Category Archives: New House

Building the new house stuffs

OMG I’m in LOVE!!!…. ok fine it’s just lust…

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So I was watching Nick Knowles Original Features on the weekend and the show was about a couple who were doing up a ramshackle ole farmhouse which was really cute. BUT one of the things that struck me deep within my lusty decor heart was a little segment towards the end of the show where they were finishing off the bathroom and they trying to squeeze the bathtub through the bathroom door. Not just any ole bathtub but it was a copper bath!! I’ve never seen one before. It was almost a rounded egg shape. It was SO beautiful. I’m seriously in love with it (but not enough to marry it though…)

Promptly had to google it to see if such a beautiful beast can be found in my fair land, which is not usually the case, and YES! At aptly named copperbathaustralia.com.au hahaha! It’s a different (but equally beautiful) shape than the one on the show and it looks deep enough to get your whole body in for a delicious soak. Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL?!!

copper bath installed(image from copperbathaustralia.com.au)

copper bath(image from copperbathaustralia.com.au)

Only thing not so beautiful about it is the price tag 😦 But tis to be expected for something that solid. They also do beautiful basins so I’m seriously considering placating my desire with one of the oval ones instead. hmmm don’t think I’ve said the word beautiful enough have I? *sigh*

copper basin(image from copperbathaustralia.com.au)

I love the brand new shininess of them but also love how it patinas. It’s funny because ages ago I wanted a copper roof. I think it was on Grand Designs or something similar that a woman did a round copper roof and the verdigris patina was just lovely. I gave up on that idea because of the cost and heat aspect but a copper basin in my ensuite… I could drool over it every day and it would go with my ensuite colour scheme (which is either grey or light teal/sage).Β  mmm yummy!

(and just FYI – I have nothing to do with copperbathaustralia other than bumping up their site page count with all my drooliness and lustiness)

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Decisions and regrets

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Hmmm so it seems another month has gone by…. how is that actually possible?? Damn you WP for not posting all those kickass mental posts that I’ve thought up in this past month. Geeeez.

I’ve had the last two weeks off work to sort out some shit and during this time I’ve come to a very regretable/sad/kickingmyselfinthebutt/dumb realisation. This place is not “The One”. I’ve almost been here a year and it’s taken me all of that time to work it out. Dumbass.

The fact that I still haven’t fully unpacked and have only just recently unpacked my ‘study’ should have been a clue. The fact that I was so fkn impatient and just wanted to get out of my Mum’s house should have been a clue. The fact that the tidy sum of money that I had saved from the sale of my last place and which I’d intended on using for the renos etc to make this place what I wanted it to be but was wiped out because I had to use it as part of a 20% deposit due to the size of the land should have been a clue. The fact that there is no area for grazing animals should have been a clue. The fact that I should NOT have trusted the agent when he said that the council had been out inspecting weeds and found nothing should have been a clue. I should have tested the soil depth and quality so that I didn’t discover that I’m basically sitting on shale rock with 5 cm of soil on top so I can’t really plant or grow anything unless it’s in a raised bed. The house is functional but needs updating and now that we’re back to winter again it’s really cold and I wryly find myself thinking… wouldn’t be cold if it was a fkn strawbale house dumbass.

Don’t get me wrong I LOVE this place, the seclusion and serenity, it’s just not the right land for what I now know what I want to do. And I’m never going to be able to save up enough money to do the house improvements that I want to do or install solar, or improve the soil or plant an orchard etc etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseum. When I had to give up my little pot of money for the deposit I thought “oh it’ll be fiiiine, I’m not in a rush, it’ll work out when I need to find money to do things”. That day won’t come. There’ll always be something cropping up (like the weedspraying which I still haven’t done and have to get cracking on this winter).Β  So many things I need like a ride on lawnmower/slasher to keep this place under control but that’s not gonna happen either. I should have fkn clued on and said impatience begone! and walked away from it. I do remember having second thoughts about it but just brushed them aside because of the strong strong feeling of just wanting to get on with it and have my own space again. Maybe this is also a lesson in second thoughts and gut feelings for me.

And despite finding this place and loving it, I have to acknowledge that I still have in my heart that need to build my strawbale house that I’d planned before. I should have stuck to my dream and just given myself an uppercut and waited til the right bit of land came along. Instead I compromised. Bzzzt, wrong, thanks for playing.

