Friday, November 30, 2012

gah, late in last night with car hassles, thunderstorm now... I will try to post properly tomorrow

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Flinders Island settling - all the hidden things (part 1)

The problem is that the locals all think you know the obvious.

Without realizing it is only obvious to them because they've lived here a long time.

To the rest of us, it is stuff you have to find out. For the first couple of years we were here, even the supermarket in Whitemark had no sign. Just petrol pumps outside. If you didn't know, you should starve. They're things you could assume the island doesn't have otherwise. The secret behind the green door(next to the supermarket)... is the hairdresser. It often sounds like the song in there, but I don't know. It's not one of my regular spots, as you may gather. She flies in and does mass cuttings, but there are two other hairdressers on the island, Chi (Emita) and Kelly (down in Lady Barron. She cut our Clare's hair for the wedding). That makes it about one hairdresser for every 230 people. I have no idea how this compares to mainland ratios.

Essential facts - there are 2 supermarkets. Look for the pub in Whitemark. It's the token double story building, so it may not be too much of a challenge. Walkers is straight across the road. It is not open on Sundays. In Whitemark not even parachutes open on Sunday. However in furrin parts, probably because of the Godless Heathen in them distant parts (grin. We have everything here! But Whitemark has 2 churches and Lady Barron is deprived with only one. And on an island with the main towns all about 20 km apart, you'd think they were 500 miles apart and possibly in another country to hear some folk talking about the others) Lady Barron Store is open on Sundays until three in the afternoon. It also sells petrol, and Max does a good coffee. If you drive into Lady Barron on the main road look for a VERY small sign on your left that says 'Lady Barron Store'. Turn left off that again at the next tar road, and look for the petrol pumps. If you arrive on the island on Sunday evening be sure you don't need fuel or tucker, because you can't get any. Oh and don't drink the town water because it is untreated the pipes are full of lead.

You can buy grog at the Pub, the Sports club (keep driving past the pub. Go through the golf coarse and the road takes you there) and Lady Barron Tavern. Freckles (in Whitemark) sells wine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Today has oddly been one of those days when the words came easily and freely. Must be something to do with a sore hand. Sleep has been a bit of a premium, because I move around a lot and it is easy to hurt it. Also Batman (the cat) was being a difficult brat last night. Anyway, the tomatoes I planted have their first flowers open. Something has destroyed one bean plant, and in another separate locale, one pumpkin. I have some more due to go in, it's just been fitting in the time. And I did the mincing of enough dog-tucker to see us through to after the wedding.

Today is done. Tomorrow may be more exciting. Or not.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The dive flag that dived...

I put it in the water. It went down like a torpedo. Nearly brained a crayfish. Jamie failed to get that one out, (and left the flag as an underwater flag so he could find the crack and have another go. We did pick up the flag, but not the cray) but got another, and I had a lucky day and got two -one about 7 pound and the second 8 and a half. Norman still has the lead for the season, by 200 grams - 4.1kg - over 9 pounds. Mine unfortunately for me really hurt my hand, which I had crunched getting the boat trailer off earlier (we got stuck and had to snatch strap it). Not only did he squeeze the hand, but for the first time in my many years of crayfishing... I got bitten by a crayfish (have a look at the little mouth parts sometime and you will realize just how unlikely this is - a cray mouth is up and down, vertical, and not horizontal. Anyway even through a 3mm neoprene glove, I have a black thumb and a blood blister to go with a sore, swollen hand. But compared to the cray I got off lightly.

The third crayfish did the classic monkey fist in a calabash thing to me, as I could grab the tail, but just not get my hand and it out of the hole. It is proof that I slightly smarter than your average monkey in that I am not still there, very dead as I would be out of air, and still clutching. It was either smart or the fact that I already had two good ones, and it was possibly not even big enough. Ah well, there will be another day...

