Showing posts from February, 2017

A second walk even more in the black

After having our breakfast we decided the time had come to visit the top of the block to see what had happened up there.

As we went up we couldn't avoid the sight of our good neighbour's and friends house in a twisted heap. I'm not putting anything more about that.

Soon after we moved here I found a stump with roots attached that looked very like a Baobab tree from East Africa.  They are known as Upside-down trees, so I planted it that way.  Here it is, very happy in its position!
 RFS were here .
 This is our top dam with many less brambles than there were 10 days ago.
 There are still a few left unfortunately and I'm sure they will regrow, but we will deal with that when it happens.  Blackberry jam is nice but these weeds need stomping more seriously than I have been able to do in the past.
A little later Wildcare provided us with a bit more hay for roo feed which I have put up near the dam so the roos which come to drink can find it.
 There was also some pellets whi…

A short walk in the light black

I hope John Schumann won't mind me adapting his alternate song title.  Apart from anything else some elements of the lyrics to "I was only nineteen" are pretty appropriate.

What I am basically on about is our first walk with Tammy through the fire affected Whiskers Creek Rd and Widgiewa Rd area this morning.

When we got to the Creek Tammy's nose started twitching violently.  On going to check we found this sad sight.
As it seemed to have potential to block the culvert (if it ever rains again) on returning from our walk I donned gloves and a face mask  and removed the corpse.

All our gates are decorated with tapes showing that the various emergency services have entered to check things. Well done those folk.
 The line of light dots here is a Wildcare (well done those folk as well) fodder drop for the animals.
They have put a few bales on our place which will hopefully assist survival of a few 'roos.

On our first return to the area we were struck by the way the gu…

Progress report 2

After a very rough start, today improved a lot.

The rough start came about because as I was walking Tammy at about 6:45 I got a text to say the plumber had been called to an emergency and wouldn’t be at our place until 4pm.  Some fairly terse SMS then flew around.  I thought “What could be a bigger emergency than us not being able to wash or use the toilets?”   Myself and Frances were both pretty upset as we drove back towards home.

Now, you should remember that yesterday two plumbers were involved: our usual guy who we cancelled and the insurance company’s guy.  As all I’d got this morning was an unfamiliar number, I assumed it was the latter, who still had a live job with us, who had rearranged things.

In fact it was the “practice manager” of our usual guy who had sent her message to the wrong phone.  She only realised this about 9am when the guy who had him booked rang to find out where the he was! What a relief!

The first person to front was a loss adjuster from A J Grant lookin…


We are now back after a couple of days mental health break at Mallacoota.

This was necessary as we needed to get power back on to the house and the pipes around the septic tank repaired.  Major advances occurred on both those fronts today but we aren't quite there yet.

The first advance was that a Carwoola resident not affected by the fire runs an air conditioning business (Heating and Cooling Services of Fyshwick)  and offered all those affected by the fire a free system check.  I signed up for this and asked if we had to have the power on - if so I'd need to find an electrician.  Not surprisingly they had such tradesmen on deck and one was organised to come to our place this morning.  At 7:30  - so an early start for me.

Jesse and his offsider from Harris and Williams were very prompt in turning up and very efficient in testing all the circuits and making sure that everything worked.  Well done guys.

Then the air-con techo arrived and was able to confirm that the system was …

A few photos

Rather than update the previous post I have decided to put some photos here.

This was the view from Canberra, about 3pm.  The hill in the foreground is in Canberra - the ones on the horizon have all been burnt out.  By this stage it was well past our place.
 Here is the house.  Notice the burnt ground beside the drive.
 My metal tool shed to the left.  Frances corrugated-plastic potting shed was to the right.
 Looking up the hill to the water tanks.  A slight scorch mark but otherwise undamaged.  This hillside was covered with Kunzea scrub.
My weather station still looks to be functional, unless the heat stuffed the operating system, which I won't know until we get power back.
 Our former camper.  Insurance is good.
On the subject of insurance the efficiency of the NRMA Insurance system is very good.  I put in a couple of claims - over the phone having no doco - on Saturday and was told two assessor businesses would be in touch.  They have both done so by 1430 on Monday, and their…

Dodging a bullet (mainly)

I haven't posted for a couple of days as we have been preoccupied with a huge bush fire and its impact on us.  Cutting to the chase we're all (me, Frances and Tammy) OK, and the house is OK, but all our sheds are gone and the property is basically a black moonscape.

I will add some photos and more commentary to this later, but here is the timeline.

Last Friday 17 February at 1215 Frances had gone to her gym class and I was doing stuff at home when my mobile phone rang.  My friend from the Hoskinstown Plain said "There is a lot of smoke rising behind the hills behind you place.  Check it out."

I did so and saw saw a huge column of smoke.  I rang the Queanbeyan RFS who said they were on to it and suggested it was time for my Bushfire Survival Plan.  I said that was "Run for it." and she agreed this was a good option.  I rang our next door neighbours and suggested they also got out.  (They did - thank God - see below)

So I put binoculars telescope and passport…

Invertebrates of February

Due possibly to dryness leading to most flowers giving up the struggle I have found relatively few invertebrates this month.  However there have been a few so I thought I'd gather the images here rather than leaving them scattered on Facebook and sundry other posts on a range of themes.

The first is a potter wasp (Sceliphron laetum)
Two butterflies from ANBG:
Dainty Swallowtail  Spotted Brown Grasshoppers: the first two are from around home ...

.. whereas this one is from high in the Brindabellas. Two flies.  This first is a Grass Fly Apotropina sp.    This is a more substantial beast: Prodiaphania sp (a tachnid fly, parasitic on scarabs)
 This shield bug is climbing on some flyscreen, so it isn't very big!

COG Wednesday Warks

12 members gathered at Stromlo Forest Park for carpooling on the outing to Warks Rd and nearby spots in Namadgi National Park.  Some very early starters looked around the Park but Double-barred fnches were the reported highlight.  No White-fronted Chats.

After some initial confusion - more serious for some members than others - caused by a huge group from Walking for Pleasure we set off as advertised for the Brindabellas.
As often the case we paused to check out the big dam at Urriarra Homestead and scored 26 species as a result.  This included a tightly knit squad of 18 Hoary-headed Grebes and an overflight of 6 Gang-gangs.
We moved on to Blundells Creek Rd where we had an involuntary pause due to a fallen tree across the road.   While that was being disposed of, members spotted the first of several Rufous Fantails beside the road.  
After parking and heading up Warks Rd enjoying the nice habitat  ...  .. and trying not to think about fallen trees ...
.. which made a nice change fro…

A few birds at Kellys Swamp

On our way home from Quidditch we called in to Kellys Swamp to look for Egrets.  The photos to satisfy that objective are included in this post in another blog.  However we saw a couple of other interesting birds also.

European Goldfinches are always a delight to see, even when they are spreading Scotch thistle seeds.
Freckled Ducks don't spread seeds, and much less common than the Goldfinches.  In this snap the male shows his red beak!