Saturday, 18 November 2006

Almost December 2006

Life Update
2006 has been a busy year – I spent most of the first 6 months relief teaching, although I did manage to get some short-term contracts teaching science. Maria did some great poetry performances, including performing at (and organising) a comic poetry night at the Belconnen theatre. It was a most enjoyable evening for all who were lucky enough to be there.

Roman had fun doing art and drama in a workshop at the Belconnen Community Centre, and took part in a play put on for all the parents. Lychandra achieved her Blackbelt in Hapkido and had her art displayed in the Canberra Centre representing her school.

And then, before we realised what had happened, July, and our plan for moving to our farm in Tasmania, came upon us and we were away. We were lucky enough to get on one of the last cruises of the Spirit of Tasmania (III?) from Sydney, and although we had to leave some precious people behind, it was without regret and full of hope that we drove up our long dirt driveway and to our new life.

Now November is half over, and the shops are full of Christmas cheer. The sauna is looking closer than ever to being finished, and will be by autumn. Plans for the shed have stalled slightly until I track down a decent Workers Compensation quote for the help I’ll be employing. Maria has done wonders with developing a sizable vege patch, a rockery, a herb garden, pruning the vast neglected orchard, and growing up an assortment of potential vegetables and windbreaks in a four-shelved hothouse.

My roll has been to hack the blackberry in the orchard into submission, fencing where required (most importantly around the vege patch to keep the Pademelons from a free feed), wood gathering (insert chainsaw noise here), making a dent in removing the willow forest that is taking over parts of the creeks, sauna building (I mentioned that already, didn’t I?),,fixing general infrastructure problems, putting green-tinted lazerlight over the back porch for a dry outdoor eating area, and removing remains of obsolete fencing and other (mostly) metal rubbish left around the farm after 100 years of use.

Both Sam (our new Black Labrador) and Unicorn (our lone sheep) are settling in nicely, but haven’t made friends yet. Sam is just discovering the joys of digging in an approved spot, and Unicorn has so much grass in the orchard that she looks a little overwhelmed by the task we’ve set her of keeping it short. We’ve seen the occasional wild rabbit and Pademelon, and have a resident echidna and platypus, and loads of native birdlife (mostly colourful woodland-type birds).

We are slowly getting used to our half-hour-each-way food trips into New Norfolk (our nearest supermarket, gas-for-hot water, and hardware shop), and our one-hour-each-way trips into Moonah (our nearest Hapkido/Tia-Kwon-Do class for Lychandra and myself), although I still can’t get over my 15 minute motorbike to work (at Ouse District High School) down empty, windy, country roads. I’ve been relief teaching there about 2 days a week on average and very occasionally at Glenora District High School (where Lychandra goes to school). That has given me more time to work on the farm (and the sauna), although frantically hoping that we manage to get most of the building work done before the money runs out.

Our neighbours are nice and no closer than about 400m away, and we are slowly making new friends with some of the locals who are as crazy as we are. As the weather warms up and we move into summer, I am amazed as to how green the paddocks on the farm are at the moment, especially compared to most other parts of Tasmania. It certainly seems to rain here a little more than in Canberra.

I’ve started an online photo album of photos of the farm, and I’ll be sure to put up some more photos of all the rainbows we seem to get (as well as the snow on the nearby mountain).

And to our friends, you are very welcome to visit or stay (short-term only, long-term by negotiation), and we’ll treat you to a home-brewed wine or beer, a sweat in the sauna, or a walk down by the creek, and some excellent home cooking. If you’re keen we’ll try our luck at fishing in the lakes or rivers, and as my brother-in-law found out, the nearest golf course is only 15 minutes drive away. And if you’re really really lucky, you’ll spot our resident wildlife before they become roadkill.

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