Life, with my dogs, living on one acre in Tasmania. Living on a low income, and with Complex PTSD. I write about all sorts of things. I called my Blog Echidna Home because I have echidnas that live here
This little guy just looked so happy chewing away. It was almost as if it posed for me. It is a Pademelon (Paddy melon) They only grow to about 60cm and weigh about 5kg (enough of the lessons).
I am so privileged to have them visit my place. I used to get annoyed when they would pull the fruit tree branches down and nibble the leaves breaking them, but the trees grew taller, and they couldn’t reach any more.
I know it seems a bit surreal to me too. I really live with these guys about too.
I also have Eastern Barred Bandicoots, Quolls, and Tasmanian Devils around. Much harder to obtain photos of these guys I keep trying.
My favourite remains the Echidna.
The echidna on the right was across the road from my driveway. They can actually move surprisingly fast.
A shuffling snuffling echidna on the hunt for food crossing through my wattle grove.
Easy access to the next paddock. Through the fence. I am sure it is because it has smelt me or heard me as I try to capture its photo. sigh. I never want to frighten it. I was using a telephoto lens, I reckon it heard me moving about. It decided that heading through the fence was its only option.
As I have written before Echidnas are just amazing and unique mammals. I love th above photo as it shows how well their camouflage is. It looks like sunshine is hitting the grass but its the quills, and you can see its eye.
As I write this the horrific Mainland Bush Fires on the mainland of Australia and Kangaroo Island have cost so many Australian animals, insects bugs, it breaks my heart. I look at the wonderful wildlife that abounds my home and I cant imagine them all gone. The overwhelming knowledge that some may be gone forever. There are so many wonderful people who are out there working to find and help, the wild life carers, the firepeople and vets, farmers, those who are ensuring food and water are left and hoping to capture injured animals to help. The generosity of people all around the world, those that are making pouches and wraps..donated items food and are out gathering leaves and shoots for animals that have none in their locations. The baby wombats who have come out of burrows starving as mum has most likely been killed and not been back to the burrow. It is so so tragic. Of course my heart reaches out to all the people and communities impacted.
I shared about my vegetable garden and some issues with coldness gale force winds a few posts ago. I am happy that now with the warmer weather arriving things are happening. The plants are taking off. As I sit here typing the temperature is 31dC/87.8dF at 19:00/7:00pm day light saving time.
On my deck some seedlings still wait for planting out. As it way too hot today, they sit in water and I hope they will be ok. I have quite a lot of self seeded things growing as the carrots in the small pot, some lettuce (mentioned further down that I think was called mother in laws tongue) I noticed a tiny tomato seedling in another pot that I did not plant so it is most likely a cherry tomato. I am thrilled about it as I don’t recall getting any of these and they produce fruit for so long. The potted tomatoes are growing somewhat better than the tomatoes in the vegetable garden. When you look at the photographs and compare there are numerous flowers on the vegie (vegetable) garden ones, yet no fruit development as yet. Which is quite interesting as these are identified as an early fruiting variety. On one of the deck tomato plants you will notice one single tomato with some damage. I put it down to the dramatic change in temperature we had last week. It is all I can put it down too.
You may notice the plastic containers the seedlings are standing in. I have fostered kittens and these are repurposed kitty litter trays. The white bucket is free with a lid from one of my regional cafes. Thanks D.S Cafe in Huonville. who often put out food grade plastic containers with lids and handles rather than throw them away. They will also save up their coffee grounds for you if you ask. You take turns in this as a few people know of them doing it now.
This area of the garden is a mostly a blend of natives and some winter and autumn flowering shrubs along with bulbs such as daffodils, jonquils, iris, grape hyacinth, the pelargonium. Salvias. A self seeded wattle grove has established itself. Rreplacing the one that fell a few years ago as most wattles (Acacia) only live 10-20years. Blackwood trees which are Acacias (wattles) too, live much longer. I have found them a little annoying in that they spread their roots all under the garden, apparently not liking competition. Though my two seem not to be to bad with some things about them.
