History, Fires and Blame Game

battlelinesThere is always a silver lining in everything – if you know where to look for it. I looked for it in “Revolution” no, not me – the TV Programme. Incapacitation has allowed me to start to catch up on series 1 of the programme, so I can look at Series 2 knowing what is happening.  I remember years ago when the boys and I went to see “Patriot” and there were young people sitting in front of us who thought it was all stupid – “I mean, come on, lines of soldiers walking towards each other and standing fifty feet away and letting other soldiers fire guns at you – that’s just stupid, they never did that”.   This should have surprised me, but it didn’t. Australian Students know very little of history, next to nothing about international history not all much more about Australian History.  History is a dirty word that many schools have done their best to expunge.

There is no one like Mother Nature for putting things into perspective. Here am I in the Arid Lands, complaining and being grumpy about a few miserable trees that have fallen, made a mess  that I have to clean up, whilst our neighbours in New South Wales are fighting a desperate battle to save lives and property. Only one killed, thankfully, but the homes lost will number in the hundreds. Already over 80 properties have been lost to the fires. One Hundred firefighters from the MFS fire threat(Metropolitan Fire Service) and the CFS (Country Fire Service) have set out  from South Australia to take over part of the work from the exhausted NSW Fire Service. Units and people are also setting out from Victoria. Being in a non-fire area it is difficulty to imagine the terror of a bushfire. Of course we could have a grass fire but it’s not the sam thing and if the bush beyond us caught fire then the levy bank that was created for the once in a generation flood, would help to contain any fire that came even remotely close.

I did get The Man to the Vet and  we adopted him 11 years ago but the Vet. thinks he is closer to 13 – perhaps older. Difficult to tell because of his background. However, he has lost weight – from 3.5kilo to 2.6 kilo. and there seems to be no reason for that.  Yes he  wobbly on his rear legs and his joints are pretty slack. There is some pain there but not a lot and  apart from the weight loss, he’s in reasonable

A Man and His Chair
A Man and His Chair

shape for his age. When we closed the doors and put him on the floor he ran around without any signs of distress.  However, I have to give him 10 ml of Carprofen per day and Pernaease Powder also daily. I have been out this morning and he has been running around with no discomfort,  I will, however, take the “Dog Sling” out with me when we go for walks at night – which we have not been for a few days now, but I should be able to get out with them tonight.

Addition: So far reports are that 194 houses have been destroyed,  83 properties destroyed with a further 37 damaged – and it’s still goes on. And although they only took up the reigns of government last week, the Greens have blamed the government for this disaster.  ” Don’t know how or what, or why, but let’s just blame the government anyway”.

Work, Chocolate and little twisters


I have been called into work three days this week and decided that I am not available for the last two days.  I said that my garden is starting to get messy because I have not had the time to look after it, I should  have added that my room is also like a tip. I have  brought back paperwork from Adelaide and have not had the time to put it away before I was off again.  I really need some time to get things organised before starting again – i.e. heading south in the general direction of Adelaide. When we were in Adelaide last week, Herself  just wanted to go back to the hotel and rest after the journey and the tests. I took her to the hotel, got her settled and made sure she was ok. I then took off into town for an hour or so to do some shopping – mainly stationery that I can’t get at home. I wandered into David Jones and saw this display of Chocolate. Talk about “Death by Chocolate”. There was also a display of Marilyn Monroe, in Chocolate, but it was just too crowded and I couldn’t get near to get a good look and not the time to wait around.  Probably just as well!!

In the morning I will make a start on the garden and hopefully get rid of the bulk of these weeds. I also need to sort out the Sturt’s Desert Pea which has been sort of running wild and has overflowed into the driveway. The Arid Land plants are doing well, at least I think they are. I will know better when I can get to see them better through all these weeds. We have just had so much rain recently that the weeds have just taken off. The weather has been really odd and a tornado – not the big scary  ones like America gets, but big enough to cause a lot of  damage  on the outskirts of Adelaide –  touched down not far from Bolivar.

I’ve cleared the bulk of the weeds away and refreshed my Arid Lands Plants – which are doing well. I am also in the process of creating two new  raised flower beds alongside the garage. I had some thoughts about placing the flower beds on concrete but then I came up with the idea of using the wood chips as a draining agent  rather than a mulching agent – covered the bottom in a good layer of wood chips then the potting mixture on the top of that. Anyway, that’s

Masses of flowers!
Masses of flowers!

my theory and what I have done. I just have to see if it works  :o)  And the Sturt’s Desert Pea is taking over everything at the front — Joyfull with its bright green and bright red flowers.  I had to cut it back a little because it had spread out over the driveway and people, including me,  were driving over it.

