Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ooops. By the time I had had tea last night it was rather late, and I forgot to post.

Minor adventures yesterday included going up to my friends Peter and Helen's place and doing some emergency plumbing repairs. Tommy the bulldoger-digger-man had severed the house water supply - not visible as the water was turned off at the tank. I turned it on and oh what a fountain... Anyway, Barbs was doing her first closing up and the stocktake, so by the time I finished there, I went down and caught some squid for tea, just as Peter was water-skiing behind the Spirit of Tasmania out of Port Philip bay (you can't actually let people like that on the boat.) There were dark storms and flashing lightning out to sea, and it looked poor weather for water-skiing to me, but fine for squid. I did get two big 'uns before dark.

By the time I got home made fire made tea, and settled down... it was time for sleep. Which I did, quite well.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

start 'em young.

And before any silly beggar gets excitable - the water is knee deep at most - not even waist deep on the child. The child is wearing life jacket. It's in enclosed still water with 3 adults watching, and given the time of sunset, this is long before bedtime. Little person was as good as gold, had enormous fun shining a torch in the water, and got to see a tiny flounder.

In the mean while my own tiny 6'2" will arrive in Melbourne tonight, and will be across on the island with the ferry on Sunday (he's coming with a friend and his ute).

Much relieved Dad. Now all we need is Alana too.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

far too much in day

Well, first we had a killer frost - lost most of capsicums. Ice on the moat.
Then we heard our Boy did not get let back into Zimbabwe (they came out to do some shopping and renew his visa). And then Barbs went for a job interview. She will be starting tomorrow. And now I will leave you as I have to concentrate on tickets and stuff.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The moat

A Flinders Islander's home is his castle (complete with frogs in chorus. Feel free to come and kiss as many as you like. You never know where the next prince is to be found!(or if you failed to establish the gender of your frog first, princess).

PS. beware of those lady-frogs. I have been told that kissing the wrong one will get you a damsel who can pee through seven mattresses.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Flinders wind

No one escapes the wind on Flinders (I paraphrase, because I'm too lazy to get up and look) - Nicholas Shakespeare. And indeed, the westerly is howling out there, and probably will for the week, if the weather forecast is to be believed. We have the better part of a moat, and I am fitting the chooks with life-jackets. I think seafood will be scanty over the next while. It's a good thing we've got quite a bit in the freezer, and that our diet has shifted to more meat. I need to work on the roof of the little house - but in this wind that would be difficult. We also need to cut firewood. But in the boggyness there is a limit to where we can drive our blue slug. So not a lot of either got done. Bad me. Well, the wind blows us clean air, anyway.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

we're all crazy now

It's sort of worrying when you've always been the crazy one, and you have come to rely on the safety valve of your friends to say "No way. I am not going out in that!" when the sea is on its head and things are... interesting, and you find yourself diving with a bloke who relied on others to be the safety valve and say: "No way, Jose". Grin. Norman and I went diving today in conditions that mean I am sure no one else was in the sea. He did baulk at the first place I wanted to go in. We ended up going to a rather nice new spot, which has a long barren swim to some very attractive limestone. Nice caves, but a bit hairy snorkeling and with a lot of wave and current action. I have everything tied on -- measures, knives, etc. Which is a good thing, diving with bubbles. Less good diving without when you can get snagged. I hooked up my ab knife briefly, going down into a crack. Now, if I don't panic, I have it all hooked to a quick release strap. I'd lose the bag, measures torch knives etc. But I'd stay alive. It's still possible to tangle and that's why there is a sharp small knife there. But this is all done on one breath, and limestone caves are not quick easy exit spots - especially if the current or wave sucks through. So I think I'll go there next in calm water and probably with an aqualung. Still, interesting place. Just another one of the hundreds (or thousands) I have to find still :-) And yes, winter water. It was COLD COLD COLD. Raining in flurries and the wind blowing. But I was pleased to see my dive buddy really did 'buddy' and stayed close.

