Monday 27th August
We have not yet arrived in the Victorian Alpine Country so it was a surprise to wake to a very cold (thank goodness for the snuggly warmth of our feather doona) WWWGO and when I stepped outside found TERIOS covered in ice as was the grass. Spring will begin officially in six days but according to the weather forecasts, winter, cold temps, snow and chilling winds will continue in the Alpine regions. The ski season will continue for some time to come.
Tuesday 28th August
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, its off to snow we go. We left Culcairn and drove the Olympic Highway until it connected with the Hume Highway and continued along through Albury and turning off just before Wodonga onto the Kiewa Valley highway. Even from a distance we could see snow covered mountains ahead of us.
An hour or so later we were in Mt.Beauty. We arrived at our house sit and moved much of our belongings into the huge Red Cedar barn like building beside the main house.
The property is 2 acres and is intersected by a fast flowing creek around which the owners have built some wonderful gardens with dry stone walls terracing the sloping block. They have flower gardens, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, geese runs and a beautiful workibg observatory.
We are in sight of Victoria’s highest peak, Mt.Bogong at 1936 metres is snow- capped.
By 5 pm the warmth had gone out of the sun and it was quite chilly. The fire was lit and fed lots of wood until we went to bed at 10.30. I had half formed plans to drive 32 Klms up the mountain to the ski fields at Falls Creek. I have now shelved that idea as we will need to carry chains for the wheels and will need anti-freeze in the radiator.
Anybody reading this post would get the impression I am as excited as a little boy seeing the snow for the first time. Their impression is correct. I am excited by the snow, no excuses. The CO-PILOT will leave on Friday bound for Canada. She comes from the land of snow and it is all quite natural to her.
My main tasks while staying at this house is to attend to three geese, one male, two female and an Italian Mareema Sheepdog. For those shaking their heads not knowing what a Mareema is, see the explanation on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maremma_Sheepdog Basically they are a BIG white dog about the size of a medium polar bear. In fact this one looks like a polar bear. He guards the geese from intruders, especially those pesky foxes. She loves to play and cuddle. Cuddles I can do but playing with something twice my weight means I am gunna have to get in shape.
Wednesday 29th August.
Our first full day in the high country and most of it was taken up with loads of washing and moving things in and out of WWWGO as we needed or not needed them. The CO-PILOT final group certificate arrived in the mail so we made an appointment to see a Tax Agent in Wangaratta tomorrow. It is a 1.5 hour drive over a mountain range to Bright then to Wanga.
Thursday 30th August.
We saw the tax agent and after lots of paper work it was announced I would get a modest return while Donnis will get a very healthy return. Yahoo! On the strength of the information, Donnis insisted on a hobby for me while she is in Canada. The hobby is a Parott AR Drone Remote controlled helicopter, operated from the iPod.
Halfway back to Mt.Beauty, while shopping at Myrtleford the tax agent called. Oops! A mistake has been made. Instead of Donnis receiving a healthy return she now ends up owing the tax man lots of money.
This is not a good situation.
Friday 30th August.
With thoughts of the big lump of dollars owing to the tax man bumping around in our thoughts we drove to Albury Airport. After a less than satisfactory lunch Donnis boarded her flight which was 30 minutes late and arrived in Sydney before I had arrived back at Mt.Beauty. Donnis is now on her first leg of the trip to USA, Canada and Mexico. She will be gone for three months.
Tonight was very cold but I stacked up the fire with extra logs and was soon snuggle warm under the feather doona.
Saturday 1st September.
Slept all night which was a minor miracle considering;
It was minus 1° overnight.
I was alone in a big barn.
Thoughts of tax money kept haunting me up until the moment I fell asleep.
When I went to feed the geese and change their water I found the water had frozen during the night and the ground was a thick coat of white frost.
Hmmm! That is a good excuse to keep the fire burning all day and to start making a beef broth for a beef and vegetable soup.
The property owners left on their holiday this morning so now I am all alone in the big barn.
Last night I charged up the batteries for the Drone. Today I started my first flight inside the barn and mastered the art of take-off. I can move forward and back, left and right, gain and lose altitude and landings have been anywhere but where I want to land. In fact most landings have been the result of a crash.
Sunday 2nd September
I visited the airport today in the hopes of meeting model aircraft enthusiasts and get some help flying the drone outside.
First up I was surprised by the number of gliders just umm err gliding above the snow- capped mountains. These gliders are amazing. They are sort of catapulted into the sky in less than 20m and can glide around for hours.
Several small planes were parked beside the runway. Gradually people started arriving with ski gear. They told me they fly down on Friday afternoon, ski all weekend and fly home Sunday arvo.
While waiting to launch my drone a helicopter arrived dropping off passengers and picking up others and taking them to the Falls Creek Ski slopes. Model planes were zipping around the edges of the runway. Between all the different craft landing and taking off, this is a busy little airport.
The local information people told me this has been the coldest winter in 31 years and the ski season has been extended for several weeks. It seems this has been the best ski season in years.
I have planned a few walks in the vicinity of Mt.Beauty and Bogong Village over the next two days as bad weather is predicted to return on Wednesday.
Cold, wind, rain and above 500m, snow.