Busman’s Holiday…..

Last week Jon took another well deserved break from work and had a whole NINE days off. The break was also to coincide with the Kids end of term & the finishing at his current employer, for a fresh sparkly new and exciting two storey builder. As most holidays go with us, it was a working holiday-  The Friday finishing day saw Jon call me at 4.30 from a car park up in Perth to try & entice me up on the train to meet him at the Beef & Beer festival @ Elizabeth quay. Despite having a prawn stock on the go for the evenings curry and the kids dinner ready to plate…Who am I to decline such an invite?, even with ten minutes notice to the next bus 🙂  What a relaxed great evening of beer,     *(wine) music and great quality Western Australian Harvey Beef. The picture doesn’t do the slow cooked chunky ribs justice!

The only downside being, it was absolutely Feckin freezing. The booze helped my chill but poor Jon was still parked up here, so NOT so much for him only being allowed one!.                                                                                                                               The rest of the holiday was pretty much a laid back affair with late mornings, walks and the reason Im writing this blog The House. Monday was a blur of cleaning as we employed the kids out of bed & into action followed by a long awaited trip to the city for IKEA-the go to for all your cheap furniture needs!. Boo has been patiently waiting for a desk since we moved in, So along with the wicked bags I like from there this was on our list. Once home before anything else could be started -we HAD TO PUT IT UP… 🙂 when I say we, Boo n Jon did it together..IMG_0006On Tuesday morning I called in to the local K Mart to grab the cute little chair I had found. Maddison also had to put this up herself with a small amount of help.. * How complicated do you think they can make a simple chair??… Well…

The new look does her room justice though and gives her the chance to work off the floor where she had been doing her homework for months.IMG_6781

On a usual trip to our local romantic getaway spot (BUNNINGS) we spotted by chance some new cedar and jarrah look upvc eave cladding. We hadn’t gone there for that, but never normally come away with what we actually ventured in for. Our whole house has cladding under the eaves however we had bought it from a supplier, which not only came at a bulk price it also incurred a sizeable delivery fee. Which is one *(replace being bothered) of the reasons having run out of the original stuff, that we still have a few small patches of eaves work left to do. Yes we bought some, yes its a different colour, but its where you can’t compare and its super duperly cheaper than ordering the small amount more we needed. *See below

We were collared after a walk by our lovely neighbour across the street who wanted to loan Jon her garden edger for him to tidy up the lawn, she even offered to do it herself..     🙂  So he diligently edged, strimmed the borders neat and then mowed it all again to collect the loose grass. It looks great, it truly does! We planted a few more things we had not managed to put in. Jon finished off the artificial plant I have for behind the bath with new pot, better foliage & the newly donated small stool from Boo’s room as a pot stand. * The carrot photos are for Cameron Whose 7th birthday was this week & little Scott.

Our attention then turned to the poles, No not magnetic OR Icy … Wooden poles I had bought a few months back to hide the trampoline from view. Maddison still loves the trampoline and can do amazing flips, aerials and all sorts of tricks-Its just not allowed to go yet! But @ 14ft wide it takes a huge unsightly chunk out the garden. SO the vision is.. Hide it, then create a secret fire pit area with secluded seating and twinkly solar lights.       ( to coin my Fave bloggers quote “a Fuckfort”, a place where you can hide from giving any!!).* Julia Kerr.                                                                                                                          Anyway, first we had to dig the bloody things in. Jon dug first, I made second trowel. The poles were inserted then we chalked appropriate lengths before whacking them short with the chop saw.

Rigidity was top of our list as not only do they surround the trampoline. The kids are all well seasoned at avoiding the floor and walls so hitting them is not an issue. The temptation to hang from them getting on and off is one- Whilst they have been barred from doing this.. its awfully tempting. We will know instantly of course as they are just buried and washed in place, with the use of hosepipe water jet system we employed for the railway sleepers out front. TA DA….

With some fast growing Jasmine we purchased from Spudshed at a remarkably good price of $5 a pop- it shouldn’t take to long to envelop the poles into a mass of green and highly scented white flowers. I am SO good at drawing- maybe I should sell my art work 🙂 ha ha ha.. but you get the idea!.

The only other thing to make the garden grade this week were the additions of dwarf date palms along the wall by the pool. Bargain prices- we very nearly didn’t get any pots though. Everywhere we went wanted nearly four times the amount we had paid for each, actual plants.. Its ridiculous, WTA?!. If it hadn’t have been for a very impromptu stop at an Aldi & Dan Murphys *(priorities) on the way home from looking at cars with Sammy Jane, They still would be in the original pots, dying of root bound issues and lack of watering! We just really  wanted to break the monotony of so much wall along that long edge. You will all have to pretend we have cleaned the pool out and the sand at the bottom isn’t there!! 🙂IMG_6762So the end of the week finished more like below….. 🙂   Catch you again xxIMG_0001.JPG

 

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Moving out again….

