Tuesday, 14 February 2017

GETTING GROUNDED 14th February 2017

Wintering in the Netherlands aboard Taipan was not a particularly inviting prospect so we decided to return to W.A. Australia, and our old home town, Albany.

Before flying out on the 23rd of November we spent a couple of days in Amsterdam. Blessed with perfect weather we were able to stroll the streets enjoying the history and architecture and managed a couple of landmark Museums. Still so much to see there.

We have a farm near Albany in need of TLC since the harvesting of the Eucalyptus forests early in 2016. The resultant destruction is heart breaking. Not a single fence line standing, and dams and water infrastructure are all destroyed. As a financial exercise is was also miserable. The paddocks which were painstaking cleared 70 or 80 years ago are now wall to wall tree stumps and rocks. The process of rehabilitating the property will be slow and frustrating as we wait for the stumps to rot enough to justify the cost of munching machines to mulch them. Meanwhile the cows will just have to walk round them.

First job on the list has been to commence house renovations and some improvements whilst assessing the process for re-fencing and providing all new water infrastructure for stock. We have been flat out building, tiling, painting and gardening. A far cry from the live-aboard life. Well especially the gardening and lawn mowing .

A very large bulldozer has been round the 5km boundary and cleaned up the regrowth and scrub. Strainer posts have been rammed, so we are ready to start fencing.

The next major undertaking will be the purchase and installation of a solar pump and panels at the river, in conjunction with the installation of storage tanks and several kilometers of underground pipe. Really not unlike boat stuff, just the scale is different!

Earlier in the season we had a couple of unwelcome visitors. Firstly a Crow insisted on waking us with his window banging antics at 5 am and then a couple of tiger snakes visited on separate occasions. Far too close to the house for comfort or safety, David made short work of them with a good wack with a piece of poly pipe. Effective snake dispatcher.

The summer weather has been lovely. Not too hot in this part of Australia. Rarely over 30 degrees. We have had some pretty cool days and even some steady rains to revitalize the pastures. Catching up with family and friends is the best part and we hope to do a lot more of that before we head back to Taipan.

Time is flying and we still have lots to do here but at the moment we think we are on track for our return to Holland on March 23rd.