My post this week was going to be the nice things we’ve experienced on our block, but the fire outbreak last Friday put me orf!
But I will post a few pics of what we’ve been doing. Lots of cleanup work – chainsaw massacre of gum branches for firewood and rubbish piles for next winter. This week we are getting some of the land excavated – leveling, creating a bank (for my Agaves & Yuccas I have been nursing), and maybe creating an area for a future orchard!
B purchased an old Massey Ferguson 35 tractor so he can do some smaller excavating jobs himself (once he gets it working properly)! It should come in handy! We’ve had many Happy Hour evenings watching the sunset over our piece of land – tired but happy (I think) that we have a patch we can call ‘ours’ finally.
B cutting up dropped dead branches
The sheep single file on evening walkies
Happy Hour with Mad Bastard Wine & nibblies!!
Loading the Massey on trailer
The Massey at it’s new home!
Artists impression of Farmer B
Jeda mouthing off in arvo walkies
Alpacas & sheep in paddock
Some of the ‘lawnmowers’ keeping our block cut
Well what an introduction to Clare Valley! With all the hot dry weather we’ve been having this summer I guess it was inevitable…but I wish it wasn’t so close!
About midday last Friday (2nd Feb 2018) B was on his way to Clare, but turned back up the driveway to me. I asked what he’d forgotten to be told to turn around…..there were huge plumes of smoke behind us!!! Then the sirens started, then the planes, helicopters and phone calls…I got my camera and proceeded up to the highest point on our block to get pics of ‘flames’ licking the dry undergrowth of bush land on the next ridge.
Then we decided we might hitch up the van (JIC-just in case) we had to make a run for it! Got the lot done in about 20 mins! Bushfire record!! We chose to wait it out (JIC) and keep an eye on it, plus we have a CFS app to check on updates. It was a tense day, with hot winds thankfully blowing away from us and Clare township. It did ignite again in the late afternoon and during the evening we spotted embers on the ridge with flashing CFS lights over the hill tops keeping an eye out overnight (JIC).
The job the CFS and local farmers & property owners did was truly amazing. Only one shed & tractor burnt, lots of scrub land and farm land, over 10 hectares. Makes you realise how vulnerable we are to ‘Mother Nature’ when a fire takes hold. We heard later a mower or slasher started it. Unfortunately we are on a ridge and the neighbour has trees & bush all over, whereas ours is fairly cleared.
Have attached some of my pics and some from the Northern Argus (local paper). Today we are in the very high 30’s-low 40’s degrees….so every so often I take a peak out of my air-conditioned caravan to the sky and pray I don’t see smoke!
My first sighting of flames on the next hill
Van hitched up ready to evacuate!
‘Elvis’ – this Helitank did a great job
How far the fire came to a home – Photo Northern Argus
Elvis in action – Photo Northern Argus
View from Lookout in Clare looking west – Photo Northern Argus
Driving thru area afterwards
Burnt out farmland
Christmas and New Year came and went in a blink of an eye. We are now settled on our block in the Clare Valley of SA! Yes, we have our own block!
It’s been a long process but some land we first saw in June last year finally became available….so now it’s ours!! After 12 1/2 years on the road we now can use this as a base….that’s all, as we still wish to travel Australia as much as we can…before we can’t!!
We moved the van onto the ‘house site’ area next to the shed. The rest of the block is pasture for sheep. B feels right at home, but I’m having more trouble….keep thinking we’re doing another house sit for someone!! Jeda loves it. She’s used to sheep, but these big dogs called Alpacas that make a weird noise when she comes too close are crazy!
Over the next few months we hope to do some improvements: a septic, solar and some plantings. So travel is on hold for just a short while, but we have big plans for winter this year…..hint: BRB & Races….Birdsville, Qld…….wanna come???!!!
Our first sunset evening
Pre moving to the block, tanks & shed
A huge gum – great shade in summer
Earthmoving coy on site
Hot day, Hot sky
Jeda helping B dig a trench
Found this guy on base of elms in driveway
Jeda checking water troughs
Start of my collection of Alpaca Poo!
A few inquisitive visitors
The two sheep guards
More compost being made as I watch!
View from rear of property
Found many of these around
B doing some plumbing
What a brilliant encounter-Wedgetail in paddock tree
Early morning visit from Wedgetail
Wedgetails just passing through
View from house block to paddock
View from bottom of paddock