A bit of hard work!

A bit of hard work never hurt anyone. Our effort today was to trim about 50 large trees from around the camp and remove the thick, dense scrub that has begun to take over what was once a carefully maintained area.

Cutting away years of growth.

Cutting away years of growth.

How do we know it was once cared for?

The evidence is everywhere from the comprehensive irrigation systems that were installed a long time ago to the neat lines of  rusting star pickets that once supported numerous young trees.

Why do we do it?

Why not?

No one has asked us to. It’s just a matter of taking pride in ones surroundings I suppose, even if they are only temporary.

All the cuttings are on the right of the tree logs waiting to be taken away.

All the cuttings are on the right of the tree logs waiting to be taken away.

A Lizard wasn't impressed with our efforts as he has lost his hiding place. Oh well he has another 30,000 acres to move to.

A Lizard wasn’t impressed with our efforts as he has lost his hiding place. Oh well he has another 30,000 acres to move to.

Grass will soon begin to grow again where before the dense scrub and over grown trees allowed almost nothing to grow.  It will be a lot easier to mow and whipper snip the area when it does.

Trees that have been let go to grow at random are never as appealing in an inhabited area as neatly pruned ones.

It's a lot easier to mow as the trees here were so thick you couldn't get between them.

It’s a lot easier to mow as the trees here were so thick you couldn’t get between them.

We enjoy making our very small contributions to this fascinating farm even though few if any of the others will notice the difference.

Also I enjoy the breaks from the concentration of the programs and I find the physical work refreshing. Both of us enjoy watching things grow especially things we’ve planted or helped along ourselves. It’s also very rewarding and satisfying to see something that was once a mess transformed into something clean and tidy.

We never get before photo's just after shots. Here is Chris working hard.

We never get before photo’s just after shots. Here is Chris working hard.

Armed with just a hand trimming saw, a pair of pruning shears and a rake we started the job and after about 6 hours without a break we had removed years of branch and scrub growth.

A chain saw would have made life easier.

A chain saw would have made life easier.

By the end we were both feeling the tightness and muscular soreness setting in especially when we stopped moving. We sat down in the annexe but we knew that if we stayed there for much longer we wouldn’t be able to get up so we decided to drive down to Boomi and have a go at the hot artesian spring pool which we had heard a lot about but hadn’t yet tried.

The kangaroos are out in almost plague proportions at the moment and even the drive to Boomi is a game of dodgems with the hundreds of quite large ones that seem to want nothing more than to jump out in front of moving vehicles.

We arrived at the steaming pool at Boomi and as we lowered ourselves into the hot mineral laden water we could feel the muscles in our bodies relaxing.

It was nothing short of glorious!

The lady supervising the pools turned on the spa for us and the hot bubbles seemed to just erase the soreness replacing it with a sense of calm and relaxation.

After 20 minutes lapping up this wonderful experience we could see why the little caravan park beside the pool at Boomi has a constant stream of visitors.

The pools are reputed to do wonders for arthritis sufferers.

After the few hours since driving home and changing, doing some programming work and writing the blog we have no signs of the muscular aches and pains that surely would have bothered us had it not been for the pool.

A visit through Koramba Cotton Gin:

The cotton seeds removed from the cotton.

The cotton seeds removed from the cotton.

We got to see the final process of the cotton plant this week with a trip through the Cotton Gin. We have put together a video showing the tour. Hope you like it.

 

The “Old Girl” update:

Remember the original 1971 Viscount caravan we started our trip in?
We gave it away to a lovely couple, Greg and Nicole from Melbourne.

The "Old Girl" at Stanley, Tasmania

The “Old Girl” at Stanley, Tasmania

Greg and Nicole keep us updated on what they’ve done to the “Old Girl” and some of their holiday destinations. I thought I’d share some of these with you.

They moved the PVC pipe from the back of the van (which we used to store the annex poles) and placed it on the front of the van which has tidied it up a lot. The addition of mag wheels makes for a very smart look.

The desk was removed and the double bed went back in, this time with storage underneath.
They eat outside at their picnic table.
New blinds were added but they’ve kept the curtains Nola made for us.
New fly screens have been installed and the van is again giving endless enjoyment to a new generation.

The double bed back in.

The double bed back in.

Storage under the bed.

Storage under the bed.

Plenty of storage space.

Plenty of storage space.

A radio with speakers has been added

A radio with speakers has been added.

I think the boys would have appreciated this when we went on holidays.

I think the boys would have appreciated this when we went on holidays.

The mags look great on the old girl.

The mags look great on the old girl.

Camping at National parks is no problem for the solid built Viscount.

