Hi There

It seems  like ages since I managed to snaffle the computer and had enough time to sit and write an email.  We are going fine, despite a few sicknesses running through the family including Kim having some mild kidney stone trouble again, but everyone seems to be adjusting to life here in Tassie pretty well.

Highlights lately have been the frozen dam, and our first sight of snow this week on the top of Mt Barrow which we can see from our lounge room.  On the first day we were tossing up whether it was snow or not but on the second day there was no doubt.   There was also some good snow fell on Ben Lomond which is near here, but unfortunately I didn’t get a photo and most of it is gone now.  😦  I suppose this is all old hat to those of you who come from colder climes, but it is all new and exciting to us.  Driving to town today with the car showing the outside temperature to be -4 at 9am, we had to be rather careful as there was quite a bit of frost on the road, and some was still there on the way home at 3pm.

We have now been over and stayed the night on our block for the first time!  We got power connected to the pole and Kim wired us up some lights which was great.  We also now have a proper door handle and lock and have well and truly tested out the fireplace.  The fire draws well most of the time but does smoke on odd occasions so we are keeping our eyes peeled for a second hand inbuilt wood heater with a fan which we will put in the fireplace instead.  We are also pricing insulation and lining materials so we can get the place draft free and looking pretty.  However we did manage to stay there in reasonable comfort so we were quite pleased with ourselves, and I think I did a pretty good job of cooking on the Coleman camping stove too.  Caleb has chopped down a couple of in-the-way smaller trees and sawn them up into poles, and we have been tracing the path of our stream to work out where it is best to get our water supply from – that is probably the next most important thing to organise so that we can stay there for longer periods.  Our shed now locks up, the windows of the shack are clean, the front yard has all the leaves and twigs raked into piles, the bath is cleaned out and drains properly, the roof is free of leaves, we’ve extensively measured up rooms, windows and fireplace to take insulation, lining, curtains and the new heater and there is a cleared path to the shed and power pole.  We’ve pulled up or cut down a bunch of bracken around the house and mulched it up and have hung up a tyre swing in the front yard for Josiah.  We’ve also found an EK Holden ute and two trailers in the scrub.  We have determined that we have to dig a trench from the Telstra junction 186 metres to the house so they can lay a new cable for us and then we can have the phone connected there (fingers crossed everyone for ADSL!!!!).  We are going to hire one of those little diggers to dig the trench with and I think the boys will actually have a lot of fun doing it (I hope so anyway).

After a family conference we have agreed to name the property “Milkenunny”.  This is a biblical reference as when we were considering coming over we would joke that Kim was looking for the Promised Land, just like the Israelites in the Old Testament, and we had the feeling that we were going Amish – only with electric lights and internet.  🙂  So anyway, when God took the Israelites to the Promised Land it was described a land flowing with milk and honey, and He has given us our block in Mole Creek which has both dairies and honey production as its major agriculture so the name seemed appropriate, even though we have no plans to produce milk or honey ourselves.  Others have obviously thought along similar lines since Promised Land and Beulah are on the map just to the north.  We feel very blessed to have our own place and to see that we may actually be able to put some of our dreams into practice, it will be a lot of work and we have a very limited budget but it will be well worth it if we can get it all happening.  I can’t wait to actually get there so I can get some chooks and start growing things again, still, one step at a time.

We are enjoying going to the church here, it helps to get to know people and feel like you are becoming part of the community you live in, and the people have been very friendly and welcoming.  One couple even travelled all the way out to Blessington to visit us which was rather nice, and we have been going to a bible study group one night a week as well as to church on Sunday so we are being well socialised!  We are getting to know Launceston a bit better now too, and are getting used to finding our way around it.  I didn’t like Lonnie at first but it grows on you, and the locals love the place so it must have something going for it.  What we don’t like is having to pay for parking, it just doesn’t seem like a big enough city to warrant it somehow, perhaps Albany just spoilt us too much.  The hills are interesting in Launceston, we drove down this road today which went down steeply then went flat as a road crossed it, then down steeply again and then flat again and so on, it was just like I’ve seen in the movies and I reckon if you put your food down hard on those flat bits that you would fly – at least briefly…

Caleb has still not found any work and has been considering going to TAFE and doing a Business Certificate in semester 2.  Sam, Lydia and Josiah continue to homeschool and seem to be doing just fine.  Josiah is difficult to motivate at times but his reading is coming along well.  We are supposed to have someone come and assess our homeschool programme, but there has been no sign of them as yet.  Hopefully they will get here sometime soon.  Tassie just finished school holidays, they still have just 3 terms over here which is a bit different.  I wasn’t going to give my kids the holidays but since they all got sick it ended up that they didn’t do any work anyway!

Well, I will leave you with a few more photos, I hope you can see them okay.  Firstly there is one of ice on the dam – how thick does ice have to be to hold your weight incidentally?  I want to get an old swimming pool or something and put about 6 inches of water in it and leave it in the shade so that it freezes and makes a home made ice rink!  Then there is a photo of a frozen dripping tap (small things amuse small minds I guess), after that there are photos of the first and second days of snow on our mountain. and finally one from the outside of our shack with candlelight showing in the windows (before we had the electricity).

love to you all



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