Archive for the ‘Renovations’ Category

Some progress

December 3, 2019
Kim was really thrilled to get the concrete poured for the container shed floor on Friday.  This now paves the way (pun intended!) for him to install a hoist, which will make it much easier for him to continue his mechanical work on our fleet of cars.
Concreting copy2
We need to get some more gravel to smooth the way up to the floor, and Kim wants to paint the floor with some special epoxy paint to make it easier to keep clean too.
Concreting copy12
He has also installed our gas water heater booster.  We still have the benefit of the solar hot water, and can light the slow combustion stove if we want to, but do not have to, and it is nice to have that option.
We also purchased a diesel heater for Lydia’s bus, and Lydia and I were able to install it with a little advice from Kim.  She has used it a couple of times and it seems to work well, though it does make a bit of noise being actually inside the bus, but Lyd figures it will be well worth it in the cold weather!  She can set it to come on before she gets up which is rather nice.  🙂  We are thinking we will probably get another one for Josiah’s bus.
Due to some annoying issues with my job search provider I was not able to do the work experience I had hoped to, and still have not found any paid work.  However I am planning to volunteer at the Mole Creek Online Access Centre, and have a couple of training days coming up.  If all goes well I will be there every Tuesday and Wednesday for the foreseeable future, which leaves me free to continue with the Community Choir on Thursday mornings (which Josiah has started to come to as well) and I hope that I will still be up to running the Craft Group every second Friday.  The busy time of the year is coming up at home, so I will just have to see how I go.
My tomatoes are out in the garden now and looking good so far but Tassie, in it’s contrary way, has decided to go back to cold weather now that Summer has arrived, and we are expecting a minimum of 2 tonight.  Hopefully it will not go any lower and kill everything with a frost!
Kim and I went on an excursion with the Mole Creek Photography group last Saturday morning to Old Wesleydale, which is nearby.  It was a nice change of pace and the property and gardens were a delight, so I have included a couple of photos from the trip to finish up.
Cathy Westleydale2
Cathy Westleydale3

Queenstown etc.

July 9, 2019
Last weekend The Mole Creek photography group had a subsidised overnight excursion to Queenstown and Kim and I went along. It was a VERY winding 2.5 hour drive, but we got there in the end and stayed overnight Friday at an AirBnB. Saturday morning saw us wandering around the quiet little town with our fingers crossed that it wouldn’t rain too much during our tour.
The tour took us into what was a nearby, but once very isolated, tiny town for workers at Lake Margaret hydro power station. In between bouts of rain the mad photographers got to explore the area and take a bunch of photos of the derelict buildings, amongst other things. Apparently you can only access this area now on a tour. There was a bunch of historical information, and it was interesting to learn how the people lived back in the day.

Queenstown was a copper mining area for many years and the pollution pretty much annihilated all the vegetation on the nearby hills. They used to call it a moonscape. There have been challenges since the mine closed with trying to regenerate the land and reduce the spread of pollution, especially from the slag heaps, but there has been a great improvement since 1994 (I think it was) when we came over for a holiday in our kombi camper. I still remember the shock of seeing the barren ground of Queenstown after driving through the densely treed areas of Tassie’s south west. There is still a noticeable difference, but shrubs and trees are starting the get a foothold there now.

At the end of our tour we had a look through the old Paragon Theatre which has been reopened in a somewhat altered state and is being used for community events. It was an interesting old building and had a lovely atmosphere.

Kim and I decided to hang around for the return of the steam train before driving back home.

You can take a 4 hour trip on the train at the moment, with morning tea and lunch but it is pretty pricey. During the tourist season they have more trips, including the option of going in a separate carriage without the meals for a discounted price. 🙂

It rained pretty solidly on the trip home, which would not have been so bad if we had not run over a rock on the way that flattened a tyre and actually broke the wheel. They don’t call that part of Tasmania the Western Wilds for nothing! Thankfully I had my wonderful mechanic husband with me to change the wheel for us. 🙂

The short days lately, which are either wet or freezing, are meaning we are not getting a lot of progress done on the various projects we have on the go. However I did manage to put a splash back up in the kitchen on Saturday using some laminate that was left over from the bathroom renovation. Kim talked me into preparing for the job by putting fresh pine lining over the old lining, which had some gaps.

That meant the job took a heap more time but it definitely gave a better finish. It will be really nice to have the ability to keep the sink area much cleaner now.

I also put up a funky towel rail in the bathroom that I had been working on. It has the rail mounted on a nice knotty piece of Huon pine which is then mounted on the wall. I intend to varnish the pine with shellac in the long run, but the weather is too cold at the moment.

Poor Willow got an abscess on her face a few weeks ago. She looked pretty strange with her eye squashed shut. Thankfully it healed up with only one trip to the vets and a dose of antibiotics. About a week after that she came down with gastroenteritis – I think it was caused by her finding an abandoned chook nest in the bush and eating all the eggs. At least I didn’t need a trip to the vets for that problem, she just got to spend a day or two on a chicken broth diet until her tummy settled down.

We have another dog show to go to this coming Saturday which will be Haru’s first. We were going to take both corgis but Willow has finally come on heat, so we will probably leave her home. The corgis have a love/hate relationship. Often you will find them playing happily together and then the next minute, at some perceived insult, they will be snarling and snapping ferociously. I’m pleased to say that it seems to be mostly just noise and action as they haven’t really damaged each other yet, but it is pretty annoying. Hopefully they will establish their pecking order soon – there are varying opinions in the family as to who will end up as top dog. It is definitely different having three dogs, and somewhat harder to keep on top of the training. I do find it amusing though when I find them all waiting for me outside the caravan door.

