Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy 2010

It is kind of weird being one of the first countries in the world to celebrate New Years Eve.  We are having a very quite New Year at home.  It is so hot here today, my thermometre is registering 38C it is under the front porch which is east facing(southern hemisphere sun rises) so coolest side of the house.  Very windy and we are all flaked out.  I have been spraying the chooks with water and ensuring they are okay.  Though at one point thought I may have to bring them into the but the temp has dropped ever so slightly and they are out chasing bugs.  Lots of water. 
Dog and cat are both hot poor Toby has a double coat, so very cold bones, and ice blocks.  for hiim. The cat was not too keen. 

Off the track there such a hot end to 2009, and with the wind, I do wonder if the New Years eve fireworks in Hobart will go ahead.  It is a busy culmination down here as we have the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race finish and a large food festival called The Taste (taste of Tasmania)  there is also a large concert on called the Falls Festival over the weekend.  camping and partying.  So I hope those attending have kept fluids and coolish. 

Our year here has been an interesting one.  I read Mona's blog Wsprsweetly of Cottages, and her words describe how I find blogging. She puts it into such great words I can not add to it.

I have been blogging for a bit over a year now, and have found so many people out there with similar interests, but whoose lives are so different.  I appreciate all who share parts of their stories.
Around the world we have had major fires, floods, and life has been harder for many around the world due to financial crisis, poverty, famine, war, increases in AIDs, abduction, and the increasing numbers of people forced to work as slaves, weather to make some money or because they have been forced too.

I am so thankful for the lifestyle I have and am creating, that I have the choice, and freedom.  That I am rich beyond measure.  Life is throwing some curly bits at us recently but we will take it one day at a time.

My resolution for the year is to stop worrying about the small stuff.  To do what I can to aid others. 
To continue working in my gardening creating a supply of vegetables, fruit and eggs, maybe some meat, and nuts.  To support local businesses and buy seasonally. 

Thankyou for following my journey and sharing yours. 

Sunday, 27 December 2009

A little bit of everything.

Mince pies as I mentioned in the previous post, this is just to show that I do not actually make them as pies, no more pasties style for much easier when making so many.  

Now onto the vegetable garden.  I have finally put all my seed chest seedlings into the vegetable garden.  There were some that did not make it.  The melons all seemed not to have survived my being away and I have not had the chance to resow them.  May just put some seeds in and see, has anyone ever succeeded with this? 
The tomatoes are my self seeded ones I think that theymay be Tommy Toes, which would be terrific.  I

This is the bed that I have been putting zucchini's and cucumbers.I am letting the beetroot and carrot that are in it go to seed.  There is a bean that has grown must have dropped a seed. You can see just see the terracotta pots that I have sunk into the ground for watering, like a water well.  Covered with mulch. 

This is my last attempt at basil.  I sowed seeds, I put in seedlings into the vegetable garden, and none.  So on the deck in a polystyrene box.  Fingers crossed.  I planted some sage, my sage from last year has died? Thyme and a lemon thyme have gone in.  Pumpkins Turkish Turban, and a butternut pumpkin, chili, cucumber.  One tomato unknown variety in the box with the basil. 

The beans are doing well flowering with lovely scarlet flowers.  This is my first bed I planted with tomatoes, and they have romped ahead.  I have flowers and the aubergine is flowering as well.  Things are going well.
The girls are out free ranging amongst the hazel nuts.  They are growing so well and seem to be happy.  Toby is not going in as much as we have resorted to putting him on a long lead so he can move around but not go into the chook run.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas from Down Under's Down under..

Season Greetings Everyone.
It is Boxing day here in Australia, after a delightful Christmas spent with family and friends in Hobart, not too hot, but beautiful azure blue skies, and a breeze blowing over the Derwent River.  Saddly it was not clear but very hazy.
I awoke having had family issue need for mince pies, 5 dozen made, and 2.5 dozen eaten!  OMG.  My DH loves them and told the kids that they were only for decoration.  That he knew how many were there and well of course no one took any notice.  My brandy butter was almost too intoxicating.  Mind you it went pretty fast onto plum  Little Grand daughter loved the Toblerone mousse. 
I also made a lovely mango, rockmelon, cucumber, salad with spring onion greens, garlic and balsamic vinegar Yummo  went brilliantly with ham and turkey. 

