Suddenly the light changed

After months with no rain the ground is dry, hard, cracked. Thirsty.

In town I saw ominous clouds rolling in. Hopeful that maybe they would contain rain.

IMG_6130

By the time I got home it was like night had arrived. At 11am.

IMG_6132

The skies have just opened. There is rain. I have had a glorious walk outside luxuriating in the falling water. Oh how needed and welcome this water is.

Now researching swales. I want to have the capacity to capture as much of this gift/resource as possible in the future.

Advertisements

Morning musings

Yesterday while I drove to Melbourne Autumn called to me from the foliage of the trees. I mourned the end of Summer and wished her well till I saw her again.

Autumn was just as apparent this morning as I drove back home. It was not til I was halfway home that an almost imperceptible hue of indigo began stealing across the sky. Slowly the trees began to distinguish themselves from the sky as the sun and I greeted the day. What a glorious day it promises to be. Welcome Autumn, welcome. You are beautiful.

Bad chicken owner

This story starts last week. There is a big old chicken coop here that I use occasionally for the chickens if I need to lock them up during the day but it is going to be really hot. It is bigger, more shade and they can dirt bath. It is not fox proof, so they don’t spend the night.

IMG_5421

Last week, I went to Melbourne for the day and locked them in there. When I got home I let them out, Maggie (one legged chicken) stayed behind. Later in the evening I went to move her to their actual coop for the night, I picked her up and started to leave, then something stung me on the back. My first thought was bee. Not concerned. Within a second it happened again. Not a bee, a spider? I dropped to the ground (unsure why!) Put Maggie down. Realised it was a flying something and tried to swat it away. I lost my glasses. I decided to run. I left Maggie behind. Terrible. The thing ended up stinging me between 25 and 30 times. I think it was a wasp of some description. I felt like a terrible chicken owner for leaving a lass behind.

img_4909

I suited up in my bee suit (after panicking that I was going to die, taking anti histamines and generally behaving irrationally) retrieved Maggie, could see no nest, will not be locking the chickens in there now. Chicken owner lesson learnt.

IMG_5309

Yesterday. I had my bee meeting in Melbourne. It was not hot here. I knew I would stay overnight in Melbourne so needed to lock the ladies up before I left. Beatle would not come out from under the house. I spent almost an hour trying to lure her out, no luck. Wily little thing. I was then running quite late, had to cancel plans I had before the meeting. Had to make a really hard animal owner decision.

img_5014

I left. I left her out, unprotected. I felt really bad. A terrible chicken owner. So I drove home after the meeting instead of staying in Melbourne. I got home around midnight and commenced the search to find her. I suited up in my bee suit to check the old coop, possibly one of the more ridiculous moments of my life, midnight, bee suit, flash light. Nothing tried to sting me. No chicken in there. I spent a good 20 minutes looking for her. I do not like going out in the dark here. There are too many kangaroos, They startle easily and can be aggressive. It was a nerve racking search. Oh the spider possibilities. Oh the kangaroo possibilities. Anyway, I finally found her, chickens are extremely docile in the dark, I picked her up and returned her to the coop, bee suit and all. I felt quite lucky that she was alive. The guilt would have been immense if she was killed by a fox. Lesson learned. Beatle is a repeat offended in scenarios like this where they are getting locked up before their bedtime. Next time if it is not a full day outside she is staying locked up til I leave for where ever I may be going. Such a naughty chicken. Such a bad chicken owner. I hope no one saw me in a bee suit in the middle of the night creeping around looking for a chicken…

Bottling Summer

Waste free Pesto. Refilled olive oil. Bulk refilled pumpkin seeds. Home grown garlic and basil. Repurposed jars.

I have put a few batches away in the freezer. I feel quite far behind, I have yet to be organised enough to count how many jars go into the freezer each year but I am sure I usually have more in the freezer by now.

IMG_6080

Maybe next year I will hang a calendar in the kitchen and mark down when I make each batch and then count them up at the end of the season.

I look like a smoker, I actually just use the same technique to pick each leaf and it leaves me stained. It took quite some time to wash this off. Ingrained in the lines of my skin.

IMG_6082

I have popped a few jars of pizza sauce in the freezer. Tomorrow I will cook up some pasta sauce and freeze it. I am like a squirrel collecting my nuts for Winter. Even though at this very moment it is 37 degrees C in my house (99F) I know Winter is coming.

As an unrelated side note. I had a run in with a door frame, my hand slipped while I was cutting carpet and smacked right into the frame. I think the door loves me…

IMG_6085

Frustrating just doesn’t cover it

I have taken on many projects in this new house that I have not had the skills or experience to tackle but have tackled them anyway. Most of them have either worked out well from the start or with some extensive googling have been saved and ultimately worked out ok. Not the gas heater hole. This has plagued me from the minute I first walked into the house. I saw it as soon as I walked in the front door on that first inspection and thought ‘well that will be one of the first things to go if we buy this house’.

