Wednesday, 2 August 2017

July Update

Wow! I can't believe its been 6 weeks since I posted last. We have been busy, but have also taken a lot of time off to relax. At the begining of July we went to a fantastic 'unconference' called Deep Winter Agrarian Gathering, where hundreds of small scale farmers meet and chat about all things farming. It was a really inspiring weekend and we had a really great time. Lots of great ideas for the future.

This is the beautiful Mullumbimby Community Gardens, where we visited on our stay. I have been moving along with my other blog, Fig Tree Creek Permaculture. I have been posting about the outside work we have been doing at the property. I wanted to keep it separate because we have different goals for the different areas.

In mid July we did a big cleanup of our downstairs area. All of our stuff was still everywhere from when we fully cleaned under the house, so we had to put it back all into place. We also scrounged together another full trailer load for the dump of the previous owners stuff. While we were doing that, OH built a timber rack out of recycled timber we had lying around. All those years of moving the timber between houses has finally become useful!

This rack is for our big pieces of outdoor timber and lives in the carport. It keeps the pieces off the ground and allows for big pieces of flat sheeting behind. OH is very clever! That weekend we were accompanied by the beautiful Ella.

The next weekend we spent some time with some new friends that also live on the coast. We drove around and ended up at the Kin Kin pub, a beautiful old building. OH also locked the keys in the car while we were there, oops! So our stay ended up a bit longer than intended (with a beer to celebrate afterwards, of course!).

In the last weekend of July, inspired by Ella's recent stay, we got our own dog! Introducing the beautiful Benny. He is a kelpie border collie cross and is a total sweetheart.

He is loving the farm and getting to know us well. He has had an unfortunate past but he is really warming up to us. Our oven also died during July, so we got a new one! We aren't sure how old the existing one was, but probably at least 10 years old. The new one has TWO SHELVES and A LIGHT! Onwards and upwards!

Looking forward to August!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The fence is complete! (Almost!)

Last weekend we spent two days finishing off the construction of the fence. There is still some digging to be done to fill in the gaps under the fence, and cut the tops off the posts, but other than that it is complete! No more digging post holes! Here are some photos.

The old view from the front door.

Looking from the front door now

Along the house side
What the path looked like before

The new footpath. It is now wider.

Looking down the driveway. Look at that curve.

Back towards the house

This is how we dealt with the gaps under the fence. Looks really good.
It has really changed the whole look of the area. The pool looks like a proper pool now! I would like to give it a good pressure wash after all the construction and it will look pretty fresh. While we were there to prevent future damage we cut down the horrible Traveller's palm that was next to the front path.

Before. OH looking very happy.

Oops! Fell over. Now we can see our Banksia.
I have been busy in the house too. We were given a cupboard/bookshelf by OH's stepdad that he didn't have use for anymore. I cleaned it up over the weekend and we put it in our loungeroom. It is got just the right amount of damage/patina to look interesting but not ratty.

Fits perfectly

We also had a totally delicious roast vege dinner last week. All of the root vegetables were from OH's work. The sweet potatoes were especially good.

Extremely delicious
This weekend I expect we will be doing some digging and some tidying up inside the house. I have bought a bed frame for our spare room so we will need to make room for it and assemble it. My parents will be coming over next weekend so it would be great to catch up on some things in the house. They haven't been to visit since we moved in in March, so I think they will be quite surprised with our progress!

I will leave you with a photo of a small cat being licked by his mumma cat.

Milkshake (Ma) and a very happy Pillow
So fluffy! Have a good weekend!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Time to Build A Fence

A week ago we had a pool inspector come and check our fence for us. It is in quite terrible shape and now needs to be replaced. After a couple of quick designs we went and picked up some materials to start building the fence. It was very busy! Here are some before and after photos.

The old deck fence. There was a lot of grass over the deck

Along the back edge

The little snake that we found! Don't worry, it isn't dangerous.

All of that took us about a full day. This long weekend we will be finishing it off, I will take lots of photos to show! Hopefully the weather holds up.

Have a great week!

Gardenias from my tree in my fab new art deco vase.

Monday, 5 June 2017

June Update

Hello from a fairly chilly Queensland! After our last busy month we are keen to slow down and do some catching up. Because we have been so wild with trying to get things done the house has been a bit neglected. I would like to get the downstairs and all of OH's tools sorted in particular.

Last weekend we must have done something, but I can't remember right now! I remember a good night at the wood fired pizza oven at OH's Dad's. I spent time on my assignment which is now finished. I am now 1/4 way through my post grad certificate.

During the week we had some local blokes come in with a chipper and chop up the branches we have accumulated over the last few weeks. Now we have a great big pile of wood chips to use in the yard. This is part of our permaculture plan to try and keep all organic matter on the property so we don't have to buy it later.

Orange flag on the stick was where it was supposed to go...oh well.
On Saturday I went to the Maleny Agricultural show with my BIL and his son (who is disabled). It was a beautiful day and we saw lots of animals which my nephew loved. He got to pat a Peppa Pig (his favourite TV show!). I pulled out my Pop's old Nikon camera for the weekend to take better photos for the blog and I have enjoyed myself, I must do it more often.

