can sell you one for $3!

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