Barn rebuild well underway

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.

Arnaud barn disassembly

Of course, Jam and Joe were close by so they came over to inspect the progress!

Nick goats and Arnaud inspect barn

Goat and chicken pens

Just past the garden area were pens built by the prior owner. Lantana had overgrown the area and it took Nick a great deal of effort to clear it. After the garden cover was in place we were ready to rebuild (as the goats, of course, often get up to mischief when not secure).

Arnaud and I finished placing posts, installed the mesh netting fence, and several strands of barb wire. We also got galvanised iron and mesh from the Bunker in Doonan and built our own custom-made gates.

Arnaud Brett build animal pen fence

First substantial rain in our water tank and home alone

candle nut tree

Rained off and on last night from around 17:30 onwards. Read 44mm this morning and appeared ~50mm new rain in the tank. While our spring still flows as usual — the grass has gone brown and even many trees are showing stress with curling leaves. This amount of rain, while not extravagant, will revive them.

Nick is still in Sydney and working from the AURA office today. It was Fair Day weekend — so plenty to do and see and always great to catch up with friends. While I enjoy the tranquility, sadly, that leave me to take care of his kids… Little Joe is always fun, as he dances around playfully. Jam is sweet, yet slow to walk along and kind of slow in general. Tik, however, remains the alpha goat. She is showing the most these days and hopefully will birth soon. They are entertaining yet quite a lot of time and work to maintain.

ute with fence building gear

I spent much of the day working on the pens near the greenhouse for chickens and goat containment. I was able to reuse a portion of the old fence wire and chicken wire mesh. The post had to be driven, holes dug, trees fell (we have an abundance of standing dead wood in our forest — so harvesting them makes the forest safer during wind storms and great fence posts!) and finally, tamping the wooden posts into the ground. Its hard work — yet satisfying and certainly helps with fitness!

Bob the kookaburra perched in a tree nearby for a while to watch over what I was doing. Seems he must have been satisfied as he flew off after a while. I also found a new tree species… this, a massive near 20m/60ft tree with vibrant green leaves (even in the dry) and fruit that reminds me of chestnuts — yet about 10 times the size! Funny to hear them drop to the ground every few minutes — guess they must be ready. Must find out what they actually are before eating…

UPDATE: The beautiful tree is actually a Candle Nut Tree (used by Aboriginal people in place of candles and for carrying fire). They are similar to chestnuts and are oily so they burn easily.

sunset over Black Mountain

The skies were clear much of the day yet as the sun advanced to set for the day, the dark flint colour appeared to the North West and a fantastic pinkish orange glared brightly towards the East. It was a stellar sunset period.

Cows invade the garden!

cows invade garden

The three massive cows raided us (again) last night – up early to see the aftermath… Minimal damage yet goats are probably traumatised (as they ran past their Goatel before running through a fence nearby in the middle of the night). Went to neighbour downhill at 07:00 and roused him (James, who seems quite the mus’o has a bandstand rear building). He denied they were his cows, kept says QLD law meant both parties have to pay for any fence – yet we should’t need one since it’d been that way ”forever”. The said cows had been agisted 10 years ago, removed 3 years ago, these were left — and he couldn’t remember who owned them… Very frustrating… though James offered star posts and to “put up a few posts” — too much to do… Said we could discuss it another day — left to get cows out away from garden.

Spent from 08:00 until 15:00 replacing fence just downhill from front gate. A ravine washout area had had wire pulled back along remaining fence further down and wooden post had been broken off. 4 trees and numerous lantana were across the fence

Cut and applied filter media over agie pipe in white centre beds (only planters that were unsocked). Prepared piping and drain holes for sand on remaining planters. Added sugar cane mulch above sand layer (to reduce organic materials in water reservoir and prevent pH issues). Final layer topsoil to be added to all outstanding beds.

Terry Gill and his brother Ash came out near 16:30 and toured the place. Ash took off yet Tezza stayed for BBQ dinner. Come to find out, his family ginger farm is only about 20 minutes away near Imbil in the Mary Valley (we are on the edge of it).

Nick the goat herder

Nick goat herding

Nick has finally taken to the goats… they were a LOT of work getting started. Each day they’d eat a new plant or tree that we’d wanted to keep. Now, after building some leads and weights, Nick has them under control (most of the time).

Joy was quite keen on naming the pests -er, adorable creatures as pets.

Jamila (a.k.a. Jam) is Joy in Jordanian
Tikkus (a.k.a. Tik “the possessed!”)
JoeIan (a.k.a. Little Joe)

Garden Enclosure “Greenhouse” Construction

Roderick Holland helper garden arches

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.

Hoop greenhouse half done

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.

hoop greenhouse raised IBC container wicking beds

Settlement and first day as owners…

property sold sign

After many months looking and several false starts — we finally got everything arranged, in place and approved for closing on 179 Andersons Road, Federal Queensland (a.k.a. 2RP179979 )

More specifics:

Lot area: 195665.97 hectares (48 acres)

LAT / LON -26 degrees 25’ 15.4” S 152 degrees 48’ 38.0” E        -26.420954, 152.810561

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/qbxTbkNTVD62

aerial plot

There are a few neighbours, most with smaller properties across Andersons Road though none are readily visible once you are past the gate area. The forested area is breezy and shaded so I see why the former owner chose it for his shelters. It has a smaller fenced section separating it from the remainder of the property.

We spent the day cleaning up the debris in the forest around the caravan, carport, barn and getting to know the place better. As the former owner had passed away 10-years ago and absolutely nothing had been done since… it was in a state of decay.

remnants left behind

We stayed from 25 November until early December at Cat and Jeff’s holiday home in Tewantin. It is a 25 minute drive each way so many trips and much time on the road the first few weeks.