Frugal Vegetable Gardening

I have been told by some people that it is to expensive to begin growing vegetables. By the time they purchase soil and pots or planters, the seeds or seedlings, fertilisers, it all adds up. They just can not afford it. Or composting is such hard work.

I was able to pick up pots of varying sizes from a gardening shop in Hobart for free. These were just plastic pots that people bought in to recycle and others could take and use. Rather than just throwing them out. Any second hand pots I suggest just a wash in hot water with dish washing detergent and dry in the sun. I have also been able to purchase from my local tip shop chipped and cracked ceramic pots and garage sales you can also pick up cheap pots sometimes with plants in them. (if you dont like the plant give it to someone and keep the pot). Also look out for hard rubbish pick up days.

However you do not have to have plastic pots or lovely ceramic pots to grow plants in. You can use all sorts of things. Tin cans, have been used by many people for a long time to grow veggies. I have used large veggie oil cans and biscuit tins. Drill a few holes in them, they are a pot.
Plastic storage boxes can be used, polystyrene boxes, I can usually get mine for free from seafood shop veggie shops sometimes my local supermarket.

Now for soil, here is a wonderful Youtube Channel Robbie and Gary Gardening Easy. Wonderful for those who want to begin to grow some veggies. Robbie grows veggies in her own soil/compost that she makes from scratch. It is so easy and involves little work. I have been doing it and it is brilliant! She saves all her kitchen scraps puts them in a plastic container, or container with holes drilled in it, uses the weeds she pulls up before they seed, and places them at the bottom of the container. She puts her scraps straight into the container, waters it a bit, and places a lid/cover with a weight on it to stop animals getting into it.

Because you have drilled/put holes in the bottom worms will make their way into the scraps and begin to break down the food scraps into wonderful soil/compost. Add dead or leaves and paper if you wish. Robbie can explain her system here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6eSaIEz2rQ

I also compost in place, meaning I will just put any leaves I pull off or that have fallen off I leave there in the area to compost in the bed. I will break up the stems and some plants such as legumes I leave the roots as when they break down they release nitrogen in the soil.

Some advice I will give you about seeds and seedlings. When I first started my vegetable gardening here in southern Tasmania, I was caught out by buying seedlings that were totally inappropriate for my location. The nurseries and gardening centres were selling seedlings, so I assumed they would be fine. Unfortunately no. Some were way to early for planting outside, and were actually for people to grow in hot houses/green houses/poly tunnels situations. Or were just not seedlings that were ever going to do any good down here.

One of the problems with purchasing seedlings from large garden centres and nurseries is that the seedlings may not have even been grown for this area. Same problem can occur with seeds. Some seed do not grow for me so well from big suppliers. I am in the fortunate position that we have a couple of relatively local seed savers who have began businesses that have seeds that they have grown and saved from the fruits, here in the area I live. I see a big difference in how they perform to how the others I have in the past purchased.

Being involved in a seed saving community group, and my local Crop Swap group has been marvelous as I get seeds and seedlings for no financial cost. Where seeds and seedlings as well as produce and anything related to veggie growing and food, can be shared. For the seed saving you grow one variety of say a bean that year, and you try to keep it pure. You can share some of the fresh peas or beans and then the majority you save for seed. Sharing and some will be saved so we have a supply of local seeds available if there is a crisis such as the bush fires here last summer (2018-2019) the crop swap group grew seeds and gave seedlings to the people who had lost their veggie gardens due to be evacuated and their veggie gardens were not watered so died. A simple thing the group did but such a welcome and unexpected thing. Others grew trees to help replace trees for free.

My growing awareness of the importance to monitor flowering of my veggies especially the brassicas, as they will cross pollinate, as will tomatoes, and other vegetables. I am also much more alert as to flowering weeds. Some I am happy to have flower as bees and birds will feast on the seeds Some such as sorrel and dandelions can be eaten. Scotch Thistle I love the flower it is wonderful as the root goes deep, I will let it flower and then take the flower off before it seeds.

Another thing that you can do is if you buy a cos/romaine/butter/iceberg lettuce is sit the base in water to keep fresh and as you use it, it will often keep growing. Cut the top of a pineapple and plant it you just may get a pineapple plant growing, spring onions place the bulb bit in a glass with some water so the roots are in it and it will grow more greens. I have even had a cabbage grow more when I sat it in a bowel with some water,

I recall a farmer saying to someone I knew that if you missed weeding one year it would take you seven to eradicate it. (he did not use weed killer) I have been working hard on a couple of weeds this year that have prickles that get into my dogs coats and my feet.

