He’s a big wombat and usually camera shy, so it was very exciting the other night when I managed to capture a photo or two of Fatso, King of the wombats here, who just happened to be enjoying himself munching on some choice herbage.
|Fatso, King of the wombats here, ambling into view|
|Close up photo of Fatso, King of the wombats here|
I occasionally take the camera with me on walks at night so as to take photographs of the wildlife. You never quite know what you may see. Unfortunately that night, I also had one of my dogs with me and Fatso was a bit nervous about all of the attention. He soon quietly went off about his wombat business elsewhere – not too quickly though, for he displays a general air of disregard for humans and their foolish activities – but he did leave quickly enough that he was soon lost to sight in the surrounding forest. He’s cool and he knows it.
Today the trailer received the final coat of bright – in your face – yellow paint. I reckon that the trailer is looking good and hopefully it lasts for another decade or more. The trailer can’t be used for a week or two whilst the paint cures in the heat of the summer sun. The longer I leave the paint to cure without damaging it through use, the harder the paint surface will end up being.
|The trailer has now received the final coat of bright yellow paint this morning|
|Cutting the thick steel plate in order to make the sides of the new steel stair case|
|Attaching the steps to the side of the new staircase with hi-tensile bolts|
|Underside of the new steel staircase|
The cottage garden is producing an amazing quantity of flowers which all of the insects and birds are really enjoying. There is so much activity in there you can hear the birds bouncing through the foliage and the many insects buzzing around the flowers from quite a distance away:
|The cottage garden is in full flower today, despite the recent heat|
|Zucchini plants are starting to produce some serious monsters|
|Possible self-seeded rhubarb plant|
Onions grow really well here with virtually no care or attention whatsoever. The Egyptian tree onions (or walking onions) have formed a huge number of bulbils and I’m considering planting out all of those bulbils. They are very hardy onions and each single bulb will produce another entire plant. There are hundreds of new onion plants. Someone once told me that the old timers used to pickle them for later consumption as cocktail onions. Last year I planted many of the bulbils into the cottage garden and they are doing really well in there too.
|Egyptian tree – or walking onions just waiting to be planted out|
Over the summer I leave various sources of water around the farm for the animals, birds and insects to all enjoy. In a climate with hot and dry summers it is a good way to get to know the wildlife. Every now and then, I’m completely surprised and spot entirely new wildlife enjoying the farm and this morning revealed a new frog. The frog was swimming in a large bowl of water which is generally only enjoyed by the wallabies, wombats and kangaroos. I have no idea what variety of frog it is, but suspect that it may be either a very unusual variant of the Southern Brown Tree Frog or a Verreaux's Tree Frog. Who knows? It is unusual though:
|Unknown tree frog found swimming in a water bowl here|
If anyone can positively identify the frog I’d be interested to hear from you. For those that are concerned about froggie welfare, there is now a stick in the water bowl that the frog used to climb out.
How did I get here?
After seeing a bit of the world, getting a bit of education, working some pretty full on jobs at the top end of town, building and rebuilding houses, I honestly felt like I needed to do something different with my life.
This crazy idea dawned on me one day: I’ve got this cheap block of land up the bush. The law allows me to build a house on it. I’ve got the skills to build the house. I’m looking to do something different with my life. What the heck, how about selling up the house in the city and building a small and cheap off the grid house, living up in the bush, growing some vegetables and fruit, raising some chickens and generally having a bit of an adventure with our lives?
Now at this point in time, most partners in a relationship would generally go: You have officially now lost the plot. And there the crazy idea would end.
To my eternal gratitude and thanks, the editor of this blog simply said: Oh yeah, we can do that.
So we did that.
Things are never quite as easy as they should be. The mind bogglingly complex process of seeking the local council’s approval to build a small and cheap house became even more mind bogglingly complex because the Black Saturday bush fires happened midway through the approval process in February 2009.
The bushfire was about as bad as it gets: 173 people dead, 2,000 houses destroyed and 450,000ha (1,125,000 acres) burnt. Needless to say, the authorities had a major freak out and quickly introduced a whole new set of laws relating to building a house outside of an urban area.
As part of the official freak out, the Country Fire Authority of whom both my lady and I were volunteer members of the local fire brigade officially denied permission for us to build a small and cheap off grid house on this particular block of land. In Victoria, if a statutory authority (generally water or fire authorities) decides against your proposal to build a house, there is no right of appeal on that particular decision. Yes, here you can actually buy a block of land which the zoning and council says that you can build a house upon and during the permit process you may actually be denied permission.
So, we then had a major freak out.
To be continued…
The temperature outside here at about 5.30pm is 27.4 degrees Celsius (81.3’F). So far this year there has been 74.4mm (2.9 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 72.6mm (2.9 inches).