“What is this shit? I so hate you!”
A sulky Ruby kicked Ollie off the white leather second hand couch. Usually Ollie and Dame Plum sleep upon this couch, but not that night! Ollie the big dog, now lost and forlorn, standing all alone upon the timber flooring, took one look at Ruby’s new sheepskin bedding, and decided that it was both warm and comfortable. The new sleeping abode came with a side benefit of a reduced chance of being bitten by Dame Plum. Always something of a risk. Sometimes Dame Plum needs to send a strong message to the troops. Teeth are effective for this purpose.
Long term readers will recall two or so years ago, when Sandra and I purchased a white leather couch for the dogs to sleep upon. It was second hand, but the leather was made from super soft hide. The couch must have cost quite a lot when new, not so much second hand. The previous owner was presumably selling the couch because she’d used kiddie wipes to clean the leather. These things stained the white leather a weird yellow bile colour in places. Visitors might get the wrong impression. Dogs on the other hand, don’t care about such niceties.
Candidly, the couch did smell rather strongly of cleaning fragrances, and that set my sinuses on edge for a few weeks whilst the chemical load dissipated. I can’t imagine what the dogs made of the stench, but that’s their problem. They were at least more comfortable than their former bedding.
In an interesting side story, we dropped everything the day we had to pick up the couch. Sandra had become something of a lock down whisperer (due to the health subject which dare not be named). She believed that the state would be locked down that night, and so we’d arranged to head into the city earlier than previously agreed, and picked up the couch whilst it was still possible to do so. Sure enough, the city was locked down that evening. The lady selling the couch was only too happy to get rid of it. And I never found out how she replaced the couch. It is very possible she went without a couch for about four months. That’s how long that lock down went for – and there were others. At least there was a positive side benefit for the environment – the overall use of kiddie wipes was most likely reduced. Nasty things.
Ruby had never previously slept upon the white leather couch. Instead she had her own bedding on the floor. A large pet mat was covered by an old sheepskin, and that made up her bedding. The sheepskin has been in continuous use for many years, and was formerly the bedding of the delightful Sir Scruffy. He’d passed away three years ago. The pet mat is in great condition, mostly because it is made of super tough materials most likely not found in nature. The old sheepskin however, had seen better days and was looking rather tatty.
We set about a challenge of purchasing a second hand sheepskin to use as a replacement. A couple of weeks of occasionally looking for one, yielded results. It wasn’t even located very far from here. And on Thursday, the new second hand sheepskin arrived in the mail. For some reason, the sheepskin also smelled strongly of cleaning fragrance. It’s strong smelling and not very pleasant to experience. We left the sheepskin outside for a few days to ‘air off’.
Ollie slept on the new-old sheepskin for a night. The next day, Dame Plum inspected the bedding and likewise declared it to be good. Curiosity finally got the better of Ruby, and she finally reclaimed her throne. It was pretty stupid though. And that’s not a word I’d usually use to describe the dog.
There’s a bit of stupid going on at the moment. The state of Victoria where us humans and the dogs live, appears to be in a lot of debt. An awful lot. Turns out that it isn’t all that affordable to double the payroll of the public service over a short period of time, spend heaps on infrastructure, and lock down the largest city in the state for a planet-wide record breaking period of time. The combined policies display a lack of prudence. Anyway, all that costs heaps of mad cash. Now with interest rates rising, the bill is coming due.
What would Ruby do? Probably want the worn out old sheepskin, that’s what. That’s what economising looks like. The leader of this state may have other ideas though. He recently made a fascinating and disingenuous claim which sort of suggests that the lock down debt is akin to credit card debt. The rest of the debt was suggested to be akin to mortgage debt. Ollie would suggest that he’s wrong, and debt is debt, all other considerations to the side. Dame Plum would simply bite him.
