Postcard Home (18th June)

Well it’s been a cold few days to say the least. We’ve had a storm come through over the weekend and not only was it cold, wet and windy, very windy but we even had a few flurries of snow.

I’ve managed to get the chicken coop better wind protected. Chooks can withstand the cold but not the wind and the cold and in order to stay warm they need a draft free coop. Our coop was anything other than draft free. The problem lay at the roof where the corrugated tin met the woodwork. There was not only a gap of several inches at the front but even when that was filled the were gaps with every up and down of the corrugations. As ever water pipe insulation came to the rescue. 2 inch sections stuffed into each and every up along the entire front of the chook house, plus several long pieces cut in half lengthways to fill the gaps down the sides. All of this has to be removable come the Spring when life starts to get warm again.

Sunrise earlier this week. It was actually raining when I took this photo, but the light was amazing because of it.

So what else is there to report?

At the beginning of the week we hosted a cycle tourer. The first we’ve had in Australia. He’s cycling around Australia for the next year but sadly isn’t quite ready for the cost weather. He asked me when it would start to get warmer around here. My reply of September or October came as a surprise to him, as did the concept that it hasn’t actually finished getting colder here yet! He’s now the other side of the Snowy mountains but he’ll be getting rather cold around there. He’s bikepacking which is basically ultra lightweight touring where everything you carry fits into the frame of your bike in bags specially designed for the triangle hole in the frame, plus what you can fit into handlebar bags or saddlebags.

This weekend Liz and Alec came down from Sydney to see us. They stayed at their neighbour’s apartment in Canberra which turned out to be only a few doors up the street from Stuart’s work place! On Saturday they came over for lunch and stayed for some of the afternoon but it was a cold wet afternoon so they didn’t get to see much. Luckily they left before the cloud descended, that meant we were a touch late meeting them in Canberra for an evening meal, but we made it eventually. They also called in on their way home to Sydney on Sunday. Liz has given me one of her spinning wheels which means one I have repaired and service hers, I can have one set up for spinning single ply on, and the other set up for plying. That will make life a little easier. It was great to see them again and I hope they had a safe journey home.

We also managed to make Skype contact with Stuart’s brother, Jon, on Sunday night but not his parents because they are away we think. I even managed to finish his Dad’s socks on Fathers’ Day as well. I’ve just got the ends to sew in and then block them and they are done. Made to size. Handspun, hand dyed from eucalyptus bark and then handmade/knitted. I do so hope they fit (if they don’t, they fit Stuart perfectly 😀 ).

Finally Stuart cooked a delicious Leek, mushroom and bread pudding for evening meal last night!

Last day & the Alpine Highway

Our short 3 day break was over.  It had flown passed but the final morning was to be a beautiful start to the day.

Another glorious start to the day with the mountains just peaking over the fog/mist and clouds..
Foggy or is it misty? Whatever it was it was slowly clearing, and was also catching the morning sunrise.
Catching the first rays of the sunshine

By this point, Stuart was up and about.  I had knitted some more of his socks and he was to get up and tell me about the wonderful sunrise.  I didn’t point out that he had missed most of it!

The view from the from veranda was wonderful

But I was to capture this image as a result.  Breakfast was a little later than usual but was in front of a fantastic fire.

The slow combustion stove in the kitchen/dinning/sitting room.

We were up and out by 9am.  We had opted to drive the long way home, knowing that we would be getting home around dark by doing so, but the weather was good, some of the tops were clear and there was a chance of seeing something on the Alpine Highway, unlike the day before.  So.…

But just be fore we left, we explored the onsite vintage motor museum…

The on-site vintage car museum. This vehicle was on the road until 10 years ago.
The restoration team need to work a touch harder
And you may have some additional passengers!

And so by 9am we were on the road, ready to climb and hoping for the good weather to last.

First stop was… well a corner on the road. I just had to grab a photo

Sometimes you just have to stop on a bend and get that photo…. there are mountains over there and they have snow on the tops. Is this all we will get to see of them today? You just never know.

And so we hit the Alpine Highway. But before long we were to come across the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric visitors centre.

Yep – that is it. You would have thought that they could have cut back some of the vegetation for us to see it wouldn’t you?
Stuart finding the information board very stimulating

And so we left it to drive into yet more trees and see, well more trees actually.  In fact unless you actually stop at the dedicated viewing points, the likelihood of actually seeing anything is close to nil.  Actually if you are the driver, it really is nil.  Oh and the noticeboard nicely informs you that the road is now entirely sealed.

The top of this particular section of the Alpine Highway. Not a lot to see unless you really like seeing 100’s of kms of Eucalyptus trees.

So when we spotted a rest stop, we knew we had to stop.  If only to rest from the winding nature of this road.  It covers a lot of km’s to go pretty much nowhere.

This is the road. You don’t need to guess what you can see from it!

And at the rest stop there are the obligatory toilets, BBQ point and picnic benches.  And luckily a viewing platform!

We get to see something!
Actually the view was stunning and we were so fortunate with the weather! You are looking at the Kosciuszko National Park and Mount Kosciuszko … is in there somewhere. Just pick what looks like the highest summit.

It was worth it as you can see!  But there are only so many Eucalyptus trees I can show you. Honest.

This is a typical view along lots of roads in most national parks around here!

And so we carried on, winding our way up and down, round and round and round again.  This is one of the few times we do actually find the sat nav and GPS in the car quite useful.  It gives you a heads up of the nature and seriousness of the bend ahead.

And eventually we get to a river crossing, the Swampy Plains Creek in fact.  And there is the nation parks camping site, and a tiny view of something other than eucalyptus trees.

A camping area at the side of the swampy plains creek.
A tiny bit of a view to the left,
and to the right. It reminded us of the river flowering through Pitlochry around the Kinloch Rannoch turn off.

And to the next opportunity for a view… but this is stop in the road job.  However, it was Stuart that chose to stop this time, but he had other ideas on what the stop was for.  Now what was the alternate name for our attempted world cycle tour?  That’s right, scent marking his way around the world…

Byatt’s Camp. A view, and a good one at that. Now there is some history about this area all dating back to summer grazing of cattle and who created the access.

Not a bad view.

From there it was another climb back up and out of the area.

Looking back the way we had come from.
The road ahead and onwards to the ski resorts and the way home
Dead Horse Gap. Now was it the fact that your horse was dead on its feet by the time they got to the top (1,582m or 5,190ft) or was there the skeleton of a dead horse up there? I’ve no idea, but there are plenty of skeletons of dead trees from the deadly forest fires that swept through the area 15 years ago.
The place was eerie with all the dead trees around.

From there it was pretty mundane except for our lunch stop at the side of a lake and for the fact that I alone was to see 4 emu.  Stuart, as the driver, totally failed to see the 2 that were standing less than 10m from the side of the road!  And I can tell you one thing, they are huge!