Not a lot to report, although things at the house are moving along nicely.
I haven’t blogged for a month! Apologies!
We are waiting for the windows: Double-glazed Western Red Cedar casement windows! They will be beautiful, and we can’t wait to get them in and have LOCK UP! I feel as though having lockup will mean lots of things, for example, we can plaster the walls, put the floors in and get more things happening. Until then, we are plodding along, cobbing the internal side of the straw walls (ie filling gaps and crevices with a cobb mixture) and rendering. The rendering process is a slow one, especially when the wet, cold weather keeps the render from drying! So far, we have done 1-3 coats on the external walls, thanks to the help of friends, Ria and Alan, and my dad, who recently visited and helped out at the house. We’re going to need to have 4 coats on the external walls, and 3 coats inside. I am very glad that we have decided to have plastered internal walls!
North side of house, rendered
South side, mostly rendered
We were talking to a valuer yesterday, who mentioned all the problems that are happening with modern building materials eg cement sheeting. He said that homes that are just 3 years old are beginning to crack and fall apart. I am really glad that we have chosen to build with sturdy, good quality materials, even if the process is taking a long time (not really, considering we only started in February!). Our walls will be big and tough, warm, cool and fairly beautiful, I think!
Exciting things are going on, like the planning of kitchen, bathrooms etc. It is hectic, trying to visualise everything, and plan it all, but I have a good idea of what the kitchen will be, and what flooring we will have. I’ve been considering blinds and bathrooms, and am moving away from green-white and into blue-white. For me, the decorating side is getting exciting, so I don’t mind getting a bit muddy during the cobbing/rendering process, whilst I plan the fit-out of the house.
Hilariously, we are planning the extension! A separate building: rumpus/granny flat/games room, with a pergola extending from it for Monte’s beer garden. We are also planning the cubby house, after, sadly, our plastic one blew down the hill during a storm and smashed into a thousand pieces! On the same night, the trampoline blew up into the air and smashed into the gutters, snapping part of the gutter and tearing the tramp. Fortunately, both can be fixed and are still useable. But the children are a bit stressed – hence the new cubby, which will overlook the beautiful views. We are having a grand time planning the garden, with priority for the south garden, which will be an entertaining area and children’s playground.
Monte has planted a dozen fruit trees down the hill from the house, near the septic. They are each protected by a car tyre and some wallaby mesh that Monte concocted. He and Matthew made the tree guards together. The trees will be easily accessible. I can’t wait to don a bonnet and go fruit picking with my basket.
Fruit trees, south of house
On the animal front, bad luck by the name of Monte struck down our two roosters. Bored with their crowing and overbearing of the hens, their heads were cut off and one of them is dangling from a pipeline between the bus and the water tank. Our hens seem much more peaceful now. We have heard that they lay better when not in the presence of a rooster. We are yet to see the benefits of this.
We’re excited about getting mains power. We are thrilled with the idea of being able to have a toaster. We get excited with the ideas of all the appliances we can have! We will get an incubator, so we can incubate chicken eggs and raise babies again. Of course, another rooster will be required. Bummer about that… We’ll get chickens that are sex-linked, so we will know which ones are for eating and which ones are for laying! And the children can play with the baby chicks in the meantime.
Oh! How exciting to have mains power. The decision for this comes about because the Government has taken away its subsidy for rural solar power connections. We are grateful to Tania and Ady, who let us recharge our batteries during this long, horrid winter! We are now hoping that with the longer days, our batteries will last longer. The batteries we are currently using have lasted over three weeks. That’s with 4 solar panels and a wind turbine. We do not use much power, although we have just brought in our TV again.
Updates on the family: Monte is working double hard on the house as well as his software engineering. Matty is in childcare and he is talking more and more every day. I like seeing his pesonality evolve. He is rather charming and a bit of a clown – I imagine he will be one of those likeable class-clowns when he is older. He is a very easy and obedient child. Georgia has settled into her new school everso well. She excels in reading and writing, and does maths for fun. How proud does this make us!? She has made lots of new friends and next month, she turns six! I have been working 4 days at the local school, and next term I will be full-time. I am enjoying my job because I am doing lots of different things. Eg I am teaching Art, Scrapbooking and Writing, as well as working with students in a support role. I love the community spirit of the school. I have been nervous about working full-time, but over the past few months I have been getting used to it.
Care for a hug from Monte?
That about covers it.
Happy Spring x