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Everything posted by Digger

  1. Our dominant trees in this area are eucalypts Jim. Gum trees as we call them have roughly 840 varieties plus natural hybrids. Eucalypts are hardwood and some are bloody hard, and heavy. The wood I’m cutting is off the property and is mostly Red Box and it’s really heavy and hard, but bloody good firewood!
  2. I split 6 to 8 weeks of firewood yesterday though a few more sessions needed before winter sets in. I also used the tractor to repair damage from heavy machinery to the top drive. At 8am we are meeting here with a. landscaper hoping to get some of the damage fixed.
  3. Heading back home today today after a couple of days in our favourite place (though badly ravaged by bushfires) A long walk on a stunning beach yesterday capped the day off. A couple of restful days has recharged our batteries to head back into restoring our home, also ravaged by fires. We are making steady progress though!
  4. We and our friends had tea at the Mallacoota pub last night and it was really jumping! The noise levels were insane yet I managed to follow conversations well enough to be engaged. At times it was difficult and I had to concentrate, but I could do it! Bloody amazing! These new Signia (Siemens) hearing aids have given me my life back! I’m sitting out on our deck at Mallacoota revelling in all the bird songs, it’s warm and life is good. The place was ravaged by fires at the start of the year but whilst there is damage in the nature reserve that we overlook, it’s not too bad thankfully. Still seeing lots of Roos and the odd Koala. Birds are returning!
  5. I had a good day yesterday! We finally got down to our holiday spot at Mallacoota, a small coastal town recently ravaged by bushfires. It was a relief to find our caravan & annex much as we left it other than a bit of ash and lots of cobwebs outside. This iconic paradise was devastated by fire just after new year and over 100 houses lost! That was the worst loss of any town in this terrible event. We are yet to look around to see the extent of damage here. Hundreds of kilometres of pristine forests were destroyed in the fires and we drove through much of it yesterday. Beautiful trees and flora gone or damaged, though vast signs of regeneration evident in the eucalypts offer hope for the future. What can’t regenerate is millions of unique Aussie birds and animals lost in the holocaust....very sad! The news coverage cannot properly convey the scale of the devastation adequately. It’s immense! Yesterday I was fitted with new hearing aids after a wait of 5 years. That’s the frequency the government requires for replacements. Not being able to hear has been hell for me and those around me! My audiologist and equipment supplier elected to cover the $4,000 gap between my entitlement and what I actually need. So far the results are fantastic and I see my life turning around, We had a small dinner party last night in a small area and I heard pretty much everything that was said to me, and much of what wasn’t! How many of you have trouble when the background noise goes up? In the end it was like I was isolated, but hopefully not any more! 2020 looks like it’s getting better and better! Look after your ears guys as being deaf is horrible!
  6. Sorry you are having that problem.
  7. I cut out burned fence posts from 300 metres of fenceline yesterday morning. Then cut up some trees that had come down in the fire and moved them so I could get access with my tractor. Let me tell you that carrying a chainsaw for 600 metres didn’t do my back much good. After a cuppa I took the tractor back down and removed a post that had star pickets either side of it. All the while the shire were working on the front boundary chipping burned trees and foliage, cleaning up for me! There are a few bigger tree trunks left there for me to cut up and use for firewood. My mate Tony came around later in the arvo and we moved all the twisted and tangled roof beams from the shed that were in the way. A pretty productive day all told! Today I’m expecting $3.5k of fencing materials to be delivered and a volunteer group is doing the rebuilding. (God bless them!) Whatever I do today will be with machinery as my back won’t take 2 days in a row like that. Good progress though!
