Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I've manged to crick my back in some way - can't say what I did (anything from digging, wood-loading to running after turkeys) Anyway I woke at about midnight last night with the muscles all locked up and sore, so I haven't done a lot more sleeping - or comfortable sitting. Amazing how much you use your back even when you think you don't. I'm going to shower, Ice gel, painkiller, bed.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I seem to going through a patch of not achieving a hell of a lot - yes, stuff like extra wood is being cut and carted to the woodshed-to-be, and bits for it have been scavenged and it will all go together soon. And it will be faster because everything will be ready. But right now it feels like I'm running on one spot. The same with the little shed - collecting bits, but you really don't want to work on corrugated iron on your own or in the wind. Anyway, hopefully a big leap forward soon. The achievement for the day is a scissor jack I found being returned from rusty ruin to work. I am going to use it on the old wreck that has a complete towbar (as opposed to the $5 tow bracket for which I would need a bar.) trapped underneath it.

The weather continues blustery and iffy, with real waves on the east coast. So more marine misadventures are on hold. So is seafood. I know I need to start planting soon, but we're in sort of hiatus - and not producing a lot either! A bit of broccoli, some silverbeet... James's fiance arrives next Monday and at the moment we have lots of meat (normally lots of fish, shellfish, veg, and relatively sparse meat - now with shooting wallaby we have lots of meat... and 2 turkeys in the freezer.) As soon as Alana leaves we have Paddy and Clare - probably for the last time in some years as Clare doesn't get long holidays. It's going to be truly lovely to see them all, but the self-sufficiency calender says mobs should visit in autumn :-).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Poly-pipe catamaran

Genetics is not always wonderful. I took James to farm dump this morning, where the relics of the last 60 years are lurking in case there is something useful there. The farm has grown broccoli for seed, wheat, cattle, sheep and the owners are commercial divers. They're also - like me - people that battle to throw useful stuff away. We were hunting some treated posts for a woodshed, which took about 10 minutes. The other two hours were spent sticky-beaking through the junk of ages, coming up with increasingly weird ideas of what one might do with XYZ. He was far worse than I was. James is now set on a poly-pipe catamaran. I hope he either sinks within 20 yards of the shore or gets to South America before it does. At least all my crazy ideas are edible or for processing the same.

Madagascar chocolate

I went to the big smoke yesterday (Whitemark - pop. 180 or so.) and cut daan trees an'eat ma lunch with Peter, and then proceeded to the jetty with a jenny and a spotlight. We did catch two huge squid under the light but the rest were caught in the normal way.

However the post did bring us some excitement - one of the kind fans in the US - having heard me mention Madagascar chocolate tracked it down and sent me some! I shall have to get off my dead butt and write some more of his favorite story.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Well, it should ideal floundering weather at about 4.30 AM this coming morning. I don't think I'm going to go, although we need the fish. Barbs is still fighting her cold, and I am too but to a lesser extent. The whole 'man-flu' thing doesn't work with us. I spent too many days sick as kid to ever voluntarily take to my bed now. I did end up a day in hospital having blood tests about 20 years ago, glandular fever IIRC, I gave up waiting and called B and went back to work, they phoned to say I was sick, but I was busy by then, with a farm to run, and spent 1 and a half days in bed when I had Malaria. When I feel not well I'll go and sleep for an hour or two, but I was not designed to be that still. I don't even sleep more than 3 hours at a spell at night, and I seem to function OKay on around 6 hours sleep. Barbs and James both need 8 +, Paddy used to but seems to be adapting to cope with less. I have slowed down a lot with age, but I do feel being married to the energizer bunny must have been enough of a penance to make up for any good points I might have.

I'm busy working my way through an old SA cookbook - most of the food is pretty ordinary pre-war stuff, but it does have the advantage of cooking from a very small, basic set of ingredients. The author assumed you might be on the farm, and have a store cupboard - not a supermarket down the road.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oops. I just plain forgot to post yesterday. Maybe I need muttonbird oil. If nothing else it can frighten you into remembering (apparently it is good for cholesterol levels too so maybe I better try it. Besides something has to explain the vintage and mental acuity of the islanders. Our 98 year old Scottish dancing teacher has a better memory than most 30 year olds.)

