Life, with my dogs, living on one acre in Tasmania. Living on a low income, and with Complex PTSD. I write about all sorts of things. I called my Blog Echidna Home because I have echidnas that live here
Today a necessitiy to do some shopping for chook food and dog meat and bones. A few items for me. I loaded my two dogs into the car and noted battery was a bit flat as I have like many others been driving less due the increase in petrol prices (along with everything else almost). I am thankful it did turn over, ( I do own a battery charger just in case ) and after doing the shopping and having a lovely lunch at one of my favourite cafes in Huonville, DS Cafe where normally the dogs and I sit in the laneway. Today was gray and very cold I chose to sit inside by the fire. It would seem that my dogs waiting in the car, were not too happy at that. Having done all needed in town I needed to fill the car, in Huonvile price of petrol is $2.19 a Litre ($1.49US/1.25GBP/1.45euro/1.95CAD, for those in the USA a litre is almost 1/4 of a gallon making the price $8.80USD a gallon. I drove out of town filled up the car. as it was a 10cents a litre cheaper, but more to get the battery charged too win win. In the smaller town closer to where I live there is a wonderful couple of petrol stations that still serve you, and of course this makes the petrol more expensive. I do fill my car there if I have no need to go to Huonville. As I imagine the difference in price is lost by the 40+km return trip. However as a boost of my car battery was a necessity today and it has been quite a while since I have been for a real drive out of my local area(and I am only talking a 50km drive here lol) I went out to Crabtree, and found some new places I had not been before. A new campground on the side of the river. I also took the dogs for a walk along the beautiful riverside, my photos below share our day.
As I was driving back towards Huonville I was traveling slowly past the apple orchards and saw some movement: I found an area to turn around and came back to check what I had seen. These Cygnets are very early and relatively old as they are beginning to get their feathers. I was so thrilled to have noticed them and even more to have had my camera with me, even though I was a way away Mamma or Pappa Swan was not comfortable having photos of the babies being taken. Sensible swan, and rounded them up and wadled off throught the apple orchard.
Not many would have their trip to the shops end like this. Or have such gorgeous places so close to them to drive and enjoy the beauty. I am so very thankful to live in this beautiful valley on a very special island called Tasmania.
My first social engagement in a long time was a very enjoyable and at times hilarious creative couple of hours. In Tasmania we have Womens Health Tasmania. A service run by women for women. I imagine most countries have something similar.
Womens Health Tasmania offer you the opportunity to gain new skills and a better understanding of health issues important to you. We offer:
opportunities to participate in activities, workshops and forums;
information on general health issues; and
We also promote the interests of Tasmanian women by working with government and the community sector to provide innovative and cost-effective services. It is not just about breasts and other parts that make us female, it can be any bit of a female body. for more information hit the link below. https://www.womenshealthtas.org.au/events/knit-your-bits
It was on a Sunday afternoon at a lovely new business in Cygnet. Cuckoo. (lovely local creative works being sold for great gift ideas and pure wool for knitting, crotchet, etc. Our group is doing breasts. Another workshop is the pubic area (Tasmania shape..lol) You can most likely imagine the laughter and chat that went along with learning to do a magic circle, cups of tea and cupcakes with breast icing decorations.
Just like in real life our crocheted breasts are varied. No pair are the same and no two of a pair are either.
It is also a wonderful pattern for beanies. Miss Treacle is demonstrating the beanie style with elegance.
As hard as it can be for me to sometimes go to things, this was a wonderful small group and I knew no one. I mention this as my anxiety can kick in and that will come out as me talking too much. Some folk do not realise that this is a symptom and not me being comfortable in these sorts of situations. I am really glad I pushed myself and attended. I did not finish my breast at the group, I get distracted easily. I ended up doing them at home.
It certainly has made me be more creative since. I do tend to forget that being creative and being with small groups is doable for me and with my mental health it does help.
Saturday we were up early to a very chilly morning, the fire is going, as I head out to let the chooks out. They are a bit traumatised yesterday my big dog chased them (my fault I had forgotten I had left them out). He grabbed one fortunately she escaped and I was able to get Busby inside, then go and find the hen, who minus a few tail feathers and been so shocked she had laid an egg poor hen. I had been very concerned about them all.
I was very relieved they were all ready to get out and all were happy to hang out and stay in their run.
After an early run the dogs and I headed into Cygnet. I was meeting a friend for breakfast and then go to a new market the Cygnet Garden Market. It was being held in the rear of the cafe we were having breakfast at. I have probably shared that Huon Valley is a very dog friendly community. Most cafes with out door areas are happy to have well behaved dogs on lead come with their owner/s.
As me and my two headed in we were greeted by a gorgeous Bernese Mountain dog. Boris who apparently is a Saturday morning regular who was a little put out due to the fact his normal area on the grass out the back was not available due to the market. However he was a big 74kg/154lbs teddy bear.
Breaky (was disappointing and expensive). Ah when you are someone who lives frugally normal prices can seem expensive, if it was good food I would not have minded. At least I got to meet lots of dogs. My friend did not make it which was fine. I went for a walk with the dogs popped them in back into the car and headed for the market. I was so fortunate the sky was blue sun was out here and there. As I headed home the rain began.
Worm wee was being sold, compost, tools, organic bags of soil, local sheep manure, and alpaca poo. Alpaca wool. Apple cider vinegar made locally, grape vine seedlings, so many plants and seedlings, wonderful. I did buy some strawberry plants and a lemon balm cutting.
The local seed saving community group were there and were giving seeds to you gor a gold coin donation. There is a renowned garden who was loved when he was the presenter of Gardening Australia on the Australia Broadcasting Corporation TV. (Our national TV and Radio network public) Peter Cundall and I was fortunate enough to get some of his Pumpkin seeds yeah. I also liked that there were only four in the packet. I seem to end up with so many seeds left over. Which is why I love saving my own seeds.
