27 May 2019

R.I.P. Flash

Not the post I thought I would be adding today. Flash seemed to become unwell quickly from Saturday afternoon and then she stopped eating, though she would drink water and seemed quite alert.  She couldn't rise without help yesterday evening so she camped in the kitchen on her hammock bed with a blanket over her.

This morning we took her to the vet and our fears were confirmed. She had a swollen liver, and her lungs were somewhat congested. Classic signs of a dog reaching the end of it's life. PC and I gave permission for the vet to put Flash to sleep, then we brought her home to bury her. She was just as much PC's mate as mine for the last couple of years.

Flash was my shadow and my best friend, for most of the nearly 15 years of her life but, as I was always the one with the camera, I don't have any photos with both of us in them. Not that it matters as she will always be "with" me. 

The only dog that belonged to just me. The only dog that wouldn't work for anyone but me.
My "bestest" dog I used to call her....and she was. 

So long Flash, say "Hi" to the others animals who have preceeded you, from me, all of whom hold special places in my heart and memories. Shame animals don't live as long as humans.  

Robyn Louise

24 May 2019

Timber recycle

Yesterday the tree removal contractors  that the council uses, came out and cleaned up the fallen tree and other fallout where it had crashed through the surrounding flora.

They started at about 8 am and finished around 11.30 am. I was amazed at the size of the branches the industrial wood chipper could consume.

There was expected damage to the fence that we will insist the council repair.

The manager asked if we would like to keep the remaining large logs and woodchip or have them remove it. We have friends with woodfires, and apparently this is a Blakely's Redgum, so has good burning qualities, low sparks and excellent coals. It will need to be split soon, though, as it has a reputation of being difficult to split. Considering the drought in progress and the cost of buying mulch I decided to keep that too! There wasn't as much as I thought from so much tree but it will be useful.

Being impressed by the way they worked I also asked for the company's card as there are a few trees that can be a problem, at the front of the house, that we will need to remove in the future.

Stay safe everyone, and always keep an eye on trees that creak as it may not be branches rubbing against each other!

Robyn Louise. 

17 May 2019


About 2 years ago PC sent a letter to the local Council requesting that some dying trees on the verge be removed. He followed up with a phone call a few weeks later when no reply had been made and no action had been taken. The answer given was that it was being looked into. A few weeks after that a council team ofworkers came out and cleared a few branches that were close to the roadway and we were given the impression (verbally) that a more major tree clearing was being organised for the area when a professional tree maintenance group was contracted.

Yesterday afternoon, around 5pm, I was cutting branches off a Peppercorn tree that overhangs our property fence. I heard a creak, stopped working, and looked up at the nearby trees, noticing there was no wind disturbing them. Then after I looked away I heard another creak and a soft whooshing sound and my memories of trees falling, whilst horse riding in the bush, kicked my flight or fight adrenaline response into top gear and I bolted.

I heard the thud and crack of tree branches crashing down behind me, and felt the wind they created, but I didn't stop running until I was halfway across the one acre paddock. I had to sit down until my legs stopped shaking and I could breath normally. When I studied where the branches had fallen I saw that I would have been underneath a heavy side branch, which had broken down the peppercorn branch I was cutting back, if I hadn't moved.

It's midday now and, even though I rang the emergency number and reported the incident within an hour after it occurring, the lane has not been blocked to traffic and no one has appeared to evaluate the situation. A phone call to Council this morning hasn't prompted them to send a clearing and evaluation team either.

Where the bright green squashed Peppercorn tree branch, in almost the centre of the picture, is where I was standing prior to the tree trunk breaking.

The fence is approx 165cm high, or 5' 6" so the main trunk that broke off is about 50cm (20") thick. That is a good few tonnes of wood. I would have been blood and bone if I had no idea about the way a tree creaks before it breaks. An advantage of having lived in the bush most of my life.

In the centre of the group of trees the lighter coloured broken trunk can be seen at the top of the photo. 

Fortunately, there is a smaller paddock that the grazing animals can be contained in, for the time being, as I don't want them near this corner of the property until all the dangerous trees on this end of this lane - see photo below - are removed by council. Our fence is to the left of the photo. I'm going to make a nuisance of myself, with council, until this is done.

Stay safe everyone,

15 May 2019

Something new

I haven't grown Sweet potatoes (kumera) before, and I'd just about given up, as each time I checked under the lush vine there were only scrawny little roots.

When I was watering them this morning, after not doing any checking for almost a month, I saw that the soil was raised in heaps. I dug into the soil and unearthed this (my size 7 boot is for comparison)

which was a huge surprise as I thought the whole project had failed. On quick investigation I discovered there are quite a few other tubers around this size available.

Maybe it just needed a cool change to the weather to encourage the vine to store more energy in it's roots, making them larger!

I'll harvest as required as I don't need the garden space they are growing in. Considering the current price of these at the shops I think it's worth it to have these home grown.