So I’m going to sell. But of course, in this Part 2 of LESSON IN PATIENCE I can’t do anything for another year because part of my mortgage is fixed (also a mistake) and reading the fine print says that it’s going to be super expensive to break that fixed portion early. AND I’ve still got to find the right land AGAIN. Last time it took me one and a half fucking YEARS to find this place… I just need to have faith and hope that because this time I am doing what I set out to do in the first place that it won’t take as long. I have already started to have a look around and found a nice parcel of land that meets those previous criteria (except there’s no real water on the land except a couple of dams but with all I’ve been reading on permaculture and dam building that shouldn’t really be an issue, just on the wishlist) but I can’t do anything yet.

I don’t want to torture myself too much with looking because financially I can’t do anything til that fixed portion can be changed back to variable but it’s so hard not to. I just feel so dumb about all of this. To be back at the start again. I’m trying to just concentrate on the fact that it’s just a giant lesson in patience and sticking to your dreams and not compromising on what you want.

Dumbass.

 

Life, weeds and chemicals

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So much to report! I swear I’ve gotta book in some time every week with you so that I stop writing these epic catch up posts. Hope you sit through it without numbing your bum πŸ™‚

I’ve been sick with a lung infection (just typed lunch unfection hahaha) so that’s been a barrel of laughs. I wasn’t able to do half the things I wanted to do with the time off because I’d just get so puffed and end up in a coughing fit and couldn’t do anything apart from ending up irritated beyond belief because of it. I’m not a very good couch potato, can ya tell??

Last week my bestie and her tribe of monsters came to stay with me which was pretty bloody awesome. I thought the kids (aged 7, 9, 14 and 16) would be bored out of their brains but they absolutely loved it. They came on exploring expeditions with me and their Mum, went hiking and spent a lot of time bashing weeds and plants with sticks, hunting for pretty pink quartz (which is all over my property) and toppling dead trees. They didn’t want to leave (and I didn’t want them to go either) and the house was really quiet after they left. It was really nice to have a house full of life and noise.

I had last week off work and had planned to get a whole bunch of things done around the place but I was hit with a $460 electricity for 2 months (!!) which I’m going to ring them up about because I didn’t even pay that in town, an $866 septic pump out bill and I had the council weed inspector come around and apparently my place is infested with serrated tussock and St Johns wort. So I’ve gotta get a contractor in to spray 100m from my neighbours borders and 50m from the access road that runs through my property… no idea how much that’s gonna cost but a couple of thousand I imagine. All money I don’t fkn have!! I did want to spend my money on a mower and a whipper snipper and a mulcher and to buy supplies for making wicking beds for my veggies but nuuuuuuuuuu gotta spend it on useless crap 😦 Not happy about all that if you can tell. I had a day or two of being mopey and mad but I’m over that now and am going to move on with a positive attitude and just be more resourceful. I’ve got some things I can use as wicking bed containers and I’m still going to buy the supplies but because the containers are smaller than I had originally planned (and only 2 instead of 4/6) it won’t cost as much and I’m just going to keep my eye on the Gumtree Freebies section of other things I need. The mower, whipper snipper and mulcher I’m just going to have to delay although I’m going see if I can stretch for a mulcher as that would be really useful for compost and ground cover and all that. And I really do need either a mower or whipper snipper to keep the weeds/grass down at this time of year aka snake season. *sigh* need to magic up some money….

The thing that annoys me most about this situation is all the chemicals that will be sprayed on my land. And the fact that I don’t really have a choice in the matter. I have until December to do this or I get fined. The area that I’d wanted to plant my olives is one of the more denser patches of weeds that will have to be boom sprayed. They say that the residue fades but really, how quickly? And I’m going to have to do this all again in a years time for maintenance and maybe the year after that too. That aspect breaks my heart because I really don’t want to have all these chemicals in my soil. At least the area that I want to put my orchard is relatively weed free and the ones that are there I’m going to dig out so I don’t have to spray. I’ve been trying to find a more enviro friendly yet effective serrated tussock and St Johns Wort killer but haven’t found anything yet. There’s also the blackberry but apparently there’s another division at the council that deals with that and they will actually come out to remove it. It’s mostly by the waterway so I’m curious to know how they’ll tackle it without polluting the water as I have platypus living in there. And I worry about the duckies as they free range, luckily not much in the area that’s due to be sprayed but it just can’t be good for them either.

I can now add a fox (almost ran it over this morning haha), black cockatoos and kookaburras to the Spot the Wildlife list πŸ™‚

Think I’m going to break this post into two as the next bit is all ramblings about the ducks… which if you’re not into The Days of our Lives – Duck Edition you can skip πŸ™‚

 

 

HOME (and other adventures part 3)

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Ugh who has been speeding up time huh? Fess up!! Who did it?? Things have been nuts recently. I’ve hardly had time to scratch my butt lately (and there’s always time for that!). Lemme just get you up to speed on the past then we can talk about the future!