So for the inaugural market, it was successful. I was in and out fairly quickly as they were doing the covid distancing requirements. The regular Cygnet Market has also recommenced. We are so fortunate for the people who organise all the wonderful community activities we have in our valley
Haiku, unrhymed poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. The haiku first emerged in Japanese literature during the 17th century, as a terse reaction to elaborate poetic traditions, though it did not become known by the name haiku until the 19th century. Britanica https://www.britannica.com/art/haiku
Bringing Haiku to the people. What an interesting idea. Community members of my local village Cygnet, Huon Valley Tasmania got together and learnt about Haiku. They were then able to try their hand at writing their own. If the individual would like it to be included in a display on windows of businesses in Cygnet. Done in chalk paint, the majority of Cygnets businesses are involved. You can take a walk along the main street of Cygnet and read each of them.
What a great creative experience bringing our community together, and bringing others to town to visit and read the Haiku browse our wonderful shops, have something to eat/drink in one of the many cafes. Visit galleries and local artisans.
We may be an island in isolation, but we can travel and support our communities.
I am thankful for this freedom to move around my island state home. I am thankful for the creative people about me. I am thankful for such a great community. Thankful for those who participated and the businesses who are sharing the Haiku on their windows.
It was a wee bit weird to be heading off to my small village, after being at home for 14 days. I had to get a script filled, and buy a few essential things.
I was really quite amazed at how busy it was in my small village. My local supermarket, IGA was stocked well with everything I certainly required. Yes some things I had to buy a different brand or variety, these things were a small price to pay to have what I needed. It was good that my Tasmania milk was available. There was toilet paper, flour, pasta, I did not need any of these. Dried fruit was a bit lacking. I was fortunate to get some sultanas. Just what I wanted. I have dried apricots I dried at home
The plants in the photo below, are three I bought plus there are two lavenders on the right you can see the flowers. The three plants cost me $9AUS/$5.46USD/4.42 UK pounds a small prostrate rosemary, and two salvias, The two large lavender plants were selling for $24AUS/$14.56US/11.14UKpounds each, but they were in the unloved plants area and were $12AUS/$7.28USD/5.57 UK pounds each. I have some cuttings I had taken of some friends lavender plants but they would take several years to be as large as these plants. I know exactly where all of them will be going.
I also purchased some potting mix. I had a lot of seedlings of cabbage and cauliflowers to pot up. I accidentally ordered to many from my local seedling man Dave. I thought they were one seedling in each pot when I read his post on what he had available. So I ordered three of each of four cabbages, two red and two white, and four cauliflowers two different varieties. When the order was picked up they were punnets. So I have so many to plant. I am attempting to put them in pots and in the veggie garden.
If You look at the photograph above you an see seedlings basically in the middle of the photo these are some of the seedlings. I have to take out the tomatoes I have picked them all and wait for them to ripen.
I love my garden this salvia is loved by these birds. This wee New Holland Honey Eater was happily getting nectar as I was potting up seedlings on my deck.
Above are the 3kgs/6,61Lbs for $12AUS/$7.28USD/5.89UK Pound of tomatoes I purchased from my friends who had a veggie store at the Cygnet Market,(which is closed due to the Covid-19 virus). They are selling their produce from their gate, you order and they book you to come one at a time to pick up. I wanted them for sauce. I had not told them this and they had picked me a lovely lot of varied ripeness tomatoes. I had to think fast. How could I ripen them all at once? I put them in my car, with the windows up. The next two days were gorgeous. Hot sunny and clear. This is how the box of tomatoes looked (photo above) when I took them out of the car/glass house. I have also used my car as a greenhouse for seedlings in the past.
I started the sauce yesterday (Tuesday). I had picked some rose hips in the morning to make some rose hip syrup. I put them on to cook, I just took the tails and heads of them, popped them in the saucepan whole put them on to come to a boil and left them to soften. I came back twice and mixed them to break the hips up and to release the juices. I then strained the seed and skins overnight catching all the juices. I then added some sugar. I do not add a huge amount as I do not like it too sweet.
The history of rosehip syrup
During the war, government scientists realised that, weight for weight, rosehips have over 20 times the vitamin C of oranges. So the Ministry of Food (UK) recommended rosehip syrup and a generation of children began receiving a daily dose.
During World War II, a national week for the collection of rosehips was established in late September. Scouts, guides and other groups would head out to harvest the nation’s hedgerows. In 1941 this produced a 200 ton haul of hips which made 600,000 bottles of commercially produced syrup!
With the growing popularity of foraging, the vitamin saviour of World War II has been making a welcome comeback.
As well as vitamin C, rosehips are a great source of vitamin A, D and E. They contain an anti-inflammatory and have been shown to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
In the photo above the tomato sauce is in the large jars on the left( with the seeds in them). The small jars in front with the red colour are my four jars of rosehip syrup for over autumn and winter. To the right of that t
Blackberry Thyme Oxymel
Based on a recipe from “Wild Drinks and Cocktails” by Emily Han
6 oz container of organic blackberries (approx. 1-1/4 cup)
½ cup roughly chopped thyme
1 ½ cups of raw apple cider vinegar
1 cup local raw honey
Place berries in a bowl and lightly crush.
Coarsely chop thyme and combine with blackberries in a glass mason jar.
Cover with vinegar, making sure thyme and blackberries are submerged with at least 1/4 inch of headspace.
Use a non-reactive lid and store in a cool, dark space for 2 to 4 weeks.
Strain the mixture using cheesecloth, add honey and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
The final jar the tall jar on the far right with all the chopped up things in it is my Fire Cider Vinegar. I followed the recipe from Danus Irish Herb Garden. on Youtube. It is not quite ready to be strained.
I feel happy to have these items to go in my pantry in any year. This year with all that is happening as we here in the Southern Hemisphere are heading into Winter and the normal cold and flu season. The added concern of Covid-19. Well I want to be as prepared to have things to assist me and my body as best I can.
My garden provides so much the rosehips, the black berries, the garlic. All for free, as I now grow garlic from my own previous years supply. Horseradish seems to have fallen out of favour with Wasabi seeming to be many peoples preferred heat these days. I am very content with Horseradish.
I am thankful that Mother Earth provides me with so much free food. I am also thankful that she has given me the ability to grow things for myself. I am thankful that I was able to go out and do what I needed to today. I am thankful to be home, in my safe, isolation with my two dogs. I am thankful for the lovely fresh produce that is grown around me in this beautiful valley.
