Archive for the ‘Blessington’ Category

Spring

September 3, 2007

Spring is definitely here with the weather turning much milder in the last week or so. Tassie seems to be turning yellow with numerous wattle trees bursting into flower, both in Blessington and Mole Creek.  Hayfever tablets here we come, but it is a beautiful sight.  As we drive into town we see lots of lambs gambolling (strange word gambol isn’t it, but it does seem applicable somehow) around the paddocks.  They are SO sweet.  On the way to our block we pass a paddock with a sign on the corner saying “Shhh, cows calving!”, and we have seen a few recently born calves as we travel past.  They are really gorgeous too.  I love looking at cows with their big liquid eyes, they somehow seem very placid… which probably just goes to show that I haven’t had much to do with them!  There are some Banded Galloways near here which are a more woolly looking cow, they are black with a wide white stripe around their bellies and kind of look like someone has tried to gift wrap them, we laughed when we first saw them.   I don’t have the same comfortable feeling with regard to bulls however.  There are about a dozen large solid black bulls in the paddocks bordering our little gravel road in Blessington, and truth to tell I’ve never seen them do much.  They mostly just stand there dramatically or graze, or occasionally lie down.  About the most animated I’ve seen them is when the farmer drives into the paddock with hay, and then they amble after him but they are never undignified enough to run.  But somehow there is a certain brooding dangerous feel to them and I am always glad they are behind the electric fence.  So when we were driving slowly down the road in the rain on our way home on Tuesday night at 10.30pm, keeping a lookout for the usual pademelons, wombats and possums, my heart fairly kick-started when I saw one of the bulls on the side of the road.  He was actually quite hard to see, being black and muddy, and by the time I saw him and let out a startled gasp we were only a car length or two from him.  Kim thought I had seen a wombat or something and he started to slow down so I grabbed his arm and whispered, “Don’t stop, just keep driving nice and smoothly”.  As it was the bull completely ignored us, as did the other couple we passed, but if I had wanted to I could have opened the window and leaned out and patted them on the way by – funnily enough the thought never occurred to me.  🙂

We have set ourselves a date to move into Milkenunny, the 6th October, and our new postal address will be PO Box 155, Mole Creek, 7304.  We are still awaiting our satellite internet and so may not have a phone other than the mobile to begin with, but we’ll still be getting email via our wireless broadband card on the laptop.  There are a bunch of boxes in the garage that we plan to move over there this week.  To this end we are hiring a truck and will store the boxes in a 3 x 3m shed with a concrete floor that is near the house, that way it will just be the basics in the house that we have to move later on.  We are also taking over a new window for the kitchen.  Instead of the little 80cm wide one that is there at the moment we will be installing one that is almost 3m wide, that should brighten up the kitchen no end.  Next we hope to hook up our little electric hot water system, and have running water inside the house, instead of on the wall outside where it is at the moment.  It will be great to actually be there, and will give us much more opportunity to get things done whereas now we have to travel one and a half hours before we can do anything over there, but I’m going to miss our new friends from the church.  However I got a bunch of seeds the other day and I can’t wait to get going with my vege gardens again.  There are heaps of bulbs coming up around the yard at Milkenunny, and the daffodils had burst into flower this week.  I’ve attached some photos so you can see them too.  I’ve also included photos of the lounge room with the new benches, which were promptly filled with computers.  It just goes to show that the kids are as much at home in Mole Creek as anywhere else, so long as they have their computers to keep them company!  In their defence I should say that the photos were taken after the days work was finished.

It is school holidays here in one weeks time, and we hope to be able to spend some more time at the block getting things happening before the move.  We need more insulation and lining for the boys shack, and need to wire up some lights up there as well.  The door has a lock and we have the batteries and pot belly up there now, although we haven’t tested the pot belly yet.  I’m looking forward to getting started on that building too, as it will give us a lot more space to spread out into.

