Animal stories…

Monday, September 28, 2009

Animal stories…

Just an update on our menagerie of wild and wonderful fauna… i still havent set those traps (mainly because I have been busy – not because of reluctance) so the families of our pesky wabbits are growing!  The parents are enormous now and actually doing a good job eating the grass – they are the ones for the pot – while the babies are getting to adult sized.  One family of five were on out the lawn this morning, while another three young ones were under the clothesline.  I didn’t check the front lawn but they are generally wherever you look.
I don’t think i told the mouse story.  It was so cold the other night that i turned the heater on at my feet under the desk while doing some work.  In the quiet, I heard a few mouse-like snuffles and squeaks and thought “ok-put mouse baiting on the list for tomorrow” and went back to work.  The squeaks were very close and I assumed they were somewhere in the office but as were not sounds of distress I just ignored them for the moment.  About 5-6 minutes later I felt something on my foot and looked down under the desk.  There, snuggled up against my ugg boot in front of the heater was a little mouse, snuffling and squeaking in delight!  I moved my foot a little and it didn’t run away – just shuffled over to another spot in front of the heater and sat there for the rest of the night.  I got up and down a few times – making a cuppa, going to the toilet – and it was always there when i came back, just sitting and enjoying the warmth!  It was beautiful however I am getting concerned that all the animals making the Silk Road their home are legally declared vermin!  I need a possum and some kangaroos to move in!

The birds are coming in their dozens which is fantastic!  The 28s have paired off for the spring and do not often come in big gangs these days.  The crested pigeons are now part of the garden – they are funny things which chase each other round the yard on foot rather than flying.  And best of all, the rosellas are growing in confidence and are out almost as much as the 28s now – they do not always scatter the minute i walk outside and hang around in a few selected trees.  One of them was injured last week – i suspect it flew into the window and was just sitting there on the ground with its swing out on an awkward angle when i went into the yard.  I picked it up and it did not flutter at all – it was very calm and relaxed and it was so beautiful to hold it and stroke its head!  I put it in a box with some water and seed and left it alone for a while.  When i came out it had left the box and was sitting up in the carport rafters looking much healthier!  It sat there all night and then joined its mates in the morning but still cannot cannot fly off with them.  When I go out with the seed it jumps up on to the wine barrels or the small bush near the herbs – it is absolutely wonderful to watch him.  Hope he stays and lives in our backyard!
As for the others… the kooka pops in for breakfast most days and there are always willy wagtails, wattlebirds and gorgeous little honeyeaters flitting about.  There is a pair of grey robins and I have also seen (and hope they are nesting here) blue wrens which i have not seen since the early days when we bought the farm.  The black cockies are out in force, munching their way through the pine cones and marris, but haven’t seen the white ones for a while.

Working Hard at the Silk Road…

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Working Hard at the Silk Road…

This morning it was worth getting up early.  Instead of waking to howling winds and pelting rain, when I opened my eyes the birds were chirping and a ray of sunshine was just peeking in my window.  I sprang out of bed and got dressed for some serious farm labour!

My first task was to finish bagging, fertilising and mulching the trees planted in the rain yesterday – 20 blackbutt along the western fence line and 27 kunzea (similar to a red bottle brush) bunched around the melaleuca and where the water flows out of the mulberry paddock.  Also another 14 blackbutt on the eastern fence.
With this task complete, I wanted to whippersnipper around the melaleuca and each new tree so I loaded up my trusty trailer with machinery and PPE and headed back to the paddock (the little quad can barely move through the watery quagmire on that side of the farm – it would be quicker to walk!).  However the first rule of using machinery is that they require fuel and the whippersnipper was actually empty.  Back on my bike…  All fuelled up I got the whippersnipper started and tackled the first patch – but it was not to be.  The minute the head touched the grass the cord ran out and it was back to the shed.