The other important thing I wish to share is You do not have to grow heaps to start with. I personally began with some garlic, and asparagus. Rather expensive to buy every year, but both really easy to grow. Garlic you can grow in pots. You may be able to grow some asparagus in a large container. I am not sure. Ginger and Tumeric I will bring mine indoors over winter. I have only planted them recently and they may grow may not.

Garlic grows form a clove, each clove will grow into a bulb. I need about 150cloves of garlic a year minimum for myself and my dogs, I also need to plant for the next year so I will be looking at growing about 50 cloves minimum. If each clove produces a bulb with 6 cloves I will have enough for the next year. hmmm Might plant more..lol

Herbs are expensive to buy and fairly easy to grow in pots. Lettuces grow beautifully in polystyrene boxes with holes in the bottom. As do spring onions, and chives. Strawberries too. If you grow lettuce grow an assortment. You can grow carrots in pots.

I really want to encourage people everywhere to be growing their own veggies, to ensure they have fresh and healthy produce.

Which does bring me to one area that can be of concern. If you do have a garden you really need to be aware of what possible sources of contamination may be or have been in your area. I had a flat in Hobart that thankfully I was not growing veggies in the ground, but neighbours in houses were. It turned out the soil in the area had been contaminated by the zinc works. It was never told to you when your were buying property in the area impacted, and the only way most people were alerted to the problem was a flyer that was put in letterboxes, saying that people should be checking for contamination in the soil, and to speak to council. We were on the opposite side and down from the zinc works but the wind blew contaminants over to our area. Apparently it was not common incident but happened several times over the years.

Similarly in Broken Hill in NSW lead levels in some children (and adults) were extreme levels the children were living in houses near the railway line and the BHP trains would go buy spreading lead filled dust as they went past. Peoples had tonnes of soil removed from their yards, their roofs, inside their homes under the roof. Yet people had been growing and eating vegetables in their gardens.

So growing many vegetables, herbs and some fruits in pots is possible, It is only as limited as your own abilities, and finances. Start with just one or two containers, think of something you really love to eat but find it to expensive to buy. Research it online and give it a try.

Please check out the Youtube channel I put above. I am not in anyway involved or gaining anything from promoting it. I just find wonderful and it worked for me.

I had my second tomato ripen and ate it today. I was so thankful to have it as it was delicious and worth the wait.

I will do an update of my Veggie garden soon.

blessings Tazzie

A few feathered friends

Gardens are one of the places that can bring so much pleasure and delight not just for the humans. The garden that I have created is always evolving as trees planted by my partner grow and spread. The rainfall or lack of. The garden that surrounds my home is a place for nature. I plant to encourage bird life. I ensure that there is water at different levels and flowers in every season if possible. It seems I am very rarely without birds and their songs in the garden.

Welcome Swallow possibly a juvinelle

These small birds live all over Australia even seen flying between city buildings, from the desert to the sea. They got there name because sailors noted them as they flew about the sea indicating that land was not far. Or as a sign of Spring (Imbolc) returning as I read in another site.
They build mud nests under bridges, walls of buildings, verticle rock walls the nest is a snug lined with fur and feathers. Both parents build the nest.
They are aerial acrobats swooping and turning as they chase insects that are their food source. A variety of insects are eaten. The insect is guided into the bird’s wide, open mouth with the help of short rictal bristles bordering the bill. These bristles also help protect the bird’s eye.
I often sit out and watch them flying about my place. I have lived here a long time and have never had a nest built on the house. I would love one. (many people would think I am crazy).

New England Honey Eater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

These striking little birds are hard to miss but they are easy to confuse with another bird. The White-cheeked Honeyeater is about the same size and has similar colouring to the New Holland Honeyeater. If the bird has the white eye it is the New Holland Honeyeater.
After the Dutch navigators charted the northern, western and southern coasts of Australia during the 17th Century this newly found continent became known as ‘New Holland’ These little birds are named New Holland from this name.

New Holland Honeyeaters are active feeders.They mostly eat the nectar of flowers, and busily dart from flower to flower in search of this high-energy food. Other food items include fruit, insects and spiders. Birds may feed alone, but normally gather in quite large groups. Most feeding takes place in lower areas of bushes and thickets

The long, curved beak these honeyeaters have are perfect for reaching deep into a flower to get to the sweet nectar inside.

These birds get their name from the first name given to Australia (New Holland). It was called New Holland because the Dutch were the first Europeans to visit here.

