Dream house, dream life, yeah right. Dream on…

Operation Fence (Part 2)

My new ‘Roman’ fence (it wasn’t built in a day) stayed propped up with various bits of stakes etc, and was often laying on the garden for weeks as the weather and work conspired against me. As a friend noted, it wasn’t going to keep anything out.

I finally got all the posts in. A couple of pieces had to have some length taken off the legs to bring them down near the rest of the fence. Some posts went through the legs of the bedhead, some tied to the sides.  Mostly wooden stakes as the plastic ones I bought were too thick to go through the bedposts. Then the adding of the netting.

Got nice black plastic net for around $20 for 10m at Bunnings which was better than chicken wire as it won’t stay pushed up if they try to go under (a few sections I’ve added a length of wire at the base to keep it down), but being black it fades from view. I’d have had to paint chicken wire. The netting will need a few more cable ties added once it has relaxed into place a bit more but it became a race against the sunset to get it on.

 

There are three gates which simply lift and rotate around the stake through their post.  This means I can push the mower through the back, or open the front to add pine bark etc.

 

So far so good. The petunias are flowering (apparently petunia buds are yummy…) and the chrysanthemum is covered in buds.

Next job, to extend the garden to the fence, and add a couple of clematis.

 

See part 1 here

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been gardening here at 28 Gumtrees since I was 10.  Over the years I’ve  grown and shown daffodils and chrysanthemums,  grown just about everything, built gardens, destroyed gardens, planted, removed, and planted more trees. However when I bought the place 6 years ago my focus turned to the inside, and the garden was left to fend for itself.  Around the same time, the wallabies started to come in, although it wasn’t until the drought hit 4 years ago that I really noticed them eating anything but the lawn.  Very few plants are safe from a hungry wallaby, and once they discover a plant they will return to it over and over.  I have, or rather had, a lovely little self-sown hebe that was about half a metre high that suddenly was not allowed to have a leaf. However, the parent plant, just 2 metres away was barely nibbled. While I stripped floors and rebuilt kitchens and painted everything in sight the garden struggled. Between the weather and the hopping lawnmowers I only had to mow about 8 times a year, mostly to get the weeds around the lemon tree (compared to the 50 times a year average before the wallabies).  The twitch (which they don’t eat) took over the garden beds, and things either survived or died, pretty much unnoticed.

Abandoned

Before Christmas last year I decided this had to be the Summer of the garden, and the weather (and the loan of a trailer!) co-operated nicely.  Project Resurrect began with 7 loads of green waste, and a number of loads of pine bark. My plan was to plant what I had, and only grow things that could survive the wallabies since without installing a few hundred metres of fence, I had little way to keep them out.  I started poisoning the grass, then gave up and just dug holes in the weeds in an effort to “Plant Everything” before it got too hot.  I got about  3/4 of the pots in, and dumped pine bark on the weeds to make new garden beds.

I removed 6 trees (5 of them dead, 1 almost so),  got some bargain plants through exchanges and markets and was determined that I was not going to start “collecting’ plants like I had in the past.  I once had about 30 different dianthus (wallabies’ favourite food it seems) and I haven’t seen an ixia or muscari flower in 5 years.  While I was willing to put a few fences around some trees until they got big enough to be out of wallaby reach, I was determined not to end up growing a bunch of wire cages. If it wouldn’t survive without minimal attention from me it wasn’t going in. However, when I planted out the two chrysanthemums that have been struggling along in tiny pots for a couple of years right beside the path that Rufus uses to come and go at night, I was not prepared to go to water them the next day to find they did not have a leaf left between them!  This combined with the demise of the long awaited liriope flowers before they even broke bud made me snap. I started planning how to fence off a part of the garden without spending money.

I thought of using scrap timber I had on hand to build rectangular frames for chicken wire, then attaching them to posts I’d have to buy, but I wasn’t loving the idea of all those straight lines around my flowers.  I thought of chicken wire or plastic mesh around star pickets (until I priced them at nearly $15 each!), but wallabies have a habit of just leaning on wire until it sags, so I’d need a lot of posts, and it would look a bit like a poorly made chicken run. I almost got some (give away) lengths of iron balustraude, but they would have had to be carted up a hill, AND cut before I could fit them on the trailer to bring home –  which was a bit beyond my skills and strength.

Then, someone posted a headboard bench seat –  you know the type –  wooden bedhead, with the footboard cut in half and attached as arms each side and a few planks to make a seat.  

And I remembered an idea I had to make a gazebo for the back garden, but rather than build a railing, I wanted to use the timber and metal bedheads that I often saw at the Tip shop and garage sales. I wanted bedheads like mine, timber posts and black ironwork.

