Rehab

Cutty needs some rehab on her knee and it needs to be non weight bearing. So down to the local swimming pool we went.  The great thing about the island is the lack of population. Nobody is ever around and the beach is virtually a private one.

Cutty normally loves being in the water but today she wasn’t so keen.

 
It didn’t take too much coaxing.  
After the rehab swim I dropped by the local noticeboard to see what’s news on the island.  Based on the pamphlet below (clearly a well thought out and reliable piece) things look grim for next month.  

Thanks for the heads up.  

  

Community

I was in the garden this morning picking some basil and the neighbour who I bought the old tractor from dropped by.  He handed me a bunch of books ranging from tractors to permaculture gardening and said, “here you go mate, these are for you. Check out the tractor book, that’ll turn you on”.  Then he was gone.  

  
What a great place to live!  Amazing views, pure ocean air and generous friendly neighbours. 

Garden Day

I recently got involved with a group of people in the city who have a common interest in permaculture and sustainability. I mentioned that I was developing my garden on the island and nobody knew where it was or even heard of the islands.  I’ve found this pretty common and it’s amazing that people who have lived in Brisbane for their entire lives don’t know anything about the islands, let alone visited them.

So I invited them to come over for a day trip and I was pleasantly surprised when about 30 of them turned up.

I want to create some awareness of these special islands and try to attract a good bunch of people with the right intention of forming a close knit community based on healthy organic food and self sufficiency.  The current situation is absurd where our little corner store has to import food from the mainland. We have the ability to produce better food here on the island and could literally feed the local community for free. I just need to get people involved. 

First stop was Macleay Island.  Unfortunately Cutty had to sit this one out since she is imobilised with her injured leg.  We walked from the ferry along the wetlands to the organic market.  I think people are always pleasantly surprised by the natural beauty of the islands.

   
They are a lively bunch and very excited to be on a little island adventure.

 
We had a good opportunity to look around the organic farm and Eleesa, the owner, spent some time with the group explaining her vision for the project. She is an inspiring lady. 

  

After the farm we headed further down the island to Simone and Daves place.  Simone runs a business called Pretty Produce.  She specialises in edible flowers and knows just about all there is to know about them. Dave built this incredible house a few years ago from local island sourced trees which he milled himself on the house site.  This is the back garden.

  
Simone showed us her garden produce and explained a few essentials for growing succesfully.

  

She has some beautiful produce.

  

We were then treated to a fresh salad from her garden, complete with edible flowers.  

This is the deck of the house that Dave built overlooking their private beach.  That’s North Stradbroke  Island in the background. 

This is the view from the beach. Dave inspired the group with his encouragement to, “just get in and have a go” attitude to building.  After leaving Dave’s place, feeling like I’d just been in an episode of “Grand Designs”, it was over to my place to get some input from people about my garden project.  It was great to have a bunch of motivated and like minded people to interact with.  So far it’s been a hard slog on my own with the house and the guest cottage but it makes it worthwhile when people get some enjoyment from it and can share the vision.  

I will be writing more about the group visits in the future.  The local food growers association is organising a Sustainability Festival in a few months and they want me to be involved with my guest cottage project.  So I’m excited about that development. More soon. 

Cutty’s injured

Last week Cutty injured herself when she ran around a corner and up a small step. The manoeuvre wasn’t anything unusual but it was just one of those situations that end up bad.  She hasn’t been able to walk on her hind leg and I’ve had to carry her everywhere. Despite some medications she hasn’t improved so it was off to the vet today.  Cutty is such an amazing dog.  I swear that inside that furry little body there is really a little person. The vet was great and gave her some localised massage and acupuncture. Cutty knew exactly what was going on and just laid there with the needles stuck in her.  

  
She may need surgery since the diagnosis is a partially torn cruciat ligament.  We are giving it a few more weeks with massage and other therapies before committing to the knife.  Fingers crossed.

A new floor

I got the floor finished today in the laundry and toilet and finished installing the new loo.   As much as I’d like to go with a natural product like bamboo, time is against me and I bought these simple self adhesive vinyl tiles. They are about $20 per square metre and actually look pretty decent.  They are dead easy to install and have a 10 year guarantee.  I’m happy with that.    

