Frugal Vegetable Gardening

I have been told by some people that it is to expensive to begin growing vegetables. By the time they purchase soil and pots or planters, the seeds or seedlings, fertilisers, it all adds up. They just can not afford it. Or composting is such hard work.

I was able to pick up pots of varying sizes from a gardening shop in Hobart for free. These were just plastic pots that people bought in to recycle and others could take and use. Rather than just throwing them out. Any second hand pots I suggest just a wash in hot water with dish washing detergent and dry in the sun. I have also been able to purchase from my local tip shop chipped and cracked ceramic pots and garage sales you can also pick up cheap pots sometimes with plants in them. (if you dont like the plant give it to someone and keep the pot). Also look out for hard rubbish pick up days.

However you do not have to have plastic pots or lovely ceramic pots to grow plants in. You can use all sorts of things. Tin cans, have been used by many people for a long time to grow veggies. I have used large veggie oil cans and biscuit tins. Drill a few holes in them, they are a pot.
Plastic storage boxes can be used, polystyrene boxes, I can usually get mine for free from seafood shop veggie shops sometimes my local supermarket.

Now for soil, here is a wonderful Youtube Channel Robbie and Gary Gardening Easy. Wonderful for those who want to begin to grow some veggies. Robbie grows veggies in her own soil/compost that she makes from scratch. It is so easy and involves little work. I have been doing it and it is brilliant! She saves all her kitchen scraps puts them in a plastic container, or container with holes drilled in it, uses the weeds she pulls up before they seed, and places them at the bottom of the container. She puts her scraps straight into the container, waters it a bit, and places a lid/cover with a weight on it to stop animals getting into it.

Because you have drilled/put holes in the bottom worms will make their way into the scraps and begin to break down the food scraps into wonderful soil/compost. Add dead or leaves and paper if you wish. Robbie can explain her system here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6eSaIEz2rQ

I also compost in place, meaning I will just put any leaves I pull off or that have fallen off I leave there in the area to compost in the bed. I will break up the stems and some plants such as legumes I leave the roots as when they break down they release nitrogen in the soil.

Some advice I will give you about seeds and seedlings. When I first started my vegetable gardening here in southern Tasmania, I was caught out by buying seedlings that were totally inappropriate for my location. The nurseries and gardening centres were selling seedlings, so I assumed they would be fine. Unfortunately no. Some were way to early for planting outside, and were actually for people to grow in hot houses/green houses/poly tunnels situations. Or were just not seedlings that were ever going to do any good down here.

One of the problems with purchasing seedlings from large garden centres and nurseries is that the seedlings may not have even been grown for this area. Same problem can occur with seeds. Some seed do not grow for me so well from big suppliers. I am in the fortunate position that we have a couple of relatively local seed savers who have began businesses that have seeds that they have grown and saved from the fruits, here in the area I live. I see a big difference in how they perform to how the others I have in the past purchased.

Being involved in a seed saving community group, and my local Crop Swap group has been marvelous as I get seeds and seedlings for no financial cost. Where seeds and seedlings as well as produce and anything related to veggie growing and food, can be shared. For the seed saving you grow one variety of say a bean that year, and you try to keep it pure. You can share some of the fresh peas or beans and then the majority you save for seed. Sharing and some will be saved so we have a supply of local seeds available if there is a crisis such as the bush fires here last summer (2018-2019) the crop swap group grew seeds and gave seedlings to the people who had lost their veggie gardens due to be evacuated and their veggie gardens were not watered so died. A simple thing the group did but such a welcome and unexpected thing. Others grew trees to help replace trees for free.

My growing awareness of the importance to monitor flowering of my veggies especially the brassicas, as they will cross pollinate, as will tomatoes, and other vegetables. I am also much more alert as to flowering weeds. Some I am happy to have flower as bees and birds will feast on the seeds Some such as sorrel and dandelions can be eaten. Scotch Thistle I love the flower it is wonderful as the root goes deep, I will let it flower and then take the flower off before it seeds.

Another thing that you can do is if you buy a cos/romaine/butter/iceberg lettuce is sit the base in water to keep fresh and as you use it, it will often keep growing. Cut the top of a pineapple and plant it you just may get a pineapple plant growing, spring onions place the bulb bit in a glass with some water so the roots are in it and it will grow more greens. I have even had a cabbage grow more when I sat it in a bowel with some water,

I recall a farmer saying to someone I knew that if you missed weeding one year it would take you seven to eradicate it. (he did not use weed killer) I have been working hard on a couple of weeds this year that have prickles that get into my dogs coats and my feet.

The other important thing I wish to share is You do not have to grow heaps to start with. I personally began with some garlic, and asparagus. Rather expensive to buy every year, but both really easy to grow. Garlic you can grow in pots. You may be able to grow some asparagus in a large container. I am not sure. Ginger and Tumeric I will bring mine indoors over winter. I have only planted them recently and they may grow may not.

