Easter 2015

Seems strange to be writing about Easter in May, but I thought it was probably time to give an update. Was a busy weekend with lots of things going wrong, but as always we still managed to have a great time at Little Duna. Better grab a coffee and make yourself comfortable cause this is a long one….

Fiona, Zac, Tara, Jess and I headed up on the Thursday evening, arriving under the cover of darkness around 10pm. As always, Fi and the kids stayed in the car while I got out to open up the van and get some lights on. I entered the van and was having a look around when I heard a scuffle behind me and turned just in time to see a tiny little field mouse who had moved in while we were gone!! I think he got the bigger fright and scuffled off pushing his way through the canvas by our bed and out of the van. Problem is the little shit had left just that all over the van…. little shits!!

Realizing we had no cleaning products on hand, Fi and Zac took a quick trip to the Coles Express in Euroa for some pino-clean wipes while I finished setting up and getting the fire going.

Friday morning I woke early as usual and got straight to work setting up the campsite. The previous week, the school was throwing out a whole bunch of old school desks and chairs as they were getting all new furniture after the renovations. I saw an opportunity and grabbed about 8 tables and a dozen chairs to setup in the shed and use around the campsite. Coupled with my new 9m x 3m pergola and the existing 3m x 3m pergola I was able to set us up a great space to hang out, draw and eat on. What a difference this made!

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Tara and jess thought it was awesome and proceeded to claim the “kids” table as a new place to do art… at least I don’t care how much mess they make on them!!

 

 

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Now while Easter is essentially a good mid-year break, at Little Duna there is always work to be done, and my goal for this weekend was to replenish our stock of wood for the winter. We had burnt through most of our supplies and now were dragging smaller logs back to camp. I really needed to get out on the block with the chainsaw and cut some decent wood. So I hooked up the trailer, loaded up the chainsaw and headed out looking for some good wood… not that it was hard there were plenty of large branches that had fallen during the summer storms.

I found my first fallen tree, selected the 16″ bar chainsaw, ripped it into action and started to cut. After about 10 seconds, I stopped in a smoking mess as the blunt chain was doing little more than give the log a friction burn. Lucky I bought the 12″ chainsaw as well! I switched to my good ol’ trusty smaller saw and….. it did the same!!! Bother chains were blunt and wouldn’t cut butter!!! Too much work at school working bees obviously 🙁

Being Good Friday, the shops were shut so I had no choice but to admit defeat, throw some smaller branches into the trailer for the night and spend the day relaxing. Tomorrow I would head into Shepperton and get two new chains.

So the rest of the day was spent sitting around camp or riding the quad bike while the Kids did art, played totem tennis or just annoyed each other (nothing unusual really). Zac while playing with the video on my phone took a couple of high speed videos of Jess doing something (dunno?) with wool.

So it was about 3pm when the kids got a great surprise, we hadn’t given them any warning when Mark, Matthew, Emma and Clare came rolling up the driveway with the caravan in tow. They were coming up to spend Easter with us again. Was all very exciting.

The girls all headed off to explore the tree bridge while Fiona, Mark, Zac and I sat down for “cheese o’clock”. While we were sitting there, suddenly out of nowhere a huge twister spun the dust in a funnel high into the air. Zac went running over to check it out and I called to him “Jump in it, Jump in it!!” Hey it what I would have done as a kid!

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Of course he did the same and came back spluttering about a mouth full of dirt….hehe 😉

Later that arvo we went for an explore around the block. While checking out the ruins, Jess climbed up the broken tree to see what was in the middle. “Cool” she exclaimed, “give me your phone Dad…”

I passed my phone up to her and what does she do? Take the following picture of course….

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“Umm… I meant take a picture of what is inside the tree Jess!!!”

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Kids these days…. *shakes head*

We continued on our way and ended up in the field behind the block. There was another fallen tree over here that we stopped to climb on. While the kids were climbing, I remembered a nearby hole in the ground and went to explore. Didn’t take me long to find it in the long grass, and as everyone else was still climbing on the fallen tree I turned and yelled “Bye everyone, I’m off to wonderland” as I leapt into the hole and crouched down…. with the long grass around it I was completely hidden!!!

