Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Veggies - Success and Failure At The Rental

I am really pleased with how most things are going in my box garden at our rental.  

The cucumber is going crazy with lots of flowers and the tomatoes are coming along.  We are looking forward to lots of fermented pickles this summer.

My bok choy is booming and we are picking it already and the eggplant has 3 eggplant on it already.

My mini watermelon is doing well but my 2 capsicums are not at all healthy with shriveled deformed leaves.

And then there is my potatoes which I think has blight or wilt, which is possibly related to my capsicum issues.

I am going to turn out my potatoes and see what is going on below the surface.  Perhaps there is something to salvage.

How is your garden doing?

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

A 2 Week NSW Road Trip - Part 3

We started the second week of our trip staying at Lithgow staying at the Lake Lyell Recreation Area campgrounds.

Since we were in the area we took a day trip south to Katoomba.  Because we could not take Jessie walking in all the national parks we settled for a visit to the 3 sisters look out with her in tow and lunch in town followed by stops on the way back to camp to do other things.
At the three sisters look out there were heaps of Asian tourists there and they were fascinated with Jessie.  The kids wanted to pat her and people were taking photos of her, right now she might be famous in Asia.  She was so good taking it all in her stride, the crowds, the strangers and all the attention.

The Three Sisters

We headed into the town center for lunch and to have a bit of a window shop. As we walked down the main street we discovered that everyone eats out with their pets in tow and out side every cafe there we dogs sitting with their owners. It was great and when we sat down to lunch our nice waiter even brought Jessie a bowl of water.
Again she was really well behaved sitting under my seat watching the passers by.
We stopped of at Evans lookout to checkout the view before heading further back down the mountain.

Evans Lookout

We stopped off at the Hydro Magestic which was a spa retreat built in the early 1900's.  There is an amazing gift shop/cafe/museum filled with interesting artifacts and information from the original hotel which was partly destroyed by fire last century.

The Hydro Majestic

When then travelled on to the historic village of Hartley which is considered one of Australia best historic villages with a total of 17 buildings to investigate.  You can read a bit about the village here.

Ivy Cottage - built 1845

The Farmers Inn - built 1846

This building has seen so much foot traffic the stone stairs are worn away and dip in the middle and below the door.

The old inn at the end of the street was amazing with it's stone verandah, split slab walls and hiding under that tin roof is the original shingle roof.

Shamrock Inn - built 1840's

The rear extension of the building made with timber slabs

Original timber shingles

The sandstone church and presbytery were stark reminders of the wealth and power that the church had in that era as was the court house across the road.

St Bernard's Presbytery - built late 1850's services finished 1965

The court house was an amazing building and it was not just used as a court.  It was the jail, the post office until 1846, land office, registry of births, deaths and marriages and the court house with clerks room. magistrates room an lock up. Then after WW1 it was used as a community hall

The court house

The Old Post Office - built as a residence in 1846
Operated as a post office from 1846 - 1982
Lithgow is a very pretty place and we would have liked more time to explore. We did a bit of a driving tour around the city and saw a lot of the mining history however a lot of it was under restoration/being improved for the public to view as part of their history trail.  I especially liked this sign at one of the old mines.

I will be posting the final part of out trip later this week and a post about some of the amazing wildlife we encountered along the way.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Surgery Round One

This week Hubby had the first of his 2 carple tunnel operations.  For a number of years the pain and numbness in his hands has gotten worse and worse.

As an Aborist he spends a lot of time holding on to chainsaws with a tight grip often dangling from up in a tree.  So as you can imagine having no feeling in your hand while you work is more than just annoying it is very dangerous.

He will spend 2 weeks unable to drive and a week unable to use his fingers much at all so needs help with a lots of things including getting dried after a shower and opening things.  
We will wait and see how he goes after this surgery before he has the next one done in early 2016.  We have no idea how quickly it will heal and how long it will be until he gets the strength back in his hands.  We have to have faith that he will get the strength back in his hands and can go back to his old job but there is a chance that he will not be able to go back to his old job and will have to look at a new career.
This is not an entirely bad thing as he has wanted a change for a while but only time will tell what happens next.