  8. It started off pretty a pretty mundane day but the govt appointed clean up contractors rang and that resulted in a mid morning meeting to sign permissions and to give instructions for how we want the cleanup of the buildings to proceed. That's all happening free for us and represents a significant saving. Once that is done in a month or so I’ll be ready to rebuild my farm shed! Then the president of the local RSL (Returned Services League) popped in to see how we are and left us a modest (but gratefully received) cheque for assistance in our recovery. Nice bloke! During the day 2 separate aid organisations deposited significant amounts into our bank for us, and this is the “second" round. We are not used to taking charity but this money and other unexpected amounts from our insurance company are going to leave us better off than we were before. Of course part of that will be getting paid out for the cottage we lost and don’t intend to have rebuilt. I tested my new JD zero turn mower on some long wet grass and was delighted to see it literally blast through, much better than the old one! None of this was expected and we ended up having a bloody good day thanks to the generosity of the Australian people, and indeed others who contributed to our recovery. Life ahead is looking much brighter!
  9. Nothing that I intended to do today and a lot of things I didn’t expect to do. Good day though!
  10. I did my first ocean dive which was my qualifier for the SCUBA course in my 14th birthday! That is almost 60 years ago! I couldn’t even buy a wetsuit here in Australia back then. I did lots of diving for years and it was a wonderful thing. I still miss it!
  11. We have 12 or so volunteers working here today from “samaritan’s Purse”. (Billy Graham) They have done so much for us that they are an outstanding example of a religious group putting their efforts on the ground where it matters. We have had countless people here saying they will help, but as yet their words are empty. Going now after many hours of great work and transforming the devastation that was here into something that looks more normal. Fabulous effort from people from all over the world! England, USA, Canada and locals both interstate and nearby. I’d be proud to call any one of them friend! This is an organisation we will support!
  12. Thanks mate, I drop in on certain things thanks Brad. To answer you question, no it’s just their animals mate. Our RSPCA is a similar organisation to your SPCA I think Brad and they also do a great job.
  13. Lort Smith Animal Home in Melbourne. The “Lort” isn’t a misspelling. They are an organisation of volunteer vets that provide free care for poor people with pets.
  14. Bob it’s a kick in the bum for sure but Gael & I will be OK thanks, it’s not going to stop us. Lovely sentiments about wanting to help but I don’t know who you can contribute too at this stage. My needs are not for money but labour as I’m very limited nowadays. Hopefully that will come locally, if not I will do what I can. Losing all my firewood a few months from winter is a problem and I have asked our RSL for help. I hate asking for help. I’m heading out this morning as looters were seen a few doors away.
  15. It’s bloody awful her at midday! Hot and strong gusty southerlies. We are safe and comfortable at our daughters place by the water. I have no intention of going outside today! There are fires igniting around our property but the only thing that can burn now is our house, and that’s less likely , the fire having been through already. It’s no guarantee on a day like this though! Anyway! like I said your comments are greatly appreciated and we are safe.
  16. God help us indeed! Today could be a repeat of New Year’s day with terrible heat & winds! Fires will regenerate and spread today. 3 of the biggest fires will likely join today and will be unstoppable. Not sure where it’s all going to end to be honest, it’s all new ground. We’ve had fires outbreak again around us yesterday & this morning and conditions are going to have embers from smouldering stumps flying everywhere today.. We have 28 people missing in this state inc. our elderly neighbour 2 doors away. There have been a number of fatalities sadly. So it’s a hard time to be an Aussie right now. As always we appreciate your kindness and it does help, thanks to you all. We are better of than many. Thanks Jim.
