Over the past week, things have gone on as normal (at least the ‘new’ normal). We are still mostly hibernating at home, although we have been getting out for a few more drives in the car and a few more shopping trips. The weather has become very winter-like with cold, grey and wet days interspersed with cooler sunny days and cold mornings. We haven’t had a frost yet but since winter doesn’t officially start until June, there is plenty of time for that to happen. We do have some very vibrant autumn colours in your garden.
I found it interesting to note that when this lockdown began, I had two $50 notes in my wallet. I still have one and a two $5 notes. That means I have spent just $40 in cash over the last ten weeks. Everything else has been paid for on my bank card or credit card because the stores are preferring contactless payment. We have had a limit of $100 as payment by Paywave (or tap on the terminal) but that has been increased in many places now to $200, as I found out in one of the Department Stores during the week. I think that this emergency is going to make a big change in the way that we use money. I’m sure that it will become more like the experience that we had in 2018 when we visited Iceland and didn’t use cash once during the entire time that we were there.
My cooking skills continue to develop. A few years ago, Jill gave me Jamie Oliver’s Five Ingredients Cookbook. He is the British chef that appears on TV and has made a lot of programs focused on improving the quality of meals in schools. His recipes are simple and quick to make and very tasty. Even though we haven’t been able to get out veery much, we have been eating meals such as salmon with maple glaze, steak rubbed in miso paste with ginger and gratinated pork and cheesy potato with sage. Last Sunday, I made a batch of Cornish pasties. They looked somewhat rustic in their appearance and I wasn’t too good at crimping the pastry edges together but they did us for three lunches.. We have another three meals in the freezer from the RACV’s home delivery service that will save some more cooking and washing up of pots and pans.
It was Jill’s turn to make some soup this week and we are also enjoying her large pot of pea and ham soup for our lunches.
Speaking of food, the other day, I knocked up a batch of food for the lorikeets that visit the bird feeder in the garden. I found an ‘approved’ dry feed recipe for these beautiful birds that uses rice flour, crushed breakfast cereals, breadcrumbs and raw sugar. Yesterday, I went to check the mail box and the lorikeets were sitting in a nearby tree screeching at me because the bird feeder was empty. They seem to be quite intelligent as they quietened down once I filled it and went back to their normal chirping sound. These birds mainly eat nectar and there isn’’t much of that around at the moment. I guess that they were hungry.
There is obviously a pecking order with the birds around our area. One of the native honey eaters is the Noisy Miner. These are aggressive birds but they clearly come second to the lorikeets. They will sit and wait until the lorikeets are having a break, ,or a drink from the bird bath, and then rush in to grab some of the food before the lorikeets shoo them away again
We have also been seeing two other less common birds in our garden. One is the Pied Currawong. These are black birds, about as big as a magpie, with bright yellow eyes. They have small patches of white feathers under the tips and base of their tail. They have a call that sounds like a long, single note whistle. Although they are smaller, the Noisy miners chase them away rather aggressively. I hav e left a few pieces of left-over meat out for the Currawongs to eat and I noticed that they are now coming back to the same place to see if there is any more. They seem to like the fountain at the bottom of our garden as place in which to bathe and I frequently have to top it up with more water after they have splashed around.
For a couple of days, we have had a Tawny Frogmouth perching in a neighbour’s tree during the daylight hours. These birds are very hard to see as their feathers camouflage them into the branches and bark on which they perch. With their nocturnal habit and owl-like appearance, Tawny Frogmouths are often confused with owls, but are actually more closely related to the nightjars. The bulk of their diet is made up of nocturnal insects, worms, slugs and snails.They will also take small mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds which they catch by pouncing to the ground from a tree or other elevated perch. It’s a pity that they haven’t attacked our neighbours’ black cat that digs up my vegetable garden
Actually, my veggie patch is doing well. We will have some Bok Choy ready to pick in the next few days and my garlic bulbs have just poked their heads above the ground. I’ve mulched it all with sugar cane mulch and this is very effective at keeping the moisture in and the weeds out.
I have also been transferring some poppy seedlings from the pot in which we initially sowed the seeds to some small punnets. They will be ready to plant out into the garden in a coupe of months.
Meanwhile, we are still zooming and keeping in touch with friends.
From next week, the easing of our restrictions will allow us to travel and stay overnight in a hotel / motel. After being locked down for so long, I would like to get away for a few days although Jill is not so keen just yet. The main concern that I would have is whether restaurants, pubs or cafes will yet be open in country towns. They say that patience is a virtue so I will just have to show some more and think about travelling once all, things have settled down some more.