Operation Homestead: Days 9, 10 and 11.

Saturday might have been frustrating but Sunday was glorious! Sunday was a day of HUGE achievement! I am so proud of all of us. Martin got a lot more of the mowing done. It’s sadly still slow going as the grass is so long and there are so many trees and several stumps, as well as 3 children all wanting a piece of him but most of it is done. Yay.

The kitchen is also gone too, as is the laundry sink and the carpets. It’s all gone to new homes now which is fantastic and the bonus is that the house is pretty much gutted – only floors and a few wardrobe doors to go for things to be completely gutted. With the builder starting tomorrow the timing is perfect. My job now is about choosing paint colours. The kitchen colours were chosen a few weeks ago so it’s all about matching colours now. We’ve chosen a nearly no VOC paint and low VOC undercoat to prevent off-gassing of nasties into the house. VOC’s or Volatile Organic Compounds are organic chemicals that have a high vapour pressure at ordinary, room-temperature conditions. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate or sublimate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enter the surrounding air. An example is formaldehyde. (Thanks Wiki 😉 ).

Next choice to make is the colours for the floors. We’ve opted to go with tiles as they provide great thermal mass. Thermal mass is how well the building regulates the temperature by absorbing heat/cool. Think of a hot summers day and how quickly a weatherboard house heats up when compared to a brick house. The brick house has greater thermal mass so it takes longer to heat up and conversely to cool down too. The house currently has floating floorboards which have poor thermal mass so we’re keen to help increase that. Tiles will absorb any available heat from the sun in winter when the sun comes through the back door and kitchen window but in summer when the sun is high they will be pleasantly cool to walk on and help keep things cool. The bedrooms will be carpeted so I need to research into carpet next. I dislike the idea of man-made fibres so I am already leaning towards wool, although I know there are corn carpets, recycled water bottle carpets and then the standard synthetics as well as blends but as much as I love the idea of innovative recycling, I just love the idea of lush wool carpets underfoot. Still, as I said, research needs to be done. If anyone has any advice…?

Out in the gardens we managed to nearly finish off 2 more no dig beds. I need about another 1/2 load of compost to finish them both off so I think 4 more loads of compost will have us done and dusted on the beds. We’ll see. I also got my compost bin built. 4 pallets, 8 stakes and hey presto, a cheap, easy and movable compost. 🙂 We got some of the old sub-division fence down too which makes way for the grapes too so I can wire that up next weekend, and we also have fence palings we can use to fix up the fence here in Spotswood. Reuse win! 🙂

The next big massive job on the cards is building the chicken house. I’m thinking about 2.5 x 2.5 metres, give or take as I am planning to build it using the superadobe technique. I am using old flat sheets sewn into bags but I need to source a LOT more flat sheets and a lot of clean fill soil too. The whole lot will then be rendered although I’ve yet to decide on the render material. I’m looking forward to building it as I love the whole natural building concept but I have a lot to do to get it ready to build then built.

We finally got home about 9:30 with 3 kids who transferred straight into bed. It as an exhausting day and we were both aching and stiff after all the manual labour but I feel so pleased with all we achieved.

Monday was a quiet day  but I managed a run up to Ballan today to deliver the builder his key and drop off a few pieces of outdoor furniture and some potted plants. Next job though is to organise fencing and that is my task for the morning. Time for me to head to bed though tonight. I’m still exhausted after all the work on the weekend and anyway, I’m sleeping with somebody new tonight who propositioned me in the sweetest way. 😉 “Mummy, can I sleep wiv you tonight please?” How can I resist. 😀

Night all.

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7 thoughts on “Operation Homestead: Days 9, 10 and 11.

  1. Chook house building is harder and requires more design thinking than human house building I think! Chooks are very tasty, and there’s a good range of predators very well adapted to getting them. In my part of the world carpet snakes and wedge tailed eagels and goanna are big problems, along with foxes and quolls. You’re likely to have foxes around, and they can dig, and snakes of some kind, and rats. Along with that, chooks are also very very good at processing compost and clearing weeks – good gardeners so long as you design a way to keep them on task and not distracted into eating the seedlings and scratching. And in your part of the world there will be cold to contend with too. It’s worth some serious research.

    • You’re not wrong! We will get foxes and there are tiger and brown snakes in the area which just absolutely thrills my Ophidiophobic butt! Rats and mice don’t concern me as we have 2 exceptional ratters with our cats. And as long as we don’t leave doors open for them they will even kindly eat the remains for us. I doubt we would come across the eagles and goannas so close into town either but yes, foxes and snakes for sure. It also gets rather cold in our little valley, so the superadobe structure will give them somewhere warm to roost. They are generally built 1-2 layers down into the ground but I will need to think carefully about digging in the wire and how deep I need to dig it down.
      As for composting, we currently have 3 Pekin Bantams who do help immensely in the fertiliser/composter/scrap eating area and I’m planning to let them help with end of season harvesting too. Maybe a temporary roll of wire around some stakes to keep them working in the right area. lol
      As for the cold, the birds we’re getting are silver dorkings and they’re a good bird in both hot and cold. The combs can get frostbite with roosters but not planning to keep any so that problem is solved. 🙂

  2. Wow, a lot of works in progress at your little piece of paradise! I’d definitely go with a natural carpet rather than synthetic (wool, sisal etc), but even they can be treated with flame retardants, and the backing can be a toxic cocktail, so you do need to do your research. And I guess they’ll be more expensive, but should last longer. These wool and alpaca ones look very nice:

    http://velieris.com/#

  3. narf77 says:

    what about sisal carpeting?We would have chosen it for our own renovation but it was out of our price bracket so we ended up with wooden floorboards. We have wyandottes that are also good for cold climates because they are heifers! Huge great birds and the rooster has a flat rose comb, less to burn off in the frost. I love your adobe idea for making the chook run with earthbag style materials and it would be great for thermal mass in summer and winter when you get temperature extremes. We are in the process of finding a cheap way to contain our chooks as free ranging hens can do a lot of garden damage and as romantic as seeing chooks scratching on the lawn is, its not reward enough for upturned seedlings, bare rooted plants and garden beds turned into dust bathing areas.

  4. Adobe is pretty cheap too as far as materials go. Rammed earth (Earthship inspired) can work too. Cob is another great option too. It all depends which you prefer. If you do go Earthship, ask your local tyre people if they have any spare tyres. When we had our tyres replaced on the trailer I asked and I can come and take them whenever I want them (I’m thinking of putting them around the posts of my gate and fences for mini garden beds for flowers or currant bushes etc. Just a cheap mini raised bed for better drainage. 🙂

    Dorkings are also great cold climate birds with only the roosters combs being susceptible to severe cold. We may get severe enough cold in Ballan but we won’t be keeping a rooster, well, not more than 2 weeks beyond him beginning to crow anyway. 😉

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