Ahh, the stark, but harsh seasons unfolding at El Noor. Mother Earth continues to give us her beauty, with some the best sunsets Ive seen in my life out here, but how I wish I could say we have had some rain!! I look out into the paddock, this morning at 6am writing this blog, drinking my morning coffee under my lovely Aleppo pine, seeing how dry this season has been. Still, not a good solid drop of rain has fallen since December (a small rain a couple of months ago was it!). The long dry spell is still well in force, and everybody around this area, is patiently waiting for the spell to break. Croppers have anticipated it, sowing out their seed at all hours of the night. One nice thing however, is that the weather is cold. Giving at the least the plants and trees on El Noor, a sigh of relief.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this weather. No mossies , no ants crawling all over my carpets or bed looking for food, and no flies! I can sit out in my garden and enjoy the serenity without the constant biting...my oil slathering days for this season are over. So, I have busied myself. This time doing some renovations on my poor old workshop.
Too much white and too much mess for my liking! The poor old shelves had been eaten by termites many many years ago, long before I came along, and needed to be repaired in some way. I knew this project would be a job, but its almost complete, with just some finishing touches on the varnishing still needed. I used a spray gun, the best investment I bought for 2020, for only about $25 and has outdone itself in terms of performance. I then used brass handles to finish the drawers. Things have now found a new home in those drawers and is much more tidier to my liking. The white walls at some point will probably also come down, but that's another huge job, and at this moment it will have to wait. I need to think on this.... ... ....
More on the workshop, I have been back at the jewellers bench. I have been focusing my attention on one-off custom pieces for customers. I have much more satisfaction doing this type of jewellery work. I am fortunate to have access to many beautiful stones from around the world, so if you are getting married and need a ring, then please contact me!!! Some of my work you can see below.
Many of you know, my work has that 'ancient feel' to it as I am very inspired by the ancient craftsmanship, long before the Industrial Age came into play. I marvel at their skills and techniques they had developed, and some of their work has been truly gorgeous.
Some of my other works can be found here.
A few nights ago, I heard a scuffle out in the front garden. I immediately thought it was the neighbours cat, as they are here at El Noor every night. But when I went outside, well! Lo and behold, I found an echidna. I have not ever seen one on El Noor before, but being that they are quite shy, nocturnal, and like to come out when they can quietly mind their own business, well it was my lucky night!!
Australia is full of odd little critters. The echidna is no exception. They are so ancient looking, and with spikes like that, no wonder they have survived over an epoch. I think most predators and animals are fully aware that they have no choice but to stay away!
There are many animals and critters that come to El Noor. Some are just passing through, and there are also some more permanent 'residents'.
Speaking of Venus, she's been hopping about. This has been going on for a couple of weeks, and although she seems to have gotten better, I do notice from time to time, her limping on her leg. She's happy enough however, still eating fine, but in the beginning, she was resting a lot in the afternoon. Even though the chooks are locked up in the main yard with me most of the day, I don't always have my eye on them, so who knows what she did. Chooks are some of the most curious creatures I know, and Venus is always the first at my feet if I am digging a new hole or into something new. She is the adventure chook of El Noor, and also the one who is the most physically affectionate. She loves daily morning cuddles, and although the other chooks are affectionate--Venus is the most outwardly affectionate of them all.
The name Venus is very fitting for her. I named her Venus for her bright green eyes when she was a baby....not knowing at the time just how affectionate she would become, but perhaps the name grew on her, knowing I had named her after the Goddess Venus, the Goddess of love??!!
Despite the long dry season at El Noor, looking back over the past year, there has been a lot of progress made.
Here is El Noor this time last year in 2020.
All the roses are very small, young. Even the column in the back had not been finished! When I look at how much the rose (Albertine Climber) has grown over the past year on the now finished back column, it really does make one sit back and appreciate what can happen in a year's time.
A nice little trellis fence has been put up for protection from the Kangaroos, which isn't yet complete, and does make a nice separation between the garden beds. My chicken wire fence just wasn't cutting it anymore...and the night I saw the echidna, there was a huge bang crash out in the back garden, and Mama K's big baby girl Joey had somehow jumped over the fence (the BIG fence) and was now inside the inner garden, which never usually happens. She saw me, panicked, and then made another bang crash out of the yard, and took the chicken wire fence with her, eating a few David Austin roses on the way out.
