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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Monster chickens!

Spotty's kids are getting big.

She decided the other day that it was weaning day, so every time one tried to poke their beak into the hole she was scratching, they'd get it pecked.  Poor kids, they had no idea what was happening and it took them a little while to twig that the hand-outs were over.  I can't blame her though. She is looking worn out.  Five at once is a lot of twerping, scurrying, tussling teenagers to keep track of. 

Yesterday we left the dogs and chooks to mum's care and did a 7 hour stint at the control point for a fire in a nearby shire.  It was my first turnout for my coms brigade, even though we did the shift for another comms unit that was running low on numbers. It was interesting, and much much cleaner than being actually on the fireground!  I really felt for the sooty, tired people who came in to pull their t-cards to go home, even while I wished I was out there too.  Still, there will be other days, of both sorts hopefully.

Kerrie is a whizz at the boards and T-cards and taught me a lot!  I always like to see her adorable face, and Tom's, when I show up somewhere. Volunteers really are generally lovely people!

We came home mentally tired but happy from a job well done and, since it was out of our area,  meeting and chatting to many new people was the icing on the cake. 

My sister, Jen, has started Fionn back in work in the last two weeks.  It is so lovely to see him back under saddle after his very bad leg injury that might have ended not only his soundness but his life. I never did show you the photos of that first day, but I assure it was very nasty.  It has been 5 months of dedication from Jen to get him healed.   It is equally lovely to see Jen healed enough to be out aboard Snow, her new boy, bush-riding with Fionn carrying her friend Fiona for his fifth ride.  My brave sis!  I'm not sure I'd have got back on any horse after that terrifying fall, but here she is, and smiling too!  

Way to go Jen and Fionn!


Monday, 29 January 2018

The Things You Find When You Declutter...

Like the cartoons you did for christmas cards 20 years ago...

1997, Isabeau the horse, Nermal the cat, Keech and Sam the dogs. 

1998, Isabeau the horse, Nermal and Massey the cats, Keech and Sam the dogs.

1999, Isabeau, Nermal and Massey, Sam and Tam.  

Yes I used to have very long hair.  And Roo had no beard and numerous piercings in those days too!


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

New Projects and Taking the Time

I spent an hour up the block this morning.  It is very summery now.

I pottered about connecting in a Druidy way, and checked on each individual tree that I've planted over the years.  This Marri is flowering.  It's one of my babies and much taller than me now.   Always knew I'd be shorter than my kids.  :D

I sat up the top, under the trees for quite a while.   It was shady, the view was pleasant, and a gentle, cool breeze was blowing.   The dogs were patient.

Unlike Jen's two youngest, who were being pains in the butt when we went to the pub on Friday evening.   When I tried to get a pic of how it feels to be a mum trying to have some down-time with your friends while being hassled by your teens, they decided to decamp!

Such a funny pic.  :D

As for new projects, the next lyre is in the works.  Two, actually because Andrew is showing me and letting me practice using the tools on one, then I do the other one all by myself.  The practice one is quite a bit thicker just because that is the wood we had.  It will be interesting how the tone comes out with a deeper soundbox.  Might be better, might not.  This is the drawing and plans for mine.     

The verandah on the cottage is begun too but we need to wait now while the timber and roof-iron we ordered arrives.

Weeee!  Exciting!  Saw some great ideas for fun outdoor fittings at a friend's house last night.   I have so many ideas for this currently blank space.

Unfortunately I can't use them all, so what we eventually do will remain to be seen.   We'll get the verandah in first, then see.  i do already have baby Paulownia trees ready to go in when we are ready, very kindly supplied by our friends who have a forest of them.  Fast-growing, shady and deciduous is what we need there.

The little chickies have been free-ranging with mama Spotty for a week and a bit, and are having a ball.  They are six weeks old today.

The mealworms and other treats are working, because every time they see me they come running and it is quite funny walking along with tiny dinosaur-chickies darting back and forth under foot.  They are currently at a stage only a mother or a mad chicken-lady can love.

But I do love them!  (And what does that say about me?  :D)  I think they will be the King Arthur generation.  No Arthurs, because only one rooster will get to stay and I don't want to play favorites this early.  So far they are Sir Grummore, Sir Ector and King Pellinore.  (Three of my fave knights from the tale.)

