Dogs and Logs on a winters day.

There is nothing better than seeing the excitement on the dogs faces when we arrive at the land.  The only down side is that Maisy started to get a little too excited a while back and her killer instinct kicked in thanks to our lethargic local Kangaroo and Wallaby population who seem to take rather a long time to come up with an exit plan when we arrive, no matter how slowly we arrive!  Rather than end up with Maisy having to be tethered up during our non-walking time I looked into getting her a backpack that I could use to weigh her down a bit with the hope of slowing her down.  I’ve been using the backpack on her walks back home but have not been putting any weight in it as I don’t really want to beef her up any – I’d struggle to hold her back if she got much stronger, she’s already pretty sturdy – but today was the first time using it here and using it full!

Into the backpack went 2 x tins of diced pineapple and 2 x tins of soup – just under 1Kg of weight into each pocket. Not enough to stress her but enough to slow her down and allow any curious Kangaroos or Wallabies to hop, skip and jump away in time.  Maisy did jump a bit at first when the tins clattered together and I could see that she was a bit miffed at having to carry the extra weight around but within about 10 minutes she seemed to just get on with life as if nothing had happened and I could get on with stacking up the wood that Aub had chopped.

A good day all round, no animals were harmed and the food tins lived to be eaten another day 🙂

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Farming and Foraging in another land- Bon Voyage Meg :)

Last week we said our goodbye’s to Meg as she set off on a year-long exchange program in Finland with Rotary.  Meg’s first family own a grain farm and it wasn’t long before she was filling us in on how the most exciting right-of-passage for the average 15 year old was the right to drive your tractor to school!  How exciting.

We will miss Meg and her presence on the land here in Woodstock but will be waiting with excitement for her weekly updates and her blog posts.  You can follow her journey here: Aussie Girl Abroad.

Here we all are at the airport – Uncle Alan, Aunty Mary, Meg, Aub, Me and Emily and below the sister’s embrace.




Paralysis Tick Nightmare!

Sadly our Christmas trip out to the land brought with it a near-death experience for Nicki dog.  We’d only been home a couple of days when she started to go wobbly in her back legs, a sure sign of paralysis tick poisoning.   I rushed her down to the emergency vets where it took four hours for them to track down the offending critter under her chin!  Nicki and Maisy are usually treated with Nexgard but I’d forgotten their December dose so by the time we had reached the land and exposed her to the tick she was about 3 weeks out of coverage.

I’m glad to say that Nicki recovered well from her little ordeal only having to spend one night in ‘hospital’ on a drip. The treatment, including the anti-venom and spending New Years Eve at the facility cost just short of $2000 which means we’ll have to hold off on the first stage of our planning application for the house for an extra month to recover but at least we have Nicki!

Since that incident I’ve made two adjustments to our routine.  Firstly, Nicki will be shaved in summer so tics are easier to spot (along with grass seeds and other bugs and bits). Secondly I’ve swapped to Bravecto medication for both dogs as that gives up to four months cover for Paralysis tick at a very reasonable price – I figured that would make it less likely for me to forget, especially during Christmas and holiday season.

Well done Nicki for pulling through, we are proud of you – our Dear, dear doggie 🙂

Here is some info on paralysis ticks. 


Ouch, I got rugby tackled by a dog!

So I always thought that my first injury on the land would be a scratch or rolled ankle but no, instead I got rugby tackled by our dog.

She was off the lead with me checking the fences when a Kangaroo popped out on the other side of the fence.  Well my dog went crazy and ran along my side of the fence trying to catch it.  That was all well and good while the Kangaroo was running away from me but then it turned back.  Before I knew it I was facing a race between a Kangaroo on one side of the fence and a blinded-by-the-moment Staffie/ terrier cross on the other.  I went to dodge out of the way and collided with the dog at high speed.


Well, THAT hurt, I can tell you.

I collapsed to the floor looking up to see how Maisy my Staffie had faired. She had taken a tumble but was back up and running, determined to win the Kangaroo Vs Dog race.

Meanwhile I thought my leg had been ripped out of its socket.