As things rapidly change here in Australia, and life for us all will be quite different. I know I am so very fortunate.
The weather during the day time has been really lovely sunny with puffs of cloud and gentle breezes. I love using my solar powered clothes dryer. And sat reading a book having a cup of coffee before I headed out to do one or two things. This was on Monday 23/03/2020 Australia.
The photos above are of my drive to some friends, a lovely couples who live about 13 kms from my home. They grow wonderful vegetables and fruit for their stall at the Cygnet markets.
Unfortunately the market has been closed due to the Covid-19 virus. It is not just our local market Fanklin, Geeveston, Cygnet the Wonderful Salamanca Markets an institution that commenced operating 48 years ago, and the Farmers Market in Hobart, have also closed as all markets across Australia have. Leaving many growers, producers, and artisans with no customers and a lot of produce.
This wonderful couple work so hard and are pretty savvy. They just got on to the local community pages on facebook and were inundated with people who wanted to buy their organic tomatoes. I have bought 3kgs/6.16lbs at $4AUS/$2.39USA/2.03 poundsUK a kg for my own bottling. They were red in colour (but picked for eating as I had forgotten to say I wanted to bottle them). It was lovely that they had picked the tomatoes in various stages of ripening for me.
My dilema was how to ripen them all so I could bottle them. My solution is leaving them in my car. A easy and cheap green house. Problem solved.
The above photos are of their house and gardens, no one is currently allowed in their vegetable growing area. They had also staggered the time people were to come and pick up their ordered tomatoes. They had tried to meet all the current hygiene and social distancing guidelines. Your tomatoes were packed ready to go.
The other photo graphs are of the drive home. On the way I wanted to check to see if there was any mushroom compost from the mushroom farm. They grow oyster mushrooms and other oriental style mushrooms. When they no longer use their bags, they put them in the old apple crates below and sell them on the side of the road. They really just ask for a gold coin donation to cover the cost of moving them with the tractor and driver to the side of the road. I had been keeping an eye out for a few weeks. I was thrilled when I saw them and that they were full. I got out and rummaged through the crates, looking for the ones I hoped would keep growing mushrooms for me for some time to come. I have grown from some over the years several kgs/lbs of basically free mushrooms. Once no more mushrooms grow, the leftover compost, gets added to my vegetable garden. Win:win. Cygnet Mushroom Farm uses a zero waste model. They even have bags on the side of the apple crates to put the plastic the mushroom compost comes in can be left behind. More information at the site below. https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2016-10-06/cygnet-mushroom-farm-success-tasmania/7907960
The drive back home was pleasant and grey clouds were moving in. All in all it was a very enjoyable day.
As the pace of life is slowing and closing down on many of us due to being perhaps not able to work, to being unemployed suddenly and unexpectedly. To having your children home all the time and your partner, to those in share accommodation. Be kind to each other and thankful to have each other. Everyone of us is under more and more strain and stress and worry. Remember these feelings are appropriate for the situation.
What many of us may be feeling is grief. The sudden loss of our jobs, studies, being able to do things that make us happy and feel connected. The loss of social life and sports life. Going out and chatting over a coffee with friend or to a restaurant. Weddings now in Australia can only occur if no more than 5 people including bridal party are present. Funerals can have 10 people.
We here in Australia are being told to stay at home (not enforced as yet) and to only go out for essential things, groceries chemist/pharmacy, petrol, work, taking children to school and picking them up. Nail and beauty shops are closed, general massage are closed but ones for medical reasons can go ahead. Hair dressers are still open as long as appointment is less than 30 minutes. Food courts are closed. The list is long. Queues around the Centrelink offices (benefits) grow each day and their phone and computer services seem to be not able to handle it. This changed overnight. I imagine that tomorrow we will see more changes. The change has happened so fast. No time for anyone to catch his or her breath.
I know I am one of the most fortunate people in Australia. I will still have to deal with changes and uncertainty. I can only know how it was for me in the 90s interest rates went so high unemployment back then was extreme, stress, anxiety were extreme. As hard as it was to try to keep me going I would look for anything that made me smile, and make me see the beauty about me while my world was crashing around me. No control no money, lost my home, and almost homeless, but for the kindness of a friend of a friend.
I am thankful that Australia has had so few deaths, I am thankful for the financial assistance I and many other Australians are being given to assist us. I am thankful that it seems the Federal and State Governments are working more cohesively. I am thankful that ultimately I am so fortunate if one can be with a mental illness. Having CPTSD sees my life basically the way it has been for the last three years. I was working on being more social as both my psychologist and the psychiatrist I saw recently were concerned I was becoming agoraphobic. I am thankful that I am really aware of this now and am making a concentrated efffort to leave my home and go for a walk about my acre. I am working up to get back to taking my dogs for a walk everyday. We are allowed to do this as long as we keep social distance. As I live in a rural area this should be no problem for me. I am thankful to have access to such great local producers and services. I am thankful to be able to make some tomato sauce base for over winter. I only had two jars left from my sauce from last year. I am thankful for being able to dry my clothes in the sunshine and breeze. I am thankful for the rain that fell over night filling my rain water tanks and watering my gardens. I am thankful for all I have especially my dogs who have seen me through and have been my company constantly. They make me laugh and give me something to hug. I am also thankful for having commenced this blog, and found so many other interesting bloggers out there whom I have connected with.
I am personally in very fortunate situation in the current world pandemic and financial/economic situation. Yet I feel quite anxious not for myself but for so many people in Australia and of course Overseas. For those who may be reading my post. I am not blowing my own trumpet or being sanctimonious. I have lived with NO Income no Centrlink, I have almost been homeless in my life. I have had debt so bad I almost had to declare bankruptcy. (such a horrible situation). I have worked at very low paid jobs. I put myself through University at the age of 30. I have had to ask for help from Salvation army to have food.
I have been on a very low income NewStart for a few years now, and have managed to keep out of debt. Only as I have shared previously because I own my home out right. That in these incredibly stressful and worrying times makes me so fortunate. I also do not have children. Which also means I have not the added worry and stress about children and their needs. I can and will not say I understand or know how you are feeling!
iWhat is important is to not become ill with our anxiety/depression. Or exacerbate it. Keep reminding your self your feelings are normal and appropriate for the situation.
