On the roof

Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy Challenge Week 5: Count Chimneys
There are lots190328_blog_challenge_in_a_row_chimney_pots_paris2
Some are in a linechimney pots_paris_named_oct 2015
This one is quite tall180607_blog challenge_traces of the past_chimney_coal mine_scotland
There are others that can look quite fierce190328_blog_challenge_in_a_row_chimney_pots_paris1

Or even like Ned Kelly
chimney pot knight01_paris_named_oct 2015

Ned Kelly, for those who are perplexed, was a notorious bushranger, an Australian rural outlaw of the 19th Century.

Kelly made a suit of armour
Image result for ned kelly suit of armour

In 1879 – the year before the Glenrowan siege and Ned’s ultimate capture – the Kelly gang began constructing the suits of armour from mouldboards, the thick metal parts of a farmer’s plough * More on Ned Kelly

Judy’s Nosy Questions

Judy at lifelessons has asked some Nosy Questions

A bit about this bushboy

1.  Do you like mustard?  yes. Dijon mustard preferred
2. Choice of carbonated drink? Not usually but do enjoy a Ginger Beer and has to be Australian Bundaberg Ginger Beer
3. Do you own a gun? No
4. Whiskey, Tequila, Rum or Vodka? Used to drink Tequila and Vodka but not in a long time
5. Hot dogs or Cheeseburgers?  None
6. Favourite Type Of Food? Mine

7. Do you believe in ghosts? Yes     IMG_2441
8. What do you drink in the mornings? Water
9. Can you do a 100 Pushups? That’s a bit adventurous
10. Summer, Winter, spring or fall? Spring and Autumn
11. Favourite hobby? Photography, Music and doing stuff in the shed
170622_blog challenge_music_guitars

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Tattoos? No
13. Do you wear glasses? Used to until Laser surgery. Now just reading glasses but not all the time
14. Phobia?  No
15. Nickname?  bushboy or BB
16. Three drinks you drink? Coffee, Tea and Wine
17. Biggest Downfall? Crashing motorbikes
18. Rain or Snow? Rain of course….what’s snow?
19. Piercings? None
21. Kids? Three daughters
22. Favourite color?  Point to a spectrum and I’d probably say yes
23. Favourite age?  The Age of Aquarius
24. Can you whistle?   Yes
25. Where were you born?  Sydney Australia
26. Brothers or Sisters? 2 Brothers, 2 Sisters
28. Surgeries?  Appendix and a few stitches for accidents  181025_blog challenge_gory_chainsaw cut_fixed_feb 2017

 

 

 

 

29. Shower or Bath? Shower
30. Like gambling? No
32. Broken bones? Only toes
33. How many tv’s in your house?  One
34. Worst pain in your life?  Losing a baby daughter only hours after she was born
35. Do you like to dance? Yes
36. Are your parents still alive? No
37. Do you like to go camping? Yes. I was a Boy Scout. Not much done since my daughters grew up

The day Durranbah burned

It has taken me a bit of time to compile and write. This is a long read so I hope you can get to the end. I realise that you probably are wondering what is Duranbah? Here is the front gate to Durranbah which is the name of my property.
180424_blog challenge_which way_home gate
When you drive down my road here is the sign that greets you to let you know you are at your destination.IMG_2114

Let me take you back a while. OK to go back around three years when the last of the big rains happened. These rains are quite the norm for here. You can set you calendar by the storm season. Come October the dry season breaks and the rains commence and continue until March to May and sometimes June can have a wet year.

Back then the lack of rain three years ago wasn’t such a big thing. We often have some dry early Summers and come February or March, the rains come. March is usually the best time to start planting trees and other environmental restoration projects as the rain comes and the deep soil moisture assists in maintaining the plantings over the usually dry Winters. This is the same for a household garden which gets established and flourishes in Spring. But I digress as this is to establish a bit of the climatic changes that has happened over the past three years.

