Saturday, 20 September 2014

Klara's first week

Wow, what a week!  We're exhausted!!  How can one little puppy cause such chaos?   Actually..... she's been very, very good. 

She's only made any noise at all on two nights.  The first was when our neighbour went out at night and left their dog outside.  It yelped without a break for the entire time they were out.  Klara didn't like that at all and she yelled herself a bit when we put her to bed.  One other night she cried for about 5 or 10 minutes and that was it.  Since then she goes to bed in the laundry without a peep and we hear nothing all night. 

After the first day or two we came to the conclusion that it would be better to have her compound at the back of the house on the paving rather than at the side of the house on the grass.  She didn't like being unable to see the back door and she wouldn't go in the kennel there.  Mick moved the run, put a kennel in it and before he even had it sorted properly she had gone in the kennel and was asleep.  She loves it!  The new area for her run encloses an old aviary that has a dirt floor.  Mick removed the wire from one wall so it gives her somewhere to play in the grass that's been growing there and we hoped she might use it for her toilet.  After the first couple of days of practice with closing her in her run she now happily goes in there without a peep.  She even goes in there to play by herself during the day and it's fine if we leave the house.  What a relief to know she doesn't mind being left home when we are out.  It's important to us that our dog doesn't suffer separation anxiety.

She has tested our patience in the evenings, turning into turbo puppy.   She runs around like an absolute lunatic, nipping and jumping and grabbing everything in her reach.   She tosses her toys in all directions and skids about the room and slides beneath the sofa to scratch at the fabric underneath it.  Now we're putting her to bed earlier as we suspect some of the craziness may be to keep herself awake when she is getting tired.  We'll see what happens.

Here's some photos of her first week exploring her new home.  Yes..... she likes sticks.


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Meet Klara

A big day for us Friday.   We left home just after 7.30am for the almost 3 1/2 hr drive to collect our new puppy.  A couple of days ago we received a phone call from one of our first choice labrador breeders saying they had changed their mind about which colour pup to keep from their litter.  We did some quick rearranging of our week and took the day off to drive to Mansfield to collect her.  We had lunch in a nice cafe/provender before our meeting with the breeder.   Mansfield brings back memories of ski trips long ago!

The breeder had a lovely property and a fabulous set up for her breeding dogs.  Every one of them looked so wonderfully happy and healthy.  They had four pups running around the garden behind the house - waiting to be collected by their new owners.  They were so confident and bursting with good health.  We knew this was a good choice.

After a chat and going through the folder of information provided by the breeder it was time to head off home again.  The sweet little girl, who we named Klara, looked so confused as we drove out the driveway.  She was very still and quiet to be suddenly removed from her siblings.  The journey home went well with only a few whimpers.  Other than that she slept most of the way.  It was well after 5pm when we reached home.  Klara discovered her bed quickly and took herself for a nap there.  We put her to bed in the laundry at 8.30pm when she was tired once again and much to our amazement she passed her first night without a peep.

We have had beautiful weather lately and it's been lovely sitting out having a morning cup of coffee in the sun.  We watch our resident magpie who is now busy feeding her youngsters.  The nest is so high that we can't see the babies unless they peek out to take food from their mum.  It is such a lovely time of year.  The drive to Mansfield yesterday was stunning.  We got talking about how the countryside rivals that in England.  It's only that in England it looks picturesque for most of the year but here we get just a few short months.  Soon it will be dry, dry, dry.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Very nice last week of Winter

We have had gorgeous weather for the last week of Winter.  Blue skies, sunshine and mild temperatures.  Today, being the last day of Winter, was positively balmy!  

We went to Geelong for a drive and when we sat in a cafe for lunch half the clientele were dressed in Summer clothing.  The temperature was 21 degrees.  We visited one of our favourite places.... the Mill Market.  This was the "vintage" one and we thoroughly enjoyed trawling through the stalls.  

