Stalag 13 and other undertakings

Once again I’ve been slack in keeping a blog. I used to blog religiously. Then again, I was on holidays back then and everytime something happened, one of my cousins said something funny or I remembered a story from the past, I’d jump on my little netbook and pour my guts out.

But life has changed for me in the last year. Wayne and I got together in a search to buy a property together, we moved in, bought a horse, then another one. Inherited ducks and chooks. Buried ducks and chooks. Lost a dog. Bought new chooks. Learned how to do decking. Found out just how hard it is to maintain pasture where prickles love to grow.

It never ends. Life has become one gigantic ‘To Do’ list for us.

Over the last few weeks a ton of things have happened. Not all of them good. One of the good ones is that we’ve decided to relocate the ‘boys’, aka Boris as they’re collectively known, (the light sussex roosters) into more natural, roomier, accommodation. Wayne has been busy building Stalag 13 for them between the casita and the vegie patch. He’s been re-using and recycling materials on hand to create fences (see the old sheep grid from the casita, the trellis from the old deck…). Its almost finished now. Some wire to line the fences and the boys can move in. I’m guessing they’ll love having a bit more room than a dog run offers and I think they’ll love having dirt and grass under their feet.

For our part, we’ll love not having roosters crowing right outside the bedroom at 4am.

Did I ever mention that? When the roosters were first moved into their current digs, it was in response to the neighbour who said he never minded the boys visiting his girls, but when they started helping themselves to his vegetable garden he had enough of being Mr Nice Guy. If we didn’t put a stop to it, he would. Thus the boys were nabbed and bundled into the dog run. Which has started to smell. Ugh.

So, they first moved in there (always as a temporary measure) it was cause we couldn’t bring ourselves to eat them, much less let anyone else eat them. Being confined to a dog run seemed much preferable to being Sunday roast. Not sure they grasped the concept though, as the first night they started crowing every half hour from about 4am onwards. I’d just be falling asleep again when another rooster would start crowing.

I was about to go out there and strangle them with my own two hands by 6am.

However, its amazing what the human mind/ear can get used to. I never hear them any more.

Still, it’ll be nice to give them a bit more space. And the shadecloth lined dog run will most likely be converted to a greenhouse if Wayne has anything to say about it. I’m not too sure. We shall see.

As I mentioned, there were other adventures. A couple of weeks ago, when the deck was finished in fact, we had a real doozie of an adventure. Well… Wayne did.

He and Chris had been relaxing and drinking (it was a HOT day). Wayne had found and pulled out his hammock. It was great. What a way to relax! I had a go on it for a while then went off to do something in the paddock with the horses. Chris went and lay in the hammock and RIIIIIP. That was the end of the hammock.

Wayne, being a useful kind of guy, went and got out his eyelet kit to put eyelets into the hammock, strengthening it by doubling it over and all that. He’s good with things like that. Then he went and hooked it onto the frame… and RIIIIIIP!

Another man on his ass!

That hammock is history. (Its also good to know it could hold MY weight! LOL)

But the fun and games didn’t end there. Wayne went into the paddock to check the sprinkler and tripped over right next to Wally who probably thought another of the horses was muscling in on ‘his dad’. Result: Wayne got a wallop of a kick in his arm. It swelled up like a melon and started turning colours.

Being a man, Wayne refused to see a doctor despite having me, Merrill and Chris on his case. Mind you, there had been a fair amount of drinking involved. Remember the photo of Barney with the beer bottles? Do you seriously think he drank them all?

Anyway, suffice it to say, Wayne is still sporting a very impressive hoofprint on his upper arm. He has been to see the doctor and will have a follow up appointment soon. Just in case. I won that round. I have no illusions however. If he wasn’t really sore, he wouldn’t have gone!

With the deck finished, we now have to enclose the ‘mud room’ – ie the original old small deck. This will do two things. It’ll bring the toilet INTO the house (much more fun in winter!) and it’ll give us more room for Wayne’s huge collection of coats, jackets, hats and boots.

However, till we get our new guttering (waiting on quotes) and flashing, there’s no point in enclosing the room. Naturally, after weeks of sweltering temperatures, this is when the weather decided to change. Cold, windy and wet. Naturally.

The other day the wind and rain was so bad we needed an umbrella just to get into the toilet. And a boat once we got in there. We had niagara falls at the toilet door and rapids around the toilet bowl.

We dried it out, put an extra bit of corregated iron to catch water coming in where the flashing should go, hung a tarp on one side to protect us from rain blown in sideways and put plastic on the floor with some blocks under one end to create a kind of ‘ramp’ effect so that water going in slides back out.

It should work. In theory anyway. The downside of course is that the ramp interferes with the normal function of the door… therefore we have a toilet with a view. When we sit there we can see over the valley. Lucky none of our neighbours are close enough to get a view of us.

