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Sunday 13 November 2011

I’ve heaps to catch up on. Somehow every minute of the day seems to be busy at present – and despite having finished season 3 of ‘24’ I’m still catching up with the PC backlog in the evenings. Now it is approaching summer, each weekend seems to be fully booked up – we’ve had the Herb Fair at Cygnet, the Woodbridge Open Day, the Huon Show & endless Little Athletics. I've also been along to Luke's assembly and have the dreaded parent help coming up soon.

The WWPG had a stall at the Cygnet Herb & Organic Fair, with the aim of highlighting the continuing lack of protection for West Wellington’s forests and possibly raising some funds by selling plants & home-made crafts. I put together some pictures of West Wellington flora & placed them in small frames we’d had for years & also assembled some other pictures and lace items I'd made a while ago & had no use for. The only people who bought anything of mine were those manning the stand!

We had hoped there would be no further need for the WWPG by now, but unfortunately the signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement has not so far brought about the promised ‘immediate protection’ of the nominated 430,000Ha. Since the Herb Fair, the infrared camera in one of the coupes above our house has captured wonderful footage of another healthy devil – this one apparently a female with a full pouch. It would be terrific to get footage of the cubs at some stage. We keep hearing that places like the Tarkine are the last stronghold of healthy devils & yet places like West Wellington, where we know they are living, are completely ignored. Take a look at the video:
Last weekend was the Woodbridge Open Day. The attraction for us was that the Marine Discovery Centre was open – somewhere we’ve wanted to visit, but that is rarely open to the public. Luke had been once before with the school. We had the chance to poke about in the touch pools and I felt sorry for the creatures (shellfish, starfish etc) being mauled by all the kids. Stripey trumpeters (I love that name), a wrasse, flathead and a Tasmanian giant crab were kept in a large tank. The whole facility is educational and mainly aimed at schools and older students. It’s based in a picturesque bay with shallow waters teeming with oysters, crabs and starfish.

The Huon Show was yesterday and we had a rather longer session there than usual – from 11am to 4pm. We were exhausted on our return! The dog jumping was the highlight – it took a whole hour for us to see Clancy (a Staffie cross who looked like a bigger, chunkier, less pretty version of Rosie) win by jumping a wall 2.5m high! Mighty impressive. I was also very brave and took Luke on some awful ride called Energy Storm which whirled you around in the air and upside down. It was pretty hair-raising and produced quite as much adrenalin as I could handle in one day! I was probably double the age of everyone else on it. Luke put on a brave face but I suspect he was a bit shaky afterwards too! He was awfully quiet on the ride itself. Other attractions included draught horses, dodgems and a snake display.

Little Athletics continues to take up a quarter of each weekend. This week it was at the Domain in Hobart and all the Southern clubs were there – 300 kids! Luke got some stiff competition for a change. He was beaten by a dynamo shrimp in the 70m much to his chagrin, but he got his own back in the 100m when he just pipped him at the finish. We’ve bought a discus and a shotput as they seem to be the 2 events where Luke has the potential to be quite good. He’s very strong & quite coordinated. We can practice at home and it saves me having to always take him to coaching sessions.

Things are largely going well on the farm, just very, very busy. I’ve done another complete round of goat hoof clipping (all 35 of them), plus treated all their feet in case of rot, gave the youngsters booster vaccinations and drenched all of them for worms. I’m being much more vigilant on the worm front now & have written myself a schedule. This continuing damp, warm and humid weather is just the set of conditions that parasites love.

I’ve got quite a demand for goats for pets. Normally, I wouldn’t wean them until 5 months old (January) but I’ve agreed to let a couple go early to people I know will care for them & give them extra feed and attention while they continue to grow. All spare hours have been spent bashing a route through the bush in order to make space for a fence that will create a large new paddock for the goats. I shall feel so relieved when I’ve finished making the route – but then of course, I’ll still have to build the fence!

Fenceline slowly being driven up the hill through the bush
The birds are all doing well. I’ve been producing chicks willy nilly, such that we’ve now got 25 good quality Australorp crosses cheeping away in the garage. Four are rather larger than the others and are partitioned off where they act like rabid vultures, always appearing to be hungry. In fact Luke and I worked out that we’ve just reached a total of 100 creatures on the farm.

Still no luck on the turkey front & I’ve pretty well given up for this season. Might just have to write poor William off & get another gobbler over winter. The case of the mysterious disappearing turkey has not been solved & I don’t hold out much hope for her return. One of the 3 remaining girls has a really sore bottom - it looks like piles or a hernia. Anyhow I’ve had the distasteful job of cleaning off the dried poo & treating her with betadine & anti-bacterial zinc cream. If that doesn’t help I’ll have to try Proctosedyl! Clearly in that condition, she’s not going to welcome any advances William does make, nor even feel like laying eggs. Otherwise she seems in good health.

No luck selling the 2 young male peacocks so far – I need to widen my net. They occasionally get put in their place by Pasha who is strutting around & displaying his magnificent tail. I need to get another nest box in there soon as the 2 girls will begin laying shortly.

The geese and goslings are doing well although eating us out of house and home. Until they get a larger pen we have to pick dandelions and cut grass for them (a bucket or more a day) on top of the soaked wheat and wet mash they are also given. I don’t think I’ve mentioned Gary Gosling. A day after the second batch of goslings hatched I went to clear out the nest & heard cheeping. A gosling was trying to get out but was upside down. I helped it out & it was awfully weak. After giving it a few drops of my usual bird elixir of cod liver oil, egg yolk, sugar & water, I popped it under the heat lamp with the little chicks & christened it ‘Gary’. Since then he's grown like a weed, cheeps frantically & does lots of smelly poos. As a result I’ve turfed him into the chicken run where he makes me feel guilty by tripping over the long grass, cheeping pitifully & having to sit down for a rest every couple of metres when chasing the hens. Bertie the bunny sends him frantic!