Yesterday I went to Bunnings (like B&Q UK) and bought some seedlings for the veggie tubs.  We can't wait for it to all start growing.  Finally.... finally.... we feel like this is home.  We have chickens scratching in the yard, a couple of good veggie tubs and have good progress on puppy preparation.

The wattle is past it's peak now but some varieties are still bright yellow.  The magpie outside our back door is sitting on her nest and the crimson rosellas are everywhere.  The last 2 photos below were on a misty morning on my way to work.  

Monday, 25 August 2014

Spring is in the air

We are seeing signs of Spring everywhere we look and Winter isn't officially over yet!  We have had days that have been mild enough for tshirts in the sun.  I just hope it isn't a sign of a hot Summer coming.  That wouldn't be nice at all.

Mick has been happily working on the carport.  No, his new posts aren't crooked in the photo below.  The fence and the old shed are crooked.  He also put me up some shelving in the pantry.  It looks great and I'm pleased to have it sorted out in there now.

With Spring just around the corner we have also made a start on somewhere to grow veggies.  A couple of sections cut from an old water tank made a good place to start.   We have a second chook laying now too.  She had a bit of a shaky start and we thought she was egg-bound with her first egg but she eventually came good and is quickly a regular in the nest box.
And..... we are on the lookout for a Labrador puppy.  There are a few litters due in the next month so we are hoping one might bring us a new family member.

Monday, 18 August 2014

First barbeque

There's not so much to blog about with life settling into a routine.  We are at the tail end of Winter and the first signs of Spring are appearing.  Our almond tree has blossom on it, the wattle is incredible this year and there are bulbs flowering.  It's got us thinking about getting a vegetable plot going. 

Mick's been busy doing what he loves best.  He's never happier than when he has a project on the go out in the yard.  He has sorted out the garden shed, been making up some shelves for our pantry and then made a start on a carport.  The very rustic old garage is on such a lean and it's been depositing huge dusty splats all over my new car.  Mick's truck is out in the weather and although that's tolerable in Winter, I don't think he's looking forward to a sizzling steering wheel in Summer. 

The days are getting slightly longer and when we saw our favourite lamb cutlets on special at Woolworths we decided to have our first barbeque.  I got home from work just before 6pm Friday night and Mick was already out there heating and cleaning the barbeque.  He made our barbeque from an old enamel cooker.  The oven is a good place to store the gas bottle.  The smell of a cooking barbeque is like nothing else..... Aussie through and through.

Yesterday we had a solar consultant out to give us, and a couple of our neighbours, quotes on having a solar system installed.  In the afternoon I went walking with Tracey, our neighbour, and way off down a dirt road we chatted with a lady who had an ex breeding labrador from Righteous Pups.  We stopped to chat and pat the dog and another kilometre or so further down the road we turned to walk back home.  We saw her chatting to the lady across the road from her and a while after we walked on we found the dog had followed us.  We turned back and when we got near their property the dog spotted their dam and ran off for a swim.  We quickly walked off again in the direction of home while she was distracted.  More than halfway home the dog found us.... again... panting from running to catch up and dripping wet from her swim.  Now we had a dilemma.  She had no road sense at all and twice we had slowed down an approaching car to avoid her being hit.  I rang Mick and he came to try and get her in his truck to take her home again but she wasn't going to be caught.  There was no choice in the matter but to turn back all over again.  This time as we neared where she lived a neighbour was standing out on the road and saw her coming.  He apologised profusely when we told him this was the second time we'd brought her home, although I don't know why it was his problem as we'd not seen the owner since our initial chat.  Not a terribly responsible dog owner to not even come looking for her.  The dog happily trotted off after him as he took her back to her home.  Our walk turned out to be twice as far as we first intended and I won't be patting that particular labrador again unless she's on a leash!

