Final Post

Hi everyone,

I have been a bit absent from the blog for a while. This will be the last post from Fig Tree Creek Permaculture. Brodie and I have split up and will be selling the property.

Before we sell we will be doing a big renovation which will keep me busy for a while. After that I plan on saving up for a couple years and preparing my car for a BIG trip around Australia, WWOOFing my way around permaculture properties. I have been thinking about doing this for a while now and the opportunity has presented itself (not exactly in the way I wanted, but beggars can't be choosers!).

I will keep the page open for a week or so before I close it down.

I hope everyone has enjoyed my journey with my property and have learnt something along the way! I certainly have and will be applying what I know to any properties I may have in the future. It has made me more committed to Permaculture and what it can achieve for our planet.

If you would like to keep in touch I have renamed my Instagram to Kat's Permie Journey, so please give me a follow!

All the best in your journeys and remember always: Earth care, People care, Fair share.

Lots of love,

Kat xx

People and Permaculture: A Book Review

I recently finished a book that I borrowed from the library called People and Permaculture by Looby Macnamara. I had read good things about it somewhere and I thought I would check it out. It is about the people aspect of permaculture and how it can relate to individuals, groups and the world.



As someone who is a very logical person and struggles with managing my relationships and feelings this book brought it all back to permaculture principles which was exactly what I needed to read. I read the odd 'self help' book but this one really spoke to me.

She goes through the first few chapters defining permaculture and how it applies to people, such as the ethics and patterns. A third of the book is how permaculture can apply to yourself and your life and relationships. As I find permaculture a logical way of thinking I found this very useful to apply the same knowledge to my life and see what is and isn't working. I enjoyed working through the activities that were suggested.

The next part of the book is written for groups and how permaculture principles can apply to them to allow for harmonious relationships. As I feel I am still working on myself at this stage it wasn't really relevant to me but I could see that it could be useful to community groups or families. I think a good place to apply these principles would be a shared permaculture household, like David Holmgren explains in his book Retrosuburbia (another fantastic book).

The last part of the book is written on a global scale and how we could more forward as a planet. This involves learning from other cultures in a sensitive way and thinking about the future generations. There are a lot of interesting concepts in this part that is hard to visualise on a day to day basis but when explained in the book it makes a lot of sense. One good example was if the world was represented by 100 people; 1 would be dying of starvation, 17 would be undernourished and 15 would be overweight. Very striking statistics.

The book is essentially a guide to live our lives in a more permacultural way. I got a lot out of the book and will buying a copy for myself in the future and revise it often. Although the group part isn't relevant to me right now I would like to have it as a reference in the future.

Until next time,

Kat

The Big Wet

Over the last few weeks we have had some uncharacteristic but welcome heavy spring rains. They have broken the dry spell in our area and we have received probably over 300mL so far. All of our trees and plants are looking a lot happier. This is front little garden, it has our old dwarf citrus trees and some veges inbetween.


After being cooped up for a few weeks we decided to get into the garden on Sunday and get some jobs done. Brodie spread out some mushroom compost around the front yard a few weeks ago so I decided to top up the beds with a bit more mulch. These beds should be good for a while now. This is along the boundary fence. There are pigeon peas, QLD arrowroot and some small trees in here to try and create a living fence.


This is along the other boundary. I planted some volunteer pumpkin plants in here too. That spindly plant is a bamboo that we hope to use to cover the ugly shed next door and use the sticks for building trellises.


We dug up most of Brodie's leftover market garden that was at our place. We want to grow more of our own food over the summer. It is a good period here as we usually have pretty good rainfall and everything grows very quickly. The bits of timber in these photos were given to us by a friend and will form slightly raised beds. We figured this is the best way to go as it is a little slopey here. The reason they aren't assembled is because we ran out of screws!



With all the leftover green material I made a big compost pile in our old bays. We finally got to set them up, 2 years after we have moved in.


A week ago I also made a batch of sauerkraut from cabbage from our garden. It should be ready this weekend. It is satisfying to use our own produce again, lets hope we can get some real productivity over summer.


While it has been so wet we have been catching up on jobs inside like installing ceiling fans and lights. We also got our old leaky concrete tank fixed, now we have 15,000 gal of storage or 57,000L. Feels good to have our water capacity increased again before the summer rains.

Until next time,

Kat

Front Yard Landscaping

G'Day everyone,

Unfortunately I have been completely unaware of all the changes that Blogger has been making and I have missed everyone comments since May! I just assumed no one was reading which is a bit sad! I am glad to find everyone's comments finally and I will respond a bit quicker from now, promise!