I find not watching TV and avoiding things such as YouTube or face book, for 24 hours or longer is a big help to reduce my anxiety. Be honest as you can with your children. I will watch humourous videos and things that have nothing to do with the world situation. Because I have no control over any thing except my personal response to it. I know it cam make me really anxious and potentially depressed. so I choose how much and when to watch it.
We are all in for a rocky road. ALL so keeping in touch on here is great. We can all help each other. As we all experience anxiety and depression. we are a country that produces food, all year round. due to our different climates. We have good police services and if needed military. We hopefully would only need military to help deliver food and essentials to remote ares.
The world has experienced things that have caused huge changes and yes the recession here back in the 90s. and the great depression and WWII there are many of us who have been un/lucky to have had our parents and grandparents teach us how to manage as they have lived through these times and raising their children. Don’t be afraid to ask questions here, and share Your feelings. I wish I could hug you and say it is going to be OK. I truly believe it will be different, for quite some time It will be a different OK.
In comparison to those who are now facing the huge queues at the Australian Centrelink Offices (Centrelink is the organisation that pays benefits for unemployment in Australia). Or the frustration of those attempting to phone or complete their applications on line. Those of who have been on Centrelink for any length of time before this know what you are going through. It is a pain. Perhaps the Government will have more positions for employment there. TO ease the burden on staff. (they have been cutting it back so much. It has come to bite them in the buttocks).
I imagine for those hospitality staff who now find themselves unemployed as a huge number of employees would be casuals, and students. Potentially with no savings at all and being casuals receive no holiday or sick leave.
To be told they can apply for benefits and that their will be the Federal Governments Financial Rescue package to help all of those coming onto Newstart now known as Jobsearch. Will be some relief. It will also be for the next 6 months doubled.
So for those like myself who have been living on $550a fortnight for a couple of years, and unable to look for work due to my mental illness, and everyone else have been struggling to manage. (Again I write I am one of the very fortunate people in that I have due to my circumstances). This extra income will be a huge blessing.
For those who meet the criteria to receive the Jobsearch payment now the amount the Federal Government will be paying everyone (that is including those of us already on it) will be $1100 a fortnight for the next six months. I imagine for those who require rent assistance that will double too. There are other payments for those on all benefits.
I am very appreciative for this extra money. It is huge for those of us who have been living on the previous level.
The concept is that we the recipents will be spending it to keep the economy going. My personal thing will be when I receive this money to actually save it, do a few things like fix my tap and a leak in my house. But then save any extra money.
I do not see things pan out the way the Federal Government; is hoping that we will be out of the economic dark woods in six months. Due to this I will also put some credit on things like my rates, insurance and electricity. The rest of the fortnightly benefit I will be saving.
I do feel that a lot of people who have become unemployed in the last few days believe that this money will be in their bank accounts in a few days. Sadly that is not how Centrelink or the Federal Government works. It will be weeks before that will happen. That is if you are eligible.
I imagine for some people they may go out and buy a new TV, others will just use it to clear debts. I am not too sure how many people will be spending it on non essentials. I guess we will just have to wait and see. I guess take away food (which is all you can get in Australia now from any cafe or restaurant or pub, that is keeping open). will be high on quite a few peoples lists.
I imagine that some businesses will find they can have their staff work from home and save on office costs and rent.
I am not sure what will happen to the tourist industry. Sadly I live in a State Tasmania the island state of Australia that is pretty heavily reliant on tourism for many many businesses. Our State Government has shut our boarders to only essential travellers, and not even allowing 14 days quarantine, but will be turning back non essential travelers. I really believe that this will be so detrimental to my home state, many businesses may close for ever. A new gym opened in Huonville only a month ago. Poor guys.
I have been reassuring people in the groups I am involved with here in Australia that we are not headed for a Mad Max,or Pandemic the movie senario. That people robbbed, broke into homes, beat up people and killed people before this happened and there will be some pieces of human excreta who will continue. Just as those pieces fo human excreta that are hoarding items to sell at inflated prices. (I am pretty certain they will generally be tracked and found on the internet and I would hope public named and shamed). I do not apologies for that. My personal feelings and opinion.
I am also very fortunate to know how to budget and eat simple meals, I am also fine with eating the same meals several days in a row. I do feel that many people may have problems with some of the things they may no longer be able to get if they can not be imported.
I know I am also very fortunate to live on land and have a existing vegetable garden. The beauty is so many Australians have been doing that too, in their gardens on their balcony’s. A lot also have backyard chickens.
I want to say to people panicking about fresh food in Australia. We are one of the most fortunate countries, in that being such a big continent and covering so many lattitudes we can grow so much for ourselves. What is out of season down here in Tasmania may be growning up in Queesnland.
Yes we may not have everything you want available. Yes it may cost a bit more. That is because the cheap food from Asia and China perhaps will not be available. We may begin to be paying the price that food should cost to keep our farmers in business. Look at the size of your serves. Many of us myslef included eat way more food than we actually need. We are also very guilty of throwing so much edible food out! Just thrown in the bin. What a great thing that this might change! Simple food, and coming into winter again stews and soups so delicous and filling. Economical too if you know how.
If you are finding you are bored that says YOU need to do something for YOURSELF because only you can change that. Even in the cities we here in Australia can still go out for walks as long as we social distance. You can still visit libraries. Walk about the park, and really look at the trees and bird life. Breathe deeply and see what is happening about YOU.
Turn on some music loud and dance and laugh. Grow some herbs on your windowsill even try garlic in a container as long as it is deeper than 15cm you might be surprise at how one clove might give you in 9months a whold head.
When you are feeling really overwhelmed do something child like, make a fort and read a book in it. watch some cartoons some have great things for adults contained in them.
Have a group skype with friends regularly. Write your friends letters. and send them in the mail!! WOAH,
Be caring and supportive with people around Y0u . If you live with others you are going to piss each other off if you are in close proximity . Acknowledge that and don’t dwell on it.
