Thursday, May 28, 2009

comedy creature

The fencing project has stalled temporarily, so today Georgie and I collected the comedy creature and he has gone to Ormiston for a few days until we can accommodate him here at Protea Farm.
From Protea Farm 1
He is called 'Marley' ( already christened by the breeder ) but will probably go by the name Bob. He is 9 months old, and is the cutest alpaca I have ever seen. He is well-mannered, halter-trained, and makes fantastic purring noises.

From Protea Farm 1
Love at first sight!

Monday, May 25, 2009

more changes

Ness is in whirlwind mode at the moment. We have reached an impasse in the fencing project while we get another fence post welded to our specifications, so she has moved on to brick-laying and has started to define the edges to the main driveway and create a lawn in front of our cottage.

Day 1 and it is looking pretty good. I am hard pushed to keep up with the 'before and after' photos when she moves at this speed.

From Protea Farm 1
Note the bok choi in the foreground, the vegetables were planted on day 1 along with 2 herb gardens and a strawberry bed, and the first harvest is almost upon us,

From Protea Farm 1


Digging deep holes in rock solid dry clay is a hard slog.

From Protea Farm 1

However the fence is slowly taking shape albeit slightly behind schedule.

From Protea Farm 1

The gizmo we borrowed from James to hammer home the star posts worked well, no need to go to the gym- throw very heavy metal thing high up above your head and let it fall onto the post. Approximately 70 throws later, post is in place......only 22 more to go.

From Protea Farm 1

Saturday, May 23, 2009

rain, please

The east coast of NSW is experiencing heavy rains and flooding, but in the central west the clouds are wispy and weedy and mock us overhead with a stubborn refusal to unload. Tanks are low, dam levels critical and we are desperate for some good downfalls to help our crispy gardens and pastures.

Meanwhile the project of the week has been fencing. We are creating a paddock close to the protea orchard and working madly to a deadline because Georgie & Ness have sourced the comedy creature of my dreams as an extremely early birthday present and he needs somewhere to live when he arrives on Friday.

Pretty busy with guests although it slows down towards the middle of June. They all seem happy so far and we are getting some delightful comments in the guest book so must be doing something right.

The other project this week has been hacking back the overgrown plants in the rockery. Neither of us are fans of rockeries but this one serves a purpose as a retaining wall and at least we stand a fighting chance of growing drought-tolerant plants in it.

From Protea Farm 1

The sighting of a baby brown snake in it last weekend was alarming though- damned things should be hibernating by now but we suspect the mouse plague has provided such a food glut that they are making the most of it. Small brown snake means a probable snake nest somewhere, most likely the rockery ( hereinafter known as 'the snakery' ) which is not good news and makes us tempted to replace the whole damned thing with smooth concrete and no hidey-holes. Ness has started planting nasty spiky cacti, and now gardens wearing body armour and chain mail gloves!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

sat on a hot tin roof

The weather forecast suggests that maybe, just maybe, it may rain next week. All 3 cottages are reliant on rainwater tanks- no mains water here- so we decided that it would be prudent to clear all the roof guttering of leaves and general detritus to ensure maximum water capture.

Wobbly tin roofs are not fun to walk along, but good job we did because not only were the gutters and downpipes clogged with leaves and silt, but we removed several dead rats and mice. I suspect that dead vermin contaminating the drinking water may have health and safety ramifications.

Sometimes I miss city living.

Monday, May 11, 2009

something for the weekend

She said
There's something in the woodshed
and I can hear it breathing
it's such an eerie feeling, darling
He said There's nothing in the woodshed
It's your imagination
end of the conversation, darling

Lyrics by Divine Comedy 'Something for the weekend"

Phobias are strange irrational things. For several days now Ness has been repotting plants, and regularly she screams hysterically. This is my cue to don the gardening gloves and capture and release the frog that she has encountered while she hops from foot to foot gibbering.

Today she was relocating the wood pile and came across a large red-bellied black snake coiled around a log. Not a scream, no hysterics, just a matter of fact 'could you pass me a spade, there is a snake- do I just chop its head off?'.

I ran.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

new toys

Ness has a shiny new toy. Her transformation into a rural Aussie continues unabated:

From Protea Farm 1

The problem with such toys is that they create an almighty mess, and trees were felled.

From Protea Farm 1

We do however now have a funky little box trailer so firewood was transported and trimmings removed.

From Protea Farm 1

We have spent the weekend sorting out the irrigation system for the protea orchard, which are now happy and watered. The overlarge trees in the orchard have been pruned or removed. The chook pen has had a makeover, so we are hoping that the improved surroundings will encourage the Beelzebubs to lay an egg or two.

Tomorrow I am planning on taking 'Courtney' ( our lovely ride-on mower) on her maiden voyage.

Monday, May 4, 2009

launder down under

Our sheets were being laundered by a motel in town, but after 2 batches the Manager for Housekeeping issued a Quality Control alert memo advising that the sheets are returning stained and badly pressed. Forthwith all evenings will be spent ironing large white sheets.

At least the people from Austar are installing satellite tv this week, will give us something to do while chained to the ironing board.


The Protea adventure: week 3.

Ness has started dressing the rooms in earnest now, and the weekend was spent shopping for curtains and bedding. At least ( for now ) she has decided that repainting the rooms not required, although a few cans of paint would have been cheaper. I must admit that the changes so far are pretty impressive and she has not even put all the new curtains up yet.

From Protea Farm 1

I continue to be bathroom, toilet and shower cleaning operative with special responsibility for pubic hair. Spent 2 days scrubbing tiles and am happy to report there is no longer any grubby grouting on my watch.

Eagerly awaiting our Pickfords shipment so we can get all our pictures and start filling the gaps on the walls. Some furniture in our house would also be a bonus, especially as we have bookings for its use in July and nary a stick of furniture currently.

Still on a mission to 'decottage' the decor. Apologies to C & B but that cow has to go:

From trek phase 4
It appears to have been attached using some sort of NASA approved mega-strength epoxy adhesive however, and may take a little coaxing.

The second trailer load of horse poo has arrived, and Ness insists that the lawns will be lush and fantastic within weeks, so I am rehearsing my best rain dance.

From trek phase 4