Outing #38: All that and more!

Although I’ve vowed to do a bit of a clean-up because the campsite is beginning to look a few notches short of picturesque lately, I haven’t done anything about it so far. In my defense though, my leg muscles have been pretty torn-up the last few days. I should think that’s because I opted to take the Giant Staircase to get down here this time instead of Furbers Steps. The former is much more punishing but faster, while Furbers is much easier but about an hour longer.

These days you see, I always prefer to enter the valley via Furbers Steps because it’s both prettier and easier, but I was delayed on Friday before coming down – talking too much shit to various people – so by the time I got going it was past 2:00pm and I was racing against sundown, so The Giant Staircase it had to be.

I *have* brought down a dustpan set and used it though. Who’d have thunk, that sweeping a tent floor could be so easy when you’ve got an actual sweeper-type tool to do it with?

Within twenty minutes of arriving I had the entire tent floor swept clean of a years-worth of dust, dirt, dead bugs and the fine powdery cigarette ash that’s been blown around then mashed down to silt from my sleeping and/our sitting in it. Just wow!

The first time in my life I've even thought about purchasing such an alien contraption, though I do recall using such a thing, once or twice, so I'm familiar with their operation.

The first time in my life I’ve even thought about purchasing such an alien contraption, though I do recall using such a thing, once or twice, so I’m familiar with their operation.

Last time I was down here I got to pondering how a couple of solar garden lights might be useful in a tent or camping situation, so I figured I’d have a look at Target and Big-W (the only two department stores in town) and see how much a cheap set of lights might cost there.

Then in town a few days ago – just as I’m entering Coles to do some food shopping – BAM: I see a big stack of boxes full of solar garden lights for only $1 each. One dollar! I straight-away grabbed five and brought them down with me on Friday. While they’re not bright enough to light a large area (nothing can replace a good head-torch for that anyway), they’re more than adequate to light the head-end of the tent well enough for me to see to roll a smoke, plug my phone in to charge, and see anything around where I’m laying at night.

The $1 solar garden lights before tossing the poles away.

The $1 solar garden lights before tossing the poles away.

I didn’t expect them to be bright, but in the pitch-black out here at night – where there’s no ambient light at all – they’re perfectly satisfactory as nightlights, especially once your vision had adjusted to the dark.

..three out of the five, acting as slick, zero-maintenance night lights.

..three out of the five, acting as slick, zero-maintenance night lights.

Best of all, I don’t have to do anything to them: they charge through the tent’s light fabric throughout the day, then turn on when it gets dark.

I also took the liberty of liberating a few items of little value from the Backpackers this week.

This sponge got liberated: since I only have one or two things to scrub, a little square at a time is all I need so I chopped it into multiple, mini-sponges.

This sponge got liberated: since I only have one or two things to scrub, a little square at a time is all I need so I chopped it into multiple, mini-sponges.

This thick-plastic camping bowl also found it's way into my bag... somehow.

This thick-plastic camping bowl also found it’s way into my bag… somehow.

Only reason I took a photo of these bananas is I was fucking astonished I managed to carry a kilo of them down without so much as bruising a single one. I bought these, incidentally ;)

Only reason I took a photo of these bananas is I was fucking astonished I managed to carry a kilo of them down without so much as bruising a single one. I bought these, incidentally 😉

For food this week we’ve got a decent variety: from hot foods including instant noodles, pasta with tomato AND basil pesto sauces, cous-cous with butter as well as six large tins of three different varieties of Spam (I can truly say, “I eat spam for breakfast”, now), to three types of cheeses, six tips of buiscuts and four packets of crackers.

As usual though, I’ve been eating mainly cheese and crackers with spam for meals because it requires no cooking and I’m a lazy arsehole.

Once the easy-eat stuff’s gone of course I’ll have to start cooking the hot food, but since I got down here Friday all I’ve bothered to eat is the snacks. Oh and Nutri-Grain; so sick of fruity muesli, I’ve gone with a large box of Nutri Grain this week, but you wouldn’t believe the price of that shit now: $9 for an 860g box. What a fuckin raught! All the popular Kelloggs cereals are about the same price too, with the exception of Rice Bubbles and Corn Flakes.

The above-mentioned bowl, seen here nervously holding one serve of that stupidly expensive breakfast cereal.

The above-mentioned bowl, seen here nervously holding one serve of that stupidly expensive breakfast cereal.

Anyway, focus, focuuusss.

I received two packages I ordered while in town this week; one for a new 6-pack of contact-lenses because I was well overdue for new ones, and the other a new 20,100mAh lithium-ion USB power-bank. I didn’t know they made them that big, and considering they sell 12,000mAh packs in town (made by unknown Chinese brands) for $90 I reckon $104 for almost twice that capacity by a leading American company is a pretty good deal.

The new 20,100mAh beast. Enough juice to recharge the latest iPhone6 from 0-100% *five times*

The new 20,100mAh beast. Enough juice to recharge the latest iPhone6 from 0-100% *five times*

...

The Brushtails

The Possums are fine, and the baby has been bounding about the place; playing with grass and leaves, pouncing on sticks and randomly running up and down the trees around the tent. He/she always stays close to Bobbi, evidently for security, but even so I’ve seen this baby Possum trounce the Bobucks like a playful puppy. The Bobucks haven’t attacked the young Brushtail, but they squeal and carry-on enough to show they don’t much appreciate being harassed while they’re trying to eat their oats, buiscuts or whatever.