Garlic grows form a clove, each clove will grow into a bulb. I need about 150cloves of garlic a year minimum for myself and my dogs, I also need to plant for the next year so I will be looking at growing about 50 cloves minimum. If each clove produces a bulb with 6 cloves I will have enough for the next year. hmmm Might plant more..lol

Herbs are expensive to buy and fairly easy to grow in pots. Lettuces grow beautifully in polystyrene boxes with holes in the bottom. As do spring onions, and chives. Strawberries too. If you grow lettuce grow an assortment. You can grow carrots in pots.

I really want to encourage people everywhere to be growing their own veggies, to ensure they have fresh and healthy produce.

Which does bring me to one area that can be of concern. If you do have a garden you really need to be aware of what possible sources of contamination may be or have been in your area. I had a flat in Hobart that thankfully I was not growing veggies in the ground, but neighbours in houses were. It turned out the soil in the area had been contaminated by the zinc works. It was never told to you when your were buying property in the area impacted, and the only way most people were alerted to the problem was a flyer that was put in letterboxes, saying that people should be checking for contamination in the soil, and to speak to council. We were on the opposite side and down from the zinc works but the wind blew contaminants over to our area. Apparently it was not common incident but happened several times over the years.

Similarly in Broken Hill in NSW lead levels in some children (and adults) were extreme levels the children were living in houses near the railway line and the BHP trains would go buy spreading lead filled dust as they went past. Peoples had tonnes of soil removed from their yards, their roofs, inside their homes under the roof. Yet people had been growing and eating vegetables in their gardens.

So growing many vegetables, herbs and some fruits in pots is possible, It is only as limited as your own abilities, and finances. Start with just one or two containers, think of something you really love to eat but find it to expensive to buy. Research it online and give it a try.

Please check out the Youtube channel I put above. I am not in anyway involved or gaining anything from promoting it. I just find wonderful and it worked for me.

I had my second tomato ripen and ate it today. I was so thankful to have it as it was delicious and worth the wait.

I will do an update of my Veggie garden soon.

blessings Tazzie

Mindfulness

Photography is a very personal thing.
I tend to not have any particular passion for one thing over the other. I just enjoy recording what I see.

So many beautiful videos abound full of movement incredible vistas from all over the world. For me they are stunning but often with music and talking, busy busy. I need less.

For me the art of photography is a lot about mindfulness. Being very present in the moment.

They are unedited. Just simple and taken as I go about my life. So many people are so busy with video cameras instead of stopping and looking being still in the moment. Savouring being present still and for me so often at peace.

I was sitting in a paddock watching the clouds skimming over the hills. They were moving fast. I was watching this cloud when I realised it was unusual in that it looked as if the top had been sliced horizontally off.

Cloud formations are so interesting.

I find it quite lovely to sit out on my deck of an evening and night watching the sky and clouds. This was a stormy night and shows lightning behind the clouds, hitting the hills in the far distance. It makes me feel so small when I see and hear thunder and lightning storms. We do not normally get a lot of thunder and lightning storms where I live. Yet the last couple of years we have had more than ever in the time I have lived here.

Lightning in the clouds

Watching these particular clouds was fascinating. They really had the look of flying saucers, in 3D with the colours, and the way the shadows and light was hitting them. I immediately was taken to the song The Eve of War the song from War of the World.

Lenticular Clouds at sunset

The chances of anything coming from Mars
Are a million to one, he said (ah, ah)
The chances of anything coming from Mars
Are a million to one, but still, they come. (Chorus from The Eve of the War)

Songwriters: Jeff Wayne The Eve of the War lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Please note I am not talking about the horrendous movie from 2005 but the 1938 radio drama where Orson Welles then 23 had a play written by Howard Koch based on H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. It was not great to begin with but with Welles revisions and input of others including the cast, it went on to cause purportedly major panic as people had believed it was real. The radio drama was broadcast with Welles Mercury Theatre on the Air the night before Halloween in 1938. If you are interested in learning more about his see the link below.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/infamous-war-worlds-radio-broadcast-was-magnificent-fluke-180955180/

The clouds are known as Lenticular clouds

My last photograph is a lovely morning reflection on the Huon River. It is not often you have the water so still. The Huon River is a tidal river that meets up with sea water. So with a shifting tide, and usually at least a breeze, wind or birds, disturbing the stillness this was a lovely moment to catch.

Mirror mirror reflection.

For me it is a timely reminder that being aware of my surroundings and taking the time to really look at nature, and all about me is a good way to reflect on how fortunate I am. It keeps me realising that I am blessed, even on my really bad days.

I wanted to share these today reminding me about the things that really help me to live with my CPTSD. To move forward.

Blessings to you all. Tazzie

Dog days Down Under Down Under

Its been a lovely day here in the beautiful Valley I call home. The photographs I have included are not from today, but they sum up all I am talking about.

The dogs and I all slept well and we rose fairly early in comparison of what seems to have become normal. (my medication after almost a year seems to be making me tired).

The dogs had their run.

For new readers I drive my car, and the dogs run up the road and back often with a stop at my neighbour on the hill for me to chat, and our big dogs to play together. Miss Treacle on the other hand my schnauser maltese cross who is 12, gets picked up and cuddled by Peter, and she just adores him.