Usually we have a big push to do something when we get fed up of looking at it. This time it was the bank between the pool and the house. This is an old photo that I found from back in April. I left the plants there because they apparently produce edible roots. We found that they were little knobbly hairy things, not worth the plant space! There was also a heap of cobblers pegs and other weedy plants.


I had tried to previously plant some perennial greens in the area. We suspect that most of the pile is subsoil from when the pool was dug out so they didn't go very well. We decided instead to grow some natives there as the soil is so poor it wasn't worth growing anything edible. It is also very steep so I didn't want to grow something that would make us trek up and down the slope and cause damage. We went to our local Landcare native nursery and bought some small shrubs and groundcovers.

First we pulled all of the plants out.


By the way that is our new house external colour. The blue hasn't been painted yet. It will be the same grey as the trim. Those logs are holding up some of the slope as there is a flat pad up the top. This is part of Benny's racetrack.

Then we spent a bit of time cleaning up the small rock wall at the bottom. This is something we have around a lot of around our gardens. We have a lot of rocks!


We laid a thick layer of newspaper and topped it with mulch. We went with newspaper here because we thought cardboard might slide down the slope.


After we finished the area, we put our new plants straight in and watered them.


A day well spent! Hopefully the plants can get established this summer.

In other news, Brodie's small farm, The Cottage Farm, has been going great guns. Here is a photo I have of Benny and I sitting on the ute while Brodie waters his crops. There is a lot more in the ground already from when I took this photo.



He is getting great yields out of his beds so far and has new chefs coming on board. Now we just have to wait for everything to grow. It should pick up now that it is a bit warmer.

Until next time,

Kat



Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Book Review (Part 2)


In one of my previous posts I wrote about my experience reading Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration by Tao Orion. These are the next phases in the analysis of an invasive species.

Phase 3: Make a Plan

It is time to plan for your ecosystem based on all of the information and observations collected so far. The previous two phases were information gathering and now we will put it all together. See my previous post for the details.

Identify Long Term Goals

Here are some questions to help you to see if the ‘weed’ can be useful in your situation.
What is the goal for the site? Think in terms of five, fifty and five hundred years. This will probably be beyond what you have planned for your property but needs to be considered.
What is the management plan? Think of methods like mulching, fire, mowing, grazing.
Are there local codes? Where we are, we can’t burn piles larger than 1m3 without a permit.
Who are the stakeholders? What are their concerns and opinions? Think neighbours etc.
Can the invasive species be used usefully? Such as compost or mulch.
Can some of the invasive species be left for long term observation?

Take the Long View

When considering removing an invasive species we have to think about the possible long-term function of the species. Species can be considered invasive due to there being no obvious natural “checks and balances”. However due to our rapidly changing climate there may be use for the plant in the future. This really spun me on my head as we are so convinced to believe ‘put native plants everywhere’, but is it really the best option for the ecosystem in the future?

Maximise Diversity

Diverse ecosystems are more stable over time. We should allow for many different structures within the new ecosystem design to prevent possible invasions in the future. Think of a forest where there are plants that occupy different levels within the ecosystem.

Use Appropriate Technology

By using the correct techniques, we can prevent invasions from reoccurring. By cutting plants back or burning them instead of pulling them up, we can avoid disturbing soils which can cause follow on invasions.

Use Biological Resources

By using grazing animals instead of mowing to control invasive species we can obtain a yield. There are many biological resources we can use to our advantage.

Consider Relative Location

By considering zoning not only within your property but also within your region we can come up with better solutions. Maybe there is an area around the corner that has a different situation.

Be Realistic: Quick Fix-Retrofit-Ultimate Permaculture

We have to consider the solutions that may be suitable for the short term but maybe not the long term. This is to cover the possible eventuality of not dealing with the root cause of the invasive species. This is something I am facing at the moment. By clearing my lantana, what am I achieving? Another invasion of something else?

The Problem is the Solution

Consider alternate uses for the invasive species. Maybe it can solve a problem within a different ecosystem.

Anticipate Slow Variables

By designing the ability to change within your plan then if conditions change all bases are covered.

Phase 4: Implementation

Wise Resource Use

Within permaculture, resources can be categorised into the following:
·       Increase with use
·       Be lost when not used
·       Be unaffected by use
·       Be lost by use
·       Pollute or degrade systems with use
We want to try and achieve a regenerative approach rather than destructive.

Obtain a Yield

By becoming producers rather than consumers we can use the invasive species to our advantage.