Its been a long time coming! No not the blog people although again I admit, its been a few weeks since my fingers tapped the keyboard. Last weekend Georgina Ruth Fletcher took the desperately wanted leap into a rental with her long time partner Alex. ❤         Now for those who know Georgie well, she has long yearned for independence *(without the responsibility) 🙂 and has spent most of her teenage and adult life being “somewhere else”.. But with relationships comes the urge to set up nest together and fluff it out. So with “Chicken” in tow *( pink & grey galah)  Saturday 23rd was THE DAY.

I watched for a few weeks leading up to move out day with worry, Jon had also popped his head round the door and expressed his concern too- Things just were not ready to simply be lifted and moved. So with Georgie in work much of the day and back too late to do anything. I went in there much to her dismay  *(sorry Georgie). I took to her room last Thursday morning and boxed everything in my OCD like way. Everything in individual boxes, labelled & organised. The monster mountain of socks discovered were all odds, & some dirty and despite Georgie’s claims of “Thats how she wears them” they are now paired as much as possible :-)… This may sound totally freaky to everyone, sorting and arranging but I do want things to be as easy for her as possible and my little way of helping is to make things straight and tidy!

Four and a half hours later I emerged somewhat satisfied that come Saturday we were ready to go. Moving day was a SLOW start, Saturday had again managed to be the day everything was happening-

  • Steph had the BIG army cadet camp up in Bindoon. 2 1/2hrs away, thankfully a drop off at 7.45am sharp at cadet headquarters saw her grabbing the bus with all her other cadet friends. One down 😉
  • 9am Maddison was delivered to a friends house for a day long birthday celebrations where they were going high tree adventure course climbing in Dwellingup.  Another down till 4pm…
  • Sammy was @ work *excused from duty
  • which left poor old Nathan to help lift, pack and move.

We rammed as much as we could into three cars and a trailer. How does that girl have so much stuff??.. Jon was extremely worried we were not going to get it in one trip and with Georgie & Alex having already exhausted the finance funds for the month with move essentials, a van was just not in the budget. Jon & I do pride ourselves on the Tetris and Jenga like ways we can fill any vehicle to the roof though… In my case driving the car with a Queen metal bed frame & mattress on top of the roof too! *us just getting started below.IMG_6691

Well the drive up there was NOISY AS HELL, I opted to take Jon’s little car as Mine has a tow ball & Alan’s trailer we had borrowed is rusty as.110km up the freeway was a bit too much of a gamble to handle. Nathan took up the front seat (only spare bit of any of the  three cars) So 100 metres down the road, Jon has already left at this point and I realise my utter mistake. The car screams and whines a little with the ladder on the roof, I know this – Im prepared for that you just ignore it and turn the tunes higher.. OMG.. did I not emphasise that enough OMG OMG OMG  The banging and vibration was intense, at every stop or traffic light Nathan and I breathed a sigh of relief at the quietness. We literally had to shout at each other to hear, and for me to get him to contort his neck and head every ten kms to see if the mattress was at risk of peeling backwards and off the car. *(which it obviously wasn’t as Jon had strapped it to death). But it was soooo LOUD!

A 50 minute drive saw us arrive and out the car, we unpacked in record time and after a bit of fluffing and checking chicken was ok- I mean Georgina… 🙂  We left them to it.

The peaceful drive back was good-SO good, Nathan & I had a good chat about things, then as we were coming down Thomas Rd following Jon n the trailer he indicates right to a garden centre I have been aching to go to for yonks. YEY JON!!! Every time we pass we are either fully loaded up, busy or just don’t have the time. Happy, happy, happy me… Its a great garden centre it has loads of ornaments, weird and usual IMG_6699*(that ones for you A:Margaret)  lots of pots, wire wall art, water features & a huge selection of plants. We were quite good- only needing a few trees for the verge down the side we bought a better matured olive, A overwhelming scented orange tree *(thats what sold it) and finally a Dwarf date palm. The date palm is now located where we were going to put the Grass tree. Pride of place in front of the sleeper semi circle-But given this was $50 and we love date palms and Grass trees are anywhere between $850-$1200 for the size and shape we want.. Date palm it is!.

The previous weekend we had also been to the Kings Park native sale and bought quite a few bits for the beds.