Friday, June 22, 2012

On the Blue Slug, and poverty

A bit of a scare last night coming back from dancing when the blue slug (our ute / truck / bakkie - depending on where you live) developed a whole new noise. In our fragile financial world that's terrifying.

It's odd. We don't per se, consider ourselves poor. Poverty is relative, I suppose, and coming from South Africa, and having traveled to places like Mozambique (where poor gets a whole new meaning, makes poor South Africans look rich) Poor to me is no food and no roof to sleep under, or at least approaching both of those very closely. I read John Scalzi's post on poverty and realized poverty was very different things to different people. To some it's what I regard as 'poor', to others not being able to buy a new x-box or the latest trainers is 'poor'. There is the poverty of starvation and lack of shelter, the poverty of just having enough for very poor standards of both, there's the poverty of social insecurity (which the young and those lacking in self confidence probably find really hard), and there is the poverty of envy. All of them upset and are real to those who feel they're poor (but some are less serious, let's face it).

I feel so very lucky and blessed just to be here, in Australia, on Flinders and so lucky in my partner, and in my boys (and my daughter-in-law, and future one), my dogs and cats got here, my friends... envy is right off my list. Hell, I'd say most of the very rich should envy me. I'm neither young nor lacking in self-confidence. We live in a lovely house - yes, it's in the whoop-whoop, no there isn't a jacuzzi. It's old. But there is a fireplace, a wood-burning heater, it is, after some work, pretty waterproof, windproof, safe. It's not ours which gnaws at the security somewhat, but we're a damn sight better off than most. Food... we give a lot of food away. Yes, we don't eat out of season fruit or veg, unless it is given to us. And, um, people do give us stuff. They're always terribly worried we'll be offended by being given their cast offs. That it would embarrass us - especially clothes. Blink. I think Op shops (the Salvation Army and various other charities second hand 'opportunity shops') are the best thing that I have found in Oz. Why, if I have no objection to strangers cast offs, once they're washed, would I object to the clothes of decent people I know - that I know do not have bugs or nasty diseases :-)? I'm going to wash those clothes too. I suspect it's probably about appearances. Yes, well... I wear clothes to keep warm, keep off the sun, to keep from being scratched. I might after those criteria are satisfied choose something because it's blue or Gordon hunting tartan (green, dark blue, checks) - because I like those colors not because I care about what I look like in them. I am not exactly an actor to care about appearances, and as for fashion, labels.... what? you're kidding right? I couldn't name more than two, and that's because I asked for a book. I cringe at the very thought of arriving at a checkout till and not having enough money. I utterly HATE asking prices (If it is unmarked I just won't buy it. I CAN'T bargain.) But something you don't need/want and I do? sheesh. It's a win both ways. We've been given store cupboard empty-outs by folk leaving the island, and for us that is such an adventure... stuff we just would never buy (processed food, just add xyz, cake mixes, tins of fruit, and that's been fun. Exotic for us, just as the abalone we had for our tea (bog standard) or home baked bread, preserves, or the roo-tail stew for tomorrow are exotic to others.

Poor people have to live in rat/roach infested one room apartments or don't have a roof at all. If they're lucky there is some kind of state support. In most of the world it's the church or the kindness of their fellows - who can be just as poor. But there is no doubt that we qualify as 'poor' in Australia by what we manage to earn (No we don't collect any kind of state support... oddly I regard that as for people who are in real need. And that would worry my pride I guess. Not stop me if it were dire. But it would need be DIRE.). When you add the fact that my various publishers are months late (5K) again and the accounting means I'm out of pocket (at a coarse guess by somewhere between 6-7K... which is just not worth fighting them over. I still have to work with them. Eventually I may try.) Yet, thanks to the place we live, and with Barbs working we're actually gaining ground, despite the move, and moving the animals basically making us start again. It's not a fast process, but slowly we gather the difference between being poor and being, to us anyway, well off. That difference is security. Something we could live in if we had to leave here. Things with which to gather, keep and deal with food. A rifle (which is 60 years old) and collection of old wetsuits and gear just make a hunter-gatherer life easier, more effective. Yes most of it, like the boat, is very old, many'th hand. It works, and makes life easier and better. A trickle of money is coming in, and not going straight out on rent and essentials. Yes we still need petrol and soap and internet and phones, but Barbs mostly earns enough for that, and coffee, chai and chocky too, so my money can mostly go into the kitty for car services, dentist and accumulation. We're a lot better off than the first few months when bread and cups of coffee had to be watched. Now we don't even think of stuff like that. And we have the money to make choices that save money: we can buy in bulk raw ingredients. We're not the guys scrabbling to find the money to buy a Macdonald's happy meal to split. That bought us a pack of seeds, enough rice for 10 meals, and the sea and land do the rest. And knowledge of course. We're not the guys huddling in front of the gas oven because the power has not been paid and we're freezing. We could afford a chainsaw, and there is more than enough wood available.

