Sunburned and satisfied

We’ve come home from the weekend up at the house feeling a little sunburned and very satisfied. We’ve not managed to achieve everything we planned (do we ever?) but we’ve done heaps and I’m stoked!

Our trip up Saturday was mostly spent in Ballarat organising things. We’ve signed the paperwork for our solar hot water system so things are all on the go there. We also grabbed carpet samples, although that took absolutely forever. We would choose the same weekend as the Ballarat Show to try and sort everything out, wouldn’t we. :/ It took us a lot longer than we had hoped but we did achieve all we had to and back to Ballan in time for some lunch and to our delivery of star pickets. The afternoon was spent putting chicken wire on the chook pen, planning out how to make it resistant to sly old Mr Fox and then heading home to pick up the necessary tyres to do the job. Yep, tyres. Recycling at its best. πŸ™‚

Sunday was started by Martin getting up early to get started working on Trevor who sadly, is still not working. Even sadder, he STILL isn’t working, but that’s not through the fault or lack of knowledge of his mechanic. Our mechanic firstly wasn’t able to leave as early as planned by a severe case of missing house keys and then when we were given permission to come up and join him at Ballan, he was promptly interrupted by the love of 3 small people wanting to spend time with their daddy. Since the kids were occupied, I unloaded the tyres and set them out upon the bottom row of chicken wire. What we’ve done is, using u-nails, attached the bottom row of wire so that it’s half laying on the ground and half forming the walls. A layer of newspaper on top of the wire to keep the weeds down then a tyre on top which will, at a later date, be filled with soil and then herbs or flowers. I’ll probably put a few tyres in the coop too, filled with a mix of soil and sand to provide them with areas for dust bathing. I’ll probably need 2 more trailer loads to finish off.

My ultra straight fencing posts for the chook pen.

The other side isn’t really straight either but it is a little better at least. String lines next time.


Containment! πŸ˜‰

Tyred little boy! πŸ˜›

View of the chook shed, water tank and northern fence of the chook pen with it’s tyre gardens ready for planting.

Tyres with their newspaper underlay.

I spent the rest of the afternoon attaching more chicken wire to the posts whilst Martin mowed the veggie garden area and dug in another post for the chicken pen. I need to add a top wire and wire off 2 small areas but the majority of the wiring is up. Now just to sew the different rows of wire together, install then wire around the door, wire around the water tank, install the watering system and build and install some feeders. We also need to re-roof the pen as currently any water run off will either dribble down the outside wall or even worse, the inside wall, whereas we want to harvest it so need some sort of run off to which to attach the guttering. A long way to go on one hand but the end is in sight on the other. Oh, I need to put in nesting boxes and perches yet too, but the nesting boxes will just be an upcycle job on some box shelves left behind by the previous owner so not too much to do on that at least.

We’ve started moving selected boxes up when there’s room in the car too so we are officially on the move. Looks like it will be 2 weeks until we sleep up there but we are into that final countdown now which is scarily exciting. I’m stoked too as my guestimated date of moving, the 10th and 11th has been the start of us moving. πŸ˜€ On the money or what?! Very much looking forward to spending our first night in the silence of a country town as opposed to next door to the rush of a freeway but not looking forward to the final packing then HUGE task of unpacking. Then we need to pour some effort into doing this place up, ready for rental. We learned the hard way the other day what happens when you fail to focus on your house… The gutters overflowed… Just a little! I had water pouring into the house at a rapid rate of knots. Fortunately Martin was home to clear out the small gardens worth of weeds and trees we found in the gutters. 😦 Poor guy had a free shower whilst doing it too. And “duly noted” to the need for focusing at least some of our time here.

So, we are here, Monday morning, ever so slightly sunburned, elated at all our progress and already focusing on next weekend. Saturday will be a day off for us all though. Kyneton Show here we come!

My “fwowers” from Allegra.

Allegra hijacking poor Honey the pekin bantam.

Kisses for Honey

My pumpkins

13 beans! Sadly one looks like it may not make it – we had a late frost which seems to have dodged my tomatoes but affected this one single bean seedling.

The kids spent their time running around in the buff and playing in the wine barrel bath filled with water. No photos to share, but heaps for their 21st birthdays. πŸ˜‰ They had an absolute ball though.

A swing, a trailer strap, a convenient branch and 2 happy kids.