In August, the fires started. In September more fires started to occur. And then in October I was given word that fallen power lines had started a fire a few kilometers away and the current winds wasn’t bringing the fire to here but to be ready just in case. That evening the Rural Fire Service (RFS) did a back burn along the road. By November the fires had almost surrounded my place.

Things have never gotten any better and I have been on fire watch  as November carried on. Over this time there has been heavy smoke throughout the atmosphere and by November I had been breathing smoke for over a month.

Throughout the end of the month, the helicopters had started, sometimes flying over my house as the conveyed water from water sources to fires nearby.

The sunsets became surreal.
sun_fire_sky_smoke_named_home_jackadgery_oct 2019
As did the sunrisessun_smoke_fire_named_home_jackadgery_nov 2019

Sometimes the sunsets were just total orange with a glow spot where the sun was.
sunrise_fire_orange_named_home_jackadgery_nov 2019
Here we are at my place. There was a smokey haze. Yes I live in the bush or in a forest for my OS readers. Due to the drought over the past three years the Eucalypts are under stress and their defense mechanism is to drop leaves and branches. I commenced trying to minimise the effects of the leaves on the ground but where do I put what I rake up?
There is a shed on the left, my home in the middle and a playhouse I built for my girls on the left. Other sheds and infrastructure is hidden behind the house.
front drive_durranbah_blog_fire_post_nov 2019
This is what my place looks like from the front gate. More photos of this view will follow.front bush_durranbah_blog_fire_post_nov 2019
Looking down the power line clearing to the house next door when the smoke was a constant in my life. More photos of this view will follow.front powerline_durranbah_blog_fire_post_nov 2019

Here is what I call the house dam. This is where I get water for my gardens and around the house. I have stopped pumping from here months ago but do have a header tank which gravity feeds back down the hill so I don’t have to start the pump when I have to water the garden. The dam has never been this low since it was built around 30 years ago. A lack of rainfall over the past three years has contributed to this dilemma especially over the past two years.
dam_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
The sounds and sights of helicopters has been a constant in my life over three months. These wonderful pilots just go back and forth delivering water to the fire front, sometimes over my home.helicopter_water_close_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
Some evenings the smoke is quite visible as it drifts over my place blown by strong westerly winds.smoke_sky_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
In early December the sunsets started to become much redder which did not bode well.sunset_red_trees_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
At the start of December the large Kaloe Mountain Trail fire jumped the Gwydir Highway during very strong westerly winds. Once the fire was on my side of the highway, I knew it wouldn’t be long before the fire made it’s way here. When the double helicopters were flying overhead I knew that it wouldn’t be long before it was here.helicopters_two_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
On Friday the 6th December I was talking to my mate Wayne on the phone and I said that that smoke doesn’t look good and I would have to go and repack my car with my stuff just in case. The RFS came down the street and advised everyone it was almost time to go. I waited as long as I could and I had a few phone calls where everyone told me to go. The neighbours were heading out so I joined in and started to go out along road, my escape plan, to Copmanhurst Pub.smoke_house_close_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
On the way I looked back and saw the huge plume of smoke that had probably engulfed my place already. My daughter works in the kitchen at the pub so I went back to her place for the night. Some of the neighbours across the road stayed and I got some updates from them. I didn’t know whether I still had a home as I drove back on Saturday morning.smoke_lilydale_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
As I drove down the road I could see the rook of my house and sheds through the trees. I came down the drive and saw the blacked landscape either side of the driveand around the huseplayhouse_shed_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
Looking along the power lines to the neighbours placepowerline view_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019

Even in the afternoon logs and stumps were still alight and a RFS truck kept patrol along the road.fire truck_trees_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
The ever present helicopters were still controlling fires that were still burning.helicopter_water_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
The house dam. The RFS blokes who were here made sure my poly pipes didn’t burn so I still have water to the house garden from the header tanks.dam_burnt_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
The smoke is so heavy I was unable to get out and have a good look around. All the next few days trees could be heard crashing down.driveway_smoke_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019

