Rest of the tour?

Nah, it is pretty boring. I will write an entire post on the glories that will be be the wood fire heater. But there are a few steps that need to happen before the heater gets here. The rest of the house is pretty much just a standard house.

The real estate lady that sold us the house is married to one of the only people in the town that installs wood fire heaters, when we are ready he will come and tell us if the one we have chosen is appropriate for the space we are trying to heat and if the spot we have decided on meets safety standards. Next Winter ought to be a lot warmer in this non insulated house.

How do I know the house has no insulation? I decided to try my hand at DIY. There was a hole in the wall in one of the bedrooms. I assume some sort of moving mishap from the previous people. I watched a youtube video and then gave  fixing it a crack.

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I cut out a rough-ish rectangle around the hole, the damage extended quite far behind the wall so it was a fairly big hole I cut. I waited for the masses of spiders to pour out as has happened in my nightmares. Nothing came out.

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I had a hesitant look in the hole. I could feel a cold breeze on my face. Weird. Had a proper look.

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Yep that it the outside cladding of the house. Nothing in between. I was not willing to stick my hand in the hole to have a feel around and see where this breeze was coming from, so that remains an unsolved mystery. I screwed in a bit of wood so that I could attach the new plaster to something.

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Cut a piece of new plaster to the vague size of the hole in the wall. I said vague….

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Screwed the new piece in and joint compounded it.

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I have sanded it back twice and added more joint compound. I am pretty happy with the result.

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I am unsure what we will do about the lack of insulation. Short of replastering the house I don’t see how we could get it in there.

Installing double glazed windows just moved further down the list. Not much point worrying about the windows when there is no insulation. Seems like putting a band-aid on a gushing wound. Lucky I like all seasons as we will feel them all in the house. Super hot in Summer, super cold in Winter. Right now, with numb fingers the heater seems a really high priority. In a month or 2 when I am sweltering, I feel an airconditioner might move to the top of the list. Lucky I love the heat 🙂

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Where to start?

A mini tour? ok. We will start in the kitchen, the heart of the home.

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Can anyone say Kermit the Frog Kitchen. Well actually in these photos you can’t quite see just how green this area is. I am too lazy to get up and take another photo. Instead I will show you another that shows all 3 greens that were used and the quality of the paint job.

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I am unsure who did this very poor painting job but it is here none the less. The 3 shades of green are not great. Green is one of my favourite colours and I actually wouldn’t mind a green kitchen, but this has put me off as I can see how badly it can go.

I have an atrocious memory and after seeing the farm, then buying the farm, then not seeing the farm for months, I could not remember a thing about the kitchen. I feared it was tiny with no cupboard space. I was right and wrong. It is small, it has no pantry but it is pretty workable. It is a funky layout that I would not have picked myself but still workable. There were some extra treats that I removed like the built in plastic wrap and foil dispenser from the 70’s or 80’s, the lace curtains, and the weird ugly utensil holder.

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There are some quirks, the rod that held the lace curtains is so long that you couldn’t open one of the cupboards without rearranging the curtains to block the other cupboard so you could access the one you want. Most of the cupboards won’t stay open by themselves so it is a wrestle to get things out at times. There is no pantry. But all in all, I would have to say I am happy enough with the kitchen. There are many things that I will change but they are pretty low down on the overall list.

One of the changes I will make is to remove this narrow cupboard that opens outside of the kitchen and has become a dumping ground for homeless things. I will put some open shelves there to display some of my purty things.  The narrow cupboard below which is currently housing baking tins will be an open wine rack probably.

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I would like to build in a shallow pantry next to the fridge. I am suprised that I have fit everything into one smallish cupboard which opens outside the kitchen, turns out this has not been that big of a deal. It is an extra couple of steps not a marathon so I can handle that 🙂

The green will go. At the moment we are looking at a shade of blue for the whole house but have not found the exact colour just yet. We bought a massive tin of what we thought would be the colour. I tested it on a spot, too blue. I bought dark grey and white and added a dash of one and a glug of the other. Too dark, but a better blue. 18 attempts later, it is totally not re-creatable but I think we are close. Probably should give up and go and buy a different tin of paint….

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And that is the kitchen.

Well that was a busy time

Time just disappeared. Shit got real. We moved to the farm.

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It was a lengthy drawn out process involving approximately 7862 trips back and forward. Some logistical conundrums – mainly massive chicken coop and 30,000 bees. All has been sorted, everything and everyone is here.

The farm is almost unpacked. The list of things to do is endless but somehow still growing. I honestly do not know where to start. Each thing on the list kinda depends on something else being done. I want to paint the walls, wait, the floors need fixing which necessitates the skirting boards being removed with potential wall damage, ok, so I won’t paint the walls just yet. I will paint the roof. Wait, are those the lights you intend to keep? Oh hell no. Then wait till you have removed those lights and fixed the holes before painting the roof. I really need to find the lights I want but as I have no idea what I want google images has been unable to assist me. Unless I am a millionaire, if I was a millionaire I found some lights I like 🙂

Lucky it is perfectly livable now 🙂 There is no heating, so when I say perfectly livable I mean freakin’ freezing. In the mornings it is around 5 degrees (41F) inside but Spring is here on the calendar so I will patiently wait for it to arrive to the land. I would like to install a wood fire heater but I need the floors done first so I know the height and won’t need to re-tile around the fire when the floors get done.

