Landscaping

For the past few days, I have been working away at a patch of the backyard that we are going to use as our main food production area, as well as an outside seating space where we will have a fire pit. It was a run down, weed and rubbish plagued area. Before Christmas, we took 2 trailer loads of rubbish away from this space, pulled down the already falling down chook run, which we didn’t want anyhow as chooks in suburbia don’t work, and the fact that if you watch the news, this part of Australia gets mega sized pythons, so the chooks wouldn’t last long anyhow.

So, this is a couple of shots beforehand, taken by the realestate agent to sell the house, so good camera angles don’t show how bad it really was. (I forget to do before photos all the time…..)

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There was a lot of rubbish down behind that shed too.

So, I have removed the chook run, and will be able to re-use most of the materials, I did send the chicken wire off to be recycled, but some heavier mesh, most of the timber, steel posts and roofing iron will all get a second life. That project will be the next one.

I have made a large vege garden along the retaining wall, as bending over to tend veges is so, well, in your 20’s, not fibromyalgia affected 40’s. In between the posts of the verandah in the 3 spaces, I have strung plastic coated wire, and now have 2 varieties of grapes and a passion fruit vine planted, which will be trained up onto the wires, thus creating a screen from the neighbours place, as well as producing a bounty of food.

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It may not look pretty right now, but the big area to the left was where the chook run was, and was very uneven, so required a lot of earth to be moved to level it. The other dirt patch near the vege patch was a huge dip in the ground, now it’s nice and level. The end posts of the chook run will stay, as I am going to attach the previously mentioned heavy wire mesh to them to grow beans and kiwi fruit on.

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These are our first green leafy things, lettuce, spinach and rocket for salads, it’s the real pick and mix salad, we will just pick the leaves as we need them and leave the plants to keep growing.

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This is our passionfruit vine. I have already tip pruned it to encourage some laterals to grow, to train out onto the wire. There are 2 wires, so it will be trained onto both in time

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Below is one of the 2 grape vines, this being a white table grape, it’s been in the ground for about 3 weeks now, and is nearly high enough to start training as well.

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Below is the newest grape to be added, a Red Globe table grape. It’s still very short, so I will stake it up soon once it gets some length, and then hopefully by the end of the month, it too will be ready to train onto the wire.

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This space beside the shed will be producing bananas and Paw Paws. I have seedlings of the Paw Paws growing in seedling trays, once big enough they will be in there too.

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Lastly, this was the gift from my brother for Christmas, a weather station. It measures wind velocity and direction, temperature, rainfall and humidity.  The panel with the data is in my bedroom on the desk, and it will be invaluable with the whole food production thing.

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I don’t really know how I have managed to do so much, I have been very fatigued for weeks, and in pain, but being out there doing this has helped take my mind off it, if only for a while. I haven’t done it all in one hit, just as I have been able, so sometimes I have just spent 20 minutes doing some, then other times an hour.  The feeling of achievement is so worth it. I guess the food will be too, once it grows !!!

Andy.

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The Midnight Hour

Here I sit as the clock enters the midnight hour. I have been up since 7.30am, and although tired, am still a bit wired. I have managed to squeeze a little bit of “me” time in each day for the past 3 or 4 days, don’t know how, but it is helping me to become a bit more settled into the new life than I have been so far.

For the past couple of months I pretty much haven’t had “me” time, it’s been go, go, go, packing the old house, cleaning the old house, driving 3,500km, cleaning the new place, fixing the new place, unpacking all our stuff, and now finally, everything is starting to settle, so now, I am finally getting a bit of time to chill.

Up until the past few days, I have been so exhausted by the time I have had dinner, that not long after, I have had to go to bed, because I just couldn’t stay awake any longer. I haven’t slept well either, although that hasn’t really changed, the pain from the fibromyalgia has been really bad, so interrupted sleep has been the order of the day, or more specifically the night, for weeks.

Mum has been unwell, as I said in a recent post, today she wasn’t good first thing this morning still, but has slept almost all day, I checked on her at lunchtime, because I hadn’t seen her, and she was starting to improve, and then after almost the entire afternoon asleep again, she finally was able to eat all her dinner, and actually stayed up and watched Django Unchained with me tonight. She even sounds better and has more energy too. She’s been ill since Saturday, so today was the first sign of improvement in all those days.