I’m so over this. I want a proper roof over the future mud room and a toilet with a closing door.*

*This is not my first toilet without a door. In my house in Melbourne, my then partner Simon decided to rennovate the bathroom. He ripped out walls, made the tiny bathroom bigger, moved the toilet from the behind the laundry into the new improved bathroom… but failed to put a door on it for about a year. Which was unfortunate cause the new bathroom/toilet was directly off the living room. I lived in a house I couldn’t invite friends to cause for one year I had a sheet hanging over the bathroom door.
When I told Simon it was over, I was over him, pack up and leave, he made a last ditch effort to win me back. I came home from work one day to find he’d cleaned the house (as much as you can when you have exposed beams where walls used to be, tiles sitting over holes in the floor where (again) walls used to be), moved furniture to create a proper dining room, had take away on the table and a lit candle… and TA DA! a door on the bathroom!
I was bowled over.
But perhaps its a failing on my part that at that point in time the first thing that came to my mind to say was “That wasn’t too hard, was it?”

Not, “Oh honey, all is forgiven”. Nope. Not me. Is there something wrong with me as a human being? Am I missing some integral part which makes me better at relationships?

Meanwhile, it seems my blog is more than simply a place to share events and vent about things. I am now also going to share stuff I do and make. I’ve found over the last couple of years, that I love making stuff. I love learning new things and trying new things. My only regret is not having enough time to do it all!

I’ve always drawn and done some crafty stuff, but lately I have become obsessed. So this is where you close the window if you’re not interested in hearing about my latest accomplishments cause I’m about to share!

I’ve discovered and I love it. I spend an unhealthy amount of time on there just browsing and getting ideas for things I want to do/make/try. I love it.

One of the things I found was that if you cut old T-shirts into strips you can make them curl into a kind of string. A couple of weeks ago at work I took one of my clients (a lady I work one on one with once a week) to an op shop and bought some cheap T-shirts. I cut them up using one of the pinterest ideas to make a couple of vests for her. I decorated one of them with T-shirt flowers as well (another pinterest idea). If I can I’ll take photos to share when I see her next.

I had an extra couple of T-shirts… so I decided to try making a headband for myself. I took the brown singlet I’d bought and cut off the bottom hem, split it up one side seam and proceeded to cut it into strips.

I discovered that there are some T-shirts that wont curl. This was one of them. Its more a knit than a Tshirt. Oops.

I then cut up a few strands of purple T-shirt, which DID curl. I tied up the ends of the strips at the size I wanted for my head. I wrapped and stitched the knots into a neater looking sausage shape, and voila. Headband!

Other things I’ve made recently after being inspired to use my downtime to create all kinds of interesting useful things, is a diary cover.

Basically, I couldn’t find a diary I liked more than my filofax, but I wanted to try a day to a page so I thought I’d get a cheap diary and make a cover for it to hold a pen. This is what I came up with. I made the cover using felt and covering the diary pretty much as I used to cover schoolbooks when I was in grade school, only I sewed rather than taped. I decorated it by stitching on the monster with its pen holding loop/hand. I used a hairband as the elasticated closer.

I kind of stuffed up so I had to put the button on the back. So I added another smaller monster there. šŸ™‚ Its a bit wonky having to close the diary at the back, but it works!

Another thing I made was a spot to put the mobile phones while they’re charging. Up till now they’ve sat on top of the two old tins I have decorating my counter top. What I did was get some cardboard (every self respecting crafter has bits of that lying around). I cut it to the shape I wanted, made a pocket using glue and bits of cardboard to give it the depth I wanted. I reinforced the middle with an extra sliver of cardboard, creating two separate pockets for our two phones.

First I covered it in some craft paper I had lying around but I hated it. So I recovered it using some scraps of fabric. Then I loved it.

The only problem with this amazingly handy little contraption is that now I forget to take my phone to work cause its ‘in its place’ rather than on the counter!

Lastly (for this blog anyway, you’re never going to safe again) is a gift box I gave Wayne for his birthday last month. I’d seen something which gave me the idea in a book. It was a tiny memory box thing. What I created for Wayne was a ‘home box’ – a box with special memories and bits of home so that he can always have a bit of home with him wherever he goes.

First I bought a small craft box and created the message ‘home is where the heart is’ using the age-old blackmail letter technique. I then filled it with all kinds of goodies. Three horse hair locks from each of the horses. Tiny photos of me and the dogs. A feather from Boris (and by extension, all the chickens). The wire ‘W’ I’d made as a gift tag for his first Christmas present at the farm. Tiny bags with dirt from our land. A knot of leather. Some rusty nails from the old shed/now stable. All little things which are part of this place, or symbolize home. It lives on his bedside table. šŸ™‚

Well, enough for today. I’ve been on here long enough!


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