26 April 2017

Turning 38

It seems like only a year ago that I was having a birthday and last week it happened again. This year Laura and her family came out to visit. The day was a busy one and started early. We were up before dawn and climbed up ANZAC Hill and found a spot by the fence ready for the Dawn Service to begin. There were a few hundred people up on the top of the hill for the service.

Unfortunately even though we were only located around 5-10 metres from the speakers and had a clear line of sight, the sound that was emanating was so soft, it could hardly be heard. It wasn't just Laura, Anne and myself who were unable to hear, but many others (probably the three hundred or so behind us at least). On the walk back down the hill it was all we could talk about how disappointing the service had been due to inadequate sound. You'd think that they would have done a sound check prior to the event. Maybe not.

After that we went home and had a good cooked breakfast and opened our many presents. I received many amazing gifts such as a Lego Pirates Chess Set, painted books (with a cup of tea on top), a do-it-yourself terrarium, greenhouse, books, tea, and many more. After breakfast and unwrapping it was time to start playing with the presents. I put up the greenhouse with Anne, Max and Henry's help.

Later that afternoon we went for a picnic at Simpson's Gap and a walk through the gorge. It was a very nice lunch (chicken sandwiches) and was nice relaxing.

That evening we went out to a place called The Gillen Club. It is a local pub that has a playground so Max and Henry were pretty happy about that.

Anyway, to end on the GIF that Lewis sent after wishing me (and Laura) a happy birthday.

24 January 2017

Catching Flies

I put a fly catcher in my backyard last weekend as there were quite a few buzzing around me when I was outside.

I went out today to check and it certainly has managed to catch a few.

And plenty more waiting to go in.

11 December 2016

A day in the garden

Today I thought that I'd have a day in the garden.  After recent rains the grass was growing quite long and needed cutting.  Plants I had bought a couple of weeks ago needed repotting.  My veggie patch is now growing nicely and a few of the plants that had gone over needed to be removed.  It also needed remulching, and of course it had been voraciously attacked by grasshoppers while I was out bush last week and so I also had to spray them with a chilli pesticide that I made up to stop them eating all the plants.

The vegetable patch and surrounding garden before the clean up.

The grasshoppers chomping away on my plants.

Another grasshopper getting ready to chomp.

The vegetable patch after the clean up.  While I didn't get to start on the vegetable patch (a job for later in the week) I did clear and plant a bit around it.  A desert pea at the front and some portulaca at the side.  You can see the large pile of clippings in the compost patch at the back.

Still much more grass to cut.

04 December 2016

Meeting the neighbours dogs

As part of my current ‘Get Fit’ scheme I’ve been trying to get out and go for a walk more often than I have in the past. Unfortunately walking is dangerous. On Wednesday afternoon (30th November) I left my flat, set up my Strava and powered out of my front door and down the driveway. I was just walking past the house at the end of the row (unit 7) when all of a sudden a dog came running at me with its teeth bared.

I did not notice that the two dogs (German Shepards) were were sitting in the back of the car in the carport. One of them, called Wolf, I later found out, jumped out and went for me trying to bite me a few times. He did get his teeth into me giving me a bite on the belly. While the teeth didn’t go fully in they did break the skin and put a hole in my shirt. I also received a bruise to my leg where he again went to have a go. Luckily the owner was nearby and called the dog off me.

The owner, Patrick, apologised many times and said that it was totally his fault. Not that I thought it was mine of course. He took me into the house where he helped me clean the wound. Patrick said that he was just about to take the dogs for a walk and had received a phone call that had taken his attention from the dogs leaving them unattended. I was a bit shocked as you can imagine and so he sat me down and gave me a drink. I left after about half an hour after I’d stopped shaking.

I reported it to the Body Corporate (Whittles) who told me "I will make a record of the incident, however, it is completely up to you if you wish to take further action. Knowing Pat, he would have been devastated that the incident occurred, and would truly have been remorseful. For now, with it being a civil matter, I will leave it your hands”. It was an interesting response that seems like they’re sticking up for him. Anne has been speaking to some of the other neighbours and she tells me that the same dog had had a go one of the other neighbours as well. I’ll have to think about whether I should report it also to the Town Council.

The bite has now healed and the scabs and brushing is slowly going away. Soon it should be gone with hopefully no scaring left over.

11 September 2016

King of the Mountain

This morning I was up before the birds and stepped out into the cool morning air.  I knew it was before the birds as I couldn't hear any of them chirping away in their morning chorus.  Anne and I were doing the YMCA King of the Mountain race.  It is a yearly race from the YMCA to the radio towers on top of Mt Gillen.

Anne and I set off from Sadadeen YMCA at 6:30 on the dot and walked along the footpaths towards Heavitree Gap.  The roads were closed by the Police and Firies.  It's a nice feeling having a policeman close off the road so you can cross.