His wife could not believe it when she saw Treacle in action. If we go up to their home and Peter is not out Miss Treacle will sit at their gate looking for him, and hoping. She cries with excitement when he is home and comes over to give her a cuddle. I swear she pines for him if she does not see him for a few days.

Miss Treacle is in heaven.
Busby and Toby Miss Treacle and Peter

Busby and Toby are bros, and we do believe they are having a bromance. There is much licking and happiness, They run towards each other in ecstasy. When they play it can look really rough, but they are both actually very gentle with each other when they mouth.

Toby is a 2 and adores Busby who is 4, Playing.
Miss Treacle and Toby play too.

Because Toby is a Springer Spaniel he has a soft mouth and is so gentle with Miss Treacle, though if he does get a bit rough with her, she will tell him off in no uncertain terms. He is a young dog, having just turned 2 in December. He has known my guys for most of his life. So he respects them both.

Dogs having fun.

It makes us all smile watching these three get on so well. We have been driving past each other in our cars and Toby has made such a racket that they have had to stop so all three dogs can have a play in the paddock before we each pack up our dogs and head off. It is quite lovely.

The Huon Valley is very dog friendly with most cafes allowing dogs in outside areas, and there are wonderful dog friendly beaches where dogs and owners can swim and run play off lead. Each of the main towns Huonville, Cygnet, Geeveston all have lovely fully fenced off lead dog parks. Thanks to co-operation and fund raising of the Huon Valley Dog group.

Dog Friendly Cafes
Dog Friendly cafes

Dog Friendly Beaches






Having a mental illness such as I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), my dogs are everything to me. They are my world, and if it was not for them I can be totally honest and say in my darkest days, I would have made a decision that I know would have been the worst decision I could have. Animals can make such a difference to people with mental illness. I have to get up everyday and feed them, let them out, play with them and cuddle them. Exercise them and keep them in good condition. I may go back to bed as I did in my worst days but I had got up..had some food and cared for my dogs.



My dogs know me warts and all. Miss Treacle is like my angel, when I am getting angry she will come and sit on my lap and push her body into me, she will try to nuzzle me and get me to make eye contact with her. She hates me on the telephone, as that is where she has seen me at my worst in anger. If I am getting frustrated with other drivers she leans into me. Yet even with all of this she loves me unconditionally.

Busby is my protector who is frightened of metal on metal noises, scraping chairs, wind, rain, thunder and lightning. We were out walking at Triabunna (a seaside town on the east coast, about an hour away, north of Hobart and a massive storm hit with wind hail thunder and lightning. It was horrendous, and understandably he has been frightened of these ever since. I had to pick up Miss Treacle, and poor Busby just tried to run off, I nearly dropped Miss Treacle, and dropped his lead, but somehow did not. I could not just stand there, with no protection. So we had to try and get to the car, about 100meters away. Needless to say we were all shaken up by this. My big gentle boy(41kgs/90lbs) now tries to climb up on my lap if we have storms and I have to close all the curtains if it is really windy. Which it often is as we live in the roaring forties.

So my dogs are my family, they are my constant companions. I have huge anxiety and panic attacks if I have to leave them at home, or it is too hot to take them with me. I have cancelled appointments and not gone to things because I have been to overwhelmed to leave them.

I make no apologies for this.

blessings Tazzie.

Veggie Garden, envy, CPTSD and me !

Do you get veggie garden envy? Do you look at others gardeners around you and compare your veggies to theirs? I do have a bit of a complex about this. Firstly I have an elderly gardener down the road from me whose garden is astounding. He has lived here for over 40 years and he grows amazing produce. Then up from me is a relatively new garden I look at each day and see how his pumpkins are growing (actual pumpkins) whilst my pumpkins are just flowering and tiny balls. Sigh.

The CPTSD part of me gets a bit triggered by this. What am I doing wrong, how can I over come it, beat him. What am I doing wrong? Why cant I grow these like they do? I’m hopeless. What is the point? I am a failure!
I have spent a few hours today and I mean hours just doing that kind of fixated thought processing.

That is until I went for a wee walk in my little veggie garden and looked and saw what I have achieved this year so far. Sure mine is not the pristine, stunning, with all the appropriate structures for each veggie garden as my up the road neighbour. Or the old established garden of my elderly neighbour down the road.

My garden is my garden. It is a reflection of me, of where I have been and am coming from. It shows a hope for harvesting what I have sown. It is a simple display of my illness in so many ways. I started the day of with the what ifs, and have ended it with the wow look at how far you have come Tazzie. My garden shows even how I have been using the treatments to help me and each time I walk through it, my garden, I am filled with hope of a bounty of good produce. I am productive, I am working, I am contributing and I am looking after mother earth.

I did not realise I would be triggered today by such a benign thing such as vegetable gardens. I have a feeling that is possibly why I did not get to the first crop swap of the year, and possibly why I did not make it to the last one for 2019. My feeling of inadequacies. Yet I am not inadequate. My garden is showing that. Things are growing fruiting and ripening.

