Four days ago, after much prevarication, we decided to remain in Tasmania. The weather, over the past week, has become increasingly…um… seasonal? Beautiful days, bloody cold mornings. I started waking up early, my breath steaming like a dragon, and decided we needed to sail to Queensland. STAT.* Sit out the current situation via daily swims and reading books in the sun.
But. On further reflection a decision was made to remain in Franklin, where:
- we are amongst people that we know
- we have Della Delica to get us to and from the supermarket instead of having to find somewhere to get ashore and having to get on buses or walk long distances
- Tasmania, in comparison to the other eastern states, has a low infection rate, and – at the time of writing – has had no detected community based infections. Therefore it is (currently) safer than our proposed destination – although I haven’t extrapolated for size/population etc
- we are 87% certain we have a block of land, though there is nothing official about it; thus we are going to spend time trying to tame it.
In relation to the last point – this was my original pre-pandemic plan, one that I was talked out of both by M and Linda (owner of the land). I wanted to use the winter to get rid of all the blackberries and weeds, rather than return in warmer weather to a freshly sprouting outcrop. Despite the cold, I was certain we could use the winter to make paths, chop down the various skanky non-native trees that block a lot of the light and particularly clear weeds from the creek.
Now it seems that it is all going to happen. The Smalls and I may even decamp from the boat and spend some time in Linda’s van and annexe, where there is a tiny old fashioned wood stove.
[…the following is written two days after the above.]
Yesterday – a balmy 25 degrees, was a tonic for the soul. Again we worked our butts off on the block, coated in mozzie spray, bits of mud and sweat. It was yesterday when M and I realised that the Smalls have spent their last four years or so living on a boat, so busting their arses land-clearing was a whole new world. They did remarkably well.
There were, of course, sporadic verbal punch-ups. We were pulling out blackberries that are choking the man ferns and the creek as M used the chainsaw to clear the trees that had fallen across it. He’s handy with the new brush cutter – it almost melts away impenetrable massive clumps of the evil blackberry weed – then we come and rake it out. The roots are still there – and they are e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y hard to dig out. I have started dreaming wistfully of a rotary hoe.
*From the Latin word status, meaning ‘immediately. ‘