Sunday 20 November 2016

A picture is worth a thousand words...

We've made some progress in recent weeks, with Kate tackling the painting of the hallway wall which we had rendered...oh I don't know, maybe 12 - 18 months ago... but let's not rush these things.

That yellow trim's days are numbered!!

So long story short it means we can start getting some of our artwork hung that has been lazing around leaning against the wall. Given we've moved around quite a lot over the years before digging our heels in the sand in North Queensland, these items meant a lot to us as we moved from home to home, state to state, country to country. So it's been nice this weekend to finally get a few of them out on display again.

Poppy just happened to remind me it is Thanksgiving this Thursday

Entry to the Master Bedroom

'Poppies' by Gary Myers
'The Old Church on the Hill' - By Gary Myers
Kate and I bought this from Gary's gallery in Maleny, Queensland. We walked past the gallery on the way out to dinner and saw the painting which had just been hung that day. We went back and bought it the next morning!!

'Long Distance' by Anna Nielsen
I bought this in Dublin, Ireland when Kate and I first met. It pretty accurately sums up our relationship both in the first six months, and then again when I was absent on military deployments overseas.

A few reminders of my 21 years in the Army

- Officer Commanding Pennant from the Tank Regiment in Darwin, Australia -

- Hand made ISAF Carpet from Kabul, Afghanistan -

- Miniature Banner of the Royal Corps of Australian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers -

During my time in Kabul in 2007 - 2008, we used to get these made as thank you gifts from the Staff of Australian National Command Element. More than a gift, they were hand made by local children, an important training opportunity for teaching them how to weave hand made middle eastern rugs.

Un-named By Michael Fitch
We saw this artist painting a scene of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra at Floriade in 2009 and we bought it from Michael on the spot just as he finished it.

What you see when you walk in the front door - it sums up living by the ocean...

I love this shot Kate took from the top of the Empire State Building - which we had printed on canvas - we loved our two years stateside and visiting the city that never sleeps.

That's another couple of jobs ticked off 'the list' - can't wait to get the other side of the hallway painted now... 

Cheers, Col

Sunday 13 November 2016

Empty nest syndrome.....

Hello everyone

**Note this is a long awaited update to our post about the sunbirds.  As this has taken me (Kate) so long, we have since had a few families use this nest but the following are the original family who built it. We have some very patient readers who have been desperately waiting for news and have probably given up all hope of me ever posting anything...I do not blame you and I apologise profusely for the delay.**

Our birds did indeed lay an egg in their precious nest, only the one.  But she (all the babies are female in our girls minds) grew and grew being fed day in day out by mama.  

As soon as night fell mama would settle herself in and just sit gazing at us as we came in and out our front door, not flinching. It was truly gorgeous...

One day we were literally walking in the door, and mama was off finding food, and the little baby just decided OK today is the day to fly the nest... and right there in front of us she jumped and tried to fly but plummeted to the ground. Panicking I tried to pick her up and pop her back in the nest thinking she wasn't ready (it is a myth that mothers will automatically abandon their babies if you touch them - however it is advisable not to).  But no, she knew she was ready and just flew off, hovering 3 feet from the ground but flying none the less.  She made it all the way to the trampoline in the yard and just clung on.

Mama wasn't far away and within minutes she came and fed her...

After a little while she flew off up to a tree and that was that, our baby had gone...

Our girls were so upset when they got home from school. But so thankful that she decided to fly the nest while I was here to see it and capture it on camera...what luck!

K xx

PS. From Col - Since beginning this blog post, there have been more families through the nest (5 or 6 but we are losing count), plus some minor infrastructure works in and around the nest. Each bird adds to the nest, and sometimes depending on the time of the year, Kate has to put up some protection for the nest to shield it from the Western sun. Given we are back focusing on renos I'll leave you with some shots from recent residents of the "Nest 'neath the Bell"...

Saturday 1 October 2016

Side-scaping is nearly done...

Did this work a few weeks ago but just haven't got around to doing an update. But the side-scaping is nearly done as you can follow below - getting closer to my goal of being able to simply sweep the path and water the plants! 

Putting down some pavers on the front boundry to keep weeds out
 and make whipper-snipping easier. 

Pavers going down

Bedding the pavers in...

 Quick trip to McCahills to get some more bluestone
(can't recommend these guys more highly for service and value for money)

Putting down pavers for the two wheely bins (general waste & recycling)

Glad to finally get these gardenias in, 
which have been in pots for the last two years waiting...

 Slowly coming together - doesn't take long to shovel all that stone...

Strelitzia Nicolai - will provide some privacy
 and greenery outside our Master Bedroom window

Almost done...

Just the pergola to go up now and this side is done!

Gotta keep getting these jobs done - most big jobs are done and it's now down to both of us knocking off the smaller jobs one by one as we have/make time.

Cheers, Col

Monday 4 July 2016

Down the garden path...

The path to minimal gardening I might add. This is the southern side of the house and as you would have seen in the previous post this was a weedy/grassy area with no path to the back of the house where the clothesline, shed, chook pen and veggie garden are. Keeping in mind we are in a low rainfall area for significant parts of the year, the aim was to keep this side of the house as low maintenance as possible, and we have used 25mm bluestone as a mulch and planted drought tolerant plants such as succulents where possible thus far.

In the last two weeks we have had the new concrete path laid and have continued on with the landscaping. I was amazed with the amount of soil that needed to be shifted from what seemed like not a big project, but looks can be deceiving. Two box trailers of mixed soil/concrete went off site, one box trailers worth of clean soil went to the neighbour next door for a new garden bed they are building, and the remaining soil went to a new garden bed out the front of our house.

Marking out the path to be laid.

Nothing quite like freshly laid concrete is there...

Concrete is set and you can see the soil that was displaced by the path
and needs to be moved by yours truly.

Prepping the ground for paving where the new kitchen herb
garden trolley is going

 Pavers laid and bluestone down

The new herb trolley (our old BBQ). All the BBQ plates etc
have been removed and I am going to put timber slats
where the hotplates where, and make a stand to go on
top for herbs in pots to sit level with the kitchen window.

Finished on the left hand side, but leaving the right hand
side for now for footings to go down for pergola posts

 The path comes out and meets up now with the carport slab
at the front of the house

An outline of the pergola that is planned for the side of the house,
most likely to shift to the left to provide some shade for the
windows from the summer sun.

And that's pretty much a wrap for now; not the most exciting of updates but good to see progress and the finish line for this project in sight. I can almost envisage when the idea of jobs to do down here is simply sweep the path and water the plants!

Cheers, Col