Meanwhile, the dive flag mark 2 may be tested in less extreme circumstances... well, shallower.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

to Mince or to Mince

I cut and Barbs minced - I remember all too well the days of the hand mincer. Not everything from the days of yesteryear was better. We did cats fish (wrasse, Aus salmon, and leatherjacket) for the next 2 months, and then last night I went out shooting wallaby with Norman and 'big wed'(ATV) and the new spotlight he has fitted to it, and shot 6 wallaby. I have cut and minced 2 so far, and another one and we'll have stocks of dog food past Past James's Harare re-affirmation of vows. My shooting must be getting better as I only shot at and missed completely 1 wallaby. My gutting and skinning is definitely getting better. I wasn't still at it at 2 AM.

The strawberries have given us our first two Strawbs and cream

I collected some turkey poo yesterday - it's a hard solid 10 litre bucket full - rock hard. Any bright ideas how I should use this supposedly wondeful nitrogen source appreciated. My carrot show some signs of very variable nutrients...

It's a lovely looking day so hopefully will get a chance to try dive flag mk1 later. But now, to work.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

How many plants does your garden grow?

I was standing stirring porridge this morning, looking out at the kitchen garden, and I started counting food plants and herbs. The kitchen garden is more or less 6.5 X 6. meters with a 2x3 bite out for the wood shed. It's the most sheltered corner. I am not one of those green-finger blokes who can make 10 plants grow huge and healthy where 3 struggled before. I am one of those who can make 3 plants struggle where 10 grew before. Yet veg we eat almost entirely off what I grow, which is why I have a vast diversity and beds in three very separate areas, and pots in a 4th. I figure although some will fail, or produce little there is hopefully always something in the gap.

Kitchen garden:

1)Olive trees (2)potted.
2)Asparagus (potted)
3)Garlic chives (potted)
4)Chile peppers (potted)
9)Parsley (moss curled and Italian)
10) tomatoes (varieties black russian, stupice, olmovic, some potted)
11)carrots (3 varieties)
12) beets (2 varieties)
13) Onions
14) Mint
15) sunflowers
16)cucumbers (2 var)
17)sweet corn
18)beans climbing (purple king, scarlet runner, blue lake, and snake)
19)Peas, sugar snap
20) potatoes (congo, elephant, kennebec, and royal Dutch cream)
21) bulb Florence fennel
23)mushroom plant (herb)
24)Capsicum (potted)
25)Zucchini (potted)
26) Salsify and Scorzonera
27) Cape Gooseberry
28) (intended to grow outside area, rooted in) Blacktail watermelon
29) (intended to grow outside) Chantenay rock melon
30) possibly not going to survive fig-tree in pot

Probably about 32 square meters of planted, but a lot climbers intended to use walls and fences. I have lost one watermelon to slugs already. Not all of it will produce anything worth having. This is a minor tomato area, and there are no capsicums in the ground. The parsley is on going to seed.

The pots around the other side of the house (actually more easily reached from the kitchen) are mostly herbs -thyme, sage, marjoram, 3 varieties of mint, parsley, rosemary, chives, tassie mountain pepper, and a few tomatoes in pots JIC. There are also artichokes (not flourishing) and more cape gooseberries. - 11 species, 3 not growing in the other garden.

Then the raised containers - 2 of more-or-less 2 meters in diameter, one 2 meter square. 10 square meters more or less

Not growing elsewhere

2)Garlic (about 40 heads - too little, coming out in a month)
3)lettuce (various)
4)Cauliflower (about to come out, broccoli out already)

5)summer squash (patty pan)

6)Diamond eggplant
7)Silverbeet (Swiss chard)
8)spinach (about to come out)

Carrots, beets, zucchini (2 types), a lot of tomatoes, sugar snap peas, scorzonera, bunching onions (shallots I think), 3 varieties of capsicum, bulb fennel, onions, cape gooseberry

Hotbox - a small 2 by 1 meter greenhouse of sorts -

overwintered capsicums and chilli peppers, and some 'rushed' tomatoes in pots and diamond and ping-tung egg-plant.

Old chicken yard about 6x5 meters (sandy rubbish soil)

not growing elsewhere
1)Blue ballet squash (trying corn and squash thing)
3)one feeble raspberry

onions (a lot, alissa craig, red, and spring) potatoes, sweetcorn, salsify), climbing beans, sunflowers.

