Sunday, November 30, 2014

A daily routine begins to form

I have a natural aversion to routines, but deep down they have a way of balancing the equilibrium of our mostly hectic life. I waver from being a rebellious fan of spontaneity to closet craving a structured routine determined by the clock.

The clock in its new home .. the kitchen. 

At WG, Animals are determining that a routine shapes me, not by a clock but by the hours of daylight, and I must say I am starting to enjoy it.

It's light(ish) here at 4.30am, although the official sunrise is not until 5am (or 5:03am according to the ABC weather - I always love their unwavering optimism "The sun will rise at 5:03am ..."). Tom Dog tiptoes into my bedroom at first light, he shoves his wet, cold nose into my warm blankets and the minute I acknowledge him, two black and white paws launch onto the sheets for excessive pats. When I say enough, he click, clicks on the wooden floor, around the other side of the bed to sniff and poke the princess dog, Minty. She is less of a morning person than I, greeting him with a growl. He eventually flops down on the rug beside my bed, with a melodramatic, teenage sigh and goes back to sleep until 5:30.

I get up, dress, and head on out to let the girls out of their house. I have them locked up at night for the moment, just until I can trust their yard to be fox proof. Tom races to the chook pen whilst I am still putting on my shoes, sniffing about for any night time intruders scent. I can hear the girls all clucking and telling me off for taking so long to release them. Once I open the door, four bossy black hens coming racing out, down the step and into the yard. Poor Daphne, the lone Light Sussex, comes out last, keeping well out of the way of the matriarch Daisy.

The first view that greets me in the morning on the way to the girls

Back to the house to feed Tom Dog, the princess will sleep in for another 30 minutes. He is eating and I make my coffee and empty the dishwasher. We sit on the veranda and enjoy the 'quiet' of the early morning. I say quiet, but what I really mean is the quiet of nature. Magpies with demanding offspring, Mudlarks, Ring Neck Parrots, Red Tail and Carneby Cockies, Galahs, ducks, Rosella's, Wattle Birds ... as my mum says, it sounds like a bird park!

Almost to the bottom of my coffee cup, and there is the short, sharp yap of her majesty. She is blind and old but certainly not quiet and easily forgotten. I carry her to breakfast, and while she eats, I make my bed and put on a load of washing. Its all about multitasking.  She is finished her breaky so we head back out to the garden for her morning constitutional and my chance to potter about while I watch her. 

I am enjoying the watering for now, seeing new seeds sprout, new leaves unfurl, flowers opening. The girls watch me for any sign I might have food, or even better I might open the gate and let them free. They get a few hours each evening, to minimise their enthusiastic harvesting of anything green.

There is always a job to do, or a walk out to the paddocks, or up the drive. I can not think of a better way to start my day. Even sleeping in holds no appeal, not when there is so much to do, so much to smile about.

By 8am, I am ready for the second cup of coffee, a bowl of muesli and a chance to read or write. I like the writing mornings, words and ideas hit me while I water, or potter, and I can't wait to get them down.

If this is routine, then I am liking it very much.

Laundry with a View

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Girls House

'Jodie's Girls'
The girls house was one of the first things we build before the move. We had to have a safe home for them to come to live in, and only the best for the divas would do. What started as an idea for a lean-to henhouse became a fully lined house fit for humans!

The Floor going in with Tom Dog supervising. Mr K is digging the post holes for the yard

The foxes are pretty bad around here, neighbours on either side of us said they didn't keep chooks because of this. This worried me, but I figured we could build a substantial chook house that would thwart the smartest of foxes.

The frame going up. Built from the old fence posts that we pulled out - solid, old jarrah

Dad and Mum came up to stay and this was to be our weekend project. Except it took a whole week, plus another few days to make the yard. Built up on stumps, it has a solid floor, jarrah stud frame, and clad in (brand new) weatherboard. The weatherboard extravagance was born from two needs - one was aesthetics, we can see the hen house from the house and all the outdoor sitting areas and two, this was the lining we were considering for the house extensions and we could have a trial run and see if we like it. I think we do!

Weatherboard cladding and a half painted door

The roof matches Mr K's shed, the doors were from a salvage yard and modified by Dad to have some ventilation. Its roomy and comfortable for some very spoilt hens.

The potting shed was built at the same time to match, the little window is in the girls pen

The yard is pine poles with two layers of wire. One had been dug down into the ground with a trench lined in wire too. Then a second layer of chook wire that goes up to the top of the poles. We have also put a wire roof over the yard to stop the crows and maggies getting in.

The yard ... we captured a little dog!

Next installment, I will recount the turmoil of the girls moving house and having their country sisters come to live with them. All was not well in the hen house!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bring it on ..

Bring it on ... the last words on the last post. Did I really challenge the universe with that?

Swapped my office at Basso to a nook at WG ... so much nicer

Well I did, and I got what I asked for. 

Today is the first day in months that I feel I can lift my head and see the progress we have made. (as in we have been head down, bum up working for what seems like an eternity). Remember that move in date we had? 1st December if you forgot. Well it kinda got shunted forward by a month and I am typing this from the desk in the corner of my lounge room at WG. 

Yep. We are IN!  I could just now say that the Journey to Contentment is over, we are living in our little bit of paradise and all will end happily ever after.

Except, we all know that life is not like that.

There is always more to the story. 

The move began as a temporary measure when we had painters come to paint the granny flat and persuaded us to paint the rest of the house as well. Wow, as I write this I realise there are so many things that have happened which all need an explanation. Now that I have time and energy and a desk I can go back and write the posts that will explain all the happenings.

So, painters invading the house, the WG house is now empty of tenants and my folks had booked it as holiday accommodation for 10 days. We gatecrashed their party and wickedly put them to work helping us to move. Small price to pay for a free holiday!  Not a full house move, just enough to live and be comfortable. The idea being that Basso house will be left mostly furnished so that it can be 'staged' to sell. We have the very great indulgence of no time limits other than those we self impose. 

In a way its an annoying way to move house, in dribs and drabs, but I guess its not nearly as bad as trying to live in a house while its being painted. The other advantage of moving bit by bit is that it gives you a chance to find homes for all the stuff as you go. The logistics are that we are moving from a 5 bedroom 3 bathroom house to a 3 bedroom farm house. The name of this game is Decluttering.  We go to Basso, fill up a car or a trailer with stuff and come home and locate homes for it. 

Being an old house, there are no built in robes or linen cupboards at all. We have purloined one whole bedroom (just as well we have no kids at home anymore) as a walkin robe. Wall to wall IKEA has created the ultimate in wardrobes. (When I walk in there I feel like some rich mans wife with a whole room to store her frocks!)

My girls in their new home ... happy hens

The chooks have moved in, the doggies have their beds, I call this place home now. It still makes me smile during little moments - looking out to the trees as the sun comes up, watching the ducks and their ducklings on the stream, the kookaburra's that come at dusk and laugh hysterically, cleaning the beautiful jarrah floor - even pegging clothes on the line makes me smile.

This is still a journey, I guess life is like that. Contentment is still not 100% but it is certainly closer than it was last week. 

So yep, Bring. It. On.

Minty has found her contented spot.