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
This morning I have woken really early for me it is just 05:30. Having been woken by Miss Treacle who needed to go out at 04:00 I was not able to go back to sleep and left both dogs and came downstairs.
Dawn is breaking and it is a cool morning so I have opened doors and windows cooling the house down after a hot day, in preparation for a lovely day. The skies are clear with the exception of what is the mist/cloud/fog forming over the river. Street lights are still on across the river and the
Roopert is crowing, Micro bats are flying in the last moments before dawn breaks, catching insects. Swallows somersaulting, swooping swiftly soundlessly. The soloist begins in the dawn chorus Kookaburras laughing, joined by Roopert cock-a-doodle-doo, and chorus of many other birds, The mozzies have taken their last bites of me as this new day begins.
A slight pink tinge begins to appear in the sky. I can see the light indicating the sun is coming up the hills behind my home block sunrise for a while but
It is really interesting to see a river fog being created as the sun begins to rise. Almost more of a winter morning than a late summer one.
If I had not been up as early as I was I would not have seen this beauty. As the fog ended up thick enough that I could not see across the river. It rose again at about 8:30am. It may not have been the most amazing sunrise I have seen here. The morning was so unexpected and beautiful. Even when I am not feeling so great with my mental illness (CPTSD) I am learning to find so much pleasure and contentment in what I have about me. I do understand I am very fortunate with where I live. Yet whilst I was very unwell I was not always able to see all that I had and find contentment. I am a bit flat lately and this may be a perfectly normal part of my life, and that is how I am seeing it, rather than seeing it as a part of my CPTSD. Learning to understand normal reactions to those that are triggered reactions. It is all part of my management and living my life with CPTSD.
I am thankful that I was able to enjoy so much this morning that our world has to offer if we just take a moment when we can to do something a bit different. I am thankful for where I live, thankful for my chickens.
My lovely white hen who is blind in one eye, is fit and healthy and has begun to lay eggs. She is now back out with the rest of my flock. Her name was going to be ‘Turunga Leela’. Though I have reconsidered as she is sweet and comes running to me as she is now the lowest hen in the pecking order. She is gentle and isolates, anxiety is high, since her time in the house in isolation, I feed her extra treats and ensure she gets food as she is hunted away by Roopert (Rooster) and several of the other hens.
She is now called Marshmellow. I love marshmallows and I have fallen in love with her.
Actually I love all my poultry.
I forgive Roopert all his crowing in the wee small hours . Right now dawn breaks very early, yet my neighbours (who say they do not mind his crowing) say he usually goes off between 2-3am . I am so fortunate that they put up with his crowing, or sometimes I get that self talk of oh they are trying to tell me that they are annoyed by it, that it is not good. It is one of those things that is so hard to know unless people are truthful and tell you it is pissing them off. They are lovely neighbours and I am sure they would tell me, when I said I was fed up a few weeks ago they were horrified that I might get rid of him. They will be getting hens soon.
As we head to the Summer Solstice 21-22/12/2020 (depending on which local site I peruse), we will have over 16 hours of sunlight. As they say all it will pass, these really early crowings as the seasons change.. Though he is great when it is a new moon peace until 4:30am when dawn breaks and how lovely is all the birds song then and I mean that sincerely. The darkness is great for all. I guess we all need to catch up on sleep at some point.
He is a lovable rooster. Sitting here writing this today when the temperature is over 33 dC here which is really hot for Tasmania
I have given the chooks some watermelon which they are really enjoying. My dogs turned there noses up at it. So more for the chooks.
When it is a warmer night I leave the door open of there house home, so they can get more air circulation.
I love going in to see they are all settled and ensuring they have not knocked the water over. I see Roopert with his faviourite gals on the highest roost. The others all on the next one down. I know I would not be a happy hen living in that sort of hierarchy.
I am averaging 5 eggs a day now and occasionally six. I am inundated with eggs. Neither I or my dogs are complaining. I do share them with neighbours. Hmm the eggs count is fluctuating recently and I have a feeling that I will be discovering a nest of rotten eggs somewhere soon. Having so many eggs (which I do share with neighbours), I have decided to preserve some for winter. The dogs and I love them all year and well why not. I was thinking of water glassing though I believe there is a more modern alternative so will be You Tubing.
