Lipstick for goats

Lipstick for goats

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Hee Haw is heating our water

I truly feel for my rural neighbours who are so reliant on rain fall to fill their household water tanks. I had never really considered how much water I use each day, until I found myself in the situation of not having town water supply. You just don’t think about it with the total convenience of turning on a tap and having an endless supply flow out.  Gosh how easy is it to waste, standing under the nice hot shower just because I could or luxuriating in a super deep bubble bath...... manicured toes peeping out, glass of champagne, Lindt chocolate and that the best seller book ...... oh well back to reality. 

Our only supply of clean drinkable water came from a rusted out tank, which after rain resembled a sprinkler so in actual fact it held about a thimble full of water.  We lugged water from Sydney every weekend, doling out the exact amount one needs to accomplish a water task such as brushing teeth.  It was amazing how quickly it disappeared.    Weekend visitors to the farm knew not to ask what they could bring; the resounding answer was always “Water! Just Water.”  

Up until the house bathroom was usable we showered in a ffffffreeeeezing makeshift tin shed tacked onto the back of our shipping container.  An old bath tub left laying around the farm was appropriated to stand in.   It was given a good scrub and propped up on some bricks so PVC pipe could be attached to direct the water away. 

The colour of the dam water we showered in always bothered me, tannin brown with the addition of floaty organic bits and teensy water bugs.  Yes water bugs! Apparently all healthy dams are made up of zillions of aquatic insects. No, I don’t even want to think about the buggy things....surely they were boiled to oblivion? Were their little dead bodies all through my hair?

Shower number one was the camping style black plastic solar bag, perfectly useless in overcast or cold weather as the water doesn’t heat up.

Attempt number two at cleanliness consisted of a 20 litre bucket with a shower rose screwed into the bottom with an on/off lever. The dam water was boiled up in a copper then transferred to the bucket. The water boiled in the copper always had a smokey eau de parfum hint to it. With this method and the former it was a quick wet down, soap up, rinse off before the water ran out.

A good friend who often comes to the farm to help surprised us with a donkey.  Not the hee-haw four legged type, the clever man had built us a wood burning water heater which when set up had water pressure and felt more like a real shower. Such simple things in life make the heart sing.
Laundry was washed by hand in the old tub next to the donkey.  Goodbye manicures!  

The donkey set up was terrific until the copper pipes froze and burst in winter because we forgot to drain the water from them. 

While our makeshift bathroom shed was chilly in winter, during summer I had to worry about the likelihood of a snake hiding under the bathtub just waiting to strike out at my feet or face as I gingerly leant down to check under it and believe me that was the first thing I did, there was no way I was running outa there nakie with an aggressive Eastern Brown snake hot on my heels.   

It also proved to be a great hangout for Redback spiders ...... humungous Redbacks. Redbacks you could saddle and ride. Surely they are a mutant breed? The Redbacks in residence in our Sydney backyard are tweeny compared to these.   I have to admit I have a fascination with how beautiful the females are; all shiny black orb body with a brilliant vermilion red slash and how’s this for a baby making machine,  she can store sperm up to two years then lay 10 egg sacs, each containing about 250 eggs, and can repeat this a week later.  

My son was recently bitten by a Redback spider, not at the farm.  He was bitten twice on his back while at a pub in a bush setting.  As an adult it made him extremely ill, if he had been an infant or small child it may have been life threatening.   He was treated in hospital with two doses of anti venom; we are now waiting for him to start spinning webs.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Goat woman evicts TV star from caravan

Those who thought they knew me laughed when they saw the ramshackle state of the farm house and the fact it is off grid, singing the theme from the late 1960’s TV sitcom “Green Acres” to me.  If you aren’t aware of what I’m referring to, do yourself a favour, Google “Green Acres” or YouTube the opening theme, it sums up the story rather well. I can certainly see the correlation to the condition of the house and I can only assume I was being likened somewhat to the Eva Gabor character.... OK so my go to shoe is a high heel, I will not leave the house without my makeup on and just maybe I sometimes over dress for the occasion, but none of that means I am a total princess and nobody knew of my secret desire to be a country girl.

Well, this Eva Gabor has chucked aside high heels (temporarily, one can’t totally abandon high heels) for steel capped boots and goat poo but never, ever her makeup! I conceded the hairdryer would have to be retired at least while living in our palatial tin can on wheels aka ancient caravan and while we didn't have a huge amount of solar power.  

The caravan was our home for 3 years while we slowly fixed up the vandalised house.
I can tell you that caravan was like an icebox in winter, to the point we would sleep with beanies to warm our heads and a couple of pairs of socks to stop the feet falling off with the cold.   A ceramic mug in the cupboard had to be warmed in the oven before pouring out a cup of tea or coffee otherwise the beverage would be cold by the first sip.   

For awhile living in the caravan had its dangers.  We were often visited in the dead of the night by shooters, spotlighting from the front gate across the paddock, bullets flying at whatever moved.  There was even a bullet hole through the ridge capping of the house!!! Obviously these would be hunters were dreadful at aiming.  As soon as we heard a slow moving car or saw lights dancing around the paddock my husband jumped out of the caravan with a torch, waving it around to alert would be gun toters we were there.  I thought it may have been interesting to shoot back,.... No, no, I did mean shoot into the air.

While on a shopping trip at the rural supply store in town I met hubby at the counter with my arms stacked with bright yellow fence signs “Private Property, No Shooting",  hopefully they yelled “Hey! Peops now live here. Rack off!”.   The perimeter fences were liberally draped with these lovely new decorations.
We did eventually learn of a lady who ran a bed and breakfast in town had been advising the weekend hunters to come out our way as no one lived there.  Hellooooo, endangerment much, thank you lady!

To finish up

two of my babies, just because I can and just because everyone loves baby goats! Aren't they the cutest kids you have ever seen?