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
Well hello so much has been happening down here on my little acre in the Huon Valley of Tasmania. Finally more sunshine, and heat. So my tomatoes are ripening and developing Yeah. Pumpkins and zucchinis are doing well for me. However the most exciting news is Frida Kahol’s chicks have arrived!
I just happened to hear Frida making the sweetest noises as I was walking to release the other hens. So I went in to see her and found the first chick. It was so wonderful. One other egg was pippin.
So next morning there were 5 chicks! Yeah. 3 yellow chicks and two darkish.
The weather forecast was for high temperatures the following day. 36dC/96.8dF. I went out in the morning and it was so hot. I checked the chicks and Frida Kahol. The chicks were standing outside and Frida Kahol was panting. I made the decision to move them all inside. As it was only 9am and it was already 26dC/79dF. The following three days were to be hotter. It ended up at 38dC/100dF and did not drop down below 23dC/73dF overnight which is very rare here.
So nine chicks. Bringing my flock numbers up to 15.. argh. I wait to discover the genders of them. I imagine if I have quiet a few females I will potentially sell them when they are point of lay which will cover the cost of raising them. My hope is there are very few roosters. Only time will tell. I am so glad that I did cull them as she would have hatched 18 chicks out of 20 eggs.
Above the chicks and Frida have been in side for four days now. I have to admit that I have to still fix the small coop for them all. I only need some nails. As I also need to fix the run as one of my neighbours said she almost ran over one of them. Not that it was an issue for them to have them over there. I just personally would prefer to have them confined a bit more and only let out for shorter periods during the cooler months. They are so delightful to listen to. I love listening to Frida just talking to them gently and teaching them. In the last photo above note where the food container is. Inside the nesting box. I set it outside in away from the entrance into the nesting box. Why would Frida be moving it into the nesting box.
Busby was so unsettled mid morning he kept heading up to the front door and back to me. I opened the door so he could go out, but he did not. I returned to the seat where I was working and he again came pacing back and forwards. I became annoyed as I was trying to concentrate and he was just distracting me The door was open and he could go out. A bit later I went to the loo, and as I approached (Busby was right by me) the door to the bathroom I heard distressed chirps and calls coming from inside. On opening the door I noticed one of the chicks had got through the pen rails so Frida was distressed the chick was distressed. I popped the chick back in and all was quiet. When I came out and sat down. Busby laid down and settled. Turns out he was trying to get me to go and see what was happening.
I took three of the chicks to visit a couple of my neighbours with young girls. The girls loved cuddling the chicks. The chicks were so sweet and settled with them. Frida is an amazing Mamma. She understandably does not want her babies taken or her removed from them. I decided before returning the chicks to Mamma I would introduce them to Busby. Miss Treacle was not interested.
Busby was so incredible in trying to get my attention earlier, I decided that he should meet the chicks. He did push his nose in a bit hard at first, so I gently lifted each chick up to his nose so he could sniff their bottoms. This worked well and he was so very gentle with them. The chicks did not seem perturbed by his big nose sniffing them. He is so good around the babies. He is improving around the big hens and Roopert too.
I have done many things over my life. I have always loved animals. I have always thought about working as a native animal rescuer. I have a neighbour who has always cared for orphaned animals and will often in Spring and Autumn have a joey or several (possum or wallaby ) in her care generally on her person. One of my fondest memories is talking with her at a cafe where we were sitting outdoors, and out of her dreadlocks (which were up in a big pony tail) appeared a beautiful joey of a ring tail possum.
When you visit her home, she has wallaby joeys who may still be in a pouch and some who are hopping about during the day. Some who are older and spend their day outside and just come back in to sleep in their pouch. Even some who have left (she lives on acreage in the bush) will come and visit. Bringing with them a new partner, and to show off their joeys.
I found a joey in a dead wallaby’s pouch coming home a few years ago.
Sadly Mama had been hit by a vehicle. I checked the pouch and found the tiny joey. He was not quite a pinky. (a pinky is a marsupial baby with no hair)… Picture of a Pinky
The wee fellow I found was just getting hair a very soft downy hair. He was pretty much like this photo below.
He was off his Mama’s teat which was a big worry. Normally it is incredibly difficult to take a wallaby joey off its Mama’s teat to save them. You can not just pull them off, and it is not unheard of for the nipple to be cut off so the baby can have something to suck and trauma is less for a short while. Joeys hold on tight to the teat. The reason is Joeys can survive in their Mama’s pouch for up to 48hours if they have not been injured. So it was impossible to tell how long he had been off the teat. I was fortunate that our local feed store in Huonville carries supplies for wildlife baby feeding.
The above are pictures of wildlife teats that you attach to small bottles for orphaned babies. The photo on the bottom is the sort for a wallaby joey. You can see how long the teat is which explains why it can be so difficult to remove a joey of its Mama’s teat after an accident.
Tasmania did not really have a rescue organisation or training for rescuing native babies when I first moved here and it was the kindness of people such as my friend to take on the care of these orphans.
I knew my friend was away, when I found this wee joey. He was an Autumn baby. Most young are born in the spring. I drove to our local animal provision shop who had native animal milk formula. I purchased special wallaby teats and little bottles, along with the milk formula. I also bought some baby bottle sterilising tablets.
I wrapped up the tiny baby and popped him inside my bra. Warm safe and snug. Body temperature is so important. Especially for one such as this wee guy who had no real hair as yet.
Arriving home I popped the kettle on and sterilised the new teats and bottles. I found some old holey flannelette sheets and cut them up and then found a beanie. These were to become the wraps and face wipes along with toilet wipes for this little baby.