In the last while I've started getting a trickle in from e-books sold on Amazon, and from the referals (people who click on the Amazon links I put up and go through that - not only do I get a percentage for that, but also of everything else they buy.) It's been the first money for a long time I decided could just be spent on things that weren't absolutely necessary, but that just might make life nicer.

But that can go south really, really fast if we 1)have major vehicle expenses 2)have to travel off island, especially back to Africa. We probably have to for James and Alana's wedding - to Zim at least. I'm hoping SOME of the money I am owed will come in in time for the latter 3)major vet bills (they will come in time. we hope not soon)4)Major dental bills (thank heavens medicine is state subsidized here, and very good on the island.)

So a noise from the Ute, that I didn't know what was causing, was enough to make my blood run cold. We only have one vehicle. We live a LONG way out. There is no other public transport. Barbs took it in this morning - because better fixed than wrecked totally.

To my vast relief, it is the air-conditioning - which uses extra fuel, so we never ever use. Took the belt off and the noise stops. I know... the blue slug is 13-14 years old, and has done far too many km. It will die. It uses a fair bit of oil. But every day, every week we can put that off, the better.

And we go on. We've come a long way. A fair bit to go, but we're still battling onward. Smiling about that. Had an extra square of chocky tonight to be really prodigal :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The weather continued still... and rainy. So going to sea was off. I did get a rather nice load of piping and 'stuff' to set up a micro-irrigation system, in ample free time:-). Seriously, should be a great help.

Other than that I made biccies, another batch of biltong, more bread, rolls for next week, and a date loaf which ought to be good for battle-bread. I got carried away answering a post about the alternate history for Cuttlefish. Sigh. Writer says he could happily accept it for an alternate world, but not alternate history early 20th century. Coal would not be dominant, and the US would have been an imperial power, and Ammonia would have been synthesized had Fritz Haber not done so.

Here's the thing: this is not the real world. I am the author, and I can tweak imaginary history until plausibly coal would still be dominant in 1943. And I don't want yet another damn 'Imperialist America' story, thank you. Steampunk books are based around steam/coal, and the British Empire. I was tweaking that paradigm's tail (because that's what I do). In this story the US is just in 1940's starting to push out of its own huge world, having had 'spanish flu', minor civil war, and a strong isolationist phase and no WW1 to nudge it along.

As for Ammonia. Humph. That is such a chance ridden path, that it was very implausible. Far more likely was the synthetic Nitric acid process (Birkelund-Edye process) - which would have helped as a source of nitrates, but is SO inefficient, the levels would have been about 1/10 at best of the nitrate production achieved by the Haber-Bosch process. And yes. I could write a book about the alternate history research. It would bore most readers squiffy and still not please the buffs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Finally putting the house on the floor.

