Friday, February 25, 2011

The Rain is Back

I have a fellow blogger in the family. My partner in crime and life’s cousin’s daughter (saying family is easier) is blogging about their life on property outside Goulburn and their mud brick home which they are renovating (and we are hoping to visit when we go down there in April). So “hi” Mel, I am looking forward to seeing what you are doing out there. I would put the link to her blog in, except I can’t, but she is linked up on the side there under “My Blog List”, it is called “ Wangara – Our Muddy”.

Ok, so here are the pumpkins that I also didn’t see, I swear I was looking :D

After a rather dry spell for a wet season, the rain has kicked back in with a vengeance and the dam is overflowing and in 24 hours we have had (I think) just over 200mm (or about 8 inches for those who still work in the imperial system).

So after watering everything when it wasn’t raining, it is all now rather soaked with the downpour.

I had to wear my gum boots to the car yesterday to go into town to teach my Tai Chi class otherwise I would have been ankle deep in water no matter which way I went. I did take other shoes with me as I didn’t think that gum boots would have been very fashionable around town.

Today I have to do something about the chook pen as the girlies are very unhappy with the water and won’t come out. So I guess I will go cut some grass and stuff and get some hay and put it in the pen, good mulch for later.

I have some seedlings growing in pots, though I do find this frustrating as not a lot have come up. There is a little native something or other (need to ask my friend what it is) and some other non food producing plants and just a couple of food producing plants have germinated. Though the rosella has picked up and decided to grow despite me thinking that it was a no show. There are only three pigeon peas and two cow peas and no corn (yet), though I do blame a lot of this on the bandicoot who gets them if I forget to bring them inside at night.

I have made another garden bed and planted rosella seeds in that one and want to make tea (and of course jam) out of this lot, but I do have quite a few months before I am at that stage. I also thought I would get the potatoes under way, I am hoping they will start to grow at this time of year, I will just have to wait and see. As soon as I see they have grown I will start to make more potato patches as they are the easiest things to grow.

Time for a cup of tea before I go do something constructive but quiet (my partner in crime and life is now doing night shift) so best go put the kettle on 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gigantic Cucumbers

One of the things I try to do is to plant things that will grow all year round and produce most of the time. Of course it depends on the type a vegetable I plant too, not all types of tomatoes will grow all year round but the wild cherry tomato plant that is growing like crazy right now is one that will.

I kid you not, these are cucumbers.

In a previous post I wrote about these cucumbers that were given to us, they grow all year round and produce massive cucumbers. I saved the seeds and planted them, they grew and grew and grew.

Would you believe that I didn't see these in the garden? Really, I didn't :D

Anyway, they are very crispy, and if we can't get through them I am going to pickle them or give them to the chooks, they will love them.

So far I have found that snake beans, wild cherry tomatoes, sweet potato and gigantic cucumbers will grow through the wet (and the rest of the year). Those are the things with actual food, other things are the leafy greens like ceylon spinach, kang kong, betel leaf and rocket. There is also rosella, pigeon peas and paw paw, all can produce all year if I planted them to do that.

There are also a few herbs that survive all year too, I still have in the garden parsley, chives, curry plant, some sad basil and oregano. I think I could throw together a meal of some description with only these things, it might not be much but I could do it.

Anyway, I now have to keep an eye on the other cucumber out there as it isn't very far away from being ready to pick, and I will have to have a good search to see if there are any more that I missed :D

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I think I just may be going to get some passionfruit, very exciting :)

I have had about four or five flowers on the largest plant, the other plant doesn't seem to be going as well. I do want to plant a couple more plants as passionfruit are very yummy.

I cleaned out the chook pen this morning and took them in some fresh grass and weeds. All the old stuff I took down to the creek where I have planted some pumpkins, I layed down cardboard boxes that I had been collecting and threw the mulch over the top. Take that you weeds.

Our chooks still aren't laying but I am sure they are getting close (I know I have been saying that for a while but I think it is true this time), they are clucking and carrying on and getting to the right age of about six months.

They are now, however, further away from being free ranged. I would love to do that and haven't up till now because they have been too young, now I am afraid of dogs. The other day a pig dog came onto our property and was attacking them through the wire, luckily all are fine, however, if they had been out they wouldn't have been. So I will just keep cutting them grass and giving them the weeds and stuff from the garden till we one day fence the property with dog fencing. Expensive I know, but it will mostly keep the undesireables out.