I was so busy having such a lovely time eating trout,  home cooked ham, turkey, salads with mango, rockmelon, mushrooms and rice, new potatoes (pinkeyes) and enjoying the company of those we love.  Saddly not with my side of the family but knowing they were having a very pleasant time in their homes.

For my northern friends, Austraila kind of closes for the rest of December to early -mid January now. Hope you do not need a solicitor, a specialist doctor, accountant, many other businesses take the time from Now through to at least 4 th january off.
No photos today.  Just wishes for you all to have a safe, happy, and contented holiday season.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat...

Summer Garden the fox gloves are finishing, Calfornian Poppies are looking great with the white daisies.  The holly hock is flowering again, but everything will need a drink tonight when it cools off.  I have mulched most beds and that has been a huge help with moisture retaining, I succombed and used sugar cane mulch.

 There is something wonderful about getting my camera back.  I feel a greater sense of being able to truly share what is happening in my world.
Garlic is harvested and some is plaited, others still require drying. Some was at risk of going mouldy so has been separated into cloves and will be put into olive oil and also I think I will try my hand at pickled garlic.  It would be such a waste to loose any.

I have harvested 173 bulbs of garlic whole, and 10 or more that I have had to separate into cloves to be used now and to go into oil and or pickled garlic. This is 100% return on the single cloves I planted way back in March. Perhaps a bit too early.  The mounding of them helped immensely, especially with all the winter rain and more recent rain we have had.  I am thrilled with the success of my garlic!

I made strawberry jam yesterday.  Sadly not from my own strawberries.  I was fortunate to buy 2kg for $5 so purchased 4kg.  So strawberry jam that can be made into chili and strawberry, strawberry sauce. I love it!

When you look at the amazing colour of the strawberry jam,(which I had to take a photo in the sunlight to show its beautiful colour). I am a strange kind of a woman, as I prefer these to Rubies..I told you it was

The following are photos of my vegie patch where I have put my terracotta pots with lids as watering devices.  They seem to be working really well.  The lettuces have thrived near one.  Tomatoes are doing well.  It is quite strange I grew some of them from seeds and succumbed to buying a couple of seedlings from Diggers heritage Seed company at the local hardware shop nursery.  They were more established than my seedlings.  Interestingly enough one of my seeds has caught up.  The others are doing okay.  The pot in the foreground is meant to have some dill in it but looks like the birds or slugs have devoured them.  Oh and can anyone tell me how you can have a potato grow in a space where you have not had potatoes for three/four years, and suddenly you have some?  That is the large plant in the background.
My beans in the garden are hanging on so far with the really bizzare temperature extremes we have been experiencing.  Last Wednesday it was 36C than Thursday was 11C, with a forecast of snow on the highlands for Friday..  Ahhh Tasmania. 

The chooks are growing and looking so beautiful, three of them are developing their combs, one is obviously younger she still is just getting her  comb.

Two of the girls have wattles starting and going red.  In these photos you can see how beautiful their markings are becoming.

Toby is a bit too much for the girls, he works them, trying to round them up.  Some of them ignore him eventually but one and I think it is the younger one is harassed and flies and flurries about.  So Toby chases her.

  My DH believes we will not get any eggs.   sigh.  He is being kept out of the hens run as much as we can.  He does worry about the girls if he does not see them. 
The others do not seem to be perturbed most of the time, just scratch and lie in the sunshine.  How I love seeing them with their wings up getting sun under them.  I am falling for my chooky girls.  They are delightful to watch and listen too.

I have been perusing many of my northern blogs friends blogs.  My breath has been taken away with the lovely snow scapes that they have. (not so keen on the driving conditions) and who knows we in the south of Tasmania may still have some snow for Christmas.  Not normal though, so I always feel kind of strange singing Christmas Carols about snow and cold etc.  I am including here the words of a wonderful Australian Christmas Carol that I love to hear and sing.

Six White Boomers   (a boomer is a Kangaroo)

By Rolf Harris & John D. Brown 

Early on one Christmas Day, a Joey Kanga-roo,
Was far from home and lost in a great big zoo.
Mummy, where's my mummy, they've taken her a-way,
We'll help you find your mummy son, hop on the sleigh.

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.
Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
.. On his Aus-tra-lian run.

Verse: Up beside the bag of toys, little Joey hopped ,
But they had'nt gone far when Santa stopped.
Un-harnessed all the reindeer and Joey wondered why,
Then he heard a far off booming in the sky.

Chorus: Six white boomers ...

