• Toni

Weird, wonderful summer here in the Southern Forests & Valleys

I've finally got my office back, even though it moonlights as a guest room for friends and family, it is finally back to being my own space. The desk is at a slight lean to the left, the stumps on that side have slumped quite dramatically which means that I had better get a boot into Graeme to fix sooner rather than later.

The view from my window is that of my mums beautiful begonias and a massive fuchsia we inherited when we bought this place, my comfy couch beckons as well as the jigsaw puzzle I started on the kitchen table a month ago, before bringing it to its new home.


I think the best thing about my space is this window and the tiny birds that are hopping through the flowers as in their own courtship garden. They are using the window as a mirror to preen (well actually they are more likely threatened by their reflection being a competitor to the pretty lady they are trying to impress). At different times of the day we see numerous blue wren, pardelote, new holland honey eater and silver eye visiting this special place.

The thought of these gorgeous birds makes me think of the early start for some growers as it is currently vintage with our local wineries getting up before light to beat the birds in picking this years prime crop. The word on the vine is that it is a very small, select and beautiful yield this year. So expect fabulous premium wine.

We struggled netting the feijoas this year, the 28's have started so we hope we have saved enough fruit for ourselves. It took most of the afternoon and into the evening to get the net over the whole tree - we definitely must prune it after harvest this year. You can see a corner of it in this photo. The neighbouring fig tree is absolutely covered in fruit and we know it will soon start ripening as our friend and fellow fig eater, the carrowong, has been visiting daily over the past week.

This year has been quite an adventure already, with the bushfires threatening our international tourism, yes, as you can see from our garden, bushfire is a major threat to us living in the forests. We must trust the systems and procedures both the authorities and ourselves have put in place to ensure our primary income (tourism) is not affected by events especially those happening far from home.

The cyclone also stopped traffic, with the floods closing highways, so with the fires over east and the floods up north, Western Australia was quite isolated. Thank goodness for airports!

The other item which affects us and our livelihood is the spread of the COVID19 virus, as you can see space is in our favour and we are hoping that a cure or vaccine will be found sooner rather than later. We have updated all our alcohol hand cleaners for the tours and look forward to following further direction from the WHO to contain the spread of this horrible flu. We hope Australians really consider holidaying at home to keep experiences like ours in business.


But its not all perfect here, the Marri (honkey nuts) are in full flower, which is absolutely beautiful for the local bee keepers but annoying and painful for many who venture close to the trees as there are heaps of Marsh or March flies out and about who love to feed on their nectar before finding some protein (aka a body). We recommend to avoid denim, black and blue and try and find neutral green colours to hide from these little demons. The best form of protection at our place is to keep moving. If you do have to sit for any length of time then grab a chicken and have that under your arm - every time we catch a fly we feed it to the chicken... they are getting quite fat! If a chicken is not available then sit next to someone who is slapping them thick and fast. They have in fact made themselves into a giant March fly magnet, so sitting close to them means that you should just need to shoo them away, they can get a feast on your friend :).

The season is changing fast, the colours of autumn have started and we will soon see fish heads on the beach as word of Salmon running starts. Parks and wildlife plan to run a machine to the beach to make it safer and easier to get on and off the coast. It has been quite a challenge lately which can be amusing for our customers to watch however not for anyone who gets stuck.

Justin and Kylie have done an amazing job cleaning and enlarging the dam at "Old Vasse Trout & Marron Farm", they make it easy to catch a feed for dinner so we always recommend to our guests if they are looking for an interactive meal option; you can't get much closer to your food than to catch it, have it cleaned and wrapped by the professionals before taking it home and putting it onto the BBQ with fresh lemon (yum!).

The kids have had a great time catching the Redfin perch in the rivers - they make great eating and it is good to know you maybe saving the future Marron population, so it is worth packing a rod and giving it a go in the streams and rivers around the region. Just grab a fishing license just in case you snaffle a trout, most of the trout here have been specifically bread and released into the local waters so your license money is going to a great cause.

Avocado season has finished and are becoming rare to purchase from road side stalls so you will find the price going up in the shops and restaurants. We have had a great season though, it started early November last year!

One thing you will see is local apples available fresher and cheaper at the shops. So keep an eye next time you visit as the varieties ripen at different times - you want this years edition!

So finally I come to the end of my rant/musings with the most exciting thing so far in 2020. Well I think so, it has been an incredible journey so far but the official launch of the Southern Forests and Valleys Tourism Association is finally occurring at the end of March. I am hoping this organisation will help spread the message of why we think you should visit, move or just buy produce from the region. We do have space for you! #southernforestsandvalleys #wehavespaceforyou #pembertonwa #autumnintheforests #pembertondiscoverytours #wawilderness

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PO Box 316

Pemberton WA 6260

Australia

info@pembertonwa.com

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