There were some impressive cows and bulls at the show, and we saw some show jumping too.


And some crazy chickens too!

I'm not sure where its head is?
It was a great way to spend the morning. I also did a little walk through of my property which is something I do quite often. I focus on a small area and try to identify a few of the trees around. Unfortunately a lot of what I find are weeds! But I did find some lovely flowers.

This tree has been threatening to flower since we moved in in September.

Golden Penda is flowering now...a few weeks after Brisbane

Bees love it!
Unfortunately on Sunday I came down with the flu and haven't got much done since then!

Have a good week!

Monday, 22 May 2017

The first of the big trees comes down

Last weekend was a busy, but also relaxing one for us. We didn't get out of bed until 9 both days! What a luxury. After we got going on Saturday (after lunch) our arborist friend came over to help us with our trees. We had a very large leopard tree out the back near the back deck. It was in the total wrong spot. In between two retaining walls, within falling distance from the deck and covering the morning sunshine. So down it went!


The view is so much more dramatic. Our bedroom and loungeroom get more morning sun and now the breeze comes through where the tree was. I was expecting that when we cut down the bigger trees the view would open up more, but this has done a great job already. Can't wait to get the others down too!

The pile of branches!!!!
We also cleared some of the small weed trees that were creeping up along the back yard. The area is feeling a lot more open now.

Open to the left as well
On Sunday OH rewired the lighting in the house. It was installed incorrectly and was unsafe, so it had to be done. We have an electrician coming in today to install a new electrical board because the existing one didn't have a safety switch and wasn't big enough to install one. So we got a really big new board so that we can add solar later. It is not something we can see but it will futureproof our house a bit and give us piece of mind. He also put in fresh new light switches to replace the old grubby ones.

On Sunday I started to clean up the pool area. The pool fence isn't compliant but doesn't need a lot of work to get it up to scratch. First I cleared the weeds around the perimeter so we could actually get to the fence!

Before from front door

After from front door

Dead cobblers pegs at the end of the pool

Much better

Little bit wild with weeds in there. Note the fallen down bricks

After satisfying

After the weeding I started to straighten up the bricks around the border. Its not a great solution but it is what was there and will do for now. I think when we put a new fence in I will make the pool area a bit smaller. It is a really weird shape!

The bricks from the previous photo straightened up
OH was going to go on a trip next weekend but isn't going any more. So we have another weekend up our sleeves before the 3 months after purchase is up and we have to get the pool safety certificate. We are getting a lot of things done this month! There are still some things to do around the pool area but at least I could do a few easy little bits and pieces.

Until next time!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

New wood burner!!!!!

Now that the cold weather has well and truly hit us we pushed ahead to install our new wood burner over the weekend. First we started by building the hearth.

Our hearth
The hearth was built was leftover tiles from my mum's bathroom, leftover quad to match the rest of the house, leftover cement sheeting from OH's mums, and we are reusing some of her grout too. All we had to buy was tile adhesive for a grand total of $35! Not bad for a few hours work. I think one in the shops was about $500. After we built it though we soon figured out that the adhesive would need 24hrs to dry, but we wanted to get it going. OH whipped up a 'hearth' made of fibro and tile offcuts. It's not pretty, but it will work for now!

It is going!
It was lovely to use it for the first time last night. It wasn't super cold but we had to let it run for 4 hrs to get rid of the smells. The house was lovely and warm this morning (a nice change) and now it is ready to put the hearth under.

Smoke coming from the (short) chimney
Now we have really made a big change to the house that we really love. It is starting to feel more like a home. I can't wait to come home one day soon and see smoke coming out of the chimney and a warm house inside. Once we installed it we went to pick some guavas from OH's mums and some pine cones for fire starters. There is still many kilos of guavas on the tree! I'm not sure if I'll make more jelly (it is OH and Grandma's favourite) but I'll have a look around for some other recipes. Might have to buy some more jars!

All of the guavas in Big Bertha
I only did one batch of it because I didn't really feel like a whole day of cooking. I cooked them in water for half an hour and left to drain for a couple hours. I then added the sugar and lemon juice and left it for a few more hours. I had the liquid with the sugar cooking for about two hours and the lemon made it set just fine. I am going to add the recipe here because I can't remember what I did last time: I like that the recipe had lemon juice in it. I was able to use my own lemons from my little tree! Guavas and lemons ripen at about the same time so it is a perfect combination. I haven't tasted the final product yet but from the little cooking tastes I had I think it is going to be better than the previous batch. Might have to make some more, just for Grandma. I had to ration them out last time!

The finished product. 7 jars plus a baby
I am happy with the colour and the amount I made. The last batch of jam I made (Rosella) was at the end of December! I do like doing it and the results are delicious.

Next weekend will be fixing the pool fence and odd jobs around the house. I have to get the pool fence fixed within 3 months of settlement and get it re-certified (?). Until next time!