I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday, but I seem better today. I did some work on current writing project (I've been struggling to kick-start myself. I invest a huge amount of myself in the writing process and - especially when the tangible signs of any reward are well... absent or so small it's hard to see why I bother to try that hard. Yes I have not been paid. Yes the last royalty statement included e-sales that the rights have reverted to me (in other words, e-books that they have no right to sell, and should not pay me a royalty on, but either refund the buyers and get the goods back, or at the very least pay it all to owner of the copyright. And what I get is... stonewall. No reply.) There is a degree of burnout, every time I finish a book, and every time it gets worse. And when I have to fight for things that simply ought to be done for 92+% the rest of the chain take, it adds insult to injury. Publishing/distribution/retail doesn't care. There are lots more meatheads willing to do this for 6% of the gross. Yes I'm a bit tired of it. Thank heavens for the trickle from Amazon.) and then worked on the little house on the flats (yes foot-rot is big problem here. And there are lots of border collies. But none called 'the Dog'.) The little house still had one support plank under it between the house and the base I made. It weighs a few tons. A section of insulation had fallen out of the floor joists and I wanted it back. The support plank was in the way. So the plank had to be replaced - after raising the building another 5 inches, and resting it on something that didn't obstruct it. And then getting that out and dropping it onto the raised floor I made (which rests on huge blocks so next time it moves the raised floor and the wee house can just go together) I'm a little guy. I don't lift several tons too well. Not even with a crowbar. Not even with a crowbar extended with a pipe - yes, I know what Aristotle said... only then you are on the end of a long long lever... trying to reach 10 feet to slip a little chock in...

Anyway... a hydraulic jack, some levers, and it was possible, Only of course the platform bent and it wasn't quite high enough. Well, I leave it all your imagination. I kept my hands and head well clear of various tottering piles. Broke a 3 meter 3X3 and for the finale, put it down with insulation IN and just one chock to knock out with a hammer.

So base frame - with the back of the house on one chock on it... snapped. I got the chock out easier though. I then jacked up the base platform, inserted a support pole and will splint the frame with enough timber to handle any future moves and probably a herd of elephants.

And now a few more words and I will go to bed. I hoped to go to sea tomorrow but the wind sounds nasty.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

it tastes nothing like boerewors, even if it looks like it

Monday, June 18, 2012

Today biltong. Tomorrow, boerewors. Next week Tasmania...

Well, A day that has seen rain. The return to a swamp of the flats cannot be that far off :-) (this area was all drained to make farms for soldier settlers). The Biltong appears a success. 2Kg of meat became less than 1kg... and that was before Norman &Kelly started eating it. Tomorrow boerewors. (normally done with pork and beef. We will use Wallaby... and wallaby)

I tried to order something for my son with the tiny trickle of 'spare' my sales on Smashwords and Naked Reader e-books generate

Like this one

(these pay directly into my paypal account, and as they're paying in US$, I keep it US$ and try to spend it in US$ thereby saving quite a lot on currency exchange.)

Unfortunately, we just don't fit the standard model again. It seems that I can't order something from the US with an Australian Paypal account, and have them ship it to the UK. They ship to the UK. They ship to Australia. But you can't order from Oz, for an address in the UK. gah. Heaven help me I'd love to send Jamesy something in Zimbabwe, but thievery in the PO system make that impossible.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ok, busy couple of days. We went sale-ing on Saturday morning and it showed me all over again, how wise we were to choose the island. Not many places where, after two and a half years, when there are about 200 people at a garage (well, we've sold the farm, and we have a lifetime of junk/stuff to get rid of.) sale and you will know and greet a good 180 of them. And chat. And some of you will be trying to spot bargains... and others will be trying to avoid the management (she just wants to talk to you about that 'bargain'... and if you wait long enough she'll find another mathom-of-more-use). Anyway, I came away with a box net-weights (lead) - about 18-20kg for $5 - should make a lot of sinkers or dive weights or even... net weights (if I ever do the seine net thing, or restring my graball). And a stock of bolts, nuts, nails and oddments - for $6, including roofing nails. And a tow -hitch sans ball - slowly we move toward things we need (a way to tow the lawn-mower with our ute, and a way to tow the boat, if we find the bits for the trailer, if get a decent outboard - all of which will happen in time, we hope. Some of which requires priority management.)