Hospital, flowers and space invaders

The Lower Flinders Ranges
The Lower Flinders Ranges

First of all, the good news is that the tests Annabell (herself) underwent were clear and the doctors are pleased with her. We still have to live with other things but she is doing well and we don’t have to go back again until March of 2015 – which is great. The weather in Adelaide was cold and  added to the fact that she does not travel well, it was a difficult two days for her. It was a difficult day to be down in Adelaide and there being no parking available at the hospital I had to drop her off and then go find a parking place – which I did – about a kilometer away.  I parked then walked back to the hospital, then reversed the process when she was finished.  The time  was not all that crash hot for me either – five trips  in four week at 760 klm per trip is 3800 klms, and it’s  about time I had a break  from travelling.  Apart from the Sturt’s Desert Pea, my garden is suffering because the weeds have started to take over and I have not had a weekend nor time during the week to get it sorted out. I’ve done some but I need to spend some serious time in there over the next week or so. We stopped into the Arid Lands Botanic Garden on the way through, but there was nothing ready yet and the Desert Pea  they had was smaller than a seedling so it needs some more time. I’ll  be heading back to town on the 26th, so the travelling is not quite over yet for a little while.

The drive home was fun and we joked, when passing Bolivar (the Extreme end of Adelaide),  that we were leaving civilisation behind us and heading into the ” Badlands” – “Bandit Country”. Too many people have the idea in their heads that they just about need a helicopter gunship as an escort if  they leave the security of the Metropolitan District and head north .  It was also interesting for in that when we were at the start of the journey she realised, for the first time, that all the pastureland she could see on either side of the road to the horizon on either side,  was now military property. That aside, she slept most of the journey down and back, which was good.

I was up to my wee eyeballs over the weekend with RFDS Fundraising and other things and on Monday I was asked to

Some people call them 'Top-Notch" pigeons.
You invading my space, Bird.

work – which I did. I have this weekend free ( at the moment) and I should be able to get into the garden and attend to these weeds. I miss my little associates when I am away. I even miss him standing,  staring off into space and barking. He’s silly! I have even watched him barking at birds that have the cheek to invade his air space. I didn’t have a photograph of a bird on the fence, but I thought this would sort of give you the idea. It’s a Crested Pigeon – cute – but still a pigeon.

Adelaide and back part 2

Too much sun when I went further back, but that’s them both together.

It seems there was some sort of vintage car rally on in Adelaide, hence the reason for the cars at Port Wakefield Service Station. They were  well kept and looked lovingly cared for – everything gleamed. It was fortunate that there were two such cars – so a double treat.

On Tuesday evening I  found a Pasta place and had a chicken with penne pasta  garlic, cheese, tomatoes and a pesto sauce. I also bought a bottle of Shiraz and had a couple (two – only two) glasses of wine. Since I had my computer with me (have laptop – will travel!) I wrote up my notes and brought my diary up to date.  I was thinking of transferring things into another diary but decided against it since I would have to re-write everything up to the point of transfer and that just seems like an incredible  waste of time.  Tried to call home, but  could not. I made a number of calls without success and it was not untilI came home that we discovered there is a fault on the line and the area was having problems. This morning (Thursday) Telstra will send out a technician to find the fault and fix the lines. Meanwhile, all our calls are being diverted to my mobile (Cell) phone.

Everything ended fairly quickly and I was on my way home on Wednesday. However, I did have a couple of calls to make along the way. One was to go to Bunnings (Hardware and Garden) and get myself a pair of boots for working outside. Well, two pair of shoes will never be the same again  :o)

I had also been asked by a friend here at home if I would go to the other end of the city and collect some things for her. I said I would and from there I started back home.  As with the drive down, the drive home was good. I won’t say enjoyable because driving for five hours is not fun, but it is tolerable. And the weather was dry – dull, overcast, but dry.  Herself asked me how the conference was and I think the word I used was tedious.  I made a couple of stops along the way so it was a little bit longer than I had intended. I did think about dropping into the Arid Lands Botanic Garden, but decided not to at this stage.

My babies were happy to see me and I sat with them for a bit. I understood mummy had been starving the poor things. They normally get a treat in the morning but since mummy rises late  and daddy was not at home, they never got their treat in the morning. I’m thinking of reporting her  to animal welfare  :o)

Still in progress. Will fix the trellis tomorrow.

Today I watered all the plants and tidied up. Discovered that the solar light I put in the pergola will not work.  I thought there would be enough light to activate them at night – I was wrong.

I don’t like the trellis so I will fix that up. Too big a job to remove it, so I will tidy it up sometimes tomorrow ( Friday)

Goundhogs and garden plants.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I made the long promised trip to the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. Had a nice lunch and then  went into the  plant nursery. I bought a range of plants and although they didn’t have quite what I wanted, they were able to do as I hoped hey would – suggest a suitable alternative. But in some ways it feels like Groundhog Day in that I have been down this path before where I get all excited and plant things, water, feed a fertilise them only to have them die anyway. The little man got through the fence I put up and I can’t see where he did this. And this is another thing, if he digs up the plants again (he’s cost me hundreds of dollars) I will  just give up. I would rather just put down weedmatting and pine bark rather than get angry with my dogs and risk starting to be resentful. I am too fond of my dogs for that ever to happen. Perhaps I really should stop trying to pretend I’m a gardener when everything I plant dies on me. I’m sure things go into self destruct sequence as soon as I hand over my money.