Pumpkins (and when they are able to go out watermelon and rock melon) are grown outside this area, probably another 15 square meters Triamble, Queensland blue and Kakai (hull-less seed, grown for the seed)

We have a grape vine (which has not borne anything, but I use the leaves, a small mulberry bush which hasn't had any fruit and a qumquat which has not borne either - fruit supply = bad

I need more potato area, and fruit, a lemon and bay trees in pots, kiwi and raspberry, boysenberries... I need a heavy shade area for summer lettuce... There are loads more veggies to experiment with too, I'd love to field crop wheat, buckwheat and maize, but most of that will have to wait.

I may be a terrible gardener, and I just don't have a lot of time to invest - an hour, maybe an hour and a half a day - taken in between writing, but with nearly 50 species, and a lot of varieties, and several very different soils and microclimates, I hope we have something all year round. Last year we had to buy some potatoes and onions, but pretty much everything else we either were given (apples, lemons) grew, or did without. This year we will have a lot more onions, and some more potatoes, but probably still not quite enough. Call it 80 square meters under cultivation -not one hell of a lot. A lot of the longer term plants in pots - not good for them, but I know we will have to move one day. If an inept gardener like myself (my reaction to sickly/feeble plant 'they have to try harder!') what can good ones do?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Well, our boy is dealing with the next visa hurdle on his path back to Zimbabwe. Ah well. It's character building. For all of us.

Harvested about 8 strawberries today, and had liver and onions for tea. Such is our exciting life. I meant to take some pictures of my new dive-flag rig, which - if it works - will make me easier to find and give me something to hang a spear and fish on, that isn't making me a target, but isn't impossible to haul.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flinders Island settling, part 2

One of the single biggest difficulties with the island is getting stuff here. If you're moving your house here or furniture for a new holiday place, get a quote from various moving companies. Before you open any of them, sit down, pour yourself a strong drink. Drink it. Open the quotes. No, you're not seeing double. We got ripped seriously by our movers - Elliot International, coming across here. Their story was that it was twice the price of moving to Melbourne from South Africa because they had send a moving truck over on the ferry, and pay for the crew, and the truck to go back by the ferry, and the crew to fly off (because otherwise they had to wait a week etc etc.)

In the end they subcontracted to an Australian mover (you can search earlier posts if you want the name) - who left the family rock behind. And they put the stuff into a container and 1/3 of a second (so all that stuff we had to sell/give away before we left... could have come. And if we'd known, what we know know now, we could have filled that container. Then those rock-losers... subcontracted to Bowmans who were rather dismayed to be told we'd paid for it to be unloaded. Including the rock. Which Michael Bowman (not the dear people at the Melbourne movers) found and got brought over in triumph. Bowman's did a better job than most moving companies, although they're just general carters. So: get your things into a container, get the container shipped to Bridport, get the Ferry company to ship it over to Lady Barron, and get Bowman's Transport ( to deliver it. I suspect you will have achieved exactly the same thing, but at a lot less cost, and most of that money will come to the island or island related business, instead of elsewhere. You can try LD shipping, and that may get your container to island from Melbourne or Lonnie cheaper, but our experience says getting hold of them can be difficult, and sailing times variable.

If you need anything once you're here that you don't want to get (or can't get) on island... know that most so-called courier companies are not reliable delivery methods. That 'to your door' delivery the seller insists on your paying for does not happen. That 'more trustworthy than Australia Post' concept that some sellers have is definitely nonsense. Australia Post is the best and cheapest bet to Flinders Island. And on island, very reliable. You can address things to c/o the Whitemark Post Office, and you will get them.

The other thing you need to know, as some sellers will insist on sending stuff courier, is that it could end up 1)At the Post Office (if it is Australian Air Express). 2)At Roberts (if it has come from Joe Lyons or through Flinders Island Aviation. 3)At the Airport. 4)At the warf in Lady Barron. The PO will put a slip in your box, if you have one. Sometimes someone may ring you from the airport (but, get this straight, they have nothing to do with your delivery. They may just be being kind. They don't have to do this, and if they don't know you, won't.) With the others you have to go there and ask.