It is so frustrating to question myself by comparing. I do not have the experience of the older neighbour, and I do not have the money to spend on compost and the right soils or structures. I am not in a competition. I am doing this solely for myself. So how HOW does this become what it did for me today. Isn’t that the million dollar question for anyone with CPTSD. How and why does a trigger trigger you into that down hill spiral. I am so proud of myself that I eventually got up and walked out side, into my own garden.

I have been attempting to remove old growth and rearrange some pots on my deck, I am also making my half wine barrels into more flower space than food space as the wallabies seem to be able to get to almost anything I put in them though I have allowed several brassicas to self seed and hope that they will grow and I can share those with the wild life. I had to fence of my deck area to discourage them from coming up on it and eating everything. It includes the possums who love to denude my lemon and lime trees.

grapes under the leaves, tansy flowers behind almost dead

My fig and grape both have fruit on them, as long as I can keep the birds off them I may get some this year. I need to get more tulle material for next year as the netting can cause smaller birds to get trapped in it. This year it might be some tulle bags I have to attempt to save the grapes. If I can It would be my first harvest.

Fig black genoa I think

The chili I planted last year is looking quite happy and I have a couple of small purple appearing fruit on the one below.

Chili

The three sisters bed is going well the beans and corn are flowering, though I do fear that the squash is overshadowed for flowering. Which means I am extremely doubtful that I will be successful with any squash from this bed. I will wait and see February while a short month is usually the hottest in Australia including down here.

The tomatoes are fruiting and have more flowers which is great finally! The lettuces are doing well I have been picking some, the brassicca that has self seeded in here I have no idea what it is meant to be and has bitter leaves, but I have eaten them. It just seems to go to flower fairly rapidly. There is the self seeded sun flower growing extremely close to the the tomato plant on the left of r side picture. Everyone else’s sunflowers are flowering. My garden is an anathema. Eggplant/aubergine, has flowered though it is not doing as well as the one I had in last year. The marigolds are growing and flowering, yeah! There are also two capsicums in this bed that are tiny but have fruit, I also feel there is a zucchini/courgette or two in this bed that is beginning to take off but no flowers. There is such a schamozzle of vegetables growing in this small bed, it is a wonder any thing is happening really.

Brassicca bed is doing OK the cabbages have vanished, but the kale is holding on and the broccoli is beating the white cabbage moth with my help. Silver beet is seeding so I will let it and spread the seeds about other areas also. Perhaps not in beds as it grows quite well just in the grassy areas of the veggie patch.

these are barlotti beans

My barlotti beans are flowering there are several around the edges of the three sister bed, the climbing beans whose name escapes me has purple flowers and is looking good.

Crab apple
yellow gage plum

The apples on the Crab Apple are getting larger. Down in the paddock the yellow gage (might be the green gage) plum is not ripe but the birds have tried them. I assume it will be a race to see who can get them. I have hardly any leaves on either of my gage plums they seem to have been devoured. Which is really weird, as it is not wallabies as it is more the higher leaves.

green gage plum I think.

Blackberries look abundant, these are wild usually delicious and with the rain we have been having the last few days it should be a good season for them. Like wise apples this is the first time since I planted this apple tree (above right) and the plum( below ) they have fruited. The apple is loaded and the plum is well not so loaded but has some fruit. All the trees in the paddock get no extra water than what nature provides. The gage plums get the run off from the french drain which is the reason I believe they are so much bigger. Where as these two trees are totally reliant on nature.

Apple tree

The apple tree (above left) is on the boundary of my land my neighbours and the road. I prune it every few years and it has helped it fill out more and it gives heaps of apples. It looks like a big harvest from this one this year. On the right photo are Busby and Miss Treacle and looking back over the paddock, You can see my attempt at a Heugle bed,(https://permaculturenews.org/2010/08/03/the-art-and-science-of-making-a-hugelkultur-bed-transforming-woody-debris-into-a-garden-resource/) sadly it has been taken over by bracken, and it has not really worked. Instead of creating a soil area it is more a home for weeds, though the smaller birds like it.

A berry off my neighbours vine, I am not certain it may be a mulberry, it was lovely. I had picked it and popped it on the post while I looked for some more. This was the only one.

The Deck. I am growing quite a bit on my deck this year. I have onions, herbs, sage, thyme lemon thyme, rosemary, basil, I have tomatoes in pots and above right shows my first ripening tomato. OH MY I am excited. The basil has been doing well in the photo below left with the other tomato plant which also has fruit. There are two other pots with tomatoes that are flowering. I have lettuces growing in containers. I have Tahitian limes, normal limes, and a couple of types of lemons in pots. I have not as yet put any in the ground. I neglected my citrus trees and spent another few days cleaning aphids and scale off them, making ants very unhappy as I destroyed their farming. I have some strawberries growing but they have not taken off, and I know this is due to me not putting them in a more acidic soil. I have grown potatoes in the past but they take up a lot of space and I can buy them fairly cheaply fresh local produced. I don’t eat a lot of potatoes.

You can see the fencing I have used to keep my produce garden on my deck safe from possums in the left photo above. It is great easy to take away and move about, I can pack it away when not in use.