Our long weekend after moving was spent planting, tidying and rearranging our new office space. 🙂  its been a long time dream, the room I show people and before I open the door say “imagine its clean and tidy, airy & bright with a computer desk over in one corner”.. 🙂 well here it is folks… catch ya xIMG_6708

Fantastic stores & where to find them…

The store! The results of planning with the certain knowledge we have too much stuff. Lets face it just a double garage with two cars parked in ain’t going to leave much room for our tribe of kids/ adults/young people whatever…We fore saw the much needed space, it became a dumping ground for building materials, for things you didn’t want to place in a newly built home, the things that nobody actually wants or needs anymore but can’t bring themselves to throw it out. Dare I say it… The ever enlarging Christmas decoration boxes.. For example:There are four shoes racks in the garage FILLED with shoes, not one person wears any of them??..                                                                                                            To be honest after downsizing and moving here with several suitcases and half a small container 12 weeks later. I am in awe of the amount of possessions we now own again. Walking into the kids room and the piles of “stuff”, the “things’, where did it all come from? how and why?. Georgina is by far the worst culprit!. A hoarder of stuff, in fact most of one corner in the store have boxes awaiting the day she moves out to her own pad.  Too much to fit in her Mid sized room.                                                                            Anyway I digress…. To some its a means of hiding it, of sorting it, but to Jon its his chance to have a work bench again, to have room for neat orderly stacking of tools and a place to contain jars of screws n bolts. To be able to just go to the store & potter for a bit. This of course all has to be done with the up most of precision & planned organisation of everyone else’s crap..

So a couple of weekends ago Jon enlisted the troops. All the bursting insides were removed to the now carless garage * you’ve got to love a big driveway and space was made to start. *sorry Nathan.. 🙂

Steph helped measure, wind bolts and was chief spirit level support officer, Nathan cut , carried and was Jon’s second general in construction command. Pretty soon things were taking shape.

The bottom section is purpose built bike storage area. The middle is for kayak storage and the top section for our spare single bed and mattress. (although this section now also contains Georgina stuff)..

The bench took shape quickly after and is pretty much the BIGGEST bench Jon has ever owned.. That was until I joked half of it was mine for crafts & painting.. 🙂  Boo made a quick appearance, I found Georgina’s old roller blades, so they made a debut up n down the street for half an hour till my legs hurt.. Jon has everything he needs in one place now- so hopefully its easier for him to find stuff?. So as not to worry about theft so much. We also have cameras on the front and back of the store, which are up loaded and recorded to a remote server we can access. Never can be too cautious, although the neighbours are always about as well. 🙂 #goodneighbours

I have suggested putting a piece of chalkboard above where the pressure washer isin the corner. That way we can draw plans, keep measurements handy and write down anything we need to purchase / replace as we use them. The board along the back will be a storage system *yet to be decided…. for the little things..

**Leak update: we have had no more 🙂 That being said its been a lovely warm bright start to the coming spring. Roll on summer. Jon has filled all holes and will be sanding and refilling before painting them next weekend.**                                                                       The Joys of maintenance!

 

Teething troubles & some Dripping :-(

Australia the land of endless blue skies, beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, month upon month of glorious heat & happy people mulling about they’re daily life.   HA!…             Well you couldn’t have foretold of the deluge of persistent rain & wind we are having.. I mean even Noah and his ark would be struggling to explain this years winter in WA!! For those that we haven’t already had a great big sucky whinge to, Its been week after week of severe weather warnings, flash flooding, extreme winds and oh MORE rain.. Whilst I whole heartedly thank the little rain god on behalf of my new garden and for the dam levels we need for the summers extremes.. WHAT THE HELL is going on?.                 Despite being in the house for a good eight months- It being water tight for much longer than that.. It has decided to test our already frayed n tired building nerves. 🙂  With a few leaks in our outdoor alfresco & more seriously in our living area downstairs.                 Now to be fair we had spotted some slight water markings to the ceilings, The glass balcony had taken a HUGE battering from the wind and actually cracked the tiles underneath but with it being Monsoon season Jon had opted to wait till spring before investigating further. That was until this..

Then one * absolutely pissing it down* Monday a few weeks ago whilst Jon was at the office up in the city. The water decided it had had enough and started dripping down the wall from under the corner of the cornice. Having rung Jon in a small flustery panic & applying a large selection of beach towels under the area in a small futile attempt to protect my wooden flooring.. He advised me to release the water as quickly as possible- limiting the further damage. So metal skewer in hand stood on top of the tv unit I started to obliterate the soaking cornice by poking holes along its edge.. It worked well and we had a steady stream of water now escaping the roof. BRILLIANT! It continued raining and pouring, Jon returned home and stuck his finger through it.. Then made a little hole… then made a bigger hole the kids all attempting to cover my eyes as they realise the horrified look upon my face, not to mention plasterboard mess on my freshly cleaned floor. That weekend Jon took all the flashing of and re did the whole roof, even though it was really stuck down well and he doubted it was coming from there.

I am ok with it really I am… Before the holes started getting bigger Jon had done all the usual suspects of roof.. The flashings, the seals, the windows, bricks, holes you name it he had tried it. It however firmly remained somewhat of a mystery as to where it could possibly be getting in. After all we had ourselves fitted the roof. Jon was overly keen on getting it just right as is in his nature, We just couldn’t fathom it! After every improvement or re do Jon crossed fingers and hoped we had fixed it, With the ceiling being so damp though we were unsure as to whether it was new wet or old?.