Joe Lyons (03 63491122) - on Tassie will take stuff to the ferry or to Flinders Island Aviation who actually do the post and most of the courier deliveries. You can also move things across from Victoria (and Northern Tassie) with Bass Strait Aviation My friend Peter has used them, and I trust his judgement. I haven't dealt with any of the others so can't comment, but if you look in the Island News there are other charter services. This is an island. It's not easy or cheap to get stuff here, although it can be quite quick. Factor that into your calculations.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Barbs has a cold, and I have added a turkey - a gobbler that had not found a mate, and was with a bunch of bachelors (I am a great believer in not killing the golden goose, so there are a lot left to breed) for Christmas to freezer-larder. We had a rather chilly barbie with some Polish friends of ours and our good neighbors and some wild pig spare ribs. We only ate the latter.

While it might seem a good time for a barbeque, it's actually being very cold with night temperatures down 8 and days not quite breaking twenty degrees centigrade. The peas are liking it, nothing else is much. I got to see Norm's yams plants today - the plants are a variety of Oxalis, and they look rather like the 'clover' weed. I hope they grow as well.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I went for a dive this morning, just snorkelling and collecting abs and shooting (or rather missing) fish. It is a a lovely experience anyway, although today was neither so calm or so clear as some days. I'm looking forward to giving you some fish pictures to look at. I spotted 6 more scallops, but they are really not very thick there. We probably spent about 2 and half hours in the water, and poor me, my muscles feel like jelly now.Yes, self-inflicted injury, insufficient exercise. Norman was getting into his wetsuit easier after shearing, me, harder. Then their cruiser had to get stuck leaving the beach and we had to go and borrow a rope and pull it out, because the rope we did have snapped like an elderly carrot. It popped out of the smelly mud with audible pop, so maybe there is lurking monster...

In theory I was going to try drying these Abs, but as the process starts from live, to cook, to dry and our dryer has not yet arrived, I will hold off on this batch and do it with the next. Anyway, we will have two for our tea.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Salami and underwater pictures

Back when I was a young sf reader (when we had dinosaurs and fax machines) I remember reading a wholly unremarkable Mack Reynolds story, that had a fisherman controlling a robotic device and having a little screen so he could choose his fish (and have the robot harpoon it). Struck me as all very well for food fishing and commercial fishing, but not (as the author thought it would be) the death of sport fishing. Still, having tried lugging a handline with me while diving, and gone and watched (underwater) how fish chase and do and don't hit a fly (which most anglers don't realize has happened) my friend Peter has now bought a fishing camera - a device you can lower down and watch on a video screen what is happening. It sounds a bit fragile (by the comments on Amazon) and a bit limited, but maybe old Mack Reynolds was not so far off. He also got an underwater video and still camera so maybe you guys will get some underwater pictures to drool over. Yes. They are drool material, if you dive.

We got given some home made muttonbird and goose salami, made by one of the guys who takes hunting tours. It's a bit over-smoked but certainly the one product is not overtly recognizable as home-made. On the downside, it's rather like good salami - hard to tell it was made from something interesting in the first place.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kippin etc.

Hmm. Any Japanese readers out there? or readers with Japanese friends? What is kippin, and what is Monpao and what is the difference? (Yes, I am trying to gather information about drying abalone. It's a very secretive process).

Today Barbs and I went to the school to talk about what being migrants meant. I think we shattered a few illusions, and hopefully got them to grips with a little bit of just how different the various types of migrants are, and, no, that all people coming to Australia are not boat-people or refugees from natural disasters. Maybe I should have said we lived in a mud hut and ate our neighbours, and they should be careful if invited for lunch.

I've net-covered the strawberries, and got a much appreciated huge bag of bits for the drip irrigation system. We're still moderately wet on this side of the island, but elsewhere it is drying out a lot. It's something -having grown up with summer rainfall - that I always find odd. Anyway, more plants have gone out today, willy-nilly because something was eating them in the seed trays. So King, Golden, and Healthy capsicum are now planted in the garlic bed (Garlic will have to come out in midsummer, and I hope that I can completely cover that tank in winter, making it into a little greenhouse.) The first of my grown from seed tomatoes (Stupice) is just starting to flower, but I do have a a tiny fruit on the dwarf yellow I bought in flower. Gah. I really must slug bait in the morning, as the lettuce (first iceberg, very sweet) was just full of tiny little slugs. They are in hte same bed as strawberries, and slugs love strawberries. I might have to beer trap the slugs as Wednesday the Labrador cannot come along and drink the beer under the net, like she did last time I tried this.