My garden is all my own work, I make the compost, I bring in manure from local horses, and a friends sells sheep manure. I am proud of what I have achieved this summer so far.

My garden in whole brings me so many blessings, the wild life, the birds, the views, flowers, shade on hot day, wind protection, a place to sit and watch the world go by. A place to earth myself, to get down in the dirt and feel at peace. Connected to Mother Earrth. To see the cycle of seasons, life, death. To plant a small seed and see it grow and provide food for me, for creatures. To have land to just lay down on and watch clouds roll by in the sky. I am so rich, I am so content, and I have all I need.

Mother earth is important to care for and all that lives on her now and in the future.

Blessings to you all Tazzie

Road trip pt2 Geeveston

Geeveston is a small township nestled in the lower reaches of the scenic Huon Valley. It has a strong apple growing and forestry heritage and today caters for travelers exploring the nearby forests, Hartz Mountains National Park, and Picton and Huon rivers.

Geeveston was a timber town, it was economically dependent on the local timber industry. For nearly 100 years the southern forests fed sawmills and an APM pulp mill and employed, directly and indirectly, nearly 400 people from the town. Then the APM Pulp Mill closed down in 1982. The town was devastated and decimated. The southern forests were protected and the timber town had no future. The pain I suppose of seeing industry being stripped away from their local environment one after another followed by the banks. It left people with a real feeling of despair.”

In reading about the history of this small town I learnt that through the hard work of the local postmaster, who describes his philosophy like this: That if residents beautify their town they’ll feel better about living there; that opportunities will come if the town and its people are no longer mournful and dejected. and a group of older residents distressed at seeing their once thriving community falling into decline. They got together and began the transformation from timber town to tourist town.
The township created a beautiful park from an old orchard along side the river close to the main street. It now has a lovely play area a dog off lead area, and a platypus viewing area(you may get lucky and spy one). You can also stay in your camper or RV.

Surrounded by rolling hills and the nearby mountains of the Hartz Mountains National Park, Geeveston has a range of shops with local art works and local products for sale, eateries and a main street full of hand-carved timber sculptures of famous locals.

Apples are one of the things grown still in the area and road side stalls are dotted along the roads here and there. A lot of people have moved here for a more simple life, to grow their own produce and animals. It was a cheap area to buy land up until recently.

There’s also a creative community of artists and makers who sell their wares on the main street.

There is also a wonderful tourist attraction called the Tahune Forest Airwalk, (sadly burnt in the bush fires that impacted Tasmania in Dec2018-May2019. It is due to reopen in the near future.

Mamma Duck getting her ducklings up the cascades,

It is really worth a walk along the river path and the beauty that has been created. You can visit the memorial to those killed in forestry accidents. Keep going to the platypus lookout, where you might just see one of these incredible creatures. Cross the highway and the walk continues.

Across the highway is more wild and you can see some quite unique things, a boat up on the other bank.

The clouds were forming as I admired the views over the township

Most of the older homes are timber and corrugated iron not surprising. Headed back into the town area, it is evolving township still and now tourism and acquaculture are perhaps the major employment oportunities.

Town Centre is only two block long with a short half block off one side. It is very eclectic and has quite a few artist studios in town and craft people selling works in makers on George Street (this is the main street). You can also see the chainsaw carved figures representing locals. Strangely there is no hotel in the town. Though a few km out of town there is a large Hotel. Since the fires which saw the town ship cut off for quite a time, and the airwalk destroyed, tourism has been down so hope fully this small town will see an uplift very soon.

the main street.
The car park is surrounded by beautiful trees

Old farm house




And people think the tiny home movement is a new thing! A very old place.

Castle Phoenix is a very much a work in progress and has been for about nine years. The couple Francis Shepherd and Christina Kent artists are building this incredible building and garden they are artists and their passion is very impressive. They are also creating sculpture gardens, I am in awe of them as it is self funded, and they expect it to be about five more years before the castle is complete. https://christinakent2.wixsite.com/castlephoenix Disclaimer I am not involved in any way with Phoenix Castle. I am just very impressed by this couples dedication and passion.

Two upper levels are still to be added to the castle. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE
Building Castle Phoneix Facebook page photo from owners.
organic apple road side stall


Oh and for any fans of Rosehaven a TV show on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting ) this is partly where it is filmed and based.

It did storm the rain came down so heavily it was quite funny I was driving and because the dogs and I were hot as it was muggy, I had all the windows of my car down. I do not have electric windows. So when it just bucketed down I had to pull over and get out to wind up all the windows. I was drenched. It felt good though.


My dogs and I had such a lovely time exploring Some areas of Geeveston.

Blessings Tazzie



Echidna excitement

I wanted to say it amazes me how just writing about the things that impact my mental illness in an everyday way helps so much. I do not know if anyone else with CPTSD fixates on a thing, and it gets in to you, that you find it almost impossible to let it go. For me writing about my experience with benefits from the Government has let me let it go. Such a positive. It is all in hand I have an appointment with my social worker, and GP so all it under some control and I have asked for help. A massive thing for me. I feel good about it all and quite hopeful. Sigh.