This is a close as I have been to the lower part of my property. My place is the unburnt piece of ground under the power lines with the bush burnt either side. The tyre track are the RFS trucks and the electricity company vehicles trying restore the power on the place next door. I was without power and phone for almost 48 hours.
property_view4_lower_powerline_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
A few days later the helicopters were heading over my place and towards the rear of the properties across the road as the wind fanned the flames once more.helicopter_close_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
One helicopter sounded a siren as I was heading to a pile of sticks that were still burning near the unburnt patch around my house. I stopped and then whoosh a torrent of water was delivered which quelled the fire and wet the area around so the fire couldn’t spread.helicopters_water_bomb_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
This big Ironbark log has been burning non-stop until this afternoon when a fire truck came along and put it out as a southerly wind had blown up which could have sent embers across the road towards the unburnt properties.  ironbark log_burning_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
Some days the smoke was unbearable. My health has been affected by the smoke.smoke_powerlines_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
The only infrastructure causality, a small aluminum garden shed that had a few things stored, tools that I only occasionally used plus some building materials, windows etc.tin_shed_burnt_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
Most of my place looks like this.property_view1_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
A tree across the track that stopped me from going further. A lot of the trees are still unstable so it will be a while before I can go back into the forest.property_view2_fallen tree_track_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019
This is what I see from my office.property_view3_durranbah_blog_fire_post_dec 2019

This fire has burnt areas of my place that have never have been burnt so furiously in the past. Three years of a lack of substantial rain has led to no moisture in the soil, under logs and in the leaf litter on the forest floor. The heat that was generated has burnt everything. The logs that were home to a multitude of animals and insects have gone. The big hollow log where the Dingo had her pups is gone. The old stump that had the notches where the tree fellers put the boards and stood and chopped with axes is gone. The grass trees that were over two meters tall hundreds of years old are gone.

When I went out to cut firewood earlier this year I could see through the forest as the understory had almost gone with the drought. I could see parts of the landscape that I could never see. Now even that has gone and I can see through to other sides of gullies that I never could. In those gullies rainforest species were coming back.

I hope many of the animals and birds moved across the road to safety. I have many different birds around the garden which is one of my only pleasures. I have bough specialised food for the Wallabies but am yet to see the Betongs or Bandicoots and other small mammals.

The land will recover but I will never again see it as wonderful as I have in the over thirty years I have lived here and nurtured this land.

I still cry for my country.

The Screen Door – A Shed Project

The screen door is a reclaimed part of my childhood. No longer used in the family home it made its way here. The screen door was used on the first “house” I built. It made the journey to this house, albeit with a few dodgy repairs, and was on the front door until it started to show signs of wear.
Relegated to a shed and neglected. I was always going to fix that screen door up one day. Years passed and the lack of a good work space where things could get started and a place where the job could sit if it needed time for repairs to set.

The screen door made its way to the shed in a very sorry state
screen door03_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019
Some of the timber surrounds that held the screen wire in place were missingscreen door01_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019
and some were broken and all of them were unusable. The hinges were quite rustyscreen door02_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019
I remember the oval enamel house number in the centre of the door. I don’t know where that went unfortunately. The handle is beyond repair too as I like that one. I think my Dad made it.screen door04_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019
Into the shed and onto the trestles. Time to take off the timber surrounds, hinges, handle and remnants of the old screen wirescreen door05_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019
A good sanding but not back to the original wood. I left a lot of the old paint and roughness as I didn’t want to erase all of the doors history. And a re-glue of the frame and clamping to make it sturdy once more.screen door06_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019
All tidied up and a few coats of paint. screen door07_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019

Now to attach the screen wire. Just used staples as the new timber surrounds will hold the wire in place.
screen door08_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019

What I didn’t do was to take photos of the cutting of the timber surrounds and that part of the process to hold the wire in place.

