Tag Archives: cold starts

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!

Shortest Day of the Year

So the shortest day of the year started with our coldest night yet.

-‍6C on the sheltered veranda.  It came as a surprise, as did the fact that we still had water!  We have had a couple of issues with the water supply freezing.  I’m not sure if I have mentioned the madness of having to dig up the water pipes to locate them, so that I could bury them properly… It was not an amusing day with Stuart away from home and the hardness of the ground here.  So once the chooks had been fed, I had to take my newly acquired gift, a crowbar, to the ground to dig holes in the garden to try to find a pipe, only to have to bury it again sometime later…  It actually wasn’t that long ago.  30th May.  It was a Tuesday.  I was less than amused.

I have just spent the morning digging to find an exposed pipe so that I could bury it again.
I believe I may have accidentally buried my sense of humour along with the pipe instead of my jobs list.
The irony of this situation is not lost on me, unlike my sense of humour which presumably won’t freeze overnight.

But it has paid off.  It was much colder last night and we still had water this morning, so all we need to do now is to get some grass growing over the soil we added… After all this is Australia so it shouldn’t be that difficult to get grass to grow, should it?

We actually consider this to be buried deeply. After all it is as deep as this water pipe gets!
Starting with the square metal post in the middle bottom of the picture, the line of bamboo canes is the water pipe course leading directly to the base of the emergency water tank.


And that soil in the bottom of the last picture, is all that stops the water pipe from freezing because the pipe is actually on the surface of the ground due to a major lack of soil!

So this morning, it was a glorious morning.  Hoar frost, -6C, water, the pond was frozen (OK not very thick, but enough for a complete layer), the water inside the chook house was frozen but the water in the newbies quarters (the old building used as a quarantine area) felt positively warm.  So with chooks in various locations all fed & watered and unlocked, I was able to go walkabout with a camera in hand.

-6C on the sheltered side of the house and on the veranda. A new record low in our time here.
Our view, still frozen and still before the sun gets over the hillside
Frozen but looking good.
Eucalyptus in the frozen sunlight.  I still find it hard getting my head around Australia, Eucalyptus and is being frozen.
Our view, starting to warm up now.
A different angle on our frozen view
In there is the house and the chook house. It puts things into scale!
A spider’s web covered in hoar frost

It wasn`t long before the camera battery was complaining and I had walked as far as I could without either my crutches or my breakfast.  It was time for home.  Breakfast really was calling my name…

Porridge with raspberries and some demerara sugar.