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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Bad Cockies and Good Kitties!

Every morning at dawn right now, we get visited by the Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.   They are after these...

The immature fruits of the Persoonia trees, also known as Snottygobbles.  When the fruit is ripe it goes yellowy-green and under the skin is a very slimy fruit that is edible, but not very visually appealing, as you can tell from its colloquial name!  

I'm a bit torn about the Cockies' visits, because they need all the food sources they can get, due to all the land clearing that is still going on along the thin coastal forest strip of WA that is their home, but they make a dreadful mess of the trees. It's especially noticeable on Yggdrasil, the big wolf tree that grows lushly in our bottom paddock.  At this time of year, Yggdrasil gets a very harsh trim indeed, with leaves and branches snipped off by the big birds and left to carpet the ground all around the tree.

It seems very wasteful to me, as many fruits are left on the snipped branches and untouched once they hit the ground.

It noticeably thins the canopy of this usually dense tree.

I love this tree to bits.  The branches and trunk have this wonderful gnarly affect, partly due to the odd way it expands, seeming to make cracks, then fill them with bark from the inside out. 

And I love that the drooping branches form a sheltering room that you can step into and enter a different world.

It's marvelous tree.  Every year it seems to survive the birds and regrow all the lost leaves, so fingers crossed that it continues to do so until Ragnarok at least!

Yesterday Niamh and I had our second art lesson.  We were going to practice drawing people by using Andrew as a model but he got a call to go do some work at the last minute.  Superkitty Cyrano seemed to know we needed a new life model, so he came up on the table and patiently lounged around for the whole time that we needed him.  What a good kitty he is!

Niamh got to practice the fascinating and frustrating art of life drawing animals, where you need to give up on a drawing when they move and find a new angle to draw each time. She did great!

By the end she was doing little studies of different body parts and really carefully observing what was in front of her, which is the secret to becoming a good artist, and also to enjoying your drawing time.  She has great concentration for a ten year old. It bodes well for her future art.

Once we'd done our drawing, Cyrano kindly stayed around while we messed with watercolours. Niamh is really getting the hang of letting the colours be transparent and seeing what happens when you add colour to colour on the wet paper.

Of course I had to join in. Think I was getting his nose too long. He looks rather Tigery.  :) 

Mr Kitty loved all the attention. He really basked away there in between us, turning back and forth and giving us lots of chances to start a new drawing.  :)

Writing news is a bit slow lately, I know.  Seems like it has taken me ages to get Heroic Plans ready to publish, but I am on the last stretch now.  Just have the cover to design.  It won't be long now until you are back in the world of cheeky Kat and Jimmy, I promise.   

I had a nice 'nature moment' the other night.  I was off out to pick up Andyroo and there were a pair of visitors at the gate.

Can you see the second one sitting on the letterbox?  They're Mopokes, or Tawny Frogmouths. They stayed put and allowed me to get right up to them to take clearer photos.

In the end I had to open the gate to get the car out because Andrew was waiting down at the station, and at last they flew away on soft, silent wings. I love those little moments of connection to nature.  They are like gifts.    

With winter on her way, it's been time to get in some winter veg.  The bok choi is doing great, and behind that is this years winter crop of Foordhook Giant silverbeet. This winter I really need to revamp the big garden bed, or perhaps remove it entirely and put in some more of these tanks. I get much better crops off these than the big bed.

Looks like Andyroo might be having some more time off work, so maybe we can redesign the vegie gardens from scratch.  Along with all the other stuff we still need to do, including redoing the east side of the chook pen, which has been propped up on nothing but dead branches in places for way too long.  It never ends, does it!

I finished my latest afghan today, though.  Just a few loose ends left to weave in, and it will be finally able to be gifted.  Phew, what a huge process they are.  A labor of love for sure. If anyone ever makes you one, make sure you appreciate all that love and time they have put into it. I can tell you from personal experience that it will have been no small effort.

Tuppy appreciates us. 

Such a funny dog she is.  In all the ways you can be funny!         

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