Sunday, 7 December 2014

step by step, we're getting there

Our home may not be beautiful and neat, but one thing I can say for it... it has character. Like the side of the garage where some previous owner thought 'what the hell, you can't see this side from the gate' and stopped painting it blue. And all the rusty bits of metal leaned up against the corner to stop the dogs from excavating all my plants in pursuit of some critter burrowed under the shed.

The foxgloves Ginny gave me are so tall I've had to stake them, and the lobelia and alyssum are looking great...

I hadn't posted for a few days as I haven't really had much to share. I've been busy with work and haven't put any time into doing anything creative worth sharing. However, things are slowly moving along. I've had my trusty helper come out and do some of the heavy lifting for me so things are coming together in the yard.

For one thing, he's put a brick border along the footpath to stop the blue metal (gravel) from falling onto the path and then into the 'lawn'.

(I use the word loosely.)

I love the neat new look. Maybe it needs a brick border on the other side too?

You can see the tyre wall is coming along too.

Another view of the tyre wall from the garage to the front gate and our wonky wood shed. We figure about 3 more loads of tyres and we're onto the next phase: soil and pinebark. I've already got some plants in the tyres down the front end, I need a whole lot more to fill the whole wall.

I've had my trusty helper put carpet down along the path between the house and driveway retaining wall. That area has always been a problem. Some of it has blue metal and the rest had weeds... almost impossible to mow with all the gravel mixed into the grass. This way no more weeds and I can buy more gravel to put on top of the carpet. You can't really see it in the pic but there's another brick border to hold in the gravel at the far end of the walkway.

We put carpet skirts around the trees we planted in the paddock as well. I told Wayne I was over weeds and planned to carpet the entire yard. He was not impressed.

We also put up a bit more wire for the potato vine and sweet peas to grow up. The garden is beginning to look really nice.

Well... except for the weeds where the lawn should be and the bare patches where I poisoned weeds...

I got a pleasant surprise the other day. This plant grew in one of the garden beds and I had no idea what it was. I wasn't even sure if it was a weed or not. But since I didn't recognise it as a weed I let it grow and voila! Its a delphinium!

I'd bought delphinium seeds a couple of years ago and not a single one grew. I think I tossed the soil from the empty pots in this area and look what grew!

I'm loving the way gardens can surprise you like that. This is a new thing for me. Mostly things I put in the garden surprise me by disappearing.

Meanwhile we had to do an emergency operation on the hardenbergia and azalea corner... another critter living behind them I guess, cause I came home to find dirty dogs and the plants almost ripped out. Its a pity cause both of them had just started to take off.

When I bought the azalea Patrice was all 'oh, you'll kill it' and I was on track to prove her wrong. Hopefully no permanent damage was done.

A rickety cage made of a dog pen side, some old trellis, bits of wood and tied together with hay bale twine... add the tyre wall... a bit white trashy huh?

Oh well.

I'll just call it the 'Make Do' culture. I'm recycling and using what I have on hand.

And I have a LOT of hay bale twine...


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

the conditions i'm forced to work in

This afternoon I went into the casita to have another look at the office desk I'm working on for Wayne. This is what I was greeted with:

Little Chipmunk peered out around the corner at me.

I was disturbing little chubby's dinner.

Here's a preview of the desk I'm working on from one angle...

...or from another...

Chipmunk looked at me suspiciously. He wanted to be sure I wasn't going to turn on another sander like I did yesterday.

Gave him indigestion all night.

When he was assured there were no power tools lurking, he went back to burying his head in the bucket.


Can't a little horse eat in peace around here?

Well, frankly, no. Its my workshop, not your dining room. Horses are supposed to eat in the yard. Or the stable. 

Or the yard.


Its all Wayne's fault. When he discovered that Chipmunk had discovered he could jump up the step and come in through the bottom half of the dutch door to the casita, he began letting him in while he prepared horse feeds, which lead to Chippy dining indoors.

It works great.

Most of the time.

There was that one time when the wind blew the bottom door shut and Chipmunk was stuck in there all night.

...There was poop everywhere.

Including on the legs of the desk I'm working on.

On the legs.


How did he even get it up there?


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

the answer to everything else is pressure cleaning

Let me start at the beginning...

Years ago I bought a lounge suite at an auction for something like $25. I gave away the love seat as I didn't like it, but kept the granny style, wing back armchairs cause they were just so comfortable.

One move, too much furniture and many years later, the armchairs had ended up in the garage as Wayne's men shed seating. As a result they were covered in grease, dirt, horse and dog hair. They were stinky and filthy.

A week ago Patrice came over and saw them and while examining them I remembered why I bought them in the first place: comfort. Even with the granny floral. So I let Patrice have one and I decided to keep the other. She planned on reupholstering hers (good luck girl, too hard for me!) while I thought if I got the pressure cleaner on mine I could clean it up enough to dye it and bring it back into the house... after I eliminated the skirt...

Well, yesterday Patrice emailed me saying that scrubbing it with dishwashing liquid was working but that she thought my idea of the pressure cleaner was worth trying. By the time I hit send on my 'come on over' email she was at the gate.

We got out the second chair, put it on the path, filled the soap container on the cleaner with sugar soap and connected the hose to the hot water tap.

...Which promptly heated up and burst off the connection and flooded the laundry.

Eh. That's ok. Our laundry is in the casita and its a horrible mess anyway.

I reconnected the hose and we gave that chair the best clean its ever had.

Its sparkling clean! I don't think it was that clean when I bought it!

Now we know: the answer to any cleaning problem is a pressure cleaner! Need a new couch cause the one you have is filthy? Pressure clean it!

Patrice took the pressure cleaner to her house to use on her half cleaned chair, and promptly flooded her laundry.

For the second time in two days.

She has the cleanest laundry floor in the world.

Day before she forgot she had all her plant cuttings sitting in water in the laundry tub, put on a wash and flooded the laundry.

When Patrice got home she didn't check her hose was secure enough, turned on the hot tap and it burst off just like mine did. Obviously she doesn't learn from others' mistakes...

The upshot is that the chairs are totally clean but they do need some drying... we had hot weather, and some wind to help dry them. Even with that though, the armchair wasn't dry by 7pm. I put it in the grooming room and put the heater on it.

My armchair has an eaten cushion. Thanks dogs. I'll need to make a new one for it, but since I plan to dye it I figure I can match, or mismatch, the cushion when I'm ready. New foam is needed as well, obviously.

The point is that its all doable now that the armchairs don't smell like a dog-loving mechanic's armpit.

This is so exciting. Patrice has been bouncing all over the place bragging that we're the smartest people in Australia since the idea worked.

I'm content to know that I'll soon have another comfy armchair for the house which isn't going to cost me $$.

Wayne isn't too impressed. He's lost his comfy seating in the man shed. He'll have to live with it for a while, but when I rearrange the living room (his biggest nightmare) he'll be getting another armchair. Not sure if he'd rather do without armchairs in order to avoid the furniture re-arrangement...