Today, I over did it first thing, as soon as I could I mowed the lawns, as they desperately needed doing, trying to get it done before it got too hot, but it was already warm, and very humid at 8.30am. By the time I was finished at 9am, I was feeling very woozy, I felt nauseous, and extremely tired, so I sat in the cool for a while, after having a shower because I was dripping with sweat. Later in the day, I sat and sewed the buttons back onto the new couch cushions, but didn’t do too much else outside, as I also ended up with a thumping headache by lunchtime. It wasn’t until about 6pm, that I realised the cause of my headache. I hadn’t had a single cup of coffee all day, and it was caffeine withdrawal. I immediately had a coffee, and woosh, the headache was gone. I had gone hours with this headache, if only I had realised sooner that coffee was the solution !!!

I also broke in the new BBQ tonight. We had sausages with salad for dinner, so I decided to fire up the BBQ and not heat up the inside of the house, so cooked the sausages outside. I have already come to the conclusion that it is the best BBQ I have ever cooked on.

So after all of today chores, we ended up with a monsoonal downpour late this afternoon, and it was a glorious thing to see. After all the gardening of the past few days, with the hot weather that has come back to us again, the garden needed a drink. I have been watering the new plants enough for them to survive, but now the whole garden has had a good drink, established and new plants, as well as the lawn. I refuse to water lawns, I like lush lawns, but don’t like watering them, the sky has to do that, and the grass has to learn to survive on that.

Jack has been working away at trying to learn to ride his bike today again as well, and he is certainly making progress, not a pro yet, but he is getting the hang of it. It’s nice having a garden where he can actually have the space to safely practice, and now hopefully, learn how to ride.

Anyhow, it’s now halfway through the midnight hour, so I will now attempt to get some sleep. My brother arrives from Melbourne in 2 days time, so still a few things to do before he gets here, but then, hopefully, I will be able to chillout a bit more over the Christmas break.

Andy.

Outing to Yarrabah

Today, we went off on a pure “just drive and see where we end up” outing. Just Jack and myself. My Mum is unwell, so I figured that if we went out for a little bit, she could have some peace and quiet to rest.

After a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we headed off to Yarrabah, an Indigenous Community to the East of Cairns, on the other side of Trinity Inlet. It is a bit of a drive, I thought it was closer, but was so well worth it. The drive had us meandering through the sugarcane fields, and after the downpour we had yesterday from Tropical Cyclone Owen, a lot of the streams were flowing. This was the first time we went to Yarrabah, so didn’t know what to expect, and it was also Jack’s first time going to an Indigenous Community. There are certain things you need to observe when entering Indigenous communities, and you must have the utmost respect for the place and it’s people.

The drive took us up over the mountains, which was quite a climb up and over the range, but the whole thing was worth it. Below, is a photo overlooking the bay that fringes Yarrabah, who wouldn’t want to live in this slice of paradise ??

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We wandered on down from this amazing vantage point into the community below, and as we pulled up at the beachside, a lovely old Aboriginal lady in a wheelchair was having her morning wander around, and we had a little chat. She was an amazingly friendly and warm woman.

We then wandered onto the beach, where we discovered that 2 shipwrecks also inhabited the waters just off the beach. It was a popular photographic subject with both myself and Jack.

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Jack was trying to get the best angle.

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The western headland of the bay also was quite interesting and picturesque.

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We then decided to head back home, but took a detour before getting home to have lunch, which included a feast of Lychees we got at a roadside stall on our travels. Below, is the Western flank of Walsh’s Pyramid, with water streaming down some ephemeral waterfalls due to the heavy rain yesterday.

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We also happened across this colony of Fruit Bats, or Flying Foxes, which just so happens to be not far from our new home. I have been itching for a bit of an explore, but due to all the work we have needed to do, this has been the first proper opportunity.

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All the usual crap with fibromyalgia is happening still, and we still have tonnes more work to do, but it was nice to just kick back for a few hours, and start to explore our new home.

Andy.

I should be asleep

I am thoroughly exhausted, having been running on empty for weeks now. The move, the crap beforehand, and now all the stuff we have had to do since being here has been full on. It’s go, go, go all the time. I don’t know how I am managing it. I really aren’t managing it, it’s more like going from one urgent matter to another. You just have to go with the flow.

So, right now, it is under 7 hours away from when the next tradies arrive to do some work on the house. I really should be fast asleep, re-energising for the new day, but I have found myself sorting out my DVD collection into some sort of order, my mind is buzzing, and even though I feel like collapsing, I can’t switch off. I really have been burning the candle at both ends.

I know a massive crash is going to happen, it’s not if, but when. I hope it’s within the school holiday period, because then I can still handle all my obligations fairly easily.