I'm hoiking out plants going to seed (lettuce, broccoli, silverbeet, and parsley). The silverbeet replacements are in, lettuce probably not worth putting in until Feb, broccoli even later, but I need more parsley. I have a lot of seed, but mostly moss-curled and we use italian in cooking and moss-curled for pretty, so I might have to let one plant finish. But they are a nuisance (taste lousy at this stage), and are huge.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

still night

It's a still, still night. Barbs is unfortunately exhausted, Norm is is still shearing, Peter is off island, Bill is not up to it right now, Arthur is off island. I feel bad about taking Jamie out until after midnight when he has to work in the morning... Mark's father doesn't know how lucky he is I haven't met him yet. Most of the other friends either have no real interest or require advance notice... So I guess the flounder are safe. I really want to start exploring new spots for them - they must be all around the island. It is frustrating that it must be wind-still.

I went mad today and bought a dehydrator. I really don't need one, but well, maybe we will.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Flinders Island - settling advice part 1

The island is a wonderful place, but getting settled here is... different. I said I was going to write a few posts on what I wish I known before we migrated here. Much of it is stuff locals know, and assume you do. In three years we have barely started to learn but I gather this blog is the starting point for so many people who have come here... so as a background...

Flinders Island is in a way, its own little world. Yes, it's part of Australia, and its people have served, and died for Australia. But it is a small, rural, extremely isolated community. And it really is a community. Everyone knows everyone, or at least of them. When there is trouble they pull together like superglue. When there isn't... hmm. You might think they didn't. But when it comes down a choice between an islander and outsider, no matter how nice the outsider, the islander gets their support. Some people say you have be born here (and that qualifies) or live here for 30 or 50 years to be one. That depends on who you talk to. If you get deeply stuck into the community activities and do not try to take over, but come and help with the heavy lifting, you'll find yourself accepted probably more easily than in any large place. They need you. They don't need a South African or Melbourne or Hobart or Ulan Bator's way of doing things, and honestly, if you're coming to island to escape that and because of this place and its people... bringing it along strikes me as taking what you're trying to leave behind with you. The islanders need more people for the island way, and actually want their own culture and ways respected. Oddly enough - it would seem the best way of getting them to want to try your foreign ways is not to offer them, as we now find ourselves asked to cook 'real South African food' often. It's quite funny because I never did much of the traditional cookery back in SA.

Your first stop on the Island, if you're even thinking about a holiday home, let alone living here, has to be to get the Island News. As a backstop, and because it is available online, you might want to try Island Views ( ) as well. That's a private newsletter-advertorial for the Broken Arrow Lowline stud, but it has quite a lot of local politics, and a lot of local history. The Island News, however has several really important parts to it. The first is the Council News, which could make the island a fortune if they bottled it and sold it as a soporific. Unfortunately it's got important stuff about water, property and dogs hidden it. The second is the police report, which if you have a left crime-ridden spot will make you smile. The third is of course the real reason we can't do without it:In the Island News you will find all the relevant times things are open and what is happening, from the Church services to the tip, from the supermarkets and servos, to the museum. And the garage sales, and adverts for all those things (like plumbers) you can't track down elsewhere. And so I don't do the usual Flinders assume-you-know - PO Box 1 Whitemark Flinders Island Tas 7255 to order your copy. It's 80 cents well spent. I'd subscribe, or go into Bowman's (thereby increasing the traffic in another important Island place) and collect your copy.

But one of the most important things you can do with the Island News is show up every second Thursday and help collate it (it is put together by hand, by volunteers) - if for no other reason than an aching back and sore hips should remind you what hard work a community newspaper is. Besides that, it's a good way of meeting some of the people who put a lot of under-appreciated work into it, and it's usually good for a fair bit of chatter and a few laughs too.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Barring any mysterious eaters-in-the-night we ought to have one ripe strawberry tomorrow. I did cut one Cauliflower today,
and it is a beauty. I shall see if I can find enough size beetroot to make the infamous 'pink Arthur' (Many years ago my Sister-in-law produced a dish of cauliflower cheese. On being asked 'What do you call this stuff, she replied without a second's hesitation: "Arthur" - and thus it has become Arthur ever since (with 'Alice in Wonderland' cries that we can't eat it now we've been introduced). Pink Arthur has boiled wedges of beetroot in among the florets of cauli, and a rich cheese (with a little Dijon mustard) sauce poured over it. It's slightly yellow-white as it comes to table - rapidly acquiring baby-pink swirls as it is served. The earthy sweetness of beet really goes very well in this combo - but the appearance!

