Archive for June, 2015

Cold Snap, but Warm Family Times

June 22, 2015
We have been having quite the cold snap here over the last few days.
Frosty Fence and Paddocks

Frosty Fence and Paddocks

Wednesday and Thursday last week were cold enough, with frost everywhere each morning and the water pipes to the house froze overnight but they were thawed and running again by lunchtime.  However Friday morning the water pipes were frozen again and we haven’t had running water since.  With minimum temperatures of -5°C and maximums of about 8°C for an hour or two, if we were lucky, we had solid frost in the shady areas just building up on itself until it looked almost like snow.
Frosty Bush

Frosty Bush

It has made life somewhat difficult, but thankfully I have lots of large plastic tubs that I can fill with water for daily use and keep out of the way in my new pantry, and I’ve been keeping a large soup pan full of heated water on the stove for doing dishes etc.  Paul has also been kind enough to share his shower with us.  🙂  It IS nice having family close by!  Today is milder and lots of the frost is gone and we all cheered when the water started running again about 1pm.
My new pantry is our biggest news at the moment.  Many of our plans had to be shelved when Kim’s chronic fatigue kicked in again, and the micro hydro and paddock ploughing that we were hoping to have done or underway by now – have once again gone onto the back burner.  It was very frustrating, but Kim decided that he could help me to make a new walk in pantry off from the kitchen.  A sort of a consolation prize.  🙂  So Kim sorted the plans and the materials and I did most of the building with help from him and the boys.
PantryBuild5
The decision of where to put it was Lydia’s brain child, and it runs alongside the lounge room opening into the kitchen just where our old pantry cupboard used to sit.  It is only 1.2m wide and 1.8m long, but it makes a huge difference to the function of my little kitchen.
Milkenunny Shack
It was worth all the time and money it took to build.  In fact I am sure it is the best built part of our whole shack!
Pantry Stacked

Pantry Stacked

This year marked the 60th wedding anniversary for my parents, and I was blessed to be able to fly over and spend time with them and also with my two sisters.  Linda had managed to come back from overseas to be with us all for a short while, and her husband John and youngest son Dan were also able to be there.  I mostly stayed with my other sister Alison and her family who graciously put up with having their home life disrupted for a week or so, and we were well catered for by sleeping in vans in the backyard.
CaravansInBackyard
We had a lovely family time, spending precious time talking and hanging out.  We also did some tourist trips which were fun.  One highlight for me was seeing some dolphins just a few metres offshore at Lancelin, I had never seen them that close before.
Dolphin
We also went to the Pinnacles, another first for me.
Pinnacles
Also, of course, we had to get Dan to experience Australian animals on his first trip here so we went to Caversham Wildlife Park.  I thought the park was really well set up, with a good balance between “hands on” experiences for everyone whilst still making sure the animals didn’t get too stressed by all the people.  They even had a farmyard section and a show of shearing etc.
There were some daily shows where you could pat a wombat, birds of varying sorts, lizards and snakes, possums and they even had my old enemy a spotted tailed quoll on a harness there for a little while.
WombatMeeting
The koalas were all sleeping and being very photogenic.
Koalas
And there was a large area where the kangaroos could be met and fed.
CloseUpKangaroo
We also had a celebration party with extended family and friends, AND I got taken to the stage show “Wicked” so it was hard to say goodbye to family and head back home.
FamilyAtParty
But I did feel needed at home!  Sam had taken on my milking chores and Josiah had been feeding the stock while I was away.   Kim had been busy doing lots of driving all on his own taking Lydia to work and back, though it did help that I had managed to leave them frozen meals for while I was away.
Lydia had been working doing honey extracting over summer and then rolled straight into a new job picking flowers in some huge greenhouses in Wesley Vale.  It is pretty physical work with long hours and almost an hour away.  That wouldn’t be so bad if Lyd had her license but at the moment she is still on her L plates and so Kim and I normally take turns running her to and from work each day.  That is almost 4 hours driving to fit into our daily schedule, and so we have added an automatic Peugeot to our fleet of cars, in the hopes that Lydia will be able to get her license sooner in that than in a manual car.
Blokker Greenhouses

Blokker Greenhouses

Then, two days after I got home, Linda, Dan and Andrew (her eldest son who lives in Sydney), came to stay with us for almost a week.  So I got to have even more wonderful family time.  We played mahjong, chatted and hung out together.  We also visited Cradle Mountain, the local caves and did our local taste testing tour which incorporates honey, salmon, raspberries, cheese and chocolate.  It was a great time.
AllAtCradle
HotChocolate
Meanwhile, poor Kim has been kept busy trying to keep our vehicles going, which is not being easy.  Our lovely Caravelle van had the gearbox die, and we are still considering what is best to do about that.  The family favourite, our black Peugeot 206GTI, hit a large grey kangaroo and all that plastic on the front of modern cars broke and smashed so it is off the road for the time being.  We are trying to source replacement parts to get it back together.  The new red automatic Peugeot 306 had it’s coil stop working, and Kim just got it back on the road the other day.  We have been grateful that we still have our 40 year old VWs as backups – though the beetle needs a new master cylinder for it’s brakes and the tractor is awaiting a replacement starter motor.  It never seems to end!!!
Well, that is our news for the time being.  I best finish up on the computer and get back to work!