Another weekend in Ballan

As I sit here stuffing my face with take-away Thai (my favourite red curry duck too) I reflect upon the amazing weekend just finished and try to remember everything we’ve done.

Mudbath anyone

The house is at the point of ordering tiles and it’s just about ready for painting. The bathroom has been stripped and is ready to be fitted out again and I’ve scored the old bath for the garden. It’s now full of soil and carrot and radish seeds and I’m hoping for a bumper crop. 😀

The only visible greenery being the capsicums

I also planted out some of our tomatoes on Friday- the German Johnson and the Red and Yellow Tommy Toes are in, along with the capsicums too. There’s not much to see though unless you look really closely, just a forest of stakes and a few small green plants at either end of the garden (the capsicums). The garden bed next to it is also for tomatoes but it won’t be planted out for a bit as the Siberian Tomato plants are just popping up now and bravely waving their cotyledon leaves in the morning sun. I’ll probably also plant some basil in there with them too, but not until the tomato plants get large enough to provide some shade. See how we and they go.

Saturday was a busy day. We actually managed to be on the road by about 8:30 thanks to the morning alarm clock coming in and hopping into bed with us at 5:50 and then proceeding to chat in her piping (and occasionally piercing) little voice and waking her brothers up. Thanks Allegra. We made good use though and managed to be on the road in good time to make the produce swap at the Ballarat Community Gardens. I made some fantastic swaps – organic sourdough starter with some freshly ground organic rye flour for the first feeding and a few dollars in donation to the gardens exchanged for a huge bunch of parsley, some lemon balm, 2 litres of worm wee, a punch of parsnips, 3 GIANT spring onions (about the size of a super fat leek), a pot of oregano and some fantastic chats and great advice. We spent far too long there which curtailed our plans somewhat but it was well worth it. We headed into town and I got to go tile shopping again. I’ve picked out my kitchen and bathroom tiles. The bathroom is pretty much plain but the kitchen will have a swanky little border. I’ve seen all sorts of lovely tiles and some gorgeous feature tiles used for splash backs but sadly none of them worked with our choice of bench tops but I am as happy as pie with the border. 😀

We ran out of time for carpet decisions but I know what I want so it’s planned for tomorrow and hopefully it won’t take long. From there we went and chatted with the heater company in regards to our solar hot water and after a quick chat with our plumber we will be ready to go with that too. This is our first eco utility if you like so it’s a big deal. 😀 Even though our water and the gas boost both still rely upon external supplies, it will be a vast improvement on the existing electric system and I’m hoping by keeping the water temperature level as low as we reasonably can, we will hopefully only use a little, if any gas.

Back to Ballan we went, grabbing some lunch on the way. We didn’t spend long there as Martin had planned a day mowing but sadly he wasn’t able to get Trevor running and the mower packed it in too. He whipper snipped until evening and caught the train back. In the meantime, I spent the afternoon in the garden in our current house with the kids, retrofitting our current chicken pen to cope with an influx of 9 more chicks which I will pick up tomorrow morning. 🙂 Yay. 😀

Head to toe with mud!

Today was the day to fix the mower (achieved), mow back the rest of the grass that needed clearing in order to put up the fence (nearly done) and get started on clearing and fitting out the new chicken shed and run (achieved). My parents were coming up to have a sticky nose at our new house and check out all we’ve been talking about for months (they’ve been overseas) but before they arrived I planted a heap of onions, some chives, spring onions, radishes, 16 paper pots of corn seedlings, 3 of zucchini and 3 watermelon seedlings too. Again, not much to see unless you’re up close, but they’re in, and their roots are free to find soil so I’m expecting to see some vigorous growth now. I was allowed to use Martin’s new toy, the pressure washer, which helped me to quickly clear the 2 inch thick mud off the cement in the shed. Poor Dad found himself clearing out ripped up and pummeled into the mud carseats and all the rest of the debris left there. He too had a go with the pressure washer and was as loath to share as I had been. It’s kinda fun. lol

I also won my eBay bid on a 1000L water tank which nearly complicated things as we were offered pick up this evening by 5:30. It was 4:45 and still in Ballan. 10 minutes to clear up, put stuff in the car or house, dress the kids (they’d been running around after having had a swim in our half wine barrel) and drive for 40 minutes to pick it up (5 minutes drive from our current home). Surprisingly we made it on time, so I am now the proud owner of a square galvanised steel framed water tank for my chicken pen. Just need to add a few metres of guttering to the roof and we will be harvesting their drinking water from the roof of their home.

Well, I’m off for an early night tonight. I have chickens to pick up in the morning with 3 kids in tow and a car to pack tonight. Zausted!


8 thoughts on “Another weekend in Ballan

  1. Your stories energise me so much. I only wish I was as productive this weekend. My partner is studying for his final law exam, so I’ve been supportive and haven’t been out doing too much that is fun, or not related to the “Evidence Act”.

    Every week my desire to buy an allotment grows along with my unhappiness with the concrete jungle.

    Clever use of the bathtub. 🙂

    • Well done you. Your support will be appreciated I’m sure and maybe a super fun weekend of guerrilla gardening can be planned for the other side of the exams.
      Can allotments be purchased? If so, I did not know that and that is very cool. 😀 I know in the UK the allotment system is still in place where garden space comes with apartments and such which is very cool although I remember thinking what great space for development it was when I first saw them (oh how my thinking has changed in 10 years). Not sure how long allotments have been around but the British people were heavily encouraged to “dig for victory” in the war years. Given the weeds I saw when I was there, I doubt many of them have been cared for since the war though. 😦

  2. Kylie A. says:

    I love reading your blog, I’m so proud of you guys and will have to come visit as soon as we can (maybe next year who knows, it’s definately on my to do list!!) Say hi to Martin and the kids for me xoxo

  3. narf77 says:

    You are going to have to change the name of this blog to “Tired Little Hippy” soon! I can’t believe that you are able to post after such a busy weekend. I am stuffed just reading about it! 😉 We have a resident small machinery fixer upper at our local Polytechnic that we call Sensei Cory. He can fix ANYTHING and does it for love, not money. I can’t count the number of times that he has fixed our whipper snippers for us and he sorted out Steve’s chainsaw problem as well. I love the idea of the seed swap. We have one coming up in Launceston soon but I don’t have any seeds! I DO however have a whole lot of little walnut trees and so I might take some of them in to see what I can swap :). Good luck with the chooks and BRAVO on all of the progress 🙂

    • The swap at Ballarat is for anything relevant to permaculture. I’ve seen eggs, roosters, veggies and herbs, worm wee, tomato stake rings (KNEW I swapped for something else), empty pots and egg cartons, seeds, seedlings and so forth. They’re a fantastic idea. Best of all people swap ideas, dreams and make friends with like minded people.
      I should change it to the aching little hippy because I am pretty sore this morning. 2 more days of it to go! Lol

      • narf77 says:

        What a fantastic idea! I am going to bring it up at the next Sustainable Living group meeting as a way to share the love…imagine what we could share/swap? All sorts of things! Everyone could bring what they didn’t need/want any more and swap it for things that they did want! I want to give you a massive hug right now because I think you just gave me a brilliant idea for many Tasmanians doing it tough. Swapping is a fantastic sustainable alternative. Cheers for that 🙂

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