Pretty soon old Santa began to feel the heat,
Took his fur-lined boots off to cool his feet.
Into one popped Joey, feeling quite OK,
While those old man kangaroos kept pulling on the sleigh.

Chorus: Six white boomers ...

Joey said to Santa, Santa, what about the toys,
Aren't you giving some to these girls and boys.
They've all got their presents son, we were here last night,
This trip is an extra trip, Joey's special flight.

Chorus: Six white boomers ...

Soon the sleigh was flashing past, right over Marble Bar,
Slow down there, cried Santa, it can't be far.
Come up on my lap son, and have a look around,
There she is, that's mummy, bounding up and down.

Chorus: Six white boomers ...

Well that's the bestest Christmas treat that Joey ever had,
Curled up in mother's pouch all snug and glad.
The last they saw was Santa headed northward from the sun,
The only year the boomers worked a double run.

Chorus: Six white boomers ...

A Joey is a baby Kangaroo
Marble Bar is one of the hottest and most isolated towns in Australia

Our neighbours had a road Christmas BBQ yesterday, and what a wonderful afternoon evening it was.  We ate chatted, drank, the weather was warm and skies blue, a cardigan or sloppy jo was necessary as the sun set, but we adjourned inside and watched the native animals come and eat the grass, bettongs, wallabies, bandicoots, and paddymelons.  Just outside where we were sitting with the doors open.  Our neighbour hood which is about 8homes all up over 1.5km distance is a lovely caring and sharing community.  It is one of the great joys of living in a rural setting for me.  So warm and helpful.  I ask someone do they know someone who is electrician or plumber, and usually someone comes up trumps for me.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Summer harvesting has begun..

It is cool and very windy down in the Huon Valley, with a possibility of showers.  It has been like this most of the last week. 
I harvested all my garlic ( I know I was going to leave it till the summer solistice, it was just to wet and warm at times, I was afraid it would begin to go mouldy) and I am very happy with the results.  I hope to be picking up my camera on Monday so will be able to return to photos as well as my words.  I have over 200 head of garlic, some are small, but will still taste lovely.  Majority of it is a good size.  So I will have cloves to plant next season, and a lot to use for us.  This was a sucessful year for garlic. 

We have had a harvest of just over 10kgs of broad beans, and we ate nearly all of them. I have some pods drying for seed next year, and I will buy the red flowering seed varitey to plant as well for next season.  So this was a sucess story aswell. 

I am very happy with my flowerpot garden so far.  I have flowers on some of the tomatoes already and all are growing well.  Mind you the same is true of the self seeded one, though they are smaller but very healthy.

I picked some strawberries both my red ones, and my white variety, in fact I had a lovely handful of red currants, jostaberries and a few raspberries, along with the strawberries.  It was so good since I grew them all!  For me that is being a success. 

The beans in the vegie garden are growing and some in a pot on the deck are flowering, they are scarlet runners.  They have lots of flowers on them.  I must have got very carried away with planting seeds.  As in this pot is a star jasmine, and I added sweet peas, which we have been getting quite a lot of flowers off.  I also have some violets growing, not planted by me?  Then I noted I have  My DH wonders if anyother things are going to turn up!

My snow pea and sugar snap also in a pot on the deck is flowering and giving pods, just a few every day.  Added to salads it is enough. 

The chooks are growing and getting used to Toby.  There is one whose comb and wattles are begining to go red and grow, my understanding means that this chook is heading towards egg laying.  The next one is a bit behind this one, and the other two girls well their combs are not very noticeable at present.  I estimate I may begin to get at least one egg in the next 2-3 weeks.  Fingers crossed.   The Chooky TajMahal has had to be rearranged as I realised that the girls jump of their roosts into the laying boxes the way I had it set up!  Not a good idea at all. Unless scrambled egg is my intention. 

