We are retired. Before we moved from Perth to the country, Kaye was a university webmaster and Geoff was a groundwater modeller in the state public service. Kaye has an economics degree and Geoff has degrees in biology. We both have postgraduate diplomas in computing.
We live near Youngs Siding, approximately 20 kilometers from Denmark and 35 kilometers from Albany on the south coast of Western Australia. Our small (17.4 hectare = 43 acres) hobby farm is about one quarter native bush and the rest is pasture, dams and buildings. We do not run any stock on the property but have a small orchard of fruit trees next to the vegetable patch and the dams contain small freshwater crayfish (yabbies - native to eastern Australia). We are slowly increasing the number of native trees by planting and transplanting, and also grow exotic eucalypts to provide us with firewood. At the same time we are working on controlling a range of weeds which are found on the farm.
We have a variety of native birds which visit our farm and some interesting vegetation, unfortunately severely damaged in the past by stock. Kangaroos visit and we have a resident population of bandicoots and (we think from the burrows) bush rats. We once found a possum hiding in the shearing shed and small insectivorous bats are common fluttering around in the evening sky. Tiger snakes are common in summer and frogs breed in the dams and our artificial pond. We belong to to the government-backed Land for Wildlife scheme which supports people who preserve native bushland.
More information about the area, including pictures from our property and surrounding area.
Now that we are retired, we look forward to spending more time on our hobbies and interests, although experience so far suggests that there is not enough time to do all the things we expected to. Some of our interests are:
Although we did not plan it when we moved down to Youngs Siding, our working lives seem to have followed us - we maintain numerous web sites and teach classes at home on how to make web pages, and sort out a few local computing and internet problems. We do all this for free since we seem to be able to live within our means and many of our "customers" could not afford us if we charged anything like market rates - and it means we get to know some interesting people.
For surfers with a bit of spare time and catholic interests, our photo gallery has pictures which have a connection to other parts of our web pages, or which we just think have some intrinsic interest. We update the "collection" on an irregular basis. You might also like to have a look at the photos on our fungi pages.
Reticulated water is available in the local towns but not rural properties; we have to make our own arrangements to supply all our domestic and garden water. Our house water supply is collected from our roof with storage in two large 50 000 litre concrete tanks and delivered by an electric pump which turns on when the outlet pressure drops. This means that if we have a power outage we also lose our running water. We get water for the plants from our dam (really a man-made lake). To move the water from the dam we have set up a network of polypipe from a container on the bank of the dam, and gravity feed water several hundred metres to numerous points around the garden and even to the fish pond.
Some years ago we got the impression that the dam level has been going lower every summer and it has struggled to fill in winter, possibly because of declining rainfall and the water-extraction efforts of trees which we have planted close to the dam. So we started to monitor the water level to get a clearer idea of what was happening. For the first few years there was no significant change, but then a dry winter resulted in the dam reaching no-where near its normal maximum level. With a low starting point the level then dropped to an unprecedented low in summer, and we feared that this may become the normal situation, with the dam never filling completely, and maybe even drying out.
But with a normal rainfall year following the two year "drought", the water level recovered completely to a typical value in winter. This was reassuring since it indicates that we can plant trees around the dam without worrying too much, and we can expect the dam to continue to supply garden water in the future, at least in years when there is sufficient rainfall.
We use a more sophisticated approach to displaying the data (compared to the weather data above) since we now have access to a web-friendly plotting package.
Kaye was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and has documented her mastectomy and breast re-construction to help other women who have similar surgery. She is now free of cancer, sporting a new breast and a very flat stomach!
In 2010 we travelled along the Mediterranean through Spain, southern France, Italy, Tunisia, Greece and Turkey. One of the most interesting places we visited was the World Heritage-listed region of Meteora in Greece. The weather was cold and misty, so it was easy to believe that the spectacular monastries balanced precariously on top of huge pinnacles of rock were haunted. We had a glimpse of something in the shadows in a stone-paved room and Geoff took a picture; when we got home we used it in a web page to document our travels.
Amazingly we seem to have captured a long-departed spirit and so now we have a haunted web page. Don't believe me? Then click on the picture on the right and watch carefully.
It occurred to us that we might have created the first web page ever to be used as a home for a poultergeist, so we did a search for the phrase 'haunted web page'. It turns out that this situation is much more common than you might think, although the spirits do seem to come in different forms. So we wonder if a web page can be exorcised? A search on the internet did not reveal anyone specifically offering this service.
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