Friday, 14 December 2012

Concrete VS Rain

As we approach Christmas and the joy of family coming to stay for the very first time, we are in the midst of the final organising of big trucks.  It has been a tad stressful as the weather has delayed things over and over again.  Essentially we are awaiting concrete around the outside of the house, and this needs to be done before we can get our furniture in.  Waiting, waiting waiting!

We are surrounded by a finished building site, you know, sand and more sand.  We ummed and ahhed during construction as to what to surround the house with.  Timber decking? - no, too expensive and too much maintenance, we want low maintenance.  Paving? - memories of weeds and ants from our house in Perth has put us off, again, too much maintenance.  We decided on concrete, specifically coloured concrete.  Once it's done and sealed, the maintenance is minimal.  After some contemplation we decided on a colour called 'Mocha', a warm brown in keeping with the nature colours we have used around our house already.

Finally the concreter rang to say he'd be coming to start our job.  First the formwork.  I like curves and luckily curves were no problem!
 
 The first dribble of concrete emerges from the truck.
 
The front of the house has concrete.  But what's this, not rain!  Yes, flippin' rain, torrential rain and gale force winds.  Fabulous.  This is not conducive to the laying of concrete!
I take my hat off to the concreting guys, they were amazing.  Not only were they running around in the pouring rain with barrow loads of concrete, they also has to construct this huge lean-to to protect it.  Well done boys.
 
The next day dawned bright and sunny so the concrete  started drying out.  Looks rather good eh, I just love the curves!  I can't wait to start putting some plants in, but that is a way off yet.
 
The boys were back today doing the next section of concrete.  Interesting the difference in  colour between wet and dry 'Mocha' concrete.  We will put a sealer on it in a month or so, so I guess the colour will end up somewhere between the two extremes shown here.  It is BRILLIANT to be able to walk out our front door onto a hard surface, instead of into a sand dune!
 
A random photo, I hadn't seen the kitchen with just the lighting from the rangehood before, and thought it looked rather beautiful.
 Amidst concrete and rain, we also harvested our garlic.  Here it is drying out after being pulled.
And after the removal of sand and the outer layers, da dum, organically grown purple garlic!  Every time we have roast vegies, we roast a couple of these globes.  Absolutely delicious, yum yum yum!
With all the unseasonal rain that is upon us, the grass is growing like a mad thing.  I mowed this afternoon, have I mentioned how much I love our ride-on mower Helga?  Amongst the sand and mess of building a house, I thought it looked lovely after being mowed, all neat and tidy.  The sandy area in the foreground of the photo has been seeded with Emerald Kikuyu, which is supposed to be less rampant than normal kikuyu, so we shall see.  I just wanted to cover up the sand from all the construction and trucks driving through. The December rain is helping to keep it growing which is great.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

292 Days Later..

The move into our house has begun.  We are collecting boxes and boxes and boxes from the storage unit where they have patiently sat all year.  The painting of my sewing room is complete so this is the storage area for the boxes until we get time to sort things out.
 
The painting of the house continues, some days we are amazing, getting through heaps of painting, but other days we are so sore or fed up that we down paint tools and do something else. One of the painting days had somewhat of a calamity, I was busy painting the pantry and Steve was in the bedroom.  Pepper was in the living room which was largely clear apart from paint tins on a big piece of cardboard, plus one paint tray that contained the dregs of ceiling white ready for cleaning out.  I came out of the pantry to find the brand new living area floor covered in white footprints, yes, the bloody dog had navigated her way through the paint tins and walked through the paint roller tray.  I screamed!  Then the dog was unceremoniously thrown outside.  As it turned out the paint came off the sealed floor fairly easily but I reckon I was in shock over it for the next 2 days!  Here is a photo of her ladyship a few days later still showing the evidence, see the "greybeige" toenails.
Here is the finally completely painted pantry, all ready to be filled.  Behind the door are another 4 shelves, shallow ones.  We had those added to the pantry to store jars of stuff.  As we are planning to preserve as much home grown food as we can, it seemed an important inclusion.
I carted all the pantry stuff from the shed to the house, and unpacked boxes of kitchen bits and pieces.  Lots to do!
 
 Now you may ask yourself why there are dishes in the wheelbarrow?
 
This is our present to ourselves, a spiffy new dishwasher, and the wonderful Steve installed it.  So when I knew this was imminent I started saving the dishes instead of washing them up in the shed, which I was never very good at and smashed god knows how many glasses during that time!  So, once that dishwasher was in I piled the dishes into the wheelbarrow and carted them over to the house.  I cannot begin to say how much joy that gave me, not having to wash the dishes in the shed sink again.  :-)
 Speaking of the wonderful Steve, here he is looking knackered.  It seems to be a permanent state of affairs at the moment!
 
Despite the dog's indiscretion I decided to buy her a new bed for the new house.  She has struggled a bit to climb into it as it is taller than her old bed and she is a geriatric, but once in it she sleeps like a log.


 Someone is a bit tired after their bath...
 So, finally, 292 days after leaving Perth and moving into our shed, we dragged the beds from the shed into the house and moved ourselves in.  And a timely choice of day it was too, as that night the heavens opened, the wind roared and the hail bucketed down.  You can see how heavy the rain was through the windows.
 And the hail on the ground.  What struck us immediately being in the house is the quiet.  Had we been in the shed this night we wouldn't have been able to hear ourselves think, the noise of the weather would have been deafening.  In the house it was just a vague noise and we had to look out the windows to actually see what the weather was doing.
With the inclement weather the temperature plummeted, so Steve gleefully piled wood into the fire and lit her up.
 
Nothing like a glass of wine and a fire-warmed bum.  Note the dog-proof room in the background.  Thanks Lesley for the loan of the gate!
 
The next mission was to set about trying out the new oven.  Our first oven cooked meal was roasted vegetables - potatoes, carrots and garlic from our garden and pumpkin from a local grower, delicious just with gravy.
 And then for dessert, apple and rhubarb crumble with custard, also cooked in the oven.  In fact the oven is so wide the crumble was cooked on the same shelf as the vegies, right along side.  It was a great meal!
 
I am really loving the kitchen.  Even though I am still stumbling my way around it and trying to find things, it all fits together really well.  Good karma or something.  ( edit: I will add what my daughter said this morning....Good karma in the kitchen? Do you mean good Feng Shui? I don’t think your kitchen has a next life to acquire good karma for… :P       -  ok ok, good Feng Shui then my dear! :-)  )
Plus as you know already, I love the colours in there, very peaceful.  And when the sun comes in the window in the early morning, the reflections from the sink dance on the ceiling.

Steve managed to find our big tv in storage and set it up.  We don't have the sound surround connected yet, but what a luxurious thrill to have a break from painting to sit in comfy chairs and watch the cricket.  We are hoping to get the rest of our furniture here within the next week or two, but for now we have sufficient to get by.  Slowly but surely we are organising ourselves, trying to have breaks to recharge our batteries, but we are getting there.  We are reveling in the space we suddenly have, and we keep losing each other, having been living in one room all year, suddenly we have all these rooms to be in!
So, here we have it, our house on the hill. Halfway over the hill in fact.  And we are living in it! Life is good.