Weekend away to Brisbane

Nick and I seldom leave the property for much time together so a trip to Brisbane for a friend’s birthday party and catching up with a few others as we drove along the gorgeous Sunshine Coast was a great mini-holiday!

Jaffa Andy dogs

Jaffa enjoyed a sleep-over with his best mate Andy at our Sistas’… and our helper Rambaud from France watched over our place…

Brett Rambaud Nick

Nick and I enjoyed markets, musicians, antique trucks, and even some beach time.

antique Ford truck ute

Jazzie Smith musician

Juzzie Smith, a Byron Bay based street performing musician, sings while playing several instruments at a time… quite skilful and his tunes eclectic – highly recommended!  Check out a music video at the end of this post…

Maria Ken pool party feast

We caught up with our friends Ken and Maria and enjoyed a feast prepared by her celebrity chef Mother (thanks again!) After an hour or so we could not help ourselves and enjoyed a splash and play in their pool.

Ken Maria kids pool party

Barn roof back on!

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Jeff came out with Catarina Friday arvo and wanted to come back and help — help he did… we got the barn insulation, roof tin, and ridge cap on (all secure). Within 30-minutes of him leaving, we had the BIGGEST storm we’ve experienced here to date — near 100 mills / 4 inches in 20 minutes and thunder to rattle the bowels of hell! NO leaks — yet the walls are a tad airy and need work.

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Busy day… but finishing at the beach!

After the last few weeks of work – Arnaud and I have accomplished quite a lot. Yesterday getting the barn framing sorted, prepped and some raised… Yet today, we pushed hard and finished.

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It has been a joy to find, that even after a massive tree (over 60cm / 2 feet across) landed on the corner of the barn and it spent near 10-years in waiting… We have restored the barn as it was built — just replacing a single stud, two header plates, and a few repairs. Otherwise, it remained intact. While we saved the original tin framing brackets — we upgraded to the latest in large screws (known as bugle bolts here in Oz) so the barn is stronger and more rigid than ever.

So, after a week of active work — we (of course) went to the beach for some much needed relaxation and fun. Could not have done it without your help Aranud — thank you sincerely.

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Standing dead timber

The heritage barn on our property had been hit on a corner by a large 40cm diameter x 25M tall red gum tree. While the barn is amazingly robust, sadly it was knocked about. Arnaud and I had felled a smaller 30cm x 20M tree and it landed atop the carport. The next, a 50-60cm x 30M red gum landed downhill below the barn. The final tree was right against the carport and between the green lockers and a very tricky tree to fell. Gladly, it too fell just like we wanted it to – just alongside the end of the blue 20’ container and away from harm. Only after these three trees were felled was the barn and forest area safe. We will be proud to use the timber for the gazebo or our home when we get started with its timber framing. They are gorgeous and massive red gum trees which are perfect for construction.

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Garden Enclosure “Greenhouse” Construction

Our garden is progressing nicely. We’ve built a greenhouse to keep pests away and are in the process of planting now. So far, have red and bell peppers, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, several types of beans, peas, beet root and okra started… SO looking forward to them yielding bounty!

Occasionally arranging helpers yet, after a poor experience with the Dutch couple as they were separating while here (come to find out) and the girl was a militant vegan who ate us out of house and home. Not a good experience — but they’re gone. A Parisian engineer guy is due this Friday (wish us luck!)

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The garden cover is constructed of 1 1/2 inch irrigation pipe cut, arched, then stuck on the end of galvanised 1.5 meter steel pipe which are driven half way into the ground. The baling twine helps hold it all in place and makes it quite rigid then the electric fence wire rope keeps it strong and durable.

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The planters are made from 1000 litre fluid totes (or IBCs) which have been washed. The black ones are near new and carried saline water for water purification (so no worries with nasties!) I measure and marke them before using my angle grinder to cut them in half. Seems they go a treat on hot days but are harder to cut when its cool. In the bottom of each (after all opening have been siliconed shut and water tight) I lay 7.5 meters of socked slotted agie pipe (use typically for wastewater drains). These are spun in circles, a filler neck fitted, and zip tied in place. Then the all important drainage holes are drilled about 150mm (or leaving about 150 litres of water in the tank AND overflow holes near the filler (in case it floods, the planters need to shed the excess water). Then, about two wheel barrows full of sand, then a layer of sugar cane mulch (to keep the nutrients from the soil and plants for making the water cavity down below to acidic from fermentation), and finally the top layer of two or so wheel barrows full of topsoil. They are quite a lot of work — yet conserve 80% of the water of usual in ground gardening, they make tending to them easier as they are raised, reduce the amount of weeds, and keep plants in their designated spots with out effort. Each should last for many years and only occasionally need to be refreshed soil wise and weekly water top-ups with a hose.

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