Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Do you know where you're going to?

"Do you like the things that life is showing you?"
 Diana Ross - Theme From Mahogany.

Talk about slack blogging! I'd almost forgotten how it works...

Having been so slack there is certainly plenty to talk about now, though the primary reason for the absence, work, will not be discussed except to say there has been plenty of it, and making time for blogging has sadly been low on the list of priorities. After a long day in front of the computer, more time there to blog just doesn't seem so appealing.

Things are starting to quiet down now, marginally, so the time and inclination to gather thoughts and put keys to electrons has arrived!

The farmlet has been cruising along in winter mode, though I guess it was barely Autumn last time we spoke. We've lost two of the older chooks (6+ years old) but all the other creatures are doing well. The vegetable gardens have been planted out for winter production, and are currently (slowly) undergoing a makeover, as time permits. Recycled hardwood timbers are forming the surrounds, with crushed granite for the paths. Getting rid of the grass paths should go a long way toward making managing the weeding easier, and the proper raised beds will provide better drainage and growing conditions, hopefully. We've also made a new space for a perennial bed, currently with our new rhubarb patch, mints and horseradish, which has cleaned up what was a dauntingly disappointing corner of the patch previously.

So where are we at the moment? The last few posts we were in a quandary about where we were headed. We were off to Victoria or Tasmania, but weren't really sure.

The last couple of months have included a development that helped provide a bit of external impetus and a good dose of clarity. The development is more of an un-development, being that we've discovered a happy family of termites munching away at our house. This is not so surprising for an Australian house, but it is concerning if you're trying to sell the place. The inspector reckons they've done a fair bit of damage to the place, but without pulling plasterboard off we can't know for sure.

So we were faced with reducing the price we had put on the place in order to secure a sale, either that or doing some reconstruction to repair whatever damage there was. Combining this with our uncertainty over the idea of moving and we were seriously doubting the sensibility of the idea.

In the first case, we were torn about moving away from here. We've got a lot of good friends, and it's a great community. Whilst the climate is not ideal, and it's a long way from the beach, the community advantages (among others) outweigh the disadvantages as far as considering it from a post-peak oil survival situation.

After a fair bit of soul-searching and considering various scenarios we've decided we're going to stay on here, at the very least until the kids finish their schooling. Stability during those years of life is just as important as any other considerations. And beside that, the Permaculture Designer's Manual has a very good section on designing for deserts if things get really bad here :-)

So where to now? We've started re-assessing the place in terms of layout and planning, re-considering things so that we can attempt to fit even more producing plants in. There's certainly plenty of space here.

We will need to work on the water situation a bit, but there's nothing out of the ordinary that needs to be done there.

The main issue is going to be the house. Our two storey architectural monstrosity is not the best construction to start with, throw in some termite damage and I'm going to sleep daily wondering whether I'll be waking up downstairs in the kids room...

There's a nice spot in the front paddock that can fit a house in, and we've had a brief discussion with Council about it and they can't see any problems with building a new place and then demolishing this one. We've played around with some basic designs and think we can fit a complete single-storey house of equivalent usable size to the current one, into the same footprint as this one (yep, that's how badly this one is laid out!) Given that we already have a livable, if not enjoyable, house on-site considering owner building isn't so far fetched either, though I know DW will want it to be complete within a reasonable period.

All that remains is to sell off the farm block to free up some cash flows, though we can begin certain elements out of our normal budgets with a bit of saving. Planning our own house will be a new experience, and we'll need to figure out things like whether we see a draughtsperson first or an engineer, but all of that sort of stuff should be exciting enough, and keep us occupied while we wait to sell the block. And if it never sells at least our neighbour out there has a nice extra piece of land to use, and we've got a good, if distant, supply of firewood, while ever we've got fuel to get there.

It's funny, but when you're thinking of leaving a place you see it in an entirely different light to when you're thinking of staying. For one thing my shed is much better organised and a lot tidier now (lol) and we've planted a many more trees already. All the other projects that I'd been putting off for a long time, expecting to commence them when we moved to a new place, have also had another look over, things like forges, furnaces, potting sheds, cellars, biogas systems, a pumping system for the pond, the list goes on. Not going elsewhere gives me plenty of time to concentrate on being here, so there should be plenty of activity to report on in the future!


The Duck Herder said...

Hi Geoff
Wow! Its funny how sometimes we travel round the world and end up back where we are. There is lots of good in making good where you are I reckon. So good on you folks and best wishes for settling in and creating your life the way you want it.

We have been on a similar ride - I have formally given up yearning for a farm and am concentrating instead on expanding food production here in the city and living as if I was on a farm anyway. The lovely neighbor thing helps.

So I really hope you are feeling more settled and can happily put down your roots and be truly present where you are and glean all the joy that brings!

love duckie xx

PS, sorry about those termites!

baringapark said...

We have come to a similar conclusion for now, and are getting our wee farm set up exactly as we want it. Once the children have finished school we can revisit the idea of a bigger, more suitable, more sustainable place. It is nice to feel more settled I reckon!

E xo

baringapark said...

I meant bigger, as in more land, not a bigger house.

Geoff said...

It's great to see others are experiencing the indecision, and coming to similar decisions at the end of it. Funny that it's all happening around the same time, some sort of alignment of the stars perhaps?!

Bigger land and smaller house I reckon E, less cleaning, more farming lol!