Monday, July 29, 2013

I had one of my back crowned molars out today, and have a very sore jaw as a result. It appears long ago there was a botched repair job, and as a result a chronic infection down between the roots, not visible on xray, because it was between the roots and hidden by the bone. I'm hoping this will have a beneficial effect on my health and energy. But right now I'm just sore. My throat is very sore too, and i feel average... (in the Australian sense) So: replies tomorrow...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A burning question

The other plus side of life here is that, with a rural population of less than 0.2 persons per square kilometer, and the roaring 40s to clear the air of what little pollution there is, we have very clean air despite the fact that wood-burning stoves are the norm. It wold be smoggy if it were the city, but here Robert Burns 'a reekin hoose' really means a wood fire an human habitation. We're much milder of climate than Europe or even much of the US and a lot warmer in winter than Canada, or even Tasamania or New Zealand or even the southern parts of mainland Australia. You could survive indoors here with no heating at all. It would not be fun, but it's not Nebraska or Colorado or even England or Holland. -3 C outdoors early morning would be rare and exceptional, and most days raise to double figures even on bleak winter days. Summer seldom gets very hot, but winter too stays mild. The joy of living on an island in a cool ocean.

Still, a wood combustion stove makes it quite pleasant inside. And of course there is a vast, vast vast amount of dead wood (and before anyone gets sanctimonious, much of it would wet rot away here (generating methane, not good stuff), if left indefinately, or burn in the periodical fires. Of course, labour in Australia being expensive, a ute load of firewood is expensive too. I think 120 or 130 bucks. I don't know, because we cut our own, which in these days where you can buy a Chinese chainsaw (ours is not, a Husquavarna - because we tend to buy as good as we can afford and look after it and use it a long, long time - it has lasted nearly 4 years and still fine, but will need a new bar soon), for that price and if it cuts two loads of wood, you're winning, makes sense to me.

I cut a half ute load of mostly she-oak (which is hard burns long and very hot on a tank full of fuel this evening in about half an hour. Hard-ish work, but not too demanding. more or less 3-4 loads will do us from May to October.

It is of course one of the things that if I get old/injured would be difficult, so I want to make sure I have the best insulated house, and spare power - or something - for heating. Back in South Africa, when we lived in a much colder place (at 6000 feet) we put in electrical underfloor heating. That would not work here as most of the floors are wood and you can't just warm up the slab, and we'd probably be relying on solar power (looking to the future) so electrical heating gets difficult I would think. Still it was lovely underfoot, and just never let the house get that bone-cold. I have seen some that worked off hot water, and wonder if you could do something like that off solar geysers, or what other effective way there might be?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Soylent green, not.

I was reading on a friend's post about synthetic - vat grown protein, and one of the comments went to the effect hat they'd eat the stuff, because protein was so expensive and you only got 4 pieces of chicken in some kind of ready to eat stir-fry meal.

I am sure it'd be healthy, and probably tender... and probably not much on flavor. But it did bring home to me how different our lives are from the norm. We're not, by any western standard, well-off. There are people who might say church-mice look on us as good objects for charity :-). Yet protein or food of any sort is the last and least of my worries (yes, while we learning our way around, we got pretty skinny). It's more 'well,what needs cooking the most', because even in a deep freeze things have a finite life. But we have 3 chest freezers full of food of different kinds, mostly meat, fish or shellfish, but a lot of dried fruit and veg, and cooked fruit and veg. There isn't a ready-to-eat meal in there, because we don't have that sort of money... but there is plenty of protein. And it tastes very good.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I mad a delicious omelette this evening - more so than usual because I found a couple of lovely field mushrooms, and it's been quite a while since we last had a mushroom. (Food in its season, unless it is preserved or frozen has one interesting effect -quite ordinary gets to be very special) So I did a mushroom, Wallaby and spring onion filling, with a dab of oyster sauce, and if they turn into the wrong mushrooms, at least they were pretty good. I have a mushroom growing kit, (which I was saving for winter) but it needs 17C - so it will have to wait.

My friend Peter came out today to collect some wallaby and his missing gumboots - and put a new quick-connect on the hookah, so hopefully I won't have it come off again - possibly in some place I can't get out of quickly.

