Hitting pay dirt meant driving north to the inland town of Bendigo. In the 1850’s that part of the state produced some of the biggest gold finds in the world, and the town itself has a colourful history and beautiful old Victorian buildings. Precious metal is still being found there today as there are several active gold mines in the town. However, I was after a precious metal of a very different sort: corrugated galvanised iron sheeting. A visit to a house demolition and salvage yard in the industrial area of that town produced a reasonable quantity of the iron sheeting. I took everything they had. The helpful bloke, who looked exactly like the sort of person that you’d expect to find in that business, sold me the material and remarked that: “This stuff is as rare as hen’s teeth, mate!” Newer corrugated sheeting which can be purchased now is much thinner and a whole different alloy (zincalume) than this older material. There are still old houses made from this older tougher material in the inner city of Melbourne.
The steel sheets were loaded onto the bright yellow trailer, securely strapped down and then I began the slow process of driving back to the farm. If during the drive back, the steel sheets became loose, they could have easily flown off the back of the trailer and this would be a serious hazard to anyone else on the road. Just to add a degree of difficulty to the transport, the edges of the steel sheet are quite sharp and they can cut through the nylon ropes and tie down straps used to hold the steel sheets firmly to the trailer. Transporting any steel sheets requires you to keep one eye on the road and the other on the contents of the trailer. By the time I made it back to the farm only a single rope had been broken by the razor sharp edges of the old iron, which was OK as I had used multiple and redundant ropes.
|Steel sheets waiting on the now muddy yellow trailer waiting to be unloaded|
|Crushed limestone has been distributed around the excavation site|
A couple of weeks back I had to move two rhubarb plants as they were in a location that was better suited to other plants. Rhubarb must be one of the easiest plants to multiply because the process involves digging the plant out of the ground roots and all. Then using a spade or a knife (or whatever) to cut the root system into as many plants as you feel comfortable making. The basic rule is if some of the root system is attached to come of the stalk and perhaps a leaf, you should get a new plant. Then bang that chunk of rhubarb root into the ground somewhere else and you’ll get another plant. It is an easy process and I’m not even remotely careful of the plants during the process.
|Seven new rhubarb plants have taken hold and are starting to produce new leaves|
|Scented geraniums used as a living fence to protect the plants behind it from the wallabies|
|Garden bed without the scented geranium living fence|
In breaking tea news: The tea camellia has really enjoyed the protected spot, as well as some decent rainfall and it has even managed to put on a bit of new growth and produce a flower.
|The tea camellia has produced a flower and some new growth|
Autumn is still a good time for harvesting edibles. The citrus have also enjoyed the cooler, rainy weather and are producing copious quantities of fruit. The main crops here are lemons (two types), limes and pomello (a sort of grapefruit).
|The citrus trees are enjoying the cooler, rainy weather|
|Some of the olive fruit picked this afternoon|
|Some of the medlar fruit drying in the shed|
By late May 2010, the plumbers had managed to install all of the steel roof sheets over the house frame. It was quite the achievement because winter was moving in quickly and new roofs are often very slippery. This is because the brand new roof sheets are coated with some sort of oil and if you mix in a bit of rain water to that oil then there is every chance that you will simply slide off the roof. The plumbers were very careful and always wore harnesses.
|The roof sheets have now all been installed over the house just in time for winter|
|The plumbers dig the trench for the waste water pipe which is gravity fed into the worm farm sewage system|
For some strange reason, the building surveyors had decided that the house was being built in an area subject to cyclones! This was a bit of a mystery which annoyed me at the time, but given that the house has actually been directly hit by a tornado one Christmas day a few years back, I guess that there was some sort of prescience so I must not complain. They must have known in advance that something nasty was going to occur!
It is interesting to see how the entire house is held together by a whole lot of steel and timber:
|Details of the house construction showing how all of the various elements are tied together|
After quite a few years of occupancy, the house has not moved, at all, not even 1mm (1/25th of an inch)!
The temperature outside here at about 8.00pm is 5.3 degrees Celsius (41.5’F). So far this year there has been 209.4mm (8.2 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 189.2mm (7.4 inches).