The girls are Guinevere and Morgana.   They get to stay no matter what!   Yay!  I will keep the kindest and most chivalrous rooster of the three and hopefully the other two will find good homes as well, since they are from very nice show chickens.  I can dream!

In the meantime, I will take the time to commune with trees and watch chickies, and I will take the time to do the work of the hands that is so good for the soul.  It is good for nobody to be a bisy backson, and at times I have been doing that lately.

Got to sit back and enjoy a slower pace of life!  I didn't get better just to make myself sick again, but it is hard, so hard, not to try to cram as much as possible into every day, because I know how easily those chances can be taken away.  What you need to do to have a fulfilled life, though, is not always the busy stuff.           


Thursday, 18 January 2018

Best Photo Ever!

This isn't it, but I do love it...

And this one of Fat Kitty impeding my crochet isn't it, though I am amused by it...

I had some photos sent to me by Dave White, who was in a crew with sister, Jen, and I at the fire on the weekend.  I knew he got these ones of us because I saw him do it...

But I didn't know he got this one of Jen and I walking along the row of fire-trucks, going to get dinner at the crowded control point during our shift.

I was speechless when I first saw it.

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time can easily guess how unusual that is...


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Big Fire and Biggish Chickens

We had a very big fire in our own area of Sawyers Valley on the weekend.  This was the view from our place.

All hands in the area, and out of it, came on board to help.  My shift was 2pm to 10pm on the first day.  It was a tad scary looking at the smoke plume from pur station as we waited for the first crew to come back for shift change.  I'd say it was my biggest fire yet.   It was big enough to begin forming its own weather pattern.

Jen and Andrew looking at the smoke as we wait for the trucks to return to station.  Andrew did a later shift, but came down to be station crew for us.  It is always very welcome when someone does that.  I did it for him too.  So good to see a friendly face when you get back after a long shift.

It was Jen's and my first proper fire together.  We had fun, in a weird way. Anything is always more fun with my beloved sis beside me, or as in this case, ahead of me on the hose!

She drove the truck too, and it was no easy feat on the rough newly-dozed firebreak tracks, and she did a marvellous job. I was never scared for a second while she was at the wheel, no matter how rough it got.

It was a long way out into the bush, so no lights could be seen apart from the twinkling burning logs and stags out in the burnt-over forest. 

It is a strange world.  Very disorientating with the criss-crossing tracks, the noise, and the flashing lights in the darkness.  Here's a little bit of video, three short shots I took of the night progressing to darkness as the sun set behind the smoke of the continuing fire to our south and west.   I was very glad we were tasked to blacking out the rear of the fire and not anywhere near the raging head, which was hit by helitacs from the air, thank goodness.  It will look better if you go full screen.

One of our crew got pics of Jen and I together out there.  I hope he did get them and will send them to me.  It might not happen too often that we get out there together!

I did find a moment of magic out there.  This little frog was one of a number that hopped away to tunnels in the bank when I sneaked down into the creek-line to have a crafty wee.

 When I say little, I mean tiny.  They were less than a centimetre across and superbly camouflaged. Can you see him there?

All of a sudden, it was quiet all around me, because the truck had gone off to get water.  The noisy engines of the dozers and other trucks were far away, and I was in this safe little bit of unburned bush and these tiny frogs were everywhere.  It was like a moment out of time.  Then it was back to the truck and away to put more wet stuff on red stuff.

I was sorry to miss out on doing a shift with the ICV crew, but did enjoy seeing them and saying hello when we came the half an hour back down rough (rough!) tracks to the control point.  They were a glowing beacon out of the dark.  (Tom got this pic of the ICV.)

I got stung four times on the knee by an angry wasp that crawled up my PPE pants, and on the neck once by something else that I never even saw.  Ah well, at least I gave the sweet St. John's guys something to do, and another firetruck got to watch the interesting spectacle of a fellow firey appearing out of the darkness in their lights, appearing to be stripping off rapidly in the middle of the fireground. Which I was, before the bloody thing could sting/bite me again! 

In news closer to home,  my book, Cunning Plans, is being reviewed on a local horse radio show tonight, and I hear the reviewer really enjoyed reading it, so that's great news!   It will be on here at 6pm local time, if you'd like to listen in.