Other than that I had 3 brown quail in the garden, and the pheasant out past the woodpile is chasing two hens around. And I wrote some more words...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Eh, my neck is really giving me gyp this morning. Must be the lack of sticking it out. (I hopped over the fence and landed a little awkwardly. A small matter of the slipperyness of a sloppy cowpoo.)So I'm off to give myself a long soaking hot bath. And I only had one 9 months ago... ;-). We've had some very mild days and the plants (weeds especially) all think it is spring. I think they're decieving themselves. Still, grass cutting and weeding need to be done.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Well either the small gods of accuracy or luck have favoured me the last while - I shot two fish with one spear, and two wallaby in two shots in a few minutes (I'm aiming for a head shot, almost always in profile, which is head forward, the rifle is very left-right accurate, but range does affect up-down. Basically this means either a clean miss or dead, which is the way I'd rather do it.) Maybe I should buy a lotto ticket.

We were due some foul weather, and Norm wanted some abalone and sea-urchins for his justly famed sausages, so we scooted out early on thursday. I was hoping to shoot some more sweep, but the sea conditions there were no fun (I went down to 7 metres and it was still rolling around. I had my quick-connect to the second stage regulator pop and had to do a forced ascent - fortunately I had just dropped to that depth, and if you keep calm breath out, and swim steadily seven metres is not a long way. But a new quick-connect is in order.) I had been about to give it five minutes and abandon the spot, it was getting nastier by the minute, so we ran in to a lovely sheltered bit of limestone with schools of Oldwife The picture doesn't do them full justice as they're more orange/red eyed here. Juvenile Bullseyes (they look like they still hve a yolk sack, and Mado sweep and zebrafish...

And now you understand why when people tell me "there was yellow on it and/or it had stripes - what is it?" I want to tear my hair in despair.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The lizard

Ok so I tried to brush my hair after bathing this evening, and was confronted by real proof that man's hair should be disordered, as a little lizard dropped out of the hair-brush about three strokes in. Even the cats were gobsmacked. Good thing it was me, not Barbs or we might have needed a new window or possibly wall.

It's been a really busy week - with all sorts of developments I don't quite want to talk about yet (not bad, just not definite). Sadly not a lot of writing. I spent three days re-roofing a shed, some time taking some young uns climbing (becasue if you don't do it the sport will die) and some time at sea. Yes, I am always at sea, but this time I mean actually at sea.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The dancer returns

Okay, I have been very slack- Barbs has been away and I've been doing nothing much but writing. Some even book-type writing... The weather has been teh miserable and windy and stormy, to the extent I was very worried when Barbs flew out on Friday, in a little single Engine plane to Devonport, for some Scottish Country Dancing. Three of the girls went, and I gather they had a whale of a time, and enjoyed sampling the chocolate there very much. We had a mob of young 'uns in for the Thursday night dancing here- 18 15 year old school-girls on a tour of the island. They had a load of fun with much shrieking and laughter, which just shows fun does not need to invovle malls or even boys. The two granddfatherly types did not count. I did end up feeling quite old... still it turned out CUTTLEFISH is in their library and the sf/fantasy readers were... as excited as young women can be (er, squeee) to find I'd written it. The one commented that she'd wondered why Flinders got such a role in it, and she'd the author must know it. I'm working on it.

Anyway, Barbs is back, and has to go in to the surgery to work tomorrow - their first day in the new building. I have a feeling chai and sympathy better be ready and waiting when it is over...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Moves afoot

Barbs is starting the move into the new surgery building - part of hospital upgrade. I gather they're making little dolls in the architect's image and saving blunt septic needles...

Planted more garlic. I know. I'd should be out on the shortest day. But I was busy. I filled my chooks with cackling glee by feeding them cock-chafer larvae I had dug up.

On more work related news I got Peter's old computer up, got word perfect loaded and accessed by old document trove, with an eye to a few more books for the kindle. And I did some more work today... and that's about all. I did shoot a wallaby for dog tucker, but that is not a novelty any more, but a normal chore. How life changes.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The wind through the trees

Wow, the roaring forties are roaring away tonight. The island can be beautiful and tranquil and green with limpid deep blue seas, turquoise bays and white sand... or like now. I don't think the water will be fit to dive for weeks. It's miserable, wet, and oddly not that cold. Still, winter. I pity poor sailors on a night like tonight.

I had occasion to get into Fairy-the-pig's pen today to replace some of the rocks she'd moved. I won't be doing that again, or not without a minder and a solid pole. She's 50kg at least I rekon much less skittish and that is her turf and she's quite keen on tasting you. Well, one day the boot will be on the other foot. I got some pork from Norm today, one of his he's killed.

Planted some artichoke plants courtesy of a friend, they're looking a little frail, but we can hope. I have 4 established, but about 50 is a good number. Like asparagus, you can't have too much.

Otherwise today I spent most of the day indoors and glad to be.