Saturday, October 12, 2013

Oops you should have looked up!!!

Very good days crabbing for Christopher and Ali.  I was hoping for 500 crab and they came back with 1,060.  They left the house at 6am and were back in the house at 1pm, not a bad days work.
Ali run into the hook on the crane and came back looking like a mummy.  He went to grab a rope and didn't look up and the hook was swinging slightly and grazed up over his forehead.  Made him see stars for a moment and took a bit of skin off  but nothing serious. Christopher bandaged it anyway as it was bleeding a bit.  Thankfully he is absolutely fine, the bandage makes it look more dramatic then it actually was and he was able to take it off as soon as he got home.
So that was their days work as they had already worked 7 hours.  In the afternoon they went for a run over to the tussac island in the harbour to have a look at how the tussac was coping with the sheep and check the condition of the animals.  Then Ali went away goose egging for a while as it was still a beautiful day.


Yesterday was a sad kind of a day

Well as usual everything is change and some things change quicker then expected or planned. 

Shaun, Tanya and Hollie left yesterday to start their new life/adventure on their own farm, Albermarle on west Falkland Islands.  This wasn't the plan originally but Shaun was offered work road building and the road that is being built is for the military at Mount Alice.  This is no more then 20 minutes away from their farm house and is actually on their land.  The pay is better then he gets working for us apart from when he was working on the jetty.  So although not really wanting to lose them this early it seemed the right thing to encourage them to move early.  They had to put 10% of the cost of the farm down themselves and all credit to Shaun at the age of 23 he had saved that through shearing and stevedoring and still had a little bit over but things are a bit tight now.  They are very fortunate to have been given a years moratorium on their loan but there is still out lays.  Tanya has been doing a little hair dressing over the last couple of months to help pay the bills but it is not ideal because it means they end up being split up with Tan and Hollie in town and Shaun out here on the islands.  They will manage to get through now though with Shaun bringing in extra money and he has the advantage of going home to his farm every night and I think he gets Sunday off so he will be able to start preparing for shearing.  He will just take the time of from his new job to do his farm work when he needs it. The only big expenses he has now and before his wool money starts coming in is shearing costs and freight costs to get his wool to Stanley.  If need be we will pay these initially and he will pay them back when their wool money comes in or he can come back and work for a while and pay them off in kind.  So that is that.
The jetty is all but finished down on George and we were all up at 6am yesterday getting ready to come up to Speedwell so that they could collect the stuff that they need for the time being.  We left at 8am from George and got here at 9:30am they then had 4 hours to get everything together that they thought they would need and I think they were away from here by 2pm.  They will have to come back as they still have a lot of stuff here  but it probably wont be before the beginning of December.
So I am going to miss them lots, especially the little Hollie.  In the last 2 days she has started walking everywhere.  She is a bundle of fun who loves playing peek a boo, loves music and sways along to it.  She laughs and giggles lots and gives you cuddles (at her convenience).  It's not like I am not going to see them ever but it will be more difficult to meet up because we will all be busy at the same time.  Saying that we are going over to help Shaun gather for shearing in 2 weeks time and then they are going to fly over and help us with lamb marking at the beginning of December, then we will all be in town for Christmas, then in January we will go over and help Shaun gather for his shearing again and they are going to come over in February and help us shear Barren so when you put it all together at the moment it looks like we will still see them every 6 to 8 weeks at least.
To cheer myself up after they left I did a little bit of Xmas retail therapy on line.
My first picnic on Speedwell Island.  We were out Goose egging.

Just being me and pulling a face.

You want a photo nanny.  Taken on George Island

And so life goes on.  Christopher and Ali are away crabbing.  I need them to come back with 500 crab today to fulfill my orders but that is a bit of a tall order so will have to see what they arrive home with.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Diving Buddy

                                           Christopher using his seabreathe equipment.

Lots of kelp around the jetty at the moment.

Ali, Shaun and Christopher using the tremme pipe to feed the cement into the shuttering.

Christopher repositioning the tremme pipe.

Ali and Shaun.

Christopher diving buddy.

Diving buddy a female Sealion.

Self portrait of Christopher taken underwater.

