Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wintertime visit

It's been such a long time since we last visited the farm. We've been desperate to go and see if everything is still ok, but circumstances beyond our control kept us away. Now that Marty's cast is off and he's all healed up from his broken wrist - and we got a new ute to replace the one that died on the way up to the farm last time.. we felt that there wasn't much else that could go wrong!

We left fairly early in the morning, but despite that, we still arrived in the dark on Wednesday. First order of business is to light some candles and see if everything is as we left it.

That shot is of inside the kitchen. There isn't any heating yet either, or the first order of business might have been to light a fire! You can see on the left there is our freezer / fridge. It's a 12v DC one! I may have been a bit premature bringing it (or even buying it really) since the power set up yet either, but they're so rare that I couldn't help but get it as soon as I found one. It's a bit big for the kitchen though, so it might end up in another part of the house some day.

The house and everything in it was exactly the same as we left it - a big relief. Being winter, and quite cold, we headed off to bed early.

The next day we went for a walk around the property. 20 acres sure looks small when there's nothing much on it! On the left is a brown bit that is the dam wall, and in the middle is the peppercorn trees and the house is just behind them. Otherwise it's a blank canvas, ready for anything. I do love winter in the country, though.. just look at that blue sky!

The only other thing we wanted to do on Thursday was set up the bed. We got it for a bargain, but little did we know just how heavy it was going to be. The ute brought it up without any apparent strain, but we sure did struggle to move it around. I hope we don't have to move it again anytime, ever!

The nights are cold, however. Neither of us slept soundly exactly. We both wore many layers of clothes, including thermals. Next time we'll bring ALL our blankets, a hot water bottle and the sheep-skin too. On the plus side, I wasn't woken by the sound of rats in the ceiling this time. That's because we set rat traps last time. Successfully, too, I might add.

That's Marty checking the traps. Bright pink gloves are too cute on him, don't ya think? Oh, just in-case I hear a cry of sexism here, I put the traps up last time, so it was his turn. Ha!

I think it was Friday when I spent some time digging out some accumulated dirt from above the foundations on the corner there. As with all old houses (and probably new ones I guess), dirt and gardens shouldn't be above the concrete footings or the damp-proof-course if you have one. I doubt this place has that though. When the dirt is above the concrete or DPC, the moisture gets to bypass that protection and go into the walls and cause problems.

Marty worked on a similar but different issue on the opposite side of the house on the left there, making the gutter drop the water further away from the footings of the house. He did a great job, too! I think it'll work, at least until we get the gutters and water tanks sorted later on.

Hopefully the digging will help slow down the damage to that part of the wall. You can see we have a lot of work to do here. The concrete on the side of the house is coming away by itself, so that should make life easier when it comes to taking it off and replacing it with something more natural. The mortar between the bricks in the chimney is missing so badly in places that you can actually see daylight if you stick your head in the fireplace in the kitchen. Still, it doesn't feel overwhelming after what we've been through at the old miners cottage at home.

Marty and I planted some rosemary along the side there, although we may have to move it someday.. if it lives, it lives. It was only cuttings from our main plant - plenty more where they came from, but I'll be happy if we can use a little rosemary on the BBQ sometime in a future visit!

We reluctantly left on Saturday, but we have to go up for another visit soon! The neighbour decided that he'd like to keep Larry the rooster, and we offered him a couple of our girls to keep him company. Hopefully we'll be done with the renovations at the old cottage in Stawell very soon and we can move up there for good!

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