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Thursday, 20 April 2017

I Love Autumn!

The days have been perfect here.  25 to 27C each day.  Cool nights for sleeping, no need for an inside fire and no need to hunt out shade by day.  The trees are breathing sighs of relief that summer is over.  I heard a gardening lady on the radio describe what the plants endure here in summer as being like running a marathon.  I can well believe it!

The birds seem very active too. Both the Red- and White-tailed Cockies are in town.  We had both flying by us yesterday evening as we sat in the paddock to watch the sun set, with their different calls ringing into the darkening sky.  These Red-Tails were sitting in the tree right outside our door the night before.  See if you can catch a flash of spreading red tail as they fly away.

Noisy buggers, aren't they!  I love them though!

This week we had a good time doing a Burnover Drill demo for the local Communications Brigade that Andrew is also a member of.  Well, actually I am now a member too.  I joined up so I can be uniform officer for them.  I like doing that for Sawyers, so why not do it for both?  Next year I won't be Equipment Officer for the fire brigade, but I will retain the uniform part of the job as long as the new EO is happy with that. 

The Comms Brigade runs the Incident Control Vehicle at large fires. It is a new lot of learning for me, but the people are lovely and I'll be able to do this job long after I can't drag my carcase around a fireground any more.     

The demo went really well thanks to Jenny, Angus and Andy.  I was supposed to be a part of it but am still not well enough.  Stupid stomach, you are ruining my life!  Ah well, I got to take photos instead.  I like this shot of Andy, with Angus signalling the approaching imaginary fire and beginning of the burnover drill, and Jenny womanning the pump. 

I was very proud of how well Andrew talked the demo through, and of course of how handsome he is.

A little lovely thing that happened was one of the Comms Brigade ladies said to me, "Andrew is such a lovely man isn't he!" and I said, "Yes," and jokingly added, "And I still think that even though we've married twenty years," and she said, "Oh!  I hadn't realised you two were together."  :D

I love this pic of Jenny, because it shows her as I see her; strong, brave, gorgeous, and with a twinkle in her eye.

Cooler weather makes this stage of Niamh's afghan very pleasant to snuggle down under after dinner.

And kitty has been doing his usual trick of enjoying lying on new things.

From piles of inviting crocheted afghan...

To what doesn't look like comfortable bedding at all, like Andrew's stiff and smelly new Firey pants that I was halfway through rehemming.

Hey Mr Fitty Kitty, can't you go find somewhere else to lie down?

No of course you can't.  Not until you are good and ready.  What was I thinking?  I'll go find something else to do...



Monday, 17 April 2017


I'm sick again.  Not moving fast enough on lowering my stresses to suit my stomach, I guess.  There is a thing called Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome.  Think that might be what I have, and am currently unfortunately in a cycle.  That or the Porphyria acting in a new ways.  Or the multiple chemical sensitivity.  Maybe it's all the same thing.  Whatever it is, I lost the will to live some time late on Saturday night, but my usual resilience is working hard to spring me back.  I'm improving but not feeling very bloggy today.

I've still found a little energy for music, mostly very low key practicing of my new Anglo-Saxon Harp song about the messages of the trees.  It's coming along really well.

Oh yes it is!  Or the right notes in the case of the lyre!   Thank goddess for music!   

I've also used some of my down time to get further onto that final proof-read on the print copy of Land of Giants.  I know that my covers aren't very in vogue, what with all the blended photo-shopped images they use currently, but oh how I do love this cover.   It is such a joy to pick up. The swirling blues of it delight my eyes. 

What doesn't delight my eyes is all these folded corners.

Yep, every one of those is a typoe, at least one.  All I can say is, never do a proof-read when you have just had an operation!  Can't believe what I missed!  Yikes!

Ah well, there is a reason why I like to do my final proof-read on a printed copy; you can definitely see more in print.  It just usually isn't this scary!

Speaking of scary, I was worried that our local bees in the big Marri tree might move out when the smoke from our burn blew across their hive.  It got pretty smoky at times! 

Great pic by Phil.  Thanks Phil! 
Luckily they seem fine.

Can you see the yellow combs in the black area high up in the tree?  I could see bees flying in and out, but had to blow up the pic to see the bees en mass, still gathering at the base of the exposed combs.

There are so many!  Wonder if they are planning a swarm soon?  Seems very late in the summer for it, but the season has been so odd.  Rain and cooler temps have allowed many spring plants to flower again in autumn, so perhaps it is a very flush year for them.  Good luck on your journey if so, you brave bees!

At least here in Oz, winter is a good time for feeding because of all the Wattles and such that flower then.  They won't do badly as long as they can find good shelter.  Still can't believe that this hive has done so well exposed on the outside of the branch like that.




Friday, 14 April 2017

A Varied Week of Interestingness.

I enjoy weeks like this.  There was lots of variety.

There was an artist's date with myself to the lovely garden of Kinfolk Cafe to begin writing the song I want to add to my OBOD Ovate Review.  It really does help to get into a creative space if you take yourself somewhere away from the usual distractions.