Barbs has a cold and had to work, but loving her job, James is working his socks off too, but doing interesting stuff too. Me I am just muddling along writing. Made more boere wors, and some biltong. Found some dumped poles for wood-shed. However we have made some serious progress in the trailer department as we've been given a little one that was tossed into a shed here on the farm. All that is wrong with it is one flat wheel, but the tyre itself will need replacing. Jamie has offered to do some welding, Peter offered to help with the forms for the boat, and I have a new jockey wheel and a little hand winch to put onto it, so,hopefully for the cost of a new tyre and some lights and cable, we'll have a trailer, which means the Zoo can stay inflated and ready to launch and cut the epic of taking her to sea to a minor circus sideshow instead of the whole three rings, custard pie flinging clowns and runaway elephant.

Oh, I bought two little bits for screwing on the roof and hex inset screws today. I've been putting this off because 1)I'm mean and I hate spending money. 2)I'm mean and I hate spending money. 3)(repeat). And I will protest loudly that I'm no' mean, Ahm jist carefu' I hope you believe me. Seriously, I avoid shopping for tools for the same reason I don't keep games on my computer, because it would be too easy to lose control and buy half the place, and some degree of prudence is required. To my embarrassment they cost just on $5. I was expecting 5 times that.

Tea last night was slow cooked wallaby shanks with ginger jam roly-poly for dessert. When last did you have a roly-poly pudding?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A day with a hookah

I carefully ordered and stuck the new numbers on the Zoo.

And they have mostly peeled off. It was one of those sort of days. The poor ute was loaded to the gunnals and trundled to Patriarchs and blew up the Zoo (we have a trailer, just need a tire, so slowly we get organised, and soon she can be ready to go, not ready to unpack, inflate, load etc.)

We did have fun doing so, as the instruction were not with us. Anyway got there and back so no drama. Well, no drama except with the little motor (quite adequate for 350 - 450 meters offshore, and she pushed the boat through the waves well - better than expected, actually.) Which would not start... and we tried and tried and tried. Jamie and the other two, with the Hookah, launched and went out. We battled on - got it going after taking the plugs out, after a little adventure with the plug spanner. They do not swim at all well, really. We got out , taking a neat gap through the waves and out. Jamie's GPS was on strike, so we had to move a few times before finding some ground - not our usual bhommies but there were a quite a few small crays in the occasional crack. Nothing quite big enough - I caught 3 I had to throw back and Norm 2. We did find some enormous abalone, but not the best dive. We then came in - Jamie wanted to go to Babel and fish, and Russ and wanted in. We had a good run in but missed the mouth, and could not get the motor to tilt. So we put the motor in the boat - light enough and pulled it the 75 yards to the mouth. Only I tripped and my stormy cape - water sensitive life jacket... inflated. There goes another $25. On the bumpy near quicksand drive out two little struts for the Zoo's floor snapped. The ute battery was flat (from using the electric pump) and so I left the ute and came home Russ (who had to rush) to fetch the jumpers, have a cuppa and and a biccie, and went back. Backed up and waited. They'd had a slow afternoon - only 7 flathead, and got back in the dusk. I managed to get the ute stuck leaving the beach and had to get a tow (quick and easy but still) So... no disaster, but certainly LOTS of drama. Still, no lives were lost, no problems that were not overcome and Norm did get his chance to tell Barbs I have spent the day with a hookah. Maybe I should just have stayed in bed :-)
Hopefully you'll get a decent post tomorrow. I had 6 wallaby and one turkey to process, and no internet access as the line was full of kids book flights. Much to my relief that is done, visa to visit sorted. I am very glad. Tomorrow the Zoo goes on her maiden east coast voyage, and it was 2.30 before I got any sleep and i was awake from 6 working. So good night,

