Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A Finished Shed

Yes, we finally did it. Weekend before last we were able to complete the shed! With help from DW and DM the gutters went up, the roof went on, and and all the final bits and pieces were completed. I can't say it was fun, a day on a glaring and hot roof isn't the most pleasant way to spend time. It's strange, but now, at the end of it all I'm left feeling a bit empty and unsure of where to go next.

That is not helped by some recent bad news. We heard from the accountant who tells us that thanks to some new rules we wont be sharing our partnership income the same way this year, which hands DW a refund, but lands me with a very hefty tax bill, due by March (on top of covering the two BAS statements that come in quick succession early in the new year)

Sadly that was not the end of our woes as the faithful truck sprang a big leak in the radiator on Sunday. Unfortunately I was stuck on the highway with nowhere to pull off for half a kilometre or more, so by the time I rolled to a standstill the cabin was filled with smoke and the temperature guage was maxed out. There was a small bit of luck, having a great friend who just happens to be a diesel fitter, and is well equipped for such adventures. He was able to pull me out of the awkward spot and over the course of the day we got it towed back to his place and then proceeded to pull the head off and see what damage had been done. The initial investigations proved inconclusive, no obvious evidence of damage to the head, so he's getting a second opinion over the next couple of days.

Needless to say it's been a trying week. Last week and the one before I was asking the Universe for a sign, for some direction about where to head with our lives. It's usually pretty good to us, though as with all such things the signs are never clear, but usually enough to go on with. Not sure how to interpret this turn of events at all.

Admittedly some clarity has come out of it. DW is not happy here, or with the new place. It's only marginally moister than the current location, and a fraction of a touch cooler, which isn't enough in the grand scheme of things, factoring in climate change. One of the biggest issues is we're still faced with at least a year of work before we can think of moving onto the block. And that means at least a year before we can think of doing anything much out there, especially to do with larger animals.

So we've discussed our options. One of those options is a move to a better climate with more reliable rain, and a move onto a place that already has a house upon it. That way we can move and start, in one go, just like that, rather than selling one place, moving, building, moving, then starting. Given we're currently supporting two mortgages that would if combined buy us a reasonable place somewhere else, what's not to like about the plan?

Perhaps all this grief over the new block was the Universe trying to give us a sign, and now we're getting a bit of punishment for not listening in the first place? lol! Then again, maybe it's totally the opposite? Aaargh! I'm afraid to ask for more signs so perhaps we will have to soldier on in a state of uncertainty (not that there is ever real certainty).

So, where to now? Christmas holiday plans are pretty well ruined. There'll be no transporting of stuff to the block thanks to the death of the truck (unless by some miracle we can fix it this coming weekend) though there is still plenty of opportunity for cleaning up around the place before the festive season. Beyond that, it's a matter of making a decision and acting upon it. During our conversations the following list of desirable traits in a new property has come up:
  • Only 1 to 1.5 hours from the coast.
  • Plentiful rainfall through the year - median of 800mm plus.
  • General temperature range up to 35 or so.
  • Water, preferably on a river or large perennial creek. Even better if we can float in the tinny all the way to the coast and have the kids row us back after a day of fishing :-)
  • House and sheds.
  • 25+ acres (we figure higher rainfall means better carrying capacity, so we can do more with a smaller amount of land.)
  • Reasonable soil.

Not a lot to wish for, is it now? lol! While we're at it we better wish for people to buy our current properties, otherwise all these plans are coming to a grinding halt before they've even started moving...

All the best for the summer solstice celebrations and/or Christmas!


Anonymous said...

Your reconsideration is both timely and appropriate; better to make sure now before you are past the point of reassessing your commitment. What area will be viable 50 and 100 years from now, so that any investment you make will sustain your children, grandchildren, and so forth?

You have learned much so far; consider this an accumulation of wisdom.



Geoff said...

Thanks Will! You are most certainly right. I am doubtful about the prospects for this area 20 years from now, much less 50 or 100, at least for the kind of lifestyle we're trying to live. Conventional farmers and residents might be able to muddle through, but I doubt it's going to offer opportunity to achieve any measure of self-reliance in the face of PO & CC.

The Duck Herder said...

bleeach! well done on the shed and sorry to hear about all the little struggles you are having. From the list, sounds like the Dorrigo Plateau/ Bellingen region might be worth a look? Lotsa rain. HEAPS of rain. Lotsa forest. Lotsa grass!

best wishes and calm and peace ok?

Geoff said...

Cheers Duckie.

That area is beautiful, but the worry there is that the cyclonic weather bands will move further south as the climate changes, so torrential flooding and such things will be more prevalent. Recent experiences up that way seem to point to that, though there are no guarantees wherever one goes.

East Gippsland is looking like a contender, some areas there get up over 1300mm per annum on average, twice our current climate. That and the winter snowcaps which feed the rivers, offer a bit of water security. A lot of research is still going to be needed before we leap in this time, hopefully we'll pay attention to it.

All the best for the Summer festivals!

Anonymous said...


What is the projection for the areas your thinking about in the 2050-2100 timeframe?


Geoff said...

Hi Will,

The govmint has some projections for the general area (http://tinyurl.com/ygwt9n4) though it's figures are for the higher population lowland areas.

We're looking at the higher ground in those regions, so max temperatures in the mid thirties might push out closer to 40's (Celsius) under the high emissions scenarios.

The region is currently on the edges of winter-dominant rainfall band, trending to ambiguous further north. Their projections indicate an 18% drop in rain under high emissions, during the summer. If we call it an even 20% and take that off the averages we're looking for (800-1400mm) we're looking at 640 - 1120mm per annum which is useful rainfall.

As long as we pick our location carefully we should be able to make use of the orographic inspiration for the rain in that area which might alleviate some of the symptoms that people on the lowlands will be experiencing.

Having said all that, there is always doubt, and never certainty, maybe...

Anonymous said...

You've done your homework, as usual.

Are you considering more than one country?

Anonymous said...

You've done your homework, as usual.

Are you considering more than one country?

Geoff said...

We've toyed with the idea of changing countries, but never taken it seriously. The disconnect and disappointment from family would go a long way toward negating any advantages.