Monthly Archives: May 2013

Slim pickins…..

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No suitable candidates again today. Not even anything worth looking at further in the new listings! Very slim pickings indeed so I’m chanting “I will not be discouraged” to myself over and over again 🙂

So some fun things today… The below are some reasons that everyone should get into gardening ;} Certainly inspires me!

http://www.kissmyaster.co/2012/01/hey-girl-garden-series.html
http://www.kissmyaster.co/2012/01/hey-girl-part-2.html

And a new concept for me – Pothole gardening! Such a cute idea! Guerilla gardeners plant flowers and shrubbery and set the scene with plastic toys etc on your everday street or sidewalk pothole. I love some of the cute little scenes that people have created. I’d love to do one but I just don’t know of any potholes around me that aren’t in the middle of the road on a busy street… and also my pessimist side thinks that some nasty butthead would go out of their way to run it over. But that’s just the mood I’m in right now 🙂 So check it out:

http://thepotholegardener.com

(image from the above website)

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something for the wishlist

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Haha you can chalk today’s listing to the wishlist…. Saw the first listing on allhomes and then googled it to try and find out where it was and found the second listing that has more detailed photos of the inside and the price….. think I’m gonna be a bit short on this one… If anyone has $2.85 million spare and wants to give it to me I won’t say no!

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/nsw/sale-residential/no-street-name-provided-lake-bathurst-southern-tablelands/1316859477011
http://www.tronnalstergren.com/index/stclairlakebathurst

Still it ticks two of the three boxes, close to work and lots of good water ;} Not a lot of bushland and the price… hmmmmm oh well!

More reading of that straw bale house blog and looking into Waffle pods (mmmm wafffffles) and again I’ve learned something helpful. http://www.wafflepod.com/engineer/ Bloody good idea! Better insulated concrete slab, minimal environmental impact although dunno bout the cost so I’ll have to find out. I really need to get in touch with these bloggers to see how they’re doing and how their systems are holding up. 🙂

More water works…. including poop!

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Today’s trawlings only revealed one nice option but I can’t find it on google maps… I cannot tell you how IRRITATED that makes me when I want to scope something out… but I have a feeling its too far away as they say its 17kms from Goulburn so its probably not on my side of Goulburn because the Tarlo River certainly isn’t. The listing for your perusal: http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/nsw/sale-residential/370-rhyanna-rd-goulburn-southern-tablelands/1316859262511

More research today considering the slim pickins real estate wise… looking at blackwater treatment today… as in the stuff wot comes out of the toilet 🙂 There’s a couple of different options to consider and I actually found a pretty neat blog while I was looking into things and learned that there is a worm based sewerage system! And something called Biolytix which the blog lady doesn’t recommend for customer service reasons but I’ll have to check that out too so as not to be biased.

The blog is http://ourstrawbalehouse.blogspot.com.au which chronicles a family’s journey in building their straw bale house and I’ve already learned some lessons from their experiences. She also gave me another great idea in terms of the kitchen in that she got hers from my beloved eBay.  I hadn’t thought of looking there for kitchens as I was planning on getting a flat pack kitchen to save costs but its not a bad idea if I can pick up a second hand one that suits my needs.

So back to poop – considering that the block that I want to purchase isn’t connected to the sewerage mains (and I’m talking about the property I’ve been calling Number 2 har har no pun intended) I’m going to need an onsite processing method. The property already has septic installed but the leech field for it is uphill from the big lake dam so I’m not overly keen on that idea. Also where I want to plant the orchard is within that area so I think I’m going to have to do a bit more research on septic to further my understanding on how it works and the impact it has on fruit trees and water sources etc before I feel 100% comfortable with that option. I realise it’s been in place with the previous owners so I’ll have to check out the current effects if any. So if it has no real negative impacts, other than the potential yearly tank pumping/cleaning, then it would be a good low cost option as it’s already in place. (maybe flushed with recycled grey water from yesterday’s post?)

Another option is a composting toilet aka “humanure”. I have a friend who has this system in place and its very low cost and low maintenance (and no smell) and yields excellent compost for the trees and shrubs. Another blog that I follow has detailed their humanure system so you can check it out here (http://milkwood.net/tag/humanure/  and you’ll have to scroll a bit for the detailed poo posts) or google it if you wanna know more about it. All I’d really need to invest in is a chipper to make sawdust/chips for the um… deposit coverings.

humanure

The actual loo itself isn’t very sleek and sexy (looks something like a box with a toilet seat on it which I can make myself – Image also from Milkwood.net ) so I’ll have to think of a way for sexying it up a bit so it’s not so ugly and rustic cuz that’s just not my style. Best part about it is that there’s no water involved so that’s another big plus.

