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 enjoyed a sleep-over with his best mate Andy at our Sistas’… and our helper Rambaud from France watched over our place…
Nick and I enjoyed markets, musicians, antique trucks, and even some beach time.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve worked on and off clearing the barn to re-build it since we’ve been on the land yet with Arnaud’s help — it is now done. We disassembled the roof structure, removed all nails and fixtures and stacked it ready for re-assembly.
Of course, Jam and Joe were close by so they came over to inspect the progress!
Simple hoop greenhouse being built from irrigation pipe, stakes, and fence rope – filled with IBC wicking raised planter beds.
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!)
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.
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.