I then made a show of looking like I was crawling out of the depths of the earth as the kids screamed “wow, I want a turn!!” Amazing how we can still find new things to keep us entertained, and this one was so close to camp as well!! Below is a video of Zac who took the elevator to Wonderland…

 

We returned to camp to cook up a feast on the BBQ, before spending the night cooking marshmallows around the fire and burning most of the remaining wood… really need those new chains tomorrow!!

Late in the arvo, Zac and Matthew discovered the great dust clouds you could create by kicking up the dirt in the driveway. They had a ball as you can see, although both returned a lighter shade of grey and it was straight into the shower for both of them.

So Saturday after a breakfast cookup, we chained up the dogs and headed to Shepp. At Bunnings I found the chains and bought a new 16″ chain and 12″ chain, then we dropped Fi at the supermarket while we went to the Super Cheap Auto next door to get bolts to replace the two missing ones on the Quad bike.

On the way back, the kids asked if we could stop at the Café in Violet Town, and to our surprise as we pulled up out the front, FI exclaimed “Oh my God, look at the pub”

There must have been about 50 to 60 motorcycles lined up out the front and the pub was absolutely brimming!! Seems the Outlaws motorcycle gang had taken over the town!!

With scenes from the Sons of Anarchy fresh in our minds, we decided to get take away and return to Little Duna with our chicken and chips!! While I’m sure we were ok, there was a lot of drinking happening in the pub and it was probably best not to hang around with the kids!

While waiting in thye Café for our food, one member entered with his kids and asked the café owner if he was busy today. “Not really” he replied “I suspect you guys have something to do with that!”

Anyway, we returned to camp to eat, then Mark and I decided to cut some wood while FI went for a walk. I opened the 16″ chain first and…. it didn’t fit!!! Damn Chinese brand chainsaws!! I then picked up the 12″ chain package only to discover I had somehow picked up an 8″ chain!!!! “Oh My God” I screamed “what else could go wrong!!!

Luckily the bolts for the quad bike fit, and we applied some locktight to the rest of them in the hope they don’t rattle loose. (See Paul, I remembered… you can relax now!)

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We abandoned any hope of cutting wood this weekend and proceeded to collect as much wood as we could in the trailer. We managed to have a good fire that night and had perfect conditions for watching the blood moon. Fi experimented with her camera and managed to get a couple of great shots.

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Was awesome to watch, started with a very bright full moon (was like daylight), then a bite appeared out of the side and the shadow slowly crept across the face of the moon turning a red/pink colour as it continued.

By the time the moon turned fully red and the eclipse was complete the entire block was covered in inky blackness. You couldn’t see a thing beyond the ring of the fire. A great way to end the day.

Sunday of course was Easter 🙂 The only day of the year where you get to eat Chocolate for breakfast!!!

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We did actually eat some real food as well, but for the kids I think it was mostly chocolate!

After breakfast, it was time for the great Easter Egg Hunt. As I went to retrieve the huge bag of eggs hidden in the van, we discovered that the scratching noise we heard while sleeping was actually our little mouse friend having his Easter eggs! He had snuck back into the van overnight and chewed through the side of the bag and a good number of the eggs had to be binned 🙁 Was enough for a hunt though, so Mark and I headed over to the ruins and hid a massive number of eggs.

We then returned to the camp to find the kids ready with their collection bags in hand. A few stern words from Uncle Craig and we slowly walked over (together) towards the ruins. As we got to the bridge, Fi went on ahead to take photos before I slowly released the kids in order of age. Clare went on first followed by Jess, then Emma and Tara before I released Matt and Zac who were beside themselves worrying that there would be nothing left!! They didn’t have to worry though and they all had a ball collecting in and around the logs and ground.

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After the egg hunt, Mark cleaned his van inside and out before packing up to head home. He is selling his van, so this was the last hurrah. End of another era, but hopefully they can still come camping occasionally. We had a great relaxing time over Easter and as the kids hadn’t seen each other for so long they all had a fantastic time playing so well together. All that was left was a few photos of the wonder girls in their special pose with their special gloves (previously called socks) before they headed off back home again.

