Sunday, February 24, 2013

Head of bone and heart of stone

Sun, rain, wind...the Mitfords ...opshops, garage sales, tipshops...sick girlchild...suicidal cat next's all go here. There's a cyclone in the north, and a long weekend coming - they may even arrive at the same time. 

We've had some rain,which was really welcome.  The cat next door has taken to laying in front of approaching vehicles.
  It won't end well. 

I'm re-reading The House of Mitford, by Jonathon Guinness with Catherine Guinness.  Nancy wrote to her sister Unity, starting 'Darling Head of Bone and Heart of Stone...' They were a family entirely of contrast but their use of language was magical and fabulously far from today's text-speak.  Text speak is slowly but surely sucking the poetry and wit from communication. I shall continue to rant against it.  

I also read Honk If You Are Jesus by Peter Goldsworthy. I finished it this afternoon, waiting in Accident and Emergency at the hospital for my daughter to see someone about the brain splitting earache she's contracted.  Apparently she's going to live to work again but is spending some quality time with various pain reducing potions.   The medical bent of the novel fitted my surrounds.  

Fantastic pickings at the oppies and garage sales this weekend.  A friend brought me two new very old suitcases; one garage sale had not only a pine box, but enough lovely old crockery to fill it.  I found a wonderful tin trunk, it's a bit rusty on the outside but the inside is still very tidy. There was a watercolour in a beautiful old frame, and a heap of framing stuff like hooks. A very nice English-made navy leather jacket. Brilliant yellow rusty tin numbers.  Very exciting.

As things occur in runs, this weekend was CD's, DVD's, crockery.  One lady had lots and lots of the same kitchenalia that my mother had, it was uncanny to see it all together in one place, so far from her kitchen.  I bought some pieces in good condition, to use and some in chipped and cracked condition, to misuse and abuse.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

And some new jewellery....

A rainy day, what's a girl to do?  I made some jewellery.

The single woman's guide to mouse catching

I've been waging a battle, over a couple of weeks, with the sneakiest, fastest and most well-fed mouse in the history of rodent study.  Cheeky, pushy, intellectual, fast, sleek.  

I'm no slouch in the removal of Mickey's less engaging cousins from residential premises.  I've lived in many places which have had the odd in-comer, and have developed some damn sneaky methods of trapping, if I say so myself.  But this one has evaded and escaped and become a veritable rodent Ronald Biggs.  If you missed the 60's and 70's, I'd explain who RB was, but in the time of the interweb, if you didn't know, you've probably clicked on the link by now. If you don't, and you didn't, then you'll probably never know.

I started with the usual mousetrap. I spurn the new-fangled ones and go with the old wooden-based ones. I can understand the 'live trap' ones, but what do you do then?  Let me explain.

It came in once.  If you let it go, outside, it will come in again.  You could drive it a long way away and release it, if that makes you feel better.  Then it will get into someone else's house.  This is not an endangered animal. If you don't want to release it into the wild, what are your options? Things get a bit hands-on.

(I know someone who caught a mouse in a trap by the leg once, and ended up taking it to the vet.  Who sniggered, and said that she could pay $40 for the green needle, or just quietly walk away.  She walked away, her reputation as a farm girl in tatters.  She's never really lived it down.)

When the original traps didn't work, I replaced them with nice new ones.  I tied the bait to the trap, the mouse chewed through the thread.  I bought new mouse attractant gel, for the new traps.  It was attracted,  but not fatally.  

A friend suggested a method she'd found successful in one of the great mouse plagues of the last century in Victoria.

Take a glass bottle. (This may involve emptying a wine bottle.  Remember - waste not, want not.) 

I put a bit of sand in the empty bottle, because this mouse may have assumed sumo-mouse proportions.  I needed extra stability.  Place some bait in the neck of the bottle. ( I used the crust from some toast.)  Place the bottle on the edge of the bench or table, as appropriate, with the neck sticking out.

Take a bucket of water.  Place it on the floor under the bottle.   Wait about 5 minutes, and plop.  Sumo-mouse can't get a grip on the slippery bottle.

It's free, it involves wine, and it's effective. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thelma, Louise, and little boy Blue

On Friday afternoon, we scheduled a roadtrip.  Sort of like Thelma and Louise, but in a 4 wheel drive with a trailer.  We had an earlybird look at a friend's garage sale, the Denmark tipshop, and a visit to the fabulous South Coast Woodworking Gallery to complete, plus a visit to a friend's farm, to pick up some old fenceposts.

A fellow salvage fiend was home from his swing on the rigs and was coming with us, he had been trying to get to the tipshop for ages but never quite had the time.  Let's call him "Blue". 

Our babies are well grown up, but we decided that it was like taking our little boy out for a drive in the country.  He curled up in the back and went to sleep like a good little boy, virtually as soon as we got on the road.  At the tip shop, his eyes were like a kid in a toyshop. 

That tipshop is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so it was a positively seething mass of people dropping off and scanning the goods which had come in through the week. We picked up a solid pine single bed (for the timber - $5 instead of $100's at Bunnings), a slab of timber for cutting boards,  a metal frame, a galvanised thingy for making cement slabs (NOT for making cement slabs), and a bunch of other bits and pieces. 