Third day of jetty repairs finished.  Everything is going well and they have now repaired 12 piles and have 4 more left.
The sealion that you see in the pictures is one that he thinks has been here since we bought the islands in 2001.  She is very cheeky and if it is the same one he used to play with it dangling a piece of string of the jetty when he first came here.  She likes to stand on her head and blow bubbles in the sand and come up really close to him.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's a dangerous place to put your hand!!!!

Yesterday was spent mainly getting ready for working on the jetty today.  Christopher changed a seal in the cement mixer and Shaun and Ali moved the bags of shingle, sand and cement closer to the jetty.
I spent the day looking after Hollie and putting away all the stuff that we had brought down from Speedwell.
Tanya came back today.  Her back is not completely better but it is much improved.
Christopher has spent nearly the entire day diving.  The seabreathe unit that he bought for the job has been really good.  It means he doesnt have to carry air bottles and more importantly for us he doesnt need to refill air bottles which is good because we don't have a compressor to do them.
Before breakfast today Christopher put 4 lots of shuttering in place on the jetty.  He is working in about 6 foot of water at the moment.  His diving skills leave a lot to be desired so it is pretty tiring for him. After breakfast  him and Shaun went and met the plane to collect Tanya while Ali carried on getting bits and pieces ready.  The rest of the day was spent mixing and pouring cement.  The guys are all really tired tonight.  They poured 4 piles but it is hard work shoveling the sand, shingle and cement into the mixer and then jiggling the treme pipe up and down to get the cement out of the pipe. They have worked from 6:30 this morning until 8:00 this evening.
Christopher had a visitor just as he was finishing diving today.  He had a female sealion come up and put its face in his visor.  He said she was really cheeky.  He swung his arm out to do something and didnt see her and his hand went right in her mouth.  I think she will be back again tomorrow because she was still playing around in the water after he had got out.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It's big, it's grey and it's heading our way!!!

Very busy day today.  Shaun brought Hollie down at 9 am and then him, Christopher and Ali went off to take all the stuff that we needed for repairing the jetty on George down the jetty at Speedwell ready to go on the boat.
Christopher said we would leave at 4 to 4:30 after Hollie had had her afternoon nap but at lunch time he arrived home and said that they were going to be ready to leave at 2 and we should leave then and Hollie could have her nap on the boat instead.  So it all became a bit of a rush to get tidied up and ready to leave.  Fortunately I didn't really have much to take and Shaun had sorted all Hollies stuff out so we did actually manage to get away at about 2:30.
It was a lovely afternoon to come down on the boat and Hollie had her drink of milk and went straight to sleep so that all worked out well.
 We had a big load on today. 1, 4 wheeler, 1, 2 wheeler, enough shuttering to make 16 piles (the shuttering is all cut and numbered ready to be assembled tomorrow) and  2 large keep pots because the guys are going to go and do a crab haul on the next fine day.  We currently have an order for 50 kilos of crab meat so we will be heading straight back up to Speedwell to fulfill the order as soon as the jetty repairs are finished.
That was our day really.  The guys unloaded the boat when we got to George and by then it was knock of time.
We also had a request today for a Brazilian television crew to come to the islands to do a day in the life of a family living on a remote island.  We haven't decided whether we will do it yet but will talk about it over the weekend and make a decision.
We weren't the only ones sailing in Eagle Passage yesterday.  It's always nice to have a bit of company.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Day with Hollie

Today I have been mostly looking after Hollie.  She is a gorgeous little girl and so good.  She is taking more and more steps by herself.  She loves it when grandad spoils her and lets her tap and bang on his computer.  He has already broke the screen so she can't do much more damage.
It wasn't a planned day with nanny but mummy Tanya has a really bad back to the point of not being able to pick Hollie up so she is away into Stanley via FIGAS to have it checked out and hopefully get some good strong painkillers.  Hollie arrived at 8:30 this morning and stayed until 5:00 this afternoon when daddy Shaun knocked off.  I am very much looking forward to having her again for the day tomorrow.
Hollie and grandad
At the moment we have Ali out with us.  We will employing him pretty much full time for the foreseeable future.
Today's work for the men has mainly involved them getting ready to go down to George Island in the next day or 2 to finish the repairs to the George Island jetty.  Shaun and Ali have been building shuttering for the piles.  They also moved all the drums of  fuel of the jetty.  Christopher has been collecting up stuff for George Island, he also helped Shaun do the plane and sorted out seed potatoes to take down to George.  It has been a foul day with lots of rain.
Just to bring you all up to date on a bit more of our news.  We are building a new house on Speedwell Island next year.  We decided we needed to build another house as the crabbing has been very successful and we have found we don't have enough employees to do all the work needed.  Originally we started the crabbing to make another wage because our daughter wanted to come home and work.  This is still the case but of course Shaun and Tanya are now leaving which has changed things a bit but never the less we still need another house as we still need another employee.  At the moment it looks like we will move into the new house, Tiphanie and her boyfriend Claudio will move into Shaun and Tanya's house and we will use this small house for a casual employee because at the moment whenever we employee Ali or any casual workers which is quite frequently they have to stay with us.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'm Back and it's all change

