Saturday, 7 September 2013

One year old!

As of last week we have been in our house for one year already.
Although there is still so much to do, we have accomplished a lot in the last year.

Vastly different from the boggy mud out the front at handover

Drainage is still quite a problem. The middle part of our block has an inch or so of water sitting on it constantly, it's so boggy we can't get the mower anywhere near it, even walking across it you sink down dramatically. Once (if!!) it dries out we have decided that we will dig it up to lay some agi pipe which should hopefully help clear some of the water away next winter.

Not a great pic, but you can see where I got bogged and gave up.
One good thing with the long grass in the middle - it serves
as a great camouflage for the huge dirt pile at the top!

The grass seed we planted all those months ago has finally produced some grass - and lots of weeds, the green looks so much better than the dirt. We can't really plant more grass seed over the bare dirt in other places at this stage due to all the work that is going to happen with the drainage.
We have sorted out the area near the tanks, it was another drainage nightmare, it now has agi pipe and has been covered in stones. Looks really great. We still have to finish shaping the garden bed in front of our bedroom window for more pebble garden, and also get more pebbles to put along the front of the living room and alfresco. Due to our large eaves, we cannot get grass to take in these spots, so thought it best to continue on the stones. We will also make some stepping stones out of leftover bricks across the stones in front of the alfresco.

Yay! Some grass took! Stones to go in that
attractive bare patch 

Freshly washed after completion. Even
the walls and tanks got a clean :)
We still need to edge it properly and work on
the bit that will link it to the front of the
Master bedroom

I have planted a few more small natives in the garden bed near the front path, and also a couple of small bushes on the small hill outside the master window and near the septic, I'm really hoping these take well.
The trees planted along the driveway are all still alive and growing, and majority of those on the back batter are still alive as well. There have also been another half dozen natives pop up on the back batter to add to those already planted.
We got our first 'bill' for power. Although I actually had to pay this time instead of receiving a credit, we are still ahead as the credits we have received in the past covered it. Not too much credit remaining though so hopefully the next bill won't be very high, or will be credit only. The next bill will make it one year with the solar so I'm really eager to find out how much electricity will have cost us for 12 months. We had a great week of weather last week so we turned off our HW booster, it was lovely to get some free HW again even if we had to turn it on again today so only had one week of relying on the sun.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Busy Week!

Our concreting was completed this week and we are really pleased with how it's turned out. They have done such a neat job, there isn't one splash on our bricks. There are a few different heights involved and the slope they have done to link them together is great. We are both really impressed with the work. The colour is not exactly the same as that already present in the laundry portico, but we knew that was probably going to be the case.

You can't really see the slope down to the
fence, but trust me, it's good!

We plan to screen the HWS and I have a table and chairs set
to go under the splashback window

Garage door to back fence

Really should take some photos now the boxing is removed...

Unexpectedly our back fence also finally got rewired last week. I say unexpectedly as although we had been talking to our neighbour about it since Christmas, and actively pursuing it for over two months, we didn't realise it was actually getting done on Wednesday. It hasn't actually been replaced, but new wire has been installed to the back part of the posts with extra layers of barbed wire put in as we have experienced a few of their cows getting into our backyard! It wasn't really cosmetic for us, so we have no intention of removing the old, rusty, saggy fencing, it can help keep out our other neighbours dog!
This weekend Stu dug a drain to help divert some of the water from bogging up our backyard and I planted 30 plants on the batter. This time it was a combination of Lomandra, Austral Indigo, Tasman Flax Lily, Goodenia, Bulbine Lily, Sweet Bursia, Hop Bitter Pea, Kangaroo Apple, Lightwood and more Callistemons. I have left approximately 2 metres on the batter unplanted so we can drop trailer loads of dirt over it, which worked so well last time, so much easier then hand shovelling out the trailer! I have also planted some Lomandra near the septic alarm light and put some Hair pin Banksia and another Bulbine Lily in the rock garden between the house and the path. Quite exciting, whilst planting out the batter I came across 3 natives that have popped up and in great places. Yay! Stu also started pushing more dirt around the backyard to match up the new path level.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Long Overdue Update

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. It would be great if I could say that the landscaping was done but sadly it is all still a long way off.
There has been some progress however...
All dirt piles except the massive one at the top of the block have now been flattened. The front of the house is now ready for grass. We have scattered $100 of grass seed over approximately a third of it, unfortunately not much has taken at all, but one section has finally started so we are leaving it for a while to see how well it will spread. Our living room windows are disgracefully filthy, but because of all the dirt just in front of them it is not worth cleaning them as they will filth up again in no time. Bring on the grass and some nice clean windows!
The backyard is now neatly divided from the front with the addition of a colorbond fence. This new fence goes from boundary to shed, shed to house, house to boundary. I was concerned with how it would look but am very pleased to say I really like how it has come up.

Terrible terrible phone pic, but you can see the fence
and at least the grass is short  here. This photo was taken
a few months ago.

We have also dumped 15 trailer loads of dirt in the backyard and levelled it out quite a bit, as well as smoothing out the cut around the shed. The dirt was of course taken from our dirt pile out the front - not that it made much of a dint. We have now organised for concrete path in the backyard, running from the gate to link up to the portico outside the laundry, restarting again the other side and running across to the dining room door. It will also branch out to our clothesline. It is supposed to be started late next week. I can't wait. It's going to be done in Pompeii again, but unfortunately we cannot find a concretor who is willing to use flyash. We really were fortunate that our builders were open to using greener products.
A couple of weeks ago we received our first electricity statement. FINALLY. I was so excited to see that our average daily usage has dropped from 11.5kw in our old 16 square house to 8.3kw in this new 23 sq house. Yay us. Even factoring in the connection costs, we are still in credit $269 due to all the power we produced with our solar PV. I am also really pleased to say that despite the quite cold weather we have been experiencing, our house is capturing and holding the heat well. It's so wonderful to see our house working how we designed.
I'm also very happy to report that despite experiencing a very dry summer we did not even come close to running out of water whereas most people I spoke to who live around here were seriously low and getting very concerned. We did still make use of the kids paddling pool, and on the stinking hot days I was having showers twice a day so it's not because we went without anything.
The fruit trees we planted along the back fence are doing really well except the citrus which are alive, but have not grown much at all. I pruned them all last weekend, I've never pruned before so watched some You tube vids and spoke to some ladies at work to find out what to do! Hopefully I've done it right..
We visited the local native nursery a few weeks ago and purchased approximately 60 tubestock plants-around 15 different varieties. We planted 23 along the driveway the weekend after I bought them, but haven't managed any since due to a combination of bad weather and other commitments. So far, planted in a random mix there are Lightwood, Black She Oak, several different Callistemon, Slender Tea Tree, Honey Myrtle, Kangaroo Apple and Hemp bush. The next area to plant out will be the batter behind the house, but we have had an awful lot of rain of the last couple of weeks and this has highlighted the need for even more dirt in the backyard, so we will have to do that before we do the batter planting.
The study is also organised now and we have a better computer so I intend to pop in here a little more often again to update as things get completed. Thanks for sticking around all this time :)