December 1, 2014
It seems hard to believe that we have now been here for a whole month! The work we are doing in getting the gardens into shape and fixing up the various (10) trickle/spray irrigation systems is still progressing and we think another week, maybe 2, will have it basically completed. Keith has been doing the irrigation while Frances has been pruning, repotting and generally tidying up all the pot plants, hanging baskets etc. Now two of the other volunteers (Alan and Dianne) have left, Frances is also feeding the birds every morning about 7am; a combination of some Cockatiels in the aviary and the local Galahs (and a few other species) which live in the grounds here.
We have seen quite a lot of Renee as she spent a whole week in Alice and went back to Ernabella last Monday for about 2 weeks. She took us to Standley Chasm the first weekend and then last Saturday (week ago) out to Emily Gap and Jessie Gap – see posts and photos (when done!)
This time of year there are very few people here as it is too hot for most; we are becoming acclimatised to the fact that 34-35 is about normal and 29 or 30 is quite cool! Days of 40+ are a bit over the top but there are not too many of those (so far!). We are getting a few thunderstorms but not much rain, a week or so ago was a very spectacular lightshow around 3am, typical desert country thunderstorm.
With our garden work we are only expected to do about 20 hours a week between us in return for our free site so that is very easy to do early in the day There are other things to do from time to time and we have both been the flagman for the mini train and Keith is also driving the train (as well as Mike the latest volunteer here – and his wife Ann). Friday night was a Primary school leavers party in the gardens and we ran the train for an hour or so to give all the kids (about 70?) a ride 7 at a time. Quite spooky driving the thing in the dark with it’s single headlight.
Keith also spent a day helping erect a shed next door to our camp site (shed which has been moved twice already so the jigsaw is not quite like new!). Robbie, a volunteer/part paid worker, arrived here a week or so before us and is a multi skilled worker travelling in a bus with his two boys (9 and 7?) and working around the country. He did all the prep work for the shed and organised the footings etc. We are now waiting for more steel “C” sections from Adelaide to complete the walls and roof. The only full time employee here, Dallas, has just gone on leave so I guess Keith will be helping finish the shed when the steel arrives.
We are planning to visit other parts of the West MacDonnell Range during the month (up to about 180km to the West) as day trips, also further along the East Macs to Ross River and the nearby Gorges, more of that when it happens. ?