Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Playing Possum...

We've got a nocturnal visitor coming in the kitty door to steal catfood and whatever else takes his fancy. I took a torch to the bedside table and when I heard a non-kitty type crunching (it is different, and it goes on longer) I tiptoed out of bed, torch in hand no firm plan in my fuzzy pate. Only I had a Robin to my Batman, a faithful sidekick. Well, actually I had a Batman (the cat) to my Batman act. I had stealthily clumped along from the bed in my usual sleepwear... like not much, and bare legs and feet as part of the bargain. But I had a torch... and a passage and three rooms to cross.

Batman had been outside and the only reason HE could see (or perhaps he was HELPING me - possum wrestling in a pair of baggy shorts might be up to my usual standard of dim-wittedness.) for me being out of bed was so he could warm his cold toes on my warm feet, by standing on them. First I nearly shrieked the house down, but swallowed that realising it was not an amorous possum, but a... darling cat, amorous pussum. Who assisted my possum-stalking in cat fashion, you know diving between your legs and trying to stand on my feet and climb up my (bare) legs. Possums must be stupider than rocks - or me - or stone deaf anyway, because it was still there when I turned the torch on. It ran one way - away from the kitty door and I nearly ran the other because it was freaking well fed on catfood - it looked the size of a short-legged staffie, and about as pleased as a staffie is to see another dog in its turf. Anyway I'd dropped my common sense when I fell over the cat, and so I hurtled into the fray... and fell over the cat, who thought this a great game with his possum... Fortunately, the possum decided I was some kind dangerous possum-molester, dressed like that, and left.

I blocked the kitty door and went to bed. Only had to get up twice to let cats -who wouldn't budge if it was open - out.

This morning however brought much joy in the land - our first egg from the new chooks. I went and dug up some cock-chafer larvae for them to reward them. Chickens regard these fat white grubs as the equivalent of fine swiss chocolate (yes, they are eating out of my hand).

This afternoon I cut another load of wood - winter is here, so naturally we get to doing what we should have had done before autumn. Fortunately it's still been very dry so I could drive to where I had found a downed she-oak (related South African readers to the casurina we got there on the beach.) It's hard heavy dense wood which makes very hot fires and burns long - apparently was very popular for firing in bakeries. There's a sort of hierarchy of woods for fires here - the island has probably a few million tons of dead trees (in among all the living ones. They die, and new ones grow, some from fires and some from wind uprooting them and some just seem to reach old age and die. Also they get cleared for roads and farm land. Trees are growing a little faster than they get cleared it seems to me.) She-oak is a bastard to cut, but worth it, then there are gums and gums and gums. Perhaps to the old hand dead gums are still easy to tell apart. To me the good hard ones are only identified by cutting them up. If you can't, then they will burn quite hot. There's macrocarpa, and pine and Cape Barren cypress (I think that's what it is called) and some stuff that has to be related to the proteas,?bottlebrush, which burns in seconds flat with no heat, and the paperbarks which are surprisingly good hard wood. And there's another skinny little thing that just about bounces saw blades... I have a lot to learn.

My rubbers arrived today... for the spear gun. Now all I have to do is figure how to get the string and its two bobbles into the hole in the middle of the rubber, and I'm home and dry... (well probably wet and at sea). The hole in the middle of the rubber is about 1.5mm. The bobble is about 7mm in diameter. Another fine mess you've got me into Freer! I think I will have to consult my friend Peter who is good at this sort of improbability.

And tonight I have a sturdy landing net AND the torch. Probably the cat-assistant too.

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