Use and Value the Marginal

By considering alternate uses of marginal land we can create new ecosystems or economies by utilising invasive species. The author has a great example in the book of a very creative use of swampland.

In a future post I will go through an example of a weed species on my property. I hope this has helped someone to think about the ‘weeds’ we have come to know and think about them a bit differently.
Until next time,
Kat

Twenty Five

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my twenty-fifth birthday. We went to a delicious dinner at Harry's on Buderim and I was totally spoilt by Brodie. I thought haven't done an update on here for a while, so here we go!

Brodie has had his other Carpal Tunnel surgery done and is now almost completely recovered. It has been a good experience for him and he is now getting his strength back. While he has been recovering, he has been scoping out properties to lease to expand his small farm business. He has now broken ground on a place 10 minutes from us owned by a fellow in his nineties. In exchange for using his land we will be helping him with some jobs around the property such as cutting firewood. 

To prepare the block we had to slash a lot of very tall lantana. Luckily the owner of the property had a very sturdy old tractor that could get through most of it. After this we had a big tractor come through with a rotary hoe to break up the root systems on the patch that Brodie will be starting with first. The soil is wonderful and loamy. He has already planted twelve 20m long rows with some of his best crops.

We have also been doing a lot of propagating, for some short lived tree crops to plant on the property. Both of the trees grow very well in our area so we are hoping that after the initial settling in stage we will just be able to harvest for a couple years until the trees are spent.

Some of the other things we have been up to includes attending the Lifeline Bookfest in Brisbane. I can tell you now, this place is my heaven! We picked up heaps of farming and gardening books while we were there. I spent probably $150 and that was all we could carry!


We have planted some summer seeds. I want to have our property producing more of our own food to reduce on grocery bills. We went to the Queensland Garden Expo in Nambour and picked up some seeds while we were there. Most of them will be tomatoes I think. We had already planted some winter seedlings that we bought and now we are harvesting broccoli and cabbage. I think I will make some Sauerkraut this weekend.



While we were at the Garden Expo we entered a competition for a solar inverter, and we won! So we had a solar system installed last week, minus the cost of the inverter. Pretty happy!

I bought a new (to us) car. We had an old petrol Hilux which doesn't have enough grunt for what we need to do. So we bought a 2010 Isuzu D-Max for a good price and with lots of extras.


We have also been given a loan from the bank to complete some renovations on our property. Although it isn't as much as we would have liked we have lots of plans already. 

We are planning on updating the kitchen and bathroom a bit, painting the exterior of the house (currently 2 colour schemes) and putting some items to make our spare room a bit more comfortable and hopefully rent it out.
As you can see we have been very busy, I will try and update a bit more, especially with the house renovation stuff.

Until next time,

Kat

Benny looking sharp in his knitted vest

Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Book Review (Part 1)



I was initially interested in reading this book as our current methods for dealing with weeds on our property wasn’t sitting well with me. I wanted to see how this book would suggest managing problematic weeds.

The book initially reads a lot like Silent Spring, looking at case studies and referencing many scientific sources, which I enjoyed. Although all of the examples were US based, it really highlighted the need to look at the system holistically. The author talks about how there is detailed scientific information on the plant itself, but not the ecosystem in which it ‘invades’. It really brought my head out of just my property and made me start to think about my area as a whole.

My favourite part of the book was at the end, in the section titled “Putting Permaculture to work in Restoration”, in which the author goes through a suggested thinking exercise to help analyse the invasive plant in question and to create a strategy for its management. I thought I would go through it for you, my readers, as I think it would be a very useful tool. Later I plan on doing a post where I use the below technique and apply it to one of the invasive species on my property and create a management plan for it.

Phase 1: Turn on the “Macroscope”

Objective Observation

In this phase it is suggested that you forget everything you know about plants and pretend you are seeing the ecosystem for the first time. Once you let go of all assumptions effective observations can be made. This should include engaging all senses such as smell, sounds and feeling. In Permaculture it is suggested that this period for a property should be at least one year and include all seasons and weather events.

 Phase 2: Site Assessment

This is a research phase where you would accumulate information on your local area. This could include local knowledge, climate data and detailed plant information. Soil and pH testing would also be completed in this phase.

Know Your History

By understanding what is the history of the area a lot can be determined. The book recommends a history of the last 500 years, which in Australia would be mostly native vegetation before human habitation. History of clearing, grazing, cropping, possible pollutants and draining or filling. If possible, it could include the history of how the land was managed by our local Indigenous groups.