My friend came out $2 up because a guy had bought a door, but didn't have a roof rack on his sedan. He got some pillows from the tipshop and my friend sold him some old rope (we travel prepared)and he tied it on the roof. Tying the doors closed caused some delay.

We filled the trailer with fenceposts on the way home, although we were disappointed that the lichen encrustation wasn't quite as hoped.  I suspect our friend the farmer took a dim view of my suggestion that he give the posts a quarter of a turn a day (each) to even them up.

On Saturday, we went to the local Albany tip shop,as always behind the play.  The game has been lifted somewhat of late, and more stuff is getting recycled, I suspect after a lot of ratepayer complaint.  The thinking, however, remains steadfastly inside the box, and a small box at that.

While we were there, someone came in with one of those pine folding cots with the canvas base.  He was told that they couldn't take it due to 'toddler issues'.  Unfortunately, no-one bothered to think that it could be turned upside down without the base and used as a puppy pen; or that the dowel and wood in it could be re-used.  Rather than sending it to landfill, my friend had a quiet word, it was transferred from car to car, and it will be repurposed for non-toddler applications. It was, for the record, absolutely mint.

While we were there, someone brought in a sail from a sailboard.  The functionary told someone that he was supposed to check e-bay and Gumtree to check current prices, but then straightaway sold it for $10 without checking.  It turned out that the person didn't even have $10 so he 'put it aside' till the man came back - in spite of the sign saying it isn't to happen.

The main problem at the Albany tipshop is that there is no real commitment to recycling. They just don't get it.  By 'they' I mean primarily Cleanaway, who run the shop and make the policies, but some of the staff they hire really just aren't interested. (Some are great.) The terms 'repurpose' and 'upcycle' do not seem to be in the vocabulary.  

The tipshop is under-resourced and some of the rules are silly.  If they can't accept upholstered furniture, what about the shoes?  What if I get a blister?  Why does vintage wooden furniture get sent to landfill, but damaged chipboard get put aside for sale?  We got some jarrah beams from the firewood pile.  They turned out to be the posts from the jarrah beds we got a couple of weeks ago.  About $150 worth of old, dressed, (nail free) jarrah.  For firewood. I hope I don't get a splinter.

Timber, dressed or otherwise, is considered not saleable and sent straight to landfill.  A tiny percentage is set aside for firewood.

The Denmark tip, for all the disorganisation, at least has the right idea and the support of the community. We rarely walk away empty handed at Denmark, whereas at Albany we frequently do.

Perhaps Greenskills should tender for the contract for the Albany tip.  There are art projects. Community education. They walk the talk on tipshop recycling. 

And I would hazard a guess that the stock, as well as the cash turnover at Denmark well outstrips that at Albany.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Elementary, my dear Travis

I think I could get used to only working 3 days a week, the whole 4 day week thing is getting old. How long is it till the next long weekend?

I'm watching the first episode of Elementary, the newest and much-promoted Americanised Sherlock Holmes.  I don't believe that my Sunday nights will continue to be devoted to it.  So far it's cheesy, tedious, and unoriginal.  The transformation of Watson into Lucy Liu is such a stretch I'm waiting for the [ricochet, ricochet] as the suspension of disbelief caves and crumbles under ridiculous stress.  I'm a televisual optimist but even I can't commit to this one. I would have channel skipped by now but I'm busy typing. Rating: an hour of my life I'll never get back.

my first crop of potatoes - yum!
The hound and I had a quiet and uneventful weekend, working on a few projects, pottering about. My new old Travis McGee books arrived (finally) and so I've been travelling back and forwards to Florida in the early 70's during tea breaks. I think there are only 2 or three books in the series I haven't tracked down yet but I suspect I'll be on the hunt for those next week.
The link even has a collection of quotes and recipes for drinks and food. 

I demolished the telescope tripod (just me and a can of CRC, pliers, a vice, a hammer and a hacksaw) and rubbed back the wooden bits and re-polished them without the ghastly cheap varnish.  I'm currently contemplating whether to replace the (hacksawed) bolts with brass or steel, and leaning towards steel.  It will end up as an industrial-style lamp, I have the other lamp bits stashed somewhere.

I took the top off the wooden stool from a week or so ago, rubbed it all back and refinished it in readiness for a new (not broken and warped) top.  I'm contemplating the size and type of the top. I think it should also do double service as a table, so slightly larger, methinks.  There are a couple of options in the wings, some from an old lazy susan.  

I finished a little mixed media project to match one I made last year.  These frames are hard to come by but they turn up every now and then. They look as thought they were handmade.

I also made a wire ball.(Because I could, OK?) I used a roll of rusty wire I've had for ages, and I really like the way it's come out.  I ended up covered head to foot (literally) in rust but seem to have avoided tetanus, so that's a win.

I broke 3 fingernails, stained my fingers, glued, sanded, oiled. I finished the usual gazillion baskets of washing. I read 2 books. I spent far too much time on Pinterest.  All in all, a good weekend.

I forgot this one last weekend, I love it, 40's plaster model, won at a rural show.  I know it's a bit on the worn side but still magnificent.