I have named all my hens now. Marshmellow because she is a mellow hen my one eyed girl she comes for a cuddle and is now sadly the lowest hen so I spoil her. She is the one I had to care for and we have a special bond.
The two brown gals who spend all their time together, and are Roopert’s gals now sharing the top roost position in the hen house. They have become Henny and Penny.
Then there are my two hens that are black with frizzle feathers on their heads and unusual combs. One is a big hen the other smaller. The big one is Frida, after the artist, and thus the little one is Kahlo. They are more timid.
My last hen is a gorgeous black green tinged feathered girl. She is Beauty.
I really enjoy going to the hen house in the evening to ensure they are all inside, and have not knocked over their water. They usually will tick me off for disturbing them and shuffle and fluff their feathers. I say thank you for the eggs ladies, and shut them in (tuck them in for the night). I love it as I walk away and here their little chatter , peeps and settling back on the roosts for sleep.
In the morning it is even more interesting if I am later than they would like to be let out, even though they have food and water, Roopert will tick me off. I open the door and he jumps out first, waits and then Henny and Penny are next, Marshmellow waits until they move away and races out, Frida will go join Rooopert. Kahol is waiting usually she is found in one of the nesting boxes. I have to toss her out before I leave to get her share of breakfast. Beauty is last and really she just regally hops out potters under the hen house then saunters over to the rest of the flock.
Of course there is the bickering and clucking of the girls when someone gets something one of the higher up the pecking order have not. Or when Roopert shows his Girls a special treat he has found for them. He also is a rooster and he does his roosterly duties, this will make a scene for the girls who do not want his advances. A run around the run occurs feathers and dust flowing.
Having chooks is not all happy life on the homestead, even when you only have hens fights occur.
I have been getting some double yolk eggs which takes me back to my childhood.
it is not hard caring for them, let them out in the morning feed them lovely food for great eggs, giving shell grit and ensuring they have little stones gravel for their gizzards. Keeping an eye on their feathers around their vents, and for any injuries or damage. Ensuring no mights. Fresh water and clean bedding regularly cool areas under trees. For such wonderful renumeration.
I have trimmed their wings to try and keep them in the run, but they still escape. It does look as if something untoward occurred there, and sounded like it as I left them in the hen house and grabbed each one to attend to their feathers. They still manage to get out. Sigh.
Free Range 100%. There is something so beautiful about having hens in my life again. I really enjoy their antics most of the time. Even the crowing in the wee small hours. Good quality ear plugs.
One of my neighbours found three chicks when he went out to his run this morning they are so cute. Another neighbour has bantams and has just got his gals a rooster.
Homesteading is all around me, summer is here and I am so thankful for my hens, my neighbours, eggs, and pretty full water tanks.
The end of a hot day and a warm night ahead, and all is settled, water bowls and bird baths all full for overnight visitors. A clear sky and stillness settling over my home.
Some restrictions are lifting here in Tasmania. We are allowed to go out a bit further from home now. It was another beautiful Autumn/fall day here.
I decided to go to Longley which is about 39kms from where I live to pick up some really fantastic compost. I am trying to improve my half wine barrels and other areas soil.
It felt quite weird to be so far from home, after almost 12 weeks at home or just going essential shopping. One of the petrol stations at Sandfly I noted was selling petrol(gas) $1.04 (67cents USA)a litre (3.78541itres =1gallon). Yet just down in Huonville about 19kms away it is $1.24 (80cUSA) a litre. So I filled up and felt an overwhelming sense of being back in the late 90s and early 200s, apparently.
I felt so nostalgic black and white was the way to go, and my dirty rear window helpe to make it look more rustic.
This Hotel for any viewers of Rosehaven (ABC TV Australia) is where the pub scenes are shot. This beautiful building and the Longley Organic seller along with houses dispersed through the bush about are all that is left of when the main highway from Hobart to Huonville went past. Now there is a lovely picnic spot across the road near the river. It is peaceful and serene. I do believe the pub does good food and has a lovely out door area. Along with bands at times.
Perhaps not the best shot of this dwelling (that appears to have someone living in it. It is nestled beside the river. A true bush house.
It would be way to cold for me this location as it is a deep valley and the sun would rarely penetrate this far down in winter maybe not even in summer. The river close by would also be cold. A road is near with homes nearby so the solitude and peace may not be as it once was.
