Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Winter Hibernation

Winters in Tasmania can be relatively long and cold compared with other parts of Australia (I'm not talking Canada-cold - it's really still relatively mild here), so it is a time when people tend to hibernate a bit and do things by the fireside. Then the days start growing perceptibly longer and things start to move in the garden. You think there is going to be an early Spring and WHAM! another Antarctic blast comes through and you realize that your thoughts of Spring were a bit precipitate. It's lovely and sunny here today, but I think we're about to get another cold blast, with snow and wind to remind us that winter hasn't quite finished with us yet.

 I've slowed up a little with renovations as most of the urgent stuff has been achieved. There's still plenty to do, however. (Does it ever finish?) Here's a list:

*I need to make a big push in the garden to clear up the remaining bits of impenetrable jungle and get a tree or two removed.

*I need some minor plumbing and electrical fixes, which will require tradies, as I can't do this work myself.

*The fascias on the backyard bungalow need replacing

*The painting of the windows and barge-boards at the back of the house will be completed this summer

*Fixing the side fences

*I have a few things I'm wishing to get done, one being the installation of a skylight or light tube at the dark end of the hallway near the bathroom. 

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of things that are blooming in my house and garden at the moment - you've got to love things that bloom in the middle of winter!

Saturday, October 9, 2021


It's been a good while since I made an entry in this blog - multiple reasons - I've been busy with other things; the house is pretty comfortable, most of the pressing work done, so the pace of work has slowed; money constraints; I've been a bit lazy!

 But things have still been happening around the house and garden and I'm pretty fired up to get on with other jobs inside and out as the weather improves.

When I re-did the kitchen a few years ago, I had it in the back of my mind to refresh my pine dresser so it looked more like it belongs. In the late 70's/early 80's after we'd moved into our self-built cottage, the thing I desired most was a pine kitchen dresser. Money was pretty tight with two small children, so I had to save for a long time to get it. It served well for all those years in the Exeter house, but when I moved here, it seemed very out of place, especially after I'd painted the kitchen and dining room in light colours. The old pine dresser had yellowed over the years and definitely looked dated. It's taken me about four years to get around to doing what I've been intending to do, but finally! it's done. I painted it in a soft French Grey with blue undertones and I scraped back the edges once it was dry.

Having been on the verge of throwing it out several times, I'm now glad that I didn't do that........I love how it looks. I left the doors off because I liked the look of the open shelving much more. The final picture shows what it looked like before.....forgot to take a picture of the whole thing.

Now, onto re-doing the chairs and the base of the old deal-topped dining table.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Spring Comes To The Garden

In the strange year that is 2020, it's good to know that some things don't the inevitability of the change of seasons. We had a weird winter this year with the almost unknown phenomenon of a quite heavy snowfall in Launceston. I'm still discovering things in my garden that were broken in that storm! The sound of breaking branches woke me in the middle of that snowy night and I rushed outside in pyjamas and gumboots to take a few photos of this once-in-a-hundred-year event.

But, inevitably, spring has rolled around again and quite early this year. The blossoms started to appear almost a month early and the blooming has been wonderful! I'm hopeful of some good fruit yields this summer with lots of blossom on the plum and apricot trees as well as the berry bushes.
Maybe spring is my favourite season - I like the changeability, the wind, the increasing sunshine and longer days and the way there are noticeable changes day by day. 

The backyard is just bursting into leaf - in a few weeks this will be green and shady and I will be regretting that I didn't dig more and sooner for vegetables! It ALWAYS catches me by surprise. 


Monday, September 14, 2020

Small Things

I must admit that small things give me a great deal of pleasure: a house filled with the smell of bread baking, a tree bursting into blossom, a contented cat asleep by the fire, home-grown vegetables and fruit and a line full of washing flapping in the sun and wind...........

About that last thing -  When I moved into this house coming up to five years ago, I found that the original washing line was quite decrepit, with broken wires, bent arms and it was stuck halfway down an inaccessible ivy-filled bank. I promised myself in those first few weeks that I would replace it. Soon.

As things panned out, there was always something more pressing to be done and money needed for other things, so it's taken almost five years to get it done! In that time, I've been drying my washing on a couple of clothes horses, which blow over in a gust and don't ask me about sheets taking days to dry! Oh, yes, I don't have an electric dryer for several reasons - expensive to run, prone to starting house fires if you are not ever-vigilant about cleaning the lint filter and the clothes just don't smell like sunshine. Yes, I'm an obstinate old biddy! 

But done it is now - I went out and bought a Hills Hoist (this is still the original company that designed the first rotary clothesline here in Australia, though I imagine they are manufactured offshore these days, like pretty much everything, more's the pity). I had to dig quite a deep hole to house the socket which has been concreted in's not going anywhere! So it's standing proudly in the middle of my patch of lawn and I dried my first load of washing this morning! It's removable, so when I want full use of the lawn, I simply have to take it out of the socket. Ah.......the pleasure!

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!