Camping at National parks is no problem for the solid built Viscount.

Camping at Venus Bay, Victoria

Camping at Venus Bay, Victoria

I think Mum and Dad would have been happy with our decision to give it to someone who appreciates it so much and that it’s not just sitting in a paddock somewhere rotting away.

Keeping Busy:

Chris has finished another couple of projects in between the computer challenge.

First, we’ve always hated the scrub around the septic tank. So with the whipper snipper, tree saw and rake Chris set about changing that. The whipper snipper we use on the property is a tough one (would they have anything else?)and the cord can rip through most plant life easily.

 

The reeds and scrub around the septic tank and power piont made it difficult to get near. The tree at the back has gone also as it was dead and dangerous.

The reeds and scrub around the septic tank and power piont made it difficult to get near. The tree at the back has gone also as it was dead and dangerous.

 

We also had the old dead tree cut down as it was an eyesore and getting to be dangerous.
We’ll use the timber for a garden bed for pumpkin, zuccini’s and melons.
If there is any timber left over we’ll have a camp fire.
Someone suggested we cook Kangaroo tail casserole but not many of the boys where happy at that suggestion. Maybe just a damper and marshmellows?

After a couple of hours and a few trips to the dump it has made a hugh difference we think.
No one else sees what we do or even cares. Who notices 2 acres out of 50,000? But the biggest compliment we have had was from Dave the supervisor. This man doesn’t give compliments easily, especially for doing a job that you are suppose to do, but he did say that the camp was looking the best he’d seen it for a long time.

The next project we completed was to make a planter from a pallet. We’d noticed hundreeds of unused pallets at various locations and wanted to try something with them. Chris inserted star pickets inside the planter to hold it up right.

Chris hammering in the star pickets to hold the pallet upright.

Chris hammering in the star pickets to hold the pallet upright.

We then filled it with dirt and potting mix we had bought and then put in seedlings.

Our seedlings and cutting we had bought.

Our seedlings and cutting we had bought.

Normally we’d cover the back with weed mat and only use the front of the pallet but we’re trying both sides and so far so good, the plants haven’t looked back and hopefully we will have a colourful vertical garden soon.
The whole idea would be useful for a patio or small area, something we can use down the track.
Ben, this is something else you could try for strawberries. If you have a look on the internet under Pallet Gardens the ideas some people have are wonderful.

Our vertical garden.

Our vertical garden.

We’ve also salvaged a number of other pallets and this week we’ll take down the annexe and use the pallets for a solid, flat floor that’s well above the moisture that currently finds it’s way in when it rains, especially in the downpours we’ve had recently.

Things are drying out a bit again after about a week of mud and slop. The paddocks are still far too wet for the boys to get tractors on but it’s good to see it starting to dry out.

Four more of the Irishmen left this week heading for Thailand, which means the numbers on the camp have dropped to about 7 or 8 and we can’t see that increasing until it’s dry again.

We have achieved an enormous amount with the programs and it’s going ahead in leaps and bounds as Chris starts to understand the complexity of ASP.Net VB programming on SQL databases. He was terribly apprehensive about his ability to understand it all and he still has days of very high mountains and very low valleys, but he is actually “Getting It”. The first program – the Directory for the Campus Management program – looks really good and works superbly.

We continue to enjoy working for Martyn, our boss, and we still find Koramba farm and it’s people fascinating.
We love our lives here and we also look forward to our trips to Brisbane every 3 or 4 weeks.

Time’s flying at Koramba:

The time is flying by this time at Koramba. We’ve been here for 3 weeks already and have slipped back into the routine of camp life very easily.

Chris is making good progress with converting the databases to web based programs and preparing them for installation on the cloud.
As usual he rides the roller coaster of emotions along the way.
One day everything is going well and he understands the steps to proceed and then the next day error messages appear that have him wanting to throw the computer out into the paddock, never to work on it again.

It’s only due to determination (or stubborness), and the fact that I’ll chain him to his desk, does he doggedly find the answers to the problems and fix them one at a time. When it gets too much for him he wanders off to find some manual labour to work out his frustrations.

Due to Chris’s “frustrations” we now have 2 new mulch heaps.

Fencing wire and star pickets collected from "Siberia" made a great Mulch compound.

Fencing wire and star pickets collected from “Siberia” made a great Mulch compound.

Chris raked up all the dead grass clippings from when the yard was slashed in March. It was too hard to mow through the cut grass still lying around and no new grass could grow underneath. To obtain the materials for this project it was off to “Siberia”, Chris’s favourite place on Koramba. His mind races with all sorts of ideas of things to put together from this treasure trove of discarded “stuff”.