It must be almost Christmas, as my DH has been requesting mince pies, (fruit mince) which I make for him as a special thing at Christmas.  I used to make them as a pie, but now just roll out the pastry and use a glass or biscuit cutter in a circle shape, I fill teaspoon of mince on one half, fold the other side over and Wallah Christmas Fruit Mince pasties.  Much easier to do, less pastry, less fat, not less taste!  Quick and easy compared to making pies with lids.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

I do miss not having a camera, my neighbour has been great in lending me hers, however not keen to borrow it too often, I value our friendship!.lol

Okay I have begun my vegie garden with the sunken terracotta pots (no holes) that I purchased some time ago.  They have been dug into the bed and the saucers have become there lids.  I mulch over the lids when I fill the up.  The first two weeks they have been working well, as in I filled them and the tomato seedlings, beans and aubergine are surviving.  This week we have had 37mls of rain so I have not needed to refill them.  So far I only have organised one of my beds this way.  I had to cover this bed with hessian as the temperatures during the day and at night have been somewhat cold.  We have been having a fire in the house for a few nights a couple without and again needed on last night.  It is summer down here
It does mean that I have still to finish putting my other seedlings out.  They look healthy and happy so hopefully this week.

The chooks are settling in well, and one hopes that at sometime Toby will stop rounding them up.  He does not do it all the time, and they ignore him often, but everyso often I look out the kitchen window and he has them all going round and round the silver birch.  They pop into the chook taj mahal and out the other side or just to escape him at times.  The two that are bigger have tried to let him know that they want to be left alone, by pecking at him.  The smaller two just flap and run often, so of course he chases them and rounds them up.
They are just begining to get the redness in their wattles and combs, they are about 13-15 weeks now and how delightful they are.   They are getting their full plumage now and the Barnevelders pattern is really lovely.  I love sitting in the sun stroking one they feel so soft, and the soft noise they make as they sit is beautiful.  I also love it when they lay in the sun with a wing up!

I noted raspberries on my vines today, not quite ripe so I have netted them a bit.
My cherries are hopeless this year!  I went out to net them but the birds had basically taken most and theyare still green, there were a lot that had not developed correctly either. I am putting it down to our weather and perhaps shock from when the tree was removed that was quite close to them. 

I have been getting some strawberries every day, just a good handful, as I am the only one that eats them apart from the lizards and snails, it is good.  I also had some lovely sugar snap peas the other day.  Morning tea consisted of strawberries and sugar snaps on the deck with a cup of chai.

The broad beans are nearly finished and have been a terrific crop over 10kgs.  yum!

I pulled some of the garlic on Monday as the leaves were almost dead as Toby had jumped on them, and as we were expecting more rain was concerned that they would get water inside and begin to rot.  Wonderful and I will have photos hopefully next posting.  (camera I hope will be back end of next week)

I went to the local herb and alternative therapy market last weekend. The weather was lousy but I was able to buy some horse raddish and other herbs, mostly for the chook run.  So they all have to have beds made and be put in, or I may put the wormwood in a large pot and place it near the Taj Mahal, to keep flies away. 
The others will go into a bed or two, and be fenced off until they are big enough to cope with the girls in and about them.

My kiwi fruit is flowering well one is, the other has buds, as they both have to flower to cross pollinate for fruit I am really hoping that very soon the other one's buds will open so fruit is on its way. 

My passionfruit has gone downhill, and I am going to buy another. If I can get one that is not grafted I may try that, or I just may get two.  One grafted and one not, and compare them.  I have decided these will go along the out side of the chook run fence. 
Well cool, wet and windy here in tassie.  I am not complaining as water tanks are full, things are green and growing.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Blue tongue lizard and garden

Life is getting back to normal here in Tassie, what with being away from home for 10days and coming home to a garden that had gone beserk, grass over 1m tall, foxgloves taller than us, and shrubs that now made it very difficult to walk on the very overgrown paths.  Ahhh gardening never go away in a good!
The paths that I had been slowly clearing over winter when possible and early spring, well I wonder why I even bothered.

 The difference between two photos is one on left the day I left, one on right day 10 days later.
My DH was checking his new fences, which he with only a small help from me put in all on his own.  (How proud I am of his achievement).  He came to me and said I think there is a snake caught in one of the fences.  Now all snakes in Tasmania are poisonous.  With a little trepidation I walked over to have a look.  Turned out, thankfully it was a blue tongue.

You can see in this photo where it is still swollen.

We have seen a blue tongue in the garden since this, and it may be this one.  I am sure a blue tongue is responsible for stealing our strawberries, hmm not sure if I am okay with  I just love the fact our garden is such a fantastic habitat and birds and critters live here and share our garden.  We get the delightful antics of the swallows and swifts.  The blue wren and his harem.  The lovely red robins.  Little finches, and the parrots.  Frogs croak at night and have even climbed our deck windows in the chase for bugs.  We have not seen our echidna for a while and I do hope it is still about.

