Sunday, 16 November 2014

Echinda on the road to Inglewood

We had a lovely day out today... driving.  We decided to drive to Inglewood.  We took Klara with us in the car as a start to her learning to come along with us on outings.  She was good as gold.

As we drove along we saw something ahead slowly ambling across the road.  It was an echidna!  By the time we reached him he was on the roadside so I got out of the car to take a photo.  It's the closest I've ever been to one (with the exception of one our dogs discovered beneath a bush years ago, but that one was just curled in a ball).  Today the echidna kept waddling along and didn't mind at all when I came close.

We enjoyed browsing a few antique stores and sat outside an old fashioned general store for lunch.  On our travels we passed Tracey, who lives in our old house, and both pulled over for a chat in the middle of the isolated road.  We arranged to see her in the afternoon to collect some plant cuttings from our old garden.  Most of the plants in that garden came from cuttings from other people's gardens so now we will have new plants the same way.

Klara was very tired when we got home.  She had enjoyed bumbling around Tracey's garden, supervised the planting of the cuttings and then collapsed on her mat for a nap. Its a tough life for a little dog!


Friday, 14 November 2014


Mum and I had a lovely day out on Monday.  We went to visit Lavandula lavender farm.  They have gorgeous shady gardens and a very nice cafe with seating in the shade of a grove of Ash trees.   We had lunch watching the antics of a couple of geese families with a host of youngsters.

Shade trees are so important in an Aussie garden and those we planted at our old house are looking fantastic now.  We get to admire the ornamental pears at the front as we drive past each day.  Now it has us thinking about planting some more here at this house.  We do have a fabulous big tree to the West of the house and it's perfect for keeping the sun from the back door.  There is several scattered around our half acre garden but I think next Winter we will plant a few more.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


As is usual for this time of year the green grass of Spring has disappeared.  It seems to happen overnight.  Now as we drive around our area we are surrounded by the familiar brown of the Aussie countryside.

The weekend before we went to check out an exhibition at "Shades of Gray" in Castlemaine.  They make some fabulous things from rusty old metal.  It was well worth a look.

This weekend we had a very hot Saturday.  The thermometer outside the back door read 35 degrees in the afternoon.  Klara enjoyed a little paddle in her pool.  She's growing at an alarming rate and has put on 1.2 kilos each of the last 3 weeks.   It's funny to watch her confusion over why she can't seem to get under the couch any more.  What a bundle of energy she is.  The latest game is to rush over and grab a tea towel from the rack as soon as she's let in the house.  Then she races over and jumps on the couch..... both things she knows full well she isn't allowed to do.  She is challenging us!

Sunday we had a visit from Kelvin and Rachael, fellow Victorians that we met in the UK earlier in the year.  They bought nb Serafina and will be doing 5 months cruising each year.  Shame we didn't get to check out Serafina before we left the UK but we did have a catch up with Kelvin and Rachael during our last day on nb Parisien Star.   That day seems an eternity ago now! 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

A warm Spring

We have had some very warm days this Spring.  That doesn't bode well for the Summer to come.  There has been some local controlled burning just to prepare us for the smell of fire.  It's always alarming to look out and see the air thick with smoke, even when you know there is going to be a controlled burn.

The roses in our garden are fantastic at the moment.  Some of them have been there for a very long time and are well established.  It's amazing to think they flower like this with so little water.   We spent last Sunday morning out in the garden - Mick weeding around the roses and I nipped off all the dead flowers and also picked a selection for a vase in the kitchen.  They smell so lovely.  Klara ran around like a lunatic, getting in the way and making a general nuisance of herself.

We have had to put wire around our two veggie tubs to protect them from assualt.  A new game developed which involved leaping onto the lettuces!  Next came the trunk of the wisteria at our back door.  It was in danger of being ring barked.  Another wire ring to protect it.  Last this weekend was the the geraniums that were growing beneath the orange tree.  Klara broke so many branches off it that we gave up and moved them to inside the chickens area.

After lunch on Sunday we decided to take Klara to a nearby swimming hole for her first paddle.  It was a warm day but overcast for most of it.  We don't get overcast conditions very often and I think it kept a lot of people from doing the usual things they would on a warm day.  There was nobody there.  Her first encounter with the water involved her jumping in and getting her face wet.  She leaped straight out in alarm and did the rolling in the grass thing.  We walked along the edge for a bit and she paddled on and off.  She didn't seem interested in going too far out and only got wet to her underside but it was a good first effort.  In between each dip in the water she rolled around madly.

On the way home we made a stop at the weir to have another walk and see how many people were there.  It was a bit more popular with a few folk out swimming with their dogs or sitting out reading.  It was nothing to what it's like on a sunny day and packed with people.  I much prefer days like this without the intense heat and beating sun.

It was a big outing for a little puppy and when we got home Klara went to sleep straight away.  She had been good as gold in the car.  Actually, it was in Mick's truck which has an "extended cab" with a pair of little fold down seats suitable for children or, at a push, an adult for a short journey.  Mick's built a long open box that slides into the space and he carries tools in it.  He took the tools out so Klara could sit there.  She loved it!



Sunday, 26 October 2014

New chooks settling in

We are very pleased that the new pullets I bought at the poultry auction have settled in so well.  They're only 4 months old so are considerably smaller than Wilbur and his two girls.  They aren't pecking about together yet but the youngsters are going out into the yard in a group.  My friend Erin asked for some photos of them so here they are Erin!  Plus a couple of the veggie patch and Klara.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Poultry auction

It's been lovely to hear from boaters, or read on their blogs, that they've seen nb Parisien Star in the last week.  Tore and Kirsten had a week aboard.  We had a wave of missing PS terribly today and to make matters worse we spent some time watching a slide show of our photos.  By then we were definitely hankering for our old floating life.  We wanted nothing more than to go and buy another boat!  But, we are forging ahead with life back home so it's not an option to try and wind back time.  We have Klara and the chooks to think of now.

Speaking of the chooks.... we lost one a week or so ago so decided we should look out for a couple more to bump up the numbers.  We have been making enquiries to see if anyone has some Barnevelder pullets for sale.  We did find a couple of places selling the same colour as those we already have but we had hoped to find a different colour.  Looking in a regional newspaper at work the other day I saw there was a poultry auction in Kyneton on Sunday.   Tracey, our neighbour, said she would like to come along so she and I had a great day out.

The auction was a silent one where bids are written on a list attached to each cage of birds.  In the last five minutes there are a flurry of bidders trying to get in a last minute win.  We went in at the beginning of the 90 minute bidding period and I wrote a bid for the reserve price on four pens of young "blue" Barnevelders.  I hoped I would get one or two of them as they each had two hens.  We went to browse some of the lovely shops in Piper St and returned for the last 20 minutes or so.  To my dismay nobody had bid above me on any of them.  I didn't want that many!  The last five minutes brought salvation and I ended up with four pullets about 4 months old.  Three of them are blue and the fourth is double laced black/gold like those we already have.  They're settling in well.

With the weather so mild and the sun out all the time, the veggies are growing at an amazing rate.  We have lettuce, rocket and radish ready to go so last night's dinner had a home grown salad.  I was given a couple of mature kale plants that were going begging and plonked them in an empty pot of soil that was down the side of the house.  They looked pretty sad the first day but by morning had perked up.  Enough, obviously, to attract Klara's attention as we glanced out to find her cuddled up to her kale plants chomping away at them.  There was soil all over the ground in a trail from the empty pot to her mat where she lay with the ragged plants.  We have potted them up again but they look rather sad now.