The weather, which started fine, went downhill. So it was pretty miserable when Norman took me out to shoot a pheasant. Which I did. No this is NOT easy. I have an experienced guide. Later we determined to shoot some Wallaby for mince for my trusty guide's wife. Much driving about in mud ensued. I still have to do quite a lot of practice at this. Anyway, 5 were shot, some well, and some I-am-not-very-good-at-this-yet. I conclude more practice is needed.

Today we went up to Jamie's place on the ridge and had lunch of crayfish, chips and salad. The biltong is still drying, but is edible. I'm not totally happy with this batch, but it's a start. Wallaby is usable, and a proper drying box with flymesh and a real door will be built. And we move onward.

Friday, June 15, 2012

So... biltong

Back in the bad old days before the internet, and even before fax machines, the people of South Africa had a serious issue with the lack of refrigerators too. Depending on your culture this got dealt with in different ways. The black migrants from the north tended to live in groups - for defence against against other tribes and the indigenous Khoi-san people and the wild animals. When you killed it got shared around and everyone got some and hopefully before it went bad, you'd get some more. The white settlers from the south lived in smaller isolated families and brought drying salting and vinegar cures with them from Europe. We don't know a lot about how the Khoi-san - especially the hunter-gatherers coped. We have stories of them gorging vast amounts of meat when it was available, and going a long time on lean rations and, apparently by boiling up dried skins - presumably wind and smoke dried. Somewhere down the line the early trek-boers (who had a fair bit to do with the Khoi-san) mixed the air-drying with the salting so that meat could be kept. At first this was probably nothing more than salt on on strips of meat cut with the grain. It would have been dried in the wagon or under the eaves to the point of being as hard as a board. It was almost certainly reconstituted much the same way salt cod is, and used to make stews, probably when things were pretty desperate. Inevitably someone must have got to eating some that wasn't quite so hard, without bothering to cook it first. After all air-dried pork and mutton and even beef are eaten this way in Europe. And somewhere down the line they started 'improving' on the basic process. Vinegar got used to kill any spoilage starting, and that meant you could get away with a little less salt. Sugar - used in bacon cures, makes for a more pliable meat. And of course spices helped to make it more tasty and probably helped hide some of the dodgier flavors. Being on the route between Europe and India, and with the Cape Malay slaves brought in by the Dutch, some of these are quite heavily used. Coriander (which the rest of the world sprouts and uses as Dhania or cilantro) is roasted and used quite a lot, and along with black pepper is the trade-mark of this dried meat. Here is a recipe. It tends to be made with beef, or game, or Ostrich. I've had shark biltong too, but maybe that one is best left forgotten :-) It's become a form of south African food that unites most of people there, and they can get nearly as excitable about this as they do about cooking meat on a fire -AKA 'braaivleis' or just 'braai' (which I may assure you no two South Africans agree about, except that everyone else in the world does it wrong. And doing over gas is just evil.)

Here is the hasty dryer - box Mel and Eric may recognise, a fan Peter may recognise.

My first batch of wallaby biltong is drying. I wonder if it will be the last...

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Oh my sinuses. I was hoping the dive would do them good, but the one has been an aching misery today. So I have done a little writing, planted some bunching onions, and been grumpy. Yes, there are a lot of other tasks I should have fitted in between. This happens. I need to make a biltong box. This has not happened. Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Well, I have learned a little more of the art of wallaby hunting, and some of my mistakes are now obvious. Apparently wallaby don't like sheep and won't come back to a paddock they've been in for some time.

We got the runts - the smaller 'roo that the abattoir doesn't want - so this morning was processing quite a lot of meat. I am going to make some biltong. Yes, I will explain. When I do it.