Pink Flamingo rose.  My roses this year are looking fantastic.
My Mr Lincoln is still small but has buds and the perfume ohh
I have two other red roses both highly perfumed.
Daisies, California poppies and nigella seedlings which have now begun to flower.
I am lucky that my neighbour has very kindly let me borrow her digital camera to take these photos as mine is off being repaired.
We have picked over 8kgs of broad beans and still have some on the plants.  I have picked about 1/2kg strawberries but have to keep trying to beat the blue tongues.  Why is is you think ahhh that one will be ready in the morning, you go to pick it and there is only a part of it still there!
Our cherry trees this year are very disapointing.  Hardly any cherries on them.

I have had to replace the nectarine tree that I put in winter before as it did not survive, and thought the new nectarine was going down the same pathway.  I am so thrilled as it is leafing up beautifully.  My only fruit tree out of 9 that has fruit on it is a golden gage plum.  This was bought for the pollinator of the green we may get some plums.
The hazlenuts are looking great.  My almond is not doing a thing, it is still alive..but.

I hope to have more photos soon, to share.

My hope chest has began to be planted out.  With the death in the family and being on the mainland things got behind.
I have dug into the tomato and bean bed some of my terracotta pots and they are working really well.  I can tell how moist the soil is and only water now the seedlings are bigger when the pot is empty.  I fill the pot and give the seedlings a bit of a drink.
I have still to get other seedlings in but they are looking great and my hope is that this weekend they will be in.

The silver beet has gone to seed and I will have many seedlings sprout, I have brassicas growing..think they are the brussel sprouts I put in ages ago..hmm will have to wait and see what occurs.
I have several myster plants too that have sprung up in the vegie plot.  Along with seedling tomatoes, which are cherry and pear ones.  So it is begining to look very positive down here in Tassie.
Happy Gardening all.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Life and death

Been off line for a while, we had a death in the family, my step dad, not really close but it did involve travelling to spend time with my mother on the mainland.  So I am hoping that I will be able to be back on and with more to share. 

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Hope Chest is full of hope...

The Hope Chest has taken a bit of a battering, first lot of seeds were knocked over by my DH accidentally...
Second lot well a kind neighbour was looking after them for me whilst we went away on our holiday....
Something ate them all when they forgot to bring them inside at dusk.....
My third and final lot are showing promise.

Basil seeds sprouting..if anyone can tell me how to get them up in the garden by direct sowing I would love to know.

Dwarf Capsicum with a little capsicum on it already and more flowers developing.
 Bean, tomatoes, melon, seedlings

Nasturtiums,  zuchhinis, pumpkins, honey dew melon,

Eggplant (Aubergine), Chilis, tomatoes,

Choko(green wrinkled thing), Avacado seed, and Rockmelon

Fig and one of my grapes,

I have been picking Broad Beans, and still my silver beet is going well.  Some is begining to go to seed.  I have purple podded peas, and snow peas.  g

The warmer weather has seen the garden just go crazy.  Everything is growing at such a rate, I will have to do a lot of pruning when the flowers have ceased on many of my shrubs, as they are almost making the pathways impenetrable. The scent from the Jasmine flowers is rather heady on the warmer evenings, and the curry plant in the foreground is just budding up for flowers.

Between the Diosma (small flower shrub behind the foxgloves) and the white daisies is one of our paths, (which I had almost cleared and begun to regravel, in early winter) The rains put an end to that and now the pathway is overgrown, pretty but ...

It is an amazing year for the foxgloves, and in the background some of the broad beans I plantedin the flower beds are almost ready to pick the pods from.
The irises are still coming up, a lovely white on on the right of the picture, (my photos are not quite as good as a friend kindly lent me her camera and I have not any idea how to use

New Leaves on my Kafir lime,

Look carefully you can see a flower bud or two on my Tahitian lime fingers crossed..

So all in all things are happening in my Spring Garden, and my hope chest is full of positive hope! 

Taj mahal is now occupied..YIPEE!

Please note Chook means Hen in
Four lovely Barnevelder chickens have made the Chooky Taj Mahal their home for two weeks now and how welcome they are. 

They are 9-11 weeks old nowand are settling in well, I believe
It will be a few more months before we will get eggs.  My idea is that they get used to being handled and Toby as he is a part of life at our place.