The reality is I shall have to put my first pumpkin seedlings out into the the hard cold world tomorrow. The Blue Ballet Squash is just too big for the seedling pot.

Barbs and I were just saying it would be nice (as it seems this Blog is what so many future islanders end up reading) if there were some posts on things you ought to know, but aren't obvious about coming here. As far as I can work out blogger doesn't give me a separate page option, so it will just have to be in among my ramblings about veggies, snakes and weather.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mysterious death

Well, alack! This morning I had a dead chook in the chookabago. We were rushing to Church fair so I didn't have time for a full post-mortem. I called Ducky but he said his name wasn't Chicky, and I would have to deal with myself. By the time we got back burial was in order, and dissection wasn't. One of them was a bit off color and not taking tit-bits from the chook-bucket yesterday morning. And I did hear a hullaballoo yesterday afternoon, so either someone laid an egg or a passing snake came egg-hunting. I don't know which, or if she was sick. Anyway, we will just stick with 2 chooks for a while.

The highlight of the fair was Pippa's (my neighbor's daughter) pony, as Rosie was a major hit with the stream of kiddies. She apparently did fifty 'rides' - and this must average about 3 per child in our vast population, and was much loved and petted, and will doubtless be causing horse-shaped holes in many parents pockets soon. My sandwiches (yes, my role) will probably not kill too many people. And we got more milk. The bargains you get here! The cartons say 'permeate free', which I imagine is like free green stamps. We've drunk one carton and not found the permeate, so I shall write and complain. Actually the fair is another example of the island community. Perhaps a 1/4 of the people involved have anything to do with the church, but on the other hand the church does do one of the most important (sadly) island tasks, the funerals. So everyone chips in.

The rose garden at the Whitemark Multipurpose center (where the fair was) makes me feel piteously inadequate as a gardener. Not that I am very much of a flower grower (does cauliflower count?), but the volunteer tomato plants make mine look so feeble.

I found two pea-pods this evening. We feast!

Friday, November 9, 2012

For those readers who are interested, are American, and have Cable TV, Flinders was the venue for a show called - if I am correct - 72 hours. (there are episodes from all over). Their photography is bound to be better than mine.

To remind those of you facing snow and misery of what different hemispheres we live in (yes, you had glorious summer when it was the winter of our discontent.)

My Strawberries are just starting to turn and I am worrying about netting.

And this is our second set of peas for the year - I had sugar snaps all through winter.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A rant about fisheries

