Category Archives: fungi

Country Diary Summary of 2013

I took a bit of a walk round the property to check on our progress over the last 12 months.  We have seen a number of changes with the major ones being getting ready for our goats, hatching and learning about guinea fowl, preparing a new paddock for next year’s oats and bringing in a good hay crop.  

In January Goldie was killed by a snake, we noticed that Guinea Fowl have blue eyes and long eyelashes, I saw the kangaroo Mum and Baby for the first time and the Dung Beetles got rid of the flies.

In February, the young guineas had their first taste of freedom, a couple were killed by foxes and I helped two new guineas Bill and Ben from their shells.  We harvested lots of food from the garden and went to choose our goats.

Much of March was spent putting up the fence for the goat paddock, Red died, Flash was fit for work for about 2 weeks between injuries and we had extremes of hot and cold and the first autumn rains.

April started with giving Bowie a series of injections to combat a severe allergic reaction to a sting.  An unseasonable heatwave dragged on before we got our first real rainfall.  We built luxury accommodation for the goats – although they are a bit delayed as Midge didn’t get pregnant –  and the little guineas Bill and Ben met the older birds.

Poor little Ben got taken on the 1st of May and Billie only survived another 10 days, even though the others took her in and showed her how to fly.  The most exciting thing of course was bringing our 2 goats Midge and Smudge to the property. On the 8th we got the highest rainfall in the whole of WA at 78mm, the tanks were full by the 11th May and the dam was overflowing by the end of the month.  The wet weather brought out the first fungi.

June was all about identifying all the different fungi popping up in the forest, they came in a whole rainbow of colours.   The main jobs were the first 8 stages of producing oaten hay – weedkiller, raking, rock picking, sowing, harrowing, rock picking, rolling and fertilizing.  On the wildlife front, I learned more about the red-legged earth mite and a couple of kites.

July was awesome.  Looking back at the posts, there were great sunrises, our first frost, baby goats and while our oats sprouted we started cultivating a new paddock for growing them next year.  I got my first pictures of the baudin and red-tailed black cockatoos and had fun with a rogues gallery of chicken bottoms.

August was wet.  There were only 3 days when it didn’t rain and we got 50mm more than average for the month.  I took my favourite sunrise photo of the year, learned about my Holy Halo, and captured a beautiful rain drop.  August was focused on our future food security.  We put together our greenhouse, got some milking supplies, weeded the vege beds – with help from the chickens – and planted tagasaste for the goats.   The first flowers of spring appeared and we found out we had rabbits.

Midge had her twin girl kids in September.  Curious Rose and Gorgeous Crumpler were even cuter than I had imagined.    Poor Midge injured her udder,so I suddenly had to learn how to milk and the milking stand got built sooner than anticipated.  Mama Hen went broody so we bought a couple of day old chicks for her to raise.  It was a wild weather month with our first hailstorm and storms that brought trees down and blew a panel out of the greenhouse.

October was all about the hay.   Our kind neighbour lent us his mower, rake and baler and we got it in the shed after 6 days.    The kids and chicks are growing quickly and the horses were very happy to be back in the oat paddock.  The wildflowers were mostly pink and blue. The dry days that let us harvest the hay also gave a couple of chilly mornings and a record low maximum.

During November, the kids and chicks  started showing their independence. I milked Midge for the first time and garden produced potatoes, radishes, beans, peas and our first tomatoes.  We started trapping the rats which have made themselves at home in the feed shed.  We had an unusually hot spell for the first couple of weeks, but the rains returned at the end of the month.   We spotted an interesting range of wildlife including metallic birds and beetles and pink parrots and peas

In December, we started building the earth oven with our own clay and sand and put a drip irrigation system in for the vege beds and fruit trees.  The chicks are almost fully grown and we weighed the kids again at 3 months –  they were huge! We had 6 hot days in the middle of the month followed by a cool change and lower then average temperatures.  There were still some bright flowers around including the vivid orange Christmas Tree and the pink Pretty Honey Myrtle.  After a very wet winter, water is still flowing into the dam, so hopefully the level won’t drop as quickly next year, although we will use more with our new garden irrigation system.

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Country Diary for week ending 7th July

The first week of July gave us a range of beautiful sunrises and our first ever frost on the property.

Thankfully the mushrooms are nearing the end of their season and there are only a few new ones around.  It has been quite stressful keeping up with and trying to identify all the fungi.

Our Anglo Nubian cross dairy goat Midge turned 2 on Independence Day, I took photos of some endangered Baudin’ s Cockatoos and spotted a lizard out sunbathing.

I took photos of the chickens bottoms and Brad recycled some plough discs into a fire-pit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country Diary for week ending 30th June

This week I got up close (well close-ish) and personal with some kangaroos, spotting a big male one day, then mum and bub pretty close to the house.

We had a couple of light rain days with 8mm each time, but mostly it was a calm and sunny week.  The Oats are loving the combination of sunshine and rain and are looking good.

I captured some beautiful images of raindrops and reflections. The Guineas are courting,  the horses were relaxing in the sun and I bathed a chicken for the first time.    I found some large Laughing Jim mushrooms which are sometimes hallucinogenic.

Country Diary for week ending 24th June 2013

Last week we had a shaggy bolete, this week it was a woolly goat and a hairy paddock as the oats germinated.   I also found 2 unusual mushrooms, one in shape and one in type, and another orchid started to flower.

We also had the shortest day and the biggest moon for the year and I had fun experimenting with the camera, finally getting it off auto and experimenting with aperture, film and shutter speeds.    I got some lovely macro shots of raindrops, an eerie morning shot of a sunshower and caught sight of our Destructors.

The clouds before the rain were beautiful and we ended up with 58mm on the 23rd.

Country Diary for week ending 17th June 2013

I am feeling a little overwhelmed trying to identify and record all the different species of fungi and we are only 2 weeks into winter.  I have described over 20 already in a rainbow of fungi and there are over a dozen photos waiting in the draft folder.

We had some perfect winter weather with sunny days and still mornings.  4mm of rain fell overnight on Thursday with another 2mm on Sunday.  The oats have started to germinate after 8 days.

The old horse Bowie is still wary of the goats and we are still harvesting zucchini.

Rainbow of Fungi

Richard
Of
York
Gave
Battle
In
Vain

Country Diary for week ending 10th June 2013

It was a busy week on the farm as we sowed oats for the hay to feed the horses and goats.  We killed weeds, raked the seedbed, picked up stones, then sowed, harrowed, rolled and fertilised.  It took 3 days – even harrowing after dark –  but we finished 2 hours before the rain came.

Brad cut firewood and filled the wood store, the guinea fowl were hunted by a variety of predators, we saw our first Whistling and Black Shouldered Kites and think we found our first edible mushroom