Our fourth seachange year

At the end of our third seachange year I mentioned drought. As you can see it got a little grim. During the drought there was a country music song made to help out the farmers. The creek was where our town water came from, I didn't realise. I thought it came from the river. So everyone pulled together to save water. I noticed that people didn't have to buy water as far as I could tell like we did in our rented farmhouse. There were always leaflets in the mail about drought related matters. There was a lake where a town had once been that came to the surface.

It is very strange, because our county's capital city had a very bad ice storm that they are still recovering from. If our son had gone to that particular university which was his first choice, it would have been very stressful. There was damage to that university and other buildings in the city. It was not something you would expect in Australia especially in summer.

One of the other seed gifts I have been given is jam melon seeds. We had bought one from a roadside stall. I gave that one to Mum. So the start of the year saw these little guys growing.

Our baby started school. I didn't feel the need to do anything special after that, just have a year to figure out what I wanted to do. Our eldest was 14 when she was born, and I had done a school year or two with my step-children as well, from the time he was born, yes, I didn't realise but it was continuous. I had gotten used to grocery shopping on my own already which was good as there was a stage where I didn't know how I would do that.

I remember during the drought, that we found a use for my old nappy buckets. I should have decluttered them, but at different times we had used them to hold Duplo. I have given the Duplo away but often hear complaints as this was a staple toy for many years and it kept the kids quiet for many hours, even though the box says it is up to age 5. The older ones used to build things for the younger ones while watching Playschool or something like that on homemade video.

The nappy buckets were used to catch the rinse water from our washing machine. One other good thing about our new Fisher & Paykel washing machine is that you can pause it put the hose in the bucket and then turn it on again to fill up the bucket. Our second son spent many hours helping water the plants this way.

We found such things in the garden as basket fungi. This is how it opens up.

I have mentioned the steep banks and the place we collected firewood from. We enjoyed taking pictures of the wildflowers.

After harvest we made jam melon pickles. We also made chutney and jam. My board and old blog have long winded details of the recipes and how they turned out.

Another special thing happened in the garden. We were given some plants when we first came here from family, and the plants keep continuing to surprise us. This spider lily was great. Also I found a grey plant at the craft shop and it turned out to be mullein.

We were on water restrictions, no watering of lawns, and restricted watering times. We don't have watering systems here, so managed with added buckets I think. The next spring was totally different, so maybe some of my photos are reflecting that now.

The plant below pictured with the tulips, is beautiful when it is fully out, and very tall. Not sure what it is yet.

On the 18th July it snowed. We could see it from the house. A colleague at hubbys work said he had seen snow flurries going past the windows, I didn't know what to make of this, but he was right. It had snowed in my childhood at my childhood home and was deep enough to play in, and only has happened once since. I was only about one or two at the time.

During the year, hubby brought home a newspaper with a very cheap house pictured in it. I had driven past this house when I took our littlest girl to her ballet classes. I remember wanting to buy it and being disappointed by the back, but can't remember much more than that. Anyway, in the middle of winter in a fog, we went to have a look. I love colour, and the walls had plenty of that, and a big bath, and all the ceilings were intact, except for one small piece of unlined verandah.

Why was it so cheap? It had an ugly switchboard with water damage on it, which was inside so the meter reader person couldn't read it. It had lime walls and water damage in the closed in verandah bedroom. It was dark and the curtains were drawn. The walls needed washing. The kitchen floor had a tiny bit of lino that looked liked it would crack around a square shape and I felt I could go through the floor in one place. The shower was identical to the one in the 60s that was in our farmhouse, or so I thought. The water pipes ran over the ceiling and the pipe was galvanised and didn't seem to have washing machine taps. There was a 70s sink, though I loved that, but with the taps it seemed a little bit like a dairy and the roof seemed to close in, though it was just the paint along the pipeline that made the ceiling seem cheap, it really isn't.

There was no basin in the newly constructed toilet area. There was evidence of white ants in a skirting board, though it may have been old. It was solid brick so we didn't worry too much. There was a blind covering a window you could see from the front door, and actually a lot of windows were broken. No they were not vandals. It is just a particular thing about 40s houses. We have come across this before. The glass is thinner, and to replace it you have to rehouse all the windows. It needed painting on the outside a little and had some ugly lattice though I didn't realise that this didn't make it appeal. There was a cupboard from the 60s in the dining room, but I got used to it. It was a good place to pop my bag since I was avoiding the kitchen lol.