On an aside too: although I’ve feed the joey bits of banana, sultanas, bread and buiscuts in the past few weeks, the other night I watched him/her taste some buiscut then ignore it before climbing a Turpentine sapling and eating some fresh leafy shoots. The fact he chose leaves over buiscuts is good; means he’s not uselessly sitting around waiting for the food-dood to get here each week or unaware what a normal Possum diet comprises.

The joey, sitting nicely while quietly enjoying a scrap of stale multi-grain bread.

The joey, sitting nicely while quietly enjoying a scrap of stale multi-grain bread.

.. same peice of bread, moments earlier..

.. same peice of bread, moments earlier..

...

...

Guido has been even more of a dickhead that usual, the last few weeks now. Maybe it’s his impending maturity causing him to be such a proud dood Possum, I dunno.

All the other Possums file-in from 8:00pm – 10:00pm each night to see what food is on offer. Hours later – often at 1-2am – Guido makes his appearance and yet he does it so quietly I’ve got to randomly open the tent door and just see if he’s there. Of course all the food had been eaten by then and yet – unlike Bobbi and Daisy as well as the other Bobucks – Guido doesn’t bat at the door when there’s no food left: he just sneaks around sniffing for any leftovers that’re there.

Mr. Independent demonstrates the standard Possum 'sitting' posture.

Mr. Independent demonstrates the standard Possum ‘sitting’ posture.

I try holding out some banana for him? He won’t take it from me. I break it into thirds – so it’s smaller and easier for him to handle? He still refuses to take it. Finally, I’ll just toss it on the ground somewhere near the tent at which point he immediately grabs it up, turns his back to me and starts eating.

What a douche-bag.

It’s the same thing with buiscuts or any other Possum-prized food I’ll offer him; like he just has no inclination to be a participant in the degrading practice of “hand feeding”, but as soon as that food hits the ground it’s ‘unclaimed’ food, and he’s alright about eating that.

This’s a 1.5 foot Possum we’re talking about here, not the king of the godamned jungle. All the other Possums – most which are female – have no issue at all with taking food from me when I offer it to them, it’s just Guido who won’t.

Don't be givin' me the stink eye Guido, you don't have to eat it; nobodies making you bro :)

Don’t be givin’ me the stink eye Guido, you don’t have to eat it; nobodies making you bro 🙂

Wait, I haven’t mentioned the other Possums yet. Bobbi still had stripes of fur missing from her forearms, but didn’t seem to be fighting as much anymore with, well anyone really. She stopped outside the tent the other night for some personal feeding, and stayed for a pretty good pat while she was here. She’s had a rough time too the last few weeks so she probably needed it.

Poor Bobbi, with the pregnancy then having to fight-off Guido to protect the joey, she's had a tough time of it.

Poor Bobbi, with the pregnancy then having to fight-off Guido to protect the joey, she’s had a tough time of it.

...awww, there ya gooo pats for you.

…awww, there ya gooo pats for you.

...


Featured image: A nice, clear macro of a nervous Bobbi. Taken while we had our half-hour pat-fest.

Featured image: A nice, clear macro of a nervous Bobbi. Taken while we had our half-hour pat-fest.


Martha is as fat as a whale, and can be seen frumping about the camp hungrily gobbling up anything just like any other pregnant woman. Bobbi did the same thing while she was getting ready to squeeze her load out, but I think it’s more for the mothers to refill their own nutrients than the joeys: Once the tail is poking out the pouch, I’m pretty sure the Mum’s not eating so much to bake the bun, I mean.

Tell ya what too, with Bobbi’s baby out just a few weeks ago and now Marthas almost here, they’re poppin’em out like ping-pong balls, these Brushtails got no issues with breeding.

Martha, fat as a pig and bustin' to burst, is acting much the same way Bobbi did while she was expecting. That's the joeys tail pushing out of the pouch you can see there. No wonder Guido's looking elsewhere for women :)

Martha, fat as a pig and bustin’ to burst, is acting much the same way Bobbi did while she was expecting. That’s the joeys tail pushing out of the pouch you can see there. No wonder Guido’s looking elsewhere for women 🙂

The Marsupial Mice

Though I haven’t taken any photos of them since I got down this outing, they’ve been hoping around outside the tent every night. They’re funny little things. In the photos they just look like Mice with weird noises, but to watch them darting around they’re really pretty amusing.

First you’ll just see movement, then they’ll stop for a moment here or there and you’ll get a look at them before they’ll take off again.

Next time they stop they’ll be a little closer, then they’ll disappear in a blur again only to stop a few feet in front of you.

This stay-no-go, no-stay, no-go movement continues the entire time they’re around the tent and often they’ll stop right next to the torches spot of light then do these fucking crazy little burn-outs in the dirt; just like a car that’s fish-tailing. Of course you can’t get that in any photo because they’re so fast, the moment the move you lose them again.

They also randomly climb small trees nearby, only to return to earth and do that crazy-hopping thing all over again.

Then, just when you start getting pissed ’cause you can’t keep track of one of em you’ll hear a tiny munching noise, then look to your left and there’s the Marsupial Mouse; under the tent’s fly just sitting there as nice as you please eating a big chunk of pasta, cereal, dried fruit or whatever it’s taken a liking to that night.

I’ll post another err post, when something else notable occurs. I’m only half way through the outing but why wait till it’s over to do some 12,000-word wall of text?

The Possums are outside crackin the pissies at each other anyhow, so I best go feed em.

Outing #38: All that and more!
5 Guidos (1 rating)

Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

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