I made the milk powder up for the joey wrapped him up in the flannelette wrap. I poured the required amount into the bottle and attached the teat. It is not a given any baby animal will just drink from the teat. It is nothing like their Mama’s teat, taste wise or shape wise they are much more like them though then when I raised a joey in NSW quite a few years ago now. Imagine having to get used to a silicon or rubber taste that is not warm or smelling like their Mama’s.
The fact is I did not know if this wee joey was injured, he did not look as if he had any broken bones, you could see basically through his skin and I could see no bruising and he had no blood anywhere. He would be in shock of course. Knocked off the teat, and in a slowly cooling pouch. I dripped some of the formula onto his mouth in the hope the poor wee joey would taste the milk and look for the teat. It is in no way a certainty that any orphan will take to the teat. Texture, taste, warmth, of the teat, and the formula are all new for the baby. As are the smells of me, and the cloth he was now wrapped up in. (fortunately I do not wash clothes and linens in scented clothes washing powder).
I gently tried to move the teat to his mouth and push it slightly in the hope he would take it in. He did not and for the next 10+minutes I gently attempted to encourage him. He was not doing it, so in the end I gently opened his jaw and placed it in his mouth. He took the teat in. I helped it in gently and then I hoped he would suckle. In the process of getting the teat into his mouth some of the formula had gone onto the teat and I feel the joey tasted this and was hungry enough to suckle. Yeah.
He drank nearly all the fluid that is advised for the age I believed this little guy was. He was falling asleep. It must have been a very frightening day the smell of the car, my dogs, me, and all that he had gone through. I could see the milk in his stomach under his skin. I had been so very careful not to let any go down into his airway. This can happen very easily in the early days of hand rearing an orphaned animal. I then wet with warm water one of the smaller flannels and very gently patted his genital this is to simulate his Mama licking him to make him go to the toilet in her pouch. She then licks the area clean. I gently patted and wiped up the tiny drops of urine and feces. There was not any sign of blood in either. A good sign of no internal injuries.
He needed rest. I needed to tend to my dogs who were so curious as to what was going on.
I made sure I fed him away from my dogs, and in a room they never came into. Sounds bizarre but the toilet was the best place. I could sit, it was away from the dogs, and had no dog smell. It was always clean and he had a lovely safe dark place I could hang the pillow case pouch with him snug in his beanie bed. I needed to have a power point for the kettle, as I would be up every two hours overnight to feed him.
The success rate with joeys as young as he was is not high. Not knowing how long he had been off the teat, was also a problem, the fact he drank eventually from the bottle was a huge relief. I refrained from giving him a name. I knew from my friend via messenger that he was likely to die. Even when you believe they are past the worst a joey can just die. They are nervous and need to be left in the pouch as much as possible. They should only be handled for feeding, toileting when they are so young or even when they are older to settle down and feel safe.
For the first week I was so petrified that he would be dead every time I went in to feed him.
He was growing, I weighed him every day. (very important to keep a check on that he is growing and eating) along with documenting how much he drank each feed. 12 feeds a day/ 24hours seven days a week. I documented it all so I could see immediately if he was not drinking as much or loosing weight. Hygiene was the most important part for this baby. I did now at the age he was he had, had the colostrum from his Mamma in the early days. That is a big bonus in caring for young wallabies.
How my life changed and how my dogs lives changed with this new routine in our life.
I would take him with me only if I was going to be out of the house for more than two hours or a risk I might be, he would be in my top. I rarely let anyone know he was there, he was too young and it was way to risky for him. I would ask for boiling hot water in a mug if I was at a cafe as I needed to feed him, sit quietly and make up his bottle and just feed him. Everyone understood and was kind when I explained he was too little to be out of his beanie and wrap.
After a few days when I could see he was growing and his hair was very slowly appearing it was fascinating observing how his hair came in. I called him Wee Jasper. He wormed his way easily into my heart. As tired as I would feel at two am, four am, six am as I got up to get his bottle ready and feed him, just listening to his snuffles and suckling warmed my heart so much. Even with the damp warm cloth making him wee and poop keeping his bottom and pouch very clean. Cleaning his bottles and teats after every feed;. every two hours. The reality of being a wild life rescuer. These babies take much longer than kittens or puppies to grow and reach a maturity where they no longer need bottle feeding. It is a huge commitment for all those who do it all the time.
I did not take many photos of Wee Jasper. As for me it was important that he was to remain as wild as possible. It was important that he was disturbed as little as possible. Feeding him every two
In this photo he was all wrapped up and settled having just had a feed. He is wrapped in flannelette sheeting, (you can see loose threads in these photos, I must have been washing all the other ones as it was too easy for him to get the threads caught around his nails or even his paw or face and do some damage. He is then in a pure wool beanie. I did not use any synthetic materials (though I know some people do and are OK with it) As I was concerned about the synthetic fibre getting into his mouth.
This is Wee Jasper quite a bit older here he is still in his beanie but this is an old cotton pillow case I had which I used as his pouch. It hung from a hook in the toilet.
He was getting old enough here to have some time out of the pouch and be in the sunshine. (He was a paddymelon joey they are a small wallaby). You can see how small he still is next to my fairly small mug. On the timber deck. He was learning to manage his footing here. As he had been in a pouch all his life unitl this day. It was a special day for us both.
If you look at this photo and compare it to the previous one you can see how much more hair Wee Jasper has on his face. I love this photo it shows he is happy and healthy with bright eyes. It helps the joey to settle better if he has a dummy (pacifier) it is the end of a teat. The joeys are attached to their Mama’s teat until they pop their heads out of the pouch basically. Then they intermittently suckle.
I was so happy that Wee Jasper survived. I was so awed at how much work is involved. I began to worry about how I would socialise him to other wallabies. Life was getting easier as he grew the feeds were growing further apart.
