Outing #37: Rain all day, Possums all night

Bobbi stands guard over her joey while he/she eats. The joey has happily taken sultanas from me when hand-fed.

Featured image: Guido gets macho with the camera. See how orange his fur has become?

Guido gets macho with the camera. See how orange his fur has become?

As a little side-note/memo, I’m thinking that Guido may very well have been just a young whipper-snap back when we first got to know him; a year or so ago now. Not only has his fur begun to stain with all these orange patches in the undercoat, his forearms are now huge compared to hire they used to be. I think Guido has just hit maturity.

... and Guido gobbling pasta.

… and Guido gobbling pasta.

I’m really not sure whether this’s outing #37 or #38, but I’ll call it #37 – just to be prudent. I’m not even going to bother dribbling on about “town life” as of late because too many things have changed and moved around to wank around writing them all up.

I’m also going to have to apologise in advance for the somewhat less than punchy delivery for this post, but since that second 12,000mAh battery shit itself I’m on less recharges than I used to be and thus; do not have enough to edit the dull edges sharp – so to speak. Maybe I’ll do a product review of the offending battery pack.

Although I haven’t worried much about writing journal entries, the outings have been rolling around just as they have the preceding fourteen months. I figure, since I’ve maintained the journal entries – more or less – for a full four seasons, there’s not such a need to take notes anymore.

I’d have to say that sure, the novelty of being out here living like a feral in a tent has passed it’s use-by date, but I still like the contrast between being out here, then being in town a few days (Rainforest, Town; Rainforest, Town), and although I wouldn’t mind a “normal” place to live I’m afraid that once I walk away from the camp-living and National Park existence I may just end-up not coming back again since things have an uncanny way of getting in the way.

The tent I have at the moment has stood-up – impressively – to the 60km/h+ winds, the rain and storms, the Bushrats chewing holes in it, Possums bouncing off it like a trampoline, two poles out of four have finally snapped, and with only the elasticized shock-cord holding them together it’s only a matter of time until they give as well; since the tension that was shared by all four alloy poles has now been moved to the two remaining ones; adding twice the strain to the last two.

..The entire tent has similar patches applied from animal damage.

..The entire tent has similar patches applied from animal damage.

Bare in mind this tent has been perma-pitched in the same place for a full year now, so I reckon it’s done pretty well indeed.

The best option seems to be to procure a new tent, though I won’t be spending much this time round and am pretty unconvinced as to the strength of any tent within the sub-$200 price range I’m looking at. You don’t get aluminum poles for less than twice that much – only fiberglass – and I just don’t know whether that’ll cut it out here; given the punishment the current tent has received.

Naturally, if I’m going to buy another tent I may as well pitch it in another place and although I’ve got a new campsite picked, I’m not too happy with the slight incline of the ground; the tent’s I’m looking at are extended domes spanning roughly 4.5L x 2.5W meters, and that’s a shitload of dirt I’ll need to flatten out.

Even if I was willing to pitch the new tent where this one currently stands it’ll be flattened by the first strong wind to rip through the valley. The new spot is in denser forest, so it’s a little more protected.

We’ll just have to see.

The new campsite is a bit creepy; curtains of thick, entangled vines drooping everywhere in clumps; old fallen trees all over the ground rotting where they fell; all sizes of rocks all over the place and an upper canopy of trees so thick sunlight can’t get through at all.

The leeches will be epic-en-masse there too, since ferns border the little pocket of first I’m contemplating using.

DSCN2397

DSCN2396

Come to think of it, the more I ponder the new tent’s location the more inclined I am to flirt with the idea of building a structure myself. The log cabin I was so keen to build never happened because of the sheer number of trees I wouldn’t had to fell, cop the crowns off, then drag to the ‘building site’. This discouraged me pretty quickly I have to say: solid frame, solid log walls, floor and roof, windows. Ugh.

But suppose I simply aim at constructing a simple but solid frame from the heavier 4-inch-thick sailings, then use thinner/lighter ~1-inch saplings for the walls and floor? They’re an awful lot more small one-inch-thick saplings than larger ones and cutting/moving the smaller trees will be *much* easier than using just the large ones.

Once the basic frame is done I can bring down some cheap, clear plastic drop-sheets for water-proofing as well as a few meters of shade-cloth for window screens. The resulting structure would be lighter, easier to build and use less of the established Turpentines do it’s mmm ‘greener’, kind’ve. I guess.