I also took another new-to-the-islands bloke diving and shooting fish. He speared one of the fighting rocks which a cunning leatherjacket moved in front of him - and discovered that wetsuits float :-) Kind of mildly sadistic fun watching him try to swim down (he thought if it was too hairy he might need a lifejacket along to keep him up. I did explain that a wetsuit does make you float, but no-one believes it until they try to dive in one). It's hard enough to get your fins in the water. But he got his first fish, so I think a convert, maybe. So they were kind enough to give us an dinner - and thoughtful enough to make it something different, showing how much of life is about perspective - chicken :-) We almost never eat chicken (we got some excess-to-requirement roosters last year), and it's been a year since I had beef. Of course turkey, pheasant, cape barren goose, muttonbird have all featured in our diet, and wallaby is a good stand in for beef, but a treat is something you don't get often. A lovely evening... They have a truly glorious view.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Well, owing to some issues with a bearing, we went out to sea rather late yesterday - and it was bumpy and very wet. We got very cold and wet. The sea temps are dropping like a stone into a neutron star. Still we got 19 flathead between the 3 of us. I remain amazed at how few other species we catch out there. The flathead must be really dominant in that niche. Fresh fish, 'slap' chips, fresh sugar-snap peas from the garden for tea.

Today I did a little writing, planted garlic, chives, onions, weeded (and avoided writing) Bad me. Tonight we are due to go with the professional wallaby shooter shortly. I will be taking lessons, quietly. Stealing with my eyes but with the benefit of a little experience to make sense of it. We've got a few, but he's just SO much more effective. He does have 40 years experience. I want to try making some biltong out of wallaby.

I wasted a shotgun cartridge. Missed. Up to now I have held off unless I was very sure, and as a result was getting cocky about my 'skill'. Yeah, not so much skill as very close...

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's in the fridge

It's telling you that the brain is need of something when you find yourself looking in the fridge for porridge. I'd like to claim it was a lack of the good things, diving and fishing and maybe bringing home the odd pheasant or making the exotic dish or two. But I'd be lying. Yesterday I caught whitebait - well, not whitebait, but little engraulids of some sort), collected oysters, cockles, had a dive at red bluff (not worth it very scoured) caught a couple of Aussie salmon and Norman (my neighbor) and I made some goose sausages (I also had my first whitebait fritter. crunchy.) and shot a pheasant. Which I hung up to talk to my boy James in Zimbabwe... and blasted Wednesday pulled down and ate. Not a popular labrador.

Anyway, so maybe it's writing I ought to do.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

escaping fish

Well, beasts are returned to owners. Norman and I did some fishing off red bluff high tide. Hmm. The aussie salmon are about. I've been fishing a long time. I'm no great fisherman, but I don't lose a lot of fish once I've hooked them. Today I lost 5 in a row, before moving spots and landing 1... I lost them all trying to land them - as i often do - by ski-ing them up onto the rock with the wave. But today they all came off at that point. I was using a very soft-tip firm butt rod (yes, yes. Ha ha) and they were very average - by the looks of them and by the one I got out - little salmon. I'm not sure if their mouths were too soft or the rock too sharp - but very frustrating.

Friday, June 8, 2012

feeding pictures

on caring for someone else's animals, the last day

Sheep and goat breakfast

What flavor is this hay?

Thellwell wpony demanding breakfast

And mount poosukio - the result of all those breafasts, and the quad and its horse honeysucker...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The return of the prodigal key

Faced with the overwhelming evidence of public interest in their misdeeds, the goats dumped the loot.

I was putting out sheep-feeding bowls this morning when I spotted a blue object protruding from a drift of sheep/goat poo. It proved to be the tag from the quad-key, still attached to the key. It was about 17 yards from the quad, around the side of the shed. And yes, it still works. I have no idea if it went through a goat or not. The tag only shows minor signs of chewing. I think it might have been mouthed and dropped.

Tonight we had a curry with what would be called mother-in-law's tongue - possibly atchar, courtesy of our friend Sonia. I did some very healthy facial sweating on just a tiny bit added to what I called curry, and brother would have called 'stew'. Also - once again a departing the island present from Sonia had some home made preserved lemons -spicy and salted. These I suspect may be like green sauce, good with everything. I must get the recipe as they were really delicious.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The case-file for the key snatch incident

Here as requested for you amateur detectives are the 8 by 10 color glossy photographs wid de circles and arrows of the 'scene of the quad-bike key case'. Only you'll have to imagine the circles and arrows.