My friend who I mentioned previously rang me to see how he was going and asked me how I felt about him moving to her home. As she had a joey she had receive a few weeks previously who was thriving now similar age to Wee Jasper and same breed. She thought it would be wonderful for them to be playmates and live together. I agreed. So the next day I took my little macropod to her home. Where her little guy and mine would meet. I hung his pouch on the spot my friend indicated. Next to her boy. He was out and immediately went to smell the new thing in his environment. I could see Wee Jasper wiggling from his lying position to move to a more upright position, and sure enough my friends joey made some chattering sounds and Wee Jaspers head came out of the pouch. He had learnt to get out of the pouch but still needed a hand to return(a pillow case is not the same shape in any way as a pouch).
The slightly bigger joey sniffed Wee Jasper, and my boy made his way out of the pouch. They sniffed each other and it then was like watching most youngsters who meet up with a new person sorting out who and what you are. I feel Wee Jasper suddenly realised he was not human. They hopped and played, chased each other and it was so good to see. My friend also had several other wallabies in varying ages in her home and who she had released on her land who came visiting. It was going to be a great home for Wee Jaspers next stage in his life. It has been several years, and I did visit my friends home several times over the course of time, and Wee Jasper seemed to remember me, he would come over for a cuddle scratch, he and his buddy. My friend told me that they would go off all night and come and sleep in their pouch during the day, and she then made them (as they got old enough stay outside all the time. SO they were aware they were wild creatures. With some quirks.
blessings to You, Tazzie
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I have harvested some potatoes that I was growing in containers. Whilst the weight of the harvest has been reasonable for my first try. I have been disappointed with the size. Small to mini potatoes. I have harvest about 3kgs only. Looking at weight of seed potatoes I planted was just under 1kg, It is at least a gain. I have planted more in one container, and from reviewing my method of care feel I may not have watered them enough. Time will tell.
The top left photo looked promising with potatoes. This is the third pot I had dug on the right is the actual volume of potatoes. The two photos below are of potatoes harvested from two larger black pots a few days before. I did get two OK sized ones. They will be delicious and yes I am disappointed as I said. It is a learning curve. If anyone has any suggestions I am happy for input.
I was working on my deck and noticed a hen jump over the vegetable garden fence, it sort of looked like Fried, I had to turn the hose of and grab some shoes. I could not see a hen anywhere. I have in there for when Miss Treacle comes in to be with me but gets too hot. She goes in digs a shallow dip and lays in the shade coolness, as I work. I had looked for her there ages ago but this time I found her. She was right up in the back and it was only that I had a torch with me I think I could see her this time.. I was so happy that she was alive!.
I then checked under her,
She was sitting on 20 eggs. She was just managing to cover. I was not sure how long she has been there. So I am not sure how old some of the eggs are. I looked at my chicken coop and my little coop I have used to have a Mamma Hen sit on her eggs and care for her very young chicks.
I have had to come to a difficult decision and that is for the sake of the chicks and Frieda as well as myself I needed to cull the eggs. So yesterday I removed half of them. Nine of which were fertile. I must say Frieda looked at me as I took the eggs, she then looked at the ones she had near her. She looked at me and settled so much easier on the greatly reduced number of eggs. There is of course a possibility that more eggs will not be fertile. Having examined the eggs I removed I feel that she has probably a week to go before any begin to hatch. However I am no expert. I understand many of you may feel that this is horrible and cruel. Yet this is the reality of homesteading. I imagine I would have buyers of them in 20 weeks if they were mostly females for point of lay hens. I would still have to cull roosters (and will have to regardless as I can only have one rooster in my coop). Roopert is loud and frustrating but he is a wonderful rooster caring for his girls and obviously good father material.
I had no real desire to have chicks this year. My small coop needs some work so tomorrow I will be fixing it up if I have the things I need otherwise it will be Monday. I shall then move Frieda and her eggs to the new single Mamma’s Home Coop. It is in the chook run. This is so that the other hens and Roopert will hear and eventually see the chicks. I have put the chick mix to help reduce risk of Coccidiosis (I do not use the medicated one but one that is more herbs based. As Frieda is not laying eggs now she does not need the same food and she can eat this mix. As it is also not a ‘medicated’ mix her eggs when she begins laying again can be eaten. Normally you can not eat eggs from a hen that has eaten the medicated chick feed. for several weeks.
I am growing a bit clucky myself and look forward to having little chicks about. I love how the Mamma talks to them and settles them. How they race about and she teaches them all they need to know. Fingers crossed Frieda is a good Mamma.
So my little homestead is growing.
My meal worms have all become beetles and now I wait for them to lay eggs and worms to happen. It is not a fast process.
My worm farm is doing really well too.
Wallabies are being kept out of the chicken run at evening time I accidentally locked one in one night and it was very eager to leave when I arrived in the morning. I terrified the poor guy even more trying to get it out of the gate.
We have had a lot of humid weather and more storms and heavy rain. In the north of Tasmania flooding was happening, whilst in Western Australia over 80 homes were lost in bush fires. We are a harsh country. The weather has really played havoc with my veggie garden and nearly everyone I know who is only growing tomatoes outside is finding they are ripening very slowly. It is an extremely strange summer here.
Though as I sit here typing the sun is just going down and we have a very long dusk. There is not a cloud in the sky and very strange to see is the green grass on the hills across the river. It is February our hottest month usually and people are ordering water tracks as tanks can get low. Instead my tanks are overflowing and there is green grass. Some of my wattles are flowering again peculiar. If it is not climate change Mr Morrison (Australia’s Prime Minister who does not believe in it) what is it?
I am eating mostly with improvement, I am probably doing half of my routine. The walking the dogs instead of me driving and them running is not happening. I have been blaming it on humidity or heat. I do walk them when we are in towns. Just not the daily walk. Showering is going well and going to bed is much better all with improvement to be made. I am happy though as I am feeling on the whole better and not beating myself up at all. I am moving forward.