This was Erethae in the David Austin Rose bed last year.....certainly much too dry for mushrooms this time year...unless the Gods are kind and shower us with liquid luxury!!!!
Another side to my life at El Noor, is doing an online Microbiology degree. This semester has been very challenging, and surprisingly rewarding (because I am PASSING). If you look below, you will see what has been causing me grief: CHEMISTRY
In all candour, I have been met with unfounded challenges with this chemistry unit. I knew I would, because I do not have any chemistry background. Its equivalent to being on Antartica for breakfast in the morning, and then transporting over to the Sahara Desert for lunch in the afternoon... err, it is an adjustment.
I was not confident in my skills, and was very much expecting to fail. Believe me, I am rational with my views and know when to call it a day. I reasoned with myself, if I could not pass the mid semester exam, then I would drop out before census date, so my GPA would not suffer. Well! I surprised even myself, not only passing the mid semester exam, but enough percentage to carry me over, should I not perform so well in other assignments/exams to follow.
Ive met my match however, with chemical thermodynamics. Ive had a few brain melts, to say the least. Any of you chemistry whizzes out there that love chemical thermodynamics, then please reach out to me! (and no, I still haven't answered the question in the pic)
As of late, I have noticed several species of insect that I have not seen at El Noor before. This is presumably known as an "Owl Fly" pictured above... and to me, looks prehistoric in origin.
Above is a fly belong the Bristle Family. I have seen a couple this last month, and I don't remember seeing them before. You hear them before you see them, that's for sure!!
The reason I am able to identify them now is that I have joined an online naturalist's society with the CSIRO, that has connected me with entomologists, scientists, naturalists, conservationists and the passionate amateurs like me that just love the natural world.
I have a massive resident ant colony that Ive been watching closely. For the past couple of days, they are no where to be seen. A few days prior, I saw this, worker ants transporting eggs up to a higher level (which happens to be across the road into a neighbouring paddock) of the colony. I can't even begin to imagine how ginormous these colonies must be, but from seeing documentaries of them- they are huge. I love watching the ants too. I observe their nature and what they do, because I believe they are much more attuned to what is happening with Mother Earth, the weather, and the seasons in general. I take this as a sign that perhaps rain is on the way? Shifting to higher ground? Time will soon tell...
Thanks the dry hot Summer, many of my drying roses and other flowers have allowed me to make my long awaited new batch of various incense & bakhoor. Those of you that have purchased my incense before, will know how much of a labour of love it is. I have been making and selling bakhoor/incense for years now, and sure, I could go out and buy synthetic scents to really 'boof up' my creations, but most of you know that the incense is just so much more than just scent to me. Its programmed for ritual use, as this new batch is:
It's an extremely time consuming process to do it properly, but I love doing it so much that I don't feel the time and effort passing. And besides, hearing how the passion & energy translates through to my customers when they are doing their ritual work makes its that much more worth it. Im glad the energy passes onto you!
Ive just finished making two different sorts; One is called "Ashta" which is a general purpose temple Kapet, the other is "Al Ghazaal"--anything but 'general purpose'. It's a hardcore exorcism incense, used for hard, harsh, and riveting energies that are totally unwanted. It does not smell particularly pleasant either and is marked with a word of caution. More details are linked in the shop for those interested.
Yes, so its been a dynamic time here at El Noor, and despite the lack of rain, my roses are still performing! Here is "Perfume Delight" (one I bought from Foodland) and she sure is a delight.
Others such as Pope John Paul ii have also been still flowering, despite moving into Winter, and those roses smell divine. I have just uploaded 'my top 5 best performing roses' on my YouTube channel at El Noor Gardens for those that are mad about roses like I am.
My new hot house is also performing well, with plenty of new seedlings emerging--many of them being native.
I do have some that are not native which are from the protea family. I adore protea, those beautiful big ancient looking flowers that are over 300 million years in age. What a treat!
Here is a baby protea, and below is one that my mother gifted me with:
Owning land is a 'long haulers' project. Plants and trees take years to grow, even in the best of conditions. Adding on top of that the dynamic elements of climate and weather, and it can seem like challenge after challenge will hit you, and I certainly speak from experience.
But if you are passionate enough, you will tolerate, grow patience, and ultimately the passion will carry you through.
And the small rewards and successes one does have, will give one the gusto to keeping on the journey... much more than just 'growing a garden'... it teaches one new dimensions about the Self that perhaps were not explored prior.
Blessings to you on your gardening journeys,