This is just past the house and you can see moss bright green on the rocks walls. A long tree has collapsed on the edge of the river and a large eucalyptus growing among the rocks.
I took a different way home today, along the deep and at times narrow
This is a small township called Kaoota. You can buy home cooked biscuts and slices from two eskies (coolers) by the side of the road
These pictures above and below are a few from the small ‘township of Pelverata’ (means ear) on the banks of the Kellaways Creek.
One of the tallest waterfalls in Tasmania is found in this area Pelvarata Falls.
Start – End of Crosswells Rd Length –6.6km (Return) Grade – Orange Terrain – Single Track, 4×4 Track, Scree Fields Dog Friendly – Yes Vertical Climb – 285m Time – 2-4 hours Signed – Yes
Date Hiked – 28th October 2018
Best Time – All Year Round
I have walked to the falls and I am not fit. The hardest and scariest bit was walking on the scree. Walking boots with good ankle support was invaluable. It can get very wet and slippery in winter and spring but it beautiful and I am so glad I did it.
There used to be a large sawmill in the area. A population according to the 2016 Census 206 people lived in this area. There is only the community hall and BBQ area (photographed below) there is no shop, post office or pub in Pelverata. It
The dogs and I had a walk and a pit stop here as it is dog friendly and has a toilet. Brilliant.
The road into Pelverata. Looking down from the Community hall.
The light hitting the bark on this tree caught my eye, as I sat for a while watching small birds flying about. It was serene and warm in the sunshine. the dogs sniffed and looked about enjoying revisiting Pelverata. A lovely way to travel home off the main highway.
The Autumn light is so different on the Huon River, as this photo on the way home at about 3pm shows. People are burning off rubbish or lighting their wood stoves. I feel that there may well be a fog in the morning. It is a clear night at present as I type, cloud is forecast but a maximum of 17dC/62.6dF for tomorrow (Tuesday) . I hope to be in the garden tomorrow.
I am so very fortunate to live where I do, and my thoughts go to people living in cities, and overcrowded locations where social distancing is almost impossible. In the back of my mind today I was very conscious of social distancing and getting home to my sanctuary.
A very lovely afternoon spent in the company of my dogs on the road.
I am thankful for the businesses that have been operating all throughout for all their staff and owners. I am thankful to the public transport drivers/operators, garbage people, the companies that jumped into gear when panic buying occurred to insure we would not go without. For the creative people on social sites amusing and distracting many of us.
As many of us around the world are impacted and out lives have suddenly changed so much. There are actually some positive things we should be looking at for ourselves, and the Earth.
Many of us I believe will have seen the videos of Venice, the lack of pollution in China. Animals roaming in cities devoid for the most part of humans as we are the ones in many countries now being caged.
If you can I would like to look at how you are feeling. Take a deep breath just as Mother Earth is. She is look about you, the fauna and flora are adapting. It is painful for some animals who perhaps have over bred in areas where people have gathered and fed the wild creature. I certainly have seen videos of monkeys fighting viciously over a bit of food. We created that too.
So these animals will fight, some will survive and some will be killed, some will die of injuries or starvation. Mother Earth is taking a deep breath and adjusting. While many of the humans are out of the picture.
We need to find beauty within our homes, our families, our flatmates/housemates, ourselves. We need to change our mindset, teach ourselves to not be bored.
We also need to breathe. To learn in this time of enforced or chosen isolation to be playful, to unwind, to relax, and let go of many of the things perhaps we see as important.
Slow deep breaths. We need to be kind and caring for the people we live with, our neighbours, and keep an eye on each other. Here in my rural area there are about nine properties up our small road. We all know each other to chat with say hi too.
For those of us fortunate enough to be with a roof over our heads, food, water, family and friends we can facechat or Skype, message ring, to keep in touch. We all obviously have internet access; otherwise how would you be reading this? Even if like me you are isolated whether by choice or enforced, you can remain in touch with those people most important in your life. Of course it is not the same as being able to touch them, hug them, hold them. We can still laugh with then, share what we are doing to keep us occupied or relaxed. Read stories to or be read to by our nieces and nephews, grandchildren, friends kids, We can still have a cuppa in a group with face time etc. We can still connect and this is really important. No matter what we are the fortunate ones.
For a lot of us our politicians are working tirelessly to try and provide some form of economic relief for people, businesses and communities.
addit: I and my fellow Tasmanians are now not allowed to leave our homes except to go for essentials, to appointments for health, to work, or for exercise, we are only allowed to socialise with two people. Of course if there are more in your household that is OK.
