Life in the bush

Old Mar 1st 2016, 4:30 pm
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Default Life in the bush

There may not be enough British expats living outside the cities to make this thread viable, but you never know. I once mentioned in a post that in our house on the Darling Downs, there was an upside-down metal "cap" on the stumps that supported the house. It was to stop the snakes crawling up and into the house, I reckoned. Not so, a reader from Tamborine said: it was to discourage large ants from crawling up. I think he was wrong, but that's what the man said.

As an old codger, I enjoy reminiscing about my childhood in the bush. I was sent off to boarding school at age eleven, and then the family moved into Toowoomba, and then I left Oz at age 23. So my memory is a wee bit unreliable these days. Is there anybody on the BE forum willing to give this thread life?
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 4:46 pm
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Sounds fascinating! tell us more. Also, the link to your blog won't work for me.
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 5:41 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
There may not be enough British expats living outside the cities to make this thread viable, but you never know. I once mentioned in a post that in our house on the Darling Downs, there was an upside-down metal "cap" on the stumps that supported the house. It was to stop the snakes crawling up and into the house, I reckoned. Not so, a reader from Tamborine said: it was to discourage large ants from crawling up. ....
Most likely to stop ants, termites, or other wood-boring insects burrowing up through the timber.
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 5:53 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
There may not be enough British expats living outside the cities to make this thread viable, but you never know. I once mentioned in a post that in our house on the Darling Downs, there was an upside-down metal "cap" on the stumps that supported the house. It was to stop the snakes crawling up and into the house, I reckoned. Not so, a reader from Tamborine said: it was to discourage large ants from crawling up. I think he was wrong, but that's what the man said.

As an old codger, I enjoy reminiscing about my childhood in the bush. I was sent off to boarding school at age eleven, and then the family moved into Toowoomba, and then I left Oz at age 23. So my memory is a wee bit unreliable these days. Is there anybody on the BE forum willing to give this thread life?
Don't need to be in the bush for that. I live in an inner Brisbane suburb and our inits have them!
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 6:20 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

I lived in Perth, not the bush, but my granddad worked on narrow gauge railways (used for transporting grain) and always lived in some small WA town or another. We used to visit him and Nan in the school holidays.

I remember two places vividly. Newdegate is about 400km south-east of Perth. It's a grain and sheep farming area in the Great Southern. We (Mum, Dad, 4 kids) stayed in a small cottage in a tiny settlement, as Nan and granddad's cottage was too small for all of us.

For me, the best part of our Newdegate trips was walking down a dirt track to visit a nearby farm. The farmer was lovely, and would let us sit on a low stone wall and watch him milk the cows by hand. He'd give us a go now and then, but I don't remember ever getting any milk out of the poor cows who were unfortunate enough to have this city kid squeezing the hell out of their udders. He'd always end the milking session by giving us each a huge tin mug of milk, all warm and frothy. We loved it.

I also remember walking down the same track to another cottage, with my Mum and baby brother. The owners of the cottage we stayed in lived here, and Mum had a pound note to pay the rent (pre-decimal days, it was around 1963). As Mum talked to the lady with my little brother on her lap, he grabbed the pound note and ripped it in half. Mum was mortified (and we were pretty poor, so she was probably in a mad panic as well). The lady was so lovely to Mum and told her not to worry about it, the torn pound would be fine, and she loaded Mum up with biscuits and cakes that she'd made.

The other place I remember visiting Nan and granddad in is Mullewa, 450km north of Perth and 100km east of Geraldton. Sparsely populated, home to huge wheat farms.

These visits were in my early teen years, so watching a cow being milked wasn't going to cut it I have to be honest and say I hated going there. Dusty, hot as hell and bugger all to do. One year when we went in the summer school holidays, there was a plague of mice AND a plague of cockroaches. The dunny (toilet) was an old long-drop out the back. If you woke up in the middle of the night and needed to go, you had to get a torch, go out the back and in the pitch black follow a path made out of slabs to get to the dunny.

All you could see on that seemingly endless walk was mice and cockroaches scuttling about in the light from the torch. It felt like the worst sort of torture to me and I have a horror of mice and cockroaches to this day.

The only good trip to Mullewa was in the year I turned 16, 1974. Mum decided that I was old enough to go to a New Years Eve party on one of the farms. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven - the party was held in the middle of a cleared paddock and all the young people from hundreds of miles around were there. I had my first 'grown up' kiss there, with a boy from one of the farms. We had such a great time, all piled in the back of utes and tearing around the paddocks, 'hunting' rabbits with a spottie (spotlight). Not a rabbit was caught of course, rabbits might not be the brightest creatures but they weren't so dumb as to hang around with all the noise we were making.

Thanks Gordon, it was nice to take a trip back to those days
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 6:31 pm
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Thanks for sharing that spouse of scouse. Were you born out there or emigrated as a small child?
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 6:38 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by Pica
Thanks for sharing that spouse of scouse. Were you born out there or emigrated as a small child?
Hi Pica - I'm Aussie born to Aussie parents so lived there all my life - until my emigration 3 months ago to the UK. My husband's a Brit and it's his turn to be home. I love it here on the Wirral, the colder weather suits me and of course we're so close to all the wonderful places in Europe to visit. Italy is our favourite, so far we've only been to Rome, Florence, Pisa, Naples, Capri and Sorrento so there's so much more to see - we're working on it
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 8:49 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
There may not be enough British expats living outside the cities to make this thread viable, but you never know. I once mentioned in a post that in our house on the Darling Downs, there was an upside-down metal "cap" on the stumps that supported the house. It was to stop the snakes crawling up and into the house, I reckoned. Not so, a reader from Tamborine said: it was to discourage large ants from crawling up. I think he was wrong, but that's what the man said.

