It has all been happening over the last few weeks

Yes, we finally found a buyer for the old house and we can finally move on and get a few things sorted. Of course, there was a last minute spanner in the works in the form of a building requisition when a council search was performed. We managed to add some stuff to improve the stability of a 25-year old shed and get a building inspector to approve our work; now we are waiting for the paperwork for the all-clear to come through from council….waiting……waiting……waiting…..

My experiences with Samson (aka Muscles) have been continuing to be fantastic, he is the most willing and kind horse and even his “no I don’t want you to catch me” has pretty much disappeared. I am so happy I got him.

Sam

On the craft front I have been experimenting a bit with new designs for my four-legged ceatures, first attempt here:

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Instead of making the head, neck, body and legs in separate pieces and then sewing together, here I have made the head and neck in one piece and the body and four legs in another. A lot less sewing and a cleaner more streamlined look. It still needs a bit of refining, but I am fairly happy with the outcome so far.

I also had the opportunity to test a pattern for Airali Designs:

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Dasher the Reindeer

The pattern is available on Airali Designs Etsy page.

And, just to proof that you can do stupid things even when you generally know what you’re doing: I managed to delete my /var/ folder instead of /var/log/  😦   Next step: take another uptodate backup, reinstall Ubuntu and promise myself to create a bootable version of my OS with all the current settings for next time (but , of course, there won’t be a next time, will there?)

 

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Meanwhile, back at the farm….

It has been a while since I have written about our new place, we’ve been there for about 5 months now and life has settled back into a normal rhythm.

The paddocks have all been slashed – with the result that both tractors went on strike complaining about the added workload. Luckily my other half is a mechanic, and after some problems finding parts for so-called grey market tractors, both are up and running again – phew.

There is still a lot and I mean A LOT of lantana and other woody weeds about, but they will be slowly destroyed over the next few years – it is not going to happen overnight.

The uncovered orchard produced an enourmous amount of very tasty and juicy mandarins – I didn’t keep a tally but I reckon we could have filled two trailers with them. The bonus: with a glass of freshly squeezed mandarin juice every morning, I seem to have avoided the various cold and flu bugs that have been going around.

The chickens have been contained in a run (well, sort of. The young ones still fly over the fence) as they tended to hang around the house all day, every day, creating the mess birds are famous for. And a couple have started laying again. Yeay – decent eggs at long last!

The horses are still nice and round although it is now mainly dry stuff in the paddocks, but plenty of it. And all of our water woes seem to have been solved. A recent 25mm shower filled up the house water tank again, so it looks as if it is large enough and gets plenty of water from the roof.

The cattle grids are gone – after I watched one of the horses casually walk across one of them: I thought my heart was going to stop and imagined a horse with 4 broken feet. Luckily she negotiated it without any problems, but the grids went up for sale the next day.

We made a start on the veggie patch and are planning the design of the shade house for it. There is still some fencing to do (when isn’t there on a bit of land) and the driveway still needs improving. The dam needs major work, either fixing or filling in, the jury is still out on this. The orchard and a few trees in the gardens need haircuts. But all in all things are looking a lot more orderly than they used to.

 

 

More amigurumi 

Snoopy, after a pattern by BearBuns Studio
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Unicorn, a commission, pattern by me
Tried my hand at a reptile – gecko pattern by me
A commission for Miffy – pattern supplied
Another chicken – you can’t only have one. Pattern by Megan Kreiner.
Who remembers the Fraggles? Pattern by June Gilbank
I always loved alpacas, pattern by Megan Kreiner.
and another chicken, pattern by Isabel Garcia

A few new kritters have been created in the last months, some of them commissions. If you would like any animal made, contact me and we see what we can work out. Seems I am on the way to a big collection again – I just like to make them but there is only limited space for the end product. Also, ideas from others are sometimes something I would have never thought of making – I like a challenge 😉

This one was for my pokémon fan: magicarp, pattern by me

A new family member

I think I have mentioned before that I’m looking for a new horse. My little mare that I’ve had for about 13 years is getting on a bit and I still want to do the more challenging rides. So a fellow trail rider who cannot ride any more offered me his horse on trial and I picked him up 3 weeks ago. A very sturdy palomino quarter horse gelding who spent the last 6 months or so relaxing in the paddock. 
He travelled well in the float, loaded and unloaded without issues and seemed happy to munch away on the grass in his paddock. When I took him out for a little jaunt around another paddock he seemed a bit stiff but obliging. I have since ridden him on the roads including crossing a highway with a group of riders, tied him up for a couple of hours while we were having lunch, took him through some cane fields, encountered a very noisy mulcher in an orchard, went for a beach ride, did 2 days of hills and the odd little ride around and in all this he never baulked, never spooked, never put a foot wrong and with more exercise has loosened up nicely – he was just the perfect gentleman. I am so happy I found him.
One other thing endeared him to me. When I finally put him in the paddock with my 2 mares, Oky charged him, as she does, trying to tell the newby straight away she was ‘top dog’. He casually turned around, did a double-barrel (without connecting though) and now HE is the master of the paddock. The first horse EVER to stand up to Oky and winning – what a guy!
He is now mine (how could he not be), so please meet Sam (for Samson, Samwise, Sam the Man…) aka Muscles, hopefully my trusty steed for the next few years, while Oky gets an easier life but still the occasional ride.
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Late again!