Use Science (And Systems Science)

By obtaining data on invasive species and why they are considered ‘invasive’ we can learn a lot about why they are ‘invading’ an area and what purpose they may be trying to achieve. This may include some alternate thinking as the reason why the plants are considered invasive may actually be helping the ecosystem in its recovery.

Seek and Apply Traditional Ecological Knowledge

By understanding what our Indigenous predecessors used the land for, we may be able to determine how the effects of Western influence on the land will result in the invasive species. A very well-known example of this in Australia, is where an endangered tree was protected from fire and was continually dying before it was determined that the fire was required for germination of seeds. So, by exercising the Western way of thinking about the situation the tree became more in danger of extinction. As we now know the Australian Indigenous practiced highly sophisticated land management practices as highlighted in Bruce Pascoe’s book, Dark Emu (affiliate link).

Discover Connectivity among Site Elements and Their Functions

By observing how the invasive species interacts with the rest of the ecosystem we can come to conclusions about what it is trying to achieve. In an area like mine which was clear cut for grazing, you would see that a lot of the native tree cover and other layers is now non-existent and, in their place, there are very few species. Are the invasive species trying to fill a niche within the ecosystem? Probably yes. By asking some questions about the functions of invasive plants we can determine what they are trying to achieve. The following questions could be used.

What is the root structure?
Does it provide nectar or pollen and when? Are there others available at the same time?
Does it provide shade or shelter to animal species?
Does it fix nitrogen or concentrate other nutrients?
Does it accumulate heavy metals?
Does it create a lot of biomass over its lifecycle?
Does it create an edible product for humans or animals?
Is it associated with fungal growth? Which types?
Does it filter water or prevent erosion?
Does it help with soil salinity?
What is its successional status?
Why does it appear? Does it occur in disturbed or low nutrient soils? Shade or sun?
Similar questions can also be applied to invasive animals.
Where does it sit in the food web?
What eats it?
Is it recycling nutrients and where do they come from?
What are the potential yields?
Etc.

I really like these questions as it puts the plant into a bigger sphere and makes you think about what other uses it may have. For example, we know that lantana (a big problem in subtropical climates) creates an ideal nesting habitat for small birds due to their spiky crazy vines. If lantana were to be displaced consideration would have to be put into replacing that aspect.

Get Comfortable with Succession and Disturbances

Succession is an important process in ecosystem restoration. This is clearly seen through pioneer species and their role in setting the scene for more long-term species. Sometimes the native species may require a pioneering ecosystem in order to thrive in the right circumstances.

In the near future I will go through the remaining phases that the book recommends.

Until next time,

Kat

Weekend Working

After all of our weekends away from home I was very keen to get into some jobs around the property. Brodie was very busy over the weekend so I made sure I had enough supplies and got into it!

I used some of the last large pavers (salvaged from the property) and continued the path down to the tanks, demonstrated here by a zooming Benny. Using the pavers with the woodchips/mulch between has been great because it gives a really natural look but still gives a solid surface to walk on. And it doesn't get muddy in the rain!


I moved 299 (!) pavers from the front yard. They had haphazardly fallen from their original piles next to the driveway and were beginning to annoy me. I didn't realise there were so many! That area is quite overgrown and there are probably still 100 to go. I moved them down to the back patio where it is flat and is a good storage area as it is a bit of a weird inbetween space. I would have done more but I was very tired after all of this!


We had a crazy self seeded tomato patch as seen here.



I wanted to see if pruning them would make them fruit more, and I needed to refresh my skills. It has been a while! It turned out to be only 3 plants.



And most of the garlic I planted 2 weeks ago have popped up and are growing bigger everyday.



I picked some lemons a few weeks ago so before they rotted away on the counter I juiced them. I freeze the juice in an ice cube tray and when frozen I pop them out so I can use them later. I also made some citrus vinegar for homemade cleaning products using the squeezed fruit.



We have also been busy pursuing bigger and better things for our property and Brodie's business and have made good progress in these spaces. Next weekend is market day again for Brodie's business, lets hope for a nice day.

Until next time,

Kat

Mid Year Update

Hello again my friends,

I had no idea but I haven't posted anything since April!! We have been very busy with off-property activities and have been taking a bit of a break.

Brodie had to have Carpal Tunnel surgery which has slowed us down a bit. He has had it on his left hand and is due for his right around the end of June. The first surgery went well and he has had almost instant relief. It was really bothering him before he got the left hand done so when it is all over he will be a lot happier.