Thursday, July 19, 2012


When you drive into Whitemark there is a trailer-load of wood with IIRC $150 on it. Yes, it is a nice load of she-oak. Yes, it is probably cheaper than heating your house with gas (here at least) or electricity. But I am very grateful to being able to afford a chainsaw, having a ute, and having access to more dead, dry wood than I could burn in 50 life-times. I cut a load of about the same size in half an hour. OK it wasn't she-oak but its incredibly hard heavy gum. The section of fallen tree I cut made me feel faintly guilty because it was straight for around 3 metres and just on 30 inches thick. It would have made some beautiful planks. Still, it was fallen and rotting. I do wish I knew more about the local wood. Some of it is beautiful. Anyway, one day. In the meanwhile I think we have a month's generous fires. And if I lived elsewhere, I'd probably pay through the nose for it. Here it is a little labour and a tank of fuel, a bit of chain-oil.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The wild social whirl of the island. Never a dull moment... We had a visit from the police this lunchtime. Yes, you all suspected it, didn't you. He's not really a dull sf/fantasy author cum self-sufficiency nutter. He's really a power mad cultist from Borneo/a power mad scientist from North Korea set on word domination/selling dangerous hallucigens/all of the above. Well, you're out of luck. He merely came to talk about going for a dive (and probably to check on the fusion reactor I'm building, to help with my power madness... nhaa haa ha... evil cackle). Anyway, we did what good country coppers do, talked about fish, and boats and diving and guns, for the purpose of shooting wallaby. I may have a lead on someone who can put scope grooves into my old Lithgow. Then a little later we cut some wood, and stoked up the fire and went off to the meet the doctor and family party. I think he'll do fine, and his wife and kids are sweeties. They're keen on the outdoor life, and fishing and diving, and we're glad to have them.

James has just been charging his mobile on the camera jack, which did not work too well for either, so tomorrow I must see if I can get it to transfer pictures.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Eggs-box and the blackerry

I've derived a good new way of fire-lighting. In winter, here, that becomes a necessary skill. When your wood-burning heater is elderly and has its air flue rusted to one position (and no I am NOT trying to fix it until summer. I don't want to have to replace it if I bust it, and doing so could take a while as it has to come over on the ferry.) When my chooks started laying, we found ourselves without many egg-boxes, so whenever we gave anyone eggs it would be on the 'egg box comes back, please' condition. And people being what they are, they put the egg-boxes in dark places, alone, and you know what? They bred. Multiplied prodigiously. And of course the chooks slowed down for winter, but the flow of egg-boxes coming to us did not. The one thing you don't do on the island is to say 'no' when people want to give you things or take you places -- because they will never offer twice. (My poor Indian friends - from a culture where it is polite to refuse the first two offers, in case the host was trying to be polite but really could ill afford it... had a culture shock). And we WILL need egg-boxes again. Just right now they're Ott. The other issue I have is old cooking oil - with one son allergic to seafood, I have to be very cautious about re-using it. It is however, basically diesel - not easily ignited but long burning. So the perfect firelighter is some old cooking oil poured into 4 squares of egg-box. I like to play with my eggs-box. And I have a blackberry too. And some raspberries. Frozen. Who says we live in the past?

Tomorrow we're (Barbs - via her job at the Doctor's rooms) and James and I, via her, going in to a do to meet the new Island doctor. We're a little nervous about this - Barbs will have to work with him, but that is minor, compared to fact that he is going to be the island's doctor. We were spoiled with Sonia and Biren, and Tony who has been locum-ing is a treasure, who understand Islanders and island life. It's a bit different to a mainland practice. It's an island. You can't just go to a different practice. And the Doctor has to live with a tight-knit, quite inter-related community who will affect his quality of life far more than any mainland community... because they ARE a community, and there are very very few things happen here that everyone doesn't know by nightfall.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I am pleased with the latest batch of sausage - which is a lot closer to boerewors than my first attempt, although entirely wallaby. Next step will be dried sausage. We cut wood, fetched some corrugated iron and had a good snuffle around the farm dump for some useable poles and bits of timber for a wood-shed. Norman is hard at work with his pig house, so we may get to pork and bacon again.

