Archive for August, 2016

Wet Winter coming to an end

August 21, 2016

It has been a lovely wet winter this year in Tassie.  Yes, I am not even complaining about all the flooding!  After having hardly any rain last winter, we are appreciating seeing the ground wet and our western lake filled again.  The lake would be about 4m deep in the middle at the moment whereas last year all we had was a puddle a couple of metres wide.  This is a seasonal lake, possibly actually a large sinkhole, as it starts to fill a day or two after rain.  This year it is as full as we have ever seen it.  Too much more and it would start to overtake the driveway – which would not be so good!

The Western Lake

 

Some ducks have moved in and are appreciating it too.  🙂

A duck swimming away on the Western Lake

 

On the eastern side of the driveway we have the paddock that we ploughed and seeded last spring.  It used to get flooded with rain runoff, but the drain that we put in a few years back has been effective in keeping the water level low.  Some water still stays after rain though, and the ducks like to play in it.  The grass seems to have established pretty well. We are hoping it will grow more vigorously once the weather warms up and the paddock dries out a bit more.

Australian shelduck (Tadorna Tadornoides)

Australian shelduck (Tadorna Tadornoides)

In preparation for spring I have been doing an trial to see how much better seedlings grow in a warmer environment than my greenhouse.  We had a refrigerated cabinet that does not work, and set it up as a warm environment for seed raising instead.  (Using an old waterbed mattress and heater – gotta use what you have!)  It has been keeping the temperature at about 18°C overnight and getting up to 22-24°C on the cooler days and if I am not careful it gets up to 30°C on the sunny days.  Obviously the temperature would need better regulation to work properly, but I thought it would give a bit of an idea.

 

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I planted two trays, one for the cabinet and one for the greenhouse, with some cabbage, broccoli and lettuce 8 days ago and you can see the difference below.  One tray is from the warming cabinet and the other is from the greenhouse.  The back of each tray is in Yates seed raising mix and the front half is in a home made seed raising mix and the results are quite clear – they like to be warm!  The only thing up from the greenhouse is the lettuce and they only just came up in the last couple of days.  The cabinet tray has had pretty much everything come up now.  My biggest problem has been keeping the cabinet from getting too hot, and making sure I remember to water them properly.  Next I am going to set up a solar operated fan to see if that helps them to grow nice and strong.  I do love growing vegetables!

 

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And while I am on the subject of growing things, I found an old non functioning display fridge that I plan to use to grow fodder for the cow and pony once the weather warms.  I should be able to grow 3 trays per day once I get it set up, I hope.  The animals do enjoy eating the fodder, which is just wheat or barley grown to about 10cm height and fed with the matted roots and all.  I need a fridge like this so that I can keep the possums and wallabies out.

 

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My old fridge that I set up as a trial for fodder growing has now been turned into a painting dryer.  🙂  I have recently taken up painting for fun, my dad got me into it.  I’m not terribly good but do enjoy doing it.  There is lots to learn.  I have been using water based oil paint, as Kim was allergic to the acrylics that I tried first, and they take a few days to dry, and since our little shack has no spare space to speak of I needed somewhere safe to stick them to dry.  As I said before, you have to use what you have!

 

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And once they are dry I have been sticking them on the one free wall of my pantry, because I don’t really have anywhere to store them either!

 

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We have been given notice that our condemned power pole will have to be taken down soon.  We are actually surprised we have had it so long.  Kim has been researching, sourcing and pricing batteries, solar panels, controllers and inverters and we want to triple our solar system as soon as possible.  We still want to get some micro hydro working in the future, but that will take quite a bit of time to organise so we are going to do the solar upgrade first.  We still have our generator as a backup and Kim has a plan to use a car alternator to charge the batteries when needed for sunless periods.  It is a bit scary to be going totally off grid at last, but it has been the intention for a while now so it is probably just as well to be forced into finally doing it.  Hopefully the cars will behave and not require any work for a while so Kim can concentrate on this job with no interruptions. With all the miles that we do taking Lydia to and from work, the cars are probably justified in demanding work, but it can take up a lot of time to maintain them and fix their problems.

In other news: Lydia has taken some time off work and is currently in WA.  She went back to Albany to be at her friend’s wedding, and is coming back home on Wednesday after catching up with some family and a few friends.  Caleb and Sam continue to have health problems that seriously limit the things they can do, while Josiah is still home schooling.  Kim’s brother Paul seems to enjoy living in Mole Creek and we appreciate having him near.  Our little church is going well, and our part time pastor is very encouraging and helpful.