In the meantime I have him at home with me every day as I work from home, yay (not).  I have taken him down to the local library and got him his own library card.  He is not a reader but they have heaps of DVD's, CD's and great magazines and have can have 20 items out at a time so that is holding the boredom at bay for now.

Any tips for keeping injured husbands amused?

Monday, 7 December 2015

A 2 Week NSW Road Trip - Part 2

After spending a few days trying to keep cool in the Chitchester state forest we packed up camp and headed south to the Watagen Mountians inland from the central coast.  When we were packing up I noticed Jessie had some blood below one of her eyes but I could not find and cuts or scratches and she seemed fine so we hit the road.

We were camping in The Pines campground at the Watagen mountians so named as you are camping among the pine trees.  We were the only ones there when we arrived so we had our pick of sites.

When we unfolded the tent to set it up we came across a huge leech filled with blood ewwwww.
And then it dawned on me... the blood on Jessies face in the morning.
So I called her over so I could have a better look now that I knew what I was looking for.  It was then that I notices that her pupil was fully dilated on one side which lead me to look not around her eye but at the eye itself.  And there it was a big lesion on the eyeball that I guessed had been caused by the leech.  Because it was up under here eyelid and she is black like the leech we did not notice it. Plus we think it was there all night.  We were a bit unsure how serious it was but it was late afternoon so we decided to take her to the local vet the next day.
Turns out that was a good thing as the vet told us she had never heard of a leech on the eyeball before and could not find any information about it anywhere, additionally the lesion could have easily gotten infected due to the hole the leech had left and the blood blister it left could have ruptured leaving her blind.  The vet gave us eye ointment to be put in her eye twice a day and advised us keep her out on the sun, wind, dust and water (back to having her breathing down my neck in the car) and to book a follow up appointment in 5 days time.  So we called ahead to a vet in Lithgow where we knew we would be and organised a follow up appointment.

You can just see a bit of the blood blister in the corner of here eye.  This is about 3 days later one the pupil dilation had gone
So to keep Jessie out of too much sun but not too bored we made sure we went walking early in the mornings before it was too bright and spent time hanging out by the creek to keep cool.  We had 2 40 degree days while we were there so trying to keep cool was a  priority.  Thankfully we had plenty of shade over our campsite.

Early morning Walks

Keeping cool by the pool the water was FREEZING

There was a resident Satin Bowerbird at the campsite trying to attract the ladies.  When courting the males build a bower from sticks grasses and reeds and decorate the area in from of them with items of a particular colour usually blue.  I managed to get a few photos but it was hard to get one of the bowerbird at his bower but I hid in the bushes for a while and fianally got a few.

The beautiful colours of the satin bowerbird

The bower and the decorated dancing area in front

Mr Bowerbird in front of his bower

We also saw a really big freshwater crayfish in the swimming hole it was about 15- 20 cm long he would have made a good meal but we left hem where he was.

Part of the reason for our trip was to see family that we might not get to see again before we move to New Zealand.  We spent a day with Hubby's Aunt, Uncle and cousins who I had not met.  It was lovely to see them and our visit coincided with a birthday so we celebrated with a lunch out.  We left Jessie at their place with a bone and she was fine with that for a few hours.

Hubby's family

We also had time to catch up with my Great Aunt Maggie (my Pops sister) her daughter and grand daughter.  We have not seen my Great Aunt for about 4 years so it was lovely to see her looking so well.  We left the Watagen mountains and had lunch and spent the afternoon with my Great Aunt before heading west to Lithgow and starting our journey home.

