Friday, March 28, 2014

Time flies like knives, flruit flies like bananas...

The weeks seem to be rushing past at the moment... like they were just moments. I've been trying to write a Rats, Bats and Vats short for Conclave 2, trying to edit the next Heirs book, and coping with the autumn inrush of veg. All in all I am making a mull of all of them. I did do a trip up to NE river on Monday - which was remarkable for the lack of fish caught. I did have two flathead about 3 feet below the boat swim around my bait while we watched. Very entertaining -for them. We did get some Aussie salmon off the rock at the mouth to end an otherwise unsatisfying. I know there are good fish there, but I seem proof against catching them, except at the mouth - I think it has times and places of its own to learn.

Can you still believe anyone gets into a boat with me, without spare clothes? 'tis true, despite the unlikeliness of it.

James and Alana will over soon, which we're looking forward to. I have been trying to make biltong for them, but the humidity - not usual here (summer is dry, and while we have winter rain, it is also cool, so the air is not that humid) is giving us soggy sugar (even the ants are giving up, trying to carry it away) and slow drying biltong. Awkward because I need to dry tomatoes too.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The wonders of pinapple juice.

No this is not he 'the water of green pineapples and you have not slipped into Georgette Heyer Novel.

Whether it's just the 'the stones are out' or the antibiotic, or the pineapple juice (yes we're down to trying the strange) Barbs is doing much better.

I had one of those 'you should have stayed in bed' days yesterday to make up for it - tried to start the white car. Failed. Did have some wonderful pyrotechnic sparks when Barbs connected the the jump leads to the wrong terminals... anyway, no harm done, except to the tender nerves. was due to meet Bill at the Emita Church 8.30 to get the tide and get him some Abalone for his visiting family. Only somehow we got our times wrong, and he left before I got there... I noticed my tire was flat and going flatter as I watched... hmm. Personally I think the ABC might want to buy it as sitcom, or at least sink-lower-com. Aha! but we have 2 spare tires. Pop the jack under... and find the first spare is flat. Words are said, not many of them polite. The second one is not a lot better. Anyway I waited for an hour and drove very cautiously back, put air in and made a worried call to my friend... Who had decided I'd gone ahead and chased after me - come back to look for me, missed me. So it was a good 3 hours after the tide before I got in, to discover that some lowlife has even pillaged the undersize abalone off that spot. Really there were thousands there, and someone must have been stupidly greedy. Anyway, that's people for you. I blame some of the holiday visitors, but we do have a few local jackasses too. On the plus side they caught a nice flathead and I seem to have given myself really miserable sinuses - which is a plus in that that makes me less tempted to not work (yes, I have prepped the next lot of Biltong, and had an interesting epic getting the white car to start. Tow. Start. Die. Repeat( maybe 6 times). It has some kind of fuel issue, that just means it hates being left for more than overnight. Anyway, mostly it was cheap, and largely is reliable... as long as it goes every day. And it has a roo-bar, which the red ute does not. We're very patriotic. we have a red vehicle, a blue vehicle, and a white vehicle. Of course we planned it like that, and the white is the star performer. They all have issues, but all go.

Oh, had Yellowtail kingfish for tea last night. Barbs says she prefers flathead. We've had two yellowtail since I've been here, neither of which I caught. And about 1000 flatties. Hmm. This is not the way around it usually works:-)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Barbs is home and we are still none the wiser as to what it is.

Norm's brother is here, and he wanted to take him to our dive spots, so we had a beach launch this morning - some moderate swell, and need for the maxtraxx - and then Norm left us holding the boat - I lost my hat in a wave, so maybe the swell was not so moderate - the hat was recovered and we were wet and the boat full of water, but not all dismayed. The joy of inflatable boats... We did manage our bag limit of crays, mostly around 1.8kg - so not huge for here, and one of about 3kg. We noticed the birds working while we had lunch, and Norm has a paravane he wanted to try - it caught 6 fish, the ordinary lure... none. It was interesting to see Aussie salmon, yellowtail scad (horse mackeral) and a small yellowtail kingfish - all caught in the same area, all feeding on the same baitfish I would guess.

The swell had shifted round and it was a pounding trip back and interesting landing. Interesting in that I thought we might just lose all our fish, abs and crays, if not the boat, but it was actually no drama pulling the boat up with the ute. Then I had to rush and fetch Barbs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I'm awaiting Finagle's revenge.

Well, I was nervous when I went for the test/interview. No reasons, baring our friend Finagle's modification of Murphy's Law (anything that can go wrong, will, at the worst possible time). Finagle did his humble best crashing the computer system, letting me think I didn't have a vital piece of paper, but against the odds, we did win through. And yes, I got the same mark in the little test as my wife, so you are stuck with us. I thought his performance with my debit card at Tamar Marine more petty nuisance than his normal effort (I've got sinker molds and a new tank for the boat - you'd have thought he would have weighed the disaster potential of these and left me to it.) I did not break a leg walking up the gorge. The tea did not poison me. A peacock - despite being in the tree above us did not poo on my head or the tea....

So now Barbs has gone for her CT scan. Results not for a few days. Let's hope and pray this is not it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

citizenship etc.