Robyn Louise

26 Feb 2019


It's not often, now, that I refer readers to another blog but I read an inspirational post that is worth sharing this morning.

It is on a blog I have followed for years, written by someone I admire for their energy, their lifestyle and their attitude on life.

Enough of my preamble. Read it here. 

RobynLouise XO

22 Jan 2019

Hot, hot, hot.......

That's not an advertisement for a new product but a comment on the weather over here, in the Central West Plains of NSW, Australia, the last fortnight.

Temperature has broken local records at 45.8 deg Celcius. Thankfully the newly installed solar power system has saved us a small fortune as the air-conditioners have been in operation 24 hours a day, unlike previous years, as even the lowest night temperatures have been 24C or more. We had a hen die last week from heat stress. Ice containers cooling the water, wet patches on the ground where they can sit under the trees, and even shallow dishes to stand in didn't help on the day when the winds were hot and brisk. Two days before that one of our hens hatched 6 chickens in 44C heat! One died the next day, but it had a difficult hatch and was possibly blind so it may have been kinder that it did die, even though we took over the care and did our best for it.

Even the outside dog has been encouraged to come inside. She's 14 now so she feels the temperature changes more keenly.

Of course the cat is mostly inside as he "owns" the place....hahahaha....

The temperature dropped to 38C over the weekend but the humidity rose so the weather was still difficult to endure. I will definitely be glad when Autumn weather arrives with cooling breezes and the possibility of rain.

Mulching and deep watering infrequently has kept the  few vegetables and fruit trees alive, though my little Emperor mandarin has dropped all it's fruit. The lemon and the lime tree haven't flowered this year, but as they too are small, I'd rather the energy go into strengthening the tree than into fruit. The worms are still producing their type of fertiliser and I'm grateful for it as the compost isn't breaking down very quickly in this dry hot weather. Photo is about 2 litres of worm juice that I gather once a week.

I participated in a Christmas card swap last year, in a forum I am a member of, and received cards from 2 members in England. I should have posted these earlier, but it doesn't alter the fact that they are beautiful cards, and much work has gone into the making of them. Thanks again, Sarah and Josey.

Sarah's card

Josey's card

My card to Josey

Robyn Louise XO

10 Jan 2019

Solar Power!

Yesterday was the completion of the solar power installation. This installation should give us the electricity we need to perform daily household tasks as well as power for hobbies like sewing, woodwork and welding. There were already 3 phase power lines installed on the property when Hugo bought it.

Installation - that's the roof of my craftroom with the mechanical workshop next to it.

It was surprising how quickly these were set up and screwed down. 

The solar panels all angled nicely to collect the sun's rays. They also have the effect of shading the buildings below them reasonably effectively but not interfering with the air flow over the roof.

The Inverter

The inverter is linked via internet to my mobile phone and also to the computer, so we have a record, whenever it is collecting power, of the kilowatts of power being collected, the kilowatts we are using and also the kilowatts of power going to the grid. 

Basic Statistics
Fronius Symo Inverter 8.2-3-M
36 x Phono Solar Technology Hyperion Solar Panels which delivers 9.9kWp
IR = 116% (allows for degradation over time of panels)

Robyn Louise XO

4 Jan 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR! ,Procrastination and Intentions


No resolutions but I intend to stop procrastinating....again...and begin intentionally planning as I have a couple of times previously. 

To fine tune this I have purchased a book, which uses a method that I have researched extensively, over the past year or so. At first I thought it was just another scrapbooking gimmick as social media was flooded with it. I have learned though, that if you want to know the real facts you go to the source, so I searched other areas on the internet and found these: -
both of which interested me as I'd read similar before but didn't realise the importance of it, to me, at the time. 

 I discovered that I could relate to what Ryder said, then he wrote a "manual" about it, which resonated with me as I have always been a reader, but I find some learning methods need a mixture of reading, hearing (audio) and doing (kineasthetic)  for it to capture my interest and for me to learn it. The basics of this is simple but I needed the original version, with all the later "fluff" and  everyone else's version absent, to visualise how it could work for me otherwise it seemed just another collection of lists, but in a notebook and not on loose pieces of paper.

I have also discovered there are many everyday items, that use up my time ineffectively, so I am evaluating what is necessary and what is "pen twiddling" or just something to do to fill in time when I cannot think of something more practical to do. It is surprising how much can be achieved in 5 minutes if you just do it! My friend Rose, from the DTE forum, taught me this but I let life direct me in recent years and lost the habit of intentionally finding something purposeful to keep me occupied.

Blogging needs to be scheduled as well or it becomes intermittent and then non existent. Routine is something I've always had a problem with but if I can make the daily living tasks routine then I figure I will be able to meet unexpected challenges with the time and focus needed than if my mind is cluttered with trivialities that I can solve/complete in a spare 5 minutes of clear thinking.

Trying something gives a better understanding than just looking at it from the sidelines so that's my plan this year.

Robyn Louise XO