Week 1 August 2001: One morning this week we had a mob of Grey Kangaroos on our lawn. They often feed here during the morning and afternoon. This particular morning a female Wallaroo joined them. Male Wallaroos are large, heavyset animals with dark fur. Females are smaller, more delicate and their fur has a bluish tinge.
Banksia cones hold their seeds and need some form of heat to open the follicles and release their seeds. We use a heat gun to open the follicles. In winter, when our wood heater is lit, the cones are placed on top until the follicles open. This week we used the microwave to open the follicles. The cone was placed in the microwave together with a cup of water. The microwave was run on high power for three minutes. The cup of water is used to absorb some of the microwave energy. After three minutes the follicles opened. The seeds are being tested to see that the microwaves did not damage them.
Also tried germinating Banksia and Hakea seeds in kitchen paper. The paper is moistened and the seeds placed on the paper that is folded over to make a sandwich with Proteaceae filling. The sandwich is then sealed in a recycled margarine container. If and when the seeds germinate they are potted on when the roots are about one cm long. We are also going to try this method with Acacias. Will keep you posted on the results of this experiment.
Cut some firewood this week. Our firewood consumption is very low. The heater is only lit on cold, overcast days. All our living areas face north and in winter the sun streams in and warms the house.
Some bird nesting activity is taking place at Yallaroo. Swallows are collecting pieces of grass and lining their mud nests. We have two nests that were constructed about two years ago and are used every spring.