Djeran – Ant Season

According to the Nyoongar Seasons, of which there are six, we are now in Djeran. The winds have dropped the last month or so, particularly in their intensity, with light breezes bringing a welcome freshness to the heat of the days. Scattered amongst this is the occasional rain shower that is replenishing not only the garden, but the rainwater tanks.  Many flying ants can be seen cruising around in the light winds and the boys and I watched great swarms of them yesterday afternoon taking to the air.

The previous day we spent some time at the beach and watched silver gulls soaring high on the breezes catching ants in flight. A heavy rain shower swept over the beach and it was fun to watch the beachgoers bolting for cover. The boys and I didn’t mind so much as we were already in the water. The water itself was quite calm and flat so the rain made a fantastic pattern across the surface and turned the shallows a beautiful shade of pastel green.

pp compost

I saw a Willy Wagtail in the garden today, along with finches and wrens. High up on the hill I could hear the rich song of a Whistler. I suspect they were also making the most of the abundance of ant activity.

All throughout the day showers of rain have alternated with bright bursts of sunshine as though flicked on and off with a switch. The kind of rain you just work through as it doesn’t wet through so much and you soon enough dry off soon enough. Except for later in the day when I actually had Mrs PP out in the rain alongside me setting up a new compost pile for the winter (as above).

I never knew what these arched plastic pieces were until a farmer friend told me they were Road Train mudguards which makes sense. I’ve set them up like this a couple of times to make a compost pile that will devour huge amounts of ‘waste’ materials. In this case, old dusty packing boxes and newsprint, along with kitchen scraps and greenery. This is planned to remain in situ for a good couple of months so it is well out of the way of any area that will be utilised in the meantime.

worms pp

In one of our worm farms there was plenty of action. These worms were congregating on a piece of decomposing pineapple. Lower layers of the worm farm have plenty of cocoons. They are most active it seems in spring and autumn when there is moisture and warmth. The solution from the worm farm is much appreciated at the moment as I use it to feed newly emerging seedlings in containers. I’ve set up a few containers close to the house as the beds are still taking time to construct with all the other projects still to be done.

What on Earth is it?

I’ve finished the Mud Room. But I don’t think its a Mud Room or a Utility Room.

We’ve got the preserving jars in it (stored) and our seeds (stored) and some frozen goods (stored) – so maybe it’s just a Store Room.

Although that seems a little bland, but it has a practical element to it. But it surely must be deserving of something a little more in context with the house and its uses.

mudroom pp

I snuck off to take an afternoon nap. Or rather, to catch up on a lack of sleep. But that didn’t work so well, so I came back out to finish off revealing the back verandah which has been covered in black plastic to protect it during the last stages of the renovation. I’ve kept it down until the last room was finished and happily removed it today. Hooray!

pp verandah

Gradually, ever so gradually, the place is progressing. Even as I pulled out the nails and timber holding the plastic down it felt like a small accomplishment. With any luck the decking will cut down on the sand near the back door as it can disappear between the panels.

Note the recently delivered fruit trees awaiting their turn for a bit of attention!

So, Mud Room?

Utility Room?

Store Room?

Room of Possibilities?

Any ideas?

April Update 2018

front pp

The front walls and earthworks. February.

How the year is moving by. . .

 

I have been working steadily to complete our last remaining room of the house – the utility room or mudroom. Once I get it completed we can start to move the items that are stored on the back verandah and get some resemblance of normalness occurring. Plus we can more conveniently store our preserving and gardening items and make some room in the garage. Which is one of the next projects.

After ten or so years we are down to a garage full of items – the equivalent of sorting about 3 1/2 houses worth of STUFF. I still have a couple of ute loads of items to send to auction but it is getting there. The auction has been great as it gets things out of the house and we get a cheque each week (for the mortgage!) once the items sell. It takes a lot of fuss and bother out of the whole thing. Facebook and ebay are much too bothersome at this stage and with our lifestyle to concern ourselves with. Other items have been passed on to special friends with Grans consent and blessings. Hooray!

