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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Burns and Dragons

I went to my first proper Hazard Reduction Burn (HRB) of the year yesterday.  No pics of me, but I did get some of Tom and Angus.

I like the mythical sense of the smoke and the Firey walking through in the background of that last one.   It was a well-run burn.  It was kept low temp as much as possible and we protected all the big trees by raking away the leaves before the fire got to them so they didn't catch fire and both they and their little inhabitants would be safe.   Away it goes.

I was in a Light Tanker with Angus, and was very happy to be back to work with the Lieutenant I love best.  Our job was to come along behind the fire and black it out, meaning that the burn had to be fully out for 20 metres in around all the edges, with no smouldering bits left to come back up later.

The wind was a bit changeable...

Same spot, pics taken about 30 secs apart.

I was a good girl and wore my mask a lot, unlike every other bugger.  All too manly I guess!   Yes I was the only woman.   Come on ladies, join up for goodness sake!  Don't leave the guys to have all the fun!

Here are Tom and Angus discussing if masks might have been a good idea.

Not really!  I think they were discussing hose technique! :D

This was a really cool old stump that we spent some time putting out.   It looked so much like a giant fossilised dragon's head. Sent me off on flights of fantasy there in the forest.  Author + sudden dragon head?  Oh yeah! 

I hope you can see it too.  Its nose is to the right with big flaring nostrils, and it has a large eye and  top-knot of spiky bits.  It was quite uncanny and thigh-high on me, so also quite impressive.

Another dragon around here right now is... me!  Ha ha, no not really, it's one of my chookies, Spotty, who has decided she is broody despite hybrids not being supposed to want to do that.

"Grrrr, you get away from my babies-to-be!
She is genuinely growling at me, something I haven't quite had one do before.  I found this video for you to watch if you've never heard it either.

I moved her to a better spot and made her a pen to keep the other chooks from bothering her, and since she showed no signs of giving up despite the disturbances, I was lucky enough to get her some fertile eggs from a lovely local lady who breeds show-standard Silver-laced Wyandottes.   I hope she can raise them! 

She took the change of eggs from infertile ones to fertile ones well.  I'll be really glad if she can give me some beautiful heritage chickens like this girl!

Fingers crossed! 

"Just bugger off and leave me to do my job!"
I have this pic on my desktop because it makes me smile. Not many things warm my heart as much as a mama hen with her babies.

This gorgeous image comes from this blog post on Community Chickens. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Birdie Num Num

Hmm don't know why I titled it that.  Feeling a bit, "Friday afternoon silly," I think. Certainly I have a few bird pics, starting with this one.  I had to wait the car in the driveway yesterday while this two got on with a bit of Bronzewing boinking.   Who am I to stand in the way of true love?

Hey, do it right in front of a blogger, get photographed! 

This year's baby Magpie is still doing well. I saw her the other day out in the next door paddock, sitting very quietly, with no adult nearby.  It's interesting that she knows to keep nice and quiet while her protector is not close.  When they are, she yells her head off.

She looked so tiny and vulnerable.

Speaking of tiny, this mama Maned Duck (Wood Duck) was out on her walk when we were out on ours this week too.  These guys nest in tall trees, and I suspect the babies do those suicidal-looking leaps down to land when they hatch.  Would love to see it one day!

In other news, it's been thundery this week. Don't love the sultriness, but do love the clouds!

We got to visit with some lovely Standard Poodles too!  (The humans were nice as well, but you know, POODLES!)

The pics are awful because it was pretty dark in there.  They came up for lots of pats and their ears are so soft.   As you can see from this pic of them 'foofing' them about at play.

Heh.  Such a sweet pair.

I've started planing some of the Karri (as Gav told me it is) ready to make a picnic table. 

The dogs quite like sitting around outside with me while I do it.  Has anyone else noticed that animals like it when you spend time with them outside?  They know outside is better for us, and them, than inside, though of course if you're in they'd rather be with you.

It's a pretty cool workspace.  The lucerne trees have been trimmed underneath for years, and also trimmed above because of our powerline, so they have kind of gone sideways into this lovely canopy. Wouldn't suit a taller person but it does me just fine!

Hey, that's a pretty cool angle of the magic cottage too!  How I love it!

Have a lovely weekend.   Do something weird.  Have an adventure.  Make something with your hands.   Read a good book.  Talk to a tree.   Habit is for nuns!


Monday, 13 November 2017

Jungle Book

I was very lucky last night and got to sit in on the last dress rehearsal of the local production of The Jungle Book. 

Both my younger nieces and my sister Jen are in the cast, and Jen got me a chance to sit in and watch instead of running the gauntlet of all the perfumes you get in the audience at a normal performance.

I felt very privileged, and the other great thing was it meant that, all alone in the seats apart from the Directors far below, I got to take a few pics without using my flash and without bothering anyone.

A dramatic scene where the wolf pack and friends all see off Shere Khan and Tabaqui the jackal.  My niece Molly is the very far right wolf.

I really enjoyed the production!  The set is to die for, far and away the best I've ever seen.  The costumes are lovely, and the acting and singing were fantastic.  Special mention to the young fellas who played Baloo and Tabaqui.  Both played their parts to great effect.  Shere Khan was still lacking some of his costume (last minute panics are the norm in theatre after all) and it is all down to his amazing ability and presence that he gave me the shivers even so.  Here are Shere Khan and Tabaqui threatening Mowgli and his girl (whose name I can't currently remember and hopefully Jen will remind me.)

The duet of the young ladies who were Mowgli's human mum, Messua, and his love-to-be was the singing highlight of the night for me.  The lad who played older Mowgli has a voice to die for too, as did mama wolf.

My sis Jen is second from right here in the orange sari, looking beautiful as usual. Molly was a wolf, and a villager. Here she is being a bully to Mowgli in green pants.