We have done massive amounts of work every day. I have, for example, drilled multiple holes into concrete today to lift curtains in 3 rooms, unpacked and set up half the Christmas stuff, assembled a new bed, cut Jack’s hair, attended his enrollment interview at the school, done shopping, come back and unpacked artwork, and then done all the sorting of the DVD’s. Tomorrow, it’s out after the tradies leave to look for plants for the garden, and look for more furniture, and if we get plants, the afternoon will be planting.

Anyhow, I am going to attempt to sleep now, hopefully it happens.

Goodnight.

We have finally moved !!!!

It is a warm, balmy night as I write this from the tropical north of Queensland !! We have now been living in Gordonvale, just south of Cairns, for just over a week. I am loving it here !!!

Finally, we don’t have to worry about running into Jack’s deranged mother when we go down the street, which is still sinking in for me, as are the realities that we are now living in such a magnificent part of Australia. Jack was conceived only 40 minutes down the road from where we now live, we passed through there last Tuesday, just before we set eyes on our new home, which, is just fantastic.

Dad has his own little granny flat, which since about 2pm today, is all renovated to the point of satisfaction, I helped him fit his new shower curtain rail and put up the last of his curtain rods. The electricians were in there yesterday, as the oven and stove weren’t wired, and a light needed to be shifted, the bill hasn’t come yet for that, so that should be fun to see !!!

We’ve replaced door locks, hung curtains, fitted doors to the linen closet, acquired furniture, some of which was flat pack stuff, which took hours to assemble due to the quantity we bought, unpacked a tonne of boxes, flattened the boxes and taken them to the recycling centre, done about half a dozen trips to Bunnings for supplies to renovate, and it’s just been go, go, go. At 6am tomorrow, the solar panel installers are coming to start that off, we will have the last of our things from the last house delivered on Friday, as they were delayed by the fires and heat wave Queensland has been experiencing, on Tuesday next week we have air-conditioning being fitted to 3 bedrooms along with Window Tint on all the front windows, and then on Wednesday, the built in wardrobes will arrive and be installed in both Jack and my rooms.

It feels like we are getting back to some semblance of normality, although there is a heap more to do, both Mum and myself have done the bulk of what has been needed to be done, and hopefully by the end of next week, we will have most of the urgent tasks done. We are taking a day off on Saturday to go up the Atherton Tablelands to go to some markets, and to just have a break from it all.

The fibromyalgia has been a bit crazy, it’s been kicking in with pain for weeks, and the last few days both Mum and myself have been battling a huge amount of fatigue. We are pushing ourselves beyond our limits to get things sorted out, so we can just fall in a heap as soon as possible once it is all done.

I finally got out and mowed the grass today, this place has been neglected both inside and out for a long time, luckily it’s dry right now, so everything is not growing, but it still needed a tidy. We have 2 compost bins, both have a lot of grass clippings in them after today’s effort, but they should start to rot down pretty quickly in this climate. There is also a lot of other junk that needs to be sorted out, like a pile of rotten timber, steel stakes and bricks that need sorting through to see what is of use and what needs to go to the dump. Down beside the shed are some dilapidated shade cloth screens that have usable stuff in them, but are no longer good for their original purpose, so when I get a chance, I will go out, pull them apart, and reuse what can be reused. There is also an old chicken run and coop, which need to be pulled down, the fence will be reused for another project, the coop itself has a concrete floor, and the roof needs repair, but we are thinking of using it as an undercover storage space once it is repaired.

So as you can see, there is a lot to do, but we are getting it done. Jack won’t be back to school this year, there is only just over 2 weeks of the school year left, so we will enroll him for next year, and he gets an extended Christmas break. He will be repeating grade 2 next year anyhow, as his literacy isn’t up to scratch, which is letting him down when it is required in other learning areas. He seems to be relishing the nice warm climate, and is really enjoying himself. Because we are so busy, he is not getting as much attention from us as we would like, but he understands, and when he sees things getting better in the house every day, he knows that it won’t be long before we will be able to give him as much attention as he desires.

It’s very pleasant with the new living arrangements, Jack, Mum and myself having our own lives in the big house, and Dad doing his own thing in his own space. The house is so much more settled without the constant bickering and rude behaviour from him. It’s like we are all free.

Anyhow, I am rambling away, there is so much to tell, but for now, I must retire to my bed, I am barely awake, and it is now nearly 10pm, with 6am not too far away. Goodight all.