Our record rains were reported on the news last night. I missed it. The rain has stopped and the weather today reminded me of a crisp fall day in Maine. It will be windy for the next few days and with a southerly wind (perhaps from Antarctica) and I had to find my wool socks again. Tim went off to do manly things and I hung around the house. He found some of the culverts we just cleared full of silt after the last downpour. I guess it’s back to the rock pile for me.
I spoke with the crew of a boat, which anchored at Erith Island last night, and gave them the weather forecast. it looks like they will be here for a few days. They made an ill fated attempt to leave this morning and encountered big seas and 30 knot winds. So they came back.
The garden is a big success. I’m pulling carrots out in bunches. I finished spinning a skein of alpaca on the drop spindle. And it’s sooo soft.
Here are photos of the turkish drop spindle, spinning, then being taken apart
to result in, like magic, a center pull ball of yarn. Lastly, I take both ends of yarn and spin them together again to ply the yarn (combine two or more strands together). So after about 4 days work, I have 100 yards of 2 ply, lovely alpaca yarn.
I think i stirred things up with cleaning and blogging. I cleaned the house and the next day awakened to several small, dead spiders in the house. Maybe they ran out of insects to eat or I destroyed their webs. I purposely left two spiders as sentries over the doorway to the sun room to keep the house clean of bugs. I took photos of the dead spiders in the morning and one I ran into at the lighthouse in the afternoon
Then I blogged about vacuuming spiders. I got to put it to the test yesterday.
First, Tim was clearing a trail, while I painted the lighthouse stairs. I had the better of the jobs because once again the views were phenomenal. The wind was howling around the lighthouse and the tower was singing and groaning and the stairs were actually vibrating. What fun!
Tim was working away on Squally Trail and was bit by not one, but two, jack jumper ants. I wrote about them earlier and have a link to a photo here.
Yikes. At least he didn’t have an allergic reaction to it, which is fairly common. Then to make matters worse, he came home to shower and while he was in the shower, a huntsman spider
was on the outside of the shower door. He couldn’t get out of the shower because if he slid the door, it would have run inside the shower and they are surprisingly fast. He called me to get rid of it. I was hysterical laughing because it is so incredibly huge. I got a litre container and the mouth wasn’t big enough. Then when I moved towards it, the spider started to go in the shower. I could hardly stand, I was laughing so hard. I resorted to extreme measures and got out the vacuum. The spider is about 3X the diameter of the hose but I got it running and managed to suck it into the vacuum. Then we plugged up the hose with a paper towel. How long until it dies in there? And is there a flap to keep it in? I hope so. It may turn out the dead ones are actually more dangerous but the huntsman are so big and ugly.
We received a phone call in the afternoon from the Young Endeavor, anchored in Garden Cove. She is a 44 meter Naval Training Vessel, with a youth training program for kids aged 16-23. It focuses on personal development and growth sort of like Outward Bound and 10,000 kids have done it. This year they sailed with the Sydney Hobart racers as a support vessel. There is a crew of nine Royal Australian Navy personnel and 28 youths in training. A group came up to the lighthouse and then they invited us down for a tour of the boat. What a treat. The kids were a little green because they sailed here in 30 knot winds overnight and were happy to be on land, hugging trees? A cure for seasickness. They all climb the yard arms and have their first go at it in the dark so no one can really tell how high they are. By the end of the trip, they take over the ship for 24 hours and are observed by the Naval crew.
The crew couldn’t have been nicer and more safety conscious. They met us on the beach with a dinghy and foul weather gear and lifejackets. There was a mildly dicey transfer to the ship from the bouncing dinghy up a ladder on the side. We had a grand tour and stayed for dinner! Very sweet. The wind picked up while we were aboard and we caught a ride back ashore. We landed in water up to our chests in the surf but luckily my glad bag kept my camera dry.
We hoped to watch them sail off today but for some reason they were delayed and our stomachs called us back home for lunch.
