One week to go……

5 08 2015

One week.  That’s all that’s left of a thirteen year trek to sustainability, an experiment from which much was learned, soon to be implemented in the Tasmania Project.

The last three or so weeks have been a total whirlwind…..  As soon as we accepted the offer on Mon Abri, planning the final move hot on the heels of our first attempt last Easter was well underway.  But life has ways of throwing spanners in your wheels. Firstly, my mother suddenly died.  Aged 85 and riddled with cancer, no one was surprised, except for the final sudden and unbelievably quick and merciful end.  You can make yourself believe that you are ready for a life changing event like the death of a parent or a move of the proportions we are undertaking in the face of ‘knowing all the facts’, but finally, it’s still shocking.  No amount of pinching yourself when you wake up in the morning changes a thing.  Life’s like that.  The real irony was that she used to say once we’d move to Tasmania she’d never see us again….. now it’s we who will never see her again.

I’ve bought another ute.  Not just any ute, but almost exactly the same one Alex and I drove down to Tassie those few short months ago.  I paid a lot more than $200 for this one, but apart from giving it the same oil changes I gave the other, this vehicle is in unbelievably good order for its age, needing nothing done to it.

With four new tyres, a brand new ignition system, a new radiator, and a brand new windscreen that makes me realise how chipped all my last few cars’s windscreens were, this one drives like it’s just come out of the showroom.  I’ve deduced it must have hardly moved at all in the past five years, and is very very low mileage for its age.  I’m very confident it will treat me well on my next (and final) trek to Tassie.

The number of things that have ‘gone wrong’ though still amaze me when I think about them.  It started with the lock to our bedroom jamming in the door.  Then the transfer pump to the header tank packed up, tripping circuit breakers with every attempt to make it pump.  The motion sensor that automatically switches the light on in the pantry then decided to pack it in too, as did the CFL lamp in the laundry, now replaced with a new LED bulb.  As if that wasn’t enough, the battery in the rideon mower curled up its toes too…..  But it was the AGA’s shenanigans that put the icing on the cake as far as failures go.

I’ve spent some time lately with our buyers, ‘workshopping’ life in Cooran.  One of the things I had to teach them was starting the AGA and keeping it running.  What a disaster…….. smoke everywhere, even coming out of the ovens!  The flue was obviously blocked up, even though I had cleaned it twice in less than a week by tapping it and dislodging the black crap therein and vacuuming it out of the flue box…… so I showed them how to do that too (making it the third ‘clean’ in a week), but even though it restarted well, by the next morning I knew things were not right.  Scott had expressed interest in learning how to sweep the flue, so we decided this was as good a time as any.

It’s all my fault, of course……  last year I cut down one of those pesky Camphor Laurels, a common noxious weed variety of trees around here that are spread through birds eating their seeds and dropping them everywhere in nice packets of fertiliser. It turns out, after Scott did his own research, the wood from those trees is as close as nature will come to making toxic waste!

Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora contains significant amounts of various chemicals known or suspected of being toxic and/or carcinogenic, which obviously create loads of horrible smelly creosote type deposits in your flue in amounts far greater than I have ever experienced from burning proper firewood.  Lured by its ability to burn ferociously and heating the stove quickly, I was merely clogging up my flue and choking my poor old stove.  And it’s probably a good thing none of our neighbours are downwind too, because Glenda’s been complaining about the smell of the smoke which at times I have to admit was a bit on the acrid side.  Why I never put two and two together until just now is embarrassing, really….

The AGA’s all good again, and I’ve shown Scott what CL looks like to make sure he never puts another piece of that evil stuff down the stove ever again.  And let that be a warning to anyone reading this who also uses firewood for energy.

All we have left to do now is pack……  and letting go of thirty years of accumulating stuff we don’t need.  Precisely what I should be doing instead of writing this.  DTM may be inactive for some time now until we get on top of everything.

See you in Tasmania.