Anyway we bought it, and that has been a start of a big adventure.

That brings the seachange story nearly up to date, except for the last year and the story of the house. There are many difficulties relating to seachange that I left out. I have no idea why those difficulties occur and I am not going to guess. Something to do with the remoteness and other things.

We did take the cupboard out in the end. One kitchen cupboard had white mould in it. It turned out the kitchen drain was actually rusted through, and white ants had taken up residence in the kitchen floor.

I have forgotten a lot, because even with the pace of the tradesmen, some of them, it all got done. This includes raising the height of where the power came into the house, organising the removal of the asbestos shower recess and the asbestos that was at the top of the back windows outside. The previous owners couldn't do this before because of rotten timber I imagine. The house was good, but the gutter wasn't sealed properly and this caused that problem. We stopped some water coming in the side door by cutting grooves to let it drain back outside. We got a basin from the tip, and it was mounted so I would not have to bend when I have a sore back. The toilet needed replacing straight away, there was a holdup with that, so I used the park toilets which was OK. I went early there sometimes in the frost to supervise a little.

Just after we got the house we took all our plants over there, it was the start of spring. Because of the drought the year before and worry about water restrictions, we eventually bought two automatic watering systems in the regional centre when we could get there. We bought fish for our pond, and after awhile they settled down and have even had babies.

The house has safety cut off switches with the wiring including the lights, which is a new thing since we have done that last. Australia has pretty deadly mains power. We had the airconditioner serviced, got the fan for the wood heater reconditioned, got all those windows taken out fixed and put back in, all 28 panes of them. Hubby took them out and put them back in. I got curtains organised from ebay, and my Mum's sewing. We up carpet in two rooms and tried out some Tung Oil on the sanded boards which worked out great. Got all but one wall washed, organised for the ceiling to be lined with pine. The plumbing was done mostly and a new floor put in kitchen, and hubby painted out the inside of the kitchen cupboards.

I got some new lights from ebay as well. Hubby painted out the lime room, perhaps a bit dark, but a nice shade. We painted some of the verandah, took out the lattice, which gave the house a whole new look which the real estate agent said it would.

Why did we get in a real estate agent? Well, one day when hubby and our second son where there finishing their lunch a snake wandered in, well it turned up inside, poisionous, not long after a lizard did. I didn't think I'd like that so I thought I might like to sell it. I still am going over my original decision at the moment to make sure it is still sound. We have and are going to make sure there are no holes anywhere. We saw another one come in the front fence. We took out several low growing bushes. Yes, I am not the farm girl I used to be, but I suppose I could be again. How embarassing.

Our current town is getting lots of herbs into the supermarket these days. I moved the ones I had growing here, less bucketing of water to do, to the new house. Although not all gardens were hooked up to the system until late in the season my herbs did very well. This is the mint area.

The biggest difference was the changing of the back door from a frame with shade cloth over it, to a 60s flash style door with glass either side. The house is weather proof now. We have been having some problems, have lots of insulating to do etc. But I can talk about that later as it is current. We are just trying to keep it heated as much as possible.

We got a new dishwasher and found that it could be put into the chimney space. The bench was already in the chimney space if that makes sense. The bench was not a modern size, but wider where the chimney is.

The roses turned out to be beautiful, I couldn't have chosen them better for myself.

Our sunflowers were gorgeous. They took themselves to the new house in the soil. The clothesline still needs work, but I still prefer it to the modern ones.

We were going to try to be in the house before school started in February. When we settled back into school (the girls had actually tried out their new school last December), I felt much more relaxed here. Maybe it was knowing I had another house to go to, not sure, but it is nice. It is so quiet there, and may remind me of the village I grew up in or the one where my Nana and Grandpa lived. You can hear cows and chooks and have that lovely afternoon light that may be taken away when you are too closely built up. We have two blocks so it is open, only behind can be built on, but we have a laneway.

Our son started with his Grandparent's help a berry patch and that is still doing well. Our son watered all our trees, and mowed most of the lawn during summer. We may have found where a windmill was once in the backyard, maybe we can use the water from that in the future.

Our jam melons took themselves there too I think. We harvested them from there. We also had some tomatoes and a pumpkin come up by themselves and we harvested those. Things grew really well. A pineapple sage, just a few sticks and leaves in a pot, placed under the watering system reached quite high up the fence.


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