3.31.2009

The Wallaby Cafe Mexican Night

Once a week I throw out the homemade salsa and guac with tortillas, refried beans, cheese, rice, scrambled eggs, tobasco, nacho chips, and quesadillas. Sometimes I do up giant been burritos stuffed with black beans, cheese, and salsa. If only I could find some fresh cilantro somewhere in the bush.

While I was cooking we notice of the blood red sun, which is a result of the bushfire haze. For the last few days the sun has been like this and last night the crescent moon did the exact same as she set. I've never seen it as red as this.

Bushfire Haze

I just got back from the beach and caught site of this sea eagle. It hovered above me then swooped towards the water, suddenly dipping down to catch a fish. The fish was only a few meters off shore and the water is pretty rough with the 30 km/hr easterlies, so this may be a good time throw out some lures.

This morning for breakfast VP came up to our tent to nibble on some rock melon.

At the work site we could really see the haze. Last night around 5:30 I awoke to a pungent smell of bushfire and went outside to investigate. No fires could be seen nearby. I just checked a bushfire map out and the nearest uncontained fires are near Melbourne and the winds are just bringing the smoke in.

Every hour during our work I journey to the watchtower just to keep an eye on the horizon.

Here's one of the window sills we rendered. The large tarp structure is used to block the wind and sun such that the render doesn't dry to quick.

The local fire suppresion tank.

3.29.2009

What's Cooking in the Bush?

Every night around 7:00 the Wallaby Cafe Kitchen opens it's doors and the wallabies gather around to munch on the veggie scraps. Here's the stir fry, mango coconut sticky rice, and top secret cheesy ramon noodles. 100% vegetarian.

Yesterday I put out an All American feast consisting of chili cheese dogs, onion rings, and crispy potato wedges. 100% yummy, just make sure to run 10 km the next morning.

Here's Ratman hanging in the bushes looking for onion peels. We call this guy Ratman because he hunches over a lot when he walks on all fours and looks like a giant fat rat.

After dinner I climb up to my tent and cardboard palace and dig through books on sustainable development, construction, cooking, recycling, organic gardening, permaculture, spirituality, healing, herbal remedies, chakra allignment, astrology, astral projection, dreaming, wilderness survival, and this one below is on portable architecture. At the very end of this book I asked myself, 'these portable living quarters are great... but where the heck was the tent at?' What about huts? C'mon whoever wrote this book, look at what aboriginals do and get a tent, you'll be just fine. Trust me.

And this morning we had a fog. Just thought I'd show you that too :)

3.28.2009

A Rather Normal Hardworking Day

First thing I do when I wake up is grab a bite to eat at base camp tent #1 and then I organize my desk, as seen below. Headphones, cellphone, water, safety gloves, sunglasses, knife....

Today's task was to finish the window sills on the big westside windows. This involves putting a thick render slab on the outside portion of the sill. The window will later be installed and made airtight with a special sealant and foam border.

Jill arrived yesterday and this morning Tom instructed her on how to render.

After that Frank went over the basics of how to mix render. For the sill operation we needed a thick render since the top part is going against the force of gravity.

Then Frank and I went at.

Here's the almost finished slab.

For the final step, Frank perfects it to his likings.

During our rendering Jill and Tom prepared render borders for the eastside windows, which we will do tomorrow.

No, Frank isn't a fridge addict. These fridges have been decommissioned and he bought about 20 of them. They are great for insulated boxes and shelving. Tip them on their backs, seal them, add ice, and you have a cheap ice chest. Or you have a great box that keeps dry goods protected from the elements and pests.

Later Frank took the recyclables from base camp to the recycles container. Bottles will be reused for brewing. Boxes will be shredded for insulation and padding.

Meanwhile I put together a wheel barrel.

After the days work I took a little breather and looked for whales. I haven't seen any yet, and I wonder if they have already passed us by. Maybe I can catch them in Alaska.

It was time to get changed and go for a run. Twas a gorgeous autumn day and I wanted to see if my horse buddies were outside. They live about 4 km down the dusty road and there's only one quick way to get there... run.

Everything I own fits in a small backpack and small army duffle bag. Frank gave me a swag to sleep on, a metal tool box as a clothes box, and a few tarps. That's all I really need and I think this is one of the best rooms I've ever had. Walk behind the tarps and you face the balcony that overlooks the ocean. In the morning a red light filters onto the wall and wakes me, usually I jump up and go to the balcony to watch the sun rise. At night I star gaze ontop the balcony. Just a few nights ago I recorded 1 shooting star per every minute.

Stretching in the front yard....

Running through the bush road...

Going across thousands of kangaroo, emu, hog deer, and wallaby tracks...

And then I met my buddies and had a great conversation.

After that I continued to run towards the main road, which means I have to cross the giant lake system, which is all dried up right now and more or less a kangaroo bone yard.

After all that fun it was time for a shower. Well, I probably will go to the beach for my bath, but let me show yal our shower anyway. Giant water containers supply us with water, which Franks hauls in on his truck. He gets it from a neighbours supply. With all the tanks I think he can hold about 50,000 litres. At the work site I've been catching more dew drops comming from the roof and rain water in nearly every bucket I can find. Soon we will have a rainwater catchment system in operation.

Propane is hooked up to a tiny hot water pump. A solar water heater will be installed by next summer.

And soon Frank hopes to install this device on the shower. If you render 5 hours, he will punch in a code that will give you 5 minutes of shower time. If you render only 2 hours, he will punch in a different code that only gives you two minutes of shower time. Haha, no he will be that strict, but it will allow him to limit shower times just to conserve gas and water. I really like this idea. Hey McMurdo, are you still looking for simple energy saving devices for that contest of yours? How about this?

3.26.2009

Goodbye Margs and Daph, Hello Tom

The Dutch girls left yesterday, and Tom arrived. He's from Oregon and later this evening his girlfriend arrives. That means there will be three Americans. Next Wednesday another American arrives, leaving us with 4 Americans and one Aussie. Today we decided to put our 'get 'er done' attitude to the test and finished up the lower west wall and render near the garage door. This is before...

First I had to show Tom how to render the bottom coat.

And this is after. Not bad eh?

After that we worked on the window sills. Note to self: get a belt.

After lunch we took a stroll to the farm. Frank told us about orienting fields in accordance to the sun and seasons. We also discussed irrigation, soil type, what plants would survive in this environment, keeping out kangaroos, etc.

Since there are so many Americans showing up, Frank chose to mark his nationality at the community camper with an Australian flag. I think he fears that American volunteers are trying to take over the bush :)

Just before the girls left yesterday, Karla and Stinky hung around the camp and made their goodbyes.

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