My little chookies are getting so big and leggy.  They are out free-ranging with mama now.  I think there is still some risk from ravens but hopefully she will keep them safe and they are just too big and fast to keep shut up any more.  Poor Fat Bastard, the half-tame Bronzewing, got a bit of a rude shock.  That's no way to maintain his portly dignity!

It's wet and humid here after the cyclone from up north blew down here to Perth and dumped a lot of rain on us. I'm still very glad of it though, because it put out that big fire and saved us days of blacking out! 

Have a good week and I'll see you on the other side of it.  xxx

Friday, 12 January 2018

Dirty Stop-out!

Sorry, missed my monday post.  Been so busy working on a new website and an outdoor table, and goodness knows what else.  (May have been some socialising in there too!)

Miss Chick the tea cosy is still holding pride of place on the groaning board at my friend Fifi's place. 

The real chicks are growing so fast that they have graduated out to the chook dome, causing much excitement all round.  These are the lengths I was going to to to give them some meal-worms without being mugged by the big chooks.  Rover would then perch on the roof and I would have to lift her up with the roof when I wanted out!

Meal-worms are chicken crack, no joke.  Very good for baby chicken taming!  (But this is very bad for old-lady knees!)

The table is done, apart from more olive-oiling, and two more screws on the bracing that we forgot to put in once we bought more screws.   It look and feels totally schmick!  All that sanding was worth the effort!



Oiled (with feathered decorations.)

It apparently has the chicken seal of approval, though no-one has blobbed on it yet!  (Dare they?  You bet!)

Like a lot of the bespoke projects we undertake around here, it is probably the only table like this that we will ever build, but we love it, and it was worth all the work getting the old timber ready.  Those bits of Karri were 60 years in a house roof, and now hopefully they will be a table for another 60!  (The way Andrew engineers stuff it's a cert.)

Next timber project for me is to make another Anglo-Saxon lyre, just in case I sit on Mondream or something.  Then I'd have nothing to practice on for months!  It's not like you can pop down the local music shop for another one...

The other new project this week is the next afghan, but I won't be able to show you it until it is done now because the recipient might look at the blog.  Sorry about that. Here's a teaser, since they do know what colour combo they asked for...

Isn't life full of interesting things to do?   If you're bored, go find a new thing!  What will be new for me this year?  Maybe morris dancing and maybe tracking with the dogs.  Time will tell what sticks and what doesn't!   


Saturday, 6 January 2018

Arachnophobes beware!

It's ok, you won't see spiders unless you play the video.  This happened the other day when I was riding along on the ride on mower minding my own business. At first it was just the babies, then the mama got upset too and that was about when I fled!  :D

If you really want a good look, go to youtube and embiggen!

I swept her and as many babies as I could off onto a spider-web brush and laid it aside for them to vacate in their own time. 

In less exciting news, my table is coming along, and Andrew even got a photo of me working on it for me!  Since I take most of the pics for the blog, at times you must think I just watch Andrew do all the interesting stuff...

It's looking good. "Just" got to put legs on now.  Getting all the aged timber planed and sanded up has been a lot of work.  I can see why people buy ready-dressed timber!  (Note to self: Stop testing to see if timber is still splintery by giving self splinters.)

The chickies are growing well,  Here they are excitedly waiting for their 'chicken crack' ie, meal-worms.  I've been using yummy things like mince, meal-worms and chopped boiled egg to help me tame them.  One was so excited to see me coming over the top last time that it did a big jump and flutter up towards me.

Pretty sure I have two hens and three roosters.  Luck of the game!

Just for a change of crafting pursuits, I've been making a pair of moccasins. 

One done!  (One to go!)

A bit rough I know but the one I've done seems to work pretty well.  It's all experimental at this point.  Might re-lace the toe area with thonging.  The thread is strong but not attractive.  Will also use thonging to lace up the ankle unstead of garden string!  That high ankle-bit is a great extra to the average mocc pattern.  I get very tired of rocks getting into my lower-height shoes.   

Ah well, off to dinner soon with some girlfriends I rarely get to catch up with!  Yay!  Have a fun weekend!