New Holland Honeyeaters have two breeding peaks, in summer and winter, when they build two different nest types. Their winter nest is built at the top of a bush facing the northern sun to keep it warm. In summer they build their nest deep in the bush away from the heat and the sun.

Striated Pardolte (Pardalotus striatus)

The Striated Pardalote can be found throughout much of Australia, and across this range there are numerous populations and subspecies. Despite being tiny birds, some populations undertake remarkable migratory movements, while others remain in the same area throughout the year. In some populations, some of the birds migrate while others remain behind. Clearly, the movements of the Striated Pardalote are complex. The best-known migratory population breeds in Tasmania and makes regular seasonal movements across Bass Strait, where they mix with various mainland-breeding populations.

Striated Pardalotes feed in the foliage in the tops of trees, although occasionally coming close to the ground in low shrubs. They eat a wide variety of insects and their larvae, which are usually captured by picking them from the surfaces of leaves. Feeding takes place in small groups and birds maintain contact with soft trills.

During breeding season, Striated Pardalotes form pairs or small groups of up to six birds. The nest is constructed close to the ground, usually in a tree hollow or tunnel, excavated in an earthen bank; small openings in human-made objects are frequently used. The birds display regularly at the entrance to the nesting chamber, and vigorously guard the vicinity against other pardalotes. Both sexes incubate and care for the young birds. Other members of the group may also help with the feeding of the young.

These are just three of the visitors to my garden. I am so fortunate and keep planting to attract more birdlife, bees, butterflies and dragonflies. Along with the wallabies, bancicoots, quolls and the tasmania devils who I heard fighting last night on the old dam wall. The possums that chase each other over my metal roof during mating season, and the one that makes Busby bark in the wee small hours of the night waking me in fright. I certainly can not forget the wonder of having an echidna or two that roams across my paddock and garden. How wonderful to have and be creating such a home for us all. To live in harmony.

I will be woken in the morning with no alarm clock but the sweet sounds of so many birds hopefully not demanding me to fill the water bowl…(just checked it and it is full).

I am thankful to have these wonderful birds feel welcome in the garden. Mother earth is so wonderful if you plant the things the birds and animals enjoy, they will come.

Blessings to you all Tazzie

Vegetable Garden Lammas Celebration.

I am so thankful to the Goddess for all I have harvested enjoyed and prepared for later on. Thankful to having the space, the provision of food helps me on my low budget. It is a blessing to be able to grow what I have and share and enjoy it.

It is Lammas the celebration of the harvest. The Godess, (Mother Earth) Gaia, thank You for all I have harvested over the summer. Sweet tasty peaches 18kgs so wonderful to share with friends. My attempt at dehydrating my peaches was a failure. I have picked 4.5kgs of plums.

My garlic and the scapes wonderful. A few green peas grew and were lovely as were the broad beans.

Lettuce and spinach, kale, silverbeet. Rhubarb
Apricots from a friend, nectarines and cherries oh my delicious cherries from a local orchard and blue berries sigh summertime fruit in a temperate climate. Lemons, the flowers sweet peas, corn flowers, nasturtiums.

I notice my wattle trees are in flower! This is really strange as they usually flower around August. In fact September 1st in Australia was known as Wattle Day.

Wattle Day is a day of celebration in Australia on the first day of September each year, which is the official start of the Australian spring. This is the time when many Acacia species (commonly called wattles in Australia), are in flower. So, people wear a sprig of the flowers and leaves to celebrate the day.

Mother Earth is in some turmoil.

While some Christian communities may still practice a “blessing of the loaves” on Lammas, it is a tradition that is beginning to diminish. Nowadays, most Christians who want to celebrate Lammas do so by attending mass or by adorning their house in fall symbols such as corn husks, wheat strands, apples and other traditional harvest symbols.

Lammas Day (Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas, “loaf-mass”), is a holiday celebrated in some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere on 1 August. It is a festival to mark the annual wheat harvest, and is the first harvest festival of the year. On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop, which began to be harvested at Lammastide, which falls at the halfway point between the summer solstice and autumn September equinox.

The loaf was blessed, and in Anglo-Saxon England it might be employed afterwards in protective rituals:[1] a book of Anglo-Saxon charms directed that the Lammas bread be broken into four bits, which were to be placed at the four corners of the barn, to protect the garnered grain.

In many parts of England, tenants were bound to present freshly harvested wheat to their landlords on or before the first day of August. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where it is referred to regularly, it is called “the feast of first fruits“. The blessing of first fruits was performed annually in both the Eastern and Western Churches on the first or the sixth of August (the latter being the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ).