I have potted up some Autumn veggies in containers on the deck and some flowers. Reorganising, feeding and rearranging the deck garden. I will share more about the deck and veggie garden soon.
I began clearing out the car port, that continues. I still have to move more of last years wood so I have room for this years delivery.
I am thankful that Frieda is alive. I am thankful that I am managing my CPTSD better than I was last post, I am thankful I am mindful of my triggers, I am thankful for full water tanks, I am thankful we have had no cases of Covid-19 here in Tasmania for ages and life is fairly good here. I think of those in WA who are now homeless. I think of those who live in Melbourne and are back in total lockdown again, and for others around the world.
I hear Roopert crowing goodnight, I too shall take my leave.
I was driving home from my GP this afternoon. This is a 140km round trip and it is a pleasurable and scenic drive. Alongside both sides of the Huon River. Though this set of photos is my seeing a hen with her chicks on the road. I pulled over to watch them.
I feel it was Busby my large dog sticking his head out the rear seat window that really got the Mamma Hen to rally her chicks up the rather steep embankment of the sealed road. These wee chicks were not that old.
I did wonder how this little one would manage. I was awed by its determination and perhaps more so the drive that adrenaline and fear for ones life give. Mamma had not waited for this wee one, she was back under the fence and just seemed to keep telling the chicks to get back in the yard, It seems all parents are the same. All chicks made it and the little one is seen second from left back with its siblings and Mamma in the yard. I hope that their Mamma has learnt not to take her babies down on the main road again.
It was lovely to see this family and to watch the effort and achievement of this one little chick. At first after the other two chicks had left it. I really feared it was going to give up. (I would have jumped out and got it up there if it had) It was a delightful thing to observe and shoot with my camera.
This was not the only bird life we saw on the way home from the GPs. Another day to share more of the journey home with my dogs.
Why are carrots so hard for me to grow? This is my most successful crop so far. Any help appreciated . They are tasty, and enough for a meal for me. Or a good supply for lilliputians.
Seriously these were just seeds I had spread about in a few pots on my deck. I am assuming that they needed to stay in for a bit longer.
I wanted to revive the pots and sow some more seeds in them. I have been tidying the deck today. My lettuces are doing OK, one variety has gone to seed. But some others are just developing and the cos is growing, I actually ate some of the leaves of one of them recently with my wee tomatoes. Oh were they so tasty. Just incredible.
Above are some beans I threw in my half wine barrels, along with kale cornflowers and weeds. The iris (brown leaves) have been broken up for composting around them. I ate some of the bigger beans as a snack today. Lovely. I am enjoying my surprise barrels. I sit at my table on my deck when I sow seeds, and often for no real reason I just toss some seeds into the barrels. I am very delighted with what is growing at present. I have kale, silverbeet and a calendula. These are the three pots in the most shaded part of my front west facing garden. Running along the front of the deck.
My idea of keeping the hens and Roopert in their run is failing. Sigh. It has rained and there is green grass shooting. Unheard of in February. Normally our hottest month. More rain forecast this weekend and heavy. Fuller rain tanks nothing will be the joy of this if it eventuates.
My Deck garden is containers. I am amazed at what I can grow in pots. The benefit is wallabies and possums do not get at them. The chooks can not get at them, or dig under them. Even the starlings and black birds do not tend to get into them like the veggie garden beds. I can cover them easily to prevent cabbage moth damag.
Flowers are becoming a part of my deck garden this year and perhaps more so. In with vegetables they make me smile and happy to see.
Below are my firs attempts at making apricot and peach fruit leathers. There is nothing wrong with the one in the tray it is how apricots dry when no sulpher is used. My peaches were to moist and I should have read up more on what to do but I know next time. (they dripped through) I am not happy with these trays which have not been used a lot. They are cracking. To replace them is not cheap. My dream is to save for a metal set up ie very expensive Excalibur Dehydrator which is also a square one, which is easier to put the puree on and the fruit. The temperature is more evenly spread. The difference in colour of my apricot leather the heat/air in the round ones is not dispersed so well. Lovely with some desiccated coconut. I did add a little sugar but not a lot.
The peach ones are at the front and due to their being so moist they dried very differently. I am trying to dry some hard enough no dry enough that I can then powder the peach. I can then add the powder to tea, and yohgurt. Cream ice cream even my weet-bix. It was simpler than doing a syrup or jam, and I am not a big jam eater. I am enjoying the leathers, and will be buying some seconds strawberries to make strawberry leather too. I will freeze the plums I think.
The blackberries are ripening and so delicious. I am freezing these for muffins and yoghurt, and winter porridge.
I am thankful for the rain , as I have enough water for my gardens, I am thankful for all the beautiful things in my garden. I am thankful to Mother Earth for her wonders and how a tiny seed can grow and give us food. I am thankful to my hens for the eggs they provide for me and my dogs. I am thankful for my health and the improving of my mental health as I get back to my routine.
So electric blanket on and for once I am in bed really early. Its 9dC/48.2dF, it only got to 12dC/ 53.6 dF now this is late January in the Southern Hemisphere. It is not right and not the first time that this has happened this month! Then two days later we had temperatures of 36dC/96.8, last week we had similar but by 10 am the day after the cold day it was 35dC/95dF at 10am we ended up at 38dC/100.4dF mid afternoon.
Is it any wonder my vegetable garden is not doing well. I know I am not alone, even my wonderful neighbours stunning vegetable garden is struggling. We have also had unseasonal rain and heavy wind gale force on several days.
The vegetable garden is so behind this year, My hope is that it will be better in February. My neighbour up the road has put in a huge green house but it is so hot that the tomatoes are cooking inside it almost.