Then as I was finishing this entry and enjoying a cuppa, they came sailing through Murray Pass. Tim hailed them on the radio to say goodbye and I ran up Barn Hill to catch some photos. They poked around Erith a bit and headed on to Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria.
Now we’re thinking of sailing on Tall Ships as our next adventure. Tim as mate and me as cook. We looked up a few in Maine and they all use wood fired stoves in the kitchen and are all looking for cooks. What does that tell you?
A domestic aside.
The sun is amazingly strong here. My eyes take time to adjust every time I venture outside. Sunglasses have to be close at hand and are usually dangling around my neck. Skin cancer rates are almost epidemic in Australia. We are both fair, so we use sunscreen recommended by the Dermatologist, Neutrogena with Helioplex, and SPF shirts. The problem is the sunscreen leaves orange stains on clothing and pillowcases. At first I thought it was rust from the water but a little investigation on the internet revealed that yes indeed, sunscreen stains. One site even mentioned carotene as an ingredient. Carotene is the orange in carrots.
We use a cute little device called a twin tub washer here. You fill it with a hose, wash in one tub then move the clothes over to spin them. The downside is you see how dirty the water gets after the wash.
Most cleaning solvents here are “professional strength”, concentrated and 3X strength. But none could get out the stains. Tim had some really orange ones all over the collars and sleeves of his SPF shirts. One was white, so I scrubbed it, soaked it, bleached it, threw some vinegar in the water for good measure and used the 3X industrial strength cleaners. No luck. It remained orange and so did his tan one, which I was reluctant to bleach. The photo on the left is AFTER the wash.
So I thought about the sun. And I remembered my teens when lemon juice and sun were all the rage to lighten your hair and, in fact, my hair is getting bleached by the sun. I have good old lemon juice in the fridge so….I took some lemon juice and squirted it on the collars and turned the clothes line to face the sun. Within an hour the stains were gone. Why spend all this money on cleaning products when simple things like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and good old fashioned elbow grease do the trick?
Ironic that it took the sun to clean the sunscreen.
After two weeks of dry sunny weather, it’s been raining for three days. Not as much as up in Queensland where rivers have flooded and an area larger than Germany is covered in water. Five towns there were wiped out in the past couple of days with loss of lives and major property. We’re just having a little rain and lots of wind. So, I’ve been indoors knitting and spinning and baking.
This morning, i finished a pair of socks. I knit them from yarn I spun from a sheep named Blackie who lives in South Australia. I had just enough yarn to finish them with about a yard of yarn left over. They will be extremely warm and are a nice way to bring the fleece back to the States. At the same time, I’ve been spinning a mixture of Tasmanian Mohair and merino and haven’t decided what to knit with it. One can never have too many socks.
Here’s an update of what I have knit or spun since we arrived.
Our work party managed to leave this morning. They tried yesterday but turned around due to crazy seas. There was a window this morning and they jumped through it. Last night we enjoyed self saucing pudding and a terrible movie. This morning I can hear my beer gurgling in the pantry and it’s a fairly soothing sound. Maybe even better than the beer itself.
We’ve had boaters in for tea and we’ve been invited aboard for tea. I used the words, “keen” and “bloody hell” without thinking twice the other day. No accent, just an expanded vocabulary. To clarify a further post, our friend Malcolm told us porkie comes from the cockney phrase, pork pie, which rhymes with lie. At least we haven’t been called seppies: septic tank, which rhymes with Yank who are full of –it. But maybe it’s just because most people think we are Canadian.
The Deal island Lighthouse doesn’t actually sit on the highest point on the island but it’s close. The lighthouse is officially at 305 meters and is 12.5 meters high. We climbed to the peak just next to it, which is higher but wasn’t a good site for the lighthouse because it’s only dirt and rocks. There’s more granite at the lighthouse site and it’s not as close to the edge of the cliffs.
Survey marker at the high point
It was hot and calm and we enjoyed a picnic lunch at the lighthouse. The wind came back with a vengeance today but we still had visitors. A lovely family of four on a trimaran, Mustang Sally.
Tim keeps trying to lure me to the edge of very high cliffs. Should I worry?