And doing a nice fall as Mowgli retaliates.

Niamh was a butterfly at the ends and a monkey in the middle of the play.

This is her on stage on the right before they started.  Behind them is the just amazing tree that the set designer made.  It has three levels, can be entered from front or back, and has a branch coming out the side that they could walk or swing along.  As I said, best set ever!

Naughty monkeys up to no good. Niamh is back left.

Some of the kids were amazingly young, especially baby Mowgli and the wolf cubs, and all did fantastic jobs.

I really enjoyed watching them all on stage waiting for the pre-start talk.  There was much excitement, colour and movement. 

I used to love being a part of the theatre crowd.  Seeing a rehearsal like this brought me much closer to that experience than seeing a full production.  Think the many late nights in being part of one would kill me now though! 

If you are a local, definitely go and see it!  Tickets are selling fast but there are still some seats left as I type this.   Darlington Theatre Players at Marloo Theatre.



Friday, 10 November 2017


Firstly beanie finished!

The recipient says he loves it, which is kinda sad because I badly wanted to keep it.  It made me happy just to wear it.

Secondly, red-head standoffs happen here a lot.  This one was between Mr Kitty and some chickens.

Kitty:  "I didn't really want to  go over there anyway."
The chickens won.

Hey food-person, are you in there?
Thirdly Andyroo had a call-back interview for a job today so I went into town to be his chauffeur.  While he was in the interview, I took myself off to, "Walking With Dinosaurs."  It was simultaneously lame and interesting!   I figure it is good author research in case I ever want to add some more Cretaceous critters to a "Land of..." book.

Plus, you know, the chance to have people take stupid tourist photos of you.

And to take even stupider selfies.

Yes I patted every one of them.   Of course I did!


Sunday, 5 November 2017

So I have this Beanie...

A gift from Brigid this morning, just to remind me that Monday is Brigid's day.  Soft pastel feathers, especially grey ones, are always my gentle reminder from her.

I got cranking on the latest crocheted offering this weekend while spending some nice downtime in the warm spring gazebo, and got it almost finished.  It looks pretty ordinary right now.

But I has evil plans. Which one to choose?

Think the forwarder horns look best but am very tempted to make one or two more horns and go for the dinosaur look.  :D  My only directions were to cover the ears, to make it green and gold, and make it silly!

Mr Cyrano Fitty Kitty also enjoyed the downtime in the warm day with me.

For a change of pace, I also participated in my first hazard reduction burn of the season on Saturday.

Only a little one at the actual station, but it was a bit smoky and we had to shut it down.  The problem is we have a tiny window between when it is dry enough to burn and when we can't burn any more due to safety. Hope the neighbour who complained won't mind if his house burns down this summer de to too much fuel in his immediate surroundings!

On sunday I got to do this at our latest incident management team training day.  I was on the boards outside the ICV.  Interesting!

That's me on the right there in my yellow record keeper vest at the debrief afterwards.

We have this year's baby magpie on the move.  So glad she survived to get safely out of the nest, and she was already flying by the time she left it, so she is nice and mobile too.  She still has some very cute fluffy knickerbockers though.  One of her big sisters from two years ago was close nearby.  There is always one family member on duty with the baby.

Someone else has fluffy knickerbockers too, but I not supposed to say so.



Friday, 3 November 2017

Nieces are Fun

It's good being an aunty.  You can do the fun stuff and none of the crappy parenting stuff.

This week, Niamh and I had a couple of fun sessions together.  This was the result of our sausage making adventure yesterday.   Who looks more grown-up here, I ask you?  :D

Andrew and I bought a grinder and have been experimenting with making sausages.  The bought ones all make us react, even the supposedly preservative-free, gluten-free ones, and poor Andrew misses them so much.  Like a lot of blokes he loves a sausage!  So far the home-made ones have been fine.  (And they taste heaps better than commercial ones too!)  Once Niamh and I made them, we had to cook a couple so she could try the taste. 

The hood she's wearing is one of her birthday gifts, this one from my mum.  She is 12 now.  She's having a bit of a hat phase and mum and I knew as soon as we saw this pokeman hood/scarf combo, that it was perfect for her!  I want one myself.  It's adorable and snuggly soft too! 

Here she is posing with her painting with hood reversed.  She loves the art too.  I'm glad of that.  I know it's very fluffy-bunny but she is 12 after all, and I figure she'll like it for a few years. After that if she doesn't want it any more she can gift it back to her old fluffy-bunny aunty, who is already missing having its cheerful presence around the place. 

Niamh and Jerry in their dreams.

Niamh also changed out my saying on the fridge.  I love the new one she wrote for me, and the unicorn to go with it!        

"Ride on rainbows, dream your dreams, and be free."
In other news, I saw this piece of cool art in a cafe this week and I liked it and took a pic of it for my friend Nicolette who will love it.   I love Frida Kahlo, and I love that it is called "Beauty from the broken places."

It's for sale in The Pines Cafe in Darlington if any local wants to go buy it.  It's done in a beautiful painterly style, and the price is $340.

Other artiness this week was a bit more practical, like sausages.  Andrew and I re-did the legs of this old Jarrah outdoor table.  We used some of the elderly jarrah that came out of our friends, Gav and Jules's, roof when their house was extended. Score!  There is lots more too.  Good Jarrah timber is rare and precious.   I doubt that it would be used in many roofs these days.  As for the days of using it for railway sleepers in their millions, or to cobble London streets, those are long gone, thank goodness!

Anyway, with the new legs on, and the top all re-screwed by Andrew earlier, and some good coats of olive oil, it will hopefully last for another 25 years and more.  Excellent!  I hate to waste stuff, especially precious trees!