I came away feeling peaceful, with the bones of my song already written.  The lovely piece of GF chocolate cake was an added bonus!

We began making a Wickerman (lucerne tree man?) ready for the Druidy midwinter bonfire we are having this year.  It is our first go at such a thing, so we aren't being too ambitious. Those things can get really big, but ours is only a bit taller than Andrew.  By midwinter he should be all nice and dry and crackly, ready to burn.

I did a bit more work on him today and when I looked at this photo I took, his face looks a bit scary now!  Yikes!

We took our brigade up to our block to do some hazard reduction burning on Wednesday, just under an area of ghosty gums that drop masses of leaves, bark and twigs. It needed it.  The cover was a bit thick so the fire burned pretty hot at times.  You can see the area to be burned here in this pic showing Andrew teaching Ziana how to use the 'firebug'.

The fuel load was so thick that we even got a mini fire tornado on this spot!

 But it was soon all burned and carefully blacked out by our friends.  Thanks guys!

I like this pic of Jenny through the smoke and flames.

And I love this pic that Michelle got of Jen and I.

Heh heh.  Yellow Vader!

Midweek, just as the sun was about to go behind the trees, we took a blankie down to the paddock and had an impromptu picnic.  Here is Rosie enjoying some popcorn on a 'one for me one for you' basis.      

Today was Good Friday, a public holiday here.  We had a jolly lunch at mum's.

It was lovely to see my niece, Teelah, having a bit of fun with Shannon with matching dyed red hair!  You have to have a bit of fun, don't you, and it is always good to see a young fella who can relax enough to let his hair down, so to speak.  :D      

Then, when Jen's family got home, they found this little guy, Ollie, down with colic, so it was all hands on deck to keep him up and moving until the vet got there.  Here he is happily full of pain killers and acting like he is all better.  Hopefully he'll be fine now.  I must say, the worry of colic is one of things I really don't miss now I don't have horses.

Fingers crossed for little Ollie!         


Sunday, 9 April 2017

A Firey Sort of Week

We had a fire to go to this week, and some fun Firey training on the weekend too.

The fire was far out in the forest, deliberately lit, in an area of pine plantation tucked into natural bush.  By the time we arrived the fire was mainly contained by the local parks guys, and we were put to blacking out one edge.  Blacking out means getting everything back to black and wet, with no smouldering left, for at least 30 metres in from the edge.  This hopefully stops any flare ups from traveling sparks later on when you have all gone home.  In bad fire conditions this might be extended to 100 metres or more, but since it is autumn, the Incident Controller felt pretty safe to keep it to 30 metres.

Blacking out can be a grotty, slogging sort of job, but with the right team it can also be fun.  We had a good team.

It was quite an unreal scene as the sun went down.  Beauty from destruction.

This one came out especially arty!

There were no hydrants out there, so we had to make trips to a nearby dam to refill our tanks, which gave us a bit of a break and a chance to see how the rest of the fire was behaving and being dealt with.

It was a good fire, if such can ever be said to be good. It was soon under control, there wasn't much damage to real bush or animals, and we were finished and home again inside five hours.  We even got fed a nice dinner!  We'd have been home even sooner if we hadn't got lost in the bush on the way home in the dark.  Never trust a GPS on bush tracks would be my advice.  It kept trying to turn us up tiny tracks that the 1.4 might have got stuck on!    

Having missed early turnouts in what was a very mild fire season, I was glad to get a bit of practice back under my belt.

Training helps to keep you in practice though. We had a good session on Saturday with hooking up the vehicles together using different water delivery methods.  We got bloody good pressure using suction on both vehicles!  Blimey!

That's sister Jen and I.  Doing stuff with Jen is always fun.  She is so enthusiastic.   :D

On Sunday I slowed the pace a bit and went over to Jen's to give old Jerry a bit of pampering while she rode her boy, Fionn.  Jerry loves attention.  I even found his rhythm beads and put them on to dress him up a bit.  As an old pony club pony, Jerry is very used to wearing bling and costumes and he reckons any fussing is his just due.   There were plenty of pieces of carrot too, of course!

At just shy of 28, he is looking fantastic thanks to Jen and her family's good care.   He still thinks he is Pegasus, bless him.  

He is a dear old boy and we are still fond of each other after him living here with me as company for Archie for a while a few years back.  

Speaking of which look, at Archie!  He was always meant to be trick pony.  I definitely sold him to the right home!

He will be in his first demonstration soon.  I can't go to that one because I am at a course for the brigade, but hope to get out to see him do his thing one of these days.



Friday, 7 April 2017

"King and Lionheart"

The first time I heard this song by Of monsters and Men, it became Andrew's and my song.  It reminded me of our courage during all the Lyme years of desperate illness, of the way we have managed to stay together and stay loving, despite the difficulties that life threw at us. 

It's also one of my fave songs to play on the guitar. I hope you enjoy listening to it.