The wind is blowing so hard that if you face into it, snot comes out of your ears... And I am flying to Lonnie, to do my citizenship interview/test tomorrow morning. Barbs has been real crook with what we hope is a kidney stone. If you're hoping its a kidney stone... She flies off on Wednesday to LGH to have a CT to check, so we're occasionally home at the same time. Let's hope it's nicer flying weather and she's feeling much better.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The fishing went quite reasonably, but not terribly productively (we got 17 flathead and 2 gummy + one I threw back because she was female and just size and we already had two, and I'm not that fond of gummy so 'productive' is relative) And managed for once an almost perfect launch and retrieval -As the sea was quite large - about 0.8 meter that was a good thing, indeed. It did make hauling the longline hard work - 2 sets of 2 lines is a lot of hauling a heavy boat into a pitching sea, and I did all of it. If I did more I'd get fitter and wouldn't whinge so much. Still, I was fairly exhausted when I collapsed into bed - too tired to shoot the wallaby we need. So last night I had another go -and the mist came down. I did see and shoot one, a small red - so 800 grams of dog tucker. That's not going to hold them long. I wonder how they feel about potatoes?

Writing proceedeth.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The exploding sweetcorn and other trivia

I'm freezing some of our sweetcorn crop - it hasn't been bad, but not inspiring (about a 4/10) but all has ripened at once despite staggered planting. As we're a if you don't grow it you don't got it (within reason, coffee and chocolate and some things that are cheap, cheaper to buy than grow and process - like rice, and flour at this stage)extending things with some frozen/dried/canned stuff if a big blessing in winter and spring. I put the cooked and cut off the cob first batch into a zip-loc and spread it out, froze it in a curved sheet (there is logic in this.) when frozen you put on a flat surface, give a smart tap and you have loose kernels... Or if for once the ziplock really seals, an explosion of frozen corn.

Potatoes have to come out, and I have about 25Kg, with a little more to come. Probably hit 30Kg. I am putting in more, which will depend on frost as to what if any I get. Oh well, nothing ventured nothing gained. That will be about 55kg in all this year - not enough for a pig too, bit certainly a lot for us. The patch will grow a bit.

I hope to go to sea tomorrow... the kids (my younger son and daughter-in-law are coming) and while Alana is not a huge eater (just reasonable) James is one step removed from the plague of locusts. So is Paddy, the difference being Paddy is one step worse. Oh well, there will always be potatoes, wallaby, and fish.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

jumping cats and such-like

We're in the middle of footrot treatment here, means quite a lot happening over at the shearing sheds, makes Wednesday (the labrador) very barky. What is it about cats? La Duchesse informs me loudly that she needs a carry from the bonnet of the car where she doth repose, to the front door - a distance of four feet, with 3 steps making elevation difference minimal. A little later I see her hunting mice over at the round bales, cheerfully jumping from bale-row to bale-row (more distance - and she's a lot higher.)

We had a Polish meal last night with our polish friends and their sister and brother in law... I really like these guys, enjoy the change of food, but i conclude the basic rule of translation gives me sore ears. Yes. if they might not understand your attempt at the language, say it louder. I'm a quite and fairly reclusive fellow, more at home with the sea or land than a crowd, and living out here, alone, makes me battle even more. We had the gallery launch for our friend Maria's paintings and I went... and retreated outside after 10 minutes. I am going to a Science Fiction Conference in New Zealand soon and while it's great to meet readers it's a real effort to deal with a lot of people. I have to retreat to solitude every couple of hours or go spare.

Drying tomatoes proceeds apace... Freezing sweetcorn needs to happen as does more carrot planting. I'm running my usual problem -trying to get winter/autumn plats in while the summer harvest is still filling the beds. But we do need more potatoes to get through winter.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

So long at the fair

I am sorry to be so long away at the fair. A combination of minor things - I hadn't heard from the Immigration people about my citizenship application interview/test, I was battling to finish a book that was doing Xeno's book on me. Barbs had her interview booked within a week, and when we called to query we were told that there was plenty of time and they'd get back to me...

Barbs went over for her interview and yes, got 100% in the test... she also got asked 'where is your husband? We have got his application a couple of days separate from yours and we scheduled them together.' Only Canberra (who do all the paperwork) only sent a letter to Barbara (trust me, we were in asking at the PO every day), and the call center given the reference number didn't bother to check.

Anyway, I go over in 8 days, being the next appointment available. Wish me luck. With any luck we will actually manage to have our ceremony together. (You do not become an Australian citizen until you have the ceremony, and Barbs is now waiting on me. We want to celebrate with out friends.)

Xeno's book - well I am going to tidy it up, because I have decided that actually I am as close to an end of this book as I can get. It is already 30% over length. I am contracted to write another - same universe. This is a point at which all the 'good' characters in this book are safe (for the first time), but the problem/villain has not been resolved/ defeated. At least she has been escaped and exposed, but to do a good job of defeating her without an anticlimax ending, is quite a wordy process, outside the scope of what I ought to invest. It will do as a break point, and I do not think will infuriate the readers too much. I actually like being nagged for the next book...

Both things were making me grumpy, depressed and were hard to deal with, and I tend to withdraw rather than be a whinger.
And now: forward.