I have noticed that if I do hit a root, they will sucker. As I prefer to be a no dig gardener I don’t encounter this issue often. I have planted a cherry tree way too close well it was not when I planted it but the tree keeps on growing. Weird that; chuckle. The time I do come across the roots are when I am removing onion grass. that sends out deep connecting roots to create a new bulblet and more grass. It is one of my main challenges.
If you look at the photo on the left above you will notice it has many things growing in it. Self seeded lettuce borage, marigold small flowers I have forgotten the name of, there is even a potato plant in there. I must have chucked one in to see what would happen.
I decided to have some1/2 wine barrels for pots. (picture below) They were relatively cheap when comparing them with pots of the same size. These were purchased when I was working. These have had no treatment to protect the insides from continual moisture, and are over 10 years old now. When I got them the smell was awesome, it was almost port like. I did get them filled fairly quickly as I did not want the smell to turn into vinegar and attract vinegar flies. I love them and over the years I have grown many different things in them. Greens but they had to be protected from possums and wallabies, also the possums and other critters used them to get up on the deck escaping the fencing which is why I have pots right on the edge of the deck now. Greek Oregano grows amongst the barrels as a ground cover, with parsley and coriander self seeded coming up when ever it likes. I have a cape gooseberry plant in the garden here and one in a pot on the deck.
I am really hopeless at labeling the plants in my garden, I have had plans of ensuring that I will keep a record of everything I plant, where and when. It begins well yet every year I get lost. It has been worse the last few years since my breakdown, it does bother me at times. I look at the seedlings I have now and note several have lost their tags in the wind. I have no idea what they are. It is made harder as I have lost quite a few due to the wild and changeable weather we have had over the past weeks. I recall reading and watching videos and all gardeners said the same thing LABEL LABEL label. sigh. I can not worry or allow myself to get distressed by this as I will fixate and this is not good for me. So I am fortunate that at the moment with medication that is helping me (even though some of its side effects not so good) I prefer me now to me before this medication. I am able to ustilising my work that my psychologist has helped me with to be aware of when I may be starting to fixate, and I acknowledge that I am, that I need to do something else to move my mind brain and bodily reactions away from what ever I was doing. It is working generally so I am pleased.
Looking at the photographs of my garden you will observe that it is not a neat and tidy garden. It is a work in progress yet it will never be a tamed garden. Nature is not tamed, and I do not believe in mono-culture as anyI healthy way to grow anything. I want and encourage all sorts of birds, insects, wild life to visit. The garden has many areas (or the trendy word rooms) native areas, sunny areas, areas I am happy to share with the wild life such as Echidnas, possumes wallabies, bandicoots. Others such as the vegie garden and deck seedling area and lemon and lime trees are fenced to discourage wallabies and possums.
Notice the mish mash of garden structures and items used. Over the years I have gathered pots from the Tip Shops (rubbish/Waste tip shops that sell items that can be reused or repurposed at a reasonable price(though like many charity shops prices are rising). I use unusual things that are not actually designed for this use but do work. If I happen to be out on a big rubbish pick up day in Hobart I will have a bit of a drive around to see what is out there. I also purchased the corrugated metal garden beds at a huge discount.
Again purchased while I was working. It takes a lot of time to make enough soil to fill them that I have at times resorted to buying bags of the cheapest potting mixes and adding my leaf compost, worm castings, mushroom compost, sea weed, and other nutrient rich items such as weed tea, worm tea, manure, and straw, wood fire ash from my wood heater. I use it because I don’t get the bark taken off my wood. I also end up due to the process of my excellent North Pacific Wood Heater with charcoal (bio char) brilliant also for the garden. (No affiliation with North Pacific Wood Heaters. I also add the dogs chewed no longer desired bones to burn in it as well. giving calcium.
Everything is beginning to really take off now. It will be interesting over the next few days to see how everything is going. I refilled the Ollas (see previous garden post) and watered with seaweed tea before the hot day today. In Tasmania it may seem like the temperature is way hotter than what the gauges actually display the sun seems to have a stronger heat here. It was not unusual to get folk from Queensland (and other places)here on holidays coming in to Emergency with some serious sun burn blistering and or dehydration.