The pics we got of us at a fire this week are rather apt here.  This is Andrew being the Crewleader of our team.  He always has an air of kingliness, with his calm dignity, presence and honorable nature.  I think this pics captures him well.  He looks like a modern Knight.

And this is me, the Lionheart. Scared of stuff all the time; big stuff, little stuff, all the stuff,  but out there doing it anyway with as good a will and spirit as I can.

King and Lionheart. Yep, it still fits.

Or, as we decided we should be nicknamed the other night, Blaze and Smutty.  :D




Monday, 3 April 2017

Back to Centre.

We found this lake many, many years ago while riding horses.  Some 30 years in fact!  The brigade has been trying on and off to find it again ever since Angus came across it while fighting a bushfire, and so far it had eluded the searchers, but there it was after all, hiding away in the middle of the bush. We took the 1.4 and took the trails I'd taken on horseback all those years ago.  I was a little bit chuffed to find it where I thought it should be!  It's a great site to use to practice drafting water into the vehicles, and for a little BBQ picnic afterwards!

Last week Andrew was spraying some intrusive tough weeds up at the block (African Love Grass: We do not love it!) and the dogs decided that his mask made him an evil stranger. They wouldn't be convinced by him that he was daddy, so he gave up trying to talk to them and got on with the job, and they came to sit each side of me and be my Black Watch, as mum calls them. I love this row wow bark of Rosie that she does when she is genuinely feeling guardy and a bit worried, as opposed to faking it for fun. It's cute.

The birds in the background are White-tailed Black cockatoos.  They are back in town. It was a lovely evening, made even better because I wasn't the one doing the work!    

I have been getting so jittery, what with one thing and another. I was finding it hard to settle down, but a visit to my inner landscape and a chat with Odin and then Brigid set me back on course.  It is wonderful to be able to access the wisdom of these deities in my life.  I am very thankful for their presence.

With this return to self in mind, I had a centering weekend of doing the homely things I love.  This was made easier because Andrew was off at a training course all weekend, so I had the cottage all to myself (Mwahahaha!)

So, what did I do?  I played a lot of music, both my own on instruments and from itunes and youtube  One thing I did that I hadn't done before was buy and listen to the whole of a Wardruna album in one go.  That was a journey and is definitely the way to listen to their music, but this is one, Odal, of my faves from the album I bought: "Runaljod: Ragnarok".

I did chores in the garden, too, the sort of never-ending ones here like picking up sticks. The chooks came out with me.  They always like it when I do this sort of job because they think I am foraging with them.  It feels very nice to me too.  Very communal and friendly.     

I finished the Baby Buckbeak Amigurumi that I've been neglecting for ages too.  He's a Hippogriff from the Harry Potter stories.

He's cuter than I thought he was going to be when I was halfway done, but a bit of taking apart and restitching of parts and he has come good.  I like how he sits up with his little claw feet in the air!  I wouldn't recommend this pattern for beginners, because it has some gaps where you need to have enough experience to come up with your own solutions. It's a cute result though!  
The weather was lovely all weekend.

The chooks took full advantage of it, sunbaking and foraging blissfully.  I'm a bit worried about Sbock, the orange chook here.  She looks like she is a tad off.  More slower movement and a slow blink than anything overt.  Not much you can do with these orange hybrids, they just have a short life and that is it.  Sbock is the last of her generation.  Poor Nanny Ogg will be sad when she goes because she is her oldest living friend.  Nanny is doing great.  She must be close to 8, I think, or even older.  She's seen a lot of orange chooks come and go. 

That pose is the sunbaking posture, though, not from any illness.  I had to laugh one time when one of them came right by where I was sitting and just suddenly plopped down with a wing up. I thought she had fainted or dropped dead, but all she was doing was instant sunbaking!  Others came to join her straight away. It must be catching. 

The youngest three; Rover, Spotty and Fido are cheeky monkeys.  I love having free range chooks but they are hell on vegie gardens, and apparently no table is safe either!

Saturday night broke the centering weekend in half with a nice bit of chaos, having a family games night at the station for the brigade's kids.  Andrew did a good job of wrangling some of the younger kids down to playing an actual game instead of running around like loons.

And he turns out to be a bit of a Jenga wizard.

 Sunday was more music, more crochet, more chores.  All done peacefully and mindfully.  I even videoed myself playing another song on guitar, but I'll post that on Friday.   

Did I get re-centered?  Yes I did.  It was good!  It's always good to come back to what matters to you, and what matters to me that has been missing from my 'life pie' is plenty of alone time to use my hands and mind in peace.  It's easy to forget how important that time is. 
Not that you are ever really alone with dogs.   

Today?  Today is back to the practical.  Exposed rough stone is lovely and romantic to live in, till the time comes to try and clean dirt and grease off the rocks behind the oven!  Euuuwwww!  It's all scrubbed now, just have to see how it comes up when it is dry.

Ah well, as the saying goes, "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."  It's not what you're doing, it's how you're feeling while you do it that counts!