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. šŸ™‚

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! šŸ˜‰

Tyred little boy! šŸ˜›

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. šŸ˜€ 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. šŸ˜¦ 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. šŸ˜‰ They had an absolute ball though.

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



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 CompoundsĀ are organic chemicalsĀ that have a high vapour pressureĀ at ordinary, room-temperatureĀ conditions. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporateĀ or sublimateĀ from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enterĀ the surrounding air. An example is formaldehyde. (Thanks Wiki šŸ˜‰ ).

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 beĀ carpetedĀ 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. šŸ™‚Ā 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! šŸ™‚

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 Ā 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.Ā 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. šŸ˜‰ “Mummy, can I sleep wiv you tonight please?” How can I resist. šŸ˜€

Night all.