The corn has taken off as have the beans and some of the pumpkins and zucchini have flowers but they have not taken off as yet. I am happy with this bed so far so good. It is interesting isn’t it to plant out seedlings from the same punnet that have gone into a bed that you have made to be suitable for growing these vegies, watered each one similarly only to see some not thrive or die. I am pondering what I was growing in that bed last especially in the bottom left hand corner as that area is not doing so well.
Interestingly the brassica beds seedlings of broccoli and red cabbage are developing at very different rates. One of the broccoli seedlings already has a head beginning on it?? The red cabbage seedlings are struggling. Unlike the seedlings on the deck. So I am not sure what is going on there. I have left a kale to go to seed in this bed. It self seeded last year here but other than it I did not grow brassicas in this bed.
This is three bushes here a red currant and two jostaberries. The Jostaberries are a gooseberry black currant cross. They have fruited super early and not huge volumes. I seem to have an influx of (Imported sadly)black birds and they seem to have managed to beat me this year at them. Glad I had a good crop last year and made some jam and froze some. They all need a prune and you will notice the very long grass about them. I was going to remove it, until I noted the seed head were formed and that many smaller birds are eating them. It will be cut soon as it is a fire risk. I have so much stuff about that I have been hand pulling the grass, about a lot of this area. I do tend to mulch in place. Last year I forgot to turn the piles and keep an eye on sprouting things. The strange spring and early summer has seen such huge growth in everything. I kind of blinked and missed it ooops tooo late! At least the birds are getting food.
My fig tree which had figs on it but with the cold snap then hot days and cold again the baby figs dropped. I am hopeful that it will fruit in Autumn. It is in a half wine barrel. The Gooseberry bush did not produce many flowers this year, I have managed to eat four gooseberries which were delicious. Perhaps again the black birds beat me. I am not going to let them nest in my eaves next year if I can get out on the roof and fix where they are getting in.
Tragedy alas and alack, my poor neglected passion fruit is really struggling. I have bananas ready to go in to give it some nutrients, but I really think I need to move the poor thing. I have a place in mind, but…I may have missed the boat for this year. It was doing OK last year, flowered and I got a couple of smallish passionfruit off it. For some reason I added a lot of old manure to the bed, and I have a feeling that it needs to be not as well fed as it is at present. It is on my list to keep an eye on it and a possible move as I do believe I am likely going to loose it if I leave it here. In the bed just at the back of this photo is a plum tree from memory I am hoping it is a prune plum. I cannot see any fruit on it at all. This is only its third year so it is still young. It is very healthy.
The Rhubarb on the other hand is doing brilliantly . I harvested so much from it recently taking it back to maybe two leaves, and look at this baby it has flourished in the last three weeks. Go baby go.
jWhat can I say about these tow magnificant hard working life saving structures in my garden. These and the plastic one near the fig tree are my total water supply they stand about seven feet tall and in a previous post I said how many litres/gallons they hold when full. I am so very very appreciative that they are all full to the brim. I am very very fortunate, and feel incredibly wealthy knowing all being well I will have plenty of water to see me and my garden through summer and autumn. I had to buy a new tank two years ago, just over $1400Aus/$965USD. I am thankful I could do it without having to borrow money. I was very lucky in that it was developing a leak on the side, and the roof of the tank had rusted really badly. I could have just put a tarp over the tank top but with the leak in the side it was best to save for a new one. The tank was over 30 years old and it gets a lot more wear and tear than the second one, as the run off water from the roof nearly all runs into this one directly and is connected to the second tank and they fill up together. Currently the third tank is not connected to my pump, the plan is to connect it as I now have hosing long enough to reach the whole of my garden on an outside tap that is on the pump pressure and not gravity fed.