Well it's been a long time and a lot has happened and I'm not really sure where to start.  I have thought of blogging over the last 4 months but so much that has been happening has been intermingled with something that I wanted to keep private that I have found it easier just not to blog but I can share it all with you now.
Shaun and Tanya have purchased their own farm.  It is called Albermarle and it is on the West Falkland Islands. It is a massive farm and him, Tanya and the adorable Hollie will be moving very shortly.  It has been well known in the islands that Shaun and Tanya were in negotiations to buy Albermarle but I havent blogged about it because farms are very hard to come by in the Falklands and I didnt want to write anything that might lead to someone else trying to outbid him and purchase the property.  They are now the proud owners of 16,225 hectares which includes at least 2 mountains, and is the most hilly country I have ever seen. 
Before the purchase was completed Shaun was given permission to go over and put the rams out as the farm had been out on lease and the lease had expired so there was no one running the farm for a short period of time.  We went across with them to help Shaun put the rams out and do an animal stock take.  We took the ferry across from east to west Falklands. We were not far along the road towards Albermarle when we started seeing steep little valleys from the road.  Shaun said to Tanya I hope we haven't got any of them, by the time we arrived at Albermarle he had come to the conclusion that they were the equivalent of ditches and yes he had some of them and they were much bigger and steeper.  Quite an eye opener when you have been living on flat islands.  We spent 9 days there and Christopher and Shaun gathered sheep every day.  Christopher had the sorest **** ever.  The farm is currently running in the region of 6,000 sheep.  It has a herd of reindeer and a manned military radar site on top of Mount Alice.
Will try and blog a bit more regular now and up date you all on whats happening here on the islands.  I have quite a hoard of news.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Winter work

Out on the islands we have started on our winter work programme.  I am delighted that at long last the roof on our house has been re-newed.  The old roof was in an appalling state and it was not uncommon to hear drip, drip, drip on the kitchen ceiling.  The tin was purchased cut to the required length so it has not been a big job.  It took 2 days to take off and replace the entire roof.  This would have been even quicker but for one  morning of too much wind to work with the tin.  The only work left to do is the end barge boards and put up new guttering.   I'm sure anywhere else this house would probably have been condemned.  Slowly  we are getting it up to standard.  It has now been completely re-wired, re-plumbed, had a new bathroom fitted complete with double glazing and insulation and now a new roof. On the way we have 2 very large double glazed windows for the living area and a new fitted kitchen.  The new windows will be fitted this winter but the kitchen will not be fitted until next winter.  There is so much to do and I look forward to the day when I get up in the morning at this time of year and my bedroom doesn't smell damp.  It's a few years away yet I think.  This house had been vacant for many, many years as there was only one family living on the islands previous to us.  The poor wool prices throughout the 90's resulted in very little maintenance being carried out on the majority of farms because the money was just not available to do
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any more then the bare necessities.  The fact that the house was not in use would have made it a low priority.  Fortunately the house that Shaun and Tanya live in, which was the family home of the previous owners was well maintained.
Shaun is now working on contract putting up fencing.  He is erecting a 2 kilometre fence to split the Sand Grass camp.  This is a massive camp but the ewes all feed at one end on the greens and in one large green valley leaving a huge amount of land under utilized.
Tanya and I have been busy crab processing.  In the last week and a bit we have processed approx. 1000 crab.
At last I have finished my accounts for 2012 and they are now ready to go to the accountants.
Shaun removing the old tin
Surprisingly despite the leaks the paper and the rough boarding underneath were in good condition.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Christopher and Ali went out in Theo to haul the crab pots today.  It was a lovely day and they came back with a haul of 666.  We also have about 300 in the keep pots so I now have enough to do about 5 lots of processing.  I general process 200 at a time.  I need to do at least one lot of processing a week just to provide the minimum amount for our standing order.  Christopher gets up at 5am to put the boiler on and then either him and Ali or him and Shaun kill and cook the crab once the boiler comes to the boil.  I then go down at 7-7:30 as the first lot have been cooked and cooled enough ready to start breaking the crab down for processing.  I then have either Ali or Tanya to help me process the crab right down ready to go in the chiller.  We usually finish processing at about 3pm and then spend an hour doing the clean down.
Sorted crab on the deck