Ahh the joy of gardening 41dsouth.
My first picking from the veggie garden this morning, the tomatoes are not really ripe, and they are tiny. Compared to the small hens egg. The zucchini/courgette is great. Already 100% improvement on my crop last year.
I am thankful for my eggs, for my hens, and rooster. I am thankful that my tanks are pretty full mid summertime very unusual.
Having a mental illness such as CPTSD really can stuff up so many of your plans..then add the crazy summer weather here in my part of Tasmania and how my garden is somewhat neglected. I am doing OK though. It is a rough period in my treatment of my illness. Things coming from out of the blackness of my brain where for so long they have been stored. Being shared with my psychologist and now me working on how to manage the impacts of these. New symptoms such as nightmares, and grinding my teeth. Nightmares that are similar to ones I had as a child. This is the truth behind what it really is like when you are dealing with mental illness and attempting to keep moving ever so tiny amount forward.
This is my life, here on my little acre.
Rain is falling again as I type music to my ears. It is lovely to hear the rain on my metal roof, gurgling down the gutters and the water running into my tanks.
The garden will be very happy. I am very happy and the chooks will be ecstatic in the morning to go out and hunt for worms.
The chooks have been happy as we had rain last week so the grass was showing young green shoots.
At least five of my six hens and Roopert the rooster have. Sadly it seems I have lost one of my hens. I live in hope she is sitting on eggs somewhere and will return, there were no feathers to show bird of prey or animal took her. I have seen no sight of her in four days. It is Frieda my larger black hen with the frizzy top knot. Sigh I love and appreciate them all so much. She is a sweet nervous hen who was just getting to the stage of coming and eating out of my hand. I know at least it was not my dog Busby loving her to death. He has been incredibly good around them. I have been working with him to minimise harm to them and the wallabies. I am remaining hopeful.
Today was a lovely morning. The joy I feel when I go off to do my weekly bits and bobs in my local town is always pleasant. I meet and catch up with so many people. Today I had breakfast at Cygnet Port Hole Cafe which does a delicious menu. Very reasonably priced menu. Pretty good coffee too. It is lovely to sit outside with my dogs and look at the gardens about the cafe that grow herbs and some veggies flowers and I think there is an apple tree and plum. It has been several cafes in my time of living here most memorable and original was The Lotus Eaters, but this new cafe is equal to it as a meeting place and good food at reasonable prices. On Friday nights they do Tacos and music.
I really enjoy taking my library books back and looking for new ones. We have an amazing library with such a plethora of reading material available state wide. I know I am feeling somewhat more competent as I have picked up some books that are more emotive ie the rise of feminsim in China, and a few others that are of interest to me. One about the impact of social media on society. Depending on how they are written and if my brain can manage them with out to much frustration I look forward to enjoying them.
I am getting organised for winter. Though some days and nights here lately you can think winter has already arrived. A few people have had their fires going. I just turn my electric blanket on and head to bed with my laptop..lol or put on my Ugg boots and winter trackies. I ordered wood for winter. I have a good amount left over from last year and the year before I need to move and stack under cover. So the new wood can be put where this is. My mind says plenty of time for me to attend to that. It is no due until February. UNTIL I suddenly realised February is this week!
As the next day is just as likely to be super hot. My house if I put the fire on takes a day to cool down.
Routine wise I am eating better, and averaging out getting to bed earlier. Showering has improved and I have walked twice this week up the road and more when we have been out.
I also changed my bottle gas LPG provider. I was also able to provide my research information on the local community pages so people can see the differences. I have saved over $190+AUS/145Us /106.34GBP a year minimum by going with the new company who also delivers down here three times a week where as my old company delivered only once a week. So if you ran out of gas, which only happened once for me as I do have two bottles 45kg/99lbs ea, It was when I was really ill. Of course it happened on the day after I would have got the delivery. I had to wait a whole week for gas. Y ou pay rental yearly for the bottle and then each bottle of gas costs so much.
The new company had a great new customer deal so even without that I still save a lot of money a year with the new company. With my old company if you did not know to check what others in the area were paying you would get charged heaps more I saved money on each bottle just by doing this. Yet their price and rental were still dearer substantially and they have a yearly administration fee.
I have noted that I received a notice in my facebook thread today something that may have triggered my Obsessive part. A lady was travelling on the boat The Spirit of Tasmania (which connects Tasmania to mainland Australia arriving in Melbourne), it is an overnight trip and carries cars our trucks with supplies food and other things, holiday makers campervans etc, you can take your dogs on it. You can place them in their horrible metal crates, or you can pay extra and have them remain in your car, though the company makes you sign a waiver of rights even though it would not stand up in a court of law (since you paid for a service), if something happened. This poor lady was traveling with her much loved doberman, who was put into the dog crates, and somehow the dog escaped. (vanished) No trace so far has been found. You are only allowed down once on the journey if you want to check your dog, otherwise it is locked area only staff are allowed there. The dog this poor dog has not been found, and this woman I can only imagine is devastated.
My own experience of bringing my cat over when I moved here was bad enough I worried all night if my cat would be OK. When I picked him up he was in a huge metal dog crate with a dog bowl that was like a swimming pool that had flowed all over the place and he was saturated. He had also been one crate away from a very large German Shepherd. (most likely a lovely dog) my cat had never been around a dog at this point. Sigh when we took our dog over to the mainland he travelled in the car we still worried but all was fine with him as he knew where he was and obviously felt safe.
Now I have put posts out to all sorts of groups asking people to contact the Premier Peter Gutweins office and the Minister Michael Fergusons office. Explaining that my dogs are my family they are the reason I am still alive and if this had happened to one of my dogs well who knows how I might have reacted. I explained about my mental illness and the woman at the premiers office said oh like a companion animal yes exactly but not officially. I went on to say they should have dog friendly rooms available so dogs could travel with their owners in the rooms. That the cost of all the issues pertaining to animals that have had issues (16polo horses died a few years ago, traveling on the Spirit the court case is still happening I believe), but this is a cost that the Tasmanians people will have to pay someway. As I am sure the legal ramifications of this latest episode.