*The hole is actually considerably bigger than the pictures now, in another attempt to look into the cavity to locate the source- Just can’t bring myself to take more photos 🙂

Well the weather continued its relentless outbursts and Jon decided he could either take the ceiling down inside, take the flashings and the whole roof off or he could take a layer of bricks out from under our bedroom window and see what he could from there. This being my preferred choice we went with the latter. Jon had to wait for a break in the clouds and dash out, get it off without damaging too many bricks, look at it, fix it then re seal it all before it rained again!!

The culprit seemed to be the outer layer of bricks filling up the holes inside with water then seeping through the mortar and bricks down into the cavity. Jon sucked out the debris and water and resealed it with some plastic flashing, silicone and stuck the hell out of it. This also included filling every last bit of the cavity with expanding foam so it couldn’t possibly get in there..but escape through the weep holes either side of the roof. All we needed now were some replacement bricks and he could patch it back up. Well this would have worked a treat had the weather bureau not announced we were in line of not one but THREE weather fronts crossing over us that weekend. Winds in excess of 125 kms were expected with another huge amount of rain.. GREAT thanks for that. 🙂  The first two came and went, little bit breezy but hey were good. The third never showed up?.. that was until six hours after predicted. Its dark & raining, the water is back the flashing if flapping and Jon is outside on a ladder putting bricks on it to hold it down. Monday morning again (what is it with Mondays)? Jon is in the office and the wind is howling except now we have a new noise! where the bricks have come out below the window its slightly unsupported the window ( in as much as its not quite as wedged in as it was) the 125 km winds are gusting and the top of the window is flexing back and forth on the eaves… REALLY?? ANYTHING ELSE?? We have wedged it for now and as soon as the weekend comes round again we will have bricks back under it. *Fingers crossed.

Jon came home Tuesday night from work armed with Whackaflex * which for those in the UK its like a plastic strip with super sticky strips down both sides. When I say plastic its thick and bendy and despite not being, it has the same weight and feel of a lead flashing. Anyway this is what he was looking for in the first place when he did his second repair, but as we gave ours to Kevin and it costs $200 a roll, we had tried the option we had in stock first. So armed ready to wage war with the roof he shot out and has made what looks like a winning hit.?.. watch this space when it dries up we will know and maybe be able to start fixing the ceiling.

Forgetful Flora..

Good Arvo folks,

This really will be brief 🙂  It was bought to my attention last week the I hadn’t included final pictures of the front or back garden.. Well DURRR, that was extremely clever Kate!! I despite being the author am not solely to blame, I started the Blog last Tuesday – continued it a bit Wednesday then sat back down to quickly rush it out before Jon came home what ever arvo I posted it? So with every good intention of rectifying it.. Its still taken me six days to sit back down and hunt out the photos. To be fair the weeks slipped by pretty quickly again, Long weekend this coming Friday to celebrate WA day. I however have been out to celebrate Makuru *(Noongar aboriginal season for June & July- being the season of fertility and the wettest and coldest of the calendar year ). This week is reconciliation week here and they were holding a smoking ceremony. Having not been to one before, I went down to Pinjarra for a watch, a yarn and some good bush tucker consisting of Roo stew, rice and damper bread. Fire is an integral part of aboriginal life. It heats, cooks food, clears away the dead bush for new fresh regrowth and Noongar believe it purifies & cleanses the soul.  There are various tribes all over Australia each with their own identity and traditions- The owners of the land around Pinjarra are the Noongars.

Anyhow the cultural education over back to the yard! I also forgot to mention my purchase of some great big Birds of Paradise plants *Strelitzia last week. A lovely lady from Ravenswood had dug her gigantic plant up and kindly advertised the considerably sized clumps on Mandurah plant pages.. Buying from a nursery they are on average 30cm high- so standing at 2 metres these are well matured! We have put 1 in the garden and 2 in pots to be placed by the pool after winter.P1140611 We didn’t mow the lawn last week, Jon wanted to give it another weeks worth of stabilising. A quick front, back and sides will be this weekend definitely -for the lawn and Jon 🙂  ITS SOOO LONG now.. Heres the back stretch of lawn.. The Bird of paradise is now planted just behind the trampoline against the back wall in photo one:

And for the front..IMG_3301and for good measure and just to make sure I have covered all bases this post.. another couple 🙂

So have a great weekend all, Jon and I are off to a jobs forum tonight with some local MPs. We are going to contribute our pennies worth to the pot. Thats if Jon gets home in time from work??           so catch ya x

 

well watered…

We finished 🙂 … Well ok the garden is never finished and I still have, much to Jon’s dismay been swapping plant pots and bargaining on several FB plant pages for extra stock! It has been a mixed couple of weeks, I managed to source the metal edging I wanted for the borders. After calling into most of the steel makers in Mandurah & surrounds, being turned away often, a lovely lady in Midas steel suggested a place over the road and BINGO!                                                                                                                                 I ended up at Southern sheet metal works on the industrial estate, fabulous guy Mark listened drew pictures for me and suggested best depths, width etc.. Highly recommend. Mark Barret Southern sheet metal. Ordered it on the Wednesday, made to special order- Finished Friday Arvo ready for the weekends work to commence. Jon and I picked it up and spent Saturday creating our bendy borders. The welder sprung into action for the first time since the roof and structural beams had been welded, Jon also giving Stephanie a quick lesson in the art before we packed it away.

