Recycling a cubby house as a dog kennel using a tractor

So much going on at the moment!

We've had two glorious days here at Crumbleton Manor and I've actually been able to get outside and do some gardening. Some of the trees are already flowering, such as the plums and ornamental pear. Lovely! Really heartening after such dreadful winds lately accompanied by driving rain that went on and on for days. While New South Wales is in drought, we were drowning a bit. Mud everywhere.

We've had crisp white frosts too. Really crunchy underfoot. Love it.

It's been fantastic to finally get rid of the play equipment that was here when we bought the house. Kidlet is too old for it and I have big plans for the garden, so it had to go. As with the Hills hoist washing line. Both are an eyesore. Still waiting for the insurance company to organise removal of what's left of the polytunnel, which disintegrated in that last storm, under the terrible winds. It was great fun to watch the tractor do the heavy lifting. Hubby sawed through the four posts with the chainsaw but kept them attached to their steel brackets. (Smart, he is) Then he removed the brackets and lifted the whole structure in one piece with the tractor. We recycled it as a dog kennel. I didn't realise just how BIG it was until the tractor set it down beside the house. Polly went inside and was very impressed with their new digs. Now when the weather is cold during the day she can snuggle up on the dog bed and snooze, out of the wind and rain.

In other news, the 11 lambs are doing well. Daisy, the twin born premature, was taken to the vet after she developed a cough. She's now on antibiotics. Hubby gives her an injection every day. She is no longer wearing a jacket, as her mum didn't like it and would push her away or ignore her. So to give her a fighting chance I took off the jacket. Her wool has grown a little, which will insulate her against the cold. It's so fine and tightly curled. And soft! You can hardly feel it on your fingers. All the sheep are loving the smaller shed Hubby built for them in the maternity paddock. And the lambs love the 'cube' shelter. They play hide-and-seek. So cute!

Harry now has an outdoor house. I bought it online. It looks fabulous but I was very disappointed in the poor quality of the wood and the fact that it was merely stained, not painted, as advertised. Still dealing with the company for a partial refund. I've had to buy paint and do it myself to protect it against the weather, and reinforce it structurally with star pickets at each corner. Harry initially meowed pitifully when I left him in it, but settled later in the nesting box which is now his snuggle area. When we had visitors he meowed again to join us.

Today I put him inside and then got on with gardening. He watched me and protested a bit, then when he realised I wasn't going to come and rescue him, he settled into the snuggle box all by himself, after watching the birds for a while. I've added bird wire so that the big flap can be left down, so he gets sun directly into his snuggle box. He thought that was pretty nice.

I tried photographing him inside it, but he's too dark to see behind the wire! So this is me, after I spent a couple of hours putting up the wire and nailing it on the inside with a wooden frame I made up. Yes, I even used the drop saw. Eeeek! I had to get inside the enclosure and crawl up into the space where the nesting/snuggle boxes are. This was accomplished by removing the droppings tray and bending myself into unnatural shapes. Kidlet thought it was hilarious. Of course.

The other night I went to a CBCA (Childrens Book Council of Australia) dinner and met award winning writer/illustrator Christina Booth. She's awesome! And funny too. She gave a talk about how she is inspired by many ordinary things, and like a pirate, she steals them for her stories. We chatted about the challenges of self publicity as writers. It's not our favourite thing!

Christina read us her new book which hasn't been released yet. It is about the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger who died in Beaumaris Zoo in 1936. She wrote about the early life of this marsupial, learning from her mother in the bush, wary of humans but eventually being trapped and placed in the zoo. I know that the zoo thought it was a male and it wasn't until it died that they realised it was a female. What a horrible fate! To whine and pine for your kind and never see them, dying alone. Everyone at the dinner who heard that story was deeply emotional. It's a tragic and senseless thing to cause the extinction of such an amazing creature - a doglike tiger, with a pouch like a wombat (facing backwards) who could sit on its haunches like a rabbit! We will never be able to see one alive again and it's very, very sad. I hope children who read that story will help conserve the wonderful unique creatures we have left in our wonderful unique country. These two in the photo are in fact mother and daughter. The same animals Christina wrote about so beautifully.

In other news - I have new gumboots. They're blue! And they are lined with wetsuit material, so they're warm and waterproof!

I've planted the rose my neighbour June gave me in a small triangular bed I made today at the front gate. Accompanied by small lavender and some bulbs it looks neat and I intend to add some annuals until the rose bush grows bigger and the lavenders grow to fill the gap.

All in all an excellent day's work! Tomorrow it's girls' day out. My friend Jules is taking me to Latrobe, which is a gorgeous little village town with lots of crafts and plants and a fabulous restaurant. Yay!