Plus the many people who travel with their dogs when they come here, will be fearful.
My problem is as much as I want to keep pushing this. For me it makes my mental health and physical health worse. So I have done what I can as one individual. I must not keep pursuing it or I will get ill again. As I have before when I obsessively operate. I am well enough to observe the potential for this to happen. I am pleased and proud of myself that I am happy to have done something, and must leave it for now. Hoping the dog is located, and reunited with its owner. Hoping that regardless something will change in the transport of dogs and rights of owners on this trip.
wow this has gone a bit all over the place, but this is how my head is working tonight..
Yet that is pretty much how my day has been. I am content and happy, I am thankful that I have tools helping me manage the things that are coming as I work through issues. I am thankful for the rain.
Wondering sometimes if sharing so much of my own life and experience with this mental illness can cause some anxiety. I ponder often if I just kept living my life in private would I be better off.
My answer is a resounding No.
I have not posted for a while and that is partly due to life, and more to do with not being so well. As for many people the holiday period can be unsettling. Yet mine personal experience has been more about what I have been hiding from myself. I missed the time with people I care about and love, those I have welcomed into my life not necessarily those by birth. I do not celebrate ‘Christmas” the church holiday, nor am I a big fan of the commercialised concept.
After gorging on almost 3.5kg of Toblerone (darn supermarket had the huge huge blocks so cheap)plus a whole lot of other highly processed food. Over a couple of weeks, I realised I was not well. Yes physically but also mentally.
I had been with people on boxing day (26/12/2020) and it was really lovely. Yet I had a dark area forming in my moods. I began to sink slowly not wanting to be but not really being able to stop. Feed my face feel angry, eat more, feel upset, eat more, yet no comfort did I feel from my emotional eating.
I feel my psychologist was aware that I might have been heading for a bit of a backstep. In combination with COvid and all the lockdowns seeing an increase in mental unwellness our Federal Government increased the number of visits to a psychologist/psychiatrist/counsellor you could have to 20 a year. Prior to this it was 6 having over the past few years gone from being 12 to 6. So I am seeing my psychologist more often.
Shortly into the new year I had my first appointment. I really did not want to do a zoom, or talk to her. In the morning as the approaching time came my neck began to itch unbearably. As our meeting began, it became to so extreme I could not talk all I could do was rub my neck, jawline and cheeks. I had welts and rash from this, and it just was so intensely and utterly uncontrollable I just had to scratch. She offered to reschedule but I knew I wanted, to no needed to talk about what ever this was.
As I began to talk I just let the words come and what I discovered was I really wanted to have people over, to decorate my home for Yuletide(even though here it is summer). I wanted to celebrate the season, to share in what is in the northern hemisphere the returning of the sun and longer days. (Maybe I need to look at celebrating it in winter down here..lol ). Now we can not celebrate sitting around a fire (total fire ban) and daylight goes until nearly 10pm. But..the idea of just being a group and yes of women friends. Sitting sharing and talking about their passions. Being thankful for all we have.
As I really thought about it, the itchy remained and I was scratching and rubbing. Very aware of it, but also of the feeling or overwhelming sadness. tears rolled down my face as I began to have memories of wonderful times at my grandparents home. 40dC/104dF the combustion (wood fired stove) going cooking Christmas lunch in a tiny 2 bedroom fibro house with 9 people inside around the fan and a water filled air conditioner. It was not just about being with my grandparents. It was something more. It was not perfect. It was simple it was hard work for my grandmother and mother. I think it was that my Grandparents had decorated their tiny home with so much delight. There was a real feeling of wonder. Perhaps that is just a simplistic childlike memory of a better time in my childhood. Yet it is a deep memory that has come out and changed me.
It was not instantly. I did not toss or give away the remaining highly processed food, nor get immediately back on my routine. (Yes I was totally off every aspect of my routine). Are you sick of my routine yet?
I have been kind to myself. I have not punished myself, or done the negative self talk as much as possible. I have sat with the feelings, working through them now rather than emotionally eating in an attempt to keep what ever my mind and body needed me to get out. As small and simple as this new knowledge been to me as I worked through all that was happening internally and externally, yes the hives continued for a week even with anithistamines. I now know more about what I need for myself.
Pushing myself to talk and work through the incredible discomfort of this as with so many other times on my path towards managing and maybe healing my mental illness. Is hard, intense, extraordinarily emotional and confronting at times yet worth it. For me my life now is about living my best life. MY LIFE.
What my CPTSD has taught me so far is that as a child my brain was so incredible at creating ways to keep me safe and living by just pushing all the screwed up shit that was my childhood so often deep inside me. I lived two lives the one at home an the one at school, the one where I tried to make friends, to be a friend yet even as a small child I was filled with rage and anger at what had been done and was being done to me.
Finally I am really aware that I love being alive. Even on my really bad days. I love that I am moving through so much that has happened in my lifetime, but especially in my childhood and adolescence. As hard as draining and scary sometimes letting these hidden experiences feelings and emotions out is, the understanding that each time this happens is a step forward for me to BE ME. As corny as that sounds.
So yes I will keep sharing my personal journey. My life. Its warts and all that happens. I am currently a mature aged woman who has Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, who is not so afraid of the blackness as I was because I am learning that the blackness is all my trauma, all my fears, known and unknown. That part of my healing is working bloody hard to accept and let these fears,and emotions of my life experiences out. To just burp the bottle a bit at a time. Not every appointment with my psychologist is such. However for me it is the time after where I really develop understanding and can really explore what has happened in the appointment are where the biggest shifts in my life are. Where the new strength is and where my adult self is able to speak up. Say and do what I want not just need to live my life as I chose.