I didn’t wait long til I began researching the removal of it. Due to safety issues there is remarkably little information on the internet. It all stated (with the exception of one person who added no how-to details just suggested to wing it) to get a professional. Gas being explosive and all. I was relatively confident that I could safely remove the heater as there is no gas plumbed to the town I live in. I had already called the company that left gas cylinders here and they had collected them. There was little chance of gas being an issue.

I blame ignorance and google letting me down on the information front but gosh golly was I suprised about the size of the hole in the wall. In the lead up I had pulled tentatively on the edges of the heater to try and see what connected it to the wall. Nightmares ensued of masses of spiders running out of the wall so I left it intact til I had reinforcements here (people and bug spray). With some brute force the heater was removed and lugged outside. There it sat for months just looking trashy. Reminding me of the troubles inside.

This hole.

IMG_5606

This hole has been a battle. I have used nearly an entire bucket of joint compound attempting to fix it. Slathering on great swathes of the stuff. It just kept cracking. I eventually realised that the plaster board that I didn’t fix (immediately next to the hole) had too much wiggle (walls aren’t supposed to have a bit of bounce, are they?) which was contributing to the cracks. I screwed the right side into the stud. That side stopped cracking. Success. The left side, no luck….

I have let this drag on for months. It stares at me across the lounge. The crack, the general unkemptness (new word there!) the failure. I eventually came to the conclusion that I should have put a new stud in and cut the original plaster back (to make the hole bigger) so that the old studs were exposed and the new plaster could be attached to those old studs as well as the new one.

Last week I finally decided to do something about it. I hacked away at the plaster, removed what I needed to, added a stud, cut the old plaster back and properly adhered that to the stud. I chucked the new piece of plaster up and added ALL the liquid nails I could get my hands on then added a heap of screws for good measure.

IMG_6067

4 coats of joint compound later (much thinner coats than my first attempt). It still hasn’t cracked. It is so close to being finished. Sanding is one of my least favourite jobs, I have spent hours upon hours sanding this now hated area. I will sand it no more. I am done.

Now with a lick of paint, I am calling it done.

IMG_6071
It will get a second coat of paint today. 24 hours after first coat still no cracking. It is not completely even if you run your hands over the wall but who does that? No one is to touch that wall!!!

It will probably crack in the future as the house moves. Some strategically hung photos will have to suffice as disguise. I give up. If the flooring people crack it when they put the new skirting boards on I will cry. Then head to the store to start printing pictures and commence planning my new lounge photo wall…. I am done.

And then there were none…

Gosh I enjoy a good Agatha Christie novel, yes I know the grammar is incorrect for what I am trying to say¬† but I couldn’t resist…

The manky carpet is going, going, almost gone.

I have pulled up the carpet and the underlay in the hallway, golly the wood underneath was filthy. I shudder to think how many decades of dust and skin cells had accumulated under there. What a great time for the vacuum cleaner to die.

IMG_6050
Yep, that is the carpet in the end room. Couldn’t find my utility knife to cut it.

I have stopped pulling the carpet up til I get the vacuum cleaner serviced. I cannot handle all that “dust” without being able to vacuum it up (I have a very strong aversion to loose skin cells). The new flooring goes down in February. Removing the carpet has really increased the ventilation in the house. There is no where in the hallway that you can stand and not see outside. Nice. Actually not too bad in Summer but thankfully it will be fixed before Winter returns.

IMG_6053
The cats are enjoying the new breeze

IMG_6064.JPG

Also the front of the house has been removed. The little ramp and verandah that led up to the front door has been removed by builders.

If they decide to return (gosh they are hard to pin down) they will be re-stumping, rebuilding (with a step instead of a ramp) and adding guttering. It will look so much nicer than the rotten, broken, kinda scary stuff that was there. Can’t wait!

 

Fairies

When I was a child we called these Fairies. I do not know why. Maybe because they seem to fly, maybe due to their incredibly delicate nature. The reason I do not know, but Fairies they were. If they had the “key” in them then you could make a wish.

IMG_6063

I found out this week what Fairies are.

I pulled out the incredibly spiky thistles as the bees did not seem interested in the purple flowers. I thought that this was job done. Mission accomplished. I was unaware that the process of going to seed would continue once the plant had been unceremoniously yanked from the earth (with a shovel, man are they spiky, they made me bleed so many times).

IMG_6007

Each flower turns into approximately 7 billion Fairies. Those “keys” are seeds. The Fairy transports them far and wide and before you know it this will become Thistle Farm.

IMG_6055
This is slightly before the fairies develop but I cut all the heads off that I could see and threw them in the bin before I thought to take a photo. These are some that I missed. I am not willing to let them get further just so I can take a photo. These were cut off as soon as the photo was taken.

I guess I should have worked out that they were some sort of seed as a child but it honestly never occurred to me. This has been an eye opener of a week. Thistles. All this time when I was throwing the key away and making a wish I was aiding and abetting Thistles!!! I cannot believe it. Mind Blown.

Glorious photo of Franklin to soothe my soul after this life altering discovery…

IMG_6035