Lammas has coincided with the feast of St. Peter in Chains, commemorating St. Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison, but in the liturgical reform of 1969, the feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori was transferred to this day, the day of St. Alphonsus’ death.

In many parts of England, tenants were bound to present freshly harvested wheat to their landlords on or before the first day of August. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where it is referred to regularly, it is called “the feast of first fruits“. The blessing of first fruits was performed annually in both the Eastern and Western Churches on the first or the sixth of August (the latter being the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ).

In the Northern Hemisphere it is Imbloc on the 1st February 2020.

Imbolc today for those in the Northern Hemisphere

Unlike Samhain, which transformed into the much loved night of Halloween, Imbolc is one Celtic festival that hasn’t quite survived through history. Although Christians still celebrate St. Bridget’s Day in Ireland and children still learn how to make crosses at the start of February, little else remains of the ancient Celtic spring festival. However, Saint Bridget’s cross, made from rushes and hung around the home just as the Celts would have done, is as good a reminder as any to the festival’s ancient and mythological origins.

Blessings to You all Tazzie


Happiness is…

You know as a gardener you have been waiting, the flowers have come.

The bees pollinate and you slowly watch the little green shape slowly get bigger and rounder expanding.

It seems that you are just waiting and watching for that little touch of colour,

You watch it every day become redder and your mouth starts to salivate as you imagine that flavour of your first home grown tomato the first of summer . You know what I mean.

Oh my today is it, that round red ball of flavour. I know just how I am going to enjoy.

On toast for breakfast.

YUMMO!!!

So this is a very short post cause I am off to eat my first tomato!

I don’t have a green house. Netting is coming!

darn birds

Arrrgh!

blessings Tazzie

Veggie Garden, envy, CPTSD and me !

Do you get veggie garden envy? Do you look at others gardeners around you and compare your veggies to theirs? I do have a bit of a complex about this. Firstly I have an elderly gardener down the road from me whose garden is astounding. He has lived here for over 40 years and he grows amazing produce. Then up from me is a relatively new garden I look at each day and see how his pumpkins are growing (actual pumpkins) whilst my pumpkins are just flowering and tiny balls. Sigh.

The CPTSD part of me gets a bit triggered by this. What am I doing wrong, how can I over come it, beat him. What am I doing wrong? Why cant I grow these like they do? I’m hopeless. What is the point? I am a failure!
I have spent a few hours today and I mean hours just doing that kind of fixated thought processing.

That is until I went for a wee walk in my little veggie garden and looked and saw what I have achieved this year so far. Sure mine is not the pristine, stunning, with all the appropriate structures for each veggie garden as my up the road neighbour. Or the old established garden of my elderly neighbour down the road.

My garden is my garden. It is a reflection of me, of where I have been and am coming from. It shows a hope for harvesting what I have sown. It is a simple display of my illness in so many ways. I started the day of with the what ifs, and have ended it with the wow look at how far you have come Tazzie. My garden shows even how I have been using the treatments to help me and each time I walk through it, my garden, I am filled with hope of a bounty of good produce. I am productive, I am working, I am contributing and I am looking after mother earth.

I did not realise I would be triggered today by such a benign thing such as vegetable gardens. I have a feeling that is possibly why I did not get to the first crop swap of the year, and possibly why I did not make it to the last one for 2019. My feeling of inadequacies. Yet I am not inadequate. My garden is showing that. Things are growing fruiting and ripening.

It is so frustrating to question myself by comparing. I do not have the experience of the older neighbour, and I do not have the money to spend on compost and the right soils or structures. I am not in a competition. I am doing this solely for myself. So how HOW does this become what it did for me today. Isn’t that the million dollar question for anyone with CPTSD. How and why does a trigger trigger you into that down hill spiral. I am so proud of myself that I eventually got up and walked out side, into my own garden.

I have been attempting to remove old growth and rearrange some pots on my deck, I am also making my half wine barrels into more flower space than food space as the wallabies seem to be able to get to almost anything I put in them though I have allowed several brassicas to self seed and hope that they will grow and I can share those with the wild life. I had to fence of my deck area to discourage them from coming up on it and eating everything. It includes the possums who love to denude my lemon and lime trees.

grapes under the leaves, tansy flowers behind almost dead

My fig and grape both have fruit on them, as long as I can keep the birds off them I may get some this year. I need to get more tulle material for next year as the netting can cause smaller birds to get trapped in it. This year it might be some tulle bags I have to attempt to save the grapes. If I can It would be my first harvest.

