This week feels like a bit of landmark. The extra daylight that’s been gradually building since the winter solstice has turned into early blooms and blossom. The silver wattles on our block are a sea of yellow, the ornamental cherries along the highway add a splash of pink on my drive to work, the silver birch and elm of the Huon Valley are budding and slowly becoming green again. The clover that stalled in growth in May has started to kick on again as the terraces and bus are bathed in sun for a couple of hours each day. And to top it off we even have daffodils popping up on the bank beside the driveway!
Having lived in the tropics for the best part of the last 10 years these subtle changes have given me new appreciation of winter. The slowing down, the dormancy, the resting and waiting until everything is just right to get going again. It’s something that I know I definitely need It’s something intuitive but worth noting again. Living in Mount Barnett if there was something done we would get out and do it then and there. Great for work ethic but not the best for efficiency.
Here we’ve learnt to sit back and watch. To see the sun trail across our land. Witness the shadows of summer, autumn and winter. The terraces and slopes going from full summer sun to winter shade. To hear the creeks flow for a week after a heavy deluge. To see the water create it’s own path down the driveway and the way in which a simple trench to the side has diverted most of this water.Even the constant struggle and frustration with mould and condensation has made us appreciate more the need- and value- for a well ventilated and insulated home.
PLANS AND SCHEMES
Last year we shared a post on visioning our dream . In it we wrote of all our dreams for the site. We talked of animals, of multiple sitting areas, aquaponics, possible market gardens and sub-tropical and tropical greenhouses. With the lengthening days and the prospects of getting stuck into some of these things we sat down the other week and went through our plans. Reassessing to see what 6 months on the site had changed.
Out went somethings such as aquaponics (not enough water at the moment), tropical and subtropic greenhouse, a market garden and some of the animals. The rest though we agreed were still our priority and so using some of our plans we’d developed we sat down earlier this month to work out our new plan and projects for upcoming spring. The following images show some of our plans.
Water schematic/ property overview
This picture above is a birds eye overview of the property. It is not accurate or does not have measurements but it gives an idea of where things are in our property. The arrows depict the way in which the water flows down of our property when it rains. The circles are trees and the long rectangle on the second terrace is the worm seat that we made in an earlier post. This overview then become our working template for the two designs below.
Plan 1: May
This design was what we settled on before winter come. By this stage we had built the steps so that path become part of the design. Back in Mount Barnett we had success with some raised garden beds so had thought of using those for our kitchen garden. We had been also toying around with the idea of having a couple of fruit trees in the area behind the bus. The back sections of the terrace- behind the shed- we had earmarked us our kitchen and outdoor dining area.
At this stage we thinking of having a whole bus length decking and converting our carport into a shed/studio. An idea that we turned when we
August Plan: current working plan
This plan is our current plan that we settled late last week when walking around the terrace. The deck has become smaller and we’ve utilised some jarrah decking rather than the pallets for this. The pallets are now outdoor island decking on which an outdoor table will sit. This front area will become a meadow of cottage flowers and grasses with a brick paver path through it to the shed.
The kitchen and table have changed as we have now set on building a yoga studio on one of the terraces. We are also looking at utilising the roof of the yoga studio to catch some water in order to have an outdoor bath. The design also has some deciduous vines growing up trellis as summer shade as with the sun now hitting the bus we beginning to remember the heat that of the bus in summer. The raised beds are now probably going to be hugel beds.
We’ve also moved our kitchen to closer to the bus. This space is further from the trees therefore probably better spot for a wood fire stove. The slope and the path stay the same. The design also includes a dog run that we have started construction on and a clothesline for summer. The fruit trees have now become a food forest which we will design further. At the moment we finishing off our pallet island and about to begin work on the size of our raised/hugelkultur beds.
One of the dreams of writing this blog was to hopefully one day get something published about our little adventure. It was a fanciful dream which to my amazement become a reality in May when I was approached by The Owner Builder magazine to write a piece for them. The piece follows the first 4 months of the build and is published in the current issue- issue 196- of The Owner Builder. The article is entitled From a bus to a home, click on the link and it should come up there. The rest of the magazine has articles on strawbales, tyre wall machinery shed and other renovation and building profiles.