On a happier note, our number one and only son was in paper this week because he had written an interesting account of his experience of Cyclone Yasi. Even though the paper got his story slightly wrong, we didn't put our chooks in the cupboard, and it did sound like we sat around all night drinking lots of beer, we had a couple, it was a great story.

The weather is threatening to rain, I can hear the thunder but I don't think it is going to do anything, so I think I will go and have a cup of Rooibos tea and go watch :D

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I Am A Book Addict

I am a book addict. There is no way around it, I love books, big books, small books, books of every colour and about many different subjects. I can barely make it past a book shop without going in to see if there are any new books on gardening, self-sufficiency, climate change or how we are killing ourselves by eating food that has chemcials in it. Or just a good adventure book :D

When I decided to revamp my blog and update my favourite book list, I, as usual, had a lot of trouble, so I decided to go all out and just make headings and list lots of books. I just got out all my most favourite of my favourites, very difficult decisions had to be made, and I had piles of books around me which I still had to cull down.

I think I have the self-sufficiency subject covered with just three books. The Australian Self-sufficiency Handbook, which is obviously Australian, The New Complete Book of Self-sufficiency, which is from the UK, and The Encyclopedia Of Country Living, which is American. All are large with lots of useful information, I love just opening one of these books and reading whatever is on the page.

My bookcases are still not very organised from when we moved in a year ago, I know that sounds slack, but I am waiting for our number one and only son to move into his room and then I will have some space.

I have quite a lot of reference books as I like to have information at hand at any time. The health books have come in handy many times, not for things you should go to a doctor for, but for the rest. Also good for interpereting what doctors say and if you can't get to a doctor, like in an emergency. Hope I never go down that road, but having the information at hand is reassuring, and of course knowing first aid.

I have heard people say that we don't need books as the information is on the internet. That is true, but as any one who prepares for the unexpected knows, the internet is not always there, power can go out for various reasons, the internet can go down even if you still have power.

I also print out useful information from the internet and put it into folders for easy reference, in case the internet goes down :)These are also in a bookcase.

This year however, I won't be buying any books :( I alreaady have lots and I am going to save my money and buy rope :D I am going to use the library for books, magazines, CDs and DVDs. I have access to the library catalogue online and can reserve them online too, they send me an email to say my books are there and I just go and pick them up.

Besides the "save the books in case the world ends" reason for having books, I love the feel of a book in my hands. The feel of the paper and the sound of pages turning (quietly of course), it is also the feeling of knowledge sitting in my hands, and all the adventures. I just love books :D

Friday, February 11, 2011

Survival Mom Blogring

I have been accepted into a blogring on the Survival Mom site. It is for women only and it is great to be able to link to other like minded women who are blogging about their lives.

The Survival Mom is a site I visit regularly which has lots of great information on prepping and links to other sites too. Now I just have figure out how to add the logo to my blog :) I am a little slow on these things but will get there, go check it out in the mean time.

We had a double rainbow the other day and it was a full one too.

We have had a bit of rain this week and even though everything is quite damp, the sky has looked spectacular.

The clouds have been really black.

The sunsets spectacular.

I planted out some seeds in pots the other day as something has been eating the seeds I have planted in the garden. So I planted corn, rosella, pidgeon peas, cow peas, jalepeno chillis and yam beans and guess what, something ate some of those seeds too, right out of the pots. Pretty sure it is a bandicoot, so I will replant today and make sure I bring the pots in tonight

So best go do something despite the rain, no mowing though :D

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cyclone Yasi Photos

It looks like our internet is running properly as of yesterday afternoon so I am posting our photos from last week.

Our shipping container that we spent the night in when the cyclone came over. My partner in crime and life tied it down with a steel cable and recovery strap, but I am pretty sure that if the cyclone had of gone right over the top of us it would not have been enough. A category five cyclone can lift nearly anything.

We moved the cars onto the veranda in front of the doors, but I guess it depends of which way the doors blew, in or out, to what would be damaged. However my partner in crime and life did tech screw the doors closed, there was a lot of differing information about what was the best thing to do with roller doors.