Having got some sort of form for the borders we spent the rest of Saturday & all of Sunday driving back and forth between Rock “N’Loam on Gordon rd. Great guys loaned us the trailer overnight and kept us a running Tab. We had some soil left over but had to have a trailer load or two to fill up the BIG front sections. We put down weed matting, Jon ran irrigation pipes and positioned them through –

I planted out what we had and then we made more trips to in fill with rainbow quartz stone. There is quite a few tonnes of soil, stone and mulch *(well mulch is a bit lighter, but you still have to shovel it )! The kids all helped between them with varying stages of interest. This is the front section behind the decking completed, Hopefully looking a bit more bushier when the plants take hold 🙂IMG_6214

Borders in Jon was happy enough for us to get our grass ordered and delivered. 7.30 AM sharp as promised the guy was outside with his truck unloading 205 sqm of Sir Walter Buffalo grass. Feeling rather unmotivated at the sight of so much grass to hulk n bulk about plus lay, with both of us still Coffee in hand trying to shake off “morning’ feeling. The actual thought of completing it and not spending another weekend playing in the sand spurred us on. Kids were called *abruptly awoken from their little dreams via the action of loud verbal threats…. out of bed into action.. and with their very appreciated wheel borrowing of turf from front to back- Jon and I started laying..

Once round the front, the kids redundant from using the barrows mucked in and started helping lay…In roughly three hours we had the whole lot laid down and stood back to survey the impact green had on the house. WOW- what a difference a day makes..All that was left to do on Sunday was hire a water roller and roll. This according to Jon and Boo (who actually didn’t last long at rollering) was apparently very hard. Impounding Jon’s desire NOT to have a push along mower in the process.

Everyone can apply for a water exemption from watercorp when you install a new lawn.  Depending on the time of year as to how long. As we are in Autumn ours is for 35 days, but with us picking THE best time to install lawn. The Monday after install it rained.. and rained & well rained. So we switched ours off and didn’t apply for exemption until it stopped pouring! However we are alternating between on and off at present as its giving us decent amounts despite being well under normal for this time of the year yet again. BUT Boy does it love the stuff, Jon reckons its grown 15 mm in a week n a half! Which leads me nicely to my next paragraph.

Mowing! we knew we had to purchase one, we’ve looked. Jon has his mind set on a self drive / propelled mower of a petrol variety and hopefully with a large blade cutting width to reduce time spent mowing. Holy Crap they are expensive here.. a basic bottom of the range one starting at $699 and working its way up to stupid money. The general mowers sitting around the $1000-$1600 mark. Thats before we include edge trimmers etc etc.. So when my friend was moving she advertised for $30 a little electric one & I thought ‘well it will do, till we get one”! Well you should have seen his face when out the back of the car I pull a 13 inch electric Ozito push along mower. Still not owning one and having lawn……

We thought nothing more until on FB last weekend I happen to be trawling the buy n sell pages and up pops a petrol Masport self propelled mower.. $100.. Bangs SOLD on the page and we head to pick it up. Whilst its not going as it should, Jon’s quite happy that he can pay $100 and have a fiddle with it.. Much to the dismay of several other Keyboard Jockeys that missed out..*But thats another story! Anyways back at home the reason the self drive isn’t working is a simple belt dislodgement, The blades are shat , but out comes Jon with the grinder, a clean, re-oil, a fine tune and he’s as happy as Larry. We did end up in Bunnings later so he bought new blades, but that stands us at $30!! BARGAIN. He will be testing it out on Sunday, our lawns first haircut. 🙂IMG_6280

Its all getting there 🙂

catch ya x

Rounding-up the weeds..

Its been a couple of weekends hard spent in the garden, And we are still not ready for grass this weekend! Little bit miffed if I am honest, but mr “Do it right” has several fair points I can not argue.

1: The weed needs destroying before we turf, otherwise the cost of our grass is wasted if it pops its ugly head through..     We bought Round-Up                                                                                                             2: The edging we have been desperately searching for! Really , really does need to go in the ground before we turf up to it…      I met a lovely man who is sorting this out!                                                                                              3: We have THE BIGGEST mole hills in the front garden that need fattening down. *NOTE this is Jon’s wheelbarrowing technique not our new pet! 🙂                                                                                 As you can see we managed to finish the front border off and inserted the sleepers ready for a nice lovely two headed grass tree to be positioned as our finishing feature.