Part of my more natural and native garden area, if yo look closely you can see a huge pile of chipped material, bark branches, from all sorts of trees. The local council or electricty company were clearing the trees and branches any were that were impinging on the wires. I heard them and went down to chat to the guys as I had two things I was wanting to ask them. First one I had a tree that had self seeded and would grow into a huge tree, it was under the power lines, on my land (just). I asked them how much they would charge to take it out. At this moment it was only a sapling, in another year it would be a big tree as Acacias develop fast. I sort of said if they could help me now it would not be such a task next year. The lovely man grabbed a chainsaw and took the tree out. Big thanks. I then asked if the truck would be full of the chipped tree material before they left and if so would I be able to have it. He said he would just check with his boss. The boss came over and said yes I could have it as it would save them a trip to the tip. When they dropped it off I was again very appreciative and offered to pay them. The boss said nah it was ok, and one of the young guys said its usually a slab of beer. lol (carton of beer) the boss smiled as I apologised and said nah it was fine. I do believe that most people are lovely. I hate to think how much it would cost to get so much delivered to my home. Again I felt fortunate and wealthy.
This is a very small thing to many people, for me it is massive a joy and I am in great awe. After 20 years of trying to grow nasturtiums. I gave up and just through the left over seed in this east southerly position and shrugged my shoulders. Look look I have nasturtiums! (is it wrong to be disappointed they aren’t the brilliant red I really wanted)? I will look past this and just celebrate that I finally have managed to grow a plant that is in many peoples mind a bit of a weed. The bees love it and I am going to try and make poor mans capers out of the seed balls. Happy dance..
Philadelphus mexicanus Evergreen Mock Orange. A beautiful plant, with a delightful aroma. It is in a pot. It was going to go in a sunnier location. (east-south location ) morning sun and protected from most gale winds here. I thought it was the Philadelphus coronarius Mock Orange, which is an old fashioned plant in Australia. That is deciduous. I wanted it to loose its leaves and let the winter sun in. It also appear to have more flowers. Mine is flowering and the perfume is lovely. For summer it would be more appreciated growing on a western or northern face to give some sun protection. I will have to look up and see if both the roots and plant can be cut back so I can move it to a more suitable location for us both. I also am not able to move it as it has grown into a hellibore that is covering a porch roof and there are some wee birds nesting. There is no urgency as it will always be the native birds over plant location/pruning.
This photo is still in the east south postion and you can see a maple in a pot, more nasturtium a salvia that gets huge a native that I can not recall its name but has a lovely lilac flower and the birds love. You can also see in foreground are mushroom compost blocks I get from a mushroom grower in my region. For a gold coin donation. They are made from sawdust untreated, lime and something else that I can not recall. I get mushrooms from them for ages when I look after them I have heaps of dried oyster mushrooms in grey and white, along with brown mushrooms . Brilliant kitchen and garden resource especially as oyster mushrooms are $18AUS per kg /$12.21 USD 2.20LbS . I put it in the composting areas with manure and let it combine with other things as I mentioned previously. The only problem is they sit in plastic bags and that is a concern they cant be reused and end up in my rubbish. Or If I can I leave them behind in the bins when i pick them up.
In a pot near an entrance way to m home sits my bay tree. It is 13 years old and is a wonderful addition to my kitchen garden and as a plant. Bay trees can be huge so having it a pot keeps it manageable. It get pruned and is recovering splendidly after it had a severe prune in winter. Near bye are two Daphene plants that when in flower give off a enticing perfume as I enter my home.
I have not included my orchard area, in this post, nor my paddock I will keep that for another day in the future.
The final photo for this post is a small selection of flowers from my garden. I love the scented flowers and these varities of sweet pea are so strongly scented. I have a vase in my upstairs toilet and they perfume the room, no need for artificial chemicals here at Echidna Home.
I do hope all who read this post are safe from the fires across Australia, and I continue sending my rain dance and thoughts to drought and fire ravaged areas. Having been through the fire and smoke issues and the concerns packing up and unpacking several times myself and not certain what might be happening I am happy to support anyone if you need to just share your concerns.