It took a good five minutes or so for me to come back into myself.  As the adrenaline left me I checked my knee and hip for dislocation before realising that my calf, just millimetres below the knee had taken the full 35kg/ 30 ish KPH impact.  It bloody well hurt like crazy and had already started swelling before I could muster up enough courage to try standing on it.

This all happened about 1km along from our ‘house’ and I was alone with no means of signalling for help.  Luckily enough this time I managed to hobble back to the base where my family helped me into a chair and to a cup of tea – tea fixes everything!

By this time I suspected it was just a soft tissue injury so I put up and shut up while the mowing and clearing finished and then went off home.


By Monday I had an infection due to the soft tissue swelling.

And by the following week I had to get it scanned where I found out I’d fractured my fat layer.  Now I don’t know about you but I’ve never heard of that!  All I know is that it is still very, very sore.  So sore and swollen in fact that it managed to restrict my circulation to the point that I ended up dragging a dead leg around for a few days this week!  Not a good look or feel and something I absolutely don’t recommend.

I got it X-rayed as well as there is still a chance the bone was dented on impact (although I know it isn’t broken as such), I get those results tomorrow.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that shit happens and when it happens you need a plan.

I’m not sure we actually had a plan, not a good one anyway.  I do still feel lucky that a) it was me (I’m pretty strong) and b) it wasn’t something that needed urgent attention but it has reminded me of the need to carry one of the walkie talkies with me when I go on my walks, to (probably) keep the dog on a lead and to keep something cool in the esky!


This was the infection before it spread further up my leg.


And here’s the leg on day 12. That lump you can see is still hot, bruised and very sore. It’s also extremely hard which is why I think I was getting the pins and needles followed by the dead leg.  It’s still pretty sore and hard now (day 14) and walking on it is painful but I think it’ll soon be right.

We got a new truck!

Country living is tough on the car, not least after several months of rain had turned the roads to pot-holed disasters.  That got us thinking that we really should swap our wagon for something a little better suited to our new lifestyle.

So we bought a Ford Ranger.


Yes, yes we know, it’s all looking a bit too flash and clean to be a ‘real’ country truck.

We’d only just picked it up from the dealer and were off to Lewers Gallery in Penrith to celebrate.

I, for one am looking forward to getting back out to the property and trying out its 4WD capacity.  I just hope we don’t get it bogged……

A New Addition To Our Family – Carmichael

Nothing much happened on the land between the end of march and the beginning of July. We were busy in the Blue Mountains entertaining my mum who had made her first trip ever to Australia – a huge feat and one which we relished every minute of.  As the land is still rather light on creature comforts we didn’t make it over there with mum this trip but we are very much hoping that next time she visits we will be in a better position to roll out the red carpet!

That red carpet experience might just start with this, the arrival of our ‘new’ oven!  I found this on an online garage sale site for $100 and just had to have it!  Now we can cook jacket potatoes, pizza, pies – even a roast dinner or damper (once we work out how to make it)

Aub there at the back fixing up a chimney.


And here’s Meg christening it with our first family feast!


Step by step we are getting there.


Becoming Australian Citizens

After eleven and a half years of living in Australia the Hill family finally became citizens, joining with around 30 other people at the council offices in Katoomba, Blue Mountains to make our pledge.  It was an emotional night and one that really did feel like we were marking the start of a new chapter in our lives, one when we could truly call ourselves Australians.

Becoming Australian Citizens 29th October 2015

Like many migrants I still feel that my blood and bone is from a foreign land – I am still English by heritage and as many of my Aussie friends will attest, I still say and do some very English things and I like that about me, about my story.  But it is also easy for me to feel at home here, to be comforted and welcomed by the land, the soil, trees, birds and flowers.  Over the last decade I’ve developed a great love of the Australian landscape and especially our little corner of Australia – the Blue Mountains and the central tablelands. I am excited about the future, our future here in Australia and am ready to put my citizenship to good use by becoming more active politically especially when it comes to protecting and caring for the environment.

The future looks bright for this new Aussie family who still queue politely and prefer tea over coffee.