Last weekend we spent some time marking out, fetching copious amounts of Karri mulch, extra trailers full of soils & stone to cover the weed suppressant matting.

Jon and I dug out and planted our desperate poor collection of plants. They have been dying slowly as we couldn’t get them into the ground.. All apart from my lime tree look incredibly much  happier..

Sunday we took the day off and went to the Perth Garden Show. Up in the city at Mc Callum park (where chillifest was) We wandered around masses of plant stalls, metal artworks, mowers, lawn providers, even a Bonsai society! Myself emerging in everything green, spikey and exotic, Jon looking at lawn mowers. Steph just wandered along 🙂  OH talking about Steffi… I upgraded her lamp shade! It had been on the agenda for a while, I just haven’t gotten round to it. Maddison was in on it and kept asking “when”.. but hey Ho… IMG_6192Anyways……Lawn mowers here are ridiculous prices! For a self drive version its anything from $800-$2’000.. *obviously there are much dearer ones, but these are “normal cost” varieties.. We left there having not purchased one or learning much more..  I did however purchase an Edible Tumeric plant, edible Ginger and a rather nice ornamental ginger called Christmas something or other that has the wildest red flower spike ever… Coupled with my Cardamon plant I bought earlier in the week… I am in food growers / cooking heaven! Well to my surprise this week it was totally worth going as I only managed to bag myself a BEAUTIFUL & UNIQUE fire pit, filled with a stunningly huge swathe of succulents. I drove up to Ocean Reef this morning and fetched it from the bubbly Owner Jenny. You should all head straight to her page, the designs are just gorgeous & with winter on the way.. its just perfect to keep out the chill. unique feature fire pits. *also on FB 🙂IMG_6201

So there you have it.. still plodding on slowly with the garden, We have a hectic Saturday planned & hopefully… just hopefully we may have grass next weekend???…

 

 

Putting down roots…Oh & Retic!

Our attention over the last few weekends and Easter have been about the garden!. But before I dig & delve into that.. 🙂 I shall just quickly show you Boo’s feature lights.. *Well nice fairy twinkly lights I have added to her chalkboards. It looks a little strange in the pictures, but the effect and subtle glow is really pretty for her room. A “before & After” shot.

So to the outdoors we go….Literally we are throwing down our roots in Australia good and proper!  After the pavers had completed the pool surrounds and we had shovelled out and repositioned the sand we needed for final levels. Terry Bobcat was back on the scene with trusty Bobcat and truck to remove the HIDEOUS pile of rubble and un-level front garden area.

Jon had ordered a “special” Easter gift for me..IMG_5928Eight cubic meters of the stuff… Well I am not going to get any fatter this Easter :-)…… As you can see we still have an attractive pallet sculpture in the background. *Its all the rage-pallet shabby chic, trust me… 🙂                                                                                                                            That weekend we set about creating the borders for the back garden, flattening and levelling off the “to be lawned area”. *note this is now actual grass, NOT astro..So we need a watering system *(retic). Moving the trampoline to its final garden position. It is still as you can see quite large & dominating!. Boo is still loving it, so its staying for a while!. As per usual on any warm n sunny day, it wasn’t overly easy and most of us were out back sweating, digging, concreting in and wishing generally we hadn’t started..

Now Jon had been putting these last bits off. Not that he can’t do it, we all know he can do everything and anything assigned him! The retic is something that living in the UK you don’t think about or appreciate not having to do this, Certainly in Wales it is NEVER a consideration, as it bloody rains all the time anyway. If you needed lawn over there, its a quick level, If your nerdy maybe a weed kill and then throw some seed at it -Cross your fingers & hope for the best!. Usually in a few weeks you have a beautiful lush green lawn. Here, it requires planning, lots of planning. First you need a programable water system with adequate stations to reach around the whole garden and depending on the water pressure and types of watering method you require, how many can work at once….etc..etc..well you can see our dilemma!                                                                                My kind of planting has always been mish / mash, a place it and see, a swap & move as need be kind of thing.. Jon wanted plans and positions and detailed amounts of water each thing needed.. Its been tough, so we have gone with an overall general it will do method! 🙂    So after careful consideration of the quotes we have had from local companies… HA HA HA… God they must be all living in mansions and driving Bugatti’s!!    Jon & I took ourselves down to Bunnings (its fast becoming our romantic getaway place) armed with a detailed plan in hand.IMG_6144An hour or two later we emerged with solenoids, valves, hoses galore, a watering system, connectors, clips… you name it we had it! Or as we later found out, we actually didn’t and had to make two more trips back for extra supplies and forgotten things such as weed matting and front border edging!.. Still a few Thousand $$$ cheaper than the D.I.Y price from the professionals.  Armed with pipes, glue and a Miller Chill, Jon spent Good Friday night constructing  a manifold for the pipe works. Jon tried to play it as a guitar and Nathan…. Well Obviously too much Fall out 4!!! 🙂

On Saturday we started the loooonnnggg… process of running pipes all around the garden and connecting sprinklers and water sprayers. Nathan Dug the trenches, I dug the holes for the sprinklers and Steph & Jon connected pipework and sprinkler nozzles. Jon had already had the pre thought to lay large storm water piping across the drive and around the house, which made the insertion of the hoses ‘slightly’ less difficult to pop through.

