RIP Lupo

July 14, 2018

Today the day we had been dreading finally came and our old German Shepherd Lupo had to be taken to the vets to be put down.  This morning her back legs simply refused to work anymore.  To be fair we had been expecting it for the last two years, so we could not complain – and we were fairly prepared.  It all went peacefully and smoothly, Michael our vet in Sheffield did a good job.  She was sedated and then injected with the fatal dose when she was nicely relaxed and sleeping.

For the last 13 years: before cows, pigs, chooks and before we even came to Tasmania, Lupo was with us.  I don’t think Josiah (now 17) can remember a time when she was not around.
She had a good life, enjoyed going to dog training in Albany and loved even more the freedom of movement once we came to Mole Creek.
She was just a part of life, coming with us wherever we went around the property.
Whatever we did, she enjoyed being a part of it.
She particularly enjoyed chasing wallabies in the swamp and coming back nice and muddy.  🙂
For the last few years her mobility has been a lot more limited, but she did as much as she could, and was always affectionate and uncomplaining.
Lupo
She was a lovely faithful dog, and we will miss her!  Thankfully she trained Okami up well as her successor!

SONY DSCSONY DSC

Advertisements

Wattles weather the wind – or not!

July 9, 2018
We had a bit of a localised wind storm on Sunday which had Wattle trees falling down all over the place on our property.  It was so bad we didn’t even get to go to church, as there were very very low power lines over the road nearby.
TreeLifting

 

The cow and pony moved down to our lower paddock, which has fewer large wattles and a lot of scrubby tea trees for shelter.  We were glad they did as most of the more dangerous trees that split or fell down were in the upper paddocks.”

Kaplunk

One of our division fences is completely flattened, with no less than 3 trees falling on it.  See the poor star picket in there?

FindTheFence

I do hate the wind when it gets gusting up to 100km or more!  I tend to cringe whenever I hear it roaring past, tugging at the building and tearing through the trees.  I always have to remind myself that everything is in God’s hands – pleasant or not – and I should just trust Him with whatever happens.  Mind you I was very thankful that the wind started to settle down about 9pm last night, otherwise I doubt I would have gotten much sleep.  Lots of homes in the area lost power, so being off grid was a definite advantage for us last night.

 

It has been a busy time starting to clean up today, and it helped a lot that Lydia stayed home from work.  The road to the north was closed with trees down and the road to the south had the power lines low over it, so we were not going anywhere this morning, at least not safely.  Lydia should be right to make it back to work tomorrow though, as they have cleared things up a lot during the day.  Kim and Josiah were quite sick today (we have all had a nasty cold lately) and Caleb and Sam had to go to Launceston in the afternoon for some medical appointments and to collect some car parts we needed, so most of today’s clearing up at home was up to Lydia and myself.

We focussed on making sure the damaged fencing was good enough to keep the animals safe overnight.  We ran our roll of portable electric mesh fencing around the chook yards, patched a hole in the back of the winter garden and found and fixed a spot where the fence was shorting out badly.  We also cut a fallen tree off one of the external fence lines and have changed that particular fence to being mostly poly wire instead of the normal metal fencing wire.  That meant we could have it back up and running by tonight.

GardenHole

There is still plenty more clearing up to do this week, with a small tree down over the compost bins as well as one on the old workshop roof,”

TreeOverCompostBins

and a hole in the carport roof from one branch that must have come down with a fair bit of force!  I’m glad that it hit the roof and not one of us.”

BranchThroughRoof

We also have two trees with nasty half broken branches over the neighbour’s fence line that we will need to help clear up.  They look a bit dangerous to me though it is hard to see from the photo, so I am not looking forward to that job.”

TreesDownOverFence

This poor tree pretty much just seems to have shredded.”

ShreddedTree

Anyway, I don’t think we will have to look far to find what work should take priority for the next little while!
In other news Kim has been progressing with the mechanical work on his to-do list, which is great.  Lydia’s new car has been getting a new timing belt fitted this weekend and is also having engine and transmission oil changes and new filters fitted as well.  Hopefully it will go into service on a regular basis for us later this week.  I think it will be a popular car for us to take when there are a few people going out, as it has lots of space in the back.
Enough for now.  I hope you are all going well!

Winter News

June 23, 2018

It has been 2 months since I last emailed, so I assume we should have some more news to share.  🙂   We have been doing more upgrades on the manor where our eldest two boys sleep.  Firstly we used our new platform arrangement on the tractor to put the flue up for the replacement wood heater that we installed.  Those flues go really high!

ManorWoodfire copy

Then we put in some second hand floating flooring which I had found on Gumtree. It looks quite nice and should be tougher than the yellow tongue flooring we put in earlier. Also, since it has underlay underneath which should help to insulate the building as well.