My Great Aunt and family
After just this one week on the road we were both feeling very relaxed and we had so far had perfect weather apart from the rain on day 1, and the good news was we still had a week to go.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

A 2 Week NSW Road Trip - Part 1

Hubby and I have just been on a 2 week road trip around some of NSW.  After the last 6 months of waiting for our house to sell, moving and all my University work we really needed a break.  We did just go to New Zealannd back in September but we had so much to do while we were there it was not much of a break.  My great aunt lives in Sydney and hubby's aunt, uncle and cousins are just north of Sydney and with our planned move to New Zealand we wanted to make sure that we caught up with them before we left.  In addition Hubby is about to have surgery on both hands over the next month and a half for severe carpel tunnel and will be unable to drive for a while and will be off work for some time so we decided to get the road trip in before that happens.

Jessie came with us travelling on the back of the ute in her dog crate.  She loves travelling and having her in the crate is much better than having her in the back seat puffing down my collar.  Her crate measures approx 1.8m x 75 cm has a corrugated metal roof and steel mesh sides.   She has plenty of room to move around and it allows us to stop and go and do things leaving her in the shade for an hour or so if needed.  We do not leave her that often but a small bone keeps her very happy while we do other things.

Jessies crate allows her to look through the back window or up the side around the cab.
On our first day took us south to northern NSW and we called in at Kyogle where we caught the end of the farmers market where we picked us some herbs, salad greens, corn and sourdough bread.  We had intended to stay at a free campsite near the town of drake but a huge storm front was sweeping up the country and the campsite was a bit washed out so we decided to keep on driving.

In the end we covered over 700 km that first day ending up on the first day to a lakeside camp ground just south of Tamworth at Chaffy Dam.  It was a lovely spot with hot showers, flushing toilets, heaps of room, plenty of room for all water sports and at $5 per night per car very affordable.

We had lovely weather and look at the view I woke up to from my bed.

Good morning Jessie

From out spot by the dam we took a day trip to Nundle to visit the Odgers & McClelland Exchange Store.  Oh what a treasure trove in such an amazing historic store that began trading in the 1890's
I picked up some enamel pie dishes, a bottle brush, some tea and a fancy new garden spade that will remain unused until we get to New Zealand.  There were lots of other goodies I could have purchased but as we had limited space I decided that the heavy bulky spade was a priority over items more easily posted as they have online shopping.

Check out the receipt from 1936
I also called in at the Nundle Woolen Mill but only had a quick look as it to was far too tempting and I do not need any more wool so had to restrain myself.  If you are ever in this neck of the woods make the effort to call in and if you aren't it is a great drive in so it is worth the effort.

As we travelled we saw lots of old amazing buildings like the old barn and grain silo in the photo below well I think that is what they were. Ideas anyone?

Whenever we travel I am always interested in the native animals that we encounter.  Australia is so blessed with exciting and unusual wild life and amazing birds in all range of colours.  As we were driving we saw road signs advising of the potential animal sightings you know the ones.  We passed one for wombats and I got a little excited telling Hubby how we might see one.  He laughed and told me they mainly come out at night and if I saw one it would probably be roadkill.  Sadly he was right, we passed a number of dead ones on the road.  Then a minute late he asks me if I saw the one on the side of the road.  I hadn't and he told me he thought someone had tied a wombat toy to a road side marker.  But I made him turn around just in case as I had never seen a wild wombat before.

Image result for animal road signs

And there he/she was, a real wombat on the side of the road.  Sadly it looked like he had a case of wombat mange but it was still very exciting to see one in the wild.

Our third stop was a lovely forest campground in the Chitchester State forest just north of a really interesting town called Dungog.  We had the entire campground to ourselves so Jessie was free to roam as she wished not that she ever goes far as she likes to be involved in what ever we are doing.

By this time we were feeling well and truly relaxed, lots of reading was getting done, there was crochet around the campfire, games of cards and majong were being played and things were going smoothly.  But we were about to hit a little speed bump in our trip, nothing we could have planned for or easily avoided.  But more about that tomorrow.