Friday, May 17, 2013

Cabin Fever!

Well, at last! We are finally getting a move on with fixing up the old loggers hut. After waiting for building permits for what seemed forever, we're getting stuck into the nitty gritty of getting this little cabin spruced up to what will hopefully be a very comfortable little Bed and Breakfast cabin.
Frans got stuck into removing the side planks and poured the concrete pads in the stump holes. We were very lucky to have our young mate Michael come down from Melbourne to help us with the first stage of the build.We met Michael when he was a little kid, and now he's a strapping big builder!
Before any serious work could begin, some of the tree branches of this old gum had to be removed. Carefully. While Frans was busy with the prep work, I went into town on a mission to buy nails for a nail gun (very specific requirements given!) and a few bits and pieces that would be needed for the weekend. 
Saturday morning rolled around and Michael arrived bright and early with his Mum, my good friend Lynnie. Of course nothing is ever perfect, and the nails I'd bought the previous day were no good. They simply crumpled as they were being shot into the timber. Tools were downed and the boys went to town to get another box. Lynnie and I retired to the kitchen where we labeled jams and bagged up Anzac Biscuits. A while later the workers returned with the correct equipment! 
Michael and Nala set out the string lines.
Lynnie decided it was boring just holding the timber, she'd rather do some serious work!
Is this the mark?
 Not satisfied with a little drop saw action, this amazing woman had no hesitation in blitzing the frame with a nail gun!
Frans and our good friend John mixed up concrete to pour around the stumps. The first part of the job was almost complete.
By mid afternoon the frame for the ensuite was up!
Now for the next step.... Putting up the frame. Stay tuned!

Then, Frans got sick. He had struggled through the day in getting the first stage of the cabin done. He then took to his bed. For a number of days. This meant I had to wear the 'Farmer Frans' hat for a few days while he recovered. Morning and evenings he feeds his cows. I can see why he loves them. They all have individual personalities. I wasn't sure if they'd come up to the feeding spot if I called them. But they did. It feels so corny standing at the fence calling 'come on Eileen'! Yes, the cow with the mean look in her eye below is called Eileen. (Sara's name pic). We've had a little rain and although the paddock looks green, there really isn't a lot of grass for the animals to eat. It's easy to throw some hay over the fence and let the cows eat where you drop it. Usually Frans rakes the hay up close to the fence to stop the cows standing in the good stuff or pooping in their breakfast. I've done this too on quite a few occasions, but one morning I got a little side tracked and I leaned against the front fence and the rake touched the electric wire. I can try and describe what it feels like to have a crack of electricity fire through your body. The first realisation that something odd has happened is a jolt you feel deep in your gut and the crack you hear as your flesh makes contact with the national grid! A sharp sting rushes through the hand holding the metal rake while the leg touching the fence feels like it has just been touched with a branding iron. The spot burns for a while! Second problem is the rake has been dropped on the other side of the fence. How do I get it back without walking all the way around the fence line. I use a garden fork and CAREFULLY lift the handle and slip the rake through the gap between the electric wire and the fence. Ok. Breath. Come on cows! Breakfast is ready!

Eileen is a real cow. She's the boss. And she let's poor Thursday know it. She pushes her away from the hay and often stands parallel to the fence so that Thursday can't get close to the feed. More action with the rake is required to shove Eileen to her end of the fence!
Thursday does have one advantage over the big old cow. She's young. And faster! When I call them, Thursday bolts up to the fence from waaayyy down the end of the paddock. She gets in first. Take that Eileen!


This was my task today. Clear out this garden bed. Remove the spent dill. Pull out the exhausted zucchini plants and remove all the carrots, eggplant and gem squash left after the Autumn harvest. The morning was cool. Well, more than cool. COLD. 
As I work my way down the bed, I dig up rogue potatoes. I don't plant them. They just pop up everywhere around the garden. It does drive me a little nuts! But the upside is that they all add to the food haul for the day.
Carrots of all sizes, shapes and colours are pulled from the ground.
Almost done. Rain threatens and I grab the sunflowers I've cut and go and hang them up under the outside shed.
Not a bad collection. Corn, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, gem squash, eggplant and dill.
Sunflowers hung upside down to dry. Some of seeds will be saved for growing again next season and the rest will go to the chooks. They have given us a summer of bright colour and the bees have danced around the heads taking pollen back to the hives. The dill is also hung to dry. I'll gather the seeds for the kitchen and to plant again.
Time to call it a day. The weather is rolling in...
I fill the wheelbarrow up as much as I can so I only need to make one trip to the compost heap!

We'll be at the Lions Market in Colac this coming Sunday. Come and say 'hello' if you're around.
Have a great weekend!

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