So  I set off for the Hobart Tip shop-  bedheads please…  They had one.  One. A narrow piece of metal, missing the side posts… Not worth bringing the trailer over for.  So instead I went home and hitched the trailer to get some bark – and thought I might as well look in Mornington Tip shop,  maybe get one there to start the collection.  $50 later –  and the trailer was fully loaded with 11 bedheads plus another bit.  Dropped them at home,  carted them down the back, hitched the trailer up again, went and got some pine bark,  brought that home,  disconnected the trailer and went back to Bunnings to get stakes and cable ties and wire and most importantly…  spray paint!

Operation Fence had begun.

Step one: Get some consistency. With only 2 bedheads that actually matched in design, and one that was bright blue, another gray, and the rest strange combinations of  sun faded and scraped black the first step was to spray them with flat black paint

Then, test out the placement. I discovered I had an extra piece which when inserted meant I could extend beyond the current garden. If I’m going to all this effort I want every centimetre I can get.

Test run

See part 2 here

Measuring time.

 


1978 Nov
This is a photo of my Dad, in 1978, 3 years after we moved here,  with Rhododendron “White Pearl” making a great comeback from it’s hard prune.(It was about 25 years old at this time).
This is White Pearl this year.2015OCT31 079a

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🙂

 

I went to get a new mattress topper – and noticed they are now just egg carton foam – the last one I got had a different pattern for airflow under pillows and swirly channels for less pressure under your feet. The woman serving said, no, they had to revert to the plain ones because the others were getting them too many negative reviews – people couldn’t remember which way around they went or complained that they felt better the other way around. Seriously – the foam people had to dumb down their mattresses!

I love sweetcorn! I hate husking it and trying to get all the silk off before they get stuck in my teeth. About a year ago I found the perfect way to cook and husk in one move, stringless! Simply toss the whole cob, husk and all in the microwave for 2 minutes. Remove, let cool till you can grasp it and cut off the base of the cob, about 1cm up from the stem. Then grab the top of the husk and the silks and twist/pull it up and off the cob. All the silks come away clean. Absolutely perfect. So, about 6 months after I discovered this, I went to buy some corn, to discover the supermarkets (and even the local green store) have started cutting the TOPS of the cobs off. I’m not sure why because I think the sight of the dried out top kernels of corn a lot less enticing than the dried out silks that show it is ripe. It’s like someone is out to make sure I can’t have corn because I refuse to cook it if I can’t have it without silks.

After a week of back issues that have left standing and walking as two of my not so favourite activities I decided to use Woolworths online to get my groceries. After I placed my order (having to delete the tiger bread roll or I couldn’t have it delivered before 3pm which was just weird, aren’t bakery items cooked in the morning?) I was reading some reviews of the service – many complaining of the many ‘out of stock’ items in their orders. The next morning I was just thinking of looking up the ‘track my order’ site when the doorbell rang. My groceries were delivered to my kitchen counter. Everything I ordered was there. Instead of a vac packed discount chicken thigh pack I got 3 packs of fresh thighs – a bonus of about 300g and the $6 more they would have cost if I’d ordered them. The lone hair product was in the bag with the pasta and other packaged foods – something that didn’t worry me in the least but there was another bag, tied up at the top, but feeling empty. I opened it to discover the lone pack of footlet socks that I’d noticed on a clearance special.

My question is, do you think I need to continue to ostracize the sockettes or are they safe to let socialise with my other footwear? It’s just that I’m not sure I have a spare drawer available for them.

#NotSpoilt

I swear this blog is about more than the lawnmower (who was visible mowing away at 4 am under the full moon.)

Someone has become very good at  lurking under my bedroom  window looking  starved whenever I walk past. (Click the pics for a bigger view)

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“That’s cheating, you put the pellets too close to you!”

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“I’m not spoilt –  I’m essential for recycling apples!”

Late!

Last year Rufus was really good about  showing up at least once during each guest’s stay. This year, he seems to need a new watch because today, for the 4th time since Xmas, I waved off departing guests with an empty yard and a few minutes later looked out the window to this:

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Bad Wallaby! You’re late.

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Somehow I don’t think he cares….

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Bonus photo from last week when some guests left some carrots. He ate one without stopping. Then took a bite out of each of the others so there was no doubting they belonged to him.

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And he went and sat in the garden waiting to be worshiped.

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Maybe when the clocks go back tonight he’ll have better timing 😉

 

Seven minutes

Nearly missed this tonight. Just glanced out as the rainy sky turned into this.

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Click for a larger image.

Then just 7 minutes later looked up to this…

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Can’t ever imagine getting tired of this view.

A couple of years ago I bought a new in desk extractor fan for dust and fumes for the nail salon.  It cost a small fortune, and for another small fortune I could have got it already seated in a cheap and nasty laminate desk that didn’t really fit the space I had at the time. (Most of them had one small drawer for storage, if that.)