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The boys were too busy catching lizards

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As we said farewell to the Waldron’s, we welcomed Granny Vicki who had come up for the night. After all the hello’s and Happy Easter’s, more chocolate eggs and a cuppa, Fi took Granny for a wander around the block. Feeling a little lazy, I caught up to them on the quad bike and cruised slowly along as they walked.

As we were walking from the second dam to the first, I took off a little faster for a cruise through the field when suddenly there was a bang and the rear suspension snapped….again!! I think it is a design flaw in the way the suspension is mounted as it broke in exactly the same spot as the last few times. Think that is the third or fourth suspension I’ve been through!!! Wasn’t even bouncing that much 🙁

Luckily I was able to stop pretty quickly and we went a lot slower on the way back with the suspension just resting on the broken frame. Seriously what else could go wrong??

Well, it was Fi that noticed it as I put the Quad bike away in the shed. The generator wasn’t running. Strange I thought as we had been running it for up to 10 hours a day since we got here with no problem.

I spent the afternoon trying to fix it and get it going again. by the time I admitted defeat, I was covered in soot and diesel and not very happy at all. “That’s it” I declared “we are going home tomorrow” (originally we were going to stay until Wednesday as both Fi and I had arrange a couple of extra days off). Zac as I’m sure you can guess was devastated (ok that last sentence may not have been what really happened!!)

Seriously now, what else could go wrong!

Well, I spoke too soon as both the tanks in the van were empty and with not power to operate the pump, I had no way to bring water back up to the van 🙁 Luckily I was able to connect 4 power cords together and hook the pump up to the inverter in the van long enough to power the pump and fill the tanks again. At least we would have water, although I’m not sure how long the lights will last. Oh well enough to get us through one more night.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, we had Easter dinner at the pub, which was pretty empty for Easter Sunday, then built a good sized fire to see us through the night. Good thing too as the nights were getting pretty cold! When I woke the next morning, as I drank my coffee, I stirred up the ashes and got the fire going again while I waited for the morning sun to burn away the chill.

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Everyone else stayed in bed as long as they could to stay warm! I spent my morning wandering around the block with the dogs and remembered to take a few photos of the dams. Was amazing how low they were. Certainly the lowest I’ve ever seen them!!

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In fact everything is still so dry with little to no green showing through. The water tank is sitting at about 3000 litres, so we are in desperate need of some rain. The front dam is so empty that it looks like little more than a puddle. Still, in the middle Ruby is able to find water deep enough to swim in, although she was able to walk through most of the area with her head above water.

Eventually the others braved the cold and got out of bed for breakfast. We had just finished eating when Fi spotted a large black blur bolting along the boundary beyond the second dam. Looked like a big fox chasing some breakfast of it own! I grabbed the .22 and went looking for it while Zac tried to spot from camp with binoculars. What ever it was, it was long gone by the time I got over there.

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Tara on the other hand made a sign to warn everyone.

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As I returned from my “hunt”, I announced to the kids that it was actually a large feral cat and I had shot it over by the dam. They all raced over to see it which kept them busy for about an hour or so….hehe

After all that excitement, we said our farewells to Ganny Vicki who was heading back early to spend the day with friends.

Granny spoiled the Kids with $10 pocket money before leaving.

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We took our time to pack up, loaded the broken generator onto the trailer, locked up the van and headed home in the slow Easter traffic that we had been hoping to miss by staying a few days extra. Such a pain and so much had gone wrong, but somehow we had still managed to have a fantastic time over the days we were there.

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So that was Easter, took me a while to write it up but now it is done there is no excuse for not keeping up from here on in. I’ll leave you with a picture of Ruby sporting her new camo-coat. On the first night she was wearing her old one for 10 minutes before running off to bark at something on one of the neighbors properties and returning with a jacket!! I think she just wanted a camouflage one like Kushi’s!!

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One Response to Easter 2015

  1. jennymacfarlane says:

    Great photos, the kids must have had so much fun,Special Easter for them all to remember.

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