Touching Base

Hello again.
How are you all over there in the warm.  It was -2 degrees when we arrived home from church tonight, after being a much warmer 3 degrees while we were chatting in the carpark before leaving Launceston.  I must say we are finding the temperatures not too bad, mostly because we rug up heaps when we are outside, and make sure the house is warm when we are home.  Two heat pumps and a wood fire can be quite effective.   🙂
Speaking of heaters, Kim also managed to get our inbuilt wood fire installed in the shack at Milkenunny on Thursday.  That means no worrying that wood will fall out and burn the place down, no more smoke in the house which is much nicer for those sleeping in the clerestory, and it is much more efficient at getting the heat from the wood into the house, especially since it has a fan in it.  We also put some insulation in the walls in the loungeroom in preparation for lining, but we need to get more.  I really enjoyed that job, it was cool fun.  We have bought the pine lining now, and just have to tee up a time to get it delivered.  Our major expense though was our composting toilet.  At just over $3000 it was a big decision, but we think the right one.  It needs no water, which is useful as we only have a small creek to get our water supply from, it means we don’t have to go getting council approval for a septic system as this is justice department approved and also we don’t have to do major clearing to install a septic as the loo basically just gets put in a room with a vent through the roof.  It is also a very ecologically sound system with little ongoing costs, although it needs electricity to run it’s heater, stirrer and fan.  After installing the fire and taking delivery of the loo (and watching the delivery guy get bogged on our driveway – most amusing to see the poor fella having to jump out past the DEEP puddle to lock the hubs on the front wheels – personally I never drive through that puddle, I go around it!) anyway we decided to take it a bit easier.  So we went for a hike up to the top of the block to our creek and tracked it upwards until we eventually found a road.  Now we’ve decided we need to buy some maps to find out what road it is.  We also took a sample of the water from the creek and are getting it tested which will be interesting.  The weather was lovely again for our visit, fine and sunny and not too cold.  Strangely enough we had someone drive up to the house about midnight while we were there, but they no sooner saw the cars than they took off like a bat out of hell.
I can report that the meeting with the Homeschool lady went well.  At least it went well after she got here some 2 hours after she intended.  Poor woman called to say she was running late, then called to say she had reached Evandale expecting to find fuel there, but there was none, so she had to backtrack to Perth to get fuel.  She had to come the long way to our house because our bridge was still being worked on so we warned her against taking the log truck track off Burns Creek Rd which looks more like the road than the real road, if you know what I mean, but she took it anyway and meandered around the countryside back and forth for a while before finding someone to ask directions from.  Eventually she got here, and seemed to recover over a cuppa.  She seems to think we will have no problems with our registration as we have a pretty comprehensive schooling programme, which is good.
I have been feeling very old fashioned this week.  I wanted to sew up some curtains for Milkenunny (I’m not much good at sewing but I can just about manage to sew straight lines) and the only sewing machine I have is an old Singer treadle machine.  So we threaded her up and shortened the belt and away she went, as good as new despite being 108 years old.  I even found a bunch of attachments I’d never looked at before and it turned out that one of them did hems and when we tried it, it worked a treat.  So I sat down sewing on a treadle machine while my vacola was bubbling away on the stove bottling pumpkin soup!  As I say I felt very “old school”, but Josiah was sitting next to me playing educational games on his computer which kept me in the 21st century.  Lydia decided to have a go with the Singer too and after a while she was doing pretty well also, and so we were very chuffed to hang up the curtains in the shack when we went there.
The other weekend there was an open day at Poatina.  Kim and I remember Poatina from when we were in Tassie 14 odd years ago because we had planned to buy fuel there but found the entire town deserted, a real ghost town.  The town was originally built when part of the hydro-electric work was being built nearby, and when the work was finished of course the town was not needed.  All the transportable buildings were moved on but the brick buildings which had been built to house the managers remained empty.   Well a Christian group called Fusion bought the whole town some 12 years ago and they run a community there doing various projects there such as working with troubled youth.  Apparently you can buy a house there at a reduced rate but you have to commit to working for one day a week in one of the various projects or shops in the town.  They have a primary school, college, swimming pool, tennis courts, radio station, art shop, second hand clothing, garage, general store and a restaurant and motel.  They also seem to have conferences that form part of TAFE youth work certificates amongst other things.  It was a very festival type open day with lots of free activities that thrilled Josiah.  He had his face painted, ran through a canvas wind tunnel thing I don’t know how many times, enjoyed a bouncy castle and went on a couple of trips on a Thomas train.  There were various teen and adult games on too and arts and craft activities that could be done as well as bus tours and free tea and coffee.  We didn’t have time to see it all so must go again next year.  Kim vanished for a while and when we eventually found him it turned out he had been hobnobbing with the director, he tells us we have a standing invitation to drop in for morning tea sometime.  I talked to a couple of ladies, one who was there for a week’s conference to do with getting a TAFE certification in youth work.  She downplayed the Christian focus of the course quite a bit which surprised me.  I guess in order to get TAFE certifications going through them they would have to be seen to not push their Christianity?  It would be hard to maintain a balance I would think, to ensure you did not compromise the fact that the whole foundation of what you are doing is build on Christ.  Anyway it was hard to get much of a feel of the ministry of the place from one person’s comments.  I also talked to the local gardener, a Tassie born lady.  We waxed lyrical together on permaculture and she said they plan to run a horticultural course there soon also.
Caleb starts TAFE this week.  He went to enrol last week, thinking he would probably do the Certificate III of Financial Services, but after talking to the advisor he came home enrolled in Cert III and Cert IV of Financial Services as well as a Diploma of Accounting and the Advanced Diploma of Accounting, all to be achieved in 1 semester!  The guy assured him that he would get enough credits from what he has done at Uni to mean he is just doing one full time course.  Some of his units are done flexi-time which is like distance ed, and it looks like he will have to go in to classes 3 days a week which isn’t too bad.  The plan is to help him to manage his time well in the process.  I don’t expect this will be easy for him or me.
We bullied Kim into buying snow chains on Saturday as we all want to go and visit the snow.  (I think Kim sees the cost as being 2 bags of insulation that we can no longer afford, but hey, this is snow we’re talking about and we are so close).  Ben Lomond is busy with skiers lately, I think we passed about 3 dozen cars heading that way in the 30 minutes that it took us to drive to town on our way to church this morning.  Then the boys would go and be sick today so we couldn’t go.  Still there is plenty of time to get there, or so Kim says.  The weather has been just fantastic for skiing I would imagine, cool, clear and still with the sun shining.  Just beautiful winter days, although I guess we really do need more rain.  We had lots of rain in May but have had hardly any serious rainfall in June and July.
Well, I am told it is getting late and that it is perhaps time to go to bed so I guess I better go.
love to you all.
Cathy
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