Monday, April 1, 2013

Let the fun begin! Renovating the cabin starts...

At last, this past week we have started working on the little cabin, or old logger's hut as it was originally used as. It was moved from the farm across the road from us many years ago. The original owners of this property were loggers. After months of planning and gaining all the relevant planning and building permits, we finally started the work. Frans is going to be doing most of the renovation himself, with expert help from friends and a future son-in-law! Of course I will be there to hold the hammers, pass nails and make tea and sandwiches!
This is the 'before' pic. The water tank on the left had to go. 

Our first task was going to be to dig the holes for the posts that will support the new little deck and the bathroom extension. Frans booked the bob cat 'Dingo' for last Wednesday morning and we were mentally prepared for the task ahead. On Sunday evening he suddenly realised that before we could dig any holes, we'd have to move the old water tank on the East side of the hut. That was Monday's job. He had to empty the tank first which seemed such a waste of precious water, but it had to be done. The water was spread over the garden which soaked up the much needed moisture. 
It was then time to move the tank. Frans lashed ropes and straps around the tank and pulled it onto two pieces of wood. This was so that we can get Graham to lift the tank later with his tractor and move it to wherever we decide to move it to. One concern was that the original spot would be a snug spot for snakes, so as Frans carefully removed the old planks, I kept a keen eye out for any Mr Blakes. Fortunately there were none!
Getting the ropes attached to the tank. 
No snakes beneath the planks that the tank was resting on! All the external boards and spouting will be removed. A new French door will replace the window, and a small covered verandah will be built where the water tank stood. After the tank was successfully moved Frans measured out where the holes were to be dug. The following morning we drove into town to pick up the little digger. It was then just a case of lining up the giant screwdriver and start drilling. We were planning to get the holes done and do some work around the yard while we had the digger, but after taking a full hour to do the first hole we knew we were being rather ambitious or optimistic!  
Frans dug the holes, I acted as 'builder's apprentice' while Nala took her role of site manager very seriously. 
The holes have to be 600mm deep. The ground was rock hard. Frans spent a good part of the day on his hands and knees scooping the dirt from the holes. 
Nala's water bowl was just the right size to do the scooping! 
By 2pm we had done 5 holes. Only 4 to go!
Besides plenty of hands and knees work, Frans needed to break up the hard clay at the bottom of the holes with a heavy crow bar. By the time we were digging the holes on the East side of the cabin, the wind was blowing a gale and we were being coated in dust. It was our last hot day of Summer, 32 degrees. 
Tree roots needed specific attention!
4pm. Last four holes done and we're done and dusted!
We had half an hour to spare before we needed to return the bob cat to town, so Frans dug a few shallower holes along to fence line where we want to plant some olive trees.

And then it was Easter! Happy belated Easter if you've stayed with me this far!
We had a busy weekend. Two markets, one on Friday and one on Sunday. I did manage to bake a batch of hot cross buns. However, the Easter Bunny forgot to come to the farm on Sunday morning. Lucky for us, we were invited to our neighbours across the road last night and their parting gift to us was a big delicious chocolate bunny each! 

The weather was kind to us this weekend. We didn't get rained on at either of our markets.  
We were situated beside the CWA stall yesterday. Do you like their sign? Prue Campbell (seated behind the table on the right) and I put it together.   
New to the stall this week was Worcestershire Sauce, Quince Jam and Quince Jelly. The Worcestershire Sauce sold like hot cakes! We took 15 bottles to the market and came home with none. The Anzac biscuits too were excellent sellers. Our Friday market saw us run out of some of our jams and relishes. So on Saturday I cooked up a storm to replenish some of our stocks.
We shared some of our delicious Quince Paste last night with our neighbours. A wedge of creamy blue was eaten with smears of paste. Fabulous! A good bottle of red wine completed the taste sensation!

Around the garden this past week:

We've been picking apples! Lots of them. Look at this monster! 
Today we're picking and storing apples. We hope to keep them well into Winter.
This is a passionfruit flower. The bees are loving the sweet nectar. 
At last! Some of my eggplant bushes are producing fruit almost ready for the picking. I'm already planning the menu for later this week when we'll have family come for a visit. I hope to serve 'Melanzane Parmigiana" with a roasted rack of lamb from the lamb we bought from our neighbour. Local food. Zero food miles! That's our kind of meal. 
I plant sunflowers for three reasons. 1. Frans loves them. 2. The bees love the flowers. 3. The chooks love the seeds. And they look so happy dancing in the sun!
Have a wonderful week!

1 comment:

  1. gee it looks really really dry. hope you get a little more rain soon!... everything else looks just fabulous. Could have done with some of the sauce this week... went to the cupboard to use some worchester sauce but the cupboard was bare!!!! glad to see you things going so well. the quince paste sounds devine!!