View from 1000 feet to the rocks and surf below. There’s not enough perspective to really see how high we were.
But the views of Barn Hill, Dover and Erith islands were spectacular.
I only need to look around at the rocks to find all sorts of interesting things. I met a GP from Sydney the other day who was happy to learn she wasn’t the only one seeing things.
I am not the only one who sees a duck here, am I?
I wish I was imagining things instead of seeing the spiders I have found around the house. Apparently they are relatively harmless but I wouldn’t do well if I found one on me when I was sleeping.
A visitor told me they would probably only bite if provoked. I asked, “what if I screamed loudly?” He said you could try that. Actually, there would be no thought behind screaming if I found this on me. Chelsea had one inside a bus. I bet there was some screaming there.
Oddly enough, Australians almost uniformly fear ticks. I can handle ticks. It must be something about the devil you know…
We don’t have one. We depend on no utility companies, only the wind and rain. (Except for Telstra internet and phone and we haven’t had internet for two days). We are well stocked with power and water. We get our energy to run a freezer, refrigerator, lights and computers from a solar array which generates about 7.5 kwh daily, and the energy is stored in a bank of batteries. We seem to use about 3.5 kwh daily.
There’s a backup generator if the sun should stop shining. This replaced a diesel based generator system. Not much fun getting the diesel up the hill or paying for it.
We get our water off the roofs of the houses. Our drinking water is collected in a new fiberglass tank and we filter it through a ceramic filter. The rest of the water comes from two concrete tanks, from which Tim occasionally scoops out dead bats. The next major project is to cover the tanks and keep out the bats and other wildlife.
We run a little honda engine, which pumps the water (but not the bats) up a hill to a tank about 1/4 mile from the house. It takes about 20 minutes to top it off. Then when we want water in the house, we just open the tap and it runs down the hill. Lots of engineering came before us. We just turn on the light switch and flush the toilet.
We all speak English here. First of all I still can’t believe the US has not adopted the metric system when the whole world uses it. So I have to translate all measurements and weights, kms, grams and cms. But there are words here I haven’t heard before and we often have to ask what someone is talking about. Before we arrived, we were advised to bring a doona for the bed. When I was trying to figure out how to get internet service here and corresponded with Bigpond, the largest provider. They told me I couldn’t get a prepaid or month to month contract. Apparently they told me a porkey because I was able to get it through their parent company. I bought tomato paste squeeze and sachets. We eat sultana and bran cereal. Instant coffee is simply Nescafe. Milk is full cream or skinny. The other day someone asked us if we have chooks on the island because it would be hard for them to get used to the wind. We are greeted with, ” how are you going?” and aren’t sure how to respond. Yesterday we picked up some dunnage from one of the coves to build a bench.
There are also unlimited ways to convey a carefree life. “No worries, mate”, ” too easy” and “sweet”.
doona; light blanket or duvet
porkey: lie, not true
squeeze: packet or tube (i think)
sultana; large like a raisin but not a raisin
We are lucky to share the island with fairy or little penguins. They live in burrows down by the coves and right now their babies are in the burrows all day. The parents leave before dawn to fish all day then return after dark. Some walk quite a way up the hills to their burrows. We saw them one night. They have several landing areas where they come on to the road from the beach. They’re not too hard to find because they leave penguin poo wherever they walk Plus it smells like guano, that distinct aroma of partially digested fish..
This is an especially popular hopping off point. They wait as if there is a crossing guard and then hop onto the road and waddle home.
This sign welcomes visitors to the Kent Group of islands. It outlines how much people who arrive by car have to pay. We’re 30 miles offshore. The only car we have seen is our 3 cylinder Diahatsu.
Maybe they are all parked on the other side of the island.
It was a beautiful day for a change. All the local visitors left but we met some new people who anchored yesterday on the other side of the island. They are friends with people we met a few days ago. The world keeps getting smaller. But Orion remains upside down. The other night at the barbecue, Tim heard an explanation that Orion is carrying a pot? The hunter with a sword and pot? I don’t think so.