And the new idea from today is the worm smart eco septic system from http://www.wormsmart.com.au/. I’ve never heard of this type of system so I might actually contact her to see how it’s going. And Biolytix which looks similar, basically a worm powered septic system. The fact that the original Australian side of the company went bust and was bought out by the NZ side is a bit worrying in regards to long term support but I’ll do some more reading to work out what the best poop recycling system is going to be the best for my property. The easiest seems to be the humanure option really. Its basically no cost as there is plenty of timber on the property to make sawdust and the results go back into fertilizing the plants (although they say not to put it on veggie patches which makes sense).

And I’m open to other suggestions if anyone has any that I haven’t covered above. Speaking of poop, I’d better get back to work 🙂

Lunchtime greywater research

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Well today’s trawlings didn’t yield any suitable candidates but I did have a really interesting conversation with one of the girls in the office about greywater of all things. I was actually looking at truck ads (gonna need a truck if I’m going to be a proper bumkin – I want a Hilux) and she was telling me about her place that she’d just built and the greywater reuse system that they’d installed. It’s basically a diversion system that takes all the bathroom water (shower & hand basin) and laundry water and diverts it via a subsurface irrigation system to her orchard trees and flower beds. Not very expensive to put in unless you get the pump version so I’m adding that to my house plans as its best to install it when the house plumbing is being installed.

At my current house I collect my shower water and kitchen runoff (cuz my hot water takes forever to reach the kitchen for some reason) and put it on my veggies and garden. I’ll still continue to do my kitchen runoff (not washing up water cuz of the fats) in my new place but having the greywater diverted from the bathroom automatically would be pretty great. Apparently you can get greywater treatment systems to reuse the greywater for your toilet and washing machine so I’ll have to investigate them and see what the costs are like. Because I’ll most likely be on tank water I’m going to make sure I don’t waste my water or at least get 2 uses out of it! If only there was a subsidy for greywater systems! Was pretty pissed off to find out that both the solar electricity installation and waster tank rebates have recently been scrapped! Couldn’t they have waited for me to build my house?? Geeez 🙂 anyway… Back to work slacker!

An introduction part deux

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Previously on A Modern Hippy… your hippy guide was recounting her journey so far… we tune in and join her now for part deux.

So last week I found another property that looked great! 100 acres, 45 mins to work, semi bush block, with a creek and 3 dams, a converted barn to live in… sounds promising! I rang the agent and he was able to take me out there the next afternoon. I was pretty impressed when he handed me a site map with drainage drawings, contour map, an ecological study including flora and fauna on the land all that the owner had compiled. The land that I got to see was stunning although windy and I went back on Saturday for a good hike around as the agent didn’t have time for me to walk around the full property (which was fine as it was late in the afternoon anyway so would have been getting dark). While the land was really well cared for the bush part was just too steep. The terrain was just not pleasant to walk around where as Number 2 had some gentle slopes so much more pleasant. The creek was a bit of a trickle and in some areas completely dry so thats not exactly what I was after either. A dam is better than stagnant water in my opinion. It did have a converted American barn with solar and wind generator on it but it would have needed some work on it to make it full time livable as the current owners only come down every 2 weekends to stay there and tend their cattle. I’d need to insulate it and put a better kitchen in it etc etc etc. AND the price is too much for what I want to spend on land. So… its not suitable. 😦 But it is very pretty…. (and again you can click the images to make them bigger if you wanna)

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So back to the daily real estate trawlings again…. Except I think I made a mistake with my money calculations and I think I may actually be able to offer the owner of Number 2 a little bit more to at least get more in the zone of what she’s asking without being exorbitant for basically a piece of land. So I’m pondering whether I should do that or just keep looking…. I’m a lil torn. Maybe it wasn’t “meant to be”… maybe I’m just over thinking all of that…. *sighs* who knows eh