Rob did give me a very clear instructions on loading new cord and it looked very easy at the time however I must admit it took me quite some time to load up and put the whole thing back together again.  Anyway, all done and back to the corner for the third time.  Started up, pointed the machine at the ground and sure enough, the cord just tumbled out of its case like spaghetti.  At this I thought I would consult an expert and took the thing over to Haydn.  To cut a long story short, we worked out I had lost the spring so it was back to the shed to find the missing bits.  Found them but have absolutely no idea how to put it all back together again.  Result was no whipper snippering today.

So mowed instead for about an hour and a half (tried to do behind the tree line but still very wet) and gave Molly a thorough washdown at the end – I am sure it wasn’t all my dirt under there!
Continued work on the garden bed – came across the first “sleeper spider” – I have been waiting for it!
Took decisive action against my furry little friends in the back yard and blocked three of their holes using cut logs then filled in with dirt.  I don’t really feel like a murderer – I am sure they have a dozen “back exits”!  Sure enough at least three were eating out on the grass when i came in tonight.  Tomorrow it is the traps…
Posted by at 5:08 AM

2 COMMENTS:

  1. Wow, what a lifestyle!!! Sounds like hard, exhilarating, sastifying work!!!! You need a glossary for me – what are: dugites, 28s, the amoeba???

    Reply

  2. Glossary: dugites are a deadly west australian snake – they will be on the move now that the warm weather is nearly here. 28’s are beautiful bright green and yellow parrots (rosellas are also parrots – bright red and green) Ameoba… just a name we use to describe the shapeless, flowing mounds of dirt we are turning into gardens in the paddocks! Thanks for your interest!building ,

    Reply

“Blue Thunder”

Saturday, September 26, 2009

“Blue Thunder”

This is a short contribution by Rob to start introducing you to some of the characters on the Silk Road. We seem to have developed the habit of naming various pieces of equipment on our enterprise, Im not sure if we have done this because we are slowly loosing our marbles, or if it is just our way of bonding with and getting along with the temperamental ways of most of our equipment. I am hoping its the latter!!
Anyway, the first little gem I’d like to introduce you to is “Blue Thunder”, our first tractor. Blue Thunder is about a 1963 Fordson Power Major, she is a 75hp 6 cylinder (Wheat belt special) and was named due to the fact that she is bloody loud.. Most of the neighbouring properties know when we have sparked up Blue Thunder..
Blue Thunder was purchased from a caravan place in the Busselton Industrial area, where I noticed her sitting out the front with a “For Sale” sign hanging off her, anyway after a bit of negotiating, she was soon on her way to the Silk Road. Thunder has served us well for about 5 years, she has pulled a slasher around the mullberry padock and looked after our fire breaks during that period, as well as other odd jobs such as post hole digging, and removing old fence posts etc.
Sadly Blue Thunder developed some internal problems with her PTO clutch pack about a year ago, and had to be retired from slashing, but she is still a faithfull member of the Silk Road Family, and is often called upon to carry out the heavy jobs that require a bit of grunt.
Blue Thunder has also introduced a few people to the wonderful world of tractor operating. Our daughter in law, Rachel, has had her photo taken with huge smiles a couple of times while she has been in the pilots seat. There was also another occassion when we had an Irish tourist visit us, who absolutely fell in love with Thunder and begged us to let him do a bit of work with her. Needless to say he was promptly herded into the operators seat and given instructions on how to go round and round slashing… He came back 2 hours latter with a grin from ear to ear, and our front paddock completely slashed.. I wish they made more tourists like that.

The Sun Comes out at the Silk Road…

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Sun Comes out at the Silk Road…