Barbs flew back in very vile weather, and we're really feeling the bite of winter now.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ok, yesterday we went diving, and now my freezer has its quota of Abalone, all vac-packed and sorted, and also 3 wallaby. We have a new stock of mince for making wors and possibly dried wors. Today we made 8kg's of coarse mince - Wallaby are supposed to be lean meat, but my word these are fat. I seemed to spend forever washing up (OK, it's partly me. I can't handle greasy dishwater, so as soon as it's even discolored I tend to start again. And it needs to be white-hot. I am a bit of a waster of water, but it's at least rainwater off the shed roof, not something that is scarce right now.) James got off on the injured finger. I think I'll injure mine. I'd scrub toilets or change nappies (diapers) rather than wash dishes, and trust me there is no form of housework I haven't done. I don't object to housework, really disgusting jobs tend to be my share (the women in my family do not handle blood or poo easily. I just tune it out. It's like fish slime)I just don't like greasy water. If I was to end up a widower (unlikely, barring the unforeseen, which I hope never happens), a dishwasher I would have to have, or I'd starve avoiding dirtying anything (I actually don't like a grubby environment. I cannot imagine living like so many young guys - and women too, seem to. Up to a point a degree of clutter (especially at the end of a book) is OK, but it bothers me and suddenly I have to clear it. Whenever Barbs goes away the house gets radical putting away of stuff. Not being able to find things is her penance for leaving me behind.

I'm being far too absent-headed at the moment. I just did a batch of rolls without yeast. Had to add yeast and let them rise, put the oven on, forgot to put rolls in. spotted it an hour later and put rolls in... and nearly burned them, forgetting about them.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ok so it is 11.13 PM, and I'm just back from taking the littlest to hospital. He's fine. I made the mistake of asking him to wash the knife he was about to cut the roast with, and as he's not used to this washing thing, he cut his finger. As an ex-medic I didn't quite think it needed a s stitch, but I took him in and they agreed with me. So now I am going to bed and not answering comments, or doing the work I owe O'mike

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mary was on a mission tonight, more and more complex dances... and the floundering would have been good. I guess I shouldn't have gone dancing. Ah well. It keeps our instructress happy. I made a goat curry - which makes the first time I have knowingly eaten goat. It wasn't half bad, actually, not anything like the chew I anticipated. We had old-fashioned chocolate sponge pudding and the nuts I have been so painstakingly keeping vac-packed and frozen are stale. Moral - check before you preserve, if not before you buy. For us these things are small luxuries that were bought cheap in relative bulk and add a bit of extra variety to food, and maybe a few bits missed in our living-off-the-land nutrition. I am battling a bit for veg at the moment, as we're down to the pumpkin, last few beets, carrots, spring onions, and the only thing that's flourishing is the broccolli - and there isn't that much of it. The peas are producing a last gasp, and the sliverbeet isn't yet growing enough. Ah well, we still have some tomatoes and capisicums which is a miracle, but we'll be down to canned and frozen stuff soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

mad rabbits

Have you ever had a song go feral in your mind, and get stuck there? I've had an old Gordon Lightfoot track turn itself into something that keeps repeating like over-greasy chili sauce. So I thought I'd inflict it on you. "Look here child, your father's pride was his means to provide everybody around with mad rabbits."

Yes it's been rainy and miserable. I spent 2 hours on the 'phone to Immigration about James's Fiance and am no wiser. After my experiences with New Zealand's Emigration (we wanted Flinders, but we were not sure we'd get into Australia, but if we got NZ permanent residence we could also come to Australia after 4 years - the process of applying and acceptance took nearly 3 so, same ball park.) dept. I concluded there was a certain level of pure beurocratic inertia that mere logic doesn't penetrate (NZ - Yes, you have the points to come here as a migrant and bring your wife, if you work in your field. Yes, your wife has the points to come here and bring you, if she works in her field (and there is a large demand). Yes you could come here and write, but only if you are published by a NZ publisher - which would not pay you enough to live on. You could come and be sponsored by a peer organization of sf/fantasy writers, but we don't have one. They would have to put a smallish amount of money to guarantee you would not be a drain on the state. No you can't put it up and in trust so you can't spend it. Gah. Basically, we could have got on an 'plane - as friends of ours did, and -as they had the points, applied from inside the country, and got temporary status fast, and to permanent residence in 2 years. But despite the fact that their own rules said we'd be very desirable citizens, they tossed us about from pillar to post, and the Australian visa came through. And in fact if it hadn't we'd have taken 2 years of Barbs working at radiography job, and got permanent residence, and all they would have gained would be 2 years they'd quite possibly have got anyway. This is much the same, the girl has the points to get a visa - she's a very desirable graduate, in a field which Australia doesn't have enough of, her husband to be is a permanent resident, she's over 21, short of some major impediment (like another husband or criminal record - which she doesn't have) she has two ways into the country. Why then make it complex? Why make her spend 7-12 months of uncertainty -- apart from her partner, thereby making it more likely they'll go there instead of coming here? Yes, I could see the sense, perhaps, if she was 17 year old illiterate coming for an arranged marriage, of trying to slow it down. It's futile anyway, because the people who might take it as an impediment, you want. But seriously, if you're eligible for a working visa, have desirable skills, have a permanent resident partner with desirable skills and a job... why does it need a year? There are no time advantages to doing it right, to doing it from outside the country.

