Saturday, January 22, 2011

Voila, an Australian Dream... we can build a chookhouse

Let's see - I missed writing up yesterday's adventures and misadventures because I had a bit of a rush piece of editing - Eric and I are putting together a Kindle version of our short stories, including the prequel Novella* to RATS, BATS & VATS - GENIE OUT OF THE VAT and the Novelette** CRAWLSPACE which is set in the RATS BATS universe some 40 years on. I've already got a collection of shorts GOTH SEX KITTEN & OTHER STORIES (which has far less sex than the title may suggest, and much more Kitten)

The weather being good I took Nik and James to Cave beach in the moring, after a surprise visit from our ex-South African Dentist friends bringing us some frozen trout from the Lakes in Tassie. It's rather a treat after sea-fish and sea-fish.

One of these days some enterprising cameraman is going to make a fortune making a movie of the Wetsuit Mazurka... especially the interesting new variation -- including wild threshing and muffled "what do I do now?" from Nik lost somewhere inside the hooded vest. He was in danger of drowning next to the ute, let alone the water - stuck half way into the top. Anyway, 'suitably' attired, we went down to water, after a minor blunder through impenetrable jungle and down a small sand cliff. I had the near impossible to reload speargun and lads had handspears. The speargun needs surgery - it's just too powerful for these little reef fish. I saved it for the very biggest leatherjacket. It was rather like shooting a sparrow with a howitzer. Anyway, I borrowed Nik's spear and did manage to spear a Magpie perch. James got two Zebra perch - much better eating, and Nik a Leatherjacket. After the reverse wetsuit Mazurka... we went to gut fish. Grin. I learned to gut fish back when I was too small to reach the sink, and James and Pads both did it from about grade one or two. Nik, on the other hand is well-brought up 'civilized' lad (unlike us back-country types), whose vision of food was the plastic wrapped stuff in the supermarket. Hats off to him - he wanted to learn something we considered, well, as basic as brushing your own teeth. It brought home to me just how divorced people are from the reality of where food comes from. And despite declaring he was going to become a vegetarian, he came home with us and learned to fillet too. It was a very aging process for me as he seemed to think your fingers belong in front of the blade! I don't think he is suited to being a short-hand typist. It's a bit of a moral standpoint on my part - I believe in being prepared to kill -- as quickly and cleanly as possible -- what I am prepared to eat. Although I do admit to torturing the occassional cabbage, because we all have a nasty streak.

Today was Bill and Maria's Garage sale, and we came home with several bargains, some Mathoms*** and a large number of 'that seemed like a good idea at time'. People are strange! they want bargains... yet bypass the real ones. There were some absolute beauties for sale, and some really odd bits... snow chains (on Flinders. Good for mud I suppose). More vases than Buckingham palace has. I eventually concluded that people like to buy the tat, and are sure there is something wrong with all the good bits. Heh. I think we're going to join the garage sale recyclers here, as at least two of the browsers I have met... having garage sales.

Anyway end result is my tool supply is slowly but steadily no longer utterly pitiful (we have an angle grinder, some bolt cutters, a fence puller, and various other bitsa kit). And we had yet another dentist visit, and a number of good cups of coffee with Molly (my great Dane X wolfhound girlfriend) mum and dad, and a visit to Max-the-border-collie-of-charm-and-sagacity's parents for more tea, before returning to work. It says too much about me that I ID people by their pets... I'm fond of them... Unlike my hounds who stole and ate the raw brocolli I had just picked and put on the outside table. Sigh. Labrador = insatiable appetite.

Despite the howling gale this afternoon James put the new angle grinder to use on the corrugated iron (more scrap) for the Chookabago. In the end the structure will have cost us surprisingly little - except James's labour and some wire. But most of the tools we now have and have scrounged thanks to the sort of friends I seem attract, scrap timber, nails and roof.

"Voila. An Australian dream, we can build a chook-house with hardly any means..."

Yes, actually I do sing nearly as well as I dance. And I can't whistle either.

Anyway, James has been destructing computer and soundsystem bits all over the house, and we are told repairing same. So why are there enough bits to make another two?

*Novella - about 1/4- 2/5 of a novel (usually a novel is 80-110 thousand words, and a novella 20-35K - this is 29 000)
** Novelette - more or less between 10-20 000 words.
*** Read Lord of the Rings.