We went on our annual trip to K'Gari (Fraser Island) in mid-May. We had beautiful weather and even got to go swimming a few times! What a fantastic 4 days away. This was one of the highlights:


And yes, I was driving! We managed to get it out without a tow. It was a good experience.

Two weeks ago I had a look at my Queensland Arrowroot which I had planted in March along the side fence. I noticed that it was spreading pretty well so I separated some of the corms to make more plants. This is what it looked like before:



And this is what I got out of it!



I have planted more along the fence so when they have grown a bit they should make a good privacy barrier.

We have also had a spell of cold weather over the weekend with single digits overnight. We have been having the fire on even in the morning and I have been cooking our breakfast (porridge) on the fire. It is a different but very nice experience. We also installed a small ducted system to push hot air from the loungeroom to other areas of the house. It has features a quiet inline fan and makes the whole house very warm on those cold nights, whereas previously we had a very hot loungeroom and very cold house!


Last weekend was the Maleny Show and Brodie and his mum were asked to give a last minute presentation to fill in for someone who had to pull out. They gave a very interesting speech on how their micro farm was set up and there were lots of questions at the end.



On the way back we stopped in at our favourite brewery to grab some beers to go. We found out they now do Growlers, which we can take back and get filled up.


Zero waste, locally brewed beer! How good is that!

Brodie's dad also donated to us a bunch of building materials that he has no use for anymore. Now we have a whole heap of great building materials for our future projects, including lots of hardwood.



It has been a great and challenging couple of months. It has been nice to step back from the property for a bit and have new experiences. Hopefully big news coming soon regarding the house!

Until next time,

Kat



Brodie and Benny on the micro farm

Cooler and more productive weather

This past weekend saw us emerging out of the very wet weather we have had over the past few months and the temperatures have started to drop. Perfect weather to get stuck in and do some work. I don't have any before photos this week because I didn't know exactly what we would be doing. Here is what we achieved.

We made a dent in the woodchip pile and tidied up the path from the driveway towards the house (i.e. buried the problems).



We also used some logs we had from chopping down the leopard tree to shape the bed where the citrus trees live to the left. We topped up the woodchips here too while we were at it.

These are some of the grubs we found in one of the old chip piles. Massive!



We pruned, weeded and mulched around these azaleas next to the driveway. If was pretty hard to get out of the car here before! Not sure what to do with this area yet so these shrubs can stay for a bit longer.



We weeded and mulched under the fig tree. We also fixed the chook house which had taken a bit of a tumble. Just have to dig a swale along the tree drip line and put up a fence and we will be ready for some fresh eggs!



I have also been reading Retrosuburbia, the new book from permaculture co-originator David Holmgren. I borrowed this one from the library but I might get my own copy. I have been enjoying it a lot so far and brings into context some of the ideas I have been thinking about. I think Benny likes it too!


We have this Wednesday off for Anzac Day. We will go to dawn service and see how the day goes from there. This weekend is meant to be sunny and cool, bring it on!

Until next time,

Kat

Working by the Moon

Ever since I have started working with nature and spending more time outdoors I can't help but notice the effect the moon has on me. Perhaps it is because I am a woman. I am not sure, but I can't dispute the fact that every time it is full moon I never sleep very well!

I read a book by Lyn Bagnall called Easy Organic Gardening and Moon Planting. In it she described that moon planting hasn't been proven, but by what she has seen in her own garden that it could be possible. So I am going to give it a red hot go.

According to the moon, in April on the weekends I should be completing these tasks:

7 & 8 April - Weeding & Pruning
This is because sap flow is low and prevents regrowth.

14 & 15 - Prepare soil
Another point where sap flow is not ideal for plant growth, but not its lowest. It is the time to prepare the soil for the planting of crops which occurs on the:

21, 22, 28 & 29 April - Planting of above ground crops
This is a much longer period than the others and will cover two weekends this month.

So on the 7th & 8th I prepared the herb garden which involved pulling out some weeds and fit in with this cycle. Last weekend (14th & 15th) my parents stayed over so no work was completed. I don't think I can plant things for two weekends so I will have to do some other tasks instead, but I will try to minimise the weeding. I will definitely start some more seeds as my tiny shadehouse is freeing up a bit now.

An aspect of Lyn's book that spoke to me was even if the moon planting has no effects, it still creates a cycle of tasks to occur in the garden. I really liked this as at the moment I am kind of running around like a headless chook being quite overwhelmed with all the things that need doing. By separating the tasks I hope to keep my workload under control and receive the best results for my efforts.