Two of my neigbours our in isolation mandatory. They know if they need anything someone in the road will help them to get it if he/ she /I can. I was informed today by someone I trust implicitly that Huonville has 2 people and Cygnet has one person with the Covid-19 virus. Tasmania my State only has a small population 535,000approx. 60 with the virus. My valley Huon Valley has 16,200 people (2016 CENSUS), so perhaps a few more since then. It is concerning when it is so close to you. I will be following all the guidelines we are being given.
Autumn in Southern Tasmania is a beautiful time of year. In life before the changes that have and are being implemented here in Australia and my island state Tasmania,( different states within Australia have taken extra caution over others) and around the world, I was really only leaving my home for appointments, grocery shopping and taking my dogs for a walk.
I know I am so fortunate because of where I live and how much space I have.
As we are heading into Winter down under down under, I am ensuring I spend time outside and we have been having the most wonderful days here in Southern Tasmania. Brilliant blue skies, warmth, sunshine, bees and birds, butterflies and numerous other insects all getting prepared for winter. I watch things that make me laugh, and am dancing like no one is watching because no one is. My dogs make me chuckle.
I hope many other people are also taking time to see beauty about their own homes, and if you have them gardens. Or when out walking or wallking your dog.
Of course walking around my garden is so joyful I can finally see yellow petals appearing out of one of the self-seeded sunflowers. I am feeling uplifted that I at least will have one flower if not seeds.
This time last year I was picking eggplants/aubergines and a plethora of lovely ripe heirloom tomatoes. I do have flowers on the eggplants, I am not confident they will develop fruit. My tomatoes on the deck are looking so much better than they had been.
My butternut pumpkin has filled out more and is beginning to change colour to the pale orange/fawn colour. (photos below)
I also have one resonable sized pumpkin (sadly I have forgotten the variety) with two more that have begun to get a bit larger. Perhaps I will be able to harvest them too. (photos above)
My zucchini I really have to laugh. No one I know has ever had so few zucchinis I may get two more if I am lucky for a grand total of four. Neighbours are offering me theirs every time I see them from a social distance.
My broccolini is producing very small heads and I pick them regularly and eat them raw or cooked. I am a bit disappointed with them. I have let some go to seed to see if next year they may be more productive as they have acclimatised to my garden.
I have one capsicum/pepper plant that just keeps on surprising me, it has so many capsicums on it, four are such a good size. Several others are getting larger. I am very happy with this particular plant that came from a punnet of seedlings I purchased from my local hardware garden centre. The two other plants are in a different bed. The large capsicum is in my asparagus bed. Much happier plant.
Seed saving will be happening from these I can tell you, Actually seed saving from all my successes is really important.
Seed saving from your own fruit and vegetables that you have successfully grown in your own garden, means that this seed is now acclimatised to your weather, hours of sun, exposure and soil. Though I know some of my seeds will not be true to the variety that they came from. As long as the result is edible and tasty I will not be complaining.
The above group of photographs show a self seeded bed with a couple of cabbage seedlings, rocket and coriander. In the next bed is cucumber I have one growing you can see this one last photo middle row. Broad beans some with flowers, along with self sown cabbage and an unknown brassica.
I am happy with the seedlings in the post on my deck which have carrots, beetroot, silver beet, and kate. I am finding that there are many self sown seedlings appearing in many other pots. Every time I look I see more funny combinations. I have know idea how many will grow and mature providing me with peas, and broad beans from these pots. No matter how I try I will always have miners lettuce throughout winter. I am not really complaining well yes I am it pops up in every pot. It is perhaps one of the easy winter greens to grow. It just comes back every Autumn and is really nice to eat, even children love it
The photos below are mostly of my plants in pots on the deck. The herbs sage, rosemary, thyme, mint and oregano. Lemons and limes. Lobelia, alyssum, strawberries, onions chives, garlic, chive, carrot seedlings, beetroot seedlings, silver beet and spinach. Amaranth, violas,
I am thankful for a roof over my head, I am thankful for all the hospital workers Nurses Doctors cleaners administration staff, pathologists, ambulance workers, police, supermarket staff, those landlords who are offering rent reductions, or free rent for a month or more without being made too.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.