And that is all for now. Take care all!

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Lake Pedder Trip

August 5, 2016
I’m afraid I am going to inundate you with photos again! This time they are of a trip we took to Lake Pedder in the South West National Park here in Tassie.  Last weekend we found ourselves with a rare opportunity to go away – Lydia was not working, church was having a combined service elsewhere, the weather was not bad, the car was working and the Pedder Wilderness Lodge was offering two nights for the price of one – so Kim and I “seized the moment” and took off.
We enjoyed staying right in the heart of the national park at the lodge.  The large lounge/restaurant/bar room was lovely with it’s views over the lake and it’s warm fires, and the staff were enthusiastic and welcoming.  We chatted to other visitors in the evenings and I even tried out the indoor heated swimming pool.
Kim was up before dawn to get this photo looking out over Lake Pedder from the Lodge grounds.
Lake Pedder, South West National Park
And looking back towards the Lodge.
Pedder Wilderness Lodge before sunrise, South West National Park
This is the daytime view from the lodge of Lake Pedder.  It had high water levels after recent rains.
Lake Pedder, South West National Park
After breakfast, we drove out to do some sight seeing, and checked out the photos of what Lake Pedder looked like before they put in the road and dams to make the hydroelectric system.  The only folk who could get here then were serious hikers and rich folk in planes.
Cathy at the look out near Strathgordon, South West National Park
Then we headed off to Gordon Lake and Dam.  Despite recent rains that Lake was still low. The ramp to the hydro outlet is way above the water level!
Lake Gordon, South West National Park
Kim went down to look at the dam itself.  With my fear of heights I’m afraid there was no way I was going to enjoy that, so I kept my distance.  Other’s, however, were not so fearful.  One couple abseiled down the 140m of dam wall.
      Abseiling down the 140m dam wall, Gordon Dam, South West National Park
It’s a long way down, can you see one of them in this shot?  Then I guess they had the fun of climbing all the way up those ladders to get back to the top again.
 Abseiling down the 140m dam wall, Gordon Dam, South West National Park
After sightseeing around the dams we moved on to Wedge Mountain.  I have fond memories of Wedge Mountain as it was the first place I saw the beautiful moss covered rainforest when we were down this way 23 years ago.
Mount Wedge, South West National Park
However the bushfires last January had been through, so the rainforest I remembered was gone.  However it was good to see that the bushland was starting to regenerate already alongside the river.
Regrowth after fires near Mount Wedge, South West National Park
After that we wandered through the Creepy Crawly walk where I got to enjoy the rainforest that I remembered well, and Kim had to take photos for me.  🙂
KimPhotographingRainforest
Such lovely greenery.
Creepy Crawly Walk, South West National Park
Then it was back to the lodge before the rain came back, to have some dinner and more conversation with the other guests.
On Sunday we decided to take the long way home.  Once again we enjoyed seeing places we hadn’t been to since we visited Tasmania 23 years ago, albeit briefly this time.  🙂
We stopped at Mt Field National Park and got wet in the spray at Russell falls – so I don’t have a photo of that.  There was some nice rainforest type scenery by the river though.
Rainforest, Mount Field National Park
We dropped in at Lake St Clair.
Lake St Clair
And had lunch nearby – yes that is snow.
Cathy making lunch in a snow covered picnic area near Lake St Clair
Nelson Falls was more amenable to being photographed than Russell Falls had been.
Nelson Falls
And again I loved the greenery and the river that we saw on the walk to the falls.
Flowing River near Nelson Falls
We went through Queenstown too, and were interested to see that the “moonscape” caused by the copper mine is slowly regenerating at last, although the 5km approach to the town is still pretty hair raising – at least for someone who really does not enjoy heights.

Waterfalls near Queenstown

We started to think about it getting dark then and we still had a fair bit of driving to do so we couldn’t stop anymore despite seeing some lovely sights.  Eventually we got home safely around 7pm, weary but happy.  It was all too brief a time away, especially at the places we saw on Sunday, but it was lovely to have the opportunity to do it.  I fear we may have rekindled a love of travelling to the wild places of Tasmania, and I can see us plotting and planning to escape again sometime soon!