Below...... roo photo for the week...... Mick pleased with his shed..... the enormous moon the other night...... Mick cooking our first barbeque.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Snow..... Rain..... Sunshine

Yes, we had snow!  Not at home but at the office while I was at work. There was a few particularly mild days and then a sharp turn.  The Southern areas, especially Tasmania and the South of Victoria had violent winds causing terrible damage.  With it came freezing temperatures.  Last Friday only reached 5 degrees where I work and on the way I could see the rain turning to sleet.  By the afternoon it was snowing in bursts.  It melted on impact among the rain sodden streets but higher areas of the state had everything covered in a sprinkling of snow.  The news on TV showed scenes more familiar to us on England than here at home.  It was a bitterly cold night with forecasts predicting -2 degrees.  It felt like it!

This week we have woken to crisp blue skies and a good frost.  This is just the sort of Winter day I love.  Mick can't wait to get outside and we decided last weekend we would let the chickens free range for the first time since we got them.  It didn't take much prompting as they had a large area at the place we got them from.  Wilbur immediately starting calling his girls to show them some morsel he had scratched up.  The girls have been given names now.   One of them has blue leg bands (Betty), one has red leg bands (Rosalie) and the third doesn't have leg bands so she is "plain legged" and called Prunella. Our boating readers will likely know where we got that name.  After our first egg last week it took almost a week for another to arrive.  One of the girls has much more red in her comb so I'm guessing she is the layer.

At last we feel like we have a routine and have settled down a bit.  I enjoy living in this house.  Mick has made some improvements on the little garden shed so we have plenty of shelving now for storing tools, garden equipment and chicken stuff.

It's lovely to be baking our own bread again and to be able to pick up a bulk bargain and have somewhere to store it.  My mum and her partner bought a huge box of rather ripe bananas for $5 and I came home that day with 27 bananas!  I used to bake banana cake a lot when we bought our first house and were on a very tight budget.  Mick ate like a horse when he was younger and would go through 2 banana cakes each week for his morning tea, although I later discovered they were being shared with his workmate.  My recipe came from my high school cookbook which mum had in her cupboard.  So now it has been resurrected.  I've made 3 banana cakes in the last month and there is bananas chopped and frozen into parcels for one cake each in the freezer.  I've passed on bananas to friends and neighbours too.

We really enjoy chatting with our UK friends on FaceTime and Skype.  We had a great chat with Andy and Jean on nb Josephine tonight, even saying hello to Missy the cat.  We miss you guys and it was so nice to see your smiling faces.  

Monday, 28 July 2014


Since last weekend we have been receiving, bit by bit, a lovely daily log of Parisien Star's first big cruise with Tore and Kirsten and Kirsten's mum (I really must ask her name because I know she reads the blog!).  The dinette has become Kirsten's mum's room after having been my office for so long. It's good to know she is finding it to be a comfortable spot.   We have enjoyed reading about their adventures and we are happy to know they are loving having their own boat.

We heard the iPad tinkling one evening. It was Carol calling for a chat.... Barry still asleep in the bed beside her (yes, she showed us his slumbering form).  He appeared sitting up beside her after a few minutes... blinking eyes like a big old owl.  We caught up on our news and had a look at their mooring location.  We even took them outside to meet Wilbur and his girls.  It feels so strange talking to them from so far away.  We are meant to be just a few feet away.

We are finally starting to feel a bit more settled.  Having the chickens to care for has given us a boost and we enjoy the early morning call of Wilbur the rooster.  They've settled in really well and Wilbur rushes to the fence whenever he sees me approach.  I'm sure it isn't just my company he seeks but hoping for a treat.  He is a lovely placid boy.  We even got an egg the other day but so far no repeat performance.   The large pile of mulch that Mick put in their run has been spread out nicely already.  It didn't take them long!  Inside their house they appear to be excavating their way to China.  The hard compacted dirt floor is now a moonscape of dust bathing potholes.

The weather has been lovely this week with only a little rain on one or two days.  Otherwise it's been mostly sunny and mild enough to fling open doors and windows to air the house in the nicest part of the day.  The days are getting slightly longer again.  It's still light at 6pm now which is a far cry from the extremely short winter days in the UK.  I leave work just after 5pm for the 40 minute drive home and I have been home before full dark every single day.

