Sisters are doing it for themselves 

While Justin is working his way through the first few rounds of racing post injury, I have found myself a new hobby. Breaking up and removing concrete, woo hoo. 

The poor family who spent a small fortune putting in concrete paths and edges would be disappointed to see them being broken up and removed by a sledge hammer wielding me. 

My first project was the area outside our dining area and kitchen. Originally there was a path to the wool shed, which ran between what would have been a beautiful garden and lawn. The shed has long since been removed and the remains of the garden were mowed by my dearly beloved when we moved in. So we now had a path to a fence through the middle of a collection of green plants we call lawn. 

 

Pre attack, ‘lawn’ on left, garden lawn on right

 
So it struck me in the middle of the night why not rip the path out and re sow the lawn. Then while we are at it with a rotary-hoe it makes sense to flatten another reclaimed ‘lawn’ garden. 

 

Lawn claimed garden, early in the attack

 
There is something gratifying about swinging a sledge hammer being very pleasantly surprised how impressive the bang is and the watching the concrete crack. Despite very quickly realising that my Thor like swings were not the cause of the impressive bangs, it was the gas guns protecting our neighbouring grapes from birds. Anyway I persevered and managed to break it all, over load it onto the back of Justin’s truck and then off load it all.  

Don’t worry darling the suspension works

  

Less one path

  

Luca showing the correct technique

   

Filled and ready to rock and roll

    
 

All ready to be ripped up

 
 Sometimes logic doesn’t prevail, it took me a surprisingly long time to realise I could break the very large and heavy pieces into smaller, lighter ones.  However it was perfectly logical that Luca and I would do this on our own, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! 

That theory applies to these two

Onwards and upwards

Well life has been a little hectic to say the least.

I have had such kind words from people wanting to check that everything is ok in light of our selling our house.

I can say that everything is dandy, we have a solid reputation as a transient family and we are just making sure that we live up to it. Not really, we just saw an amazing opportunity in buying another property here in Marlborough (a couple of valleys over from where we were) and thought we would test the waters with selling our house. We were in a fortunate position, that we didn’t have to sell, which always takes the pressure off. I am a firm believer in if things are meant to happen they will, which was the case with our place, the first open home was on Sunday and we accepted an offer Monday afternoon.

We have now sold up, moved out and are back to our usual pikey ways staying in a book-a-bach until we fly out to Europe. We won’t move into our new house until we get back at the end of the season. The new house isn’t so new it is an 1880’s villa. I entertained the idea for about 5 minutes of returning the old girl into her former glory, but the capitalist in me took over and it is the land the really holds the value. We will eventually rebuild on the site but I don’t think we will end up staying there for too long. One day we will find a place that we stay in for longer than a summer!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, if I had of known that we were going to be selling our house so soon, I don’t think I would have invested quite so much emotionally into its finishing. It was rather sad to say goodbye to our house and plans for the land and more so to leave the breathtaking views.

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We managed to achieve so much from this simple block of land that we originally saw, into a home for a family

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But on the upside our departure overseas is rapidly approaching, just over a month until we go. I keep thinking that one morning by some miracle I will wake up fluent in Italian but it hasn’t happened yet, I’m sure with a lot of sign language and slow loud speaking we will get by.

I just came in from mowing the lawn, I’m not sharing this with you because it was a magical evening without a breath of wind, or that the heavenly scent of freshly cut grass and 2stroke fuel was lingering or because my endorphins are now surging through my body. I’m simply telling you because I have a lawn that I can mow, a lush, green sit on it and have a picnic, play rough and tumble then scrub off the grass stains lawn, and I love it! I only managed to mow the top of one of the irrigation sprinklers (sorry Justin, I’ll get it fixed before you get home and you won’t even know).

Anyway, it has been all go around here, the mission has been on to get the landscaping complete and my goodness it looks like a different place. All the gardens have been weed matted, (it was rather frustrating to retrospectively place the mat over my gung-ho planting along the pathway) over 100 more grasses and ground cover natives have been planted and 16 cubic meters of stones have been placed. I won’t go as far as to say lovingly placed, because the first 4 cubic meters were shovelled by me and a wheelbarrow and there was nothing loving about it. I don’t think I have worked that hard physically for a long long time. I would have another baby rather than ever do that again. It got to the point that I came out in the morning, saw the giant piles of stone leering at me outside and I felt like crying. Luckily on Thursday I enlisted the help of family and the very handy Jim from Multidig in Marlborough (top bloke) and managed to get the remaining stones scattered around the garden. It has come up great, it now looks like a beautiful native riverbed, just rather lost up on top of a hill.

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My office has also been wallpapered and has come up so well, it makes paying bills somehow a little more tolerable when you can sit in a nice room to do it.

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A quick progress report on the cows, (turns out I was inflicting my gender ignorance onto them, they aren’t just girls). We are getting pretty friendly, I don’t quite have them eating out of my hand but they will follow me around and are terribly lovely. I even set up my first break fence this week (3 intact) and enticed them into the top paddock to eat it down a bit. After a bit of tweaking and advice I did manage to keep them out of the pond and away from the native trees at the bottom. (For those of you from farming backgrounds cringe away, and for those of you townies, a break fence is a temporary electric fence). Anyway I have been feeling thoroughly capable if not a little manic doing all of this while Justin has been away, plus I have had additional help from Luca.

More hours in the day

Well a lot has happened since I updated the page!

Firstly an update on the house

Things are starting to feel like home, although I still do have frantic episodes of furniture moving. It has been so hot that I have loved throwing all the doors open and enjoying the full indoor outdoor flow that the house has to offer. Justin the clever man finished the Florida room which has come up fantastically. We have already had some magical nights in there enjoying the BBQ and wonderful deck. It feels like you are overlooking your own valley, there are no lights and only stars (plus a few bugs once it gets dark).

