Well, the brass monkeys are working overtime here in Bredbo and I’ve been too soft to face the cold of the computer table to up date my Blog – yes, I take total responsibility for the lack of communications.
-12.9 Degrees Celsius – cold enough for me. No hot water for morning showers all this week and last, the water in the washing machine was still frozen at 6pm the other night and we couldn’t wash the kids uniforms – the poor old Cook thought her brand new washing machine was busted. But it’s warmed up now, it was only minus 8.9 over the weekend – lucky us.
It’s even been to cold to chase of foxes with out ugg boots and beanie, suppose I should wear more, but my luminous white body is well camouflaged against the frosty grass and the shock and awe I reap on the fox - if it doesn’t kill him it’ll have him in therapy for years.
So when I left you all the Jeep was sitting in Pambula awaiting a new power steering pump and the trailer was outside Bega awaiting me to pick it up. Since then the Jeep is back on the road – just another example that a combination of lick, spit and a whole lot of Gaffa tape will fix anything. Of course this time I also needed to use super glue, my spit just ain’t doing the job these days. I managed to get down to Pambula and pick up the Jeep, grab the tailer and drop it off home, stop for a pee and get back to Canberra for an appointment before noon that day – which is quite an achievement for the old girl.
Unfortunately the Jeeps long term prognosis is not good. The radiator is showing signs of failure and I have to keep a close eye on the fluid levels, the gauges are all failing and I’ll really not sure what’s going on half the time – with the car. But the game changer happened the other day when one of the kids closed one of the back passenger doors and the front passenger door fell off. It gets really cold driving down the foggy frosty Monaro Hwy with an inch gap around the door. So sadly we are on the hunt for a replacement for the old girl.
I’ve got a step closer to getting prepared for the spring arrival of some bees. I have purchased a stack of timber to build my first boxes, Monika and her partner form the bee club came out the other weekend to help – but it was too cold to stand outside and use power tools so we opted for a cuppa in front of the fire.
School holidays are her and that has to be the Cooks favourite time of the school calendar – skiing starts when they go back, always a highlite for the term.
The Cook spent a week in Adelaide; I think the kids have just about recovered. The work load doubles for everybody when so goes and the cooking takes a noticeable down would spiral consistent with the amount of time she’s away. And don’t ask about school lunches – luckily the kids like (maybe now ‘liked’) vegemite. And I’ve got to find a better way of telling if shop bought ham is off as well.
And as usual with the drop in temperatures comes the colds, Harry and the Cook have both been suffering bad coughs and a nasty tummy bug. Luckily Ben and I stayed far enough away not to become infected.
I tried to do some fencing last weekend, but every time I bent a piece of wire it snapped – a good indication it was just too cold. I managed to get some done this weekend, the pigs are now totally surrounded by pig mesh netting – now I just need to get the electric back on and put in a few more steel posts and we should be right again.
Forward to now.
Snow has fallen on the mountains yesterday and for most of the day it was better spent inside. We had periods of rain, hail and ice and bitingly cold winds. Not that this allows us to rest, there was still pigs to do, things to fix, fences to check and general day to day jobs to do. One of my favourites is the weekly trip to the dump, never go there with out running into somebody and being ski season it’s a full on mission impossible just to get across the highway to get there. I swear it’s only two hundred metres down the road and takes half and hour.
We had a visit from James last week. He spent a few days helping out around the place, we managed to do some fencing, put in a corner post and steel posts – I’d recently purchased one of those pneumatic post drivers – why I didn’t do that sooner I’ll never know. The amount of time and effort this one tool will save is just mind boggling.
Other things that have been happening – we’ve picked up more roosters, and this time it wasn’t my fault. The cook was responsible this time – which takes some of the pressure off of me.
We had an NSF working party and put in a leaky weir to help slow down the water travelling down one of the erosion gullies. It took us all of two hours to collect the rocks from a non conservation site and an hour and a half to build. I still have to get some gravel to make a bed for the overflow and get some reeds during the spring to line the edges.
We also bought in a load of round bales of straw for the pigs. They weight about 500 kg each, getting them onto the trailer myself is a bit of a challenge but I’ve managed so far. It’s about a quarter of the cost of getting square bales from the feed store so well worth the effort. The biggest part of the cost is the transportation; thankfully we’ve found somebody whom delivers at a good rate.
I thought Belle the cow was going to calf the other day, her udder has enlarged and she seems to have dropped her belly. I found her on her own in the paddock, she ran off when I approached, but there was no sign of a calf when I looked around. I am hoping that it hasn’t come yet, but I’m still concerned that she may have lost it.
The horses have been causing problems, a brumby from next door has taken up residence with our three and continually leads them astray. About eleven last night the dogs started barking, I got outside just in time to see the horses galloping down the road towards the creek. The brumby keeps pushing the gate open somehow and letting everybody out. I think they spent five minutes helping themselves to the pig’s bread before they headed off as well.
I still haven’t had time or the space to start my Bee Boxes either. I have the timber, the tools and the screws – but alas not the time. I’d better get a move on before spring arrives, I may have to take some time off shortly to get stuck into this.
What’s bugging me?
I like to catch up on Landline every Sunday – but I don’t always get to. A couple of weeks ago they had a very interesting article about Samoa and how they are trying to convince the locals to eat more fresh food from their gardens and stop importing tinned food. It’s hard to believe that people would choose to eat tinned carrots over fresh, or spam over fresh fish. The change in diet has had many effects on the population’s health and well being as well as a dangerous reliance on imported food.
But it’s not just a problem in Samoa. We are selling off our agricultural land to foreign interests who are farming and exporting the produce with no return benefit to our economy or food security. It’s not just the fact that they own vast tracks our best land; they are also buying up the water. With the MBDA Draft plan out after the election, which rumour has it includes a 90% reduction in irrigated agriculture in the basin over the next twenty years, it’s hard to see the logic in this. Surely it’s in the Governments best interest to restrict the ownership of rural land and secure thousands of rural jobs by making these countries import food from our farmers?