  17. After a frustrating morning trying to get into our property yesterday we were finally advised that a permit was available. We did that and were allowed in and were amazed at the devastation we found! Our lovely rural hamlet Sarsfield is a war zone, in some streets almost all houses are gone, in others the odd house has gone, in others most are gone with the odd one inexplicably still standing. We were one of the lucky ones. Everything o; our property is devastated except for our house. Sleepers in a garden bed behind the house are burned out, our front door mat has had several ember burns, that how close it came to taking our home We are incredibly lucky. The rest of the place is like the surface if the moon! I worked my hairy little bum off earlier in the year to accumulate enough firewood for the next season and was feeling pleased with myself....it’s all gone! I have nothing for winter now. The hydraulic splitter was destroyed in my shed, it will have to be replaced as I’m not. able to split by hand these days. Ironically my old tractor and trailer survived out in the open whereas my new tractor is a total write off as we’re all my other major bits of machinery that were in the shed.. Compared to many of our neighbours we are incredibly lucky! The old bloke 3 doors down is unaccounted for and his house totalled and of course we are worried about him. Others are also unaccounted for but hopefully they just haven’t thought to register with authorities. It will take years to recover but we are a close knit community and will help each other. I consider myself to be a lucky Digger to still have a house. We still have dangerous days ahead as tomorrow looks horrendous. The only thing left on our place to burn is the house so hopefully we will get through that too. I can visualise the whole east coast being burned as a group of fires join to become the biggest fire Australia has ever experienced. 3 years of drought h ave caused things to be so bad. Mother Nature is getting back at us for our neglect of this planet, and Mother Nature always wins!
  18. Thanks Bob, Thats all just part of our way of life here though seldom (if ever) have we experienced the breadth of fires that we are experiencing now. I fear that the whole east coast is going to burn until there is nothing left. This is a massive hit to our lovely wildlife too. We are going to try to ingress via back roads today avoiding police roadblocks, to see it for ourselves, maybe we will be able to sleep from then on, maybe it will be worse? Our next door neighbour tells us that the house should be safe as there is nothing left to burn on the property! We haven’t been able to locate one of our elderly neighbours as yet and just hope he made it out before his house was razed. So far we have lost 3 houses out of 7 in our court and another just around the corner. Yes these are difficult times for us Aussies and we haven’t even hit the warmest months yet. Gael & I are luckier than many so very grateful.
  19. Yeah Armageddon comes to mind! As you know Scalesie, country folk stick together and are fairly resilient. We will recover...eventually.
  20. Fires are reigniting in and round our property as I type, this can keep happening for some time unfortunately..
  21. We lost everything but our main house! Rozs cottage, farm shed , tractors, mower, tools all gone! Our house is still standing by some miracle. Sarsfield the small rural hamlet we live in is all but gone, our court is all but gone! Total devastation! However we are alright and we have insurance. So grateful for the kindness of people here and thank you all so much. We are OK but haven’t been able to get in to see the damage as there are still outbreaks of fire and property losses. We will have another go soon. I guess it will hit me hardest when we confront the losses! However it can and will be replaced in time! Thank you all again.
  22. We lost everything but our main house! Rozs cottage, farm shed , tractors, mower, tools all gone! Our house is still standing by some miracle. Sarsfield the small rural hamlet we live in is all but gone, our court is all but gone! Total devastation! However we are alright and we have insurance.
  23. My heartfelt thanks to all of you, I really do appreciate it. Our whole region is under threat ATM. Nobody knows the extent, it’s far too early. In the next few days the full extent of losses will emerge and if we have been impacted then that’s when it might get pretty hard. Until then we still have hope. Thanks to you all for expressing your concern.
  24. Jim it’s a total holocaust here and still running! Our small hamlet has been one of the hardest hit of all apparently. I know we had an outbreak just in front of our house last night but it was quickly extinguished, but ember attack has continued since then. so who knows? Gael & I are safe with my daughter by the water but don’t know if our property which comprise 2 houses. and a farm shed with much. equipment (2 tractors) is still standing? Also Mallacoota where we have a holiday spot is also under threat as we speak. 5,000 people trapped with no safe way out We could lose that too. 3 years of drought have left us very vulnerable to fires. There are 8 emergency fires. in Victoria, most are in the east where we are. The effect of these fires on our wildlife will be devastating! Sarsfield where we live is being mentioned as one of the most affected so I doubt we will have anything left, but we might be lucky. However property is of lesser importance than lives and people, and we are alright thanks.
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