Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Shrove Tuesday

Is pancake day. The Anglican Church do free lunch-time pancakes, with a vast selection of sweet and savory fillings. I do my bit as the pancake cook - I had 4 pans working flat-out for just over 2 hours. I also took in 4 large pots of savory fillings - long on meat and veg off the land. It's free - like several of the functions and feeds here - although there is a collection box for donations for some form of disaster relief every year: Australia - fire or drought. People I suspect give more than we could charge, because that's the nature of the people and place.

I'm good with getting up a 5 to cook, doing my bit. Once, in what seems like another lifetime we came to the island... pretty broke. It cost nearly all we had and the exchange rate was very against us. I was still learning the local fish and how to catch them, and we had no access to meat or poultry. Veg, rice cheap noodles were a lot of what we ate. Now, I raise or shoot our own meat, and meat portions are generous, my deep freezers bulge, and money doesn't come into it much - then, well we made a point to buy some meat (whatever was cheapest) every two weeks. Aus prices made my eyes water. Going to these 'feeds' meant a lot to us. I'd like to think I pay it forward a bit, play a small part in a community that does this kind of thing.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Resume the position...

2016 turned into the sort of year largely best left un-mentioned. Partly sheer battle-fatigue. We did go and see Paddy and Clare in the UK and Patrick and Judith in Brittany, but something about that turned occasional tinnitus into a permanent chorus in my ears. My writing career went along swimmingly... as the man said of how things were going when his home flooded. It's still going. I'm planning on doing more self-publishing through Amazon in the future, and have started a mailing list - if you're interested you can sign up here. We did more pigs and more bacon and ham... just battering on, not losing too much ground, not gaining any really.

But in the latter half of the year we had a bit of a financial shock - the great deal we had on the present house we are tenants in got revised. Now, we're very grateful for what we'd had, and this was fair enough. But... it pushed things into a situation of instead of saving furiously and hoping we'd have the cash in hand when property prices fall (as they must, eventually. If interest rates rise, the Australian job situation worsens or the farming situation changes for the worse - Flinders will be one of the first places hurt. All those second holiday homes will, if it is a choice between paying home mortgage, or the holiday place mortgage - you know which one has to go)- to one where we felt we were going to lose ground, or take the step of buying something with what we had.

So... on Friday next Barbs and I will start the next phase of our adventure. We'll have 43 acres of rocks, bush and not very arable grazing land, about 800 meters from the beach. Oh yeah, and next to no money. So what else is new?

But somehow we're going to raise a house on it. Sheds, Veg gardens, an orchard, and eventually some fencing and livestock. It's not ever going to be commercially successful farming at that size - but we should be pretty much self-sufficient.

It's going to be tough. Make and scrape, paint it blue and make it do. But... I have done tough. And I am longing for a place of our own. I want to build... for me and mine. I want to plant trees I will see fruit and harvest from.

I want to say 'this is my land.'

And I will.