In terms of my master plan for the land and the life I want to be living –  I’m looking for vacant land so that I can build a straw bale house on it. The best type of house for efficient and low cost heating and cooling and it’s majorly fire resistant which helps being out in the bush (and which kinda goes against normal logic it being made of straw I know but it is).  And I want to plant veggies (I already have a 4 plot veggie garden at my current house) and an orchard. Maybe some goats or sheep or cows. Definitely chickens for fresh eggs and maybe even geese or ducks for fresh eggs as well. All using permaculture principles too mind you. That’s where my hippyness comes in. Organic and free range as much as possible. And for the modern part… I’m not into banjo pickin country style. I’m a modern, clean lines, mod cons kinda gal. So while I’m building a straw bale house its going to be modern with mod cons and I’ll be mixing the best of both worlds. I’m planning on being completely off the grid with solar power and solar hot water. And after visiting the last place I could even put a wind generator as I hadn’t considered it before and it might be windy enough (Number 2 is 5 mins away from the place I saw on Saturday).

So for the moment I’m just gonna keep dreaming and work out what the hell I’m going to do about Number 2… and keep you posted on happenins n stuffs. So there you go, my introduction. Nice to meetcha 🙂 I’ll be seeing you round I’m sure!

An introduction of sorts

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So I don’t really know where to start this only that I need to start. So get yourself comfy cuz this is probably going to be a long one as I need to catch you up a lil bit, actually I might break it up in a couple of parts just so I don’t make your eyes go all screwy. For the last 6 months or so I’ve been looking for a property. It’s gotta have good water with preferably a creek or at least a crapload of dams. It’s gotta be within an hours drive from work and needs to be predominantly a bush block. And I’d rather not be able to see my neighbours but that’s not one of the mandatory criteria. I’m looking for between 50-100 acres. So that’s not too big of a “must have” list is it? Allow me to repeat that I’ve been looking for the last 6 months…..

I’ve seen some great properties but they either don’t have the right water, are too far away or too expensive. One of the first properties I fell in love with was perfect except it was 20 mins over my time limit and while its only 20 mins thats still 2 hours and 40 mins a day of driving…. so its juuuuust that lil bit too far away (dammit!!).  I hiked around it for a couple hours daydreaming and imagining and found no erosion and only a little bit of blackberry by the river (blackberries are classified as weeds here and the council mandates that they’re kept under control so its something I need to look at when inspecting land). Other than that it was perfect, 100 acres on a large river that even had its own sandy beach, beautiful bush block with cleared house sites and within my price range. But noooooo…. too far away.

The land and the path down to the river (you can click the images to make the bigger… I think)

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the river with the sandy beach

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Looks beautiful huh…. *sigh* if only I could transport it 20 mins inland 🙂

So I went back to my daily trawling of the internet real estate sites and was introduced to Number 2 (aka my heart’s desire haha). My defacto brother, who is a real estate agent, took me there as  an aside to some other properties he was going to show me but I fell in love with it.  150 acres with a 4 acre lake dam! Beautiful bush block with not too much cleared land with a little clapped out (unlivable) 2 br cottage and a shearing shed…. and a LOT of junk on it. As in there are 11 car wrecks in amongst the junk. BUT before you roll your eyes at me, there is a lot of reusable stuff on the land, building materials and things that can be repurposed or sold for scrap. Yes there is junk on there but it’s not so much so that it’s a deal breaker or nothing that can’t be remedied. If you see past that stuff and look at the land it’s great. No real weed problems, found one tiny blackberry bush and one thistle plant but that was it. Part of the drive needs a lil erosion remedy but nothing drastic. It’s 45 mins away from work (tick), massive lake plus lil house pond/dam (tick), bush block (tick)… within my price range…. well it’s been on the market for 2 years so my bro thought that I could get it for a price within my range. BUT the woman won’t negotiate from her unreasonable price….. (cross). Broken hearted doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I kinda counted my chickens before they hatched with that property in that I have already mapped out the orchard/veggie zones, worked out a site plan for the house and sheds and that sort of stuff. Yes yes I’m a dreamer. So that was highly disappointing.

So I’m not going to show you all of the photos of the junk, just some of the beautiful parts and the lake 🙂

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The potential view from the house site and the view of the little house pond/dam (with the cottage in the background)

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And the lake…..

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Stunning huh…. *sigh*

And I know you’re on the edge of your seat, dying to know what happens next but… dun dun dunnnnnn… a thrilling cliffhanger! I gotta get to bed so tune in tomorrow for part 2 😛