Last week, a desire to see the sea came over me and with that desire there were thoughts of heading off to my favourite coastal escape of Apollo Bay. That part of the world is not far from here as the crow flies, but it is a couple of hours drive because the roads are so twisty. The car which is normally very reliable started playing up the day before. To my absolute horror, I'd found that a rat (or a couple of rats) had decided that the engine bay of the car would make a toasty warm place to nest on cool nights.
Who would have thought that rats could actually eat vehicles? I was completely surprised by this discovery. The rats mostly chewed through hoses – some of which were hydraulic hoses (I’ll bet that gave them a surprise when they leaked!), and a whole lot of wires – including the control wires for the fuel injectors. Sorting the mess out has cost me about half a week’s income. Well done them!
Rats and repairs aside, I made the journey to Apollo Bay and had a lovely time. Peak holiday season has passed so the town is a bit quieter than it would be in high summer. It is a beautiful part of the world and the Otway mountain range extends right to the shore line. I took this photo of the beach at low tide:
|Apollo bay at low tide|
The Otway mountain range which rises up behind the town and also right along that coast line peaks at an elevation of about 500m (1,640ft) above sea level. That elevation doesn’t sound like much, but given that there is really not a whole lot of land between the Otway mountain range and South America, the winds off the Southern Ocean dump a massive amount of rain into the area. In fact, the area contains the wettest location in the state which receives an average of about 2m (6.56 feet) of rain per year.
Like most parts of Australia, the Otway mountain range is quite old and worn down over time. Land slippages in the mountain range do occur and those slippages combined with heavy rain means that there are some very impressive deep valleys. The whole area is very scenic.
|Tree ferns re-establish themselves in a paddock of cleared land just off Wild Dog Road|
As an interesting side note, on my way up to the Otway herb farm, I passed some very organised looking guys in a Mercedes van picking wild fruit on the side of the road. Those guys had boxes of fruit in the back of the van and were accessing all of the hard to pick apples high up in the trees with ladders. Top work guys!
Today, I planted some of the many flowering and herbaceous plants that I purchased at the Otway Herb farm. Sir Scruffy assisted with the planting efforts and he particularly approved of the many interesting varieties of salvias which attract the local honey eater birds:
|Sir Scruffy keeps a close watch on some of the new plants to go into the ground|
Rhubarb is a triffid here! No other edible plant here is more reliable – all year around – than rhubarb. I read once that a Tree of heaven survived ground zero of the nuclear blast at Hiroshima only to later regrow: Tree of heaven. I suspect rhubarb may be able to perform a similar feat. Today, I dug up two very old plants which were a gift from a local lady who said that the cuttings originated from her grandfather. The plant grows faster than the rate at which I can eat it. The root system was roughly divided up and then planted about the place:
|Digging up the rhubarb today|
|The rhubarb has been planted in the new garden beds|
|Cloche’s placed over the tomato plants to assist ripening|
|Excavations continued this week|
The bones of a house are like your skeleton: they keep you from flopping onto the ground in a gooey mess of stuff.
Over the month of February 2010, the roof trusses were mostly installed. A huge amount of steel straps were used to hold the entire structure together so that it became a single unit. For some strange reason, the building surveyors demanded that I build a structure that would withstand the sort of very strong winds that you may see in a cyclone and I decided not to argue the point with them.
|The roof trusses are mostly installed and a whole lot of steel straps tie the entire structure together|
|The windows were installed in the house frame|
|Plywood bracing was also added to the timber wall structure|
The temperature outside here at about 8.30pm is 13.6 degrees Celsius (56.5’F). So far this year there has been 144.8mm (5.7 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 138.4mm (5.4 inches).