Having seen how quickly I lost interest in the original solid-wood cabin I hadn’t thought about it again for weeks, but this dwelling would be built in an area where the ground is level and there are ample support trees to act as verticals – further reducing the number of larger saplings I need to chop down.

A Google-search of simple bush ‘survival’ shelters reignited the idea to build something along with the realization that fiberglass-framed tents are all I’ll be able to get in the sub-$300 range: if the current tent’s T7 aluminum poles have finally folded because of the Jamison’s climate, well, fiberglass ones will fold like drinking straws.

Fiberglass < Aluminium < Trees = Trees win.

I was going to thumbnail the images just below because there’s a lot I haven’t posted yet from the past few weeks, but they didn’t align the way I wanted, so I’ve just stuck em all in @ standard size.

Baaaaaby ;)

Baaaaaby 😉

DSCN2298

DSCN2296

RSCN2301

DSCN2293

DSCN2292

Guido tried for weeks to corner Bobbi's baby alone so he could kill it, but just recently he seems to have backed-off a bit and seems content /ignoring the youngen'

Guido tried for weeks to corner Bobbi’s baby alone so he could kill it, but just recently he seems to have backed-off a bit and seems content /ignoring the youngen’

DSCN2282

The Possums have been their usual selves as always, with Guido, Bobbi and her joey, Daisy, Martha, the shy young male and the larger male all accounted for and at the tent each night munching-up whatever I toss out for them.

DSCN2279

Martha stuffs her guts.

Martha stuffs her guts.

Martha is pregnant; though her pouch is only slightly bulging at the moment.

In the past few weeks I’ve switched from Teddy Bear and Milk Arrowroot buiscuts to muesli with dried fruit, and I’ve noticed no objection on their part. Muesli’s better for them – since it’s whole-grain – and there even seems to be less fighting when I feed them healthier food.

A few weeks ago now, Bobbi’s pouch seemed to close-up, though I’m not sure that’s the right description for what it did; for several nights it looked inside-out – all pink and nasty and hanging out. I was starting to think they’re might be something wrong there until one evening she rocked-up with the exposed pouch all closed and looking normal again. I assume it’s being inverted was some kind of natural, pouch-cleansing mechanism. The baby would keep trying to nose it’s way back into the pouch and get shaken-off every time so that seems to have marked the end of safe-pouch-living for the joey.

Since then its been outside just riding Mum around like a jockey on a horse.

THE CURRENT OUTING

Rain, and then some

Since I got down here this week (Saturday) it’s been raining without much let-up and while I don’t mind the odd day or two; the pattering on the tent is nice, four days straight gets to be a bit ridiculous. I cannot clear the new site in preparation for the new tent when it’s raining, and while the constant downpour allows me to collect water that drops from the corner, well; let’s just say that these days the resulting rainwater is less than crystal clear.

Rainwater, fresh off the tent.

Rainwater, fresh off the tent.

Creek water, live at the creek.

Creek water, live at the creek.

The Possums

Bobbi tries to stand guard for approaching badness, but is distracted by playful Joey.

Bobbi tries to stand guard for approaching badness, but is distracted by playful Joey.

The baby Possum didn’t appear alongside Mum for several nights in a row but then – just when I was convinced it had died somehow – emerged last night (Wednesday) alongside Bobbi, so the joey is alive and well.

In fact, not only is it alive and well it looks like riding Mum’s back has already become a thing of the past, probably owing to the fact it’s already increased noticeably in size. It’s still small mind you, but bigger than last time I was down here.

The Joey firms to the ground after the threatening whatever has gone. Note they already have a Tick on the inside of their ear.

The Joey firms to the ground after the threatening whatever has gone. Note they already have a Tick on the inside of their ear.

I think the fact that Guido had his own seperate strip of food to work on probably contributed to his surprisingly nonchalant attitude towards Bobbi and the baby. The section of food he's eating also had both a pile of peas as well as tomato paste in addition to the oats that Bobbi and the little one got.

I think the fact that Guido had his own seperate strip of food to work on probably contributed to his surprisingly nonchalant attitude towards Bobbi and the baby. The section of food he’s eating also had both a pile of peas as well as tomato paste in addition to the oats that Bobbi and the little one got.

In a rare display of almost family-like solidarity, Bobbi (left) and Guido (right) both stand at attention something they figured required a defensive stance for, while their pup is apparently oblivious.

In a rare display of almost family-like solidarity, Bobbi (left) and Guido (right) both stand at attention something they figured required a defensive stance for, while their pup is apparently oblivious.

Guido mungs-out on oats.