Oops, so I missed writing my blog 2 weekends in a row – my bad. But seriously sometimes life just gets in the way of writing and sometimes I just haven’t got anything to say. 

Had a lovely weekend horse riding in the magnificent hills east of Gympie – the views were just incredible and the riding varied and sometimes challenging.  We camped in the sports fields in Kinkin, a beautiful spot with good amenities, the pub right next door (had a scrumptious roast dinner there) and a lovely coffee shop across the road; so we were not exactly roughing it. 

About 30km climbing up the hills and scrambling down again giving the horses a good workout. What amazed me were the mountain bike riders we met on the way. If I was fit I might have considered walking these tracks, but cycling? You got to be dedicated! Definitely prefer my horses legs to do the work. 

A weekend like this seems to reset life and allows me to get back to business on Monday with renewed serenity and vigour. We all should have a hobby, whether horses or other things that allows us to gain distance from the daily grind and makes us appreciate the simpler pleasures. 
 

Gone over to the dark side ;-)

For many years, ever since I started using Linux I  have avoided Ubuntu. It was just too ‘commercial’ for me. So I have tried and worked with all sorts of distros, mainly Mint in various flavours. At first mate and cinnamon, which looked more like the windows I was used to at the time and still had enough support on the net to take me through various hiccups and allowed me to learn at least some of the ins and outs of Linux. For short periods I tried Manjaro, Bodhi, and others but always went back to Mint for its stability and user-friendliness. For a while I used the KDE desktop and that taught me more about Linux than the years before. It has enormous possibilities but also lots of pitfalls. 

So, just because I can, I changed my computer to run on Ubuntu 16.04. Changing distros is no problem in Linux. You can put your home directory that contains all your files and settings in a separate partition and after installing the new distro you just have to link that partition back to your system and all your files are back! You might have to install some programs/applications if they don’t come with your selected distro,  but that’s it. You’re up and running with your new operating system in next to no time. 

One of the things that are almost inevitable, is the installation of some extra drivers, not a big problem in itself as most of the more popular distros give you plenty of help with this. But Ubuntu was so easy, it was almost laughable. The tower didn’t need any extra drivers, and the laptop (after the tower went so well I changed the laptop to Ubuntu, too) just needed a wifi driver that was available after adding the Canonical partners. Ubuntu installed and runs without problems, I have all my old programs back (except digikam, I am going to check out shotwell instead), no problems accessing folders on my network drive, and all in all a pleasant experience. I installed virtualbox to import my Windows VM (yes, I cannot be completely without MS, my sewing pattern program and a couple of others just do not run in Linux and my experiences with Wine were less than favourable) and all went well there, too.

I’m wondering now why I didn’t use Ubuntu before – but then I probably would not have learned as much about Linux as I did going the other way. I’m running Unity but am looking forward to the re-introduced Gnome that is coming with the next LTS. For a while I am quite willing to go the easy way – I still have my little EeePC if I really want to play dangerously again.

Horse riding vs Horse partnering?

For the first time in many years I went riding last weekend not on my trusty mare but on a borrowed horse. He is a very nice young gelding, still a little bit green but very willing and eager to please. He was a joy to ride and his longer legs made for a far more comfortable ride that on my little Oky. But something was missing. It took me a while to figure it out, and when I did I really couldn’t blame the horse. When I’m riding my horse of many years I don’t have to do much; point her in the right direction and give her an indication of desired speed and she does the rest herself: finding the best track around obstacles, keeping her speed to match that of the other horses and generally taking care of all the little fiddly bits. If I want to make a change most times it is enough to think about it and she seems to pick up on it. Of course with an unknown and young horse this cannot happen and there is more required from the rider, which took me a bit of getting used to but once understood we got on famously.

It made me think of what is generally called bonding. I don’t particularly like that term as it seems to have all sorts of other connotations with a lot of people that go well past what I’m describing here. It is just a way of knowing each other like an old married couple without having to spell everything out in detail. Living with and riding a horse for so many years seems to create that same understanding of the needs and desires of the other partner on both sides. And unless brought to your attention like it did to me last weekend, seems to go on completely unremarked upon. I know that my little mare has more than her fair share of attitude, and as I tend to point out to people, I don’t command her (NEVER!) but we always have conversations or discussions, and as long as she thinks she has some say in the proceedings, all is well. But despite of this, or perhaps because of this, we seem to have an understanding and she never lets me down (not without good reason anyway).

She is getting on a bit now and I am looking at replacing her with a younger, fitter trail horse, but I don’t think any horse will ever truly replace her. She was the horse that turned me from a person that could ride, into a horse rider and taught me so much about horses and how they ‘tick’ that I could fill books with it. I just hope that all you horse people out there have the opportunity to find a horse that can do for you what she does for me.