Along with my writing I do find spending time at home and in my garden is the best thing for me. I am trying really hard to let go of all the mess, and delight in all the positives. I am doing well at this. Everything is on a list. Yet I can not have more that one list or I become overwhelmed.

This in itself is important. I have to have a list. It is on my fridge. I mean written on my fridge in a marker, a perfect white board. My psychologist has helped me note that when I am really overwhelmed I begin many many lists. So in simplifying only the major things, on one list. I will not forget any of them. There is no time line for completion and I do not get fixated, or overwhelmed. As my mantra these days is I am content with the discontent. Strange as it seems, but just saying this to myself is such a help.

As I wrote this I heard Busby barking in the paddock. I looked out and saw this,

At first I thought oh NO he has killed a small animal. Then as I moved down towards him I tell him to leave it, and then I see this. Yes in the second photo below the white on the echidnas back is where Busby has attempted to grab the echidna. Echidna 1 (thankfully ) Busby nil. It is so hard for Busby as he is a mixed breed dog. Staffie x,with ridgeback x with boxer. All breeds that make him protective and aware of things that do not live in our home. He was very gentle with foster kittens, and cats, along with other dogs and puppies I fostered. He was fine with some orphaned rabbit kittens, but not with those in their hutches..outside big ones. It is so hard with the genetics. He is improving as he comes away now.

Echidnas have no fixed address they are wanderers and will move around a pretty large area on the mainland in Southern Queensland the organisation Land For Wildlife says that a territory can be up to 50 Hectares/123.553acres though territories can cross.

They find each other using sense of smell.

Apparently our Tasmanian echidnas are bigger than mainland Australia Echidnas.

I have talked about how echidnas form a connection with a male, the following video shows you how Echidnas mate. It is a video from National Geographic, Youtube. https://youtu.be/frZGhk0i228

echidna train.

It is also delightful to actually see how these awesome animals get around. They are not slow moving all the time, and are great at climbing up and over things.

They weigh between 2 and 5 kgs/4.41lb- 11.02lbs. quite a range in size. They have lower body temperature than other mammals, 31-32dC / 87.8-89.6dF.

If disturbed, echidnas will usually lower the head, and with vigorous digging, sink rapidly into the ground leaving only the spines exposed. On hard surfaces they will curl into a ball — presenting defensive spines in every direction. They are also capable of wedging tightly into crevices or logs by extending their spines and limbs.

Echinda Hind Foot

The echidna is adapted for very rapid digging, having short limbs and powerful claws. The claws on the hind feet are elongated and curve backwards; to enable cleaning and grooming between the spines. However, despite this, they are infested with what is said to be the world’s largest flea — Bradiopsylla echidnae, which is about 4 mm long. (https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au).

Whilst both the male platypus and echidna both have spurs on their hind feet the echidnas is not functioning and is blunt unlike the platypus which has a sharp spur with functioning venom glands.

The diet of echidnas is largely made up of ants and termites, although, they will eat other invertebrates especially grubs, larvae and worms. The strong forepaws are used to open up the ant or termite nest and the echidna then probes the nest with its sensitive snout. Any insects in the nest are caught on the echidnas rapidly moving 15 cm tongue which is covered with a layer of sticky mucous, hence the name Tachyglossus meaning ‘fast tongue’. The jaws are narrow and have no teeth so food is crushed between hard pads which lie in the roof of the mouth and on the back of the tongue. Large grubs are squashed and the contents licked up. Echidnas eat a lot of soil and ant-nest material when feeding, and this makes up the bulk of droppings.

I do hope the echidna is eating all the jack jumper ants at my place. I have actually unearthed a few nests of ants in recent weeks, so kind of me to help them find food. In the process I have been bitten by two jack jumpers and they hurt so bad, and inflame and ache for days. One of the hidden joys of gardening. So I am very happy to have them about.

This is the echidna that was disturbed by Busby while crossing the paddock making its escape after I moved Busby away. Miss Treacle and I were able to watch it and I am so chuffed that i got its lovely face. You can also see how dry it has become here.

The echidna in Tasmania is common and widespread. They are less affected by the clearing of land as much as many other native animals as they can live anywhere that there is a supply of ants. Despite their covering of spines they do have natural predators such as eagles and Tasmanian devils which even eat the spines. They were a favourite food of Aboriginal people and early white settlers although they are now wholly protected by law.

blessings Tazzie

Summer Time

Thanks everyone for kind thoughts after my we fall yesterday. No problems after a good sleep.

What a day, the smoke from the Victorian and NSW fires have made it across Bass Strait. It has been cloudy and hot so the smoke is sitting about. I went to Huonville today to get some bones for my guys. Huonville is the largest town in the valley.



I had made sure that the smoke was not from anywhere close even though we do still have fires in the north east of the state in the Fingal area. I checked the Tasmanian Fire Services website. It was interesting in town as quite a few folk were concerned we are all still reactive after our fires from last year. My heart aches for those on the mainland.

It was busy in town. I took the dogs to one of my favourite cafes for a coffee. Most in the area are dog friendly which is brilliant. I obviously was not the only person with that idea.

