Weekend with the lot!

This weekend was jam-packed with a variety of things. Had a great cello lesson (practice does pay off), got home to find my husband had made great progress with painting the lounge-room, I opted to work outside because it was such a lovely day and he was also listening to the cricket (I am probably the worlds most avid hater of sport in any form!).

Went for Dulux curd full strength for the bottom section to add a little more tone to the room. Happy about that!

In the afternoon I started putting together my new Sproutwell Polycarbonate Greenhouse, after a few technical hitches (mainly due to my approach) I was underway. This construction will take shape over a few weeks as I have to fit it in between other more pressing jobs.

Now to get these to turn into one of these !
Should be a cinch!









I managed to assemble the sliding door and window components, as well as the base so we can check whether we have to make some adjustments to where it is going to be located (and we do!). Next step is to get foundations set up properly and then it will be plain sailing till the final completion.

I often like to have a wander around our backyard (at the house we are selling) on a Sunday morning looking at all the bits and pieces in the garden and remember how far we have come with developing this back yard. I hope to be able to do this soon at the ‘new old house’.

Plenty of mulberries developing this year, such a beautiful fruit, tree and colour!

Time to do some bird protection!

Blueberries are becoming nice and fat and I can’t wait for them to ripen.

I have two varieties of blueberry, this is a much fatter fruit than the other. Shame I’ve lost the tags!
The smell of this transports me straight to tropics! Citrussy, Frangipani-ish, gardenia-ish and just beautiful-shame it doesn’t flower all year round!


Picked the last of the broad beans and a couple of beetroot. Not sure when I’ll get to process the beans!

I then moved onto the ‘new old house’, took a trailer load of scrap metal to the tip but also came home with an old frame from a sun shelter or such. The poles from these frames make good garden stakes and I just can’t see something go to waste!

I haven’t tried using beer snail bait traps for many years as when I used to put them out our dearly departed ‘Cossie’ the dog would quickly gobble up the beer. Poor old Cossie is no longer with us, so I’ll give the traps another shot. The snails and slugs in the potato bed are the worst I’ve ever encountered, I may have to think about borrowing a duck for a few weeks.

Probably should have used beer from a not so great batch of home brew rather than bought stuff!

Inspiration! Sat under the Mulberry Tree and had a beer!

Approx 30 years ago I moved from Melbourne to the West Gippsland, Latrobe Valley region and I have still not come to terms with the lack of fresh produce available. The wonderful movement that is gaining momentum across many regions with  farmers markets, fresh is best and limited food miles has been painfully slow in reaching here. The produce stocked in our local supermarket is disgraceful and it says a lot that people don’t demand better! As for stocking anything organic or that is produced by locals, forget it.  I only venture in there when absolutely desperate and tonight I wanted to add some zing to the hot potato salad I had planned and thought some nice chorizo would be ideal-should have known better!

Home made my giddy aunt! Who keeps that chemical stuff in their pantry?
Beetroot, broad beans, garlic, garlic stem, spuds, herbs, lettuce, silver beet. Bring it on!

Anyway, we ended up having a really nice dinner of a hot (warm) potato salad type thing. Part of the harvest  I picked today and needed to use was-some nice young spuds, silver beet, garlic stem, red onion, broad beans and some mint. I also had the amazing ‘homemade’ chorizo I purchased.

Method- Put chorizo on griddle/BBQ to cook, par boil spuds till a bit underdone, while cooking, chop up some red onion, green capsicum, mint, slice garlic stem, and finely slice some silver beet or spinach. If the broad beans need double peeling blanche and do this too (I don’t worry apart from really big ones). Put the onion, garlic stem, mint, capsicum into serving bowl ( I also had some ricotta spare so I threw that in too) and when spuds are at the ‘not quite cooked but very close stage’ turn off the heat and bung the beans and silver beet into the hot water with them so they just barely cook. Slice the chorizo,  drain the spuds, beans and silver beet and add to the serving bowl, top the salad with the chorizo and some more chopped mint if inclined, grind some salt & pepper and drizzle some good olive oil over (I used Splitter’s Creek Olive Oil). Serve with some sour cream on the side.

Very nice indeed!

I had planned to do a post on my 5 favourite garden tools but forgot to take any photos. Will keep that one for another day.


Oh what a ceiling – first coat done!