It didn’t start that way though… halfway through a beautiful morning walk the skies opened up and I was once again huddling under a tree and taking photographs through a hole in my raincoat pocket! But it was a beautiful walk none-the-less. (I heard Aussie and Layla had come looking for me but they didn’t find me.)  The bush is alive with early blossoms of purple, gold, yellow, white and orange.  Everytime I walk there I get impatient to clean up the walking trail but it is just not a priority at the moment (and it is beautiful as it is anyway!)
I had a closer look at the trees that Gary discussed – the Blackbutt that he suggests should be felled is huge and would be enough to build chalets or a future guesthouse.  We could even use it for the new house floors if it worked out significantly more cost-effective than the jarrah.  It is a beautiful timber and I would look just as good as jarrah.  Options to weigh…
Speaking of floors, Ross and Jack have made good progress as the picture shows – I stood on one of our bedroom floor beams to take the picture of the ducks having their morning swim in the dam – this view will be the first thing we see every morning for the rest of our days – I think that is pretty special, don’t you?
Our neighbours’ house is coming along too – ground foor walls are up and the fence is down for the building of the “kangaroo fence”!
So you are wondering when sun came out?  Not until the afternoon actually but when it did, the Silk Road glowed with light and I remembered why we chose to live in the south-west!
So making the most of the beautiful outdoors, I got busy in the paddocks – added about 30 new plants to the amoebas, fixed up their fences and built a new one around amoeba three (good job if I say so myself!)  Gave the mulberries and everything else a dose of beetle powder; continued clearing and building the burn pile behind the tree line (that’s going to be a biggie!)  The paddock is still extremely wet – even my waterproof boots get wet down at the mulberry patch and driving the quad down there with a trailer is touch and go – I have made a dozen different tracks across the paddock trying to find the least sodden route!
Big news of the day is that pole position in the Harmans Mill Bigus Dickus Championships has changed hands with Puller Emmet bagging the checked flag yesterday.  His new purchase of an 8-tonne tipper truck puts him firmly in the lead and leaves the world wondering what No-Bog Sheahan will need to come up with to get back on top!
A quiet night was in order… made a fresh pasta with mushies from my little farm (felt like I was in a tuscan farmhouse!) with a beautiful white – my taste for wine has been rekindled thanks to the Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay from Ghuhen and Shufaa (it is now my absolute favourite wine!)
This morning I had a wonderful sleep-in (had the alarm set for 6am but for some reason it didn’t go off).  Have been making cups of tea, feeding the birds (a very shy female rosella has begun to visit) and cleaning up the house.  I registered to do the freeway ride but decided it was a long way to drive to ride such a short way and return transport was a difficulty.  So my alternative adventure is to cycle over to Rob and Maree’s block and plant some trees that I have promised them.  It is raining again (of course) but as soon as it stops I will get on the road.

Trish rang again – the Men of the Trees are giving us 900 trees!  That is way too many to pot so I will be going like a madwoman to plant as many as possible in the paddocks over the next weeks – it is too late in the season really but will make the most of the gift – can’t believe they want to give us that many!

Have found the skype microphone and camera – Rob and I will be able to talk for free now instead of mounting up ridiculous global roaming bills – fantastic..

Mulberry Maintenance…

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mulberry Maintenance…

Intended to write this last night but plum-tuckered after a hard day in the “field” I decided to have an early night instead.  As I said in the last blog – whether hail, rain or shine, I was going to get to the mulberry patch yesterday.  And of course it did all three on and off while I whipper snippered, pruned, fertilised, dug holes, planted trees and hammered in tree-bags.  There I was in my raincoat – soaking wet, wind and rain whipping at my eyes – while our neighbourly cows watched me over the fence thinking I must have mad humans disease!  This is the life! 

I had been thinking lately, that the mulberries were getting a bit of a battering by the wind and would benefit from a little protection.  So I whipper snippered a 2m width, 5m from the western fence and planted 22 acacia and astartea shrubs in three rows.  These are fast growing and will be a great wind break.  I think we should extend this barrier all the way up the fenceline to “melaleuca corner”. (which by the way are growing fantastically well – see the new growth in the photo.  Ghuhen and Shufaa will be very proud of them one day!)
The mulberries were nearly buried under grass and weed so I whipper snippered around each one (only a couple of near-ringbarkings along the way) and also along the length of the reticulation pipes.  The water is up to my bootlaces (and very cold) and it is unlikely I will be able to get a mower in there before I depart for Cambodia, so I am thinking about whipper snippering the whole area.  I have a plan for future drainage too.