My guys saying hi to other cafe society Dogs.

It was so hot people were out by the river everywhere, it was great to see.



We headed home stopping for cherries! The cherries were late this season. They are so worth the wait!

Tazzie

Thankful for…

I was up very early this morning and watched the sky fill with a soft pink as the sun rose. It was warming up rapidly. I made myself a coffee and remembered I needed to check that the birdbath was full. I looked and noticed it needed a top up. I saw a movement over near my peach tree. AHHAHHAH! caught the culprit!

My peach trees lower branches had been stripped of the leaves, and in the process peaches have been knocked off. Here it was stretched up on its hind legs as high as it could reach! I slowly moved and went back in to grab my camera. Hoping the culprit would be still nibbling away upon my return. Sadly it moved (I had a bright blue t shirt on so Im not surprised I was noticed), I was able to capture this little guy. I do not begrudge he or her a nibble and know the tree is older and stronger, the branches are not as easily broken. There are enough peaches to share. The birds and possums eat the fallen ones.

the guilty party…

I was just getting ready to head in to town. I had to pick up a couple of things and I decided that I would take the dogs for a swim. I was inside and my dogs were out when I hear barking. The kind that says Hey we are protecting you from this very dangerous thing! There was something in the shrubbery on my driveway.

Busby

It was the echidna, baled up by both Busby and Miss Treacle. I moved them away, and watched as this wee guy left in quite a hurry. I do hope she/he had a trouble free day after we left.

I then noticed that this wee bird flew out of my car port light shade, there was a nest made in it last year. Though if they are nesting it seems very late. It is a sweet bird and I welcome it. I do find it hard when they are so nervous but understandable. Several neighbours in the area have cats that are allowed to roam and we also have an issue with feral cats. I am not happy about the fact the cats come over my way. When I see any or the dogs do, I happily let them chase them away.


A very full morning and it is not even 8:30 yet.

So we head off to do our walk. We got a bit waylaid(sadly I did not take my camera out of the car) our neighbour was throwing balls in their paddock for their two dogs to chase. Needless to say my guys had to join in. So we chatted as the dogs chased balls and played with each other. (Her dogs are a staffie kelpie, who is fixated on his own ball and his brother a boxer) Busby ran and got the ball and played with the boxer Miss Treacle said hello to everyone and then went and sat under the car in the shade. After about an hour I put Busby in the car (he was so hot he had drinks ) and Miss Treacle ran reluctantly ahead. Busby was whining to get out. So I gave in and they took off.

Dogs taken for their walk and a beautiful view from the hill.

Off too the beach! The folk festival has finished there are still lots of people and vehicles about. I discovered that an Aboriginal festival is happening for Monday and Tuesday Ballawinne Festival. Writer Bruce Pascoe book, Dark Emu Bruce was speaking tonight and tomorrow I am sure they will be very interesting event.

Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the ‘hunter-gatherer’ tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required. http://www.magabala.com/products/dark-emu


Not that I could afford to go to it, yet it would be a very interesting event. I am sure I will know someone who has been. Well now that explains why there are so many people and vehicle still around.

OK no Seriously we are off to the beach NOW,
It was such a glorious hot day 32dC there were people and dogs at the little beach I went to. So Busby and Miss Treacle had a lovely time. Though neither were that excited to go in for a swim.

These two came up and wanted to play Busby loved it Miss Treacle was quite her own dog and chose to watch from the shade.

The following selection of photos shows what a great day it was, and how clean the water is. It is also showing my reluctant boy attempting to fetch a stick. I was quite mortified at his reluctance.
I did have to apologise to him when I went in to swim a bit later as there were two areas of like quicksand in the shallows. I sank up to my knees and struggled to get out. So no wonder my big boy had problems.

Miss Treacle does the beach her way today.

Whilst Busby would like to run with this guy in the water, but his day has been full of play runs and sunshine, I was happy that he did not join in, that he just watched in awe.

The dog in the water was so funny to watch he must be some kind of water dog. He just ran up and down in the water for so long while we stood watching. He just raced up and down having the time of his life.
His owner was not about but up at a car. The dog did not even stop to come and say hi to my guys. He was just in heaven in his own world.

He was no problem and boy did he make me smile and chuckle.

There were kids playing on the fallen tree. Swinging is not so much fun when the tide is going out. How wonderful to see them without a phone, taking photos or selfies. In fact no one (apart from me had any mobiles or cameras. How rare is that . All were in the moment enjoying the here and now. Using their brains to retain the feelings, the fun and all that will stay with them. That is what living is about.

Even I put my camera down and sat in the water, the waves coming over my thighs. Looking all about me and knowing how fortunate am I and how rich.
I went for a swim, so refreshing. I expected that Busby would join me, but no they both just sat in the shade. Not even watching me.

So much fun about floating on inflatable rings with a beer in your hand, sailing, canoeing, fishing, sitting in the sun, swimming, chasing each other or just kicking your paws up and making your own kind of fun!