  1. Dave: on the 'being willing to kill what you eat' thing -- amen, brother. Thank you.

    I have no issue with people eating meat. We're an omnivorous species. But it makes my skin crawl to hear people talk about being unable to face up to the death of a 'cute little lamb', or suchlike.

    Both my boys have been helping clean fish, pluck chickens, and butcher wallabies and rabbits since they were old enough to ask intelligent questions. The daughter is going to find herself involved as well.

    And yeah, I think of it as a moral stance. I couldn't face myself any other way.

  2. What Flinthart sez. Though I admit I've never caught let alone gutted a fish (bunnies and chickens I've done though).

    And talking of chickens - the continuing lack of images of the deluxe choox house makes me wonder whether it actually exists or is just a figment of someones imagination.

  3. Nothing like stocking up on treasures to re-gift. So is the name of the future Freer homestead to be Freer's Motham-House.

    Francis, for shame living where you do and not fishing.

  4. Although I do admit to torturing the occassional cabbage, because we all have a nasty streak.

    "I'm not a vegetarian because I like animals. I'm a vegetarian because I really really loathe plants."

    Always wished I had the requirements to utter that statement with all due sincerity, but alas, I am an omnivore (although I have a tendency to avoid seafood because of the difficulty of getting truly fresh seafood around here).

    Speaking of skinning rabbits, can anyone point out to me the trick to skinning a rabbit (and presumably other small mammals) with one quick tug. I was much too young when my grandfather tried to show me and never worked out the exact trick involved in doing so.

    [Not that I expect I'll ever need it in the near future.]

  5. Amen on the kill it quickly and cleanly then eat it - although I've got to admit when I visited I'm glad Barbs took on the killing and gutting of the fish I caught! I'm such a klutz it wouldn't have been quick OR clean - and if I'd tried to gut the things, there wouldn't have been anything for the cats to eat.

    Suburban brat - I know the principles, but rarely ever encountered meat, fish or milk that didn't come pre-packaged. Fishing wasn't ever a pastime because Dad loathed fish (and gets sick at the smell of cooking seafood).

    Maybe one day I'll get over there for a nice long visit and Dave and Barbs can teach me all the things I never learned.

  6. The easiest way to eat fresh seafood is to harvest oysters and toss 'em, with shell on, on the bar-b-que or a beach fire with a grill. As soon as they open up a stubby knife scoops 'em out and into your mouth. Then just toss the empty shells back where they were caught.

  7. Yup Dave. Running a restaurant is revealing.

    Probably once a week I have to explain, with a disarming smile of course, that everything we serve is dead.

    "Ooh, I can't eat Oxtail", "but sir, we do remove the skin" I reply.

    We were sorely tested on the one occasion that a 'died in the wool' vegan popped in for dinner. I was tempted to lend the customer a torch and a pair of secateurs and let her loose in the garden.

    Sales pf rabbit, which I love, don't improve when I try to explain that is not the next door neighbour's escaped pet bunny.

    There is not much room for humour when discussing eating preferences.

  8. My dog (a schnauzer x I hate the word Schnoodle) likes to eat my home grown broccoli too. But before I deem it grown enough to pick it.

    I gave up on the vege garden after I spent more money on upgrading the fencing than I had on the seeds and seedlings, and she still got in.

    Funnily enough, a year later, and no watering (even before the huge downpours of the last few months), vegetable plants are springing up everywhere. The nettles I hadn't weeded yet are protecting them from the dogs. I think I will leave the nettles :)

  9. Flinthart - have you had the ones who don't want fish with the heads on, because the eyes look at them? Well, I don't dictate the morality of other people, but that one always struck me as self-deception.

  10. Francis it's all a lie and deception. There is no chook house. forgive us! (I'll take pictures eventually).

  11. Reverence Pavane - I believe you hook them up to the overhead power-lines, thereby getting them de-furred and cooked in one easy move... I only know snip around the paws, slit up the legs, and pull.

  12. Peter - what about a nice plate of fresh raw oysters... (whether they are alive or dead if shucked and eaten is a moot question.

  13. Quilly - this works really well with black mussels too. Hinge side down on the coals - when they open, they're ready.

  14. Kesalemma - is 'Poozner' better than Schoodle? ;-) seriously - how do you avoid the nettles then?

  15. as the manufactor of the chook house i would like to assure you that it is infact not purely fictional though any mention of the suna or jacuzzi may be veiwed with due doubt until pictures confirm their existence much like ufo's ;)