MoreManorUpgrades2

We still have to do the area under the beds, but apparently we took too much power out of the manor’s batteries using the power saw so we will have to wait a bit before finishing the job. Everyone came up to admire the progress though. 🙂

MoreManorUpgrades

I also did some more experimenting with cheese making while Twinkles was giving us 5L a day. (She is down to 3L a day now, so the cheesemaking has come to a halt again.) The red waxed one is a parmesan, but the other two were made using a fairly basic recipe from my favourite house cow book. I even made my own culture from Kim’s favourite cheese, and I think the flavour was better as a result.

Home made cheeses

After that Kim and I took off for two weeks away in sunny Perth. The timing was organised so that we could attend my nephew’s wedding. It was a lovely wedding held in a beautiful garden in Swan Valley, and the weather was perfect too.

Wedding

We had a lot of precious family time while we were there, especially with my parents and both of my sisters. My uncle also had his 80th birthday celebration while we were there and so we got to catch up with a lot of my extended family as well, with some folk coming from as far away as New Zealand.

Trevor Banyard's 80th Birthday

Kim tried to reconnect with his father’s side of the family as well, but he had no success. It looks like it might take a bit more chasing around to find any other Howe’s. However he did catch up with one school friend (when did they get so grey haired???) …

Kim with Robert Keller

… and got to go out and take some photos with another good friend who shares his passion for bird photography.

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

We were blessed to find the time to have a quick peek at the progress our good friends have made on their straw bale house. They are doing a truly amazing job!

StrawbaleProgress

And we shared a meal and good conversation with some other good friends. Sadly we didn’t get to travel down to Albany this time, but the focus of the visit was my immediate family and we got a lot of lovely time with them.

CookingTogether

When we got back home Kim took the bus down to Hobart to look at an automatic car for Lydia. Lydia only drives automatics and unfortunately the one that we have keeps having minor problems which mean she cannot take her driving test in it, so we decided a second one might be a good idea. After looking at the car Kim decided that it needed more work done than he really wanted to do so he said he would not buy it. However it turned out that the guy selling it was pretty desperate to get the sale and the long and the short of it was that he talked Kim into buying it at a good enough price that it was worth doing the work on it. They got the paperwork done and Kim filled the car up ready to drive home, then he jumped in and turned the key and the car went “click” and just would not go! A few hours later the RACT gave up trying to get it going too, and they hired Kim a car to drive home in and organised to tow the new car up the following week. We really got our money’s worth on the ultimate roadside assistance this year! On the way home in the hire car Kim stopped by and took a night shot of Richmond Bridge.

BridgeAtNight

Since then Kim has replaced the starter motor and the car is now going again. It is a 2007 V6 3L Citroen C5, which makes it our most up to date car yet. The other required parts, a steering tie rod end and timing belt kit, arrived this week so now the work can be done. Kim is not looking forward to doing the timing belt as it requires special tools and is rather complicated, so he plans to do it with the help of his Citroen mechanic friend who now conveniently lives just over the mountain and has a nice new cement floored shed with a hoist! We are looking forward to having this car on the road as it has lots of safety equipment, plenty of power and headlights that turn with the steering. The headlights are really brilliant for driving through the twisty mountain pass in the dark, which Lydia has to do twice a day at this time of year.

BlackC5

The last car we bought was also a Citroen. We very much like the hydraulic suspension. We were buying it as a spare parts car for Kim’s Xantia as it was so cheap ($350), but in the end we decided it was too good for that so we fitted it with a new set of suspension spheres and it is now a daily driver for us. I really like it!

WhiteXantia

The major activity for this last week was turning Twinkle’s last calf, now a 14 month old bull, into beef in the freezer. It is always an ‘all hands on deck’ job despite our local dairy farmer doing the slaughtering, dressing and butchering. He is trying to get us more involved in the process these days so that he can go home earlier. As a result we ended up cutting a lot of the steaks ourselves and did all the mincing with our own machine as well. Then there are the fatty offcuts to trim dog food from, the bones to select for dogs, soup bones or burying, the fat to turn into tallow and everything to clean up after the work is done. It generally takes us a few days before everything is sorted. We filled our freezer as well as Paul’s after putting everything into meal sized portions. It is delicious to have some cuts of meat, like eye fillet, that we would never normally buy for ourselves. We got about $2,500 worth of meat at supermarket prices this time so it makes rearing the calf, which is really just a byproduct of having a milking cow, feel worth the effort. If we had more pasture and didn’t have to buy so much hay it would be even more profitable.

BeefInFreezer

We have given up on doing more to micro hydro for now until the warmer weather arrives.  Kim has heaps of mechanical work to do which is taking priority, and it is often just too cold to work outside for more than a few hours each day at this time of year.  The heated workshop that Kim has planned will definitely come in handy when we get it done!  Maybe next year?

Well, that is all the news I can think of at the moment.  Wishing you all the best.