Fig black genoa I think

The chili I planted last year is looking quite happy and I have a couple of small purple appearing fruit on the one below.

Chili

The three sisters bed is going well the beans and corn are flowering, though I do fear that the squash is overshadowed for flowering. Which means I am extremely doubtful that I will be successful with any squash from this bed. I will wait and see February while a short month is usually the hottest in Australia including down here.

The tomatoes are fruiting and have more flowers which is great finally! The lettuces are doing well I have been picking some, the brassicca that has self seeded in here I have no idea what it is meant to be and has bitter leaves, but I have eaten them. It just seems to go to flower fairly rapidly. There is the self seeded sun flower growing extremely close to the the tomato plant on the left of r side picture. Everyone else’s sunflowers are flowering. My garden is an anathema. Eggplant/aubergine, has flowered though it is not doing as well as the one I had in last year. The marigolds are growing and flowering, yeah! There are also two capsicums in this bed that are tiny but have fruit, I also feel there is a zucchini/courgette or two in this bed that is beginning to take off but no flowers. There is such a schamozzle of vegetables growing in this small bed, it is a wonder any thing is happening really.

Brassicca bed is doing OK the cabbages have vanished, but the kale is holding on and the broccoli is beating the white cabbage moth with my help. Silver beet is seeding so I will let it and spread the seeds about other areas also. Perhaps not in beds as it grows quite well just in the grassy areas of the veggie patch.

these are barlotti beans

My barlotti beans are flowering there are several around the edges of the three sister bed, the climbing beans whose name escapes me has purple flowers and is looking good.

Crab apple
yellow gage plum

The apples on the Crab Apple are getting larger. Down in the paddock the yellow gage (might be the green gage) plum is not ripe but the birds have tried them. I assume it will be a race to see who can get them. I have hardly any leaves on either of my gage plums they seem to have been devoured. Which is really weird, as it is not wallabies as it is more the higher leaves.

green gage plum I think.

Blackberries look abundant, these are wild usually delicious and with the rain we have been having the last few days it should be a good season for them. Like wise apples this is the first time since I planted this apple tree (above right) and the plum( below ) they have fruited. The apple is loaded and the plum is well not so loaded but has some fruit. All the trees in the paddock get no extra water than what nature provides. The gage plums get the run off from the french drain which is the reason I believe they are so much bigger. Where as these two trees are totally reliant on nature.

Apple tree

The apple tree (above left) is on the boundary of my land my neighbours and the road. I prune it every few years and it has helped it fill out more and it gives heaps of apples. It looks like a big harvest from this one this year. On the right photo are Busby and Miss Treacle and looking back over the paddock, You can see my attempt at a Heugle bed,(https://permaculturenews.org/2010/08/03/the-art-and-science-of-making-a-hugelkultur-bed-transforming-woody-debris-into-a-garden-resource/) sadly it has been taken over by bracken, and it has not really worked. Instead of creating a soil area it is more a home for weeds, though the smaller birds like it.

A berry off my neighbours vine, I am not certain it may be a mulberry, it was lovely. I had picked it and popped it on the post while I looked for some more. This was the only one.

The Deck. I am growing quite a bit on my deck this year. I have onions, herbs, sage, thyme lemon thyme, rosemary, basil, I have tomatoes in pots and above right shows my first ripening tomato. OH MY I am excited. The basil has been doing well in the photo below left with the other tomato plant which also has fruit. There are two other pots with tomatoes that are flowering. I have lettuces growing in containers. I have Tahitian limes, normal limes, and a couple of types of lemons in pots. I have not as yet put any in the ground. I neglected my citrus trees and spent another few days cleaning aphids and scale off them, making ants very unhappy as I destroyed their farming. I have some strawberries growing but they have not taken off, and I know this is due to me not putting them in a more acidic soil. I have grown potatoes in the past but they take up a lot of space and I can buy them fairly cheaply fresh local produced. I don’t eat a lot of potatoes.

You can see the fencing I have used to keep my produce garden on my deck safe from possums in the left photo above. It is great easy to take away and move about, I can pack it away when not in use.

My garden is all my own work, I make the compost, I bring in manure from local horses, and a friends sells sheep manure. I am proud of what I have achieved this summer so far.

My garden in whole brings me so many blessings, the wild life, the birds, the views, flowers, shade on hot day, wind protection, a place to sit and watch the world go by. A place to earth myself, to get down in the dirt and feel at peace. Connected to Mother Earrth. To see the cycle of seasons, life, death. To plant a small seed and see it grow and provide food for me, for creatures. To have land to just lay down on and watch clouds roll by in the sky. I am so rich, I am so content, and I have all I need.