The approach

Another view of the approach
Suspiciously like goat track

Can't see much yet...

Aha! The evidence (you find it)

Suspect spotted lurking

Too dumb to be a suspect. Note possible stashing place of loot in front of 11 year old sheep. Many many many such spots exist.

Suspect Tipy protesting innocence, says wasn't in the country. Produces airline ticket (written in paw on an old feedbag)as alibi.

This character however had a cast iron alibi and witnesses. Says he suspects the goats. There may be bias.

There is more to this than just a simple key snatch. We have evidence of a very elderly branch of the sheep Hitlerjugend in some sort of sheepish plot to attain more sheepenraum. Note give-away salute.

prime suspects having duped stupid sheep with fake moustache.

It was never me!

You're delusional from walking that hill down to the stables.

And another day is ended.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rain Snot misery

green snot pie...

It was BLEAK Monday, with both Barbs and I coming down some degree of snot and aches, the wind sending horizontal rain thrashing into you at 40+ miles an hour. The goat-track... road up to Jamie's place was a 4X4 steep clay quagmire when we did it in the dark. To misquote the Charabanc trip, There were goats with bronchitis and elderly wet sheep to invite us, as Jamie's shed loomed up through mist, but the rain slacked off soon to medium monsoon... and and the day didn't look quite pitch black but just dark grey, with wet sheepdogs to lose, and numb fingers to use, we scooped horse poo, fed nags in the mud and got wet. It was such fun we did it again in the evening and again this morning... only with a wind off the snow in Tassie and a fine mizzle of rain to help the windchill. Fortunately the weather is set to improve, and we're counting the days now. We're down to 8 more feeds... It does get vile here, but seldom stays that way (he says in a hopeful tone of self-reassurance.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Well, Barbs is back home in the rain and wind and misery-weather. We have 11 more feeds to do, and the horses are off our hands again. So is the stuff they convert expensive horse-food into. I must get some for the garden. Have a new raised bed (tank) to fill.

Other than that. We have a fire, we've just had our tea, solid stick to the ribs winter food, and the house is dry and not too chilly. Life could be much worse :-).

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The topper

Ok, just when you thought you'd heard every last implausible story, then someone tops it...

Beat this.

The goat ate the key to the quad bike.

Yes, I went to go on another poo-sucking mission this morning after feeding the horses... and couldn't find the key (it lives in the bike, in the shed). I was convinced I must have taken it out, and actually drove home to check my pockets. It was only having failed there, and every other place I looked... that I went back to the bike and noticed... the plastic surround to the lock down among the goat-poo. A little chewed and battered, but recognizable.

So I did it with the wheelbarrow and pooper-scooper. two and a half heaped-high loads. Have strapped collanders to goats bum. Am contemplating running a powerful magnet down goats (after I have waved it over droppings) and trying a little keyhole surgery.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I've been told a number of times that the fishing off Red bluff can be exceptional, and so far all I've got is weed and one foul hooked salmon. Still, I gave it another try driving there on my way to go to the horses. I put a bait-line out and commenced spinning (swearing at my friend Peter who had switched my handle around - but I only had 25 minutes so every one better count. I got big trevally (which I lost as I was trying to haul it out of the water), and a small Aussie salmon, and then the handle of my reel fell off into the water. mutter. Anyway. It can fish very well, and the water looked beautiful in the westerly. I WANTED to jump in with a spear (and look for the handle) but poo sucking and horse feeding called. I just got through in 1 hour 45 anyway and that excluded any paddock vacuum - that'll have to happen tomorrow. Anyway, I made 9 packs of mince and 10 days of dog roo and a nice load of stew/kebab chunks from the wallaby _And_ did a little work, so all is not lost. Counting the days till B gets back, and until Jamie gets back.