Friday, June 26, 2020

A Golden Egg!

Having comfortably housed my three chickens and supplied them daily with nutritious food, I was happy to wait a few months for them to start laying...…..I really didn't think I'd be getting any action in the egg-laying department until August at the earliest. Imagine how delighted I was when I arrived home yesterday to hear the hens making a big fuss - that special sound they make when one of them lays an egg!

I went to check, and sure enough, there was an egg, still warm.

I hope this isn't just a one-off teaser - I won't count my chickens just yet!

I call this a golden egg, because with all the accumulated costs of housing, feed, bedding and the meal-worm farm, I estimate it must be worth its weight in gold!

I think this is the lady responsible:

Monday, June 1, 2020


The block my house sits on is quite large - there is quite a big area down the back that has been terraced flat, with old sheds, pergolas and a HUGE brick barbecue. Of course, like everything else it is wildly overgrown and weedy, but it had to wait its turn for a look-in while I dealt with more urgent projects.
The opportunity arose to give a home to a small flock of chickens when the owners (my son and daughter-in-law) had to relocate to the other end of the state for work.
That precipitated work starting on this back garden wilderness, because I needed to house the chickens safely - I'd had it in the back of my mind that a couple of old aviaries down there could easily be converted into a chicken house. So that's what I went ahead and did over three days.
The old aviaries were fortunately very soundly built, so they only really needed cleaning out and the addition of roosts and nesting boxes. Then it was a matter of clearing away weeds and growth to put in the run using star droppers and heavy duty chicken wire, with a treated pine fence post at the corner. 

Getting this all done has prompted me into really getting stuck into taming the jungle - lots of growth to remove, a couple of trees need to be gone, some of the sheds are redundant and will be dismantled, there is tattered shadecloth that needs removing and once all this is done, I can plan I rather lovely outdoor cooking and dining area. I think it will take me until summer to get it done, doing a bit on most days. There is a lot of concrete, but I think I can incorporate it into the design, by using potted plants and paving. 

And that barbecue...…...I don't think I'd use it much as it is, but a pizza oven - that's a different proposition altogether! I think I'd like to remove the barbecue and build a pizza oven on its concrete plinth. I've been reading up about pizza oven and I think it is something I could manage. I can almost picture it now...….hanging out down there with some good friends, cold white wine, shady spot with comfortable seating and home-made pizza cooking away in the oven! That's a promise to myself for six months down the track.

I had been dreading this job, but now I'm kind of looking forward to it...…….how do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Recording A Journey.......

As well as keeping this blog, I have been keeping a record of my home renovation journey in sketchbooks.
In them are notes and sketches outlining plans and ideas, then I record with photographs what I actually ended up doing with each project - they don't always end up as I initially planned, because things can change along the way.
I'm also keeping a record of what I spend, quotes given by contractors etc.
Now I'm into the fifth year, I have filled one book and I'm a good way into the second...….I wonder how many I'll end up filling before this project is finished?

With the change in seasons, here is the view as I'm enjoying it at the moment in all its autumn glory! If you can't afford a view of the ocean or the mountains, at least you can create your own small, private view that is every bit as wonderful!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Autumn Arrives at last!

We're had a mild, rainy autumn with not even a frost to date, which is unusual. As a result, autumn has come late to the garden with the trees only turning now just a week or two away from "official" winter.

But now the trees have turned and the leaves are falling - time to hunker down and get on with a few inside jobs!
On the list are a few things that I want to get completed this winter: Firstly, I want to make the roman blinds for the dining room. Secondly, one wall and the ceiling in the hallway need painting and the other wall needs new skirting boards. The inside of the loungeroom window needs stripping and painting and I'm sure there are other things that I will find to do!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Back Porch

I have a tiny porch outside the back door, which opens off the kitchen - it shelters the back door from the worst of the weather and that's about it! I decided to paint is as the last outside painting job before the colder, wetter weather of winter. The rest of it - the back windows and soffits can wait until spring.
The porch looks very much refreshed with a few minor repairs, holes filled and the paint job!

Here's an update on the frog pond...….with everything growing nicely. No evidence of new permanent residents yet, but I'm hearing them often at night.

Friday, April 24, 2020

A New Front

I finally finished repairing and repainting the big windows across the front of the house and now the scaffold has been taken down, so I can see how it looks. 
I like the colours I chose - these blues go well with the terracotta bricks, I think. Orange and blue are complementary colours (opposites on the colour wheel) so they always look good together. It replaces a nondescript, rather pustulent shade of yellow, which did nothing to enhance the appearance of the house. Probably, the windows and trim would have been originally painted white, I think, although when I was scraping and sanding, there was evidence that a bilious green had been used at one stage. 

I'm going to paint the little back porch in coming days, weather permitting, then that will be it until next Spring/Summer, when I can finish the windows at the back. There is always more re-pointing to be done, which can be done at any time of year.

As winter approaches, I'm pulling out the last of the summer vegetables and digging over the remaining beds to plant things that can grow over winter...….the plantings I've already done are growing well - indeed, I've already started using some of the Asian greens.
Goodbye summer vegetables for a few months - these zucchinis are the last!

The last of summer meets the first of winter in one dish - stir-fried ginger, soy and garlic zucchini with Asian greens. Delicious!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Repointing is FUN! Who knew?

While I was up on the scaffold in recent weeks to paint the windows and soffits on the front of the house, I noticed that some of the mortar in the brickwork at the sides of the gable was loose, cracked and falling out in places. I thought it was a good opportunity to have a go at repairing it while it was still accessible from the scaffold. It was high up and in a place that wouldn't be too noticeable if I really botched it!

So, armed with tools, mortar and new-found knowledge from Dr. Google, I launched in, expecting to find it an odious task...…...Well, surprise of surprises! I found it unbelievably satisfying to rake out the loose old mortar, clean out the debris, damp it down and re-point it with fresh mortar. It took a bit of practice to get the technique right, but I think I did an OK job of it. I kept it damp while it dried off, as recommended and this morning when I checked it is still intact and good.

Now I'm looking forward to repairing a few other places where the brickwork needs re-pointing!