Our poor chook pen only got one rope over the top of it, next time it will have a lot more as I won't be catching the chooks, they scream bloody murder and I think they would take their chances. Of course I will probably change my mind on that as I don't think I could stand the thought of them being out there.

We moved the boat and trailers to around the back of the containers and filled the boat with water and taped up the windows. Apparently the noughts and crosses style is better than crosses style.

Well I lost half my post as the power went out and the internet went haywire and didn't save properly, so I am now running on the generator and will quickly post and try to remember what else I wrote later :D

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cyclone Yasi

Well...we have managed to dodge Cyclone Yasi but many haven't. We had been preparing for this for a few days, though was amazed on Tuesday when I had to go into town for jury duty the amount of people piling up trolleys in the hardware store and supermarkets. Every petrol station I saw had lines of cars going down the road as people waited to get fuel.

I only went into the hardware store to get extra rope, but people were in there with loaded up trolleys, buying torches, batteries and tarps. Why don't people have batteries and torches already? Honestly, it just stumps me, officially the cyclone season started in November, why do people wait until the day before a cyclone hits to go get everything?

I stopped in to get some potatoes and onions from the fruit place and could see the people in the supermarket loading up their trolleys with food. I really wanted some chocolate but there was no way I was going in there.
We already had gotten fuel on Monday, both vehicles filled up and we always have three drums of fuel on hand anyway.

I was so glad I didn’t have to do any of those things that lots of others were doing. Admittedly my partner in crime and life also stopped in at the hardware store just to get some stuff in case, not because we really needed anything.

All day we had barely a breath of wind as we moved quickly through the very long day tying down the bore shed and chook pen, taping up the windows and even a cable over the shipping container where we planned to spend the night. We packed up food and clothes, some things went into our bedroom, some things went into the container, we packed up the TV and computers, brought everything in off the veranda to the inside of the shed and moved the cars onto the veranda in front of the roller doors.

When it got a little darker we went and got the chooks and put them in a box to put in the shipping container with us for the night. Well, didn’t they scream blue murder, if you haven’t heard a chook scream, it is the most blood curdling thing ever, and being the wild things they are , really didn’t appreciate being caught. I had to catch eight of them, one twice as it had escaped.

My partner in crime and life tech screwed the roller doors shut later in the day, hoping it would be enough. All the time we were watching the BOM site to see where the cyclone was going. It seemed to go a bit south, which was good for us, and then it would come a bit more north, not so good.

So we prepared for the worst and really hoping for the best.
When the lights started flickering and the TV too, and the shed started to make more noise we decided it was time to move out to the container, so off we went with the dog, and I tell you, it was much quieter in the container. About 30 or 40 minutes later the power went out, we were watching the street light at the end of the road through the door.

We set it up quite well in the shipping container, with our table and chairs and a couple of mattresses and our pillows to sleep on. We sat around for quite a bit have a couple of drinks and talking while listening to the freight train go through the trees on the hills around us. Even though it was very, very windy, it didn’t get as bad as it could have, and as it turns out we caught the edge of Yasi, still very noisy and windy but not the full force.

We were lucky, Yasi turned a bit more south which made us a bit further out than we feared we would be. Unfortunately, though it missed us, it did get others. Homes have been lost, businesses destroyed, farms wiped out, although it missed major centres, smalls ones have been devastated, what has been lucky for us, is not for others.

We currently have the power back, we lost the landline a bit earlier, and now also have no mobile and internet reception. We can’t get down the mountain as there has been a landslide, so we heard, but local news is a bit sketchy at the moment, we are mainly hearing the big stuff like the airport didn’t suffer any damage. However, I want to know if our house near the beach has suffered any damage, but there currently isn’t any news about how the beach suburbs here fared and the people we know down there.

I guess we will know more in a few days, but things for us will go back to normal pretty quickly here, unlike for others. I have already started my list of what we could have done better, and a list of things to get to make life more comfortable for the next time, which there will be. I did forget to check the gas bottles, that was probably my biggest thing I didn’t’ do, but overall we did well, and lucky for us it wasn’t’ worse, and luck is all it was.

PS I am having trouble loading photos so will just post this now while the internet is working and post photos later.