The other pile in the mulch heap is the old plastic covered heap of mulch that had sat in the back yard for nearly a year. This has broken down really well and will go on the garden bed.

This is like a outdoor Bunnings store. Chris's favourite place.

This is like a outdoor Bunnings store. Chris’s favourite place.

The back yard getting slashed in March and in the other shot, the plastic mulch heap removed.

The back yard getting slashed in March and in the other shot, the plastic mulch heap removed.

We’ve asked Daryl, the Farm Manager, for a load of soil to top dress around the camp. The black soil tends to sink when it has dried out and a lot of the concrete paths are now exposed underneath. This project could take us 3 months as landscaping the camp is not a priority on the farm. But we’ve found if you’re willing to do the work they will get you what you need. Daryl has already stated that if we keep the pile of dirt dry it could be levelled by the boys on a rain day.

Rain days are no fun.
The boys don’t know if they are working or not so have to get up each morning at the same early time, have breakfast and pack their lunch and then sit and wait until they are sent word either in person or by Txt message as to wether they’re working or not. If there’s no work they are bored beyond belief. Not many have cars so when someone offers to drive the hour into Goondiwindi or Moree others will jump at the chance to go. When it does rain it could take up to a week of constant sunshine before the soil dries out enough for the boys to get back on the tractors.
Also while they’re not working they’re not getting paid, but they still have to pay rent and food.
No one likes “Wet Days” including me. Try cleaning with all this mud. It sticks to everything, floors, concrete, boots, laundry, showers, toilets. Yuk yuk yuk.

The rain hasn't stopped but very little water has reached our annex.

The rain hasn’t stopped but very little water has reached our annex.

On another note I now own my first pair of work boots.
They are very comfortable and the burrs don’t go through them. They’re also easy scrub clean. Chris also got a pair that had been left behind by someone (don’t know why they weren’t taken) I just cleaned them up and he’s happy.

Feel like a farm girl now. The best part, you don't have to accessories your clothes with your shoes.

Feel like a farm girl now. The best part, you don’t have to accessories your clothes with your shoes.

Last weekend we travelled back to Brisbane.
I needed to go to the doctor about the diabetic check, catch up with the kids and see Riley.
Riley has changed in the 3 weeks since seeing him last. His face is fatter and he now holds his hands flat not screwed up like a baby. He now sees something and easily reaches for it. We can see these things so much clearer than Lish and Ashley as they see him all the time. But one thing we noticed is he is still a little cutie.

We stayed with David and Lacey and as the weeks go past Lacey is slowly getting over the morning sickness. They sent us the first scan of the baby. It’s amazing what they can see these days. At 12 weeks the baby is as long as your thumb and it’s head is as big as your thumnail.

12 weeks old and as big as your thumb, amazing.

12 weeks old and as big as your thumb, amazing.

Remember how we got a satellite tv included when we bought the Aussie Wide but never had much luck with it. Everybody was an expert. We even paid for someone to show us what to do and it was fine  while they were there. We ended up ditching it because it was so much trouble. Well, because there is little or no TV reception here we thought we’d try again but with a different set system, one that the TV specialists recommend. So we picked up the dish we already had stored and took possesion of our new VAST system decoder and a new improved satellite finder.

Chris took down the aerial for the internet and attached it to the back of the van after extending it a few more feet, then we took all day to work out the satellite. First Chris had to visit Siberia again to get another pipe to attach the dish to as the one we had wasn’t tall enough to get it over the van.
A couple of phone calls to the bloke we bought it from, more changes, and by now the wind had picked up and we were thinking it wasn’t stable enough and that Chris would have to make another stand for the dish.
We were starting to think we had wasted our money again as nothing was happening.
Finally as night fell the wind died down and we tried it for the last time and “Hey Presto” it all came together, a clear signal!
We excitedly hooked up the TV thinking we were going to be able to watch NCIS but Nooo we had to register the card and of course the people we had to speak to closed at 4.30pm. Oh well there’s always tomorrow, I’ll have to watch the program on the internet.

The satellite works great now.

The satellite works great now.

I must say the next day after registering the Vast system it is running supebly well.
Even strong winds and howling rain do not interfere with the perfect picture. We now get every free to air channel in Australia (about 81 of them) crystal clear.
We feel this was a worthwhile purchase.

A lot of the workers have taken off to the Gold Coast and other places as the rain just keeps falling, making the date that work will once again commence further into the future. There are only 5 of the boys left on camp and we rarely see them. It sometimes feels like we’re the only ones here. Fortunately it’s dry and cosy in the Aussie Wide and the office is easy to work in so we’re getting a lot done.