12 thoughts on “Sunburned and satisfied

  1. The Eco Mum says:

    You guys are SO busy – I love all the updates. Its great to see how much you’re getting through. Another great post! xxoo

  2. Kylie A. says:

    Things are starting to really take shape in Ballan, how exciting not long to go now!! Lucas re-built my parents chook shed to make it fox proof and we havn’t had a problem since. A lot of people told us to dig right round the perimeter and fill it with broken glass so if a fox did dig they would cut them selves to shreds!! ummm…. nope, that was a bit cruel as far as we were concerned to poor old Mr Fox who was just doing what comes naturally anyway, plus we didn’t want the kids digging around and getting cut either, so Hubby did dig a very big hole right around the perimeter of the pen and put the chicken wire down about 3 feet then laid large logs on top of it so the wire was sort of wrapped underneath, he then filled it back in with dirt, patched some of the holes up around the sides and roof and voila no more problems. Goodluck with everything, its so wonderful to be following you on your journey and you’ve really inspired me too!! xoxo

    • Lol, that’s what we SHOULD have done but I was WAY too lazy to dig 20 or so metres of trenches and I was thinking raised beds when Martin, knowing how I love Earthships, suggested tyres. From my reading, foxes don’t dig down, along then up but rather scrape a hole at the base of the fenceline/wall so hoping this is sufficient. If not there will be much digging to set the wire into the ground.

      • Kylie A. says:

        Exactly why my Hubby did it and not me!!! I love the idea of the tyres and growing things in them, your chooks will have a nice green garden growing around them to nibble on!!

  3. narf77 says:

    Don’t forget Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls old wily fox trick and get Martin to whizz on some of the guide posts on your property. Foxes apparently see it as territory marked and avoid it…of course it might be best for the neighbours not to see Martin whizzing on the fence posts and it might also be best for them not to find Martin comatose on the floor with his trousers down after accidentally whizzing on an electric fence but I am sure that he has seen that episode of Ren and Stimpy and is fully converscent with electric fence etiquette ;). Bad BAD jokes at 6am! I am powerless to resist them at this time of the morning! My kids are all behaving nicely at the moment so I don’t have to bring out “the photo’s” just yet ;). Another wonderful post full of country possibilities and actualities. The kids look like they are having a ball πŸ™‚

    • I have 3 boys so this will not be an issue. Lol
      The pen is also hard up against the fence and our neighbour has greyhounds and our back fence neighbour has a german shephard so hoping the dogs or their scent might also help ward off Mr Fox. we will soon learn if our measures are insufficient.

  4. Emma says:

    Hi there

    I am really enjoying reading about the setting up of your new country residence!

    I just moved to Bacchus Marsh and am working on setting up our chook pen. We got a free chook house of freecycler so we are thinking os using that inside the chook pen. Can I just double check, you have surrounded the chook pen with the tyres in order to keep the foxes out? If so we might try this out too as it seems like a great idea.

    • Hi Emma and welcome to the neighbourhood hey. πŸ™‚ With out chook pen we’ve used chicken wire and cemented in 2.7m treated pine posts (90cm down) we’ve laid the first row of wire so that it’s half upright against the poles and half lying on the ground, kind of like a letter “L” if that makes sense? Foxes are wily creatures that can dig under a fence so standard practice is to bury the wire 12-18 inches down (30-45cm) but, at the heart of it, I’m too lazy to dig the trenches so we figured with a thick layer of newspaper on top of the wire then tyres filled with soil we should be able to keep Mr Fox out AND score a stack of new garden beds which will be perfect for flowers and herbs.

      • Emma says:

        I love it and I reckon it will be pretty effective. Might try to source some old tyres myself to do the same. Did you pick yours up in the Ballan area or elsewhere? Also I have to thank you in advance for the yip of getting those apple crates from Delios in Bacchus Marsh too! Love ya work

        • Thanks Emma! πŸ˜€
          Tyres are easy peasy to source. Call your local tyre place – Breaurepaires, tyre power or any of them and just ask. They will probably even help you load them in because apparently they have to pay to have them removed. We save them money. Just don’t put spuds or other root veggies in them as the tyres may well have absorbed any heavy metals from the road. I’ve heard they do (I’ve not confirmed it though) and spuds at least will absorb heavy metals. Your nice organic spuds could end up full of lead and such.
          The other place to source them is eBay. We just won the bidding on 50 or so about 1km from our place… For $0.01! πŸ˜€

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