Mice are a fact of life, as are the snakes that eat them. The butcher bird found the Willy Wagtail nest and took one of the babies back to theirs for dinner, the second chick died too but the third one survived and is being cared for by the parents around the garden. That's their second clutch for the season, with four little chicks surviving to adulthood last time. I love living here and watching the interactions of nature around me. Some of the best parts have been creating habitat. The shadehouse has been a bug catcher for generations of Willy Wagtails so far, and it's only getting better, albeit slowly.
The tomato stakes were great perches for Willy to wait for a big juicy bug to go past, but now the tomatoes are taller than their stakes. Written on the description for the seeds I saved in Stawell, the yellow pear tomatoes (left hand side in the photo) get to 1.5m tall (and even there, they didn't grow that tall). They've well and truly topped 2 metres tall now, with green fruits and more flowers coming along. I hear the buzz of the blue banded bee, who are still nesting in our wall, but I'm so glad they're around. Those, and the huge orange and black wasps that drag large hairy spiders back to their nests in the ground (although one has made a mud nest in the bathroom, as have many other types of mud wasps!). Sure, we'll get the odd spider, especially the orb weavers that make their web across the walkways and sit right in the middle, waiting for dinner, or someone careless enough not to be wearing a headlamp! But I'll take that any day over spraying termiticide that lasts 10 years around the house every year (the local man doing this had never seen the big spider catching wasps).
Past 9 or 10 in the morning, though, and the heat becomes too much for me, and too much for many of the critters around. Cicadas call, lizards run and hide in the dry straw or dead plants as I walk past. If the wind is up, everything looks terrible, even in the shadehouse. The sprinklers turn on every 4 hours for 5 minutes at the moment. I'm still trying to work out what is best, but that helps keep the humidity up a little and the plants wilting slightly less during the day. I water everything in pots every morning. Almost everything in pots has a drip tray of some description, or it simply dries out too quickly. It's been over 47°C (116.6°F) under the verandah, the house slowly rising in temperature, but hovering around 32°C (91.4°F). The mud brick walls don't cool down easily, and the indoor temperature doesn't fluctuate much. That's really lovely at any other time of the year! There are still things we can do to improve conditions, they're on my To Do list, ok? :p
Marty's been working hard in town every day for the last 6 months, putting us on the exciting road to becoming debt free in just 6 more months time. Hopefully then he won't have to work so hard in the near future and can spend some more time at home.