I bought this Moon Calendar Wheel to help me with my planning. I reset it at the beginning of the month according to the date of the new moon. It is very simple to use and has easy to understand explanations of the phases of the moon on it. I highly recommend it. I am looking forward to giving my weekends a set purpose and seeing some results.

Until next time,

Kat

Creating our Herb Garden

Over the weekend I managed to get enough time to finally finish putting together the herb garden. It is placed right by the front door that goes to the kitchen. By placing it here we are going to try our best to keep an eye on it and full of tasty herbs. I thought that I would make a step by step to help any other gardeners out there wanting to do the same thing and to keep a record of what we have done. Maybe it will work out really well, or maybe it will be a total failure! Only one way to find out :)

Step one: Collect materials. For this method of bed formation we wanted a weed barrier, a fertiliser and a mulch layer.

I got the paper for the weed barrier from when we moved offices at work as everyone was throwing away old documentation. I have been squirreling it away at our place until we needed it. For this garden I used mostly manila folders to see how they go.

For the fertiliser my MIL had some leftover composted cow manure from her garden, so she kindly donated it to us. We used this because it was available to us and locally sourced but you could use any type of well rotted manure.

For the mulch layer we used  woodchips. Any conventional mulch could be used here. There were some contractors clearing around powerlines just around the corner and Brodie had a chat to them and got a whole truck full of woodchips delivered to us, for the very convenient price of a case of beer. This is the pile with a dog for scale.



This is the area before I started. It was a bit neglected as we had been concentrating on other areas.



Step two: Pull out any vegetation in the area, then rake to remove rocks and large chunks. The leftover rocks in this bed helped to create the border.

Step three: place the paper weed barrier overlapping over the raked surface. In this photo both stages can be seen.



Step four: Add the fertiliser layer on top of the weed barrier layer. I mostly did it at this point to prevent the papers from flying away as I was working. This is most of the garden area with the weed barrier and fertiliser layers.


Step five: Add the mulch layer. Some of the woodchips we got from the contractors had a lot of leaf matter in it so I used it for the garden. It is less chunky and should break down quickly to add fertility and organic matter. I put this mulch down to about 5cm thick.


Step six: Repeat the steps until the whole garden is complete.



By using local materials available to us we have helped to improve our soil and prevent further carbon emissions. It cost us negligible amounts of money for this area and we prevented some papers going into landfill. We planted out the bed with basil, lettuce and silverbeet. We haven't got a lot of herb seedlings to plant which is why we decided to get some greens in the ground as well. I also installed the retaining wall to the right at the same time to create some separation from the deck and reduce the slope a bit. These were scavenged from the property.

I hope this can help someone to build their own garden bed, let me know how you go! This time of year is great to do it as it is cooling down and lots of great herbs can be grown, like my favourite, Coriander!

Until next time,

Kat

Building our Firewood Shed

What a fabulous long weekend off! We took the opportunity to collect some firewood from various sources on Good Friday. We had been planning on building an area to store our firewood but had never got around to it. Well, better late than never! This was the stack we collected, just in time for the cooler weather. It is a variety of different timbers at different stages of moisture so having a place where they can live in the dry is important.



First we started by choosing an area. We chose this spot as the stairs go to the back door into the loungeroom which is where the fireplace is. It is also a bit of a dead space that can't be used for much else. As it is in the backyard it will also be accessible for any outdoor fires we may want to have.



Then we cleared the weeds and junk that we had dumped in the area. We made a base by attaching some pine beams to the existing poles. We wanted to raise it up to deter snakes and rats from living in the area. Then we reused some of the treated pine that was part of the old pool fence. Brodie cut notches in each end so they would sit flat on the timber.


We then added these small bits of hardwood at each end of the shed to be able to stack the firewood higher and make it look a bit neater.



While we were mucking around and doing all this I was also hard at work with the axe to try and get the pieces that we cut up into fireplace sized pieces. You can tell by the axe stuck in that piece of wood that I gave up at that stage!



Then we stacked the pieces. Dry ones to the right and more wet to the left. This was as we burn the dry wood hopefully the wetter ones will be ready. This way we can keep a constant cycle of wood and always be prepared for the winter.



In this photo you can also see that we added a sheet of roofing to the underside of the platform to prevent too much water getting into the timber. All in all, it cost us $0 as we used all scavenged materials from around the property. At first I thought that having a lot of "junk" lying around the property would annoy me, but being able to re-purpose it has been very rewarding and saves us a lot of money.

Until next time,

Kat
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