I have fixed the curtain situation a bit. I haven’t bought the rods that they will go on or taken up the too long bottoms but I feel this made a big difference to the aesthetics.

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I would say “ignore the mess, this is the before photo” and that is technically correct, this is the before photo. But the mess is still there in the after photo… More mess actually as the old curtains have been dumped on the floor.
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After. The curtains are about 10cm too long, they should be relatively easy to take up since that is the length of the hem so I can just fold it over and sew. I am waiting til I buy and install the rods just on the off chance that that affects the height that the curtains sit at.

I will spread out my other achievements so this doesn’t go on forever. I am so so so happy to be here on the farm. Part of that happiness in leaving my job and losing the anxiety that went with said job. The rest is the peacefulness, the potential, the dreams, the possibilities. This place is going to be amazing.

For Free

Yes there was a literal sting to this “For Free”.

I got the rest of the potatoes. I ate the ones that I harvested immediately prior to being stung, these are the ones I went back for.

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They will taste so sweet…

I was locking the chickens away one evening and noticed that the bees had already called it a day, I decided to make hay while the bees slept, so I dug the potatoes. I was a bit nervous, there were one or 2 bees flying home late but thankfully our paths did not intersect.

Note to self. Don’t plant stuff in front of the bee hive.

Lesson learnt.

My little bee friends

I harvested the potatoes from the front of the bee hive quite a few months ago and gave a sigh of relief. Who is silly enough to have crops growing directly in front of a bee hive? In my defense the potatoes were there before the bees.

I was quite cautious when harvesting. I kept quite low to the ground, always trying to stay out of the flight path.  A few flew into me but continued on their merry way.  Lesson learnt, job done. So I thought.

Turns out when you are fearful for life and limb perhaps you don’t harvest every single potato. A heap more plants came up out of the ground. I let them grow, knowing that frost would probably take them before they were ready to be harvested. I did not hill them, I did not water them, I did not give them anything. I did not even tell the chickens off for digging around them.

On the weekend the temperature dipped below zero a couple of nights in a row. The potato plants died in the frost. I figured I would harvest the baby potatoes. FREE baby potatoes. My favourite! There was not a huge amount of bee activity as it is Winter. I think I was a bit laid back about it all.

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Yes, those are frantic muddy clawing at throat marks on my top and neck. Yes, I panicked when it flew into me. Yes, I called my sister and told her if I was dead when she got home this was the reason why. Yes, I googled if I was going to die.

It did swell, I could feel it when I swallowed. It felt like I had a scarf wrapped too tightly around my neck, bearable but annoying. It was uncomfortable, pain wise, as bee stings generally are. The next day there was a 5 x 5cm red mark there. Plain as day for all to see. Swollen and puffy. It was more swollen the next day than on the day of the sting, I could feel every breathe. I figured if it got any worse I would try an antihistamine or just go to the doctor. Today, 2 days later, the swelling is significantly reduced. The redness is less obvious but boy is it itchy.

The rest of the potatoes remain in the ground. I think I will wait til it is raining or super cold before attempting to harvest those….

The rest of the garden did not like the frost. Some plants were perfectly fine others not so much.

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The saliva which had no problems last Winter hated this frost. I will not cut it back even though it looks horrible as there are green leaves at the base and all this dead stuff will protect them from all subsequent frosts. I will cut it back harshly at the end of Winter when there should only be light frosts.
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As expected all the nasturtiums died.
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All the fresh growth on the grapefruit got burnt. The rest of the tree is fine so I will probably just cut these off.
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Cricket wants to know why I am so interested in the grapefruit when clearly all I should be interested in are chicken snacks.

The future

WE BOUGHT A FARM!!!!!

I have never bought a farm before so I am unsure if there is a specific time frame that is adhered to when telling the news. Is it like pregnancy where the done thing is to wait til 12 weeks? Well I don’t feel like waiting. My sister and I put an offer in on a small farm and it was accepted!!

We are in the process of contracts and finance and building inspections etc. But it all looks promising.

I have started taking cuttings from the plants that I want to bring with me. I hope they all take as I will need all the plants I can get my hands on to turn the barren land into luscious gardens.

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It is a 7 acre piece of land with a small house on it. I have an atrocious memory so once we properly own it I will be taking lots and lots of photos so that I can see the progress along the way. Exciting times ahead. Exciting and terrifying 🙂

Happy Winter Solstice

Yay, today is the Winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere!! It sure does feel like the shortest day of the year. Still dark outside at 0730. Even though it really is only the start of Winter knowing that each day is getting a little longer now will help me get through the cold, a little positivity to hold on to.