Gallipoli  Rosemary (from ANZAC Cove in Turkey)  2 of these

Dianella revoluta – Large   2 of these

Eremophila Hygrophana – 2 of these (lilac flowers)

Eremophila Glabra – 4 of these (different colours)

Correa Glabra  – 2 of these

Goodenia ovala – 2 of these

Frankenia serpyllifolia – 1 of these

I stared the first of the concreting. I did one area and will slowly move down. Although, I have to say that it would be a lot easier if I had a cement mixer ‘ ’cause mixing cement by shovel is fun.  I should be able to do another part this afternoon. I have to take  Herself for her fortnightly shopping this afternoon. The reason for this is that i usually take her on a Monday, but I will be in Adelaide this Monday and not back until Wednesday, so she decided that today is the day!

They even had a Bear in the Air :o)

The Feds and the military just want a little  piece of land – this little piece   and that little piece,  and that little piece and that little piece – you get the picture.  I am not in any way anti-military – we should always support our troops – I just don’t see why  a  medium size  (31,000 regular) military force such as ours, requires  an area of land that is bigger than Scotland, Ireland , Wales  or Virginia, to play their soldier games in. Actually, it’s bigger than two or more of these countries put together.

Spy CamA few posts ago I said that the drive to Adelaide to pick up Alan was without  any drama, well, as it turns out that was not strictly true. In the preparations of the house and the car and myself to get down there I had forgotten one tiny little thing – just a tiny thing – the car Registration!! A letter arrived yesterday from the South Australia Police to inform me that I am to be fined for driving an unregistered car. I was picked up by the spy in the sky. Years of driving with a perfect record. It was due on the 21st March;  we left am on the 22nd and I was picked up by the spy in the sky on 2.43pm 0n the 23rd.  Well at least I don’t get demerit points.  Still,  it just proves the saying ” No good deed goes unpunished!”   :o

A week to ten days has turned into three weeks and I should be taking him back to Adelaide this weekend. He has no medication and no scripts to cover anything beyond this coming Friday and that really does not impress me much because it being the end of the school term, the roads out of Adelaide when I am returning on the Saturday, will 20130405_192159be packed.  However, all that aside I think it has been good for him to have been here these last few weeks. It has been a change for him and we have got him out and about, athough he does spend much of his time sitting watching daytime TV  ( which drives herself potty  :o) ) I haven’t been able to get much done outside – and the weather has been good for working outside.  If I do go to Adelaide this weekend then I will try and get away early Saturday morning and miss the traffic and perhaps go into the Arid Lands Gardens on the way home

Arid lands` and Isolation

The upper area of the Spencer Gulf with the Flinders Ranges off to the left.

I enjoyed my visit to the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. It has a well stocked shop and a small, but interesting nursery with a good range of native plants – and the prices were very reasonable. And I became a member.  It’s a 150 klm round trip but it does have a nice dining area – it is a good morning out and a nice, peaceful drive.  I bought 4 small (1.5 metres) silver leafed Eremophila  and have planted two out front and the remaining two in large planter pots. We will see how they go. I think I have mentioned before that the term “Full Sun” really does not consider the  heat of this area. Two days of 40c and they are dead, irrespective of water and mulch.  So I thought it is time to go to the Eremophila and see what we can do.

Our inter-state visitors arrived yesterday afternoon and will be here for a few days before setting off further north, then into the Northern Territory and Alice Springs. At least it will be a lot cooler than a few weeks ago.

Mid spring is the best time of the year to  travel up into the Flinders Ranges – everything is still green and there is a massive abundance of wild flowers. Then summer comes and everything is burned off.  My problem over the last week has not been the heat but the wind, which has hardly let up for weeks. I have never known for it to be so breezy.  Provided it’s not a North Wind, it does have a cooling effect but the  disadvantage is that  around this place all you have to do is sneeze too hard and leaves come down by the bucket load. I left a fairly clean place and came back from Adelaide to find everything covered in leaves again. I mean I understood ; spring – leaves grow;  summer – leaves develop and flourish; Autumn – leaves start to die and fall; winter- leaves come down. Is there something wrong with this logic?

Still in the middle of nowhere

Depending on how the Eremophila do I will go back to the Arid Lands Garden again – only next time I will take a camera with me. This could be as early as next week, but I doubt it – although I will be going down to Adelaide next week to  pick up my brother-in-law (my sister died two years ago) and bring him here. His carers are going away on holiday and since there is no one to look after him, he will be coming here. He has serious heart problems so John is coming down with me to help if we run into trouble. It will be a long, slow drive back. I will also be good to have John spell me on driving – it will be a 930 klm round trip. It  will depend on time if I get to the Gardens. If not I will try and get through in a few weeks. I hope the dogs behave for the ten days he is here!!! But then, the dogs live here – he does not  :o)

Oh and it’s not really in the “Middle of Nowhere” the photograph was taken from the pathway of the Botanic Gardens as was the one above but they do serve to illustrate the isolation of this area.