Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Okay. As much for my own organisation as anything else:

Gardens and grounds --

The tractor battery has lost its charge. The recharger which worked with it before doesn't appear to be helping. Problem with recharger, or with battery? No real way for me to tell. I have extracted the battery from the tractor and put it on the concrete pad, checked the fluid levels, cleaned the terminals to ensure a good contact, and set it up to trickle-charge overnight. If it's not working tomorrow, I'll take the battery to the mechanic for a once-over. If the battery's good, I know the recharger is shite. Meanwhile, of course, I can't use the slasher to clear up the paddocks, and I really must do that ASAP.

In similar vein, the whipper-snipper has developed a fuel-flow problem. Possibly I could fix it if I wanted to spend a couple hours fucking around, getting two-stroke fuel all over myself. Instead, I've opted to drop it with the local small motor people for a full service. I gave 'em the chainsaw at the same time. That big fallen branch has dried enough for me to clean it up and clear the debris. We'll leave most of it in place to hold a climbing net for the kids, but I'll remove all the major fire-hazard bits first. Still: no chainsawing nor whippersnippering until the mechanics have had their way with the gear.

The Chinese Cabbage and rocket seeds have sprouted. They're coming up fast. I'll need to plant them out within a week, so I'll have to prep another garden bed. I'll clear the old one where the parsley has gone to seed -- knock it all over with the hoe, put a weed-mat over the top, and when the cabbage/rocket is ready, put a few holes in place and plant the buggers.

Strawberries are doing okay - but not as well as I'd like. I think I needed deeper planting troughs. That's something to tackle next season, I expect. Tomatoes and sunflowers, good. Zucchini and pumpkins: fine. But the blueberries, the blackberries, the raspberries, the redcurrants and the tea plants all need rescuing from overgrowing spring grasses -- a job for the whippersnipper thingy, which is with the mechanic. So - next week, I expect.

Snow peas are growing so verdantly in the compost-filled laundry tubs I laid out for them that I'm going to have to add several extra metres of growth-supports. Good thing I like snow peas. At the rate they're going, we'll be eating a lot of the bastards.

The old orchard needs clearing up. Must remove wood trimmings, and then mow. Happily the mower works a treat.

The situation with feral saplings is getting out of hand. There are wattles and blue-gums coming up all over the place. In general, that's okay - but I have to clear everything under the power line, and ensure there's not too much of a fire hazard around in the coming months. Need chainsaw. So - start next week, expect the job to be done in bits and pieces over several weeks.

Herb garden needs another major overhaul. Things grow so damned fast in spring it's freaky. The weed mat system isn't working as well as I'd hoped. What kind of goddam plant steroids are these things using? Time to get in with the glyphosate, I fear. Probably a half-day-job there. Doable as soon as it looks like we might get a full day without rain... maybe next week, at this rate.

House, sheds, vehicles:

Not too bad on the vehicular front. Replaced tyres on the Mighty Earth King, up to date with servicing. Could use a bit of cleaning, but generally functional.

Need to finish putting up insulation in the shed/loft. Must finish this before New Year so we can comfortably have a movie fest up there. This will require at least one more trip to Launceston to get more of the wool batts I've been using, plus a full day at least to get the things in place. Will probably also require some kind of limited scaffolding so I can do the underside of the roof. Been avoiding that issue. Will be able to make the usual improvised scaffolding if I get another folding aluminium ladder. Need one anyway: the ladder on the outside of the water tank is a scary, dangerous, wooden relic.

Must complete the area outside the boys' room and the bathroom. Row of bricks along the walk so I can put white sand/gravel under the bathroom window for a raked sand garden. Tiles to be cut and glued around the stone-paved patio outside the boys' door. Must also evenly mortar between the stones, for the visual effect. Tiling: half-day. Mortar: maybe an hour, plus drying time. Row of bricks can be done at the same time. White sand -- let's see: trip to the suppliers with the trailer, then transport the sand into position via wheelbarrow... shitty job of about two hours. Great.

Been avoiding replacing the old light-panels in the roof of the top shed. But the fibreglass is deteriorating, and leaks have opened. Must purchase six, maybe seven laser-light corrugated plastic panels. Will need some kind of careful system to get on that roof - the remaining fibreglass panels are above a six-metre drop. Not fun. Probably a full day of work there, crawling around, removing old panels, hauling new ones into place.


Must organize birthday party for Younger Son. When? Should be a weekend, sometime between now and Xmas. Must sit down with Natalie and decide. Still no word from Younger Son as to what kind of birthday party he wants. Might wind up having to settle for Generic Birthday, instead of the usual themed events. Lots of work there, either way.

Orchestra crap continues. Performance this weekend, rehearsal Friday. Is Natalie taking them? I hope so. I believe she's on-call over the weekend, which puts me on the spot for the performance. Ugh.

School wants Elder Son to play a cello piece at their end-of-year awards thing. Have written a simple score for "Silent Night". Should sound okay on the cello. First effort was encouraging, anyhow. We have three weeks to practice it into shape. I'd say we can manage that.

Local Christmas Parade is coming. The ju-jitsu group has been asked to provide a 'demonstration' of some sort. I've sounded out the students and parents. We only have to come up with fifteen minutes or so of material -- shouldn't be too hard. I picked up a whole bunch of pine-boards for breaking the other day. If we organise a few showy breaks, some interesting-looking defenses, maybe an exhibition game or two from the younger ones, perhaps a few throws... ought to do the job.

Christmas... yeah. Shit, eh? I like it when I run across something interesting to give people... something which suits the person, and seems to have a bit of meaning or fun to it. Funny how that doesn't happen exactly as needed for the Christmas thing. Believe I'll send a few Oxfam donation cards this year. But find something for Natalie, and for various kids including my own.

End of School Year: not soon enough. And there's bound to be all kinds of nonsense associated with it. Must try to leave space in the calendar for unexpected calls.


Short story deadline for one antho fast approaching. Damned story has been rewritten from three different POV, and I'm still cranky. Finish it and be damned.

Need more Red Priest shorts. Have three in various stages of completion. Iceland version probably closest. Aim to finish within two weeks.

Novel a tangled thing, but moving slowly into place. Blast the ROR people for the clever buggers they are, anyhow... it was going to be one novel, only they quite rightly pointed out it was really two. I hate it when that happens.

Book reviews -- need to find time to review anthos from Paul Haines, Deb Biancotti. Finish review of Spook Country. Does Coolshite Bruce want me to chat with the bloke who wrote 7th Son:Descent? Might be an interesting thing to do, but organising a time... tricky. Very tricky.

Must finish watching the Dune miniseries too. Supposed to review that as well. Interesting to compare/contrast with Lynch as well as the novel.


Must clarify which version of the most recent sword techniques we're doing. Sensei from Adelaide made some changes; not entirely sure where we stand now. Ooh... must also finish sewing "senior student" patch onto the uniform. Wish I could sew straight.

Must rehang tennis balls in top shed/dojo for draw/cut practice. Not altogether happy with accuracy of fast draw-cut.

Do I need to prep some kind of routine for the Christmas Parade demonstration? Prefer to leave it to the students, but maybe... hmm. Might be interesting to toss in some iaido material. Leave the real sword at home, though. Even swinging an iaito will require a nice, clear space. Iaito makes a better swooshy noise anyway.

Okay. That's all I can think of right now. I feel better for writing it down. Should probably go and unchain the dog now. Dark outside. Baby chickens still doing fine, despite the Mau-Mau's best efforts to love hers to death...