Miz Lizzie Adventures: Coast and country

I suffer from deep verandah envy.

That’s deep envy of deep verandahs, in case you were wondering about the ambiguity. Yesterday, we visited our friends down the coast a little. Dale is a blogging friend, and a while ago she and her husband made the brave leap from city life in Sydney to live permanently in their country bolt hole. Like any so-called idyllic setting, it has its downsides (30kms to the nearest bank/post office/supermarket, zero mobile phone signal, etc), but the sheer beauty of their surroundings, the peacefulness and the community around them are a worthy pay-off for these minor inconveniences. But what really seals the deal for me is their house. She’s a traditional Australian wooden house on stumps, high-ceilinged and with spacious rooms that nearly all open onto the verandah. And oh, what a verandah!

A great deal of their living is done there: working, eating, snoozing, Skyping friends, playing with the dog and simply gazing out at the green glory of their view. I adore that house, I would kill for that verandah, and I love spending time there, admiring the hard work they’ve put into the house and garden, the epic vegetable cage he has built to keep the marauding local wildlife out of the vegies, the enormous passionfruit vine with the biggest, shiniest fruit dangling from it that I’ve ever seen. All that…. It reminds why I first went to live in northern NSW, and why it’s still one of my most favourite spots on earth.

The air is full of birdsong there, and not much other noise, and though I was unable to capture the female Fairy Wrens that were hopping about and twittering loudly, I did manage a shot of this Eastern Spinebill feeding from the tubular red flowers of the grevillea. The sun caught his back at just the right moment, and his normally rather slatey blue back feathers gleam with iridescence.

And finally, no day here is complete without my walk on the beach. It was twilight when I got there, the moon was bright, the sky was clear and pristine, and the sun had just left the waves. I sat on a dead tree embedded in the sand and just absorbed it…

Today is going to be a moderately quiet day. We have some shopping to do, and are going to scope out the venue for this year’s motorbike rally in October, which is happening some 130kms up the coast from here. Miz Lizzie will wait in the sunshine for us to get home and for me to get tonight’s curry started…

Another beautiful day ahead. Life is hell…!


The other kind of Frogging…

The sewers, knitters and crocheters among you are probably sadly familiar with the term Frogging.

For the others, it’s the act of unravelling, unpicking or undoing your work – rippit, geddit?

Being currently sadly without any handwork that doesn’t involve a cordless drill and a box cutter, I was wandering around the garden this morning with the Dowager, planning my forthcoming pruning and slashing programme, coffee in hand, and keeping a sharp lookout for green ants, which have invaded in a serious way. We were inspecting the jungly tangle of foliage next to the patio, consisting of Monstera, giant Taro and a lot of ferns. I heard a little trill, and took a sharper look. There were tiny green tree frogs everywhere, the size of my thumbnail and smaller.

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Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.40.32 PM Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.40.48 PMThis garden has much more wildlife than my former one. There are koels, rosellas, willy wagtails, magpies (who are getting very territorial at this time of year, almost time to bring out the big hat), bee eaters, honey eaters, wattle birds, collared doves – and that’s just for starters. My bird book is still packed, but I’ll be trying to keep a record, in writing if not in pictures. Who ever has their camera handy, turned on and at the right focal length when something exotic flies past…?

I’d like to encourage the frogs. They eat insects, which can only be good. The Husband isn’t keen, as he feels that the water the frogs would need to be comfortable would in turn encourage mosquitos to breed. I’d like to give it a go and see who wins! At least I shall have some trickling water, which the mozzies won’t breed in, since they need it still. A little bit of water will encourage all sorts of useful creatures who will eat the less useful creatures that are eating my garden.

Back to work. I have doors to install in my new pantry cupboard and a trip to make to the storage unit to pick up my baking supplies.