Miss Treacle at 12 lets the youngsters carry on. Preferring to get to know other folk and tell them how abused and neglected she is. Here she just plonked her wet body (I had sat in the water with her on my lap…shoulders as she did not want to be in the water it was very shallow and cooled her down as she was very hot). on this lovely ladies mat. Leaning right against her. Knowing there is a wee 11 week old puppy there. Treacle loves puppies.

Poor pup was very anxious so I retrieved my girl, and my boy and we headed home. All that time in the sunshine fresh air and playtime. Dinner was early and they have both crashed, and I can hear only heavy breathing and snoring.

I too feel weary and very relaxed. I know I need to do more for myself in the way of exercise and things I enjoy. I was glad there were very few people at the beach. As otherwise I probably would have not stopped. I usually do not venture to this beach while school holidays are on, and there is still another 2 weeks before school resumes. Then the chances are it will be just us at the beach.
I do like that at least now I really do know what is best for me. I am listening to my self, and I talk to myself. I talk to my inner child. (another topic for another day) It all helps me to reduce the potential for being caught out by something that might trigger me. So a truely awesome day. What more can you want but wild animals feeling at home in your garden. A beautiful hot clear sky day. Pristine water and beach to swim at and hardy anyone on it. I am so thankful and appreciative of all I have especially my two companions.

blessings to you all Tazzie

A little day out




I was heading to Cygnet to catch up with a friend at the bakery. Great food and coffee. Wonderful croissants. Local fruit ice cream and sorbets so delicious made on the premises too. It was Friday, and the Cygnet Folk Festival would be starting in the afternoon. Yet the town was already busy as organisational stuff and food trucks, venues and staging were all happening all the place.
My friend and I enjoyed people watching. I had my dogs with me. They were petted and commented on by lots of people.

Red Velvet Lounge Vegetarian/Vegan cafe with banner
Busby chilling at the Bakery
Food vendor
Folk Festival crew putting out recycling bins
Bakery (wood fired oven in curved bit, ) seating hay bales
Friday afternoon and the town and park getting busy

A walk around town was an interesting experience, even though the festival has not officially started there are lots of people about and some really strange things to see

Local volunteer fire fighter checking the fire

I am not really sure what the idea of this really is but as far as contraptions go it was quite exceptional. A piano that when played light flames and smokes. I might see it at night when I imagine it will be even more awesome. My friend is playing it and one of my neighbours (the fire fighter tshirt) is looking at it. (you can see joyfully for me rain clouds forming, not so good for the festival.

food van
playing the weird piano,
a friends 17 year old dog
A wary local
great decorations in this house,
same garden a very personal collection
a moment to meditate by the creek

My dogs and I went down to a lovely dog friendly spot down on the bay, and Miss Treacle and Busby had fun racing about sniffing and marking, as I took some photos. I was sitting watching some swans and cranes landing. As well as the sun slowly sinking behind the hills.

Miss Treacle by the bay
Sun setting
a look at the bay
The colours of the timber under the bark on this eucalyptus was eye catching in the sunlight
sitting waiting for me
Normally a Reserve this area is full of campers and campervans for the festival weekend

As the dogs were running around I was listening to some music coming from across the bay. I could hear beating drums and a beautiful voice. Looking back towards town (photo above )you can see white amongst the trees, tents and campervans fill the reserve and sadly access is not permitted to the locals who walk through it ever day or go to take their kids to the play area for the weekend. Or to see the birds in the bird sanctuary. It is only one weekend a year I guess. People pay to camp here about $40 for the weekend three nights .

Glamping accommodation

To the left you can see the white tents, these are for Glamping accommodation at the festival

Two photos below are looking down over the main st.

Main street
looking over Cygnet

the valley of Cygnet
driving home

It is a pretty valley and the township is settled adjacent to a lovely bay. Mindy you being an Island it is not hard to have water near you.

The end to the day was a little similar to the beginning in that we came across another native critter on the road. This time a wallaby eating grass on the side of the road. I stopped to let it get away without any danger from my car.

It is less than three seconds it moved and got away. They can be so hard to avoid on our roads, which is why I try to travel at 40km p/h especially during dawn and dusk but also at night when they are about.

I do apologise for the quality of these photos in this post. I had to change them from a SLR camera setting to a JPEg and it seems to have made a huge difference to the shots.

I do find that in among a lot of noise and people something I once enjoyed, I no longer do. I find myself enjoying the periphery of things. After walking through Cygnet today and listening to the music and the noise, traffic and smells. I was needing to get away from it. So I was really chuffed that there was no one else down on the point where the dogs and I spent a lovely time. My CPTSD does impact me greatly sometimes. I know I am better than I have been in quite a long time. I do come home from this sort of thing exhausted and just basically spend the next 24 hours in a semi immobile state. Hard to explain to people who have not experienced it. I do feel sometimes, that it is the after effects of going out and being part of the world/community place I live, is often what stops me. My progress here is that I now know this. I now accept this is me and my life in the present time. Instead of pushing myself and doing the expected I dont anymore. That in itself is a wonderful difference. Knowing my limits, and retreating. One of my favourite things is saying I am content with the discontent.

Tazzie

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