Boredom is your responsibility and no one else’s.
I also have heard people complaining that hey are not getting any financial support. I am really sorry for that . Keep checking because things are changing all the time. Do not take it out on anyone who is! AGAIN it is NOT Their fault.
If you can be kind be supportive and compassionate. I have seen so many lovely things in the shops and in my comunity. People ensuring neighbours are OK for toilet paper, flour rice beans things that You can not at the moment get. It is a situation that we are all experiencing.
It is important to have support and be in touch with people. I know myself if I isolate for too long it makes my CPTSD worse. So I can no longer go and sit at my faviourite cafes to have a coffee and chat to people. I can keep connected through here and with people on my skype and mobile phone.
I ran into someone today in Huonville who asked me how I was, as they had not seen me for a while and I was very rarely on Facebook. I responded no I did not go on much. That I was actually not bad, and quite content being at home, attending to things. He asked me if I was unwell withdrawn or OK being at home. I reassured him that I am perhaps feeling the best I have been in a long time. That I was OK at home. I was very aware I need to have social input. At the same time I know for me that I need to limit that.
I surprised myself when I said this. I also realised the truth I had spoken.
I enjoy my lifestyle and always have tended to be happy enough on my own (apart form when I lived with someone and especially when I lived with my partner for a lengthy number of years before he died).
I have a lifted spirit, and have be doing some small things in my home.
Now I do not think I have mentioned, that part of my CPTSD saw me become a hoarder. It was the way for me to keep people out of my home. It was cheaper than building a wall, and along with never asking anyone to visit, created a total impregnable barrier.
Several of years ago, while seeing another psychologist (whom I never really connected with Though he thought differently. Weird that, I read some notes he wrote to my GP at the time, whose office closed and I was able to get my complete notes from it ). He decided to work with the hoarding as my major issue.
This psychologist also encouraged/pushed me to be referred to a social worker. Who was a nice enough fellow, but not at all it seemed to me at the time, or in hindsight knowledgeable about hoarding and how to help.
I was extremely unwell at the time, and really was not able to say no to things. I also was fighting to stay out of hospital. As I did not want to have to be admitted to the mental health ward/s I had worked.
After a few visits at coffee shops with the social worker, and me sharing the issues of hoarding and my home with him. He somehow ended up coming into my house with my invitation. Within three days I had a skip and someone coming to help me get sorted. Perhaps anyone with anxiety, CPTSD and huge trust issues might understand the distress and angst I was feeling. I was extremely worried that the person coming would know me. Maybe in a professional capacity.
I also felt mortified because unbeknown to me the social worker had hired a large skip to my place.
The day came and the woman turned up. She was a lovely person, and I saw the disgust and sadness in her eyes. She was a doer. She was a cleaner not someone with knowledge or experience of assisting hoarders to work through the hoard and issues that go with that.
This was not her fault, and as she was in my home and I was so unwell mentally, that we both just began cleaning and throwing things out. All the while me feeling panicking, and sick in my stomach. I had a headache, my jaw was clenched and I did not want to chat. I dreaded each day she was due.
I did attempt to explain my situation. She bless her did her best. I on the other hand felt pressured and guilt, I was very ashamed and distressed. I continued with this set up for four weeks. In the end I had to say to the social worker that it was causing me great angst and I was feeling worse especially on the mornings she was due. I was triggered and I just wanted to not answer the door in fact I did not want to get out of bed.
It is quite strange even writing about this situation is causing the symptoms again. In the end I explained to this lovely woman it was just not working for me. That I had appreciated her help very much. When she left I went to bed and did not get up for two days, except for the dogs and my needs, and food for the dogs. I ignored for the next fortnight the Social workers calls, and messages.
Eventually I came out of my room and contacted him. He was helping to find a Mens Shed Organisation to come and take my partners wood turning and wood working set up as a donation.
This was going to be so hard for me. I had taken ages to decide what I wanted to do with it all. I thought about selling it but I was to unwell at the time and I just wanted it all gone.
I had been in his workshop and sorted through everything that I wanted to keep, I had taken some items into the house, and stacked everything else separately away in a corner. I showed the social worker what was to remain.
I knew it was going to be a traumatic and emotive time when the lathe and his own tools were removed. I could not be at home while it was happening. I explained this to the Social worker, and he reasured me he would be there.
I was numb when I left in the morning. I took my dogs for a walk along the river and then we went and met up with a friend at a local cafe. I was not thinking about any of it.
A few hours later I returned home with great trepidation. I was really uncertain how I was going to be impacted with my partners passion his wood turning lathe, his carving tools, his woodworking books, the band saw and the bench all gone.
I parked the car, let the dogs out and noted that the large skip was fairly full. I wandered over and to my dismay there were all the things I had put aside that I wanted. Things that I needed for the garden, some paint to finish some things. Bits and bob, netting for my fruit trees. All covered in oil and sawdust. I panicked and attempted to pull everything out, but items were broken, and as I said covered in oil. Some of the tins of paint had spilt. I was so upset. I recall I just threw my arms up in the air and sobbed loudly.
I then charged up the steps into the workshop. I stopped and was flummoxed. There was just an empty room. A totally EMPTY ROOM. All the shelving had been removed. All the containers of screws, nails, bolts, bits and pieces that my partner had saved, collected to repair things in your home. Especially when you are the person who built the home and know every nook and cranny every gap and thing that will get finished one day. The chain saw and drill, the axe. Paint rollers, brushes. My things that were now in the bin. Destroyed. All The very things I had said to the social worker were to stay!
How could this have happened.
I was floored. I was angry, wounded, I was bewildered, lost. I had made sure the social worker knew what was too go. What was to stay. How could this of happened? Of course it was to late to contact the social worker by this time. A really bad nights sleep, and my mind just going over and over what did I do or say wrong that caused this to happen. Grief overwhelmed me, I had lost everything EVERYTHING and given away treasured items, I felt so let down. I rang the social worker in the morning. It was quite weird and I have to honestly say I do not have a huge recollection of what happened, with the exception that he did say he was not there at my house when the men came to remove everything. I had never met any of these men, I did not know any of their names I did not even know where everything ended up. I know at that point I really just shut down. I could take no more.