I started out thinking I’d have to make a desk, then ran across an oval computer desk in a discount clearance centre. I’d seen this desk at $90, looked at it at $69 and decided it was too flimsy (the oval sat atop the  two side pieces (a file drawer and a computer tower box) on 2 tubes that allowed the drawers to roll under the desk.)

When it hit $25 I looked at it again with new eyes. For $25 I got 2 pairs of drawer slides, 8 castors, and a nice large top – all in horrid brown plastic laminate (crapboard as my neighbour calls it). The top was big enough to fit the fan in, which was the most important consideration.  So I bought 2 of them.

I shaped one top, attached it to the bases with 2 posts each side (so much more stable), mounted the fan, set up one set of drawers, cut the other set down and made them sliding shelves,  added some  wings to hold UV lamps and even cut the spare top in half and made shelves.

I ended up with raw chipboard against me as I worked and so it got covered with a layer of duct tape. One day soon I would  give it a coat of paint I said.

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Three years later, the salon has moved rooms, the duct tape was half off for the third time and the acetone had wiped away some of the plastic wood finish. It looked charming – not.

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So, since I had the paints out for the kitchen, and I had a sudden surge of clients that left me with a week without any appointments, I taped off the metal, undid the wings, rolled on some primer and a coat of Lexicon white acrylic.

Then I started playing. I diluted some black acrylic, brushed it on, sponged it back, rolled over it with diluted white, brushed some more, rolled some more.

And TaDa!

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I went into Bunnings to see if there was a non yellowing oil based polyurethane to seal it with (can’t use acrylics with acetone around). I didn’t think there was, thought I would probably be rolling on a coat or two of normal poly and watching it yellow up over the next year or two. But the woman serving me said there was a clear paint, not a poly, from Dulux. It was low chemical and so didn’t yellow she said. The label said it discouraged chroming with low chemicals. It wasn’t until afterwards that I discovered chroming is the word for using spray paint fumes to get high!

So I sprayed my desktop.

This was it two days later after 3 light coats.

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No that is not the lighting, it is yellow! Not cream, or slightly off white. Yellow!

Lesson learned – This 2014NOV10 006ais NOT CLEAR.

My desk looked like something pulled out of grandma’s kitchen which hadn’t been changed since 1930.

I couldn’t face the thought of all those layers and dying times again. But I couldn’t live with pee yellow either, even the fake woodgrain had been better.

So I got the primer out again, and  coated the desk. Then a coat of white semi gloss enamel (left over from door frames). Then the next day, another coat of white, this time with some diluted black enamel (left over from my bedroom trim) painted into the white while it was still wet, with a feather. No sponging, no blotting. A couple of spots got a bit of another layer over them to fix up strange bits the next day. No sealer (so it’s not as shiny as it was). And there are brush marks because I didn’t use the roller this time.

But it looks so fresh and bright. And best of all, it doesn’t show the acrylic dust, which was the whole reason for painting it 😉

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There are black buttons that cover the screw holes, it just isn’t dry enough yet 🙂

before-after-desk

I made my bathroom taller today.
It took all of about 2 minutes.
Definitely one of those “why didn’t I think of this earlier” moments.

This was my bathroom.
bathroom

The orchid on the windowsill has grown, and has a couple of flower spikes coming. Every time I move my towel I have to move a leaf and I’m scared I’ll break a spike.

This is my bathroom today.
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Two minutes to find the spare hanger and hook it over the old curtain hook. The flower spikes are up out of harms way and without the plant sitting on the sill the window seems bigger, taller, brighter.

Scales

One thing about relief teaching is you never know what you’ll be doing on a day. Which is how I ended up touching my first ever live snake on Friday.

Snake!

Snake!

This tiger snake shed her skin the day before. Those gold highlights aren’t light reflecting, they are actual streaks of gold in her scales.

There are only three species of snake in Tasmania, all are poisonous. The tiger snake is the 6th most venomous in the world. Lucky us 🙂

And this guy was standing in the middle of a complete set – tigers, copperheads and white lipped snakes. They were climbing his leg, hiding under tubs and generally ignoring him. It was the best demonstration I’ve ever seen of the fact snakes get used to your presence, and as a result can be slow to react when you come across them. Snakes won’t chase you. Their only interest is in getting away.

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He also showed a ‘snake bite kit’. Two compression bandages. He gave the example that by tightly wrapping the bitten limb and sitting very still you could last 8 hours after a bite. If after being bitten you ran the length of the schoolyard to the house, you probably would be dead before you got there.

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Please excuse the poor quality photos – taken on my phone in terrible lighting.

There were a range of other reptiles and spiders there, but this blue tongue was my favourite.

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She’s a bit shabby because she was shedding her skin.
This is what blue tongues usually look like.

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The pure black one is apparently the opposite of an albino.

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