Today I took a trailer load of the old sawdust mulch down there (luckily the quad bike floats) and mulched each mulberry plus all of the screening trees.  A quick pruning and a few repairs to the fence and my work in that area was done!

So next it was onto the amoeba where yesterday I had planted a few additional tubes and spread the mulch which had just been dumped in piles by the loader.  Fantastic excercise – I made sure I did equal shovels and rakes on each side for symetrical muscles!  Today I banged in the star pickets (using our new post hole “banger”) and placed the ringlock ready to be attached tomorrow (I just ran out of dry weather and energy tonight!)

On other matters, the house floor is well underway – progress pics tomorrow.  Have been talking with a tree cutter about felling some of our trees and have some serious work ahead to assess the best source of floorboards.  Gave Aaron the go-ahead tonight, though i have asked him to drop his price.  Given the time we have available and the fact that he has an “in” with the shire, I think it is best that he does the submission (much as I would really like to have a go at it myself and much as I appreciate the offer from Al re the plans).

Trish left a message tonight saying she had more tubes so I think I am in for some serious planting this week!

So am off to bed – dreaming of mulberries, peppermints and acacia seedlings – and looking forward to another day of good hard work tomorrow.

Update – Chateau Sheahan…

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Update – Chateau Sheahan…

Well, its raining again in downtown Wilyabrup so thought I’d do a morning blog to make use of the time and catch up on yesterday’s news….

It was all action at the Silk Road on Tuesday when the house flooring materials arrived on a semi-trailer.  As predicted, the driver would not take his truck down to the site – the road is now too boggy and would have resulted in tears.  (No-Bog Sheahan and his offsider Puller Emmett are both currently out of town and unavailable.)  So it was Horry HIAB to the rescue – the semi driver unloaded the floor and left the task to a very proud young Horry and his two assistants Ross and Jack.

 So construction of the floor has started.  The generator has used its first load of fuel and will refill the jerry cans today (including one for Haydn’s loader.)  I think I have already mentioned that the uprights for the floor are in and the sleeves bolted over the posts.  The pad looks great!  Also talked with Terry and confirmed the materials and colours – Bushland custom orb, with Monument trimmings and Rivergum roof.  After much deliberation I ordered treated pine for the feature panels rather than the proposed red cedar, and we will stain / oil to find the perfect match for the colourbond.  Colour matching, maintenance, longevity, price, were all reasons for this choice. Hardiplank is raw and needs to be painted a cedar colour – I would rather oil annually than have to sand and paint.  The decking will be treated pine too – we can match the colours of the feature to the deck.  (Small “building surprise” in that the assumed offer of jarrah decking is not likely to eventuate but all in all I am happy with the materials, decisions and outcomes!)

(Think I just saw a Port-a-Loo drive past my window so appears Ross and the team are settling in down there…)

Think i have already mentioned we have 130 cuttings.  Tasks I do daily are make up plastic tree bags and plant or re-pot some of the nursery stock.  Today I do not care if it is pouring rain – I am going to whippersnipper the mulberry patch and plant a row of screening trees down there to protect them from the wind.

Donna and Haydn came for dinner the other night – we drank red wine, played all our CDs and made lots of dirty dishes.  I made a pasta using my homegrown mushies, but unfortunately left the bread rolls in the oven all night and produced beautiful black rocks rather than mini-panini as intended.  I will leave bread-making to Rob from now on (and dishes of course…)

In other news, I took the business card to a printer in Busselton yesterday. Mike the Printer seems like a good bloke and will have 500 ready this week – $165. Will be handing them out like chook food before we know it!

Finally got off the telstra pre-paid and set up a business plan for my mobile – has 3G for email and global roaming.  No data pack yet but have the capability and I can transfer my SIM to my HTC when I travel.  I have made the decision to go Sky-Mesh for satellite internet, but have not yet rung them to go ahead.  When this is done I can set up our rob@margaretriversilkroad.com.au email addresses.  On other computer-y things, still can’t find the computer mike for skyping and am kicking myself because I know it is somewhere I see it often.  I also can’t find a download cable for the Olympus camera and am using my Verbatim cable – not sure if that is the right thing to be doing.