I never spoke to this person again. I never reported or lodged a complaint. I just sat in my home, cuddling my dogs. I stayed home for a few days and began to hoard even more bizarre things. I did not go out, I did not shower, I did not clean, wash up. All I could manage was to ensure my lifelines, my dogs were exercised fed and loved.
The trust I had begun to rekindle in people was gone. TOTALLY and UTTERLY gone.
I did eventually realise how I was deteriorating and went to see my fantastic GP (who left a year later to go and become a psychiatrist) . It was through her I was put on the council program and met the psychologist I have now.
Now if I feel that my trust has been taken advantage off, or I have been manipulated I do not even bother to say anything. I just never go back to the place, or deal with the person, or continue the friendship of the person where I feel this has happened.
It took me so long to be able to ask for help. Then to let someone inside my home and see how bad it was. To let someone in to help me ‘clean’
Even now as I write I feel violated and that is such a weird word to write when I am talking about this.
I am OK and it always help to share and write things down I find.
I feel from my own perspective and experience. The ‘kind meaningful help’ that can be offered to anyone with a mental illness or chronic illness, a disabilty, are so very subjective and if respect and understanding, and most importantly keeping the promises you make as a paid support worker are not met. I ponder how the duty of care is maintained.
Perhaps if I had lodged complaints about what occurred it might have helped. I was to unwell and mentally not competent to undertake this. Not even in a phone call. I could not even say what I really felt to the social worker.
What I do know is that it put me backwards in my treatment and I quit the psychologist at the same time, never explaining or seeing him again. He never followed up to see if I was OK.
I struggle now to let workman into my home. I need a couple of things fixed. I let one in to fix a leak under my verandah door upstairs in my bedroom, that leaks into my kitchen. He assured me he could do it. He was a lovely man. I had to call him back three times as each time (when it rained the leak was actually worse than it had been origianlly). In the end he just said he could not do anything else? I wanted to scream, again I could not. I had paid him in full. (you only find out the job doesn’t work when it rains. I did not think to put the hose over it. So now I can not afford to pay someone else to fix it. I dont have any trust in anyone else to fix it. I keep thinking I can probably fix it. (maybe I can). lol. Living rurally can be hard to get anyone to come out here.
Even with sharing all of this, I still feel better than I have in a long time. I am sleeping in weird patterns, I sleep for two weeks 12-14 hours then for 4 night 4-6 than the for some nights 8 hours. It seems to be a cyclic thing, so perhaps the medication. I also have really bizzare dreams and sleep very heavily. I do find taking paracetamol and ibuprofen seem to stop the dreams. That seem so real.
wow did this post go a way I did not see coming..
I am falling in love with my home, I am seeing it again, and wanting to slowly remove things. One of the things I was hoarding were cardboard boxes. To use to kill of the grass about the veggie area and pathways. Now I bring a box home, empty it, and then flatten it and go place it out side where I want it to go. There are no boxes inside my home. Where a few months ago I had 30. One situation is being managed. I am proud of that.
Moving and improving your life with CPTSD is about so many things. I found forgiveness was a huge milestone for me. I may have posted this on another post. Forgiving the people who abused me. Not to their faces, or in writing. I just voice my forgiveness. I did it purely for me. I just basically with a sincere heart said. I forgive……,……, and……,……. ect for what they did to/at/against me. I will let it go. I felt something give, something change. Like a hole opened and a light shone inside me. I felt brighter. I felt less anger.
It has been over a month closer to two since I did this. I now am able to work on changing my mood and not fixate so much. I am more positive. This ties in to the very first paragraph.
I have forgiven the Social Worker and the Person who came to fix my leak. Again not in person, or a letter but for me. I feel a sense of another piece has fallen off my wall.
I am thankful that all this happened as it was through this whole shebang that I ended up on a Huon Valley Council mental health package where I met my current psychologist. I am so SO very thankful for Her.
I feel at peace in my home. I no longer want to flee, because I can not deal with the hoard and mess. I don’t like the way it is however I know that it is a very slow, time consuming and emotive at times, work in progress. That in all honesty I must do on my own.
Umm Have I mentioned I have a bit of a tendency for OCD. Now my psychologist explained it well to me. When my home is clean and comfortable. I tend to like my CDs in alphabetical order, my books in genre and alphbetised by Author. My pantry in food types and alphabetised, My wardrobe and drawers in type ie pants, shirts and within that colour groupings. So her feelings are that it part of what is inhibiting me.
Perhaps I will share more of my work in dealing with my hoarding here.
I also note that having connected with so many other peoples blogs some with CPTSD some with depression anxiety, physical, chronic, illnesses and disabilities, others with none. Connecting and reading stories written by wonderful writers, from all over the world. Connecting with an supportive art group from beginners through. I am meeting people I would never have had the opportunity to have connected with in my life here in Tassie.
I feel so thankful to have all of these experiences, I feel thankful to have had my breakdown and I know that sounds really weird. I just see my life in such a very different way now, and I accept it. I also do not really care if others do not.
I am so happy to have connected (even if I have not done any painting this week ) with the art group, I am thankful for them and Charlie for his blog Doodlewash. https://doodlewash.com/
Thankful to my neighbours, who I know keep an eye on me. Especially thankful to these two.
I receive my benefit payment once a fortnight, so I budget quite fastidiously. It does not take much to create a bit of a bottleneck of who is getting paid first and who can I possibly leave for a fortnight. I am not saying I will not pay bills when due. However it is pretty usual to receive a reminder if you do not pay the bill before the due date. If that happens I usually will ring the company and explain honestly the situation and that I will pay the full amount in however many days.
I have found it to be so beneficial firstly to pay bills generally by the due date. If for some reason I can not pay the full amount I pay a proportion, and contact them to say the rest will be in the next fortnight. I have never incurred late fees or charges as it happens very rarely. I believe to that most companies will understand and see intent to pay.
I used to get very upset and anxious. I would fixate and then I would not be able to phone the company. It could have become a horrible situation. As I do not own a credit card.