Mother earth is important to care for and all that lives on her now and in the future.

Blessings to you all Tazzie

Echidna excitement

I wanted to say it amazes me how just writing about the things that impact my mental illness in an everyday way helps so much. I do not know if anyone else with CPTSD fixates on a thing, and it gets in to you, that you find it almost impossible to let it go. For me writing about my experience with benefits from the Government has let me let it go. Such a positive. It is all in hand I have an appointment with my social worker, and GP so all it under some control and I have asked for help. A massive thing for me. I feel good about it all and quite hopeful. Sigh.

Along with my writing I do find spending time at home and in my garden is the best thing for me. I am trying really hard to let go of all the mess, and delight in all the positives. I am doing well at this. Everything is on a list. Yet I can not have more that one list or I become overwhelmed.

This in itself is important. I have to have a list. It is on my fridge. I mean written on my fridge in a marker, a perfect white board. My psychologist has helped me note that when I am really overwhelmed I begin many many lists. So in simplifying only the major things, on one list. I will not forget any of them. There is no time line for completion and I do not get fixated, or overwhelmed. As my mantra these days is I am content with the discontent. Strange as it seems, but just saying this to myself is such a help.

As I wrote this I heard Busby barking in the paddock. I looked out and saw this,

At first I thought oh NO he has killed a small animal. Then as I moved down towards him I tell him to leave it, and then I see this. Yes in the second photo below the white on the echidnas back is where Busby has attempted to grab the echidna. Echidna 1 (thankfully ) Busby nil. It is so hard for Busby as he is a mixed breed dog. Staffie x,with ridgeback x with boxer. All breeds that make him protective and aware of things that do not live in our home. He was very gentle with foster kittens, and cats, along with other dogs and puppies I fostered. He was fine with some orphaned rabbit kittens, but not with those in their hutches..outside big ones. It is so hard with the genetics. He is improving as he comes away now.

Echidnas have no fixed address they are wanderers and will move around a pretty large area on the mainland in Southern Queensland the organisation Land For Wildlife says that a territory can be up to 50 Hectares/123.553acres though territories can cross.

They find each other using sense of smell.

Apparently our Tasmanian echidnas are bigger than mainland Australia Echidnas.

I have talked about how echidnas form a connection with a male, the following video shows you how Echidnas mate. It is a video from National Geographic, Youtube. https://youtu.be/frZGhk0i228

echidna train.

It is also delightful to actually see how these awesome animals get around. They are not slow moving all the time, and are great at climbing up and over things.

They weigh between 2 and 5 kgs/4.41lb- 11.02lbs. quite a range in size. They have lower body temperature than other mammals, 31-32dC / 87.8-89.6dF.

If disturbed, echidnas will usually lower the head, and with vigorous digging, sink rapidly into the ground leaving only the spines exposed. On hard surfaces they will curl into a ball — presenting defensive spines in every direction. They are also capable of wedging tightly into crevices or logs by extending their spines and limbs.

Echinda Hind Foot

The echidna is adapted for very rapid digging, having short limbs and powerful claws. The claws on the hind feet are elongated and curve backwards; to enable cleaning and grooming between the spines. However, despite this, they are infested with what is said to be the world’s largest flea — Bradiopsylla echidnae, which is about 4 mm long. (https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au).

Whilst both the male platypus and echidna both have spurs on their hind feet the echidnas is not functioning and is blunt unlike the platypus which has a sharp spur with functioning venom glands.

The diet of echidnas is largely made up of ants and termites, although, they will eat other invertebrates especially grubs, larvae and worms. The strong forepaws are used to open up the ant or termite nest and the echidna then probes the nest with its sensitive snout. Any insects in the nest are caught on the echidnas rapidly moving 15 cm tongue which is covered with a layer of sticky mucous, hence the name Tachyglossus meaning ‘fast tongue’. The jaws are narrow and have no teeth so food is crushed between hard pads which lie in the roof of the mouth and on the back of the tongue. Large grubs are squashed and the contents licked up. Echidnas eat a lot of soil and ant-nest material when feeding, and this makes up the bulk of droppings.

I do hope the echidna is eating all the jack jumper ants at my place. I have actually unearthed a few nests of ants in recent weeks, so kind of me to help them find food. In the process I have been bitten by two jack jumpers and they hurt so bad, and inflame and ache for days. One of the hidden joys of gardening. So I am very happy to have them about.

