Vistas – Stirling Range

stirlingrangesunrise

The picture above was taken in June 2017 from our previous house. I remember the orange glow of the chilly mornings and the long run of amazing colours for weeks on end.

This year, on really crisp, chilly mornings when the air is really clear we still manage to get some glimpses of the Stirling Range from our new house. Only with the more coastal feel of the Norfolk Pines!

stirling range petit paradis

 

The Red Gum & The Red Wattlebird

red wattlbird

The outside of the red gum at this time of year is a profusion of blossoms. It vibrates with the sound of bees and flies and is cluttered with the squawks of Red Wattlebirds and the whistles of New Holland Honeyeaters. Now and then a Brown Honeyeater steals in to take of the spoils as well. Usually it is found out by a New Holland Honeyeater and briskly chased off, but at the moment there is much supply of nectar and all the birds that want a piece of the action are gleefully satisfied.

With the recent winds the tree has started to lose more branches which I why we ended up removing the three trees along the back fence line shortly after moving into the house. More fodder for the mulcher to add to the garden at Tillellen.

The Rain, the Muse & the Start of Winter

frog

I have been dreaming of compost. I’m not sure why.

After the recent winds came the rain. Slowly. But it really hit this afternoon and then settled in. I heard the tank pump working this morning and I’m sure it would have pumped more water up to the header tanks by this afternoon. The neighbours confirmed about 6-7 mm yesterday (Sat 26th, 20019) so I’m sure this afternoon delivered a good deal more.

I know it’s only the coming of winter, but so far we’ve done ok. In as much as, so far the house has done exceptionally well at keeping us comfortable. Gran has not made comment yet on feeling the cold unless she has been out and about.

I’ve enjoyed our autumn this year, though I feel much of it has been spent as an observer of the beautiful sunny days as I’ve worked, rather than getting out into it. But anyway, there will be time for this later and the glimpses of beautiful weather has not gone by without appreciation and gratitude.

The Muse is happy also. There is a small stockpile of deciduous leaves, mulched tree branches, saw dust, cardboard and assorted other piles of waste paper and cardboard items ready for the raised garden beds. Plus there was a little bit of progress with moving sand recently (in amongst everything else) so the promise of the first bed being completed some time soon appears eventual. Happy Muse. These resources lay in waiting. Small pots and containers of edibles are greening up and thriving. The compost bins that we started early in spring are shut down now, simply sitting and maturing. Ready also for their addition to the alchemy of what will be the raised garden bed soil.

So I am eager to get some further progress on the beds happening so that we can move the rabbits and compost bins and tidy up more of the awaiting, bulk resources that lay piled up around the place. There is the sound of rain on the tin roof as I lay in bed. The whisper of a breeze, the restlessness of a rabbit in the winter dark. The frogs are starting to sing. The Muse is happy. Finally, the rain has come.

 

Green Laundry

soapnuts pp

I’ve been updating our Changes to Lifestyle post and have been focusing on the laundry side of things which has many options available for making some wiser, greener changes. So much so I thought a post of its own would be worthwhile.

  • Wooden Pegs : we’ve had a mix of pegs in our peg basket for years. Plastic pegs, wooden pegs and other odd ones. The wooden pegs have actually outlasted the plastic pegs because of their ability to withstand degradation from UV light. The other benefit is that when they fall apart, as they eventually do, they just get put in the compost or buried into the garden soil. Easy. There are some fancy set-ups in the marketplace for hanging clothes up to dry, but wooden pegs do the job.
  • Clothes Horse : Following on from wooden pegs, we also use two clothes horses to simply hang washing on under our deck. It doesn’t require pegs and is handy to place indoors or out. We are holding off from a clothesline until the paving is done to find a suitable location. If it is required.
  • Laundry Balls : also in the laundry – we use good quality Laundry Balls containing small ceramic balls that soften the water in the washing machine to allow the clothes fibres to open and release dirt. Does many hundreds of washes and reduces the need for laundry powders or liquids.
  • Soap Nuts: These are a classic substitute for soap if the wash is remarkably dirty and needs a little something extra. Soap nuts have natural soapanin and leave a very delicate fragrance to the clothes. They also do a really good job on little boy clothes.
  • Wash times: This has mainly applied to living with the solar pv system. We now wash clothes during peak sunlight times, using the timer on the machine if we know it will be a sunny day. This way we are using electricity we are generating. Sometimes we will run the electric dryer during this time too.
  • Greywater: It is satisfying to know that the laundry water goes out into the garden and continues the water cycle on our block. This is not really a change as such, but an improvement with the introduction of the greywater system.

Rainwater

frog ppHow fantastic it is to be able to finally shower with filtered rainwater. To know that the water we have been using has been sitting in the tanks waiting for us over the months prior to us moving in. It was early January when the plumber and I met on a sunny afternoon to make sure that all the systems were working properly. We found small leaks which needed repairing. The Greywater System needed a good flushing out and how great it was to see that it was pumped up to the top garden without any drama. By the time we were ready to move in all systems were up and running. It was just a matter of observing how they operated and how we related to them.

There are some idiosyncrasies of course. Given we are on a tank system which is pumped into the house there is a small delay when we use the taps before the pump kicks in and then there is a jump in the water pressure. We have become accustomed to this already. The hot water system is working really well and  is even super hot in the early morning.

On the occasional overcast days recently it has just managed to get us by. I don’t generally have hot showers for health reasons, so Gran is our gauge on how cool the water is and she’s not mentioned anything as yet.  It’s also great to be able to drink water straight from the shower. Clean, filtered, rain water.

We are now into Autumn and are receiving small top ups of rainwater each week through the odd nightly rain shower or downfall during the day. So we are over the threat of running out altogether which means we have managed to do with the two large tanks we have over three very dry months. I have not installed our rain gauge yet, it would have been handy to know exactly how much we did receive here during that time, but for now there is always next summer.