Guido mungs-out on oats.

Guido seems to have resumed his role as generally abusive doodbro, and has returned to beating shit out of Bobbi anytime they’re within pouncing range of one another. The photos above are the exception, and it’s the first time since the joey was born I’ve seen him get along with Bobbi.

Bird-wars and a chorus-line of animals

Tonight (Sunday) just around sunset there was a battle between the Currawong and Raven. The odd smaller birds showed-up here or there, but seemed simply to be here on a spectator basis.

Remarkably, 12-15 Currawong couldn’t bully a mere 3 Raven into leaving the area; the former swooped, cawed, screeched and surrounded the Raven that were present and throughout it all the latter just didn’t seem to give much of a shit.

Ravens don't give a shit.

Ravens don’t give a shit.

The smaller Currawong who do give a shit.

The smaller Currawong who do give a shit.

Raven are twice the size of Currawong, but both birds are in the Crow family and I was surprised a little to see them all in the same area for so long. Would’ve lasted near on an hour, and ask for the layer of oats left by the Possums the night before.

Last week, just before I left camp to walk back up the Mountain to town, I had an entire flock of Bower-birds – both make and female – pecking leftovers off the ground right outside the tent. I tried counting them; got to 18 or 20 but they just kept moving around, making it difficult to get a headcount but I’m quite sure there was more.

But back to tonight.

So I’m just sitting here in my tent in the dark, giggling at some shit that happened two weeks ago in town – as you do – when I hear a scurrying noise right outside.

Dirty little Rat bastard fuckers.

Since I’m already wearing my switched-on head-torch while sitting – obsessing over some wooden beads as it happened – I figure I might as well unzip the door and have a look at the vermin in question. You see, whenever I’ve seen one while hanging outside the tent of a night, the light and my movement seems to be enough to keep them away the remainder of the evening.

Spotlight beam drifting back and forth with my heads movement I look around and seeing nothing but scrub I sit still a moment and wait for them to start moving around again.

*Scratchity-scratch-scratch*

There we are, I hear you.

A few more moments pass when I see movement just out of range of the torches beam. Bush Rats are fucking hard to see. No shit; they’re almost exactly the same colour as the dirt and the fat little fuckers can run.

For a moment there’s nothing. No noise, no movement, then I see it again; a little brown blur just as quick as a blink and although I still didn’t get a proper look, I saw enough to know it was no Rat.

Note the womble nose that is much longer and substantially more pointy than a mouses snozz.

Note the womble nose that is much longer and substantially more pointy than a mouses snozz.

Seen here with 'fleccy eyes. The fact they reflect white rather than red seems to indicate extremely good night vision, and yet they aren't exclusively nocturnal. I've seen them running around at almost midday when there's food to be had.

Seen here with ‘fleccy eyes. The fact they reflect white rather than red seems to indicate extremely good night vision, and yet they aren’t exclusively nocturnal. I’ve seen them running around at almost midday when there’s food to be had.

An Antechinus, most likely female, munches on a shell pasta.

An Antechinus, most likely female, munches on a shell pasta.

I was pretty excited to be honest; I haven’t seen any of these carnivorous mouse-things since, well, since the last campsite over a year ago. Back then all I had was a peice of shit windows phone that had such a shit battery it went flat uploading a single photo. I remember doing plenty of googling about them though and they’re pretty kick-arse things to have around you’re camp.

They don’t chew through your tent every time you look the other way like Rats do because – unlike Rats – they don’t have the right dentition for gnawing through stuff, and they eat spiders, centipedes and other bugs which I obviously have no issue with. They’re the same size as a mouse yet have a dentition just like a dog’s – but, even more pointy.

They got a pouch like any other Marsupial out here, and every year they fuck themselves to death; males all gather in crowded, “male-only dorm” style logs and hate each others guts – fighting one another – while they wait for a female to come along.

When the female arrives, she enters the male-filled log and just let’s them all beast her one after the other. Once she’s been cream-pied by every dood in the log, she heads off to find another log. Whichever sperm of all the males is strong enough to beat the rest wins.

The males don’t leave the dorm log at all for the entire breeding season, they just stay in there fighting, waiting for the next woman to show-up and, as a result, die of infections caused by both injuries inflicted during the constant fighting and malnutrition.

Hence, male Marsupial Mice only live one year, and females can make it to the ripe old age of two.

That’s all for this week.


Outing #37: Rain all day, Possums all night
4.7 Guidos (3 ratings)

Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

, , , , , , , , ,