Last Sunday we had a pizza lunch with the folk from our bible study.  Chris and Rikki have a wonderful backyard complete with a homemade wood fired pizza oven so we all cooked our own pizzas which was good fun as well as very tasty.  They even had spelt pizza dough so Sam could join in with the rest of us.  At the end of the yard was a vege garden and chook dome, quite similar to what we had but smaller still, they obviously had read the same book.  There were various varieties of fruit trees along one fence line which fruit at different times to keep them going with fruit all season, and they even had their own vineyard as Chris makes his own wine.  There was a swimming pool and they assured us that it gets hot enough to use it.  They had a heating system in the pool through a bunch of black poly pipes which circulated the water from the heat of the sun, and ran the water through a filter at the same time so it required no electricity.  Under the poly pipes, which formed a roof, there was a little rainforest set up as well.  Then there was some baby olive trees which they hope to make their own oil from later.  It was all very nicely done.

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Windy and Wet

August 13, 2007

Well, we had some wild, wet and windy weather over here last week!  I believe the flooding was even on the TV on the mainland so it must have been bad.  Mind you it was just the normal flooding of the rivers up our way and in Launceston, so we were not too adversely affected.  Though having said that I still find the way the rivers flood their banks in Launceston to be just amazing.  Anyway we certainly had some wild gusty gale force wind on Friday.  Kim was looking out of the loungeroom window when we had a particularly vigourous burst of wind and he saw the top half of one of the pine trees lining the road come crashing spectacularly down alongside our driveway.  Caleb had to go into town for TAFE and Lydia and I went with him to do the shopping so Kim suggested that we take the chainsaw with us just in case, and we were glad that we did.  We didn’t get more than a few hundred metres down the road before we had to stop and move a gum tree that had fallen across the fence and right across the road.  We chopped it into about 4 pieces and lugged them off the road before we could continue on.  That was another first for me.  🙂   I have to say that standing in the middle of the road watching Caleb saw up a tree with the wind roaring through the branches of numerous other tall trees that look exactly the same as the one lying across the road is not my favourite way to spend 15 minutes!  But I’m pleased to say that no more trees came down, and the weather has fined up since then.  However we did get water coming in along the edge of our sunken lounge room on Friday/ Saturday and the creek rose up to be within 1 metre of the back clothesline.  We also watched the edge of the creek erode away somewhat from the raging of the water, taking a big stump with it.  I’m rather glad that we don’t actually own this place as the creek is too close to the house for comfort really.  


My concern now is to see what damage may have been caused out at Milkenunny, I hope no trees have come down near to the shack!  Unfortunately there are a few very close to the back of the building and we have been planning to find an expert to fell them for us, but haven’t done so as yet.  Still, there is no changing what has already happened and we will get back over there later this week to have a look.  We did more lining last week and have almost finished the ceiling in the loungeroom as well as doing a goodly amount of the main wall in the vestibule as well.  We also finished running the water pipe to near the house from the creek at the top of the block.  Now we have to get a pump to fill the pipe so we can see how well it will syphon.  We also have a contractor from Mole Creek going to have a look at our driveway to quote us on spreading some gravel so we can make it less boggy, as it has become very bad in a couple of places and we’re not sure if we will make it through again.  Kim and I went to Hobart on Saturday to collect some deep cycle batteries that we will use as the power source for the second building.  The batteries have been part of a lighthouse power system and we are told they should last another 5 years.  They are good powerful ones and so we are very pleased to have got them, and at a good price too.  The older boys who will be sleeping in the second building have been trying to decide on a name for it.  My particular favourite is The Big Brother House, but although they came up with that one themselves and thought it was hilarious, they are strangely reluctant to have that as it’s permanent name.  I think their choice so far is The Manor.

Last Monday we took Sam up to the ski fields.  We had bought some skis and ski boots from a Launceston charity and the older kids and myself managed to have a go on a very mild training slope that we could walk to the top of and ski down.  We hired some ski poles and for the total princely sum of $50 we all had a good time getting a taste of what skiing was like.  Lydia was probably the best of all of us, despite a slow start when she kept sliding into the creek and I had to physically pull her out.  Caleb came in a close second, but Sam and I didn’t do quite so well.  I just could not work out how to steer and ended up crashing to a stop every time, and when you are down it is hard to get up!  We hired a toboggan for $15 as well and Josiah, and all the rest of us including Kim, had a go at that.  That was fun as well and much easier to master.  Caleb managed to bruise an ankle and slice his knee on a rock hidden under the snow when he was sliding around during a snowball fight, and he is still limping around a week later.  But despite bumps, bruises and freezing freezing weather (there was more wind and no sun this time) we were glad we went, and it was a fun experience.  I can imagine the older kids wanting to go and try it out properly sometime, getting a lift pass and all, but they will have to pay for themselves if they want to do that.  Mind you at $30 for an all day lift pass I believe it is one of the cheapest ski fields in Australia.