They are delightful and many hours have been lost by both Toby and I watching their antics.   
They are a Dutch breed who are a quiet and delightful temperment.  They are not mean to be as flighty as some breeds.  I have been getting them used to Toby and attempting to get him used to them.  He has helped us gather one escapee up, (the fencing was not quite finished) and this chook had jumped out of the Taj whilst I was sorting out water and food.  Off chook and dog, me and DH went.  Toby found her and indicated by standing at one side of a large tussock of grass on the dam wall where she was.  She was well hidden..he remained on his side enabling me to get her and settle her.  On return to the Taj and her sisters she ran to them clucking and sharing her great escape. (attempt anyway)LOL Fences are all up now thanks to my DH hard work. They are lovely girls, and I have built a small safe out door run for them and how they love to be out scratching and eating the grass.

I have a worm farm so they have had a meal or two of worms and other insects I have gathered from the garden.  I love it when one finds a worm and have a real chuckle as I watch their antics, as they chase and try to steal from the one with the worm.  Little do they seem to realise that I have actually put quite a few worms in their.  lol.
Those of you who have chooks I would love to know what you feed them if you do not use a store bought product.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Get them wagons rollin...

We have been away for just over a week.  It was meant to be a very relaxing holiday, which it was in many ways.  We went on a horse drawn colonial wagon holiday.  We being Dh and I and Toby.  We had to cross the 200+miles across Bass Strait first.  So a night trip on the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry. I booked a cabin as I could not imagine sitting/sleeping in recliner chairs with 100+ others all snoring and what ever else and feel rested at 5:40am when we have to get up and get organised to move down to the car, and continue our journey.   So a7 plus hour drive (including dog stops and walks, lovely walk with Toby around Deloraine along the river.

) to Devonport to catch the boat, the overnight trip, all was wonderful.  Off the boat and through Melbourne, out and on the way to a very tiny place called Rehola (about 50km from Bendigo) where we were to commence the caravan holiday.  Only problem is I was in such a mood and had a shocker of an argument with my DH..which made the journey so horrendous for the last 1+hours.    I don't understand it and these moods swings of mine fluctuate so widely and come on so quickly.  I guess the tired factor and stress of getting on the way did not help.

I have to ask myself why does going away cause such a great deal of stress? 
Are holidays stressful for others out there?
Okay the holiday was very different, think camping trip, with more comfortable beds, and living setup, hard roof, and the fact you could pack up and move each day (if desired to a new location).  No power, hot water unless you boiled it up, not flush toilet, no TV, computer , telephone,  shops, or mobile phone (only because my battery ran out and I could not be bothered to ask Patrick the owner of the set up to charge it, he would have very happily).
We had a basic fibreglass wooden caravan, in a bit of a gypsy style.
With a gas grill and hot plate, gas light, double bed and two single beds.  Plenty of storage, a grill for bbqs, a dutch oven for cooking over the fire, and a bush toilet, consisting of a shovel, bucket and toilet seat construction you could use.  For us it was just easier to dig a hole and be very basic.

Our lovely Clydesdale horse Penny, a fiesty 14year old, with a similar dispostion to mine at times.  Wanting to be in control most of the time and requiring some real relaxing to let others take over.  (something this holiday kind of assisted me to grasp a bit more, thanks to my DH and Penny).

Patrick or his daughter Amanda came out every day we were moving, and harnessed up the horse, and ensured that we were comfortable managing the horse and caravan.  They would show you were you were going and assist if needed at steeper parts fo the road, and if they were going a different way to normal for the  Penny.  I loved the slowness (7-8km an hour) of the journey, and the smell of the horse and her distinct personality.  Both of us humans had visions that we would walk along beside her for an hour or so, needless to say our fitness level would not allow it.  Toby loved it once he got into the swing of being a real working dog (as Patrick described him he was a bit of a well he is a pet).  Toby's first experience was to sit on the wagon at my feet and just watch, but oh no he wanted more, so he managed to jump off (out of my grasp) and almost get killed as he went forward infront of the wheels next to Penny, and not being aware of the speed we were travelling tumbled in a distinct sommersault.  Almost getting run over..thankfully he was not hurt just a bit bruised and shaken.  After this he settled down (particularly if we ignored him) to running alongside Penny. He loved it.   He was foot sore, and I would assume muscle sore, but did he want to stay on the wagon, NO WAY, he had to be running along side.

