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10:56am 24/05/2012
  Stand by for return to lj...  

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well i think we can be fairly certain it *is* fill   
09:07pm 15/04/2009
mood: amused
So, like, BP and I are doing some digging? Under a bridge along a freeway? Through lots of fill, with an excellent excavator-driver who also is the cousin of a well-known academic archaeologist? Which makes us happy. Because we are tragic.

Anyway, lots of fill. Lots and lots. Like, the first hole we dug, we went as far as we could (2 metres or so) without the poor little dingo-digger falling in, and still more fill. Second hole was in a 'more likely' place.

BP looks at dirt. 'You know I don't know that this looks that much different to the natural soil around here, are we sure it's fill?'. Five minutes later BP and Helen frantically stop excavator-driver. 'What is that? Is that a plastic bag with duct-tape around it?'Slightly frantic at the idea of pulverising a recently-buried body we suggest that he perhaps stop with the ditch witch for a minute?

Despite being deep in Carl Williams territory, excavator-driver asserted that we were thinking far too harshly of humankind to jump to such an assumption - 'much more likely asbestos, for them to go to the effort of taping it up', he says. Female rep (who has an uncanny resemblance to the actress who played Roberta Williams, incidentally), comes over.

'What's going on?'
'There's black plastic down there'
'Oh, that's ok, there's black plastic at the base of all the pylons, look'
'This plastic has duct tape'
'Oh' Moves closer to helen and turns away from the trench, shutting her eyes as the ditch-witch swings back into action.'I'm already feeling fragile enough today'.

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I think we need a new strategy   
11:27pm 18/03/2009
mood: cranky
Every survey lately seems to grind to an abrupt halt as Helen faces near-death by snakebite. And promptly freaks, ending the job for all concerned in no uncertain terms. Effing tiger-snakes. They're just so big, and no matter how many times it happens, Helen just cannot accept that it is okay for them to be 10cm from her as she bush-bashes.

*cut to Helen 250m into thick bracken with no way to tell which is better, forward or backward, as the tiger that just reared up at her disappears into the undergrowth and she has no phone coverage and of course we forgot our walkie-talkies and no-one is within yelling distance and if you get bitten and lie down nobody will ever find you and do you remember that friend who had to just lie down in his tent in Tasmania after being bitten and just see if he died, which just means freakout, and thumping the ground and jumping at every pademelon-thump, finally getting to the edge of the bracken and screaming for *bp* and her not hearing and Helen going spastic trying to find a non-bracken way to get to a high point to try to check if *bp* has been struck down by the very same snake or one of its friends that she is sure are everywhere and totally out to destroy all humans. Helen loses the ability to make brain-sentences.*

See, what we need to do is rid the country of all vegetation. Reckon that would do it.

Obviously 'too soon' to suggest the obvious :P

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new website   
10:28pm 23/11/2008
mood: chipper

. . . feeling inordinately pleased with ourselves :P

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Farmers and snakes and leeches, oh my.   
12:16am 04/11/2008
  So last night, Helen is in the nice warm unit, fooling about on the puter designing bumper stickers. Has Helen mentioned before the leeches in victoria? For those unaware, they are like those in Tasmania and NT. None of this nice WA-style staying in the water for them. No, they perch themselves on grasses and bracken, and wave about smelling for blood.

You walk past and the little bastards attach themselves (to plastic, pants, whatever) and proceed to climb up your clothes like a deranged caterpillar until they find something you have not properly tucked in. Then you feel a painful slimy on your stomach. Or your arse. If you're lucky. They don't like ti-tree oil sprayed on them, fyi, if you want to get them off without flamage.

So Helen is on the puter. We have been inside for a good 6-7 hours. Suddenly, she looks down and there is a leech on the keyboard. Gf had been asleep, poor thing, when Helen started with the expletives and light-turning-on and getting an appropriate stick to piff the thing outside. Ugh. It crawled across the keyboard and was halfway up the screen, swinging around and scoping for blood, before I got it. And then of course we were paranoid all night and Helen had more snake dreams. Speaking of which . .


The snakes.

Honestly, the second the sun comes out it's like some sort of horror movie called 'swarming snake pit that no 4wd let alone any sort of emergency services will ever be able reach before you die a painful death'. Legs are nice and fungus-y, from the gumboots, socks, regular pants, waterproof pants and snake-proof gaiter ensemble that Helen has been sporting for the last little while.

One of the run-ins was particularly scary. Ambling the 4wd drive down a steep stony hill, bracken up to the windowsill, windows open to get rid of the flies. Helen hears some rustling, thinks, oh, that's unusual, I didn't think we were moving that much. Helen turns her head to see A MASSIVE, PANICKING, TIGER SNAKE inches from her face. Too late to roll up the window, she issues some sort of whimper and clasps her chest. Gf looks confused. Then later asks why the F*ck Helen didn't roll up the window. At which Helen whimpers again. And suggests going home for the day.

Had he flicked back, he would have come straight through the window. Can't even imagine how one would begin to bandage a neck for snakebite.