As you can see in the above first picture, we have waterproofed and visqueened the walls and herb planter. Maddison busily painted the thick black damp proof all around the walls and herself for us 🙂  This was of course AFTER we had dug all the soil out the planter Terry Bobcat had kindly scooped in with his bucket for us… 😦   We then scooped it all back in with spades!!!.. The other two borders around back were NOT so easy and we all sweated , swore and Barrowed 6 cubic meters into the back yard! I also had clever pre thought… Paracetmols before sitting down & bedtime!!

The front was a relative breeze to fill.. As yet we have not finished constructing the front areas- Just the one under sammy’s window as yet. This is also waiting for stone ?? or mulch?? to surround it. Maddison has helped me today planting the rest of my herbs and veggies, and finalising the planting and Zamia bowl out front.

 

The only other exciting thing that has happened is the purchase of some long awaited upstairs balcony seating. Absolute bargain $$ from Seagalls. I managed to squish n squash, Albeit some of it needed unpacking and a lot of imagination.. into the back of the Prado.. Drove home with my face in the windscreen- Then with the use of a trusty tin opener, gouged it all back out at home 🙂   Nathan was on hand to help me construct it before Jon got back from work!. The egg chair was already there but completes the over all look…

This next weekend will be more front yard digging, border structuring & more sprinkler installs and maybe a look at lawn $$…

“Paracetamols will always be available be available for those that ask for help”!.  🙂

 

Working weekends…

Just a quick little update on our week / weeks in the house. Does anyone actually know where the time goes?, the kids are already on wk 10/10 of the first term!                                                                                                                        Our house marathon as you know is now a slow jog, we are in, the weekly routines are set and life continues again. Already the maintenance has begun and touch ups, mends and make do’s are common place. We amble through weekends with slow lay ins for Jon to recover from the week.. lazily followed by breakfast. We still have a list but its not going down much.

Anyway to keep going with the current lazy trend- The last couple have been just that!. We have done a spot of housing but we are saving ourselves for the Easter weekend onslaught that is fast approaching. I refer of course to the GARDEN.. the long awaited chance to see if any of my plants are going to survive??.. its been a difficult battle and time consuming watering everything in sight. I have purchased a few more though on a lazy jaunt we took last Saturday to Safety Bay.. The long desired Prickly Pear being my favourite, hopefully the banana palm should bear fruit this year if I get it in the ground quick enough.IMG_5852I purchased nice numbers for the letterbox, which Jon expertly fitted, he also hung the mirror in our bathroom.

Nathan feature as promised in the last blog.. It looks really good in the dark, perhaps I should grab one of those another time?.IMG_5823We bought and fitted a gate for the side access to the pool area- Its still needs a bit extra at the side but we need the off cuts from the side fencing to complete this… Which we haven’t got yet!. We will have double gates to match this at a later date…??.. Possibly 🙂

The BEST BEST BEST bit about this week is we finally have had the pavers here today. *Hence the garden blitz being Easter weekend..Jon with the help of Nathan had laid the retic pipes ready for any plants and pots I may have around the area. The pair of them also shovelled several tons of sand where it had blown into mounds in certain areas. All in preparation for them coming today…

They arrived early as usual 6.30!! I had to leave mid morning for an appointment but was back by 12ish and they had already finished, packed up & left… Which is a shame because not only did I want to say thank you and bye.. but Poor Ranga *he’s the Ginger in the orange shirt in-case your wondering about the slang… Well he lost his grandma last night and I wanted to say how sorry I was. Especially as his mum is ill too in hospital, But he wanted to keep his mind busy and not stay off work! So for everyone reading, this is a special thought for him & his family. 🙂

Well I met Jon after my appointment and promised when I got back I would forward photos.. so here they are, You will all notice how much sand is still in the pool. Maybe we have a cat in hells chance of limiting it a bit now??…

So everyone up to date with the blog. I have ordered the pool blanket, which will be fitted on Friday morning.. (real quick service Elite pool covers)..Now just the bobcat to take the final sand and rubble away. Us to prep and try and make some sort of garden in our sand pit, I can’t wait… chicken poo, mulch and stones here we come! 😉

 

Turn down the heat and simmer slowly…

Things have been wild, hectic, relaxed, stressed, fraught and fun. It has been a strange month to say the least. We spent the early part of the month desperately chipping away at… “The list of the unfinished”, in a seriously MAD attempt to try and have things completed before our very first house guests arrived! HAH!.. whilst we moved mountains and performed miracles on the scale of a modern day pair of Greek gods, we are still lacking an end in sight epiphany..  So when they day actually came for my dad and Pam to arrive, The house went from a hot fast boil to a more sedate slow cooking simmer. In-fact most nights were spent like this..IMG_5654

Anyway to get you all up to speed, we left off with the pool being installed, pipes fitted and general over due bits and bobs that needed finishing.. We FINALLY got on the phone to Aquatechnics , who had moved dates and changed things around, resulting in delays for completion. The pool guy turned up bright and early with his wife and removed the ton of sand from the pool and set everything going.. *(In hindsight we should have just left it, we have had a storm and its three inches deep in places).. bloody sand..