Have done a rough sketch of the showroom layout – I will scan and send all these little sketches to Rob soon.  Yesterday I priced wood fires and it will cost about 3,500 for the showroom and about 2,500 for the house.  Am still thinking about the slabs for the nursery though I did price some at Busselton Salvage ($5.80 each and they have about 16 there).  Am definitely growing out of the backyard but not sure it is a necessary expense at this stage – perhaps I will just clear the stumps and logs from the old dairy and use that.  In fact, thinking as I write, that is exactly what I will do.  We can add an extension later….

So that’s it for another day… had a lovely walk around this morning joined by two old friends who have obviously been missing me – I was already halfway through my walk when they appeared so I did not turn around or send them back but I imagine I have given them encouragement to come again another day!  (I think it is easy enough to guess who my friends are?)

State of the Nation….

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

State of the Nation….

Took a long walk around the property yesterday, checking the state of things after a week of wind and rain (which by the way has not abated!)  Lots of water on the ground and branches down all over the place – very messy but no real problems.  The road is very boggy in places.  Kevin has ok’d us to take some gravel from his stockpile to fix this and Ross / Haydn are organising it as we speak! 
Am keeping my eye on the “widow maker” and think it is slowly separating from the main trunk.  Haydn has offered to remove it and I have also spoken with a guy called Gary (who owns the mobile mill we have heard about and can produce boards for flooring on the spot – he is currently working next door and will pop over if needed).  I will think on that one and take one option or the other soon….  Will also have a think about floorboard options – Gary would fell and plank the jarrah, then take it for kiln drying and “tongue and grooving” in Busselton.
Our little creek behind the dam has become a raging torrent with the water literally pouring into the lake next door. I can’t wait to raise the dam wall and create a beautiful walking path through the peppermints…

The mulberry paddock is in a terrible state – still very much underwater and growing wild without our friends the sheep to eat it down. The mulberry trees themselves are surviving the weather but are better suited to a jam factory than a silk farm at the moment – loads of fruit but no leaf!  The moriculture bible has a chapter on leaf promotion which I am avidly reading at the moment! My mission for this week is to grab any break in the rain and at least whipper snipper and mulch around each tree.  I might think about some wind protection for them too – that is the leaf killer I think!  Meanwhile I have potted an additional 70 cuttings for a total of 130 new trees and have my fngers crossed for their strong and productive future!

On other matters, the paperwork for Adam is signed, sealed and delivered and 39 should settle as planned (think it is 6 October).  Another drama closed!!

Planted 6 more acacia in the amoebas and bagged / mulched / fertilised them, plus re-potted about 20 more tubes.  The reason for re-potting is that it is late in the planting season and it is unlikely we will be able to get them all in the ground before the rains finish.  So they go into a bigger pot and can live there happily until next May / June and the next rainy season.

Thats the Silk Road Farm Report!  Stay tuned for an update on the “caretaker development”, the showroom and business administration matters…. it’s all good fun!!!

A Wonderful Sunday…

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Wonderful Sunday…

Big day today… got up early to rosellas and my kookaburra waiting in the backyard for their breakfast and took a walk around to check for storm damage.  Plenty of branches down so more cleaning up this week.

Took the trailer down to Marg River to pick up mulberry tree from Chris and Ian.  Off course nothing is simple around here – took the ute to SupaGolf, intention was to take the trailer, empty the rubbish and head for MR.  Firstly the trailer was too full for the skip so decided to take theirs.  Haydn connected it up but no adaptor – searched high and low for it and cleaned out both the ute and the Ford to no avail.  Ended up taking the Ford.  Got there, found the mulberry too big to dig and too far advanced into budding for the season so decided to take cuttings instead – all that drama for a few cuttings! Never mind… At home, potted 60 cuttings. Graded them A, B or C according to their quality. Have them inside, in plastic tubs to simulate hothouses – think it will work quite well.

