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Memory - June 2017

Latest batch of soap, coloured with turmeric, perfumed with eucalyptus. Made with the last
frozen batch of fat from our last pair of piggies, and left over olive oil used to make chips. It's
beautiful soap - we're using it now, although it has turned almost white since.

One of the last rabbits that I sadly had to get rid of before we went on holiday to the UK in July/
August. Had to cut right back so that the housesitter just had the cats, dog and goats.

We had to have poor Bruce put down. He was 14 years' old and had come with us
from the UK with dear Murphy-Cat. He was deaf and partially blind and had got so stiff that he
had a job getting in and out of his bed, let alone up the steps onto the front deck. I made him a ramp but
he never really got the hang of it. I had to keep lifting him up and down. Also, he'd become terribly grumpy
and kept trying to bite Luke. He growled and snapped at the cats if they ventured into the laundry. We
felt that it was probably the best thing to have him put down, particularly as we were going away for a month.
Anyhow, once we no longer had Bruce, we agreed to start letting Rosie-Dog come upstairs into the living area.
Here you can see her greatly enjoying her new privileges! All the cats like her and try to rub against her and
snuggle up. Scorch is chilling here with her. Daft Rosie gets worried when Scorch tries to play with her and
she runs away. 

Before we left for our UK holiday, I had to create a new paddock for the goats. The electric fences were
no longer keeping them in and they were escaping and eating Bronte's trees. A mixture of UV and wallaby pressure
was breaking down the electric braid and I could no longer keep up with repairs. It only take one piece of braid to
lay on the ground or be touching a stake and the whole fence goes down. Also Bronte had often switched off the fence
when building his greenhouse, and the goats had learnt not to fear the fence. I had already put in stakes and tread-ins
for an electric fenced paddock so had to use those. There was no time to put in proper wooden posts at corners and
for gate posts, so I just did the best I could. The chicken wire will hopefully keep out the wallabies and help
keep the goats in. Electric wire and barbed wire runs above the chicken wire and there are two offset lines of
electric braid on the inside. However, the goats - including the youngsters just born - seem to have no fear of the
offset electric, so it's not an entire success. Also, my gates are not well-mounted and really need a lot more work
to sort them out.

To stop wallabies from pushing under the fence, it was necessary to overlap it onto the ground like a skirt
and peg it down. Buying tent pegs would have been far too expensive, so I went to the Huonville tip and scavenged
a load of wire shelves, rebar and other lengths of metal - a whole ute-load. I clamped our huge angle-grinder
into the bench vice, cable-tied the switch to the 'on' position (very safe) and then cut the entire lot up to make
3 buckets of pegs (above and below)..

Another task that had to be tackled before we left for the UK was to try and make our internet relay station
a bit more reliable energy-wise. I rigged up my old, smaller solar panel in series with the bigger one and added a couple
more 100ah deep cycle batteries. It still is not nearly enough, particularly on cold nights when the capacity of the
batteries is greatly reduced. 

A few weeks before going away I succumbed to getting some proper glasses. I'd been using a small pair of cheapo
reading glasses for about 6 months but was fed up with never having them on me when I needed them. I
decided I needed a pair that would do everything - reading, close up lace crochet work and also act as
sunglasses. Unfortunately, I managed to choose some rather expensive frames and the whole lot set me back
a huge amount of cash. I'm still getting used to them, months later, and still have to take them off to
negotiate rough ground, because I when I look down I'm looking through the reading bit. My long range sight is
actually fine so unless I'm reading, working on the computer or doing something detailed I don't really need them.

Beautiful sunny frosty morning.

My regular winter chore - chopping firewood. I chopped a huge pile for the house-sitter before we went
away, the whole set of preparations for the UK holiday nearly killed me!

Memory - Dark Mofo June 2017

28 May 2017

Above and below: burn-off smoke

Above and below: Airbnb bedrooms tidied up prior to more guests arriving. Mini-fridge
and TV added.

Next series of photos: Alum Cliffs walk from Kingston Beach to Taroona. Turns out that no-one wanted to walk all the way there and then back again. So poor old Mum got sent back to fetch the car and meet them at the Taroona Shot Tower tea-rooms. Turns out we were almost at the end, so I ended up doing most of the walk twice and when I got to Taroona they'd already eaten cake and were ready to go home!

This sums up the state of the debate regarding the change of Australia Day. Currently, Australia Day -
a day in which we are meant to celebrate all things Australian (smacks of nationalism to me) - is on the day
that the Brits landed to set up a colony. Clearly the Aborigines feel this should be called 'Invasion Day' and
I'm inclined to agree.

One of my autumnal flower arrangements.

Below: last vestiges of autumn colour on Tupelo, Maple and Silver Birch.

Cherry tree leaves.

I was given a batch of duck eggs that had been abandoned by the Mum for some unknown
reason. The few babies that hatched were very weak and all died within a few days. This was the last -
it was such a shame.

Two last huge turkeys.

A huge blackwood branch came down on Mitchells Road, from an almost dead tree
on our boundary, close to our gate. I tried to handle the resulting chaos but me and chainsaw
weren't up to the challenge, so I had to call in help from the Council, who arrived promptly
and sawed it all up. We've since carted the lot back to the tractor shed to dry for firewood.

Me, Luke and Baz, one of our new kittens. Luke and I had just had a short sharp haircut
courtesy of me and my scissors.We lost our darling Murphy-Cat and adopted these three little
rascals to help with our recovery! 

Little Baz snoozing.

Cardboard cat box (interlinked) mark 1

Above and below: the three new kittens: Baz, Scorch and Ed. 

Ed chilling on my shoulder.

Very proud of myself. I managed to replace all of the lights on the stairs that had gone -
around 6 in total. I removed lights from the series in the downstairs corridor and used them
to replace the stair ones. I have still got to sort the ones downstairs however - currently
just holes with wire poking out that the cats are fascinated with.

Guava and blackberry being filtered to make jelly. I made many pots of this delicious

Blackberry liqueur on soak. I added a tea-bag to give it a bit of a tannin flavour.

Carrots grown in my veggie bed and pulled by Luke. The tops will be fed
to the rabbits. 

Sugar-snap peas grown by Luke on the deck upstairs. We had a massive
haul of these, most of which Luke ate raw before I could use them in any recipe.

Bluey and babies.

Above and below: Last handsome bunny to be sold.

Weird silvery little babies - born to white Mum and black Dad.

Just before we sold the second of our plots of land, following our boundary change, I
retrieved 2 gates which were forming part of the boundary fence and fixed up the fence. I
plan to use them in my new goat paddock.

Above and below: second veggie bed under construction. I put heaps of compost,
old hay, branches etc down first, then covered it in top soil, well-rotted hay and manure,
and finally weed mat.

Veggies growing in my first veggie bed.

Huge cricket.

Dusky robin that fell down the flue.

Above and below: Naughty quolls I kept catching on successive nights
in my trap alongside the veggies. Something was eating my greens and I'm quite sure it
wasn't these quolls. Have created yet more defences to stop possums climbing in.

Netting strung above the garage roller doors to try and stop the sparros getting in all the time.
They make such a mess pooping everywhere and stealing my animal food. Hoping this will do the trick.

Rosie is certain something is living in the hay, so I set the trap in hope - no luck so far!

Had to get on the roof and clean the windows on the skylight. Great view from up there!