The kids have been having a blast in there..Nathan even cleans it out on a regular basis with out asking!! We just need the flipping Pavers to get their sorry arses back and finish. Now the big bits done & paid for they have other “bigger” jobs, and are just fully booked out. Im spewing though as its been a good month and a bit since we have asked. We desperately need it paved so we can get the cover ordered and on, to reduce the sand, wind & evaporation problems.

Having had our wall patched up and closed in by the Brickie.. Ross plasterer came back to throw render at the wall & letterbox. Hugely excited, the minute it was close to dry I was out like a fat gazelle with the shiny new silver insert in hand itching to get it in place.. that was until we realised Brickie Rob had made it five mm too small.. BUGGR *always something that takes you two steps back and requires extra work.. Jon will grind it out later…

Waiting for the flooring to be completed on the stairs has also been an ongoing drama.. Trims wrong, out of stock, wrong colour and so forth.. I think this was also installer error, by forgetting to follow up/ mention it to the company.. So after a few slightly suggestive health and safety words in an e  mail from yours truly.. They promptly came out and finalised everything outstanding.. We can order glass for the stairs now and handrails.. * we need to source the latter first 🙂   Beautiful finish-we are thrilled.

So there we were limited weekends available, actual work hugely hectic for Jon and a list longer than the notes from JR Tolkiens’ Hobbit. The sun chose these weekends to finally visit us with temperatures we had been longing for, only for us to be out burning to a crisp in it and sweating gallons out of every … well you can imagine…First up we did Boo’s picture feature wall..Kevin could have his compressor back.IMG_5583We painted and made Nathan’s features.. but due to his lighting not arriving in time, that is yet to be attached to his walls..*(it is in situ) photos will follow..We ordered and took delivery of the long awaited bar stools, Only for Jon to spend three hours setting up saw and angles to cut them to the right size… SEE every job creates three extra.. 🙂    TBF we did know they were too high , but the price and style swayed the sale. $$$

One of the major jobs we wanted to complete was some sort of order & control *(ha ha ha ha) in the sand pit. The wind through the front kept throwing sand under the door, *another job we covered-door sealing! So a nice NON sandy walk to the front was required.. CUE Millico Spring into action.. Yep you guessed it, back to measure, chop, nail & DECK-All apart from the sweltering sun and hotter than hell temps it was just like the good old days!  The new chop saw even works when its not wet…                                                                                                                                              Given our design for the front with lots of natives and stones to reduce our water consumption and costs. We have gone all big, chunky and rustic looking. When it has dried for a few more weeks, we will be giving it a darker stain at some point to blend in with the railway sleepers & plants I have bought.

I have been trying desperately to keep all our plants alive in this heat. Some we have lost which is maybe just as well, not over keen on watering and gardening- if you don’t take hold and live, you are going to die little plants!! Some I have repotted in a bid to encourage them. We only have two watering days a week-Weds & Sat, so we have to make the most of those days. My planter is currently a nursery whilst we wait to finish it off.

So after a week off with Dad n Pam, Jon went back to work and we pottered around and all too soon as does happen-It was “FLY BACK DAY” 😦           Dad as usual left some things behind, so is now under contract to come back and collect them. It will give us a chance to breathe and finish off the house, so next time we will be complete.. IMG_5643.JPGSaturday last was a slow day- much needed lie in for Jon ( which for him was closely followed after breakfast by a sleep on the couch).. Bless! Nine months of hard work & graft takes it out of you.. We got busy and went to Crabfest…. So when Sunday came we felt a tad guilty, So whilst I went to fetch Steph from a birthday party in the back of beyond up near Perth.. (she was shooting something- it was a “must go”kinda thing) Jon set to with Nathan and installed… Wait for it..MY SHOWER SCREEN in the family bathroom.. after months of waiting for the bloody stuff, they are back in stock.. HURRAH!!!                                                                                                                                                       Then they went on to all the back balcony glass…                                                                                    **I must mention dear father for his assistance in helping move said glass:**                            and were just completing the finish as we arrived back. The front balcony was done, we nipped over the road and helped Maxine with her rotten wooden finials and still had the time to fit my shiny letterbox.. Weekend work commences once again…

So there you have it in a nutshell folks..A dash-a break-a plod then back to normal play..         I wonder what this weekend will bring??