As an old codger, I enjoy reminiscing about my childhood in the bush. I was sent off to boarding school at age eleven, and then the family moved into Toowoomba, and then I left Oz at age 23. So my memory is a wee bit unreliable these days. Is there anybody on the BE forum willing to give this thread life?
The metal cap is called an "ant cap", usually tin or lead, is a visual termite barrier. I doesn't stop them completely but they have to build a mud tunnel around the capping instead of just boring straight through the stump into the house. You have to inspect the caps periodically for these mud trails to help prevent termite infestation.
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 8:50 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse
Hi Pica - I'm Aussie born to Aussie parents so lived there all my life - until my emigration 3 months ago to the UK. My husband's a Brit and it's his turn to be home. I love it here on the Wirral, the colder weather suits me and of course we're so close to all the wonderful places in Europe to visit. Italy is our favourite, so far we've only been to Rome, Florence, Pisa, Naples, Capri and Sorrento so there's so much more to see - we're working on it
You love the Wirral? you must be crazy but on a serious note what is it that makes you like dreary Britain over Australia? Italy is beautiful, I agree.
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 9:08 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by Pica
Sounds fascinating! tell us more. Also, the link to your blog won't work for me.
Pica. It should work. I've never received any complaints before. Try Googling the URL, or even the name of the blog itself. Should work.
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 9:16 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by Pica
You love the Wirral? you must be crazy but on a serious note what is it that makes you like dreary Britain over Australia? Italy is beautiful, I agree.
Dreary is the last word I'd use to describe Britain. I don't prefer Britain over Australia, or vice versa, I love both places and am equally happy living in either. For now, my home is in Britain.

Regarding the Wirral - what's not to love? I haven't seen, heard or experienced one thing that would make me regret moving here.

I'm not saying that Britain or Australia are perfect, if such a thing even exists, nor am I unaware of the positives and negatives of each country's social, economic and political climates. But I view each country through my own eyes and pretty much disregard polarized views, whether from media, government or, ahem, social media

Sorry you asked now, aren't you?

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Old Mar 1st 2016, 9:16 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by cresta57
The metal cap is called an "ant cap", usually tin or lead, is a visual termite barrier. I doesn't stop them completely but they have to build a mud tunnel around the capping instead of just boring straight through the stump into the house. You have to inspect the caps periodically for these mud trails to help prevent termite infestation.
Thanks for clearing that up, Cresta - and Pulaski. I never thought of that. We kids weren't allowed to play under the house under any circumstances. Mum was a city girl and was scared witless of snakes - and made sure we were scared too. I often had nightmares about snakes; I was certain there were a dozen or so under my bed, so I slept under the top sheet. (I must have believed that would protect me from them. And of course it did. Not one of them ever bit me in the night!)
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 9:30 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse
Thanks Gordon, it was nice to take a trip back to those days
Hey, thanks for taking the time to type it all up, Spouse. It's a great report. I've just looked up Newdegate on Google Maps - gosh, you really were in the middle of nowhere. We lived in Perth for a year in 1971, but only got as far as Bunbury, to the south. Our big adventure of that year was a two-week camping safari in a convoy of eight or ten cars up to Port Hedland via Meekatharra, and back via the coast road. My wife was taking a course at the Teachers Training College and a bunch of teachers and pupils organised the trip.

We quite liked Perth, but not the isolation.Once when I went to pick up a "Financial Review" and "Australian" at the newsagent's he apologised that the overseas papers weren't in yet. (I don't know to this day whether he was having me on or not!)
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Old Mar 1st 2016, 10:34 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Cresta beat me to it - ant caps to keep out the termites.

In 2013 my son finished building his house in the bush - about 40 minutes down a dirt Road from a town with a convenience store in Gippsland. They moved in in May 2013 and were burned out in a Bushfire in February 2014. The house (mud bag) was still standing but everything inside it was burned to ash just like being in a kiln. The shed he built first was just a heap of tin. Hopefully he won't be moving back to the bush anytime soon!
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Old Mar 2nd 2016, 2:25 am
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Default Re: Life in the bush

My wife is a 100 Pct bush raised Aussie, well for the first 12 years or so of her life anyway. She was brought up as the 3rd child and only girl of 4 kids on sheep stations West of Parkes in NSW. Until a marital breakup took her to the "Major" city of Bendigo Vic. She has loads of stories about her childhood years that would make a lot of people sit up in amazement.

She knows how to catch snakes, tie ropes to pully stage, put tents up in sand and butcher animals. She's seen broken arms with bones sticking through and people dealing with that situation, blood, gore and pain and all... whilst they drive to places where they can get help. I've lost count of the times now that we've been out somewhere remote and someone has had an incident with their car, camp site, or a medical issue, where she has come to the fore and sorted it out. It's quite odd being a bloke from the UK and watching your wife take over in situations like this.... I'm used to it now... and generally am relegated to making her tea and handing her tools and equipment, including rocks and bits of wood on these occassions. Not many people can set up a camp site as well as her.

I think it's the Pully rope thing that gets people the most. I've seen her tie 44 gallon drums full ,of water to a large tree branch 20 foot or so up in the air and have them so they can be hoisted over a camp fire for hot water and then swing back 90 degrees to the ground again all with little effort and basically one handed.... which I must get photos of next time she does it.

Sometimes it's a bit like being married to a female version of crocodile Dundee.

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