The other reason I keep sharing the good the bad and the unwell, is that not so many years ago the word Cancer was never said, then it was whispered about if someone had it as if it might be contagious. Well I see similarities with mental illness. As statistics say •Mental illness is very common. One in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. The most common mental illnesses are depressive, anxiety and substance use disorder. These three types of mental illnesses often occur in combination. For example, a person with an anxiety disorder could also develop depression, or a person with depression might misuse alcohol or other drugs, in an effort to self-medicate. Of the 20% of Australians with a mental illness in any one year, 11.5% have one disorder and 8.5% have two or more disorders. Almost half (45%) Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime . Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 4326.0, 2007. ABS: Canberra
By Rubina Kapil on February 6, 2019
Mental health and substance use challenges can take many forms. There’s depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, addiction and the list goes on. Some of these challenges are more visible and you might recognize them immediately. Others can be harder to see when you’re not looking for them. But, they are still there.
These statistics provide a look at how many people face a mental health or substance use challenge, whether we see it or not:
In the United States, almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.
5 percent of adults (18 or older) experience a mental illness in any one year, equivalent to 43.8 million people.
Of adults in the United States with any mental disorder in a one-year period, 14.4 percent have one disorder, 5.8 percent have two disorders and 6 percent have three or more.
Half of all mental disorders begin by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24.
In the United States, only 41 percent of the people who had a mental disorder in the past year received professional health care or other services.
So when you look at these figures my personal feelings are we need to be talking openly and honestly about our illnesses. This brings more understanding to others going through it, to family and friends of people who are dealing with CPTSD and PTSD. It makes the politicians more aware of the impacts on work experiences, prejudices of some employers, how difficult life really is, costs to individuals and families emotionally financially, more one on one services and packages for those of us unable to afford access to psychologists and psychiatrists. It may help to reduce suicide. Family issues. Our own issues. Employers/businesses will really understand why we might behave or respond in situations. Also Schools may begin to realise that so much of how and what they encourage as ‘normal’ is really not for everyone.
It may also help those younger folk who are not ‘fitting in’ to what society says is ‘normal life’ If I had known for me living out of town and not having heaps of social activities and lots of friends was perfectly normal and OK for me at a much younger age it may have been helpful.
It is a lovely summer day here in the Huon Valley Southern Tasmania. In the 20+ years I have lived in my home, I have only seen a snake 3 times in my surrounds. The first was a black snake, just slithering across the road as my dogs and I were going up the road for a walk. The second was last year I was watering the garden and one slithered rapidly away.
Today I went out onto my deck which is 1metre(3foot) off the ground. I was moving something, and out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, black and yellow stripes..slithering really fast, away it was not super close, about 1 meter from me it was a suprised by me, as I was by it.
It was a tiger snake. I had forgotten Tiger snakes can climb up human structures. There is so much bush around my home.
Tiger snakes in the wild have a broad diet that includes fish, frogs and tadpoles, lizards, birds and mammals, as well as carrion. As the size of the snake increases, so to does the average prey size, however this increase is achieved not by larger snakes giving up on small prey but by them taking more large prey. Tiger snakes are largely diurnal and hunt for prey during the daylight hours; however they will forage on warm evenings. They will readily search underwater and can stay under for at least 9 minutes. A bat was found in the stomach of one museum specimen, demonstrating the tiger snake’s ability to climb. Invertebrates have also been found in tiger snake stomachs however these could have been taken as part of carrion; other taxa such as grasshoppers and moths however may have been ingested as prey. Cannibalism amongst wild tiger snakes has also been reported. Prey items are grasped and subdued quickly by the powerful venom, with sometimes constriction being employed as well.
Available prey size is thought to play an important role in dictating the adult size of tiger snakes in some island populations. For example, on Chappell Island the snakes are typically very large and take advantage of the seasonal abundance of fat muttonbird chicks, whereas on Roxby Island where there are no nesting seabirds the dwarf population of snakes survive on mostly small skinks. https://australian.museum/learn/animals/reptiles/tiger-snake/
There are three snakes found in Tasmania and all are venomous. Though one the white lipped snake has never had any recorded deaths from its bite. Whilst my snake was easily to identify by its colours not all tiger snakes in Tasmania have such clear markings.
Fact, not fiction
The forked tongue is not venomous but is actually a chemical brush used to transfer molecules to the Jacobson’s organ in the roof of the mouth, where the snakes sense of taste and smell is located. A widely forked tongue increases the ability of a snake to track its prey.
Snakes do not have ears and cannot hear sound. Instead they detect sound by sensing vibrations passing through the ground.
Snakes’ skin is not slimy and normally it is dry.
Snakes are not attracted to milk beyond the fact that it is wet and easy to find by smell.
The venom toxicity of a juvenile snake is the same as that of an adult although they usually produce less venom.
Less than 10% of newborn snakes survive to adulthood. Most are eaten by predators, such as birds or feral cats, or are killed by humans.
In reality the danger presented by snakes is not nearly as great as perceived. Sporting accidents, dog attacks, lightning strikes and even peanuts cause more human deaths in Australia than snakebite.
In Tasmania the presence of the Blue-tongued skink (lizard) is no indication that snakes are absent.
Tasmanian snakes are unlikely to attack people unless they feel trapped or threatened. It is easy to mistake a snakes bluff or an attempt to reach shelter for an attack.
I realise that on my deck are little frogs. So it may also have been after those. I also realised I was up really late this morning and normally I fill the large plant pot saucer of water I leave out for the echidna, the blue tongues and snakes. So this lovely guy/gal may have been looking for water too. All available on my deck.