We had two days where we moved campsites, and then wanted to stay put for two nights, which was brilliant.  Sulpher crested cockatoos, and galahs abounded in this area, as to grey kangaroos, which we only saw a couple. The area had, quite a bit of rainfall very recently and was lush and green having been in drought for a few years.  It is a gold mining/fossicking historical area.   We had two periods where we had a full day without moving so two nights in one spot, for us this was the best in that we sat around relaxing, reading, drawing playing cards, or just watching the birds, nesting.  The song of the magpies was wonderful and the dawn chorus spectacular.  Sunsets serene and bliss in so many ways.  Peace and not another person around.  Sheep in the paddocks at times, but just us and Penny.

I would not enjoy it in much warmer temperatures as the flies and heat for me would be too much.
Strangely we had much colder nights there than at home, our first two days were windy and cool, with a shower.  However the rest of the trip was sunshine, warm days and blue skies. So nice to have had this as on arrival home it was still wet and cool.

I would like to have included more photos however sadly on our second day,  somehow I dropped my camera (not realising it) and Penny accidently trod on it, and or the caravan rolled over it.  Digital cameras do not survive this treatment very well.  We had no showers for a week(well I did have the opportunity at one point two nights before we left, but soap would not lather, it was nice to have running hot water.   We only changed our outer clothes once in the week as it got hotter.  We had a great time, an interesting time, and for a family holiday it would be something really special if you like camping.  I am glad I did but my days of camping are a thing of the past.  I like a few comforts and these are simple really, flushing loo and hot water on tap. 

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Early mornings

I was awake at 4:30 this morning, and being wide awake and unable to get back to sleep I rose and dressed in the dark, came down stairs to a chilly room, lit the fire, and watched the dawn breaking.  The dawn chorus was incredible, well worth being up to hear the celebration of the birds that another new day has dawned.  The Kookaburras laughed, 3 Swans flew overhead, one of the Sea Eagles was soaring about on the warming air across the river. I stood in the garden listening and observing all that we have around our home, with the scent of the smoke from the fire and a glimmer of snow on the Hartz Mountains in the distance.    I was unable to take photos of any of the birds light was not suitable but the garden and morning light on the water well these I can share with you!

I was unable to take photos of any of the birds light was not suitable but the garden and morning light on the water well these I can share with you!

I came inside to a warmer house (marginally) and decided to catch up with my reading of my blogs, and down load some photos onto the computer.  As I began Murph our cat wanted a cuddle and jumped up onto the computer desk, well onto the key board. Not happy with this he climbed onto my right arm and sat, not easy to touch type with a cat who weighs in at 5kg on your arm. He eventually decided to climb up and sit over my shoulder, purring and dribbling than slumbering after all it is only 5am and he needs all the cuddles and catnaps he can get.

  (one dribble happy, 2 dribbles unbelivably happy, three dribbles estatic and I need to shower and he goes on the  So I spent a happy hour or so reading blogs with my espresso coffee, toast with homemade seville orange marmalade watching the sun rise and the sun's heat begin to warm the room.

Friday, 2 October 2009

A day in our life with mother nature

The photos on this page are a trip Toby and I made recently, Saturday 27th September, little did I know the tragedy that was happening in the Philippines, and Vietnam this same weekend. 

For me it was a regular day out experiencing the wonders of nature!

The photo below is on the way into town, thankfully someone had been through before us. 

This photo is just as we near the larger of the towns near us.  The police told us it was now only four wheel drive vehicle access.  Our little car had to make a detour! 

The river has never risen to cover the main road bridge
even though this shows the river at low tide.

It was quite amazing to see the blossoms still intact on this
tree in town, after all the wind and rain.
This is across the river heading to a friends place to check they were okay.
The rain continued for the next 24hours. We were lucky we only had a blackout for 14hours.  Some areas of Tasmania were without power for 5days.  The storm was across most of the state.

Toby is keeping his eyes on the road..

you can see why..

This was on the way home, I thought we might be able to go under the branches, but then I noticed that there were power lines tangled in the tree branches, (PHEW!) so we had to take a detour around the coast road and saw the beauty of gum trees (eucalyptus) growing on the foreshore, sea gulls on a flooded jetty,  an amazing arbour of flowers and donkeys on a rescue farm looking pretty in pink!

Our neighbours had a large branch down, but it missed their home we had many smaller branches about the place.  Lots of kindling for next winter!  :)
Fortunately no one was killed and we are all safe and dry. My heart goes out to those people and families in Indonesia, vietnam and the Island areas of Samoa and Tonga.  Who were not so fortunate.