Monster caterpillar

This guy is an emperor gum moth caterpillar. 9cm long and weighs a tonne. What a colossus!

Apparently this is how they look just before they go into their cocoon, which they can stay in for a couple of years. And doing a bit of research we discovered that an interesting picture we’d taken just 5 days earlier was a juvenile version of this guy.

Here’s how he’ll look once he emerges from his transformation.

That was convenient

There’s this old dead stick of a tree that hides down amongst the pittosporum at the bottom of the garden. It’s too rotten to safely climb to take down, and we were waiting for it to fall on the fence.

The other day there was a thump which turned out to be the top half of this tree hitting the ground. Missed the fence by about a metre.

The bit that was left was short enough to take down without it being in danger of hitting anything. So after a spot of chainsawing, down she went.

We have so much firewood already, we’ll just leave it there for the time being.

Hot compost

I’ve never been able to get a compost pile to heat up. When it gets hot and nice and damp inside, it breaks down really fast. With the new mulcher, though, vegetation is shredded with diabolical efficiency. We put a pile of it into a ring of wire and, after 4 days, it’s already reduced by about a third. Success! We are the new kings of compost.

The one on the left is about a week old, and has been turned a couple of times. The one on the right is being filled.

Interlude: wood chopped

It’s that time of year again, when the weather is dry and the wood for the coming winter can be split and stacked.

We had some bits come from one friend’s place, and some bits from the broken tree at the school, then another friend mentioned a bunch of blackwood she wanted out of her yard. That meant a huge pile waiting to be split. So it’s been quite a few hours at the chopping block, and not much else could be achieved around the house, but we’ve got a really good store set aside for this winter.

Cement mixer for rammed earth

Up until now, we’ve been doing all our concrete and dirt-preparation mixing in a plastic tub, using a spade. That’s fairly back-breaking work even for small quantities, and we’re about to take it up a notch so a cement mixer is on the cards.

Cement mixers are expensive, though, and we have a motor in the shed from the old mulcher. The plan is to get an old mixer for next to nothing, attach the motor and Bob’s your uncle.

After not seeing anything on the second hand forums we did a shout-out and one popped up straight away.┬áIt’s got no motor or pulley, and the bearings are shot, but it should go with a bit of love. Here it is with shiny new wheels.

The inside bearing on the pinion is the main issue, but we know a guy who’ll send us new ones cheap.