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The Lawn:

We have a lawn and its not too shabby, a few weeds but I have seen far worse. Luca and I had our first sit on it today. He promptly decided to try and eat it but that is ok, there are worse things for him to consume.

From this….

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To this….IMG_5428

That’s a bit lush!

We have also had our first experience of fires in a dry summer. I woke up at 4am to feed Luca and looked out the window bleary eyed to see our whole skyline in flames. Unfortunately in the dark it actually did look like it was our hills on fire, all I can say is the man who was on the end of the 111 call was so kind and patient. The fire was on the other side of the valley and there was a river between us so we were pretty safe, still a very unpleasant feeling.

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I know I said in the last post I wouldn’t be doing any more furniture restoration and low and behold what have I just finished…. two bedside tables. It was a pretty minor case of repainting and ordering some new handles, but I am pretty pleased with the finished product. I thought it would be pretty cool to make his and hers, needless to say the deer handles are Justins’.

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Old on the left and new ones on the right, the are the same colour but just show up differently in the light.

I had two weeks with Justin away at a race and it meant a bit of spare time up my sleeve. I spent hours borrowing dirt, filling in the gardens, planning and planting out the gardens. Im pretty pleased with the results, but not it is just a case of waiting for things to grow.

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And then there were two

I have finished my second refurbishment project and now have two matching chairs. I am so pleased with how they have come up and have absolutely no intention of refurbishing any more furniture for quite some time.

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Needless to say in this picture the view is slightly more breathtaking than the chairs, but it stops you from looking too closely at my handy work.

Moving the earth

It has been two weeks of earthworks. We have dug dirt up, trucked it in, spread it out and dug it up again and all for a good cause. I love that a ‘quick job’ is usually the longest and most complicated.

We thought it would be a good idea to sort out the driveway, turning bay and clear the site for the shed for in the future. Except that this ended up being a major mission in putting in drains and concrete outside the garage. At one point we had Dave (who came up for a one day job on Monday and spent the week here) driving the digger, Justin on the roller and me playing fireman with the water tanker, but the end result was worth it. Things are starting to look a little less rugged and a bit more orderly, or at least as orderly as a dust bowl can look.

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The lawn

The lawn has been an ongoing bone of contention in our house. The size, the type, the mowing responsibilities. Justin has fairly pointed out he doesn’t want to spend his weekend mowing, so I have offered to take the lawn on as my responsibility or strange sort of pet, perhaps the lawn can be my tamagotchi (I always wanted one as a kid). Anyway I think we are making progress and have agreed on most elements of the lawn, anything is better than the piles of dirt which resemble giant earthworm poos outside the windows. Things should start happening in the next couple of weeks I hope.

What we currently have

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Here are the scenarios running through my head….
Best case

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Worst case

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Tolerable, but I would be a harpy wife about it

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No actually to be honest I don’t think I could tolerate that, oh the pressure to get this right!!

Jobs

Well we have been working hard to tick the jobs off the list. It just seems unfortunate that the list must have some fungi spores on it, cause it keeps growing over night (much like the small child in our house).

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The house is starting to feel like home and it seems a little less unusual coming back to it every time. We have had the absolute pleasure of having family and friends staying over the holidays which helped break the house in and meant a chance to see so many lovely people. Marlborough has put on her finest summer weather and despite rain on New Years Eve the grass looks to be dried to a crisp. Number one job is to set up irrigation so we can support the natives, get the fruit trees in and do something with the dust bowl surrounding the house. Unless we wanted to go for a moonscape look, in which case we can leave it as is.

While unpacking some stray boxes I found this insightful page in an assignment I did within my first term of studying nursing some 10 years ago. I’m a little concerned at my lack of intellectual, career and academic aspirations at the time but oh well. Move over womans weekly 2015 horoscopes you have competition.

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In my wisdom and attempt to save money I gave myself a project. The restoration of an old chair I found in the house we rented. It was one of those brilliant sleep deprived, slightly manic moments where it seemed like a great simple plan. It has been a fairly constant work in progress but I am pretty happy with the finished product. I just need to finish its partner now!

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Land of Plenty

Marlborough is a food lovers paradise, needless to say every meal can also be accompanied by a high quality wine. This week we have eaten like kings! We were fortunate enough to have wild venison (shot by Justin), crayfish, fresh berries, stone fruit, chocolate and wine all gathered, grown or made regionally. I don’t think life gets any better than this! The epitome of this goodness, was taking Luca cherry picking. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more.

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I have even been starting my own contribution to simple goodness. I can’t wait to start harvesting from these little gems.

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Merry Christmas

Well here we are nearly at the New Year with Christmas but a food stuffed memory behind us. We had an amazing day which we made a point of keeping as stress free as possible. A beautiful breakfast cooked for us, which was a divine gift in itself. Followed by an epic family lunch at our house. It was so nice to be able to share our home and check out the Florida room doing its thing in the baking sun. One of the best thing about the indoor outdoor flow seemed to be the ability for the water bombs to travel freely!

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Justin, Luca the dogs and I then went on a family mission into the wilderness to check out a new hunting spot. This was the most brilliant contrast of our day. From the full hustle of Christmas to the complete isolation of being off the beaten track. It was an amazing day and of course Mr Luca was far too cute and absolutely spoilt!!

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Key points from Christmas
-There is always too much food
-Havoc ham is amazing
-The wrapping paper is still the best gift for a baby
-Kids make Christmas awesome!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and safe travels x