So many people are terrified of snakes. Yet hop into their car every day with out thinking. The last recorded death from snake bite in Tasmania up until January 2020 was in 1977. As sad and hard for the family of Mr Fish who died in 2020 Two deaths in 50 years makes snakes bite risk pretty good for humans.
Of course dogs and and other animals get bitten and some die. If your know your dog has been near a snake rather than wait to see if it has been bitten, take it to the vets. Waiting can cost the dog its life.
If your dog is barking at a snake get the hose, and direct it at the dog to force it away.. giving the snake time to flee.
As I live in a rural area I am fine having snakes about my home. They do not want to harm me as I do not want to harm them. During summer I usually do not let them out by themselves. But I do thump the ground when I walk and slam my front door. Since snakes react to vibration rather than noise.
My Grandfather my pop was a rabbiter , he raised his family in a tent in the Australian bush and he told me in regard to snakes that they do not want to use their venom on humans as it is how they kill their food. They are scared of humans so just walk away.
He also told us to respect them and look at their beauty. He also said not to remove one from our area if we have one as another will move in. The one you had knows your patterns and will try to stay out of your way. The new one wont.
I will be making more thumps when out on the deck and about the garden.
I do not fear snakes, I respect them keep my distance. I provide water for them so they do not have to come looking for it. I will not be leaving any of my doors open for the foreseeable future..
Uncertainty is not a great thing in my life, it does tend to impact my CPTSD. I have not been in my beloved garden a huge amount in the last few weeks, and even so what I had put into it in Springtime is bobbing along slowly this year yet productively without me quite well. So I feel happy about that.
My tomatoes are very late in developing,
Lots of flowers on the first plant. quite a few on the next with some tomatoes forming on both and one tomato and a few fruits on the third. In this bed I have two eggplant/aubergines I have one flower on one plant.
My peppers and capsicums are varied, the old pepper from last year is doing well, the capsicums are getting flowers and the peppers are I guess settling in.
I have more tomatoes vines in another bed, that does get 8 hours of sunshine but less than the first bed and these are really delayed. I thought they would be, and was just wanting to see if they would grow here.
Miss Treacle and Busby enjoy being outside too.
Now for some reason I have planted pumpkins and zucchinis, along with the possibility of a cucumber or two in two beds. I lost all bar one label, and I had labelled the seedlings. I only know one variety of pumpkin that is Peter Cundall’s . Peter was a long time presenter on the Australian Broadcasting (ABC TV) Gardening Australia a weekly. If you are interested in knowing more about Australian Gardens and all sorts of things to do with gardening and veggie growing well worth checking out show (which still is running Gardening Australia now hosted by Costa). https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/ Peter hosted the show from 1989-2008 and as a fellow Tasmanian is an incredible gardener, who even now at 82 is enjoying his gardening and good health. He only gave up his weekly radio show a few years ago. His pumpkin variety is great faviourite in the taste test so I am told. Fingers crossed these plants will be much better producers than last years. Oh the memories not a zucchini and one tiny butternut.
Asparagus spears still shoot every so often, and I enjoy picking them and eating them right away. My jostaberries and red currants did well. I harvested very few, between the birds, wallabies possums and my chooks it was their year this year. I was also not up to canning or freezing any of them and realised that I am not a huge fan of the jostaberries. They really are only good stewed, made into a crumble or perhaps a sponge pudding and of course jam.
My blueberries are also being grabbed by by all the critters and again I feel blase about it. I still have a fair few in the freezer. I always have such plans of all I will do with them. I usually harvest them and then often end up not eating them even when frozen. So instead of pushing myself when I have not been firing on all cylinders, I have just accepted for many years of my life I had never tasted a blue berry, a jostaberry or a red currant. If I am being really honest the only one I feel I would plant again are the blue berries.
My peach tree is amazing now that is something I have been enjoying the last couple of days.
As you can see they are a good size this year and once ripe juicy and even a bit green so sweet Love the feeling of the juice running down my chin. I did eat a few cherries off my trees. It has been a late beginning to the cherry season with the local orchards only opening full time this week.
My red crab apple does not have a lot of fruit on it sadly this year. I do recall there were not a lot of blossoms on it. Added to this the chooks had been dust bathing about its roots. (A job still in process excluding them from my doing this). I have managed to stop them from the espaliered apple by putting bike wheels about the root area.
The chooks had been laying really well and I was very happy to share with my neighbours. Sadly at the moment I am only averaging two eggs a day. I have not located a hidden nest anywhere as yet. I realised I may have been failing them in providing enough food for them. Though when I do provide seed they very rarely eat it all and usually pick the tastiest seeds out first. Grass is a bit in short supply so I have began to supplement their diet with pureed green vegies. They are on a free range 16%seed mix and have access to grubs and all sorts of things as they free range. I will be keeping an eye on them and fingers crossed the girls will be all laying again. Though the two -3 eggs I get are enough for just us. I did have hope to water glass enough for winter.
The Chook run has been slashed finally and the spiky native grass has been cut down. I am not sure the chooks appreciated that and so as their is not a lot of shade in their run at present they are free ranging and love hanging out under the jostaberries and my blackwoods. If they stayed there we would be living in harmony. I can only dream.
My thoughts are with those of you in areas where Covid continues to impact your lives, especially those of you overseas. I am so incredibly fortunate to have been born here in Australia and to live on the island state. where we have had no active cases of this illness for a few weeks now. My thoughts for those of you impacted by the bush fires in Western Australia.
I am thankful that I am coming out of a period of feeling out of control, I am thankful that I am again able to see the beauty of my home, and garden and how very fortunate I am. I am thankful for the clean water, clean air and abundance I have in my life. I am so very thankful for my dogs.