Today we had a visit from our landlord’s sister who has been in Launceston for a few weeks.  She lives in WA also.  Since we haven’t yet met our landlord, Lee, it was nice to at least see his sister, and we had a good time walking around the property and talking about our time here.  Josiah tried trout fishing in our creek this afternoon, but with no success.  We’ll have to get some licenses so the other kids can have a go too.

Anyway, I guess I better finish up for now.  Once again I have a couple of photos to share with you.
The first photo is looking across the paddocks of the farm at the beginning of our road back in the fine part of the year, followed by how it looked last Friday on our way to town.  I should have taken a photo of it on Saturday as well it was almost completely under water then.  I’ll have to get some more comparison photos later, I find it all just fascinating.



Then there are a couple of shots I took from the car as we drove into town on Saturday.  I have to say that the “normal” flooding does not get quiet so high or as close to the road as this, this is a few of times a year event.  See the fenceposts half under water.


And how would you like to live in this house with the water that close?
 I have to show you a shot taken from the upper bathroom window of our backyard and the creek.  The water came up higher than this during the night and the stump that the red arrow is pointing to is no longer there.


And to finish up I have a photo of Josiah fishing.  He had fun.

Moving Right Along

August 3, 2007

Hi All

We spent another overnighter at our block on Wednesday/Thursday and got stuck into doing the lining in the loungeroom.  I had to enclose some photos for you because we think the improvement is pretty cool.  I have to redo one set of curtains though which have become too short in the process of taking odd bits of wood off the wall, but I have just enough left over material so that is cool.  Kim also went around filling gaps in the hope that one day we’ll get all the entry spots closed up and the rat will not be able to get in, we’ve never seen him but he is systematically chewing the paper off the tins I have left there when we are away.  Kim even fixed the sash cord window in the lounge so it opens now.  Kim got a book at a garage sale called The Australian Carpenter (subtitled How to Drive a Nail, How to Build a House and all the Carpentry in between). It was written in 1948 and he finds it just fantastic to give him all the info he needs to do all the carpentry we find ourselves doing.

We had 3 inches of rain fall while we were at the block and the driveway was showing it.  The VW makes it through okay but it is a bit hairy in the front wheel drive Audi.  Still, we haven’t bogged yet… nothing like momentum to slide you through mud.  Maybe we should try the snow chains?

When we headed back to Blessington we were astounded at the water everywhere.  Launceston seems to have rivers that regularly overflow their banks in a big way, flood plains take on a very real meaning.  Paths that ran under bridges now just disappear into lakes of water, it is quite different to what I am used to.  Seeing how some sheep paddocks on the trip home had disappeared under water we were concerned as to what we would see at our rental house, but need not have worried, well – not this time anyway.  The creek was up and raging but has not broken it’s bank on the house side yet.  I believe we have a few fine days ahead so we should be okay.  It also looks like we have some fresh show on Mt Barrow so perhaps we can take Sam up to the ski fields tomorrow, even if he is not too well.

We are also the proud owners of our own chainsaw now, an essential tool we have discovered.  We picked it up at a garage sale for a bargain price and were concerned at first that it was too big, but have since decided that big is good.  Kim calls it affectionately The Chainsaw of Mass Destruction.  It also came with an attachment that allows you to mill slabs off trees, but we haven’t tried that yet.  We have had to chainsaw and chop firewood on a weekly basis and our new saw makes the work much easier than the little chainsaw we were using before.

I am very proud of myself because I got my tax return done half way through July, and so we are awaiting a reasonably sized return which will help to finance more insulation for the ceiling.  🙂  Our water testing came back very good, so the water is fine to drink which is great to know.  We still need to finish running the water pipe, there is only about 150 m to go to the house now, and we also need to work out water heating before we can move.  Still, we are getting there slowly.

Anyway, I have just been called to go and help get firewood so I best be off.

love to all

Cathy

Anyway, to the photos.  Firstly some before photos of the lounge so you have a point of reference.


Then Caleb nailing up boards and myself putting insulation in the ceiling.



And a couple to show the improvement just when we were packing up to leave.  Kim and I want to go back and do more!