Had a really neat afternoon 2 days ago. the duckies showed me that they’re not dumdums afterall and that they’ve learned how to use the feeders I made! I do however need to make more because it caused a massive fight between Joan and Maisie. The blackbirds seem to have gone but they’ve now been replace by two pairs of galahs. And I think they frighten the ducks! The night before the feeder night I was watching them eat dinner when a galah flew up into the big tree near their pen and squawked and all 4 ducks froze, got their hackles up and stopped eating. Their morning behaviour has also changed in that they don’t want to eat and just want to get the hell out of their pen so I’ve stopped ground feeding them the grain mix (only veg) and just topping up the feeders. Hopefully that will encourage the galahs to bugger off as they’re too short to reach the feeders (haha!)

This is what the feeders look like:

duck feeders duck feeders1

It’s adapted from an idea someone online had for a water feeder that wouldn’t get mucky and just allows the duck to put their head in to drink (cuz the ducks are mucky drinkers). I haven’t had a chance to get to bunnings to make the Y pipe food feeders but that’s on my to do list for the weekend. I love watching them eat and drink, interesting to see the power plays. The Count picks on Maisie and Joan but not The Snow Queen. Maisie picks on Joan but avoids The Snow Queen and the Count. The Snow Queen does whatever she wants but doesn’t pick on anyone. And they all make the cutest trilling and chuffing noises when they see me coming to feed them. Warms the cockles of my heart it does. Not sure if I can upload video to WordPress but I also caught them having a Sunday bath and took some video of it. If I can work it out I’ll share it with you.

So I’ve had the greatest cold snap in 40 years with temps down to -8, had rainmageddon and been flooded in so what else next… why fires of course! My next door neighbour had a grassfire the other weekend. The sun was going down and I could see an orange glow coming from their property so I raced out to my hill that overlooks theirs and I could see the fireline creeping towards my place. And no one around! The fire wasn’t raging or anything just slowly creeping towards my place and my mind was racing on what the hell to do or who to call. Just as I was about to go and call the local SES someone drove up to the fireline so I breathed a sigh of relief at that one. Not sure if it was a back burn or just a grassfire but will find out soon.

I’ve been having weekend expeditions around my place and they’ve turned into scavenger hunts. I’ve found a massive roll of chicken wire, a smaller roll of grid wire, fencing wire and barbed wire. All sorts of construction materials including clean lengths of wood, some corrugated iron sheets and 2 weeks ago I found some explosives! Yep in the middle of one of the pine forests there were 3 coils of detonating cord sitting in a crater. I’m assuming they were blowing up a treestump for some reason that is beyond me considering it’s in the middle of a pine plantation (and the tree looks like it was a gum of some sort).

On my expeditions I’ve also been playing a mental game of Spot the Wildlife. My very first expedition to the river I ticked off a platypus! So nice to know that they’re in my river and even more amazing to see one in the wild instead of the zoo. On the explosives expedition I saw an echidna rooting around in the undergrowth. I stood very quietly so as not to frighten it into a ball and it just happily went about it’s business for a minute or two before wandering off. I see kangaroos and wallabies every day so they don’t count. Have only seen dead wombats by the side of the road so will add it to the check list when I see a wild one.

Had a bit of a lazy weekend last weekend and couch potatoed Saturday away and Sunday was out mulching the front garden beds and met one of the people down the road who was travelling to the weekenders to help out with some concreting. He stopped in to introduce himself which was really nice. Slowly getting to meet my neighbours. It seems like a great little community.

So that’s you mostly up to date on stuff n things. Next up I’ll start laying out my plans for the place. Of which I have so many my head is practically bursting! Every time I walk around the property I get more and more ideas.

HOME (and other adventures part 2)

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sooooo this greeted me yesterday morning as I attempted to drive to work.

river

Yes, that’s a raging torrent of a river. And that’s my only way to the other side of the river…. so literally couldn’t come to work. Lemme just grab a tissue for my tears haha. It rained like crazy all weekend and Monday and I’d noticed on Tuesday that the river was up a metre and a half. When I came home on Tuesday night half of the crossing was flooded so it was a bit hair raising to drive through but I think I made it just in time. I did spend the day productively working outside and planning the garden and orchard and just generally soaking up the sunshine. It was lower this morning and only half the crossing was flooded so dammit I had to go back to work.