As part of my job searching I have become involved in a project called Community Voices in Devonport. Being part of the project means that I have to sing in a choir – which is pretty funny as I keep losing my voice these days. The project is supposed to give more individualised support for people who have particular issues that make them less attractive to employers. One of my issues is the long period (12 years) since I last worked, so all my experience and references are quite dated. One of the suggestions was that I could do some things for the choir that will show that I still do have some admin skills. For example last week I did up a PowerPoint presentation of the song lyrics for choir practice, so I guess my hope is that the co-ordinators could be more recent referees for me. Since I have a bunch of sick folk at home and plenty of projects to work on, I really only want a couple of days of work per week or just a few hours a day which would bring in enough money to get by. I keep applying…. which is all I can do I guess.
Anyway, I think I best finish up for now. Best wishes to you all.

Another email from the Howes

June 11, 2019

We spent most of yesterday looking out at the rain bucketing down!  According to the new weather station that Kim set up in the front yard we had 88.7mm over the day.  It finally cleared up in the afternoon, but is still pretty soggy outside.  It seemed like a good day to start an email!


So how are the Howes?  Up and down somewhat would be the best answer I guess.  Caleb and Sam’s health has been very poor since their return from Japan, but they struggle on.  Sam is also changing medication which isn’t helping.  Lydia is enjoying having her own space in her bus and is slowly upgrading bits and pieces in it.  She is not so busy at work at the moment with the chilly weather slowing the flowers’ growth down, and she doesn’t mind at all if she gets to come home early sometimes.  Josiah and I have been unable to obtain any work as yet, but we continue to search.  Kim has been struggling with his health too and is not getting as much done as he would like to, but is always kept busy working on keeping our fleet of cars mostly on the road.

I mentioned a few months ago that Lydia had bought a mini pony, Penny, as a companion for her riding pony.  The pony was a real cutie and we liked her, but she had one major flaw that made us decide we had to on-sell her.  She hated having dogs in her paddock and would chase them out with her ears back and her mouth open to bite!  Our German Shepherd thought it was a great game, but the Corgis were not too happy about it and, since we want to breed the corgis, we thought it best to move her on.  We found her a good home nearby and Lydia has since bought another companion pony to take her place.  The new pony, Annie, is settling in well and has been much better behaved with the dogs!

Silk and Annie

Silk and Annie

Kim and I travelled over to Perth to visit my parents a couple of weeks ago.  We would have loved to get back down to Albany again, but were not able to manage it this trip.  We were there for Mother’s Day and my sister’s 60th birthday and enjoyed a high tea at my nephew’s home.  His wife put on a splendid spread!


We also caught up with my niece who came to visit from Sydney with excellent timing!  It was really great to just spend time with Mum and Dad who are doing so well to still be in their own home at 87 and 89 respectively!


While we were in Perth it was the A League Grand Final at the Optus Stadium, and Kim managed to score a reasonably priced ticket and go along.  It is quite the stadium and, with about 56,000 people there, it was rather a different experience to being at home and he quite enjoyed himself.


Back at home our newest corgi pup is growing nicely and is a lovely girl.  We haven’t managed to take her to any shows yet as there have not been any on – except in Hobart, and we didn’t want to go that far.  I think many events slow down for winter here as the days are so very short.  However we are booked into a show not too far away in July so will take both dogs along then.


We finally bought some Seetroen glasses that we have been trying to get for about a year now.  The Citroen online store kept going out of stock and anyway they would not send them to Australia, but a wonderful friend knew some people in France and we managed to buy the glasses and get them delivered via them.  Kim was even brave enough to wear them on the flights to and from Perth.  They look pretty ridiculous but are meant to be 95% effective at preventing and curing motion sickness.  Kim and Sam have both found them to be very effective so far, and Kim was thrilled with how he felt on the flight.  I was even hoping that they might help with Sam’s normal chronic nausea, but that was too much to expect.


Otherwise life just goes on with the routine things that happen at this time of year.  Our “to-do” lists seem to be never ending and I think we must be moving slower these days than we used to.  We have been lighting up burn piles and slashing fence lines, processing roosters, moving hay to feed stock and chopping wood to light the fires.  It all seems to take a lot of time!  Kim and I have also been sorting through cupboards etc in the caravan and annexe since it is all ours now that Lydia has moved to her bus.  Kim has been collecting cheap or free old macintosh computers lately, and the caravan seems to be filling up with them at a startling rate, so if I want to move in a spinning wheel or my painting gear I better move fast before all the space is gone.  🙂

Our current project is the 40ft container.  We want to put in some windows and a sliding door and to line and insulate it.  Then we will add some benches, cupboards and shelves and install an old fireplace that we have.  The plan is for Kim to have a nice workshop for all the mechanical and the electrical work that he does for us.  It will be great to have the tools readily accessible.  He will probably eventually set up a retro computer corner in there too, which will free up the caravan somewhat.  The old workshop that everything is squished into at the moment can afterwards be used to store car parts and the like.

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So, that is most of our news for the moment.  Kim is, however, seriously considering dragging me on a trip to the UK in March.  If anyone has any helpful tips on overseas travel we would be interested to hear them.  Kim’s tentative plan is to fly in to Dublin and drive through Ireland for a few days before taking a ferry to Scotland, have a little look around there and then take the train down to England for a look see.  It would be nice to make it to Wales too if possible before heading back home, having been away about 4 weeks all up.  It is still in the planning and assessing stages at the moment.  🙂

Best wishes to you all