Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let the Rain-Dancing Begin

Our water supply consisted of 1000 litres in a portable tank (was used to transport Guiness from Ireland and yes it was empty when we got it and no there was no residue) and about 500 litres in the green tank. The water in these tanks was stained by tannin in the leaves that had filled the gutters to overflowing and was ok for washing. Drinking water was collected weekly in two 20 litre containers. We used about 200 litres per week and luckily the periods of rain we had were enough to fill the tanks. 
To ensure an adequate supply new tanks were needed. We bought two 5500 litre tanks at clearance price. They are actually made for molasses and are much heavier than what is manufactured for water. They are also black, but as they will eventually supply water only for the vegie patch - never mind the colour - feel the price!
A base of crusher dust mixed with cement powder was laid and we rolled the tanks into position and used the bobcat to lift them up (they weigh 175kg each)
A bit of shuffling and they were in position, still coated in dust from the move.
Next day went into Gin Gin and got all the fittings to plumb them into the gutters.
With one eye on the sky, as storms were starting to build, the Old Bloke shinnied up the ladder and fitted the piping.
Then we sat and waited and got this
enough to fill the tank to the outlet gate valve, which is ok but we are buying a load Saturday for a full tank.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Farewell to Trees

As life-time member, and card carrying, ecological, greenie tree-huggers, the most difficult decision we have had to make was to have trees cut down. We need to remove trees for the solar powers system and for the house. starting with the area for the power system.
For all you tree-huggers who have not cut down a tree, believe me they are MUCH bigger on the ground than standing up and the canopy is huge, so we decided that instead of us having the "blood sap of trees" on our hands we would call in some professionals. We were quoted $2000 to remove them and mulch the canopy.
The day before, we asked the tree permission to cut them and thanked them and honoured their life and their sacrifice on our behalf.
Crew and equipment arrived promptly at 8am. Its a family business, father and son and one offsider. Father does all the quoting and the son does all the work (Sounds like a good formula to me)
By 8.30 the first tree hit the ground. We both winced. The branches were quickly removed and picked up by the bobcat and fed into the mulcher. Next went the trunk, also quickly and noisily turned into fine chips.
This process continued all morning and finished about 11.30. They were very pleasant young men and did a thorough and professional job. The big surprise was the total cost - $1500,  less than quoted. Not very often that happens!
We now have a huge pile of mulch and
a large open area of sky to catch the sun.

Footnote: One of the local brush-turkeys wandered up to the pile, stopped and took in the height and length of the heap. Could almost hear him - ' wooaaaahhhh dude, cool nest construction. Man its big and done sooooo quickly wowzaaaaa!'

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Media Room, well Sorta

So you were imagining a dedicated room with powered roll down screen and huge squishy lay-back chairs and auto dimming lights with a popcorn machine and a drink dispenser in the corner weren't you.
Well this media room is actually 2 media shelves.  
Sad isn't it when 2 shelves can get you excited.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Our son Travis and granddaughters Erin and Abby turned up for a visit. Travis also bought us up a spare TV so Jim could watch the AFL Grand Final. The remote on the other little TV we have has ceased to function and the only thing you could watch was the Tobo announcement, and the novelty wore off very quickly.He also bought 2 panels for the solar hot water system. The heat exchange unit is to come. (This is our Christmas/Birthday Presents for years to come)

The dogs couldn't wait for the kids to get out and leapt into the car and proceeded to distribute cainine-kisses to all.

When asked to remove his shoes at the annexe Travis said "Oh that's a bit on the posh side"  followed by "Wow it is posh" after he stepped through the door. Erin loved the place. Thought it was like a cubby-house, except she was concerned that it might be a little too small for us, so were going to build a second story!
Abby quickly mastered the Port-a-Potty and wanted to show everyone how to do it. All were charmed by the ever increasing flock of King Parrots that visit.
Sat at night talking and laughing, grandpa reading with Abby and discussing whales, bats and how grandpa and grandma live in the bush.
Next day all up at 6am courtesy of the kookaburras.
We all had breakfast by the fire and some father/son/granddaughter bonding. Lots of tall tales and laughter.
After breakfast we drove down to the creek which is badly overgrown with lantana. Despite this the creek is still beautiful and the dogs and kids paddled in the water .
Next came a ride on the bobcat.
Erin grinning from ear to ear, accompanied by panting dogs.
Abby, on the otherhand found the whole thing a little overwhelming and wanted OUT!
All too soon it was time for them to leave and as they left, quiet descended, the birds returned and the dogs, totally exhausted crashed for the rest of the day.
It was soooooo lovely to see them, but I will be seeing them all next weekend and will be able to give little Isaac lots of hugs and kisses as he is having his 1st birthday this weekend.

I know both Travis and Olwen have been concerned about us and whether we are ok. I hope, after this visit, that not only are we OK but loving it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Indoor Plumbing

Two things that we miss from "civilisation" is long hot showers and indoor plumbing. 
Ok we can have short hot showers but the other involved walking into the bush with a shovel in one hand and a roll of toilet paper in the other.

One day Jim took me by the hand told me to close my eyes and led me down a path into the bush.
He stopped, turned me around and cried 'taaaaaa-daaaaaaa'
When I opened my eyes this is what I saw!

 A hollow tree stump will be a temporary 'loo', complete with timber toilet seat and lid. It will do until I find our port-a-loo which is buried somewhere in the shed. Then it will be filled with soil.

Brings a smile to my face every time!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Last night about 8.30 the big 5kva generator we have been using instead of the small one began to run erratically accompanied by spectacular jets of flame. It was quickly shut down plunging us into darkness. And trust me when it is dark here its dark!
 Jim tried to start it - no compression.
Oh well an early night.

Next morning he removed the head and the inlet valve was not connected to anything!
A trip to the local small engine mechanic. This bloody generator is about 20 years old and had done about 100 hours at the most. It came from a time when thing were made from solid steel and weighs a ton. Had to use the bobcat to load it in the trailer.

The prospect of not having a generator for who knows how long was very daunting. So, we bit the bullet and bought a new one from the local hardware store. 2.2kva petrol with an electric start. Left a $900 hole in the bank account, but, starts easy as pie, runs most things and is much more economical fuel wise and does not need a 5 mile long extension cord to silence it in the bush

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


 A gunyah was a shelter made of bark by Aboriginals in Victoria. It became a popular name for houses.
We decided that it was a good name for out shelter.

The photos were taken several days later. 
Awnings, that anyone else would have taken to the tip, are on 2 sides and keep the sun off the glass and the rain off the entry. They also create a breezway and funnel the breeze through where we sit when its hot.
We have put up the big shade cloth panel and this really helps to keep the interior cooler. Needs to be higher off the roof.

 Interior shots.
The lounge area with the pot-belly heater

The office, at the opposite end to the lounge.

The bedroom, between the caravan and the lounge. Note the bed-spread!
The entry to the caravan
The fact that the upholstery in the caravan co-ordinates with the couch and bedspread was a bonus! The floor has carpet.
The pot-belly is great - takes the chill out of the place at night.
So you can see that we are pretty comfortable.