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Week 6 (Sun Feb 15 thru Sat Feb 21)

It's Sunday morning, we're still in the high country above Dargo, in the Alpine National Forest, and still hoping to get a good bit more done before heading back to Leongatha/Korumburra.   I told you yesterday about the talents of these blokes I'm hanging out with, and I'll show you a bit of their work in a moment, but first a couple of shots of the natural setting here, and some of the big reasons why this area is so appealing!

(Now pay attention Mo, - - this Mercedes 4WD went almost anywhere!)

Now let's check out the progress, first on the house site, the footer holes are dug (39 of 'em!), heavy, treated wooden bases are cut and placed to support the 6" tp 10" pressure treated posts, cut to 5' to 6' lengths.   Gravel and dirt fill is put in, tamped, and then the posts are lasered (and notched) to insure all is level for the structural stringers.   Keep in mind this is all being done in approximately 110 F.   We're talking hot!!!

and then at the shed site - Andrew is a VERY happy man!

That's what mates are for!

Patty goes Aussie, and the rest of us cool off with a swim in the river!   The last one is a shot you'll never see, Geoff asleep on the job --- so I had him fake it!

By the way - here are the proud owners of what will apparently be called:                    NEAL'S CROOKED RIVER

We head back, after what all agree has been an extremely hot (WHEW!!), but a productive weekend, with Geoff's and Lew's expectations for the weekend realized

The trip down from the high country covers some great bush and Alpine shots.   A few will appear a bit blurry, but gave kind of an interesting effect, and just try to get Geoff to slow down that OKA when he's on the way down to the Dargo Hotel Pub &  the General Store!

A cool drink at the Dargo Pub, an ice cream at the Dargo General Store, and we're off!  

We stop at Lew's lumber operation in Morwell to drop off the trailer to be used to haul lumber back up to the block next weekend, and to make our game plan for dinner.    As you may recall from my 2001 visit, Fisher lumber really operates 3 businesses out of Morwell.   First, there's a pallet business, next a pressure treating operation for termite proofing lumber, and last is the relatively new, but fascinating bridge replacement business using laminated lumber.    Lew is obviously a busy guy, but always seems to find time to counsel and train old Yanks!   (Geoff appears to be looking in to a new profession, but we talk him into sticking with the OKA!

The six of us have a good Pub meal in Mirboo North, and then Elaine & Lew head for Korumburra, while Geoff & Janny (who lost the flip!) get us for a couple more days!   Actually, you're about to meet two great young families.    (Daughter Paula's, and son Mike's)   I had the pleasure of meeting Janny and Geoff's son, Mike, and his wife Tina, on my last trip, and since that time there has been an expansion to their family -- so I'm really anxious to see them all.   Mike works with his Dad in the agricultural "services" business.    We're talking heavy equipment, and heavy work -- building dams, clearing tracks, building farm roads, fencing - you name it.    This is their primary business, but they also are deer farmers.   (See Australia 2001)   They also now own and run a full gravel operation.    These are a couple of goin' blokes!

After a great night's sleep -- in a slightly cooler clime than we'd had at the block, Geoff is off on a project, and I elect to spend the day with the girls!   I've about decided that this macho manual labor stuff has passed me by - and so I'm searching for my more sensitive side, which brings me to Janny's garden.    You guys who are looking for trout fishing or other bush adventures will have to wait, until I satisfy those who are more into gardens, flowers, and such!

 First, you must meet Janny's version of "Ayer's Rock"!

(You might have noted that I threw in a couple of "extras", like the gnome in Janny's well, the gorgeous gum tree, and the view from their front "yard"!)

Next on the agenda today is to head for Inverloch, a beautiful town on the coast, to have lunch with Janny's sister, Louise, and her Aunt Janny, who is visiting from Holland.   What a great group this turned out to be!    I'm afraid I was a big disappointment to Aunt Janny (on my port side) as my language skills are wanting, but I'm now better prepared to deal with Bob Jetses!


I could really cover you up with shots from both Inverloch, and Eagle's Nest, both with spectacular beaches, but on to more important things -- like meeting those great families!

First, a trip out to the O'Laughlin's home and dairy farm.    Paula and Peter have really been hard at work getting things up and going at their new place.   It is going to be a terrific setup when it's completed.    One thing that's already terrific is this family!   Meet 'em now -- all except Peter, who was right in the middle of the afternoon milking operation, (Timing is everything!)  and while he was gracious enough to let me come in to the barn for a G'day, I wasn't about to ask him to pose for a picture!    A great, and hard working guy.   Paula works right along side him, along with keeping up with a few other responsibilities that go along with being the Mother of 3 great youngsters!    Meet Ricky (10), Rachael (6), and Kristy (5).  

I know she looks like just another one of the kids, but you'll note that Janny, the proud Grandmum, managed to slip in to the picture.    Wish we'd had more time with these guys!    This is one handsome, fun, enthusiastic, and loving outfit!!

We now head back to the Allen's to hook up with Mike and Tina, and their three gorgeous girls, who are joining us, at Geoff & Janny's, for dinner.

In 2001, when I first met this great young family, Nicola (now 4) was just little shy of 2 years old, and Sophie (now just a little over 2) was a newborn!   Now we have Chelsea, who is just 7 months old, and already a charmer.  

How we hope that one day our son, Bob, and his family, and our daughter, Sally, and her family can hook up with these great families.   As Patty and I look back on all of the young families we've been so privileged to meet on this trip, we see the kind of love reflected in them that we see in our own grandchildren, and we're so grateful for the Aussie friendships that have led us to get to spend at least some time with these great families.

We're about to give Geoff & Janny a break, and move on -- but not you!    

Stick with us, and go on to Week 6 Continued!

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