This is the echidna that was disturbed by Busby while crossing the paddock making its escape after I moved Busby away. Miss Treacle and I were able to watch it and I am so chuffed that i got its lovely face. You can also see how dry it has become here.

The echidna in Tasmania is common and widespread. They are less affected by the clearing of land as much as many other native animals as they can live anywhere that there is a supply of ants. Despite their covering of spines they do have natural predators such as eagles and Tasmanian devils which even eat the spines. They were a favourite food of Aboriginal people and early white settlers although they are now wholly protected by law.

blessings Tazzie

Managing Life's little accidents


My dogs were inside Busby had hurt his leg after all the activity from yesterday so no walk today. Toilet privileges only Miss Treacle is 12 and has not been that adverse to just lying in the sunshine and coming in and lying in the cool.

I decided that I would water the veggies, grabbed the hose, and spent a lovely hour watering and doing a bit of spot weeding. I am so thankful that my thingy on the end of my hose has an off switch so I don’t have to keep going back to turn the tap off and on. Every thing in the veggie garden is growing, some things better than others. So I am happy enough.

I decided to pick some more peaches. I was picking them and gently putting them into my T-shirt holding the hem up to form a bowl shape. I decided to move around to another part of the tree, and next thing I know I am on the ground. I am winded and more worried about the peaches than myself. I feel a wetness under my thigh, and move a squashed peach from under me. I ache and my foot hurts, I lay there on the ground surrounded by peaches and wiggle every bit of my body. Nope all OK. Oh I notice blood a small cut on my big toe.

i become more concerned about the peaches. So after about 10minutes of just laying on the ground feeling all sorts of things, I get up (yes all working) and rescue the peaches that have survived the fall. Most have. I guess tomorrow they will be bruised as I am sure I will be. I wonder if peach juice is good tonic for the skin? At least the animals tonight will not have to pull down the branches. Quite a few peaches fell off the trees.

I decided enough of being in the garden, and headed in side. I sat on my chair after putting peaches in a box, and my dogs came over excitedly. I moaned as I sat down, and began to feel nauseous. A little shock. I decided that I too along with my dogs would have a very chilled rest of the day.

I ended up heading up stairs to lay on the bed at about 16:00hours, and realised I am not as young as I think. I don’t bounce back as well. The interesting thing is we have all been sleeping and resting on the bed. All just recovering.
My shoulders and neck hurt and I have no real memory of hitting the ground. I guess I did not put my arms out as I was holding the t -shirt. I may feel stiff tomorrow but I am fine . I know I need to clean up around my garden. It is on the list…the very long list..I can laugh about it. I am not injured and I am fine.

So an early night of good sleep for us all and a better day tomorrow.

Thankful for…

I was up very early this morning and watched the sky fill with a soft pink as the sun rose. It was warming up rapidly. I made myself a coffee and remembered I needed to check that the birdbath was full. I looked and noticed it needed a top up. I saw a movement over near my peach tree. AHHAHHAH! caught the culprit!

My peach trees lower branches had been stripped of the leaves, and in the process peaches have been knocked off. Here it was stretched up on its hind legs as high as it could reach! I slowly moved and went back in to grab my camera. Hoping the culprit would be still nibbling away upon my return. Sadly it moved (I had a bright blue t shirt on so Im not surprised I was noticed), I was able to capture this little guy. I do not begrudge he or her a nibble and know the tree is older and stronger, the branches are not as easily broken. There are enough peaches to share. The birds and possums eat the fallen ones.

the guilty party…

I was just getting ready to head in to town. I had to pick up a couple of things and I decided that I would take the dogs for a swim. I was inside and my dogs were out when I hear barking. The kind that says Hey we are protecting you from this very dangerous thing! There was something in the shrubbery on my driveway.

Busby

It was the echidna, baled up by both Busby and Miss Treacle. I moved them away, and watched as this wee guy left in quite a hurry. I do hope she/he had a trouble free day after we left.

I then noticed that this wee bird flew out of my car port light shade, there was a nest made in it last year. Though if they are nesting it seems very late. It is a sweet bird and I welcome it. I do find it hard when they are so nervous but understandable. Several neighbours in the area have cats that are allowed to roam and we also have an issue with feral cats. I am not happy about the fact the cats come over my way. When I see any or the dogs do, I happily let them chase them away.


A very full morning and it is not even 8:30 yet.

