Monday, 18 February 2008

Johnathon is a Mum!

Yes, that's right, you saw it here first. Two male guinea pigs can reproduce, given the right environment and lots of love. We thought Johnathon was just getting fat on the good life here in Dougie's garden, but it turns out we were wrong. Just as wrong as the pet shop guy who told the little boy (who gave us the guinea pig) that Johnathon was a male. Grace would like to announce the arrival of Snowy, Pearl and Apricot. We are now a family of 12!
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Sunday, 10 February 2008

Here's the man from Country Energy grabbing the bats from the wires above our driveway. At this stage the baby is clinging onto the mothers fur still hidden under her wings. The mother looked like she was sleeping, but the baby bat moved around quite a lot throughout the day. The only people who are qualified to touch the wires are Grade 2 Electricians. It means that the local Joe at the lighting shop is unable to climb up and deal with baby bats. Most locals here are not particularly fond of the bats for various reasons, but they are a valuable part of our eco system and the propagation of certain types of night-flowering gums.

Dramatic Bat Rescue

We've had some excitement in Dougies Garden of late. A baby bat was rescued from the power lines right outside the garden last week. It was a 3 week old female eastern black bat clinging onto it's dead mother who had been caught on the telegraph wire lines. The Mango tree is in season and it may have been the attraction to Dougies Yard. We obediently called Wires (wildlife rescue volunteers) who immediately called Country Energy and the local News team even turned up for the rescue. Grace was the first person to spie the baby and we studied it for ages to see that it really was alive. It was moving carefully arounf the mother's fur, trying to keep cool in the hot summer day. Thankfully there was quite a breeze and the little thing managed to hang on until help arrived. It waved it's tiny wing in the air to keep cool. Lots of photos were taken.

Monday, 4 February 2008

More rain on the way

Doug checked the rain guage today and it is screaming "90 mililitres". So we may be in for another feet wetting ankle dripping mouldy clothes smelling few weeks. We've released the tadpoles from the previous downpour and I think one was called 'Elsa'. I don't know what the other 8 were called. At night the frogs are calling so loudly that it's hard to get to sleep. I never know whether the guinea pigs are calling out because they're hungry or because they're drowning in the surface water that's lying about. I do check on them occassionally with a carrot in one hand and a big stick in the other to keep the dogs away. This week in Dougies Garden we're getting cucumbers, radishes, basil, eggplants and coriander. Although it's in need of a good weeding. We'd like to plant a vine for the Richmond River birdwing butterfly. Aristolochia praevenosa is the only native vine that will sustain the Richmond Birdwing.

Best Chocolate Cake for everyday use and birthdays

This chocolate cake recipe is sensational. It's moist and flavoursome. Even better, it makes up in one bowl. Don't serve it for the little nut free people in your life unless you are standing by with an epi-pen and the phone. xx 125g butter chopped, 1 cup caster sugar, 1 cup milk, 1 cup SR flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 tspn bi-carb soda, 1/2 cup almond meal, 2 eggs, 1 tspn rum essence ( I have never bothered with this and it still turns out fine). Preheat oven to 180'c & grease or line a 20cm round tin. Method: In a large saucepan heat butter, sugar & milk for 2 mins until melted & combine. Sift flour, cocoa, & soda together into the saucepan. Stir in almond meal, eggs, & essence & stir until smooth. Pour into cake tin, bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool in tin 5 minutes. For fancy serve with whipped cream & chocolate ganache recipe as follows; 200g dark chocolate, 1/3 cup cream. Method: Combine chocolate & cream in a small pan, stir over low heat 3 minutes until combined, transfer to bowl & cool slightly before serving.