Now where was I in my tale of epicness? hmmm yes, unplanned water features…. that was fun. One thing I forgot to mention at the start was that the contracts were exchanged on Monday afternoon (the lawyer actually remembered to tell me this time) and the keys were couriered to me late Monday night so I headed out to the property on Tuesday to feed the chickens and the ducks and do a bit of cleaning. I got there a bit before lunch and didn’t have to do much cleaning as it was pretty spotless so that was great. The 4 ducks were there but no chickens….. I should actually say that the 3 ducks were out and about but the drake was still in the coop which puzzled me too. I walked all around the immediate vicinity of the property and looked under the house which is apparently where both the ducks and chickens like to hang out but nothing there but a bunch of feathers (which are also scattered about the property btw, they moult a lot apparently. Could always collect them to make a doona I spose haha). I asked the ducks where the chickens were but no response ;} The old owners didn’t really leave me much in the way of instructions apart from their forwarding address for mail but there was a big bin with about 8 loaves of white bread in it in the workshop shed (which is what the coop is attached to). I sincerely hope that that is not all they were fed but don’t really know. First thing I did on my way back to Mum’s was to stop in at the feed store to get some duck grain mix.

I hung around for a coupla hours and explored the property a little bit but no chickens came home to roost. I lured the ducks back to the coop with some bread and lettuce which I’d brought with me for them and locked them up for the night. The next day was moving in day and still no chickens. And again the girls were out and the drake was locked up so I was wondering if the chickens had been chicken-napped or if someone was looking after them. I rang the agent… and you know the drill, no answer so texted him to ask about the chickens (and more keys) and got no response. I’ll pause while you pick yourself up from the shock, I KNOW. Anyway a couple of days later and a couple more unanswered phone calls and texts later dumdum texts me back to say that there were actually only 2 chickens left and that they had been taken by a fox a week or so ago. So I just have the 4 ducks. I will get some chickens eventually but I’d like to get the fenced out orchard set up first to prevent more losses due to foxes.

ducks

And they are SO fkn awesome πŸ™‚ They follow me around whenever I’m outside doing stuff and they get so happy to see me in the morning when it’s breakie time. They don’t really quack but make really odd trilling noises and the drake kind of huffs and wags his tail. They’re really fascinating to watch. No idea what their original names were (if they had any) but I’ve named the drake Count Duckula von Gutso cuz he’s a greedy pig (and I love Count Duckula!). I think the white one is the mum of the other two but she’s certainly the boss of the ladies so she’s The Snow Queen. The one with the full black cap is Maisie… no idea why it just popped in my head, and she’s my fave as she seemed to be the underdog but I’ve since revised my opinion on that. The last one was just “the other one” as no name popped in my head for her but since Maisie is an old fashioned name, the name Joan popped into my head the other day as I was watching them eat dins, so she’s Joan.

They’re fascinating to watch at dinner as they get really grouchy and exert the pecking order. I’ve been putting the feed in piles or lines on the ground (I’ll come back to that in a sec) and they’ll move from pile to pile and hassle peck whoever is there. The Count gobbles everything in sight and will hassle Joan or Maisie if they come near him but doesn’t bug The Snow Queen. Maisie will bug Joan but Joan kinda just does her own thing and goes from pile to pile. I’ve been giving them kitchen veggie scraps and apparently peas and corn are like crack. Celery, apples and lettuce are runners up… mushrooms are bleh.

They’re really sweet at dinner time too. At about 4pm they flock back to the coop and spend time foraging for bits they missed or pecking at the grass near the coop but when they hear me coming they start running towards me all excited. Silly ducks because I only feed them in their coop so I dunno what they think they’re gonna get. They run after me, sometimes flying to beat me back to the coop to try and gobble up the goodies before the Count gets stuck in.

I discovered that there’s a family of these weird blackbirds that have discovered the grains that the ducks don’t eat in the morning. They’re not crows or currawongs or anything like that but weird looking things, big body and little head with a white spot underwing that you can only see when they fly. I don’t particularly want to feed the local wildlife as well so I decided to make the ducks feeders from an idea I’d googled.

They didn’t get it. They don’t use them and its not like they’re too high or anything so it’s back to ground feeding. I’m going to try something else this weekend. Again thank you google. Hopefully this will work out better so we’ll see. If not I’ll keep the feeders for when I get chickens. I tried to make the new feeders yesterday but discovered that I’ve got the wrong gauge Y pipe dammit. So I’ve gotta go to Bunnings on the weekend and see if I can get some different ones or buy some pipe. Probably a detailed post about it in the future.

So tune in next time for Part 3 of awesome epicness when we talk about grass fires, woodsheds and water pumps. Thrills n spills I tells ya!!