Finished off the kitchen design as Ross has asked for it for Monday. He probably doesn’t need the detail I have done but it made sense to get it out of the way now – plans complete, materials chosen, colours picked. The drawings need a bit of improvement but ok for Rob to view when I come to Buly.

Cooked the eucalypt fruits and zillions of seeds burst forth!  Cant wait to get those going – the little jarrah seedling is still going strong.  Did I mention that there a dozens of little peppies growing down at the dam?  They must have enjoyed the turmoil of the dam enlargement and have sprouted in all the disturbed areas.  There are also many in the bush which is great – saves planting to thicken up that area.

Looked on the internet to price hothouses as i think we will need one sooner rather than later.  Won’t break the bank but more interestingly i downloaded plans to build our own.  Will have a read of that over next few days and see if it is a worthwhile project.
More tomorrow…

An eventful week…

Saturday, September 12, 2009

An eventful week…

Another week has gone by without writing – it makes these entries too long so I will try to get back to short daily ones!  Spent a lot of time inside this week as the weather has been abysmal – really bad, even compared to the weather throughout August when we were both home on break.  Howling winds, lashing rains, stinging hail, etc, etc!

Major progress this week …

Got our ABN… we can now officially start doing business!  Booked and paid for all my travel and accommodation to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Hong Kong and Singapore.  Grace has decided to come with me to HK which is great!  I also emailed Rickshaw to book my flight back to Africa 24/10 (that is cuttig it very fine as i arrive back from HK that morning but i want to be sure i am there in good time for Kili.)

Saw Aaron re the DA – he has dropped his price by over 1k and says it should be no problem getting it through on the info i gave him.  Al kindly offered to do our plans for us too – it is a very generous offer and so i got busy doing the sketches to give him.  I think we will end up doing the whole approval for less than 4k and maybe even 3k.

First materials for the house arrived on site – Ross and Bres got busy on these.  Unfortunately one of them left the power lead in the shed door and caused it to be blown and buckled by the wind in the storms this week – i am not at all happy about that and will raise it with Ross on Monday.

Spent most of the week working in the mulberry paddock too – mowed as much as i could given the sodden state of the ground and cleared the two big piles of rubbish that have bugged me for ages!  The log pile was an archeological dig – digging through the kitchen middens of history!  I recovered fencewire, crockery, cutlery, oyster shells and other seafood remains, a shoe, bits of tin, asbestos, bolts, nails, etc, etc!  The pile of branches near the fence was almost worse – i was sure i would find a nest of dugites but turned out it was only rabbits and they bolted for the house as i pulled each branch away.  I also took my quad bike up the road fence firebreak and collected at least five trailer loads of sticks and branches to add to the fire.  Pity the storms came along next day and it looks twice as bad as before I started!

And on that subject there are tree branches down everywhere!  I will be out there morning, noon and night when it fines up and clean up as much as I can.  The rest will need chainsawing when Rob gets home.  (Will add some photos tomorrow…)
The Subaru was taken away… blown head gasket with a possible cracked head.  Will cost at least 1500 to fix and probably more – still have told to go ahead as we will need to fix it to sell it.  Leigh the Subaru man says it is a known fault in the Outback that has since been remedied in later models.  Great to know (now).  The tow truck was interesting – so was the driver!  Photos attached.

Have been very busy with small things too – I mentioned that I had Talon-ed around the kitchen cupboards last week – almost the very next day it seems they invaded in force, took all the baits and pood all through my lovely clean cupboards.  I have decided housework does not pay (but have still religiously done the dishes every single day!)  I have a big poisons day planned tomorrow and am targetting rats, mice, rabbits, spiders, cockroaches and anything else that moves on more than two legs.

I devised a sneaky way to work on my project plan given my computer crash.  I copied the document to my home computer and downloaded Project 2007 for a trial period.  I figured i would be finished before it expires and at least could print a hard copy in the meantime.  So have revised it and am now able to record progress as things get done.  Am very happy with myself on that one!

