sunshine & green thumbs

We had some sunshine this weekend, and our list of things to do inside the shed isn’t so huge anymore, so we decided to begin our productive garden.

In the shade near the entrance I’ve planted some shade loving, wet loving, herbs – soapwort, self heal, peppermint and spearmint – plus a few little pansies for a bit of colour.

In the sunny area next to the little garden shed we removed a whole heap of rubbish that had been turfed there when the house shed was emptied out for us to begin the conversion, then we got stuck in to building a raised bed out of some scrap wood & corrugated iron. We have cut the bottom out of a couple of 60L bins & buried them half in the ground, they’re our food scraps to compost converters… We planted some yarrow next to the bins & four strawberry plants in the garden bed next to the bins.

The soil here is fantastic! Full of earth worms and organic matter. Bean’s parents aren’t gardeners so they’ve neglected it for years, which is fabulous because it means there’s been no chemicals used there for years!

It was lovely to make a little start on our vegie patch out in the sunshine, even if we had to stop work before we were willing because we ran out of materials. We have some more scrap corrugated iron coming soon from a workmate of Bean’s, so we’ll be able to build plenty more beds in that space. Stay tuned… Until then, tonight it is raining so our newly transplanted plants will be thoroughly watered in come tomorrow.

Photos by www.liamwilde.com

posted by wildecrafted in garden and have Comments (4)

A (very) left field solution

We’re going to break the lease here at Wonderland.

It is a beautiful house, and it is a very impractical house.

The issue of safety is a huge one for us. We feel it’s just not safe enough for the sproggets here with the large, unfenced pond/lake so close to our doorstep. I’m having to be hyper aware of their every move in case they go outside without me noticing & it feels like I’m stifling them. The sproggets are frustrated by being trapped inside so much of the time & I feel frustrated with having become such a “No! Mumma”. I’m afraid to even use the toilet without inviting them in to be my audience in case they slake off again while I’m on the toilet. That’s how I know it takes Babyman just 30 seconds to get from our deck to the edge of the pond, it’s how long he was gone from my side while I used the toilet that day…

We’re also concerned for Dave’s safety, since he ate a rat bait at another house on this same property, a house he visits several times a day. He comes back from that house with various bits of compost & food scraps all the time & we’re concerned that if he eats another bait we may not realise it until serious damage has been done. There’s no fenced area we can keep him contained in, & it’s difficult not knowing where he is when he’s not in the area immediately surrounding our house. His training has slipped a bit since we’ve been here too, he’s forgotten that he’s not allowed inside because he’s being allowed into the other houses. He’s only 6 months old & consistency with training is crucial in this early stage particularly, since being here we’ve begun to lose status with him.

There are other things that make Wonderland unsuitable for our family at this time in our lives, which I’ll not go into now simply because that’d make this a lengthy & boring post, so I’ll just jump straight into explaining our (very) left field solution…

We’re going to move in to a shed.

Bean’s parents (the outlaws) have a reasonable sized shed at the top of their block, which will be easily insulated & gyprocked to convert it into a comfortable space to live. Their block is on a hill, & their backyard is in 3 levels.

At the very back there is a rear access gate, & space to park the kombis next to the shed. There is also a retired chook house which will take very little work to return to habitable condition for us to have some feathered friends again (BIG YAY!). Between the shed & the chook house are 6(?) empty garden beds just perfect to plant out with annual vegetables.

Stepping down from the top level takes you to a grassed area which is bordered with gardens. At one end of the grassed area is a mature Granny Smith apple tree & a mature pear tree.

Both of these garden areas will be easily fenced with inexpensive dog fencing, creating a secure yard for Dave & the sproggets. We can separate the top & second levels also, so Dave can be kept separate from the sproggets if I don’t want to directly supervise their play (I don’t leave the sproggets alone with dogs because I think they’re still too young for that).

The bottom level of the backyard is about 6ft below the second level, there is a large retaining wall between a courtyard & the second level which in effect separates the rear yard from the house.

We will have our fridge, pantry & gas camping stove in the shed plus the hooded BBQ outside meaning we can store & prepare food without using the kitchen in the outlaws’ house. When we are able to buy a new thermomix blade the thermomix will be back in action also & we’ll be even better equipped to prepare food in the shed. We’ll have water plumbed to the shed for handwashing & dishes, but we’ll have to use the bathroom in the main house for showers & baths. We’ll likely sort out some kind of composting toilet solution also, in time. Our washing machine only requires that cold water be plumbed to it so we’ll set up a smaller temporary garden shed to be our laundry. The water outlet can be directed to the base of the fruit trees & to the ornamental plants already in the gardens around the lawn using a grey water hose.

The shed is large enough to have a kitchen (there’s already internal walls separating a small room from the rest of the shed), our beds & a small lounge/dining area with our couch & coffee/dining table. We sit on cushions around a low table to eat dinner so that won’t change. It is a small space, but as long as it is a warm & dry space we will be fine living in it. With such a fantastic blank canvas for a productive garden I imagine we’ll be spending a lot of time in the garden anyway. We’re all happier out of doors.

The outlaws’ place is in town, easy walking distance to the beach & even easier walking distance to the town centre. It’s also a 5 minute walk to Bean’s workplace. We’ll be a lot less reliant on cars there, which is good from an environmenatl & an economical point of view. We’ll be more able to afford to drive across to Denmark (where we really want to be) once or twice a week also, since we won’t need to use our cars just to get in to Albany to go to the library, museum or shop.

The best part about it though is that we won’t be paying rent! If we are able to put the amount of rent we pay each week into our credit card & personal loan repayments we’ll be able to knock a huge chunk of debt off by the time Bean finishes his apprenticeship.

Finances have been worrying us a lot, so the motivation for our moving in to a shed is definitely financial.

It certainly won’t be perfect, there will likely be times I’ll resent it, but it is still a good solution to the problems we have with our current living & financial situation.

Besides, we’ve both lived for extended periods of time on forest blockade camps & I’ve also lived for months at a time in a kombi van so a shed with running water, insulation, electricity & even heating is luxury compared!

posted by wildecrafted in home,journal and have Comments (4)