The book from the island of Dr No arrived yesterday - AKA the Tassie Recreational sea fishing guide. I'm an ex-fisheries Scientist. There's no doubt that Tassie was cowboy fishing country - to its detriment - with gill nets and shark fishing particularly. I'm a fairly fanatical sustainable use ex-fisheries scientist, and I want to see the fish there for my grandchildren. But fisheries management works by getting the public to buy in to the process. If you simply blanket ban and restrict - without any form of 'reward' - for so many people it becomes a case of 'well, if I can get away with it', and minimal co-operation from the people who outnumber the authorities 5000:1. This is especially true where the process is viewed us unfair to the public. At the moment with issuing permits for super-trawlers where they just hadn't done the research and cutting the cray quota for recreational fishers, while effectively leaving commercial fishers (who take well over 90% of the catch) unaffected, their image is not precisely glowing. It's a process which has political aspects, and has to be managed as that. The response to losing popular support, typically has been to apply more heavy penalties. It works... if you can terrify enough people. It does not get you much support. The process of regulating fisheries needs to be SEEN to be good for the fishing - which means you have to deliver rewards as well as penalties. In the Rock lobster area, the recreational take is now down to 0.68 per day per pot. In New Zealand - where they realized the value of the recreational fishery... it's 3 per pot. The New Zealanders realized they made far more money out of recreational fishing as an industry, than commercial fishing, and that it was less damaging. So they wound in the commercial fishery. Their daily bag is now 6... ours is down to 3. What's more, it's got better and cheaper to operate for the commercials (the only thing that really works for commercial fishery is to give ownership of a fixed piece of the resource - a reef for example - to a single operator. Otherwise it's I have to take this or he will). Sorry, there is no point in further stealing from the 7% for the commercial fishery. And their stats are dismal. Why not simply issue each fisher with say 30 tags for their license. You may not possess a crayfish without a tag, and you can get a refund for unused ones. Numbers job done. And you need to encourage people to broaden their targeting... Which means protecting species which are endangered and vulnerable, and letting people figure out how to catch other things. Yes, poisons, explosives or any form of indiscriminate fish/crustacean kill has to be banned. But the concept that crab traps (where crabs are not protected, and may in areas be invasive (european green crab, pie crust crab) can't be used is just barking). So is a 20 limit on all the shellfish they don't list. Please. Pencil-bait for example are as common as pipis in places. So are various other species - the ribbed mussel for example. They are not large. 20 would yield 100 gram of edible meat. Urchins - which aren't even listed would be assumed to be shellfish by most are a pest in many areas. So why not tell people in areas where this is true, that it is open season? Or set a limit of say 1 kilo of shellfish not listed (as at least half is likely to be shell, that's 500 grams). You may not collect live seaweed. Well, hell. I eat the stuff. The amount I need for a feed is maybe 100 grams. Mostly I take it off foul hooked fishing, which is a pretty grey area, as it is sea-drift, and not deliberately collected. But within reason - like 500 grams - live is very little in tons that get washed up, rotting. And invasive species - Japanese kelp - ought to be fair game, take as much as you please so long as it is that. And then there are regional differences, limpets here are very common, around the cities, rare. Doughboy scallops mature smaller and do not grow as large here as in Southern waters. Shape the rules around these things allowing reasonable use. Restrict movement of the stuff (to cheat the rules) by all means. But rules for Hobart make no sense on Flinders.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

mako point

Well, nurse-maiding the washing-machine along, I did three loads of washing successfully. You just have to switch off the water after the rinse. I can be terribly absent minded though, when absorbed in writing, or well, most of the time. I focus really hard, and that means other things sometimes do bypass me. The part is hopefully starting its journey and will get to me in time.

So are 5 mako points (screw on spear points with a flopper to stop fish escaping. For big fish, bigger than we see often. Need a spear with a thread on, which I don't have) that I bought on e-bay for $2.45 in a fit of profligate madness. heaven knows what I will do with them, Yeah. $2.45. My Scots grandmother would be turning in her grave. Come to think of it so would both parents and my Afrikaans grandmother. All things considered it's a miracle I ever spend anything. I was looking for new hand-spear heads as mine, even for a paint it blue and make it do bloke, are either completely gone or bent and beyond sharpening. I also want to make up a foldspear, as carrying a spear in kelp is a pain and a lot of the time there is nothing worth shooting anyway, but every now and again there is a wonderful fish, and I have talked crays into coming forward to inspect this possible dinner, too.

Other than that my blue ballet squash has germinated. None of the other pumpkins are up yet. The garden is showing signs of spring - and the grass is griz. I mowed it with the fiendish beast today, and tried my hand at reversing the trailer back in to the shed afterwards. I need a LOT more practice before I ready for boat-ramps (no I did not jack-knife it or hit anything. Just the clutch was starting to smell and I was running low on patience.).

And we had a beautiful evening this evening, dinner at sundown. This is the view from the dining table. Sorry about the reflection from the window.

If you click on the picture it gives it full size, and you can see the sheep.

