The mortgage

Our mortgage is no more. 🙂 Yep, gone! Both of them. 😀

When we moved up here to Ballan, neither Martin nor I were sure of how things would go. We were nervous as to how 2 city people would cope living in rural Victoria (Australia) and how the commute to the city would work out, how we would go moving away from friends and what we knew. We had initially intended to rent for 12 months but we were unable to find a rental property in Ballan to suit our needs (in fact there were precious few rental properties available at all) and so we decided to look to purchasing a house. Houses in Ballan are half as expensive as they are in the city, particularly inner suburbs like Spotswood, hence we were able to use equity from the city house to secure a second mortgage in Ballan.

Our old house has been leased out to tenants since January 2013, covering the mortgage repayments, which allowed us the option to move back to the city if things didn’t work out but after 18 months living in Ballan we have both realised how much we LOVE our life here. 😀 Moving back was not going to happen and so, after much discussion about our options we decided to sell our city house.

The discussion revolved around keeping an investment property with mortgage covered by rent versus being debt free. Both are without debt in a way, one based upon assets equalling more than our debt, the other being without any debt but less assets. In a society coming perilously close to economic collapse (growth cannot continue forever) we felt that perpetuating growth, even if only with a single investment property, wasn’t right for us. We liked the idea of owning 100% of our semi rural property and saying that enough is indeed enough. Our little slice of paradise is enough for us. :). In addition the rental property was forever requiring maintenance which reduced rental income and was a nuisance too.

The house went on the market for auction but an offer was made and accepted and the house was sold. 😀 After a few frustrating but unavoidable delays we settled on the sale on June 30th. 🙂

We’ve ended up with a little extra cash in the bank account which is a real blessing and we are using this money to invest further into our property with solar panels and water tanks as well as the deck and orchard. I feel extremely blessed. 🙂

Rake Ballan Clean

Ballan is a lovely town. It has streets lined with many deciduous trees. From my internet searching they appear to be Ash and Pin Oak and, given that it is autumn, they are dropping their glorious red, yellow and brown leaves all over the place.  Continue reading

The year that was – 2013

Much to my surprise 2013 has come to a close. And as is natural at this time of year I am reflecting over the year that was.

Continue reading

Fog and photos

I took this picture on Monday. We had the foggiest day I’ve seen since we moved to Ballan. The fog moved in late morning and stayed until after dark. It moved in again the next afternoon along with the rain. I expect we may see more fog this afternoon. My water tank already has enough water to come out of the taps. YAY! 😀 Continue reading

All systems GO!

It has been all systems go the later part of this week and the weekend. And we’ve achieved heaps. 😀 Continue reading

Settling in

Well, we are moved in. We have our beds, most of our clothes, half of the kitchen and little else in the way of furniture but we are now officially residing in Ballan. 😀 We are still lacking things like mail redirection, internet access (pre-paid wireless thingies or over our phones at the moment and I’ve blown my bandwidth allocation in 5 days L ) and we have yet to get a home phone too but hey, these things will come.

I wouldn’t say we are properly moved in yet, not by a long shot, but things are starting slowly to resume normality. Our tiles are nearly complete with 1-2 days more work to finish laying and then grout them and then we can look at bringing up the rest of our furniture. Oh to be able to sit on a couch and put my feet up, even if only for 5 minutes! We now have a completed shower which is making life a lot easier. Baths are very well and good but they do take more time and there is something wasteful about running a bath, hopping in for a quick splash and getting back out again. Baths sort of demand that you soak in them, something I have neither the time nor the inclination to do. Along with the shower screen installation we had the broken windows repaired. The kitchen now has so much more light during the day and more of the wonderful view too. Aside from that, not much else has changed except for Martin just about finished setting up the cubby house and I’ve got a few bits of the greenhouse put together. Now THAT is a fiddly job!