I seem to have somehow created this potential situation this fortnight. My internet payment which is done as a direct debit for some reason did not go out on its due date. Of course the money was used as I assumed it had been paid. (Yes I know assume only makes an ass out of u and me) 🤪.
I have been attempting to pay this, again since I do not have a credit card and the call centres can not provide a bank account number or a BSB so I can transfer the money. I have grown frustrated angry and over the situation. My account is due again this week, and I just hope they will take two payments! I have been emailing the company attempting to explain that I have CPTSD and dealing with the call centres every second day for basically 3 weeks has caused huge issues for me, as they can not resolve the issue, even when I provide the reference number. I also can not seem to lodge a complaint or access them through a thing they call toolbox. Go Figure. So whinge over. I owe them $140 at the end of this week.
I have ordered my dogs meat (they eat raw diet) I get 14kgs /30.6lbs which lasts us about 21 days. The meat costs $6perKg/2.2lbs $84 in total plus some lambs frys 2.50each I got 2 so $5 and a bag of dog bones probably $5 So $94 all up. I also ran out of my LPG (gas/propane) and had to order 2 full bottles 45gk/99lbs I think I pay about $120 a bottle delivered and installed. So $240 due this fortnight.
In total bills for this fortnight will be $474.00 leaving me $104 for the entire fortnight. Not as bad as I had thought. I will have the money to pay everyone fully and still have money for essentials.
In the past I would have made myself very unwell and my anxiety would have run away with me. What I was able to do, and I know I am so very very lucky that I do not have to pay rent or fares, etc. I had been putting some money aside and had a couple of hundred dollars, this was towards costs that I work out for 12 months all my known bills and on last years I usually add an extra 10% to budget for this years. This meant I did have some extra money because off course this fortnight I also needed to buy some pantry staples that had run out.
I was out today and did a rather large pantry shop. I am also fairly certain my next quarterly payment for Rates is due at the end of this month. It will not be as high as normal as I paid extra on it last quarter. This is another thing I will often do with bills such as electricity, and this year with Rates (as it is the first year I was not able to save for the full Rate payment amount and pay only it).
For me a really positve change in the last few months is not getting so distressed when I feel overwhelmed by how many bills I have and costs. To talk to the companies before it becomes a bigger issue. To also when I do have extra money to pay a little more off a regular bill so if I am short the company can see I endevour to pay their bills.
I am thankful that I live in a country that supports people who are unemployed with a monetary payment (as small as it is and as hard for so many to live on).
I am thankful to now be able to manage when speaking to companies generally in a more relaxed and conscience manner. It is something I still struggle with especially with my internet provider call centres. I am still very much a work in progress in regard to my CPTSD. I am thankful to have found other people who have CPTSD and who share their own experiences through blogging. It really does help to hear and see you are not alone or that unusual. I am so incredibly thankful for having found a psychologist who has really been able to work with me and I with her, (not always an easy thing to find) who I have had consistently for several years now. Which also makes it a heck of a lot better. My GP who is great and supportive, who says it like it is. I am also thankful for all the lovely folk I am meeting through this blog. For their stories and comments here and support. What a blessing.
I was out picking blackberries this morning in what I consider my hedgerow. I know it is not really a true hedge row. I know that here in Tasmania mostly in the midlands and north of the state there are some amazing hedges and hedge rows. I recall driving into Perth Tasmania from Hobart and seeing these amazing structures, quite neglected but quite lovely still.
In spring Tasmania reminds many people of UK.
It is so green and rich looking, from mid Autumn to late early summer providing rainfall has been adequate. Combined with Georgian and Victorian style houses and buildings in towns and cities across Tasmania and rural areas.
Along with hawthorn hedgerows, many planted in the first half of the 19th Century and stone walls. In reality the only similarities are the verdant green of the grass from autumn to early summer, the Georgian and Victorian built heritage that still remains and the patchwork of fields enclosed by the hawthorn hedgerows, many of which were planted in the first half of the 19th century.
The first hedgerows were planted and cared for them which then enabled the family that owned the property to plant crops for the early colony of Tasmania. Sadly for the last 70plus years these hedgerows hae been neglected as barbed wire fencing became more accessible and affordable. Mr Dumarseq a sith generation farmer said.
“We’re slowly now just starting to trim them again, lay them over in the traditional way and bring them back into traditional working order.”
The family has employed one of Australia’s few traditional hedge layers, James Boxhall to work on the property. James has been slowly beginning to trim and lay them as the convicts would have so once again the hedge rows will be back in working order.
Since the introduction of barbed wire, fencing has taken on a whole new form, harsh on the eye, requires mining and high energy to produce and is lifeless. In stark contrast a healthy living hedge is not only a fence or boundary but a nature reserve full of diversity.
Flowering profusely in the spring, highly fragrant, buzzing with insects and the chatter of birds they attract, visually spectacular with painful thorns for the unwary. A sensory overload! Ever-changing autumn brings fruit, prized by the Green Rosellas, the swamp harriers and goshawks cruise the extremities flushing out prey, small mammals find homes among the roots and branches, all while these carbon sinks provide shelter from the elements for our sheep and cattle.
The satisfaction of preserving these ancient hedges and passing on a dying craft has kept people like Mr Boxhall on the job, cutting, pushing, bending and chainsawing the thorny and at times nasty plants back into the shape of the traditional fences.
We must ensure their survival long into the future.
In the UK their benefits are of such importance the government pays land owners to look after and maintain them in the Countryside Stewardship scheme creating gainful employment for many. Here in Tasmania we too should appreciate the great value healthy hedgerows make to the diversity, ecology and charm of the Tasmanian landscape as well of course as the cultural importance of our British colonisation.
Fortunately in 2003 John and Robyn Hawkins employed master hedgelayer and stonewaller Karl Leibscher from Shropshire in the English midlands to teach a small team these traditional skills and to restore the many kilometres of hedges on their property “Bentley”.