Sheep, green fields, gum trees, distances.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It was one of those dives. My two fellow divers managed to find a solitary big cray around the 4 kilo mark, both of them, on the tail end of their air. I got to the tail end of my air having not even seen a cray, found 2 medium ones in a cave... And with very little air left and hating narrow caves anyway, got scared and left them. Ah well. I keep telling myself my wife would rather have me than a crayfish dinner... :-)

James was complaining that we have too few drop-ins here in the whoop-whoop (so by all means do drop in). He preferred us closer to Whitemark. I suspect this reflects his own tastes rather than an accurate guess of mine, and fortunately Barb goes in to work at the Doctor's rooms, so gets some extra people-seeing there. I like people... in small doses. I love the silences and space. I miss being close to a couple of friends but I still see someone besides Barbs every 2-3 days. But last night, as a sort of time travel response to this we had a 12.30 visitor drop in (having gone out for supper up at Jamie's place, to help them eat the thumper cray). As it was after dark, (quite a bit) they parked about a km up the road, so as not to disturb us and then came calling. Yeah, well actually they broke down, having been out for the evening, and as it's us, another good 3km, and a fair bit off the road to some elderly folk going on, and another 3km home, and they had left small kids with granny to go out... waking us seemed a fair call, or at least I thought so. they were embarrassed. Very different from SA - No mobile... just open the door and call. Our ever alert guard dogs didn't even wake up. We gave them a lift home, but I battled to get to sleep, and my body clock said 'its light, get up' this morning. I've been a lovely little zombie all day, and scared to tend my plants.

Friday, November 2, 2012

James is safe with friends in SA, and will hopefully be on his way to Zimbabwe soon. Relief. I worry a lot.

Tomorrow is the start to our spiny Lobster season, and the weather, having been promising, is now looking very iffy. We may go. Or not. Tanks are full, gear ready. Well, mostly. I have to do some last minute sorting to do. A few big crays in the freezer would be very nice, but the weather may prevent it. It would probably be a good thing for the grass (which needs mowing) if it were lousy. In the meanwhile those Capsicums I was upset about not coming up? Well I have a load of King, and Golden up. The Jimmy Nardello and Healthy aren't yet. And the Diamond and one Ping Tung eggplant are up. I have planted out some of the Salsify (it will all germinate in seed trays. outside, next to where I intend to plant it. Almost none germinates in the ground.) and I've got more scarlet runners up and planted, and more germinating. I've also purple King and blue lake runners planted, and blue ballet squash, Triamble pumpkin, queensland blue pumpkin, and Kaki (which has hull-less seeds) pumpkin in the hot-house. For a bloke that doesn't like pumpkin or beans that much, I hope my success there is on a par with my eggplant success (1 fruit last year!) I did get 4 Queensland blues and 2 butternut last year, despite having dug up the plants and moved them. Funny, I love peas, eggplant and capsicums - and never get anything like the weight of pumpkin and beans I do of them. I do like pumpkin seed so I hope the Kaki variety grow.

Oh the potatoes are putting up leaves. I could probably use a few more beds of those. The problem is finding a fertile spot where the rats won't get to them (last year I planted in the old chicken coop, and the rats got more than we did. Too far from the house for the cats. I sometimes wonder if those who buy all their food have any idea how much hassle it can be to grow!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A day that had seen rain, and wet sheep

The windows are streaked with rain, and it's a bit cooler again. We've had about 25mm, which will have Norm and shearers cursing, and the guys who have finished shearing, smiling, as the grass is needing it. As the seasons move on we go to haying, and the grass which should be rushing ahead, hasn't got long enough yet.

I made date loaf today while refilling the biscuit (AKA ├žookie) tin, in some the time I would have taken to weed or plant or water. One cup dates, one cup warm water, add together. 1 cup brown sugar, 2 cups flour and one tsp of baking powder and one tsp baking soda. 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of marge... rub into the dry ingredients, add beaten egg, and stir in the soggy dates and water. Pour into a lined loaf tin. Swear a lot when you discover that you forgot to put on the oven (180 c for around 45 minutes - more for the short fat tins, less for the long thin one. It freezes well)

I've located the part I need for the Speed Queen... in the US. But they will ship internationally... to Canada. Ah well. It's sort of working for now.

And now I return to Arawn, Gwynn Ap Nudd and a great deal of confusion. Welsh myth must be the most confusing of a great many confusing mythologies. (I'm doing some homework for a possible book, before the Scottish Country dancing tonight).