Drenching sheep and crawling in the dark

We had a busy week with my aunt visiting, exploring lots of beautiful places we haven't had a chance to see yet since moving here 13 weeks ago. We have been itching to visit the Gunns Plains caves and were not disappointed. The stunning formations quite took my breath away and it was at times a challenging walk. No flat floor like you see in the movies!
The stunning crystallised miniature forest you see in this photo to the left is a close-up of a formation called “the wedding cake.” It is magnificent, stretching from the floor to the roof of the cavern.

These caves, unlike many others in Australia, were not used by indigenous inhabitants because the only access was through a small hole high up in one of the caverns. Thus, the formations have remained intact for 100,000s of years. we were delighted to hear this is ideal habitat for platypus. There is a permanent stream running through these caves with pure, sparkling water and lots of hideyholes for her to burrow. These caves are not part of the National Parks and Wildlife Authority but run by a private conglomerate. Therefore the guides have a more intimate knowledge and personal care of these caves systems. Our guide, Chris, told us very proudly that the resident platypus had bred young in these caves several years running. He even showed us past burrows that she used.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip inside the caves which lasted over an hour and at $45 for a family was a very economical family outing, I must say. We emerged from the 11°C inside the cave to a warm sunny day.

Heading north to the coast we explored the tiny seaside town of Penguin. On the beach we collected pebbles, the dogs ran around having a lovely time and locals spoke to us as they walked past.

Tasmania is unlike any other place in Australia I have ever lived or visited. The locals are so friendly! And not in a nosy way. It's all about networking and helping each other. Even Chris, the caves guide, gave us tips on how to utilise local services.

On our more challenging days, when everything seems to go wrong, we know we can reach out to our local connections and neighbours for help and it will be given.

Just look at this beautiful beach! Like every Tasmanian town we have visited, Penguin was neat and clean. It even boasted this fabulous public park complete with a working one third size windmill. We had lunch at the local bakery and headed home tired but happy.

On Thursday we realised the original seven sheep that came with the property hadn't been drenched at the same time as the newcomers. So to make things more streamlined we decided to single out the old sheep and drench them. Hubby trundled off to do this, while I continued with gardening. I did wonder how he was going to manage it alone and sure enough after five minutes I heard shouting and swearing coming from the direction of the shearing shed.
Herding 52 reluctant sheep into rickety wooden yards with gates that don't work or are latched with baler twine is impossible. Poor Polly didn't understand what her master wanted and Flossie ran around barking frightening the sheep into hurling themselves at gates and fences to get away.

Eventually we figured out a system of funnelling them all through so that we could isolate the old sheep. Then the drenching pack kept falling off so we had to readjust the straps. After two hours, as the sun was setting, we finally achieved our goal. Just look at those sweet little faces! Who would think they are adept little escape artists...
If there's one thing I have learned from living on the land it's that everything takes three times longer than you think it will. I'm big on having lists of tasks to do for the day so that I don't forget what I want to achieve, but it seems at Crumbleton Manor your list, realistically, should consist of one item only, as that's probably all you're going to get done!

The sheep were unimpressed with our inept handling and ran off at every opportunity. By the time we'd separated the two rams and three wethers from the ewes we were exhausted, while the sheep munched happily on the juicy green grass. A hot dinner was in order and we collapsed in the lounge room in front of the fire quite pleased with ourselves.

Doing anything for the first time is a bit of a challenge but you just have to persist, trying different methods until you achieve your goal.