Here is the door put installed this morning after a bit of getting everything ready yesterday afternoonscreen door09_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019
The door behind the screen door was the front door of my childhood home as well.screen door10_shed_project_named_home_jackadgery_oct-nov 2019

Fire – my story

Debbies One Word Sunday: Fire

What a topic to pick Debbie!!! This is so much my life at the moment and has been for over four week. I have already posted some stories of the fires that surround me at the moment.
Some days the smoke is so thick, I cannot see more that 30 meters. Those days are spent inside. My chest is starting to hurt, my eyes are constantly sore and yesterday I had a sore throat.
The heat of the day doesn’t help either. One day last week it was 40C which isn’t usual for this time of year. Most days last week were in the low to high 30’s. The high daily temperatures combined with strong winds that seem to turn up most days makes for uncomfortable living.
Over the past two years the amount of rainfall has been a quarter of what I usually have here. This big dry has also exacerbated conditions. When there is a lack of rain, the eucalypt trees drop leaves and branches as a survival technique. The forest floor has a lot of leaves and dead wood. Normally that isn’t a problem as the high rainfall helps break down the vegetation into humus which is full of microscopic life as well as insects and worms.
The ground is dry under the leaves and is being baked by the hot sun. The UV rating today was extreme.
Together with my neighbours, we worked with the Rural Fire Service (RFS) to have a hazard reduction burn on our properties this Winter to prepare for Summer as the RFS thought that there would be a dangerous fire season this year. This Winter wasn’t the time to burn as we didn’t have many cool days and conditions weren’t right as assessed by the RFS.
The fire season is usually late November to March. The first fire to threaten our small community of properties happened early October. This post is a quick story of that Fire
An earlier fire story the month before but didn’t really affect my place.
The fires continued to burn this fire in early November started more concern for me and my property and has been continually burning since then.
Every afternoon when the westerly wind blows up I am scanning the skies for signs of smoke and as the day darkens I am  on watch in case embers are blowing ahead of the fire. The fire is about 15kms away.
I have my car packed with things I want to save and other stuff is handy to grab if the call comes through to evacuate.
I do live in the bush, or forest for my overseas readers/friends, I am aware of the potential hazards. Because it has been so dry my dam I use to water the garden hasn’t filled and there is a small amount of water that I am saving in case I need it to put out small fires.
My garden only gets small amounts of water to keep some of it alive. The Bangalow palms whose fronds shade the house and keep it cool in Summer are either dead or dying. Of the 10 or so in the gardens around the house, two are still alive. The small Lilli Pilli trees are dying, other Australian native plants are struggling. Every bit of water gets recycled and used to keep plants alive.
The sky has been so eerie and the days don’t have shadows or sunlight, just a orange glow.
The only thing to release me from this awful situation is rain. So far these fires statewide have burnt over one million hectares, only 4 deaths so far thank goodness, over 350 homes burnt and thousands of out-building burnt. I have friends who have lost their homes.
As I write at 6pm Sunday, I am watching the trees sway about in the wind dropping more leaves. There has been rain in the area, mainly to the south and north, but so far not here.
I am hoping……
PS   Don’t worry about me I am safe and prepared. I have been here for quite a while and have been through many fires before. I used to be the local RFS Deputy Captain and have a good knowledge of fire behaviour on my property and neighbouring properties.

 

 

 

Bubbles

The Ragtag Daily Prompt Wednesday: Blast
The Daily Word Prompt: Copious
All was going to plan. A romantic getaway, a wonderful dinner in the restaurant, soft music, candles lit around the room, hot water running for the bath and then “someone” decided to add some lovely smelling scented bubble bath.
It was then the blast occurred. The spa jets turned on and copious amounts of bubbles appeared, exploding their way out of the bath and onto the floor with no way of holding back the tide.
181101_blog challenge_just for fun_bubble bath1
Worried…..no.
Laugh a lot….yes.
So when an artist and photographer get together to assess the situation and work out what to do……
1. Do they try to mop the floor?
2. Turn off the spa jets?
3. Do they summon assistance?
4. Make the best of the situation? or
5. Do the creative thing they always seem to do when they are out and about?