Me, well, ignoring the recent bizarre social policies, it reminds me of the lead up to the recession of the early 1990’s. In the aftermath of those exciting recession days, heaps of state owned assets were sold off. That paid down the debt. This time around, it makes me wonder what’s left to sell? Certainly you don’t get much for a stained second hand white leather couch, no matter how expensive it was when new.
Despite the official pronouncements, and no matter how disingenuous, winter is here. That means cold wet weather, and reduced electricity from the solar photovoltaic panels. Some days it’s pretty bleak, but so far we’ve avoided using the generator and haven’t gotten the batteries lower than 60% full. That’s what living within your means looks like.
Earlier in the week I had a day off work. The weather that day was forecast to be more pleasant that what you can see in the photo above. With that in mind, I headed down into the forest to clean up and burn off an area where the loggers had dumped three upside down partially burnt tree stumps. Don’t get me started on the whys of this mess… 🙂
Anyway, two of the tree stumps were easily lifted from the ground using a steel six foot house wrecking bar as a lever. They were then cleaned of compacted soil and rolled down the hill into a clearing to be burned off.
The third tree stump was epic, and I couldn’t budge the thing. Instead I had to dig around the stump, then cut the thing in half. Chainsaws do not like cutting into timber whilst coming into contact with any soil. Soil blunts a chain almost immediately. As you can imagine, it was a hard job. And just prior to a very late lunch, I’d managed to finally break apart the bits of the stump I was unable to cut. The epic tree stump was in two pieces and I could just lift them both out of the ground, roll them down the hill where they were burned off.
The fire continued for two days until it was all gone, and only the ash remained to be spread around as a fertiliser.
It was good to have removed those three tree stumps. Under one of the tree stumps was a tunnel leading to a rabbit warren. Rabbits have no place being here, and the ones that are, give the dogs a run for their money and provide feed for the foxes. I’d prefer if the rabbits were elsewhere, and so part of the cleaning up process is reducing the opportunities for rabbits to become established. That’s what taking care of business looks like.
Surrounding the tree stumps were a lot of rocks. Presumably, the loggers bulldozers had pushed them to that location along with the tree stumps. But whatever the case may be, we recovered a number of very useful sized rocks during the clean up.
Another day was spent levelling out the site and relocating the excess soil. The tree stumps had had a huge amount of compacted clay stuck to their roots. The compacted clay had to be broken up and spread around.
In another week, we’ll add a mixture of compost and woody mulch to the surface and then the native ground covers will do their thing.
The excess soil was used to fill in holes and ground depressions in the nearby area.
The rabbits might not appreciate our efforts, but the other wildlife which lives on the farm sure does.
Last growing season was really weird with the strawberry plants. We grew lots of runners (new strawberry plants) but produced few if any berries. As well as timber harvesting, the area was originally used for growing potatoes and berries. I’m not noticing any plant diseases with the potatoes, but it may be a problem for the strawberries. Most of the strawberries which people have become accustomed to consuming are produced on highly bred plants, and they might be a bit problematic here.
Fortunately, there are alternatives, and I’ve begun experimenting with older (presumably less highly bred) varieties of strawberries. Those are known as Alpine Strawberries, and we’ll see how they go over the next year or two. They have the benefit of growing true to type from seed, so they’ll most likely suit my gardening style better. But we’ll see how the trial goes. At the moment we’ve got about four different varieties of the berries planted out.
In another fortnight or so, we’ll begin harvesting the huge kiwi fruit crop. In these cooler growing areas, kiwi fruit vines are amazingly prolific. Some of the crop will be used for fresh eating, but plenty will go into kiwi jam and wine.
At the beginning of the last growing season, we moved most of the citrus trees to the sunniest location on the property. Most of them weren’t doing well in the shadier conditions where they were originally planted. However, a few citrus trees were doing well, and the Pomello (an old variety of grapefruit) is one of those.
The cooler weather has brought out the mushrooms. It’s good to see those fungi chomping away at bits of tree. Lots of fungi is also a good sign as to the soil health.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 9am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 338.8mm (13.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 322.2mm (12.7 inches)