I am happy to report that since we had two cars up and running we were able to get over to Launceston the other Sunday and were able to catch up with lots of folk at “The Branch”, the church that we were attending while living at Blessington.  We greatly enjoyed the service with the friendly people, meaty sermon and LOUD singing.  After church (last to leave as always) we had a picnic lunch in City Park where we said hello to the monkeys and played a game of garden chess before dropping around to Chris and Rikki’s house to catch up.  It was a most enjoyable day.  We came home with some prospective grape vines that are now residing in the fridge and a broken down freezer.  

In other achievements we finally finished cutting down the trees to clear our northern fenceline for the quoll proof paddock.  We cleared enough of the trunks away to enable the boys to dig in all the posts and then we ran the wires on Friday.  Today we connected the last corner so the electric energiser works on the whole thing, it is all live and dangerous.  We also pulled down the vege garden fence and reassembled it to be connected to the permanent fence so that it runs off the same energiser too.  So finally our fenceline is done…. well, mostly.  All that remains is the gate, which is testing Kim’s creativity I think.  It is wonderful to have the fence finally finished as the job has seemed to take forever!  We have plans to run more fencing down the front of the block but that will be only 3 wires rather than the 9 wires in this paddock and so will be much easier as the undulating ground is not so close to the bottom wire.  This current paddock should be predator proof for any poultry that we have, whereas larger stock should be fine with less protection.

We have turned the freezer that I mentioned before into an egg incubator.  It is heated by two electric light globes and the temperature is regulated by a thermostat.  Lydia has been collecting eggs for the last 10 days and after some initial messing around getting the temperature constant and various testing we are now doing our first trial run with real eggs.  If all goes well with our own eggs we can buy some fertilized eggs of specific breeds to increase our purebreed hen population.  If one of Lydia’s hens goes broody we are happy to rear chicks the natural way instead, but we can’t rely on that, and buying pullets or even day old chicks is much too expensive.  So, in 21 days we will know if we made it well enough!  Lydia has to turn the eggs a few times each day and we can “candle” them after a week or so where you hold them up to a bright light and try to see if the embryo is developing as it should.

My friend Val had told me in the past about what a gentleman her rooster is, calling his hens to any tasty morsels that he found, and I must say that I also enjoy watching our two roosters doing the same.  It is really lovely to see.  Brownie also makes a practice of cackling loudly whenever one of his girls goes into the nesting box to lay an egg.  If we are outside we always know if there are going to be eggs that day.

I am also pleased to report that all the pigs are now in together.  Caleb pulled down the dividing fence a couple of weeks back and waited anxiously to see what would happen.  It was all rather an anticlimax.  They sniffed noses and generally got back to digging.  Pigachu is inclined to bite at Erlestoke at times, but  nothing serious and they all seem to get on just fine.  It is nice to think that they can share the sleeping quarters now to keep each other warm as we have had some pretty cool days and nights lately, with snow staying on the Tiers for the last two weeks, and even a little being on Mt Roland on some days.
In fact we have had such cold weather that it has been rather hard to get the washing dry.  I had clothes out on the line for three days running with no rain but they were still wet.  I  have resorted to turning my lounge into a drying room in the evenings which is a nuisance, but not so annoying as running out of clothes!  It works quite well actually and we are getting good at ducking when we walk through the room.

We picked up a Homepure water filter recently along with multiple filters for $15.  Kim attached it to our kitchen sink and it has turned out to be excellent, even removing the brown tannin colour that gets into the water after rain.  It is much nicer to have clear water for drinking and cooking.  Kim has plans to mount it under the sink and out of the way but in the meantime it is just good to be able to use it.

Hopefully we should get the wood fire place we bought installed into the church hall this week.  It will be much nicer to be able to spread out in the hall when we have our afternoon teas, instead of squeezing into the kitchen as we do at the moment.  I am also pleased to say that Torry has just been declared well enough to drive again (he had a fall a couple of months ago) and he is delighted to have his freedom back again.  

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