The next job is some tiling around the wash tub area and painting the interior.  

Another project

Work in the city has been keeping me busy these past couple of weeks so I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to spend on other projects. I spent this morning getting a coat of primer on the laundry and toilet floor in the guest cottage.  I’ll put the new floor covering in tomorrow.  

Last weekend I was talking to a local who mentioned that someone on the island had an old tractor for sale.  The story was that this old tractor was the original island farm tractor and had been on the island with 3 successive owners since 1949.  I liked the idea of a tractor for the property as I’m regularly struggling to do things on my own.  The weekend before last I had to move my 400kg milling machine.  It took me 2 hours to move it from my truck to the shed because I had to set up an elaborate system of pulleys and planks.  With a tractor I could have used the hydraulics to lift it. So off I went down to take a look at the old tractor.  I have a soft spot for old machinery and when I saw the little grey Ferguson (complete with “XL” badges from a Ford falcon), I knew it was meant to be.  So I handed over a bunch of the paper stuff and drove the little grey Fergie home.

Today was the first chance I had to start work on it. 

   
It looks in far better shape in the photos than it actually is.  It needs a new radiator, all seals replaced, hydraulics overhauled, brakes, intake system overhauled… and the list goes on.  Fortunately parts are plentiful and cheap for these little workhorses and I had a new radiator, hoses, oil and air filter kit on my doorstep within 48 hours of ordering them. This is the original radiator.  It’s times like these that I love WD-40.

 
It’s going to be a slow project but a lot of fun.

More Island festival 

The guest cottage is slowly coming together.  I took the photo below to show not only the gyprock walls are up but also Cutty’s new haircut. Direct comparison in the photo below from last weekend.  
Since the old toilet was out I figured I should put in a new water efficient one.  This one only uses 3 litres on a full flush compared to 5.  That’s a lot of water saved over a year.

 
I couldn’t do much more until I get the plumbing sorted so I headed down to the island festival market.  Considering there are only a few hundred people on the island we had a decent turn out with some people visiting from other islands.

   
There was live music and arts and craft stalls

 
And even a diabetes vendor for the kids. Sorry, I meant fairy floss.  

   
One stall had these island grown loofers.  I’m told they grow on a vine and then when the plant dies these are what’s left. They were also selling the seeds, so I’m going to plant some and see if I can grow loofers.  

 
The one on the left is bleached.  I’m thinking there could be a way to naturally bleach them without chemicals.

  
The little market was a success and hopefully we can build on it for future markets.  I’d like to have an organic vegie store there next time.

Island Festival

The new floors are in the guest cottage and I relocated the water heater outside.  I need to paint in a waterproof membrane next week so the same water leaking issues don’t happen again.

  
The old eves were also rotted and needed replacing.  New ply is in and painted and it’s starting to look like a proper cottage.

 
I need to get the fencing sorted on the property.  Most of its done but I’ve been  trying o figure out what I’ll do about gates.  It’s easy enough to weld up some frames but then what would look good on top? I saw this screening at a new cafe in the city last week.  I like the rustic look and it would be dead easy to use old recycled timber.  Perhaps a few old pallets would be a source for the timber.

I had enough of working and it was time to relax a bit. 

Each year there is a festival on the islands.   It’s spread over a few weekends and each island puts on a small party.  Lamb island’s turn is next weekend.  Today the festival was over in neighbouring Macleay Island, so I went down to the barge to get a lift across.  This is the Lamb Island boat ramp as I was leaving.
 
I know, another water photo but I can’t resist on a day like today.  Unfortunately the barge only takes a couple of minutes to travel between islands.

   
Over on Macleay Island the little market was in full swing, well as much swing as a small island can get.

 
There were a few little garden stalls

   
And a choice of street food.

 
Each island has its own fire truck and the brigade is run by volunteers.  Lamb Island’s truck is a bit smaller than this one?

   

The next day, Sunday, it was Krarragarra Island’s turn to put on the festivities.  I headed back to the mainland today so only got a view from the barge.