So we head off to do our walk. We got a bit waylaid(sadly I did not take my camera out of the car) our neighbour was throwing balls in their paddock for their two dogs to chase. Needless to say my guys had to join in. So we chatted as the dogs chased balls and played with each other. (Her dogs are a staffie kelpie, who is fixated on his own ball and his brother a boxer) Busby ran and got the ball and played with the boxer Miss Treacle said hello to everyone and then went and sat under the car in the shade. After about an hour I put Busby in the car (he was so hot he had drinks ) and Miss Treacle ran reluctantly ahead. Busby was whining to get out. So I gave in and they took off.

Dogs taken for their walk and a beautiful view from the hill.

Off too the beach! The folk festival has finished there are still lots of people and vehicles about. I discovered that an Aboriginal festival is happening for Monday and Tuesday Ballawinne Festival. Writer Bruce Pascoe book, Dark Emu Bruce was speaking tonight and tomorrow I am sure they will be very interesting event.

Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the ‘hunter-gatherer’ tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required. http://www.magabala.com/products/dark-emu


Not that I could afford to go to it, yet it would be a very interesting event. I am sure I will know someone who has been. Well now that explains why there are so many people and vehicle still around.

OK no Seriously we are off to the beach NOW,
It was such a glorious hot day 32dC there were people and dogs at the little beach I went to. So Busby and Miss Treacle had a lovely time. Though neither were that excited to go in for a swim.

These two came up and wanted to play Busby loved it Miss Treacle was quite her own dog and chose to watch from the shade.

The following selection of photos shows what a great day it was, and how clean the water is. It is also showing my reluctant boy attempting to fetch a stick. I was quite mortified at his reluctance.
I did have to apologise to him when I went in to swim a bit later as there were two areas of like quicksand in the shallows. I sank up to my knees and struggled to get out. So no wonder my big boy had problems.

Miss Treacle does the beach her way today.

Whilst Busby would like to run with this guy in the water, but his day has been full of play runs and sunshine, I was happy that he did not join in, that he just watched in awe.

The dog in the water was so funny to watch he must be some kind of water dog. He just ran up and down in the water for so long while we stood watching. He just raced up and down having the time of his life.
His owner was not about but up at a car. The dog did not even stop to come and say hi to my guys. He was just in heaven in his own world.

He was no problem and boy did he make me smile and chuckle.

There were kids playing on the fallen tree. Swinging is not so much fun when the tide is going out. How wonderful to see them without a phone, taking photos or selfies. In fact no one (apart from me had any mobiles or cameras. How rare is that . All were in the moment enjoying the here and now. Using their brains to retain the feelings, the fun and all that will stay with them. That is what living is about.

Even I put my camera down and sat in the water, the waves coming over my thighs. Looking all about me and knowing how fortunate am I and how rich.
I went for a swim, so refreshing. I expected that Busby would join me, but no they both just sat in the shade. Not even watching me.

So much fun about floating on inflatable rings with a beer in your hand, sailing, canoeing, fishing, sitting in the sun, swimming, chasing each other or just kicking your paws up and making your own kind of fun!

Miss Treacle at 12 lets the youngsters carry on. Preferring to get to know other folk and tell them how abused and neglected she is. Here she just plonked her wet body (I had sat in the water with her on my lap…shoulders as she did not want to be in the water it was very shallow and cooled her down as she was very hot). on this lovely ladies mat. Leaning right against her. Knowing there is a wee 11 week old puppy there. Treacle loves puppies.

Poor pup was very anxious so I retrieved my girl, and my boy and we headed home. All that time in the sunshine fresh air and playtime. Dinner was early and they have both crashed, and I can hear only heavy breathing and snoring.

I too feel weary and very relaxed. I know I need to do more for myself in the way of exercise and things I enjoy. I was glad there were very few people at the beach. As otherwise I probably would have not stopped. I usually do not venture to this beach while school holidays are on, and there is still another 2 weeks before school resumes. Then the chances are it will be just us at the beach.
I do like that at least now I really do know what is best for me. I am listening to my self, and I talk to myself. I talk to my inner child. (another topic for another day) It all helps me to reduce the potential for being caught out by something that might trigger me. So a truely awesome day. What more can you want but wild animals feeling at home in your garden. A beautiful hot clear sky day. Pristine water and beach to swim at and hardy anyone on it. I am so thankful and appreciative of all I have especially my two companions.

blessings to you all Tazzie

Joy

Today I found great joy in a very simple pleasure.

Picking first peaches of my tree.

Juicy, tasty delicious, simple pleasure, Joy.

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