Sigh. Mad rabbits.

I think the wallaby are close enough for me to supply everybody around with.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ordinary people...

Ordinary people... living extraordinary lives. That somehow popped into my head this morning in pre-dawn while I was juggling new story ideas with the one I should have finished already, and the thin trails of cloud were turning from pearlescent threads of whites and greys to bloody with murdered sleep. In so many ways, we are. Maybe touch sharper than the average pencil in the box, with a rather bizarre backgrounds... but solid and, well, boring. We're married. We have two children. We don't have any huge odd physical or mental issues (well, OK I am nuts, but in a very ordinary way). We're actually very staid, quite conservative in a lot of ways. Eat porridge for breakfast.

But we've ended up doing extraordinary things, and in extraordinary places. I have some small success in a field that actually 1:1 000 000 people do. I blundered into it and was too stupid to back away. I've lived in a series of weird places - a Victorian Maternity home, a house designed in a sinstral spiral with no straight walls and secret rooms and hidden door, built by an Irishman named Murphy. It wasn't unique. He built three of them, one every time he moved. A home on a mountaintop, a home on a remote island. All of them picked for very mundane, sensible (at the time) ordinary reasons. Well. Sort of ordinary. We liked them.

Extraordinary places, events and jobs... just seem to happen to us. We never set out to be adventurous. Perhaps God has a sense of humor, and we're a sort of walking practical joke. It's a good life, if you don't weaken. I look at so many people I know still in the same town they were born in doing the same job as 50 000 other people, and probably quite happy with it. And I do have to wonder what it is that sends us off down the strange.

We went to a funeral today. Inga Woolley - who was our first friend on on the island - died. Inga was more like an extraordinary person (two bricks and a tickey high and the boss)living an extraordinary life. She came out to Australia at 17 - alone, with an average grasp of English, just after the war. She was our first visitor, and we loved her Australian-German accent. "I tell you what to do mitt abalone." She came to Island as soldier-settler wife, and they carved out a farm from swampland, with attitude and hard work, and not much more. She, I think better than anyone else, understood just how it feels to be very long way from all you held as familiar, your support system and your 'ordinary'. We're richer for having known her, and her bright eyes and quick curious mind will stay on my memory. Probably live on in some of my characters.

Yep. Some of are ordinary and stay that way in ordinary lives.
And some of us make that ordinary extraordinary. Goodbye Inga. You will be missed. You were never ordinary.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Back, long ago, remote farm-people lived for the post. It brought news. It also brought mail-order goods, and parcels of things from people in places where the shopping... well, existed, or was more extensive than the general store thirty (or five hundred) miles away.

We're quite lucky in that between Walkers, Bowman's, Max's (in lady Barron) and Roberts (with bits at the post office and pub and tourist stuff in couple of other spots) we have quite a range. We even have a dress/fashion place, which of course I'm into every half hour. Um. Sorry, I really am terrible on names :-) you can buy most things on the island. Because we have a rather eclectic cosmopolitan population (that polite speak for bunch of weird people from odd places, even South Africa) you can buy a range att he supermarkets that eclipses most neighborhood supermarkets. Sushi stuff, curry spices, organic gluten free... we have it.