Gran has been getting out more due to a reassessment of her activities and requirements and making a few changes. The path to the front drive-way has been completed as has the drive-way itself which has made things a lot easier. We have lightly mulched the front gardens to keep the sand down and yesterday I planted the roses that we have had in pots for nearly eighteen months, if not more. I was not sure where they would go, but the front gardens will be tended less frequently, get lots of sun, are mainly just sand and would do best with less maintenance. As a result the roses have gone in along with some butia palms and succulent ground covers. I’ve wanted to keep the theme of the garden relevant to the house and the neighbouring houses but still plant useful plants. A walk through a bunch of flowering roses on the way up the path will  be nice for Gran.

The rabbits have  been moved onto the first completed half of the raised garden bed and are doing a great job of manuring the garden. I’m not happy with the chickens setup at the moment so that is due to change. The coop is not easy to get to which means they get more neglected than the rabbits.

The garden itself has become a jungle of the highest fat hen you are ever likely to come across in your life.

The days are of course getting shorter now, noticeably so. The air is cool to crisp at night and the days are usually sunny and quite warm and the winds drop down to gentle breezes. I never really had a favourite time of year until I moved to Albany. Autumn is something special here.

Having said that, there is the faintest whispy pink clouds revealing themselves at sunrise which may mean some showers today. But not always. . . the day is shaping up to be like yesterday. Almost perfect.

Other jobs around the place which have been completed have been:

  • a new letterbox in keeping with the new house.
  • sanded and sealed the front deck and mudroom floor (which was originally part of the original sleep-out of the house).
  • fishing gear all sorted (and discarded or mended) thanks to Pop. I plan to take the boys fishing more often.
  • still steadily preparing the other house ready for selling, in my spare time. . .

Soon I hope to start making some of our first evaluations of the systems we have in place and how they are working or what we would change.

 

Unicorn Bird Bath – Recycled Magic for the Garden

unicorn pp18

Some items around the place have a final destination that doesn’t include auctions, charity stores, selling or landfill. For instance this kids horse bike was found in one of the clearances. It used to be Mrs PP’s and I remember having similar in my childhood. It was used by our boys and a combination of its age and our boys (mainly our boys) resulted in a worn and broke down toy.

I was convinced it was destined for further greatness, despite its recent faults and didn’t just want to send it to landfill.  One day I got it in a flash of inspiration. So over the summer, with 10 minutes here and there, it got a make-over. I had made a small sketch of what I planned the finished piece to look like and decided to make it into a unicorn to add a little more magic, which I accomplished with paper clay.

  1. I removed the wheels that it still had and other extra pieces. Some were sawn off to give it a proper horse shape, instead of its bike bits. The holes were patched up with either plaster or paper clay depending on the size and it was fixed to the newly resurrected bird bath which also needed a new lease of life.
  2. Then it got a good coating of bondcrete. I had an old bottle laying around which needed using before it dried out completely. While still wet it got a hand cast smattering of coarse sand to give it a sandstone appearance. Towards the end of the bondcrete I ended up mixing sand into it to make sure crevices got some coverage too.
  3. Then it was painted over with a mix of spare paint and a little more bondcrete to really seal it off and weather-proof the whole bird bath.

The day I installed this bird bath out the front of our house I went out the front later in the day to see a young girl, probably about six, over at the park standing with arms crossed and a very serious stare fixed towards my direction. I was getting rather self conscious when I realised she had spotted the Unicorn – which is partly camouflaged against the white of the house when the house is viewed straight on.

There is more of this kind of stuff to come . . .

Fine, Humid, Hazy

It’s been really muggy the last few days. We had a shower of rain Tuesday night which freshened the garden up – then the sun came out.

I’d like to report that I’ve progressed things in the garden and built new garden beds, sorted out the animals and got things ready for autumn planting . . . but no, this has not occurred.

evolve-618237_960_720

On top of the usual chores around the house, the growing list of jobs such as finishing the tidy up of the other house, and sorting things out in our new house to a respectable level . .  well, it keeps falling back. We’ve had visits and further trades folk calling in to tidy up loose ends.  Visitors for Gran to look over options for mobility and comfort and ease of living.

In essence I’ve simply given up with setting and working to a deadline for getting the house on the market. I have one, but I’m not attached to it by any means.

So really, just so you know, I haven’t gone away. I’m just mostly off-line sorting stuff out.