Milkenunny Times

Over the Christmas break we had our second lot of visitors from the mainland.  Margaret, who used to go to my bible study in Albany, is touring Tassie with her husband and they dropped in and stayed for a couple of hours which was very pleasant.

We continue to enjoy life here in the sticks, and continue to slowly get more done on the property.  We now have 3 vege gardens in our permaculture area with another due to be planted out on Tuesday.  We have been harvesting snowpeas, peas and lettuce this week and the cucumber and tomatoes are flowering.  We hope to run some poly pipe down to the garden soon, we currently carry water down on the back of the ute to water the gardens every few days and as we get more gardens the job is taking longer and longer.   I am very pleased to report that the hens have started to lay.  Kim also made a nesting box with a sloping floor to stop the egg-eaters from indulging their evil ways so we are feeling less frustrated with the girls these days, and they are getting better at digging too.
Lydia has been clearing bracken from the designated paddock area by hand.  We recently bought a sickle which sped up the process, although it makes us feel a bit like Getafix.  However it looks like we may be able to use pigs to do the bracken clearing and some digging for us.  We are told that they will eat the roots of the bracken and leave the poisonous leaves so we are keen to check this option out.
Sam continues to extend the length of the woodstack and to work on the novel he is writing.  He recently submitted a short story to a publisher and is awaiting feedback from there.  He still has bouts of nausea which limit him a lot, but he perseveres as best be can.
Caleb has been our odd job man, helping out with whatever task is happening each day be it clearing away undergrowth, limbing fallen trees, brushcutting, mowing to make mulch to put in with the chooks for the garden.  He spent yesterday eagerly helping Kim to fix the VW Passat that we bought for the princely sum of $490.  After replacing the carburettor, the coil and some leads it is running much better and is actually very presentable with minimal rust and good interior trim.
Josiah has been enjoying helping out where he can and playing with whoever can spare him the time.  On some recent hot days we got out his paddle pool and he spent hours playing in it.  He was also thrilled when some visitors to church came around to visit us during the week as they had a primary aged son who allowed himself to be entertained by Josiah.  Jo had him jumping on the trampoline, playing Hungry Hippos and computer games and was very sad to see him go.  He is also pleased with his little garden that has been growing well and has flowers in it now.
We have tried out the swimming hole in the Mersey River which is about 1.5km from our place.  It is rather nice there, although the rocks underfoot are slippery, but it is great to be able to just nip down the road and have a dip to cool down on a hot day.  Josiah particularly loves it, he and I walked down there one day when the others were out and had a picnic lunch and a splash around before coming home.  There is a diving board on the other side of the river that people jump from, but the current is fairly strong to get across to it.  We went down to the same spot in the river when it was getting dark one day to look for platypus, and finally saw one!!!  There were also a lot of trout jumping after insects that night.
The other weekend we went to a harness horse day in Sheffield.  We learnt lots about harness horses and wagons too.  I can see Kim hitching up the draught horse to the plow one day!  🙂  Actually he would prefer to use a mule but they seem to be few and far between.  While we were there we also took the opportunity to go on a little steam train ride which was fun.
We did more renovations on the house this last week.  We finally took the plunge and pulled the kitchen wall to pieces, removed the old tiny window and installed the new big one.  It took just one day to get it done, except for the inside lining which we left for later.  It was funny because we had visitors arrive when we were halfway through the job with no kitchen wall to speak of, but we still managed to get it finished despite the delay.  We love the result, there is so much light in the kitchen now and we can see outside without bending down and peering myopically.  Now we just have to work out where we want the benches to go and we can finish it off inside too.
Before.
During.
After.
Our baby quoll no longer seems to be living under the house.  He had a scary experience one night when Sam found him sitting on the shower tap in the bathroom.  We tried to hussle him out of the room but he was dazzled by the light I think and kept hiding.  In the end he climbed onto a broom so we just carried him out broom and all, and I think he decided to move a bit further away after that.  He still comes to visit and raid the rubbish bin once we are in bed though, and we still hear him on the roof some nights.
I’ve seen a couple of tiger snakes now, but they obviously avoid us so I am not as paranoid about them as I was, but I do watch were I am walking when I go through the bush.  The birds continue to be a delight and we now have a baby black faced cuckoo shrike in the nest out the front of the house.  One parent has died, we were very sad when we found the feathers all over the yard, but the other survives and is doing a fine job raising the youngster so far.
Haymaking continues locally.  This paddock near us belongs to Royal who plays the organ at church and he tells us that they made 241 rolls of hay in there this week.
His calves next door to us are doing well too.  Little wonder when they have feed as high as it is!
We are slowly getting more involved in our little church.  I have now managed to take on cleaning duties every second week, hoping to relieve Beth who has been doing it for the last millennia on her own.  I have suggested to Tory that our boys should help when he is looking after the grounds too and I hope he will take us up on the offer as at 87 years of age I think he could do with a bit of assistance.
Anyway, I think that is enough news for now.  I must go and feed the chooks, collect eggs and get some tea for myself.
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