Mick has been happy as a lark, dressed in his grubby working gear, and pottering outside.  He has thought up a new improvement for the chicken house as soon as he has finished the one prior.  They now have a wire "window" with a lift up cover that becomes a little shade cover in Summer but let's the breeze through.  When it's cold it will stay closed.  I think next weekend we will begin letting them out into the back corner of the yard.  Mick has fenced in that corner to confine them but they will still have plenty of space and good shade in the Summer from the nut trees growing there.

We are starting to plan a veggie plot too.  Our dear friends Kevin and Bernice came to visit and it seems there is a bit of a deal being done involving removing a fallen tree in exchange for an old water tank (that will make fantastic raised garden beds). So there's something else to look forward to.  How nice it will be to have salad straight from the garden again.

As promised, here are some photos of inside our house... a big L shaped kitchen (there is a separate walk in pantry next door), dining, living area.  I love the room as it has windows all the way around.  We do need to bring some more furniture across from the shed.  We don't have a huge television and the lounge room is much larger than our previous one.  We sit in the middle of the room with vacant space behind.  I'm sure we will find something to fill the space.

This is proving to be a rather cold house and we have the heater running a lot.  We had a lovely wood fire at our previous house but here we have an electric split system heater / air conditioner (ugly thing on the wall in the dining area). There is no insulation in the outside walls and we certainly feel the difference.  If we decide to stay living here we will definitely do something about that.  Something else we have discovered about this house is that there is no drafts whatsoever.  That sounds like a good thing but it's the first house we've ever had where we get condensation on the windows.  It's only when we have wet washing hanging on racks but it reminds us of a much smaller living space we had over the last couple of years!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Glorious weekend

What a stunning weekend we had.  The Winter has been unexpectedly cold the last couple of weeks but then we got a weekend like this.  The sky was clear blue and it was mild enough to be out in short sleeves as long as you kept busy.  And we were.  Mick was keen to get the chook house ready.

I went out to take some photos and noticed a magpie on the back fence with a few twigs in its beak.  I paused and watched where it went - up into the tree by our back door to continue nest building.  Looks like we will have baby magpies right there.  I was down at our old house yesterday and was thrilled to hear the kookaburras in the trees at the back of the block.  They nested there once about 4 years ago so it's lovely to find them back.

So here are some photos of outside our house.  There have been a few requests and I keep promising to take them.   The inside ones next time.  This house is right in the middle of our half acre block so there is plenty of space all the way round.  There is an old "dunny" out by the laundry door and a little garden shed beside that.  There was also a woodshed built on the side of the garden shed and that's what became our chook house.  It's worked out well.

Sunday afternoon we were ready for the feathered family so I drove off to collect them.  When we let them out of the crate one of the girls was a bit quiet.  This morning she didn't come out to eat and huddled in the house.  I had to return the crate to the breeder, who lives about 2 miles away, so rang and told her about the unhappy chook.  She said to bring her back and she would swap her for another.  Seems she was in shock. 

I returned with the new girl, tucked in our neighbours cat carrier, and discovered the breeder hadn't zipped the side up properly and I hadn't checked. I discovered this the hard way with one expensive free range chook!  I was certain we would never be able to catch her and having never been in our chook house she was hardly going to take herself to bed once it got dark.  I tried to get her heading to the back corner of the yard so she would be furthest from the road.  As she rounded the corner of our wonky carport the little rooster (named Wilbur) spied her.  He called frantically and the hen raced down to the chicken run.  Despite her best efforts she couldn't get in.  I couldn't open the gate as surely Wilbur and the other two girls would come out rather than the new girl going in.  She was keeping well away from me.  I rang Mick, who was down at our old house doing a little job, and he walked up the hill to come and help.  We got Wilbur and the girls into the house, blocked the pop-hole so they couldn't come back out, and opened the gate from the run into the backyard.  It took only a little bit of herding by us and a bit more calling by Wilbur to get the hen to run through the gate. When we released the others they ran out to join her.  One happy family.