Winter has definitely set in up at the retreat.
The purpose of the trip was to make sure that there had been no storm damage or trees blown over in the last couple of weeks. We always seem to bring the rain with us – even in summertime – although it was mostly showers, which meant we could get out for walks.
This means mud inside the cottage and the next priority is to pave an area near the door and put a verandah up so that boots can be taken off and left outside.
Not being a huge cottage – it’s 6 metres by 6 metres – there is not a lot of floor space to have to wash, but after this trip I have decided to wash it on arrival instead of on departure; as I’m wondering if leaving the damp floor to dry in our absence is what is causing the condensation overnight.
Friday night was a chilly 3’C outside and although there is a small wall heater in the cottage and we had a nice fire outside, it was bedtime by 8.15pm as that was the warmest place! Saturday wasn’t too bad as the rain clouds kept the chill away, but Sunday morning was clear, bright and brisk. Inside the cottage humidity rose to 90% and we opened up the doors and windows to air out the place…… equilibrium was reached just after midday with the temperature rising to 11.3!!
The pace of this visit was somewhat slower than before as I was finishing with a bout of the flu and the paddocks were too wet to take the tractor into. A little yabbie fishing – only small ones, which were returned – from the bottom dam…. which was surprising, although the neighbour did let us know that he often saw people jumping the fence and putting nets in there. A couple of larger ones from the top dam provided an entree for Saturday night’s dinner. On a side trip to Echuca on Saturday, I saw a resin crocodile head that floats and thought that would make an interesting visual for the bottom dam – especially if it it didn’t float away down the overflow!!
A Pinwheel Hakea decided to turn up its toes on Saturday afternoon which was a shame as it was a good size tree. I have harvested a few seed pods and we already have 4 seedlings growing as an experiment.
When it browns off, I will drag it to a small pile where 2 others are and burn it. Apparently the seeds only germinate with bushfire smoke and it will be interesting to see if this creates a small colony of hakea seedlings! Saturday also saw the planting of a passionfruit vine along the home paddock fence. The first of the composting toilet buckets was tipped into a very large hole and the vine duly planted on top. I think we may have to wait a bit longer for the other buckets to be used, although perhaps the holes can be dug for the proposed fruit trees whilst the soil is damp and easier to get through…. I’m also wondering if the composting process wouldn’t be quicker in the ground…..
On Sunday, a few of the wattles lining the driveway had branches broken off, presumably by some over excited kangaroos on their way through … I was fortunate to be standing quite still (I was checking my step tracker app) when 3 large roos bounded past within a metre of me. I don’t know who was more surprised ….!! A walk around the perimeter of the retreat is about 2500 steps, not accurate as I got sidetracked going back to look at a couple of things and made a small detour here and there.
The main water tank remains a problem… there are several leaks which seem to be made worse by the increased pressure as it fills….The small tank next to the cottage only holds 500 litres and is filled quite quickly. To prevent damage from the overflow, it is regularly emptied into the big tank which would hold an estimated 40,000 litres when full. At present it is still only half full even though we have had some good rains.
The recent visitors helped to paint on a compound which is supposed to react with the water and create crystals in the cracks to seal the leaks, but it is only partially successful so far.
At one stage there was a significant leak and a patch of tractor tube, wood and held in with a fencing post sufficed until underwater cement from mending the pool tiles at home was applied.
Fingers crossed that the repairs can continue successfully – otherwise it will mean a new tank as this is the main water supply for the retreat.
The labyrinth was walked … the sage and the lavender continue to stay green and not nibbled by animals. The wattle trees inside the path are just about to bloom and will add to the ambiance…..
I didn’t have the energy this trip to re-define the pathway.
Just to the north of it lies what I call the “wild area”.. fenced off, it has a stand of tall gums, but mostly bush mallee and rocks. I discovered a mossy “pathway” and thought immediately of faeries and the like….