The highlight of the whole affair was the 'friendly' farmer, I reckon, who jumped the fence to tell us about the bloody abos and how he'd just like to 'set us straight' about how what we're recording has been made by rabbit-chasers throwing rocks around in the 60s. And helpfully point out that the 'abos' didn't build the dry-stone stockyards or the national heritage listed sheepwash 'are you recording that? cause it wasn't them'. Thankyou, kind sir. I am most humbled.


Tomorrow is Melbourne Cup. Helen plans to breakfast at a cafe, pack her car for fieldwork, and venture towards Crown to watch the stumbling high-heels in the late afternoon.

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FYI, Soul customers?   
01:30am 09/10/2008
  Helen has checked this against two separate bills months apart.

It costs *half* as much to call her sister on a mobile in London? As to call gf on a mobile in Melbourne. THE SAME CITY IN WHICH I LIVE.

I don't know why, all i know is that it is wrong. That, and I can afford to call sister after all :P

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12:17am 09/10/2008
mood: chipper
helen is writing a report and this is making her insane. Sandra Sully, with her 'line up for the ration-book' gloom is not helping. Can't help feeling we should be buying a shed in the country and frantically growing veggies. And erecting a 'desperate foolish city-people' proof fence, to protect the chooks.

. . .Apparently gum leaves were used in aromatic baths to treat 'a range of illnesses' (so helen has learnt something from said report after all). A eucalyptus steamy bath. Sounds nice.

mmm steamy lypties. . .

/chanelling jd

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So it's bogong season   
10:16pm 05/10/2008
mood: cold
And kitty is going psycho chasing the! biggest! moths! ever!

. .which are, incidently, the! biggest! things! she's! caught! ever!

*Such* the mighty hunter.

So, mighty hunter was leaping around in the general vicinity of Helen's head last night as she was trying to sleep. Missed her face by mere millimetres as she kitty-leaped from the windowsill to the floor, and Helen woke up this morning to find a dead Bogong next to her bedside table (ok that's a bit of poetic licence, the bed is a futon and the 'bedside table' is a document box from officeworks). So Helen is suitably revolted, and shows gf. Who proceeds to lament repeatedly and at length that the kitty never leaves her presents, and she is the good one. Kitty, berated to within an inch of its life, is now hiding under the trailer.

I offered to throw the bloody thing onto gf's face during the night, but for some reason she's not going for thae. There's no pleasing some people.

I may do it anyway, I'm sure she'd appreciate the thought.

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It's 10pm and *almost* pleasant outside . . .   
10:32pm 03/10/2008
mood: nostalgic
Must bode summer on the way. Oh, for this to be it's only portent. You know, apart from crazy-eye-scratching, stye-inducing, rabid sneezing, bladder weakening and general misery-causing hayfever. Which Helen has also noticed, by the by.

So we have locuts (sp?) in the house. Helen noticed the hanging-over-the-footpath tree the other day, at the same house that bears a disgracefully under-utilised olive tree in its front yard. Being stealthy and all, she waited until dark and a couple glasses of wine to raid it. Reminded her. . .

about 8 years old, in Manjimup. Already a veteran of raiding exotic fruit from the gardens of others, she and her friend Tammy, with Tammy's older sister Jodie, rode up on their banana-seat bikes (with cards attached to make that clapping noise in the spokes, of course - never imagine we weren't cool) to the yard of the Boo-Radley-esque "haunted" house at the end of the street. They had an excellent locut tree, at the end of the gravel drive out near the road. And they were just letting them go to waste.


Locuts are a funny fruit. A tangy, almost sour skin, with a tart, sweet flesh that leaves you smacking your lips well after you've eaten it. One, or sometimes two large brown pips, which slide away from one's fingers evading any attempt to remove and keep them. Sort of reminiscent of that of an avocado, the locut pip is generally not as rounded, but has an individual, unique shape. When there are two pips, one moulds to the shape of the other. The locut pip, like the locut itself, has character. Some people discard the skin, peeling it off to eat only the flesh. These people are getting it wrong. They don't realise that the contrast is the best part of eating a locut. You need the whole experience, and removing the skin removes part of that experience.

We brought plastic bags. Three of them. Half-way through filling the bags, Helen noticed a ute heading our way. Yelled to Jodie and Tammy. Jodie and Helen prepared to speed off, sure we had plenty of time. Tammy kept raiding the tree.

Helen: 'Tammy, come on! Let's go!'
Tammy: 'What?'
Helen and Jodie, pointing at the ute and riding away: 'Go, go!'

Tammy: staring blankly, half-eaten locut in her mouth.

I don't really know why we turned around but we did. The ute screeched to a halt and a scary bearded man leaned out the side of and screamed the most vulgar profanities at us. We dropped the locuts and bolted. Tammy followed soon after. Somehow, still mostly oblivious.

Probably it was too much stephen king at that age, but for weeks I was sure that man would come and get me, and make me pay for the stolen locuts. In blood.

These ones are nice. Tangy, just like I remember.

Tomorrow, we search for banana-passionfruit.

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. . and the good news is   
01:08am 13/09/2008
mood: bouncy
The sun has finally decided to show it's face and today we had dinner and drinks *outside* for the first time in many months, making helen a happy girl.

. . .oh, and gf? PASSED HER THESIS. With minor typos only to correct.

Boys and girls, there is a doctor in the house :P

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