Saturday, October 30, 2010

Coitus interruptus

I have an aquaintance who is keen to visit Western Australia to see our lizards. In particular he wants to see a live bobtail, , as his previous experience has only been flattened road kill, a not uncommon sight on most of our roads. I'd told him that bobtails are so numerous here in Geraldton that they live in our gardens in great numbers. But I wasn't quite ready to arrive home yesterday afternoon to find two young bobtails making out on my front doormat!! Unfortunately, the arrival of a large noisy 4WD within metres of their amorous activity caused a rapid rush for cover....

I'm very fortunate to still have quite alot of native trees and vegetation surrounding my house, which brings in lots of cheeky birds and even the occasional Bungarra (Aboriginal word for Gould's monitor) . Sometimes it can feel like a zoo!

The willy wagtails must be nesting as they've been swooping Hazel something rotten, but she just stands there totally ignoring them as they swoop and click within centimeters of her head and mouth. She used to have a wild old time running up and down chasing them but these days she behaves like a grand old dame and just pretends they don't exist.

I've discovered that Hazel has fashion sense. Well I don't quite know what to call it, but she is able to look at what I am wearing and know what activity will then occur. Like if I put my cycling top and knicks on she gets very upset and runs away next door or down to the beach because she knows I'm going cycling and she doesn't like that at all. But if I just put on normal clothes, or work clothes, there's no reaction at all. I'm still leaving her for the day, but she doesn't mind!! However if I put my swim wear on, she gets really excited because she knows we are going to the beach. There's little difference between swimmers and a normal bra and nickers, but she can tell immediately and begins making all sorts of impatient noises to jivvy me along. It's fascinating to see just how much association a dog can have to a visual cue - and how predictable I am....

We've had some spectacular windsurfing this season, nice 4.5m weather, rolling swell, nothing too big, and then we had yesterday!! Blistering winds gusting well over 30knots made holding on a challenge. But excellent for big air!! The weekend isn't looking too good with mostly easterlies, so I shall have to molly coddle the garden instead, and rest some tired limbs that haven't had a day off for 2 weeks between windsurfing and gym sessions.

I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I am now a fully fledged gym junkie, and have even started to run!! Now those people who know me may have been privy to my opinion on running: that it's a ridiculous way to bugger your joints whilst doing something totally unenjoyable. Like how many people running have you ever seen looking happy? Mostly they look miserable! So for me to swallow my words and start running is, well, humble pie.

It's actually my personal trainer's fault. I did protest, but since she's the boss during my PT session I had to aquiesce, and yes it is a good way to get the heart rate up. And yes it is addictive, all those happy little endorphins coursing through my veins.... So now I happily do a 15min run on the treadmill 2-3 times a week as warmup. Bloody crazy I am!!

Of course all this gym junkie business does come with great bonuses. I'm getting really fit, I'm losing weight and I'm getting so nicely toned I'm actually enjoying looking at my body again. No longer do I have those flabby "tuckshop arms", I've got discernible muscle! And my legs and bum: phwoar!!! Aah I do like a healthy dose of narcissism!!

Must go and admire myself in the mirror again....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The heat is on

Mid October, mid west coast WA. Those big highs are in and the land is warming up fast. We've not had much rain this year (the eastern part of Australia has had its wettest year on record, but over here it's our second driest ever!) which means the garden needs some extra TLC, and the early erection of the shadecloth to finish off the spring harvest.

We had a cold winter, which probably explains the bumper crop of snow peas, but the early heat brought on the aphids, who unfortunately demolished the broccoli before the ladybugs and aphid wasps could do their work as friendly predators. I got a few flowerettes, but the rest got pulled out in disgust!

Working out what grows when is such trial and error, as the usual suggestions on the back of the seed packets or in gardening books just don't equate to this crazy weather we get here. There is no way we have the same growing cycle as Perth and the south west! The two cucumber plants I grew from seed sat at two leaves for about 2 months, then with the sudden warmth they've begun to grow and flower. Whereas the squash - same family - has had a lovely time in the cooler weather but now is getting awfully squeamish with this heat and curling up with mould and expiring. Some of the tomato plants have gone great guns, others are taking their time - it's nice to have an ongoing harvest of tomatoes anyway so I'm happy with this development.

It's asparagus time!! Oh how I love fresh asparagus. I'm also harvesting lots of yummy lettuce greens for awesome organic salads, and the chilli plants are fruiting madly, meaning I've almost got all the ingredients I need for an Asian feast. The kaffir lime is growing well, and I've lemongrass clumps everywhere, and I just purchased another curry leaf plant as my current plant isn't thriving at all. Apparently they like friends.. But the fig tree is fruiting, awesome!!

After the water tank stand disaster the backyard has been left somewhat neglected, resulting in huge weed growth in the deserted chook pen that I'm rather scared of clearing up. You see it's snake season, and the average slider around here usually packs a nasty bite of venom, so caution is the best policy. Pottering around in shorts and thongs isn't really recommended though I am stamping loudly to let them know I'm coming... So far so good.

The windsurfing season has commenced, with some ripping winds and quite a few nice days of rolling swell. My season was delayed a bit as I had to get strength and mobility back in the forementioned broken arm, but with all that time in the gym, I'm now stronger and fitter than I have been for years. And yes I'm still turning up for some gym torture when the wind doesn't blow. Kate gets back from Exmouth this weekend, so it's time for the great forward loop challenge to begin! I'm feeling sick just thinking about it....

Hazel has been unwell, with considerable pain and weakness in her left shoulder. She gets an XRay on Monday to find out if it's anything sinister, until then it's more anti-inflammatories and the most excruciatingly slow beach walks imaginable. It's heart wrenching to see her hobbling along, but she so enjoys her rolls in the sand and weed that I think there's more good than bad. She's still eating and happy enough but walking is a huge effort for her, poor thing. All that gymwork at least makes me strong enough to carry all 20kgs of her when necessary. No, she hasn't lost any weight!!!!

It's starting to cool down now, time to get an hour or so out in the garden before friends come round for dinner. I've just cooked BBQ pork, Chinese style with Char Siu sauce which I'll serve with rice and cucumbers. But now it's time to unfurl the shade cloth...