We walked through the gap and then made our way round to the base of the climb.  By this time we were both making pretty good time it was when we hit the bottom of the climb and started to head up, up and further up.  After a few minutes I could see that Anne was struggling.  It seemed that her asthma was playing up and that plus the lack of training made it even more difficult.  At the half was mark, about 100 metres up, was the ambulance station.  Anne had to stop there and have a bit of super ventolin.  I don't know what it was but it came in liquid form with a canister.

After about 5 minutes she was feeling better and ready to climb again, however, after about 20 metres she had to turn around and head back to the ambulance as she was suffering from some of the side effects of the gas.

As I neared the top of the hill (without Anne) this was the view.

I kept going.  I went all the way up to the top and made pretty good time.  I made it to the top and after a quick drink of water I turned around and headed back down to Anne at the Ambulance.  After a climb of 217 metres it was a great accomplishment for me.  I'd said it for a while that I'd have to do it before leaving.  That's another thing off the list.

After meeting up with Anne at the Ambulance again I gave her her medal and we had to have a photo.

On the way back down I almost forgot to have a photo.  This is me, tired but happy that I did it.

23 August 2016

Dogs at Areyonga

It breaks my heart to look at some of these dogs at Areyonga.  There are a couple that hang around the accommodation on the community a large one with long legs and sad face and a small one with short legs and a long coat.  It is now 21:30 at the temperature outside feels like it is in single digits.  There is a bit of drizzle in the air and a cold wind.  The little dog is sleeping on a chair on the verandah, wrapped tightly to keep out the wind.  The larger dog has vanished.  I’m guessing it wandered off trying to find somewhere warm and dry to sleep.  

Every time I come out here I see them.  Every time I think whether I should take them back to live with me.  I don’t know if someone owns them but I do think that I could give them a better bed.  Their life however is generally good, while they might not have enough food or a warm place to sleep, the have a life of freedom.  They aren’t locked up and can wander around as much as they like exploring everywhere.  They’ve never seen a backyard or been tied down.  I guess I come from a different world to the one out here.  As much as it hurts to see these dogs their days are warm and it is only when the weather is harsh that I expect they don’t enjoy it out here.  That said, maybe on my next visit I’ll decide differently.

14 August 2016

Plant Protection

Today I had a job to do.  With my sunflowers starting to flower I decided that they needed some protection.  I removed the wire cover that I had over to protect the ground from the birds and put up a big cover.

Before the cover was put on there were lots of galahs ready and waiting to attack the seeds that grew on the sunflowers.

After the protection for the flowers had been installed.  It still allowing access the garden (to fill up the rest of the patch) while hopefully providing lots of protection for the flowers and plants.

30 July 2016

The Wilsons Visit Alice Springs

This month Laura and her family came to visit me in Alice Springs. The month went by very quickly. It seemed like there wasn't enough sushi lunches in the park or exploring the surrounding gorges and ranges. It seemed like no time had passed at all and they were setting off again to continue their trip around Australia. This time they were heading up through Tennant Creek to Mt Isa, Longreach and then over the the Great Barrier Reef.

It was good to have them here and although they couldn't stay any longer I would have been happy to have them. So before I knew it they were about to head off. On their last day Laura cooked us breakfast while Paul packed the car.

Sitting down to a lovely breakfast.

The car packed and ready to go.

One last photograph and they were off.

17 June 2016

Hail in Alice Springs

It has been a funny afternoon.  It became really dark around three o'clock.  After about an hour of me remarking to anyone who would listen that it was quite dark outside and that it was a funny kind of afternoon the weather did something that I've never seen in Alice Springs before.  It hailed.  First of course, it poured.

The rain coming down off the roof of the office.

And so did the hail.  Lots of hail.

The hail in the vegetable garden outside the office.

When I left work I found my car sitting in a puddle.  At the moment it seems the hail didn't do to much damage to the my car.

 When I left the office though you could certainly see that the hail had fallen.

 And the highway was flooded as the drains were overwhelmed.

 And on the main street off my street.

 My street certainly didn't escape.  The drain was overwhelmed and the water pooled all over the cul-de-sac.  I've never seen that much water.

 There was certainly a lot of of hail next to the truck (it was left at home today).

 My vegetable garden didn't fair too well.  All the plats were totally cut to shreds by the hail.

It looked as if it had snowed in the backyard.

Soon the steam started to rise off my backyard as the rain stopped and the heat of the day started to melt the hail.  Some of the hail was the size of golf balls.

23 May 2016

The bird spreads his wings and leaves the nest

The bird has now grown up and has stopped eating the food that I give him.  After another week in on just seed I thought that it was time for him to head off into the big wide world.  After all, while the nights are still warm I thought it would be best.

The bird sitting on the fence outside in my backyard.

The bird on the fence.

The bird has now spent a couple of nights out in the elements and it is great to see that he keeps coming back each day.  I'll keep putting out seed as long as my neighbours don't complain too much about the bird poo on the fence.  Hopefully he'll stick around.  It's nice having the birds, even if most of those that visit are feral.