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Sunday 10 July 2011

I’m sitting in our office looking out through the big corner windows at persistent snow & a waterlogged landscape. The weather has been extraordinarily grim the last week – if it’s not been snowing, it’s been blowing or gale or raining, or more likely all of those together. Working outside in this is a challenge - even the little Suzuki has baulked on a couple of occasions (there’s nowhere a Suzuki won’t go, in rain or ice or snow …). This morning everything that wasn’t nailed down has blown into the paddocks: lids of 44 gallon drums, feed bowls, all our outdoor chairs, the top of the rain gauge & even some large wooden boards. We’ve learnt from experience (when we bought an anenometer to test the feasibility of having a wind turbine here we regularly experienced gusts that went off the scale – 150Km/hr) such that all huts & similar constructions are staked down with heavy gauge wire.


The three little pigs did indeed go to the big sty in the sky during the week, although owing to various disturbances throughout the day, it took until 11 o’clock in the evening before various cuts were stowed safely in the freezer. The job was completed without undo trauma on either side, although the scalding & scraping process was a trial & I ended up skinning two of the three. I’m satisfied that should we survive an apocalypse, we’ll have enough food to hold out indefinitely! The small holding yard I’d built in the weaning pen was a success & enabled me to catch the pigs easily & swiftly – although I had to transfer them in a large chaff sack as it was too wet to get the goat float down to the pen. The pigs themselves were quite stoic & had no inkling – I think – of their fate.

Yesterday the poison dwarf Charlie was sold – hooray! To my surprise the people who said they’d have him actually turned up (unannounced) & also paid the outstanding amount on the piglet (Molly) they’d bought a fortnight previously. It’s restored my faith in human nature. I now have to focus on growing Seb on (the half Tog/ half Saanen buck I bought a few weeks back) & sorting out his scouring. I think his bellies are unaccustomed to the sort of feed he’s getting now.
Frosty nearly-new goats: Shiny, Super White & Seb

I appear to have ruffled some feathers in government this week. A letter to the editor, copied to the Department of Economic Development out of courtesy, sparked a near 45 minute phone call of justifications. I’d drawn unflattering comparisons between the criteria used to assess loan applications for the Triabunna woodchip mill versus those for the Cradoc abbatoir. Whatever the shortcomings of the abbatoir’s business model they pale in comparison to those of the mill, which I’m sure will prove unviable in the longer term. Certainly ‘market forces’, initially cited as a reason for not supporting the abbatoir, could hardly have been taken into account when assessing the mill loan application, since another buyer had already made a generous offer & required no government money.

We are looking forward to the prospect of being stuck at home for the next two days. The bridge at the bottom of our road is being replaced & hence we'll not be able to get out by car. Bronte's taking the two days off & luckily Luke has a 'student-free day' at school on Monday. Unfortunately on Tuesday he has an excursion he doesn't want to miss so we are obliged to get him across the creek to the bus somehow (good job I bought some old waders at the last farm sale we went to ..).

Digger at work on our bridge