 

 

If you answered yes to 5, you are correct
181101_blog challenge_just for fun_bubble bath2

I love to splash

“Its OK, come on in my brother, I won’t splash you”
“That’s what you said last time”
“Come on, it’s a hot day and this bird bath is lovely and cool”
“Alright I will. Just don’t splash me”

rainbow_lorikeets_bird_bath_fun_splash1_named_caniaba_oct 2019
“What was that? Are you splashing?”
“Oh no I’m not, it’s just my tail trying to get a bit wetter”
rainbow_lorikeets_bird_bath_fun_splash2_named_caniaba_oct 2019

“Hey watch out, you’re getting water in my face. You know I don’t like that!”
rainbow_lorikeets_bird_bath_fun_splash3_named_caniaba_oct 2019
“Now you really are getting water everywhere.” “Look at it dripping off my beak!” “You can’t help yourself can you”rainbow_lorikeets_bird_bath_fun_splash4_named_caniaba_oct 2019
“Oh for Petes sake, will you just stop splashing me.” “The water is cold” rainbow_lorikeets_bird_bath_fun_splash5_named_caniaba_oct 2019
“He he he he….”rainbow_lorikeets_bird_bath_fun_splash6_named_caniaba_oct 2019

“Hey, where are you going, it was just a bit of fun wasn’t it.” “It was only water”
rainbow_lorikeets_bird_bath_fun_splash7_named_caniaba_oct 2019
“I love it when my brother looks like this…..ha ha ha”rainbow_lorikeets_bird_bath_fun_splash8_named_caniaba_oct 2019

The Bushfire October 2019

Tuesday started well. The expected temperature was going to be in the high 30’s C after an very hot Monday 39C. It was then that the wind started to blow and blow with gusts of around 45kmph. The electricity went off at around 11:30am so I decided to go down to my shed and get on with some of the projects that I have on the go. After a while I decided I needed a drink of water, so I headed up to the house.

I grabbed a drink or two and checked my phone. I had a voice mail from the neighbour across the road telling me that the farmers up the road had seen the power lines fall and the wires crossed and the sparking started a fire in the already tinder dry bush.

The hot day and strong winds just set the fire racing through the bush luckily for me away from my place.

Later in the afternoon I looked to the sky and saw the plume of smoke which didn’t look all that far away. Then the helicopters and planes were heard as they water bombed the fires hopefully in the other side of the ridge. I did wonder why I didn’t hear much traffic on the Gwydir Highway. Checking on the web I found out that the highway was closed due to thick smoke from the fires.

fire3_smoke_named_home_jackadgery_oct 2019

That night I kept looking at the red glow in the sky. One time I went out I saw the red and blue flashing lights in the near distance going back and forth along the road. I realised that the Rural Fire Service volunteers were doing a back burn along the road which would protect the houses along my road if the fire came our way.

fire2_smoke_named_home_jackadgery_oct 2019

The next morning I decided to go and check on what had happened over night and make sure that things were safe. I also wanted to check on the old road marker on the old road that went from Grafton to Glen Innes on the tablelands. This has been there for many a year and being made of wood it is susceptible to burning. Every now and then I go over to the marker and make sure there isn’t any sticks or leaves against it.

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While I was there I heard a rustle in the leaves and a skink scuttled past. A bush fire survivour.

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Some old tree stumps have seen many a fire and this one has survived another.

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While I was walking about I could hear trees dropping in the bush. Even what appears to be strong healthy trees can be felled by fire.

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Further along the road the fire was blazing away on logs

fire1_smoke_named_home_jackadgery_oct 2019

I heard a vehicle come along the road and a Rural Fire Service 4WD came along. I think they noticed the logs still burning and hoped that they would send a crew to extinguish the flames.

car_rural_fire_service_smoke_fire_named_home_jackadgery_oct 2019

That afternoon the smoke had become thicker, the helicopters were still buzzing in the air. This photo was at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Taken with my phone.