James says he has had the great privilege of being invited to the Patrons Event, a competition held this year on the Queen’s estate “Sandringham” by the Patron of the National Hedgelaying Society HRH The Prince of Wales. “I travelled to England to compete in the National Hedgelaying Championships, becoming the first person from outside of Europe to do so”. http://www.omlxi.com/sticks_stones/about.php#james
Along with 35 other competitors from most parts of the UK we were given six hours to lay, stake and bind our 7-yard section of hedge which was judged at the end of the day. Many of England’s masters of the craft were in attendance to advise and mentor which made it an invaluable experience. The chance to meet and talk with Prince Charles about Tasmania and hedges was wonderful, an opportunity I will not forget.
So I accept that my boundary is not a true traditional hedge row, as it is not made from bent trees and woven and trimmed. It does keep my dogs in. I love my hedgerow. It is full of life. It is not for stock and meets my needs.
Looking down the hedgerow.
I do wish I could say this is a fairy entrance into my garden, it is almost as magical. This is a pathway for wallabies and other animals it goes under the apple tree. The blackberries provide a safe escape. Quiet a few years ago I watched a blue tongue lizard eating blackberries just up from this spot. This has been a pathway for all the time I have lived here. I will not fence as I love having the wallabies come in and be part of my garden. So many new people are moving here and fully fencing their properties to keep the wallabies and possums out. I understand if you are having stock or horses, but just to keep the animals that belong here much more then we do out of their pathways and feeding areas not good.
Hedge row blackberries grass and bracken no fencing at all along here. The only small bit of fencing is where the apple tree is and the first bit of grassland as people would come onto our land to pick the apples. No problem with them taking them from the road side.
How lovely the rain has arrived and is falling as I type. It has cooled off.
Hedge rows (neighbours across) is a pine of sorts just a hedge) Mine blackberries bracken and agapanthas.(white flowers) I do not have any fencing along here at all.
Agapanthas I cut and had to go back to pick up because I had forgotten them. The clouds were coming over and as I bent to pick them up I felt two stinging burning bites. Really painful I was in a mass of Jack Jumper ants. I feel they knew it was going to rain. Why they were about the agapantha flowers I am not sure. They were no where about earlier when it was humid so sticky and humid. Below is the photograph I took of two of them and some information about these beasties! (I was also bitten earlier in the week in the veggie garden on my left index finger).
The jack jumper – Tasmania’s killer ant: 2012
By Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Jack jumpers (Myrmecia pilosula) are small, black and orange ants with extremely keen eyesight and an unusual ability to jump. This tiny creature is considered one of the most dangerous ants in the world – and, indeed, the most dangerous animal in Australia! In Tasmania, the death toll from the jack jumper’s sting is about one person every four years – greater than the toll inflicted by sharks or by the most poisonous of snakes or spiders.
They are named after the ‘jumping-jack firecracker’ because of their tendency to jump aggressively towards potential threats to themselves or their nests, and to follow up with multiple painful, fiery stings.
The ant’s fierce-looking, toothed jaws are ideal for holding insect prey in place while using the stinger at the end of its abdomen to jab its victim.
Jack jumpers are so very dangerous because the venom in their stings is one of the most powerful in the insect world; about three per cent of Tasmanians (some 14,000 people) are at risk of anaphylactic shock if stung.
While jack jumpers are common in the bush, their preference for disturbed, sparsely-vegetated and stony ground allows them to colonise roadsides, pathways and heavily-grazed paddocks.
For the same reasons, they can also be common in recently-established suburbs. Nests are typically found under logs and rocks and can often be spotted from the mounds of gravel that mark the entrance holes.
Not one single ant species, but a complex of seven superficially very similar species, jack jumpers hold a key position in native ecosystems.
Despite their notoriety, their nest-building improves soil structure, while their predatory and competitive behavior with other insects and invertebrates helps to selectively enhance plant growth.
They are also a food source for other animals. The most important predator of jack jumpers is the echidna, which – unfortunately for people – avoids disturbed ground and suburban areas.
Below please excuse my dirty feet, I have been working and walking about in sandles all day. Digging and on dirt paths in bare feet. You can see my bites fortunately I am not allergic to them.
The first is on the side of my big toe, and it is swollen quite a lot now it feels like I have a huge blister or pad under my foot when I walk and the top and side is hot to touch and red. There is no pain just a burning sensation which is not unusual. This ant really had a tight grasp on me. It was still attached even when I pulled my sandle off.
Below. The one on my toe is not too bad it has not swollen any where near as much as I feared. (I could not bend my finger for 24 hours after it was bitten, and it itches off and on annoyingly so) It is burning still I know if it had swollen I would have found it really annoying as you can see I have webb toes and it would have impacted both of them. The redness you can see is the reaction but that has disapated and basically where the whiteness is and the small red dot (bite) is now red and the rest of my foot now clean is back to normal. Of course I was bitten on different feet. I can laugh now.
Even with this I have had a wonderful day and so have my dogs. We did our usual run this morning. I picked fruit and stacked some of my wood. I pruned some trees and bushes. (bushes mainly for access for my gas bottle delivery man. ) My dogs were wanting another walk so after their meal we went off on the way home one of my neighbours was out with her two dogs, so my guys played with them as we chatted for ages.
We waved as several other neighbours drove up or down the road. As the dogs played in their paddock.
Another neighbour came and joined us, bringing us each a gift of half a marrow, a zucchini/courgette that has grown huge. I am going to stuff mine and bake it, yummo on tuesday when I have gas again. She also gave us each a jar of her homemade home grown apricot relish yummo!
We chatted for quite a while and her friend came looking for her and stayed for a while and talked with us more. I had to go as Busby was so hot and tired and Miss Treacle was sleeping under the shade of a tree. So we all said bye. All smiling.
As I write I am listening to the rain and Busby snoring deeply as he has been since 5pm (it is now 8pm) and Miss Treacle making mmmering noises in her sleep. Neither of them raising their head if I get up to do something. Not normal. Sleeping the exhausted. It is a lovely night, all dry our tummies full and comfy beds to sleep in. I am not suffering with my ant bites. I have learnt about Tasmanias true hedgerows.
I am so thankful for lovely neighbours, other dogs for my dogs to play with, the rain, the gifts I received to day, the bounty of Mother Earth, I will have more blackberries, and the apples will be ready soon. I am thankful for I am truelove blessed.
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