Having made the decision to begin some redecorating before the re-blocking is done, we chose the lounge as a starting point because if we ever sell our house and move in it will be nice to have at least one room that is clean, fresh and relatively in control. The pressed tin ceiling appears to be in pretty good shape with no sagging, rust and minimal cracking and peeling of old paint (unlike the walls). Having washed the entire ceiling, scraped off loose paint and under-coated the areas that had been scraped and filled we began the first coat. When I say we, I really mean my husband! Not that I am a princess with these things, it just hasn’t happened that way this time. My expertise will be well put to use when I start filling the  walls, making the lines where paint can be scraped back no further magically disappear.

Didn’t realise just how dark the old paint is.

We have gone for a low sheen finish to just give a hint of reflection on the surface. Seems to be doing the job well. Colour is Dulux Lexicon quarter which apparently is white base with a ‘blob’ of black added.

Ceiling with Dulux Lexicon quarter low sheen.

First coat done! Very pleased with result. It has highlighted a couple of spots that need a little filler, but we consider it would be prudent to leave that until stumps are fixed!

Very exciting!

We can see the scaffolding is going to get a really good workout! Very pleased with that purchase.

We’ve Hit the Wall!

Big step today. We are hoping to have the lounge room a little more comfortable for living in by Christmas. Long term we will probably replace the dado panelling with either pressed tin or a suitable heritage wallpaper, but in the mean time we are just going to paint it the same colour as the walls. We will retain the beautiful old cedar skirting boards and architraves. They do need some revitalization so I had better stock up on the steel wool!

Loungeroom revamp begins.

We have decided that due to the trouble we are having finding someone to re-block the house that we will commence some decorating and go back and repair once stumps have been fixed. Not ideal we know, but we could be waiting for ever at this rate. There is so much preparation work to be done that it will take a bit of time to complete. Tasks we envisage that need to happen are:

Removing all (well as much as we can) flaking paint

Just a bit of scraping to do!
Then we proceed to the next wall.

All surfaces of walls and ceilings will need to be washed, re-scraped for any more loose paint sealed with a good quality sealer, filled, then seal over that.

Then the hardest part of all, deciding on paint colours and what type of paint to use. Do we go for a less chemically structured paint or a stock standard main stream brand? How do we deal with the timber trim and dado panelling (eventually we may replace the dado with pressed tin/steel) but that can be on the redo list once a few other things are in control. I feel it would be a shame to cover up the beautiful original cedar skirtings, so a delicate balance is needed to both bring light into the room and look good without making the many different components of the room look too busy.

Fireplace- We removed an old gas space heater from the fireplace in the lounge and plan to bring some character back to this. This is one of the few places where modernisation has been attempted, unfortunately covering beautiful old curved edge bricks with everyday bricks painted white is not that effective although probably practical!

One of the first things I bought in readiness for our work is a small mobile scaffolding unit. The idea of up and down the ladder with ceilings so high and imagining how sore the neck would be after painting the ceilings seemed like a good investment. It had its first run through today and passed with flying colours!

Scaffolding put to good use at last!




I’m pooped and I stink!

Well I did before my lovely soak in our Japanese bath!

Boy I am going to miss this when we move! A Japanese bath is short but very deep. We have installed ours on a deck outside the main bathroom and it is exceptionally relaxing especially when it is raining or there is a full moon and you can see it moving across the sky  above you. Oh so lovely after a hard day’s work.

Today was a clean up day at the house. It is so easy for a sense of being out of control to envelop you when building or renovating and time must be dedicated to keeping the demons at bay.

First up I visited our local paint store, I am not very good at visualizing the finished result with colour, and the one I liked isn’t available in Australia (trust me!) so I decided to go to a dedicated paint store rather than the chain hardware stores. What a good decision! They have a consultant on staff which sadly isn’t promoted in any advertising or on their website which is always my first port of call when researching anything these days. I met a delightful lady who ‘got it’ and on Monday someone is coming to have a look at the house to give me some ideas (no charge, all part of the service) very happy about that! She also invited me to take photos and she will work with me on ideas. These are a couple of photos of areas I need help with.

Pressed steel ceiling in old doctors surgery


Lounge room bay window and ceiling
Passage before


I then delivered some raspberry canes and the wind flower plants that I had dug up to my friend. It was then into mowing the 8 inch long spring growth, weeding, raking and sweeping all the last of the oak tree leaves and stacking them into the compost. We have a heritage listed pin oak in the front yard and there was a lot of yellow oxalis sprouting under it-all gone for now! I’m not game to put this into the compost so that went into the greenwaste bin. A good old sweep and clean and I feel back in control but very tired!

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