HOME (and other adventures… part 1)

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I’ve got SOOO much to catch you up on it’s just overwhelming!

For starters I’ve moved in. The move went really well with the removalists on time and to schedule as always. These guys have moved me a coupla times and have always been really great. AND they made it up the hill that I’ve been having nightmares about for weeks so I was SO relieved about that! They managed to get everything unloaded by 12 noon so I decided to go back to town to get another load of stuff from my Mum’s place. When I got back to the house… no power… I went up to the power box to find a lil note from the electricity company saying that they had done a final reading and disconnected the power because the place was vacant!! AND not only that but they put a time down for their visit and it was about 15-20 mins after the removalists and I arrived so I had JUST missed them!! Probably even drove right past them grrrrr

I had actually applied for a connection on the Monday when it was settled but got an email on Tuesday saying they were having trouble finding my meter number and could I confirm…. and of course got that email about an hour AFTER I’d left the property and was back at Mums…. ANYWAY…I rang the power company to see if I could get reconnected only to be told it takes 2 days!!! This was at about 4pm (and it gets dark here around 5:30. So I raced outside to haul in wood to make a fire, raced around the house to find my solar lights and torches, unpacked a couch, made my bed and made a fire just in time for the dark to settle in. So I watched fire telly (and learned how to use a combustion heater properly) for the next two nights πŸ™‚

firetelly

Really thankful that I had enough stored food and about 30 litres of water in storage so I was fine! All the comforts. It was actually kind of a good experience to work out what I need out there in case of an emergency (or power blackout).

So I spent some time unpacking n blah de blah and Sunday afternoon I was down by the wood shed about to cart in more wood for the week when I heard this water trickling noise coming from the workshop shed near the chicken/duck coop. Raced down there to see this flood of water coming from underneath the workshop door running down the hill – the pipe to the workshop sink had burst!!! Allow me to add that I’m on tank water only! I scrambled back up to the house to the house water tanks and turned them off then back down to the shed…. water still gushing… FUCK! I put my finger over the pipe to stop the flow, feeling like the kid with his thumb in the dyke, and stood there for a second thinking “well now what???” Raced back up to the house to grab my phone to contact the dumdum agent and grabbed some pliers and every empty bucket and tub container I could find then back down to the pipe to see if I could at least save some water. Rang the agent, of course, no answer… so texted him a HALP EMERGENCY message to find out where the damn stopcock was cuz I couldn’t find it anywhere. “I have forwarded your message and will let you know ASAP” was the response… wtfuckery?! think the guy must be allergic to ringing people. So while the tubs were collecting water, with super human dumdum-rage induced strength I clamped and bent the copper pipe which slowed the flow a bit but my tubs were still filling up. Standing there watching and waiting, I was having visions of having to get 40,000 litres of water trucked into my place…

About 10 mins later the worst agent in the world texted me back to say that it was all gravity fed from the shearing shed tank, not the house tank (THANK YOU ALL THINGS HOLY!!) so I actually JOGGED up the hill to the shearing shed tank to switch it off. Almost needed to sit down from the shock that I jogged for the first time in forever but headed back to my new swimming pools instead. Meanwhile the ducks were loving their new river-like water feature, happily splashing around and digging around in the muck. That was the only plus πŸ™‚

So anyway got back to the tubs and the trickle was drastically slowed and I ended up with 3 full tubs and a half one that I’d bent the pipe into so I left it that way over night for the rest of the gravity feed to empty. I’m slowly emptying those tubs in the duck’s water buckets so at least it’s not wasted water. So that was a little adventure! I think the pipe burst because, of course, we had the worst cold snap in 40 years and had almost two weeks of -6 nights (not to mention gale force winds) so that’s been fun too. But again, I’m kinda thankful for the trial by fire to help work out what I need to get on the property to stay comfortable and fully functional.

I think I’m going to have to break up my catch-up into a few parts because I’ve got stacks more to tell you and it’s going to turn into War and Peace if I don’t. I’m probably going to give you eyestrain dear reader and I can’t have that now can I? More tomorrow!

Tune in next time when we talk ducks n chickens, blackbirds, water pumps freezing, grassfires and more shenanigans πŸ™‚

MINE!

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Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine mine, did I mention that they keys came with a nice bottle of red? Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine., mine, mine, mine, miiiinnnneee!!!!! πŸ™‚ can’t wait til tomorrow when I go to clean n feed the chicks n ducks. Really… how am I sposed to sleep tonight eh? oh btw MINE!!! And just a P.S in case you didn’t get it MINE!!!!!!

Cue a whole bunch of happy dancin πŸ™‚

Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine!!