Friday, October 16, 2009
Hey this blogging is not as easy as it looks! I am struggling to keep up – I usually try to fill my every waking minute with actually DOING things but when blogging one needs to save some time to WRITE about it all too! So this one is another “catch-up”… My last week before leaving (still getting to that story) was full of visitors so I gave the house a bit of a spring clean and got busy on the trees before all the arrivals. Planted another 3-4 trays and got as many fertilised, mulched and bagged as could manage. All in all planted about 750 trees over the last week or so – though these did not all get the treatment they deserved! Left about five trays in the nursery area under the sprinklers. They will certainly live until I get back in December and have a chance to re-pot them. Also in the nursery are the two feature mulberries, all of the potted rudis, and a wide range of natives ready for planting on the first day of rain next year!! (Donna is very kindly turning the water on for them every couple of days while I am gone. Poor girl must curse the day she ever got me as a neighbour!!) Photo shows early nursery – much more full now! Also did a bit of work on the sleeper garden, though am disappointed in my progress on this – just plain ran out of time! I planted a few of the landscaping shrubs there anyway as they will die if i let them wait until the bed is completed! Have made some progress since this photo including planting of some of the shrubs. The shrubs are also bird attracting and I wanted them to flower for the birds while I was away. (I really have turned into an old bird-lady – bought and modified a bird feeder for the garden that will hopefully last the duration of my absence!)
Was expecting Grace for a few days and also Cath to pop in but neither made it this time – not to worry, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future now. Trish made a surprise visit – her sister and brother in law are driving around Oz from Darwin so she escorted them from Perth to MR to see them on their way. They couldn’t stay – in a bit of a rush, but great to see Trish and meet them. (Her brother and his wife also popped in a couple of days later – said they had stayed and met Rob here in the days when Don and Trish were staying at the farm.)
My dad “dropped in”. Didn’t want to stay so we just had a bit of a walk around and look at recent progress made. It was good to have someone see all the work I have done! We also went over to the SupaGolf and had a look at the old truck – think it is a little more work than Dad had thought originally (or maybe the truck has deteriorated since the first look) however Dad is still keen so he and Rob will talk about it soon and make a plan.
Mel arrived that afternoon too – with Jordan and a mate of his called Michael. (Mel had great fun all week calling for them – “michael”, “jordan”… – silly Mel.) Jordan brought down a most wonderful surprise – he had downloaded and learned to play Pachelbel by ear and performed it on the grand piano for us all – it was so fantastic – nearly brought a tear to all our eyes (well mine anyway). That afternoon all four of us headed to the laneway where we set to work in the laneway, clearing, collecting and burning a huge amount of dead wood. Yes, I let Jordan drive the quad, under strict conditions of course – and he did really well!! Mel made us rogan josh for dinner and we all agreed it was a great days work. (For the remainder of their stay, Jordan and Michael collected and burned to their hearts content proving that teenage boys do have a useful function in life after all!!) Mel (and Perry when he arrived) helped every day – we invented the hole punch factory for making up tree bags and they bagged a huge number of trees as well as “supervised” the fire burnings. They can visit anytime! Finished their stay with a BBQ and bonfire and invited Haydn and Donna to join us.
My next project was the reticulation for the hot-house. I finally found a few quiet minutes to plan the layout and bits and pieces required and headed off to Bunnings with my list. Forgot to check the diameter of the existing pipe before I left so ended up having to buy double connections to cater for all possibilities! Put it all together but hit a stumbling block when it came to connecting to the main pipe from the water tank – the pipe had become weathered and brittle over the years and I found it almost impossible to fit the connector in. So as reluctant as I was to admit it, I conceded that I do not have superhuman strength and awaited arrival of the next visitor with bigger muscles than me. (No, it wasn’t Mel – it was Nigel! Mum and he arrived on Thursday.) So together, we soaked the pipe in boiling water, poked big things down it to stretch it, and literally banged the connector in with a hammer. Nigel wired it all up and it was time to flick the switch on the water. The system works perfectly and the little cuttings are in mulberry paradise! Nigel also shovelled a trailer load of mulch for me (boy am i sick of shovelling mulch!) and also reconfigured the hitch on my little trailer – it travels much more smoothly now! Mum was also a great help and made up about 50-60 tree bags.
Meanwhile I continued madly with planting, fertilising, mulching and whippersnippering and though I certainly did not finish as much as I wanted to, am pretty happy with the progress made. Did the whole mulberry patch, mowed the house lawn, washed and put away all machines and topped up the fertiliser on my veges. Also got a lot of admin done – organised the subaru, had a job interview, finalised settlement of 39, confirmed and paid for variations for widespan, got ASK payments up to date, hooked my phone up to global roaming, organised travel and accommodation for Kili, made all appointments for Cambodia, got the skip bin collected, paid all our bills and went to the Chiropractor!! And packed my bags of course!!
Left the Silk Road by 9am on 10th. Stopped at Katmandu to get gloves for Sarah and a couple of last minute items for Kili, then spent the afternoon at Kaye and Teds. Michelle had driven down from Geraldton and brought a giant blue groper fresh off the boat from the Abrolhos. Kaye cooked it up with ginger and other yummy things and we had a fantastic evening – pity I had to leave! Ted kindly drove me to the airport and here I am – in Cambodia on the first Silk Road buying trip!