Today was a day of time off for me too. Martin has had a busy few weeks with Christmas parties for work and the afternoons cooped up inside a house with greatly restricted access (can’t walk on the tiles for 12 hours after they’re laid) had taken its toll. I was a cranky Mummy. 😦 I took myself off yesterday morning for some op shopping as there are 2 wonderful op shops in town and I have scored some fantastic bargains. Gumboots for Allegra and Orik, a top for Allegra, shorts and shirts and trousers for each of them, 2 shirts for me, a shirt for Martin, 3 lovely little cups for the kids (matching hot chocolates 😀 ), a few kids books and best of all, a young adults novel I have been wanting for over 20 years as it’s the sequel to a much loved story I have! 😀 STOKED! I came home much happier than I had left.

Waking up on a misty drizzly wet old morning.

Waking up on a misty drizzly wet old morning.

Today’s plans went awry again, thanks to the weather. Yesterday drizzled constantly, with barely a break all day. I noticed this evening that one of my pumpkins has put out a shoot that’s nearly 2 inches since yesterday when I had 5 dry minutes to mulch them. Nothing like rain on the veggie garden! Anyway, today there was a huge band of rain and storms that meant once again our outing to Anakie was postponed. I had planned to head up to the Trentham Farmers Market for a quick shop before we headed off but I ended up having a blissful 4 hour reprieve that included iced chocolate, cherry ripe slice (I know I shouldn’t but YUM) and lots of giggles, chatter and of course, shopping! I hate wandering a shopping centre and all that commercial shopping but given the opportunity to shop at Farmers Markets, well, I love it! I bought a lovely big cauliflower, some potatoes, asparagus, peanut butter (it’s delicious) and some organic white peaches. The best bit though was spending time with my best friend uninterrupted by little people wanting something. It’s a rare thing we get uninterrupted conversation!

This afternoon Martin went to help a friend pull apart a shed he no longer wants and has kindly gifted to us. Looking forward to getting it set up so that Trevor no longer has to cower under a tarp when it rains. Whilst he was out and the kids were playing quietly I had a think about my tomatoes. After seeing pictures of your tomato plants Fran, I decided I would try digging one up and see how the newspaper pots had rotted. They hadn’t! L Explains why my tomatoes were looking very stunted. So, off I set, digging them all up and liberating their roots. They’re all replanted and hopefully, in the compost-rich soil they will get themselves into gear. The good news is that there were a couple of flowers evident so there is hope. 🙂

Happy belated birthday Allegra. Although you had a little party on the day, it took until now to get the cake made. Mind you, 2 parties is always a good thing. :)

Happy belated birthday Allegra. Although you had a little party on the day, it took until now to get the cake made. Mind you, 2 parties is always a good thing. 🙂

I had another go at sourdough chocolate cake earlier in the week and was less than impressed so I decided to try it again, but measuring closely. THIS time it worked! I iced it with chocolate cream-cheese icing (decadence) and I have to say it’s a success. 😀 It is so wonderful being able to have my cake and eat it too with no repercussions! I’ve baked several loaves of bread too so my house is awash in the heavenly aroma of fresh sourdough. J I feel like I’m truly immersing myself into our wonderful new life now. We worked late last night felling trees and cleaning up the branches and I spent a good hour today pruning more branches, chopping up the fallen ones and piling them up. The chooks and ducks chatted to me and the Dorkings follow me along the fence line begging for scraps. We lob bits and pieces in to them and watch the mad scramble. The ducks and Dorkings are in there for young and old then pegging it off across the pen with their spoils. The Pekins just amble up looking fat, fluffy and mean and take what they want after a few vicious pecks at the current owner of the bounty who usually relinquishes it with a squawk! Our cats are still in quarantine in the laundry, although they have been allowed a few forays into the rest of the house. We’re taking it slowly with our furry boys. In revenge they have destroyed the door stops in both the bathroom and the laundry. Lol 😛 As much as I hate keeping them confined, I hate the thought of losing them so much more. They’re out on parole, meowing around my ankles and purring.

Anyway, I am beginning to really ramble. I’m exhausted (surprise surprise) and ready for bed. Hopefully soon I will have something new to report other than just commuting and moving.