This January has been very dry – even drier than last year’s January. Hoping we get some serious rain soon. They were forecasting up to 15mm for this week a few days ago but that’s dropped considerably and we’re not holding our breath that we’ll still be getting rain when Wednesday and Thursday do arrive. Just hot weather. Great for those who love the beach but we don’t live anywhere near a beach. Our choice. And we need the rain!
However, the roses are loving the weather. And we’ve been increasing the number of water bowls put out for the wildlife. We have 5 bird baths, but they’re all on pedestals which is great for birds, wallabies, possums, bees, butterflies. However, the ground inhabitants didn’t have much options – they do have our billabong but we don’t have a gentle beach there so we decided to put two bowls we’d been gifted a couple of years ago, into service. Both have small statues placed in the centre and I’ve added stones in the base and also some sticks, to give insects and small creatures the opportunity to climb out, should they find themselves totally surrounded by water.
Because we’re very much about Gardens 4 Wildlife and Habitat Gardens these days, we have seen an increase in the wildlife here, in just a few short years. To date I’ve recorded 36 different species of birds on our property which is wonderful. We now have 4 species of frogs here (to our knowledge), three of which live by our billabong. Several species of bees and butterflies and moths. Plus a recent discovery of a blotched blue tongue lizard.
(Click images to view enlarged)
The Australian Wood Ducks seem to have made their home here – at least till the last young’uns leave home. Mum and two of the youngsters disappeared some weeks ago. Hopefully they just decided to go elsewhere, rather than something happening to them. So it’s just been Dad and the remaining six children. But they’re grown somewhat now and two flew off recently. A resident magpie likes to give them trouble from time to time, swooping them and forcing them to head back to the billabong – think that’s when the most recent two flew off – they just didn’t come back. Lovely that they decided to stay for so long, rather than the whole family disappearing when only a few weeks old, as they did in 2017. But then, our billabong is a lot more established now, lots of plant life and plenty of grubs, snails, insects and other things for them to eat. I notice them down in our veggie garden from time to time. I certainly haven’t had any snails to collect for our chickens.
For the first time, ever, I discovered a St Andrews Cross Spider. It was funny because a friend from nearby mentioned she had some in her garden and then the following day I discovered one too. Amazing looking spiders. And, this year, we’ve had several sunflowers – the tall variety, in a spot in the paddock. They look aaaaamaazing! Graham and I think we’ll plant an even bigger plot of them for next summer. The bees love them and we know that the birds have been at them, although we haven’t witnessed it as yet. Must be late in the day or very early in the morning. I’ll have to make sure I save some of the seeds for us. Have you ever seen a sunflower before it opens? Very tightly wound. I’d not seen that before.
We do spend a few times a week watering various parts of our garden. Thankfully we have several water tanks which helps but we always keep thinking perhaps we should have gotten another one, or a bigger one! We have rhubarb, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, silverbeet, peaches, pears and apples growing currently. Oh, and the pumpkin plants are flowering so hopefully fruit will be forming soon too. While we can’t get lots of gardening done during the heat, what we had done before summer is now paying off and we get to enjoy the garden in a different way.