I have rung all the family this week – started with Dad for Father’s Day and continued with the rest of them!  All have said they will try to get down some time before i go away again.  Been quite a social week with lots of phone calls from from friends – Grace, Di, Mel, Michelle, Cath.  Am starting to get back into the world of the living!!

Trish was planning to come down and bring some tubes from Men of the Trees – she didnt end up coming but her son brought them down to Busselton and i met him there – 240 trees!!!  They are bankia, melaleuca, hardenbergia, eucalypts – unbelievable!  And we got them all for $50.  Bought some star pickets while in Busso so i can make a start on the fences when I plant some of these trees.

Think that is about it for now – will take a break while i download some photos and maybe add them later – anyway, for now it is goodnight!!

I’m Back…

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I’m Back…

Blogger Tag is back after an absence of over a week!  Rob did the circle from Kalgoorlie and brought Shufaa and Ghuhen to Margaret River for a few days – Rob and I played tour guide and our visitors had a ball!  Day One we drove south to Margaret River; Cape Mentelle Winery; Prevally and the Rivermouth; through Boranup Forest and Gallery; and Augusta Lighthouse.  Day Two we headed north to Bootleg Brewery; the Wyadup Aboriginal Centre; Busselton Jetty; Dunsborough; Meelup; and the Naturaliste Lighthouse.  Shufaa shopped till she dropped and Ghuhen sampled everything – he says we are obsessed with “tasting” down here – wine, beer, coffee, chocolate!  On their final morning we did a quick trip to the Chocolate Factory (boy it has grown!) and the Grove for Liqueur and Coffee (being only 9am we skipped the liqueurs).  Have to say I was disappointed in the reception from both these places – I hope the region is not losing its “cellar door” feel and succumbing to mass production and over-commercialisation.  I have made my commitment out loud… we will TALK with every single visitor who enters our door at the Silk Road!
Sadly, the time had to come for me to drive Rob and our visitors to Perth for their flight to Cairns and onwards to Africa and Bulyanhulu.  We had an early dinner at the Sicilian in Subiaco and then straight to the airport.  Rob was very downhearted and I felt terrible to “send him away” but eventually I had to leave him to board and fly on his way.
After a night at Grace’s, I drove away thinking this was to be the start of my lonely quest to build the Silk Road but only minutes down the road, Maree rang to say their sailing trip had been cancelled due to weather and they were just coming down to Margaret River instead.  So they stayed a few days and we had a great time – bit of farm work, bit of eating / drinking (Saracen / Cowaramup Club) and a bit of relaxing / walking (North Point and the waterfall).  We chopped and cleared the fallen tree in the back yard and while Rob mowed the lawn, Maree carted the debris to the burn pile on her new favourite toy the quad bike!  She also potted about 30 tubes.  Later I lit the bonfire with one tiny Jiffy Firelighter and burned every last stick from the yard.  We visited their block where i will plant a few trees for them before the winter ends.  On the last night, Haydn, Donna and Ollie joined us for a great dinner and The Boat That Rocked!
Theresa and Rodney popped in (after we ran into them by coincidence at Bettenaes) and we walked down to the house pad.  They stayed a while before heading off to Settlers for dinner.  It was really good to see them out and about!
Finally on Saturday morning, our visitors left and I sent Rob a text to say I was available for a nice relaxing conversation!  But it was not to be – next minute Ollie knocked and we spent some time over a coffee talking about his dilemna in getting sponsorship; then no sooner was he out the door than Kaye and Ted and Hannah rang with an invitation to lunch in Margaret River with her family.  So off we went and had a lovely time at Clairault – it was great to see “Big Hannah” and “Big Ted” again!

So my “lonely quest” to build the Silk Road starts today!  Have had a mad morning – cleaning visitor rooms; washing sheets; cleaning and mouse-proofing all the cupboards; cleaning out the freezer / fridge!  Believe it or not, I have enjoyed it immensely and really look forward to having the whole house in order for my next five weeks and return in December.

Thats it for today….

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