Archive for the 'Country Living' Category

27
Jun
16

There’s No Place Like Home. Except …

It’s not often that I find a day at work preferable to staying at home, but today is one of those rare times.

About three weeks ago I wrote about our ongoing home renovations. At that time we’d been reduced to bathing in a child’s paddling pool while the bathroom was being removed and replaced.

Not long after posting that report, we regained our shower and put the hot-pink pool behind us. Apart from some minor touches the bathroom is complete and we’re ready for the next stage of building.
But that’s not yet our planned laundry changes. We’re still waiting for the new cupboards. Instead we have other work starting today – the replacement of the ceiling throughout our open-plan lounge-kitchen-dining rooms.

Several years ago we found our ceiling had begun to sag significantly. A handy-man friend helped us out by pushing it back and fixing it into its rightful place. All we needed to do after his repairs job was repaint it to cover the filled in screw holes.

We kept putting it off.

When the builder came to quote on our bathroom Gloria thought it would be a good opportunity to get someone to do the long neglected painting.

Problem!

When the painter saw the job he wasn’t happy with the condition of the ceiling and in consultation with our builder it was suggested that the only solution was to replace the whole thing.
And THAT is what’s happening today.

On the weekend we had to empty the three areas of furniture, cramming everything into other rooms and leaving ourselves very little living space for the duration of the work. Fortunately the worst part, the ceiling removal and the first stage of its replacement should only take one day, and then the finishing of the new surface ought to take another day at the most.
*
I left Gloria at home this morning just as the builders were arriving. It’s now three hours later and I’ve had the first progress report.
The ceiling came down with unexpected ease. Apart from the screws our handyman friend had used there was very little holding it up, so hopefully the job will take less time than anticipated. The messy work will be over when I get home this evening and we should be able to get things back to “normal” in a day or two.

Sadly the work hasn’t exposed any interesting “archaeological” finds; no hidden artefacts left behind by previous owners of the house, just a few mummified rodent corpses.

07
Jun
16

Splish Splash!

Gloria and I finally got around to having our bathroom renovated. Our house was built in the early 1980s and seemed to have the original bathroom, which was both out-dated and in need of repair. Floor tiles were continually coming loose under foot and the wall tiles in the shower seemed to be held on (and together) entirely by the grout between the tiles.

img-607075612-0001We are now in the third week of building work, a period during which we’ve had no plumbed-in bathing facilities. Our way of overcoming that inconvenience involves a small plastic paddling pool (hot pink) and several buckets of warm-hot water. We bought the pool at the last minute to use as a temporary bathtub. I don’t know how we’d cope without it. The original plan had been to use a camp-shower provided by the builder, but we couldn’t get it working properly.

Ordinarily our simple bathing facilities wouldn’t be very comfortable in the middle of winter , but we’ve been blessed with abnormally warm minimum temperatures throughout these weeks of inconvenience. Usually at this time of year we’d be expecting days of heavy frosts, but so far most mornings have been well above zero (Celsius).
If things go well this week, we should have our bathroom back before the weekend. I’m REALLY looking forward to that first shower.

And then the next renovation stage starts: a total rebuild of our laundry.

30
Jul
14

“Sparky”

A magpie has adopted my wife.
Whenever she is in the garden the bird follows her around, picking at any bug or worm it finds and waiting for Gloria to unearth a curly-grub or two (beetle larvae). Our garden has an abundance of those grubs and it’s satisfying to put them to good use feeding the bird instead of having the grubs feeding from our plant roots.

The magpie is very trusting and doesn’t hesitate to come within easy reach. We first saw it two evenings ago, curled up on the ground near the side fence. Assuming it was injured, Gloria went to check whether it was alright, but as she approached it hopped away. Then yesterday, it joined her while she was weeding one of the veggie beds.

A magpie similar to "sparky"

A magpie similar to “sparky”

Having a close view showed that its left eye was badly injured and for some reason it was unable to fly. The injury to its eye was possibly explained a little later when two healthy magpies swooped down and attacked it. These attacks were repeated a few times during the day until the aggressive birds were chased away.

Gloria has given her bird the name “Sparky” and was concerned that it may not survive the night. Our neighbour’s cat Leroy is a regular visitor and I have no doubt what would happen should the two of them meet. But Sparky made it through the night and joined Gloria in the garden again this morning. We’re not sure where it found shelter, but hope wherever it was it will continue to provide safety from cats and the frosts.

05
May
14

A Welcome Visitor

eastern spinebillFor almost 8 years I’ve been keeping a list of the different types of birds I’ve seen from my home. It includes the various birds seen in my garden, from my garden (on neighbouring properties) or flying over my garden. The one limiting factor is that I have to be on my own property when I see them.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to add another bird to the list, but this morning I saw something different feeding from a small Correa plant now in flower.

While it’s always exciting to be able to add a new entry on my list, this morning’s sighting was more special than most. It was an eastern spinebill.

What is so significant about this bird?

For many years I’ve owned a watercolour painting of an eastern spinebill. It’s been hanging on my bedroom wall since we moved into this house in 2006.

Almost from the day I bought the painting I’ve been wondering why I didn’t get one of a bird with more personal significance – for example, there were several I could have bought of blue wrens, birds that I regularly see .

Today’s sighting has now given more relevance to the painting. It’s no longer a depiction of a random bird, but is an illustration of a welcome new visitor.

Photo (of Spinebill on a Grevillea plant) from here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinebill

09
Oct
13

Garden Renovations

For years we’ve planned to create a small area of paving in our backyard. The first idea was to try doing it ourselves, but I finally realised that it was going to remain an intention rather than a reality unless we got someone else to do it.

We are very happy with the result. Not only has it given us somewhere to sit outside, it has given the garden more structure and coherence.

Here are before and after shots.

BEFOREbefore

 

AFTERafter

 

AFTER (CLOSE-UP)after close up

05
Nov
12

Holiday Sketches

I’m back after my two week break. I have a lot to catch up on but here are the few sketches I did inside the cottage where I was staying.

18
Oct
12

Taking A Break

I’ll be away for two weeks so this blog will be neglected for a while. Any comments made during that time will have to wait until I return to be passed through moderation.

It will be the longest break that I’ve had from work for 4 ½ years and I want to keep away from computers and anything that would remind me of my job.

Gloria and I will be spending some of the holiday in an 1850s granite cottage in northern Victoria. We are taking Gloria’s mum, hoping to spoil her after she went through some difficult times at the beginning of the year.

I’ll be back around the 5th November.




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