Monday, March 24, 2008

An Ode to Porcelain and Electricity

We have just returned from a relaxing and productive Easter break at the block. We packed up the car, lightly this time, and headed off with the pups on Friday morning nice and early.

We arrived to find that once again, the grass has grown, and the world at our place continues to be just beautiful!

We had decided to create a more minimalist camp by placing ourselves close to the shed, so got to work flattening larger grass tufts and tidying up the paving at the front of the shed.

The tent and tarps were up quickly and Gypsy got settled into her favourite place!

BJ spent the first two hours camped out in the shed...we thought he was crazy as it was so hot in there, but then Dom realised, that the concrete was cool... dogs are smart!

So are humans, occasionally, I suggested that we bring the bathroom basin cabinet out of the shed into our camp site for an instant camp kitchen! Perfect!

We had gotten to the block by taking a different road this time. A couple of visits ago some friendly RACQ people had come to take a look at Linda's car, and had approached the block from the north. So I took a look at a map and saw that if we continued to head directly north from Crow's Nest rather than turning right so early, we could approach the block along Midddle Road, coming out 1 km north of our place. So this is what we did! The distance is almost exactly the same, the road has a little less tarred section but is in general straighter and less mountainous. In fact you bypass the whole range, except for a small ascent and descent, making it a better option for daily commuting I think.

The side effect of going this way, was that we drove past what we had thought were our Northern Neighbours, rooftops that can be seen 50 metres away from our block to the North. But no! Our northern neighbours turned out to be the famous Anduramba Hall!

A beautiful country hall with the most spectacular outbuilding I have ever seen. It was small, and blue and divided into two halves. A feat of modern architecture, a sight for sore eyes, yes, a toilet block! And not the expected bush drop toilets...but beautiful, shiny, porcelain flushing septic toilets! All of a sudden it seemed possible to stay at our place for extended periods of time without that toilet stress!

So, facilties used and appreciated we went back to our block for operation fire place.

Our last fire pit was now too far away from the camp, so Dom got busy digging a dip, and I worked on transferring the rocks. We had not brought any camp cookers this time around, the plan being to cook neanderthal-style! So Dom created a lovely figure eight pit ready for gourmet delights!

With my convenient camp kitchen all stocked with food we spent some time collecting wood, got the fire going and commenced relaxing! We took the dogs off for a scamper down maria creek road - probably one of my favourite things about being there is we can decide hey, let's take the dogs for a walk, and up you get and start walking! No leads, no fuss, no nothing. I hope that doesn't change. On our walk we found a mushroom pushing itself out of the road side! That is pretty cool! And goes to show there has been a bit of moisture around...

One of our plans for the weekend was to conduct a ritual planting. I had originally planned to buy a 100 or so tubestock natives and whack them in the ground, but once a number of experts and some laypeople had told me they would die, I decided to give up on that plan. We went to plan two. About a year ago a beautful grey leaved native sprung out of the earth at the front of our house, and grew at an amazing exponential rate which now sees it reaching three metres into the sky. A month or so ago, a clone popped its head out of the ground a few metres away next to our driveway. If it had continued to grow like its mother it would have blocked the driveway, so it had to come out - and we decided to send it to a whole other climate zone! Dom prepared the ground, fertilising, adding water crystals and collecting mulch. I talked to the plant, let him know he was going to be ok and in he went! He seemed happy! We will see how he has gone when we get back next time.

Right next to where we planted the native there are two stumps... and low and behold in a crevice in the smaller stump we found a lovely little green tree frog, hiding away from the heat of the day. He stayed there for a few hours, but eventually the proximity of us and the dogs sent him scurrying and off we went.

Day one ended sipping wine by the fire, and we spent a night of not much sleep with the dogs in the tent and the camp beds seeming much smaller than I remembered!

Up nice and early on Saturday, to a delicious full breakfast cooked on coals. The big plan for Saturday was Operation Lantana. There were a number of lantana bushes on the block and Dom was determined that this time we wouldn't just complain about them, but remove them! So with jeans and shoes and long sleeve shirt, hat and gloves off we set to the fence line adjoining Tom's place, where most of the bushes were. Tom had put his two horses in the paddock next to our place, and had popped down the evening before to set the fence, that is, to turn on the electric fence! He had done this, he said to keep his horses out of our block, but the fact that BJ sprinted straight through the fence and tried to make friends with his working dogs when we arrived may have been a motivation for him also. Anyway, BJ, being the smart old boy that he is, didn't stress about the electric fence and no harm came to him. But, of course, we have two dogs... our rambunctious puppy, Gypsy, struggles with being away from her couch and tv for any extended period of time, doesn't like the giant dogs (horses) that live next door, and previous to this day, could not leave the side of her parents, ever, at all, nope never. So Dom and I were busy yanking and chopping and sweating and Gypsy was doing what she does best, getting in the way. Next thing, she had sniffed her way over to the fenceline, and I suppose, with our backs turned, sniffed a little too close and received a decent shock to her face! We didn't hear the zap - it would have been drowned out by the extended yelping! This was a whole new world of shock for our white great dane x - never before had she been so terribly assaulted! The yelp went on, she squirmed, she shook, and she looked at us in shock. Then she put her tail between her legs and bee-lined it back to the camp site. Not to be seen again! I went up to check she was ok - and it was a fence that bit her not a snake, but she was fine, feet firmly planted on the tarpauline with a 'hell no - I am not going back THERE again' look on her face. Dom and I happily worked away for the next 45 minutes without being bugged once. And Gypsy didn't stray more than 5 metres from the camp site again for the next two days. Blessings go to electric fences!

We popped into Crow's Nest for some supplies and lunch, and had planned to make use of the showers in the National Park campground. The town centre was busy busy with everyone getting their Easter supplies together, and when we approached the camp site, a sign said 'pre-paid campers only' - so obviously Easter is a little busier than Christmas around those parts. We headed back to town and snacked on delicious homemade hamburgers and headed back home. Dom got back to work on some more lantana and wandered around planning out what to do where, what to build where, what to plant where, while I read, and read some more.

As evening approached, we headed out to our favourite spot and with stakes, hammer, flouro string and measuring tape we marked out our latest home plan. Then stood and tried to imagine what it will be like to stand in our rooms! All very exciting!

As we went to bed on Saturday night, we decided to leave the dogs in the front section of the tent, not right by our sides, and low and behold they accepted that and a peaceful night was had by all.

We woke in the morning, and decamped, having decided to spend a day at our Gold Coast home before heading back to work. Had a great run home, avoiding Sunday's bad traffic and are back in reality. Half way home, however, we realised we had been a little too smart for our own selves...and had left food in the camp kitchen/bathroom cabinet and locked it back in the shed! D'Oh! We hope that it isn't too much a mess when we get back again.

With help of the measuring tape and a trundle wheel borrowed from my work, we were able to get some accurate measurements and Dom has put his efforts into an excellent plan of the block with its separate working and non working areas. I will scan this, and our current house plan at work and post them here soon.

The Old Church Block Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Art Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template