Friday, 31 October 2014

Hey there, howyagoing?
Yep, it’s been a while (again!) – life, sicknesses, work and family do that to a blog!

But I still have plenty to say about our building adventure so don’t give up on us just yet J.
So – progress – that would be slowly…

We (Michael) are still paving (and no end in sight just yet) – but the front is all but finished, so that leaves just the sides.  


It takes a while this paving lark – they are still heavy!  - and he is doing all the prep work by hand (of course, that's my Honey) – and the ground is hard (well it was compacted, being our house pad an’ all) and the odd stone makes for sifting involved too (so the screeding goes well) so these square metres are certainly full of blood, sweat and love.
We are making sure we sneek in a bit of other work too – for a break!  That’s owner building for you – you switch jobs for a break!!  Argh! 

Anyhoo – we got the kids’ garden beds up and running – we were close to being out of time for spring plantings so it had to happen. 


That was only last weekend and we found the first lovely sprouts this this morning J.  Between them, they have planted sunflowers, peas (just in case they might do ok), corn, strawberries, cauliflower, butter beans, lettuce and chives.  And I snuck the cucubits in the compost heaps.  Yum, I hope we get some good foods J.  We sure are enjoying the lettuce, cabbage, silverbeet, spinach and carrots we are currently harvesting.
My lovely husband has also been brush cutting, and on the tractor, to start our block mowing.  This is a bigger job this year – more things to dodge (a house!) and more things to clean up in being bush-fire ready.   That is our mission this weekend, sort all the wood piles so we get them in a safer spot, and we will need to go around and pick up the small branches that fall from the trees (kindling).

Our neighbourhood bushfire-ready meeting was last weekend too – and it is a great reminder to do the prep work and get your survival plans updated.  We’ll be having this year’s first bushfire drill with the kids this weekend.  We aim to do the drill about once a fortnight.  I have a healthy fear of bushfires so it is much better feeling we have preparations in place.
We actually designed this house for bushfire resilience – that is why it is a plain rectangle (no innie corners for leaves to collect) and the most simple roof line (no leaves, and embers can just fall off) and a colourbond leaf free gutter system.  All outside building materials meet the BAL (bushfire attack level) of course, and we have non-combustible, closed in eaves (remember our pretty colourbond verandah ceiling – not just good looks J). 

We also thought about and designed in a safe refuge in the event we have to shelter from a bushfire (please God it never happens!) – the criteria were: two exits,  only a small window and be the part of your house at the side furthest from your main bushfire risk.  Our main risk is the 1km+ stretch of bush on our north (to north-west) boundary – so our back hallway on the south-east is our refuge.  Our survival kit is in the cupboards right there too.
There are other things we also designed into our home for bushfire resilience and to meet the BAL requirements – double glazing with 5mm toughened glass on the outside, steel fly screens, a valve in the pipe to the water tank so we can shut it off and fill the gutters, stainless steel downpipes so they don’t melt, vehicle access possible around all 4 sides (for getting to spot fires) - plus a minimum of 20m from the trees on our block and we carefully consider the fire risk for all the shrubs we are planting closer to the house.

Can’t be too careful!  See here for more information on bushfire prepare, act, survive.