House and garden update

It’s the middle of winter and rain, wind, and rats invading the tiny house were on the menu this week, but it was nice to be back even after a wonderful weekend in Melbourne last week. Melbourne is one of my favourite cities, especially in winter – great galleries, food and drink to die for, interesting shops and nice gardens even in the middle of the city.
I’ve been spending a lot of time planning and planting the new septic tank drainage area. It’s large and covered with a deep layer of bark, with pressurised hoses underneath. Some areas are solid yellow clay under the bark, but most are are silty, so it requires a variety of different plants. It’s kind of slow to plant, but I am enjoying it and trying some new plants – (perennial borage, giant buttercups, new salvias, and more). It will be a bit of a lottery as to what survives – I’m not really clear on how wet it will be, and it sounds like it will be salty as well, which make sense if you think about what goes into the septic tank, the salt doesn’t get sieved out.
I thought I would include C’s update on the build as well:

Lots of progress this week on the shed.
Both ends are clad now. Just some trimming to do. Still waiting for the door sill then the deck. We will also wrap the posts in redwood. The fascia arrived so that will finish of the front roof nicely.
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The ceiling is just about finished now. This view is from the bedroom looking west to the sea. These posts will be wrapped as well and a beam will go along the top of the mezzanine on both ends. I still have the bolts to forge for these as well which should be fun. Lots of sanding to do and then oiling.
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Cath is still hard at it on the drainage field and we need more rocks…again.
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New turning circle out front is a huge improvement but still needs a little more metal to bring it up to the right height.
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The lining downstairs is just about done. Looking really good and makes the whole place a lot lighter. Electrical is mostly done and plumbing is done for the first fit. Taps, toilets, bath and shower next week hopefully.
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The wood shop side just needs the skylights cut out and framed. Stairs are next week as well as so that will make life a lot easier getting between floors. We went and saw the first of the Silver Beech timber being machined for all the window sills and surrounds and it looks amazing. Taking some down next week as well so it will be another big load.
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The Project Manager is Not completely happy with everything just yet…
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chrysanthemums salvia cut flowers

In a Vase on Monday, one month apart

It’s a month since I brought home flowers. Time is ripping past and there is so much to do on the house, in the garden, and at work that there just doesn’t seem to be time.
fruit and flowers with pumpkin
But yesterday I decided to pick some Mother’s day flowers for a close friend.
So here are last month’s flowers and yesterday’s flowers.
fall flowers and pumpkinsChrysanthemums are flowering now, the last of the pumpkins are inside, and the anemones are almost gone.
anemone roses and dahlias cut flowersWeirdly, I found the first of the Paper Whites flowering yesterday – although the weather is unseasonably warm.

field of buckwheat flowers with bees

Buckwheat for Bees

I am pretty happy with my buckwheat. After the extra hot spring weather brought early flowering on many trees and shrubs, I wanted to make sure the bees didn’t go hungry later in the summer. I sowed the buckwheat seed in an area of soil which had been dug and flattened for the septic tank runoff, but won’t be completed with the drainage until the plumbing is finished later in the year. We had a couple good rains, and 4 weeks later the first flowers were out and filled with bees every morning. A rainy and hot month later the plants are almost as tall as me and full of flowers.
honey bees on buckwheat flowers
Buckwheat only releases nectar in the morning, so the bees seem to be very business like and efficient in harvesting. They carry a good amount of pale yellow-green pollen as well.

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Mid Summer

I’m still madly busy, so much so that I spent a rare weekend in the city, worrying that the birds would feast on my first really big tomatoes. As it turns out, they left the really big ones alone, and there is plenty for all of us – we are really into bruschetta season now. It was raining all weekend anyway, we have had almost 4 inches – 92 mm of rain since we were here 2 weeks ago.
The first windows are in the barn house – so exciting! We are oiling more redwood weatherboards this week, and looking after vegetables in any spare time.
Here are a few photos – these are from mid January.

chard going to seed with plum tree
Ruby Chard forming seed by a plum tree. Great seeds for micro greens

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Dark Purple Hydrangea

Welcome Flowers in a Vase on Monday

Within hours my Mom will be here from the cold and snow of Canada, and I’ve picked some Dahlias, Thalictrum, and Hydrangeas for her. The Dahlias haven’t done all that well so far this year – the early hot dry spell followed by rainy weather at Christmas has left them a little tattered, but there is plenty of time left for better blooms.

vase of dark red dahlias and purple hydrangeas
Continue reading “Welcome Flowers in a Vase on Monday”

Barn house concrete floor

Building the Barn House – we have a floor

Well it’s not the prettiest picture in the world but it represents an enormous amount of work. The foundation, septic tank, and concrete floor have taken more than a month to achieve – amid an extra rainy Spring. Lots of organising for C, and lots of digging, earth moving, and filling back in again for the contractors.
Here’s the picture which inspired the design of the building. **
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anemones and poppies with ixia

In a Vase on Monday – more Spring Bulbs

It’s been a wet Spring, and this seems to have lengthened the bulb season. Roses are starting to bloom, and we still have a few Narcissi and Freesias, and lots of Iris, Ixia, and Anemones. There is even one last Tulip. The Columbine are just starting, and Lily seedlings are coming up like grass in the humus-ey soil where I’ve retained the bank with old logs.
anemones poppies columbine and iris cut flowers

Continue reading “In a Vase on Monday – more Spring Bulbs”