Shaun and Dave (taken several years ago).  Crab in the sort tray.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Clueing up the season and mail from Spain

A beautiful day, sun and 18 degrees.  So here I am again.  I have decided to try and update my blog regularly again because I have had quite a few people contact me.
The season is all but over here.  Today Christopher and Ali (Ali is our hired hand and is here for about a month while Shaun is in Stanley stevedoring). took 108 ewes and 75 lambs down to Barren Island on Theo.  They left here (Speedwell) with the first load at 6am and were back at 10am.  They then had an early lunch and set out with the second load. Here they are able to run the sheep down the jetty and down a ramp onto Theo but at Barren they have to unload them onto the dinghy and take them ashore.  The dinghy holds about 15 at a time and Theo can carry 100 fully grown sheep comfortably so today she was quite lightly loaded because of the mixed load.  They got back from the second trip at 4pm.  It was the perfect day for moving sheep with only a light breeze.  This pretty much concludes the season for us.  All our camps have been gathered, the sheep have been counted and the stock is now set for the winter.  This year we have decided to put 100  lambs that were too small for the abattoir on Barren Island.  We normally run just 300 ewes on Barren because it has extensive erosion on it but the ewes are getting obese and then we have problems with them dieing from exhaustion every time we have to bring them in for lamb marking or shearing.  The decision was taken this year to increase the stock because the ewes despite having a near 100% lambing were still obese when they arrived at the abattoir.  This meant that we didn't achieve optimum price for them as the price goes down again once they pass fat class 3.  We have had as many as 350 ewes on the island before so it should have no problem coping with the extra lambs.
Theo with sheep on board late last year.
Last week I received a letter from Spain.  It started of by saying how this person (Jose) had started reading my blog and had seen how excited I was when I got my first follower.  Jose thought that if I found that exciting then how exciting would it be to get a letter.  He was right. We were all in Stanley, me, Christopher, Shaun and Tanya.  I came in from shopping and Shaun said to Christopher have you gave mum her letter.  Christopher said no he hadn't but that I had a letter from Spain. So it was all very exciting as everyone waited for me to open my letter and then read it out loud.  Thank you Jose it was nice to get your letter in the post.  I am not a letter writer, I find it hard enough to keep up my blog but it was very interesting to read about our similarities.  Gull egg omelette's were not that unheard of in the Falklands in the past either.  I am not sure if you are still allowed to collect gull eggs here or not.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making History

My Daughter Tiphanie

Well I am sure that you all know that history was made in the Falklands on the 10th & 11th of March when Falkland Islanders voted in a referendum to show the world that we are British and want to remain British.  In the picture is my daughter Tiphanie who was fortunate enough to be working at the right place at the right time to help with the organising of the referendum.  In the picture she is showing the assembled counters, press and interested on lookers that she has emptied the box of votes and that it is indeed empty.  There was never any doubt in my mind what the outcome would be. Our community came out in force to cast their vote.  With a staggering 94% turnout which turned into a 99.8% yes vote.  The message was clear.  Of course we are democratic and 3 individuals chose to say no.  They may have been confused, it could have been an error but then again it might not have been.  All I can say is if there are 3 individuals who do not wish to remain British and keep our ties with Great Britain then they must feel well and truly out of place living here. It must feel much like trying to fit a square post into a round hole.