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Another sleepless night as I kept an eye on the glow through the trees every now and then. The wind had dropped thankfully so I hoped the fire crews would be able to get ahead of the fire. The next morning there was still smoke in the atmosphere, helicopters constantly fly around but the wind wasn’t as strong as the past two days.

fire_smoke_named_home_jackadgery_oct 2019

That afternoon it looked like clouds were building sending the promise of rain. This was the sky at 3 o’clock that afternoon.

sun1_clouds_smoke_fire_named_home_jackadgery_oct 2019

The sun was obscured by the smoke and clouds and burned a dull orange.

sun2_clouds_smoke_fire_named_home_jackadgery_oct 2019

Today, Friday, the morning started with light showers. By 1pm there was 1/2ml in my rain gauge and the helicopters started flying again. They stopped at around 4pm. At about 8pm there was a heavy down pour of rain so hopefully all will be well in the morning. So far the fire has burnt 2209 hectares

Thank you to all those people in the Rural Fire Service and other volunteers who have been working hard to ensure our little street was safe from fires.
I know what they have been through as I was a RFS volunteer years ago. At one stage the Deputy Captain of our local brigade and spent quite a number of days on the fire line in the heat and smoke. It is definitely a job for younger fitter people than me.

Screenshot_2019-10-11 Fires Near Me(1)

My place is to the right of the “y” in Jackadgery

Bits of The Seeker

The Weekly word prompt from Sue: Snippet

The word snippet had me rather flummoxed, what could I have that I could contribute. I decided to share some snippets of my story I call The Seeker

The Seeker Part 1
…..was many an age ago when the world was new, I emerged from the primal ooze……gazing about the landscape……..looking for the outside as I was still inside even in a world so vast so full, I was still inside.

The Seeker Part 2
What was the purpose of this world that once possibly has a vegetative cover….that perhaps sustained some form of life?

The Seeker Part 3
….hope gave me strength as once more clouds built…casting shadows across the landscape……bring some relief from this burning sun.

The Seeker Part 4
Shaking myself from this wistful dream like state…trying to evoke the memory of before, I became aware of my thirst.

The Seeker Part 5
I lay down on the soft grass……the frustration and weariness was getting too much

The Seeker Part 6
down the slope slipping and sliding as the rocks gave no solid purchase…looking left….looking right….everything looked the same…….

The Seeker Part 7
….occasionally the clouds would speed across the sky as if they had an important mission……they must drop moisture somewhere or does it not behave like the weather I was used to or that is within my mind or memory….a memory from where?

 

Gory – A Man, A Chainsaw and A Leg

The Daily Word Prompt: Gory

This post contains a photo that could make some people squeamish. The title photo is to make you feel good

 

 

In February last year, I was helping my bestie clear out some small trees from her place. The trees, Yellow Bells, had become extremely prolific and were in a dense thicket. The trees were only saplings at this stage so it was a relatively easy job  with the chainsaw. I was going through methodically, cutting and keeping the area free of the fallen saplings. At one stage I was moving back to see where to cut next. I felt what I thought was a scratch on my legs from some of the branches. What is was actually was my leg meeting the chainsaw which hadn’t quite stopped. There wasn’t any blood running down my leg as the hot metal of the chain, I think, cauterised the wound. There wasn’t any pain either surprisingly. I think my bestie was in more distress than I was. A trip to the hospital and a few stitches later I was good as new. No I didn’t get back to work.

OK now are the following photos. The one showing the cut. Yes I did take a “selfie” while I was waiting for my bestie to get a bit cleaner and a change of clothes. One showing the bandaged wound and what my leg looks like now.

 

 

 

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181025_blog challenge_gory_chainsaw cut_fixed_feb 2017

I thought I should show what it looks like now and just took this photo
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