But the post is still much more special than to folk who can shop more widely. It doesn't just bring bills. Today for example brought me a supply of great shed-rags. I have already modified my will accordingly and bequeathed the remainder to my grandchildren (it's an in joke. You have to be here :-)) and a pair of slippers (of 3 ordered) and a box of 10 copies of

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Right, a few more details about the great flotilla expotition to find the North Pole or East Kangaroo island (whichever came first). The wind set fair for France, the day we embarked... (true. So long as you don't mind taking the long route) After causing some wallowing when we loaded Peter's boat with 6 people and dive gear for 3 we took two boats. Unfortunately boat 1 took off like a rat up a drainpipe, and did not realise that boat two was sitting at the jetty suffering a serious dose of flat battery and electric start. They did see us coming along their wake... only it wasn't us. It took getting a battery out of the Ute to get it going (and no, pull starting 110 horse motor did not work). By this stage yours truly's toes had froze and I barely noticed them getting nipped by a rising boat and not rising jetty ladder. I notice now. Anyway, had a nice run out once we got going, with wonderful airconditioning (aka evaporative cooling off the drips from the bimini). The divers went into various caves and crannies and found... not a crayfish. The fishermen drifted sans sounder and did not hit any rocks. No fish, no rocks either. We did get a few flathead in the end but it was not a great day for fish. Still it was beautiful out and Barbs did get her first gummy shark (I always want to throw them back, but they are popular trading items.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ok, a very tired quick post. We've been to sea and fished and dived as a family, come home, eaten flake (why bother IMO) and fresh flathead for our tea. tired now, will write all about it tomorrow

Friday, July 6, 2012


The Kookaburra - like a fluffed up bundle of old rags with a sharp beak was sitting on the fence post laughing at me last night as I rushed about doing the chores (Barbs is working until 6-7 every night, and James leaves home at 7.15 and often doesn't get back until 6.30-7 every night, so it's very quiet here on the farm. Dogs bark and the kookaburra laughs and blasted kurrawongs make a racket passing through. Human chatter, not a lot.

I've been told that people are very superstitious about killing kookaburras. That explains why they're not extinct :-). I've got quite used to it and almost fond of it, but the first time nearly made me jump out of my skin. I do begin to appreciate, though, why they said that the early Flinders island farms were really tough on the women. While it's not universal, I think women are more gregarious, and this must have been a very lonely life if you liked a bit of a chat. Fortunately I like people and can see them once a week even if I don't need to. The internet too makes a big difference. But I understand why some people talk back to the kookaburra

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We have had heavy frosts again this morning. I conclude this side of the mountain is just colder. Having James home has meant a few changes - he's got to be at work in Lady Barron by 8, and both of them are getting home later. It's meant I get to walk out to the gate at 7.15 and there was ice on the puddles this morning. Still lovely having him home and I think he's learning a lot and hopefully enjoying himself. He went to see today and got wet and cold.

I'm, I hope, getting myself back toward myself with the writing. I did quite a lot of tidying today, which is always a good sign. New books come from a clear desk (which by the end of the book is cluttered with open reference books, notes, maps, diagrams and empty coffee cups)

We have a rat eating my onions. It's in the old chook yard, and I can see the holes. It's quite far from the house, and well fenced, so cat proof without a lot of effort. Some kind of trap is needed. A big one - it's a big hole. A rat called Kimberly, perhaps?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Okay, yesterday involved a fair amount of running around with the little big one, and culminated in him going off to work this morning, at 7.15. We also went out with the professional hunter last night, so that got him and I back home at 11.15. Then I had to MGC post, and then I fell asleep - at about one, and awoke to cramps at about 2. No one else in the family was affected, and none of the usual ills that follow this were received. But I am under-slept. Barbs is doing her first day alone at the surgery, and James is having his first day at the Abalone diver's place (he will be mr manyjobs, and nothing glamorous like diving in cold water. Yet.)

And I stopped to visit Peter after dropping B and have returned with all sorts of goodies, including a portable generator - this is an investment in our future home (which may, who knows, end up off grid - I'd like that). I was also considering it as possible squid-catching device - take a few really bright lights and shine them on the water at Red Bluff.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Welcome home little one

Our Boy James is home after some epics with his Zimbabwean visa. We'd like Alana too, but for the next 6 weeks, we've just got James. Anyone needing to employ a large likely lad on the island, let me know. Peter brought him across with his new ute, and we're deeply grateful. Once the flock of locusts (AKA 22 year old) has descended on the larder, we may need to send him out to forage. Better lock up your chickens.

Seriously, very relieved parents.