TUESDAY 12 APRIL PUNGALINA
The sky was very cloudy. It looked as though it might rain, but didn’t. There was quite a wind in the morning and through to mid-afternoon, which kept the humidity down. But that rose after about 4pm.
Despite the cloud, the solar system charged the van batteries up quite well – got to the green light on the controller, and into the 13’s in the batteries.
Having a proper toilet to use this morning was great. Trekking off into the long grass with the spade was not the greatest start to the day, yesterday!
We had grapefruit and cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch. I was pleased to have some appetite and wondered if the heat of the day was affecting this by the evening?
The three men went off for the day – driving to the west, across the Calvert, to near Surprise Creek. This was a tributary that entered the Calvert at the upstream end of the long Escarpment waterhole, and which had some interesting waterfalls near the junction. They were able to get the vehicle within about a km of the creek, but had to manhandle the couple of canoes they were taking to leave there for tourist use, the rest of the way. Hard work over that terrain.
In the morning, we went and worked in the vegie patch for three hours. John dug beds. I did the fine weeding and transplanted basil and eggplants to better places, and watered. Our watering tasks were to include watering the rather large house garden area, moving sprinklers around that, making sure the lemon, lime and pumpkins were watered.
We had a little driving outing too. Drove north to the Fig Tree Camp, where we briefly camped in 2003. We had to go cut some stakes for a teepee structure for the climbing beans that O wanted planting. We cut these from along the track, then continued on to have a look at Fig Tree.
We bird spotted along the way. There were lots of crimson finches out at Fig Tree.
The Calvert River there was decidedly higher than it had been in 2003 – as one would expect at this time of the year.
After lunch John went back up to the house, to use tools there to make a wooden frame for a piece of mirror he found in the container. This would become a little mirror in one of the showers.
I washed our clothes from yesterday. Went to clean the toilet and showers, but there was no water. I wasn’t sure how to operate the pump to fill the tank from the creek, so decided to wait for John to return. So I sat by the creek and watched birds and tata lizards, and just enjoyed it. There was no sign of the big water monitor we had seen around the creek yesterday, or the smaller one we’d also seen around.
Later in the afternoon, I started to feel off colour again.
I cooked ham steaks, eggs and fries for John’s tea. I had a cup of vegie soup from a packet, and a few fries. Felt a bit better after that.
O came down while I was cooking, to check if we were ok, he said. He’d already told us that a small order of foodstuffs could be brought in from Tennant Creek, on the weekly mail plane – but nothing like meat or frozen goods, at this time of the year, because the plane was loaded the night before. I gave him my want list for some groceries – and for the Weekend Australian, to be a standing order, delivered from the newsagent to the plane. John ordered some more packets of vegie seeds.
O mentioned that, when he was in Melbourne before Easter, he and A went to see the guy who had fixed our van solar system – an authority on alternative power systems. We had mentioned to A about him and suggested he might have some ideas about power options for Pungalina. Was nice to know he had listened to our suggestion.
I asked O if he had any beef mince at the house. He said no – but he had some beef he could mince up – maybe. I replied that I had been going to offer to cook hamburgers/patties for the men’s last night here, tomorrow. O replied “I’ll mince it”! I did hope that I would not have to beg for items of food all the time.
Decided to try John’s cortisone cream on the itchy rashes on my hands and ankles.
This morning, there was a big cane toad outside our van. We decided to christen the place Cane Toad Clearing.
Yesterday, we had put out all the solar lights brought from Melbourne for the camp, and stuck them in a pile of raked grass near the van, to charge up. Thought these were attracting insects at night, hence toads.
Ran the generator again at night, to give us the 240v light and to run the big fan.
It did seem a little cooler tonight.