Exciting Developments

Very exciting things are happening in our neck of the woods! Excitement abounds…

Firstly, as I write, work is happening on our house. The lazerlite sheeting is now fixed on our carport and both verandahs. It is wonderful to have some shelter from the rain (ever looming, ever present, bloody rain). The lazerlite is clear roofing, so lots of light comes through. We intend to have pavers, and/or possibly decking, and eventually the verandahs will be enclosed with bistro blinds or something more solid in the distant future.

There is a slight issue with having decking on the south side as I have wanted to have; the decking will need to be a step down from the back door. Council regulations say that you need to have a clearance of 2100mm between facier and flooring. Because our verandah is so deep, the roof slopes down a lot and that 2.1m sits slightly below the house’s floor level. Apparently the 2.1m rule does not matter if there is balustrading, so one option is to have a balustrade along the deck, leaving the sides open. The other option is to have the deck sitting a step below the house, on concrete piers. Of course, Monte could get what he has wanted all along: paving. If this happens, he has promised me a deck under the beer-garden-gazebo in the backyard (not the same thing!).

At present the faciers are being put up. Only one of our builders is here today, so there’s only Derek and Monte doing the work. Nevertheless, there is certainly progress! We are very happy with our builders: a local pair, who arrive early and complete a very good day’s work. When Georgia was a baby, we employed a handyman who turned out to be a complete waste of time and money. Since then, every good experience we have with a builder is a miracle. Fortunately, since then we have employed excellent workers. Thank goodness! We highly recommend Derek and Shaun.

Before the week is over, we will have a roof on our house! Of course, this depends on having good weather, and the forecast looks reasonable. This means that we will be able to start baling next weekend. It also means that it is unlikely that I will be making the trip to Adelaide I was contemplating. I am very very excited about building my house, obviously.

The very idea of building walls on the house is thrilling. I am very ready for a proper house now, having lived in the cabin for nearly 18 months. It has dragged on and I am well and truly sick of the confined space. The house is going to be so big in comparison: five bedrooms and a study; a vast open family/kitchen/dining area; huge wardrobes in every room. The most exciting part of the house for me, however, is the pantry. The size of a small room, it will store oceans of food and whatnot (mostly food) in a very organised fashion! I can’t wait!

Our vege garden is being quite useful. We are still eating potatoes and lettuces from the garden, but the zucchinis died a while ago after the first frost. We harvested at least 5 kg of green tomatoes, from which we made green tomato pickles. We are about to eat a bucket load of brocolli from our own garden. Last weekend we planted garlic and onions, as well as beans and peas. It was fun being out in the mud, getting dirty whilst being productive. We are discussing where and how to plant veges at the house site. We’re planning to build a greenhouse and an animal-proof vege garden (ie with wire fencing and roofing). Our plan is to eventually grow all our own food. I think this is a very big job and we are going to take our time doing it.

In other news, I have started my new part-time job at the high school at Dover – a 20 minute drive away – and I think I will enjoy the rest of the year in that position. I had originally come to Tasmania with the expectation that I would not work – or at least work very little – but, as it turns out, I have been working a lot and I have just finished the most enjoyable term of my decade of teaching! My job(s) have been very rewarding and I have loved the variety. I am very happy at the local school and it is possible that I will get work there too! The Department makes it difficult for schools to create new jobs, so I am hopeful that it will work out. I’ve never enjoyed a school so much as this one. I think it is partly because of the close sense of community. I haven’t been so excited about my job for a long time. I have loved teaching primary classes and am still considering making a change to that area. I was teaching students some French last week and that they were so excited made me very happy. Of course, the money is very handy and will help us speed up the process of building. Although we already have the funds to complete the house, we can now afford to pay for extra labour and I am counting on having the kitchen of my dreams (whatever that is). I have decided that now is a good time to seriously plan the kitchen and the bathrooms. I just need a splash of time here and there, and then I will get busy!

Our children are so grown up now. Matty is nearly three. He is a quiet fellow. He doesn’t eat a lot and this amazes the rest of the family. Matty is incredibly cuddly. I think he really missed me when I was working so much. I am glad I am now on holidays because I can spend a lot of time with him. He has an excellent imagination and does a great deal of imaginative play, where he chatters away noisily. They both love dressing up. On my walk with Georgia this morning, I was blown away by how grown up she is. Dressed like a big girl, listening to my iPod, her hair falling in messy, fair curls, a contemplative expression on her porcelain-skinned face – I was astounded. For me, she is still the tiny baby that was born 5 1/2 years ago. She was round and pink, making squeaky sounds and gurgling. She had a gummy smile, and crawled for two seconds before walking with a bit of a totter. She started to talk. She made a mess when she fed herself – and now, she has an iPod, plays computer games with finesse, reads and writes. She is a whiz at maths (she gets that from her dad, the brainiac) and tells me all about adding and subtracting. She even knows some multiplication. She performs “concerts” for us, where she sings and dances. I cannot keep up with this gorgeous growing girl.

Although we are happy and do not regret our seachange, there are challenges we must face each day. The caravan is starting to have the condensation problems that we experienced last winter. I know this problem is endemic in this part of the state. I am trying to knit but my hands are too cold and I keep dropping the needles. The air is for ever damp, so washing doesn’t dry and we always have to bring in the washing to hang to dry above the stove. Not great when there’s a shortage of space as it is. We don’t have much space to play inside. Of course, the power situation is not great, but we manage. However, we are positive on most days. Monte has never been so happy. Every day brings new challenges and I love to see the glint in his eye when he is excited about building his house.

With cold hands but joyful hearts we persevere.