A month already. And big changes.

This month has zipped by, as has the year. The build is really showing the work now, and having Phil in a few days a week has really helped Colin push it along. The biggest section, the back of course, is showing its bones very nicely, even if hidden a bit by stuff at the moment.

And before I go on, would anyone reading this be good enough to leave a short message that they are getting notification when they should. There’s something odd going on with WordPress at the moment and I’d like to know that notifications are going out when they should.

So, things are moving fast because we had to hire scaffolding for a month as the west corner and side is just way too high for ladders, and way too dangerous anyway.  This breathtakingly expensive lot of metal certainly speeded things up, but needs to leave as soon as possible.

Garden-wise, finally pulled out the sweet peas, dear things. They were so very generous and gave me, and several neighbours and friends, a lot of pleasure. It looks a bit bare at the moment, but tomatoes are rocking up the trellis, as are beginning beans. The asparagus waves in the wind (of which we are still having way too much) and growing nicely along for some to pick next spring. My self control was enormous when it started and I did the right thing and picked not a one this first season. Planted beans, tomatoes, a butternut pumpkin in the hope that it doesn’t take over the world as Queensland Blues are prone to do, squash with variations and a couple of zucchini donated by neighbour Vicky. Lots of basil of course, for pesto, and a couple of eggplants, which I’ve not grown before, and sweet corn. The rhubarb is looking gorgeously red, but every garlic plant keeled over at the same time. All quite strange! Along the edges of the raised beds are spring onions at various stages, beetroot – second sowing as the first pickled lot is almost gone – radishes, lettuce and a just-in second sowing of carrots as those left from the first lot are going to seed – there’s only so many carrots two people and two neighbours can eat! The silverbeet I put in 6 months ago is still going strong, although some are showing signs of flowering/seeding, and the potatoes look like they will be dug very soon. DSCN2417Todays pick of strawberries – I’ve never had much luck before and realise why now – too little sun and too much water! They’re in full sun and only get a small direct watering every couple of days. They’re fruiting madly and I pick about 500 grams every two days.

This ugly thing is the pole for new underground electricity supply. We were hoping for a small pole, back from the street corner, but this is what officialdom says we must have. Wonder if they'd mind if I grew ivy - or something really pretty - up it.

This ugly thing is the pole for new underground electricity supply. We were hoping for a small pole, back from the street corner, but this is what officialdom says we must have. Wonder if they’d mind if I grew ivy – or something really pretty – up it.

from the back corner looking at rear of house with garage under the kitchen-to-be on the left. The scaffolding makes it look like 3-storeys, but the next pics. soon-ish, will make everything clear.

from the back corner looking at rear of house with garage under the kitchen-to-be on the left. The scaffolding makes it look like 3-storeys, but the next pics. soon-ish, will make everything clear.

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The front kitchen doors - but no walls or balcony yet.

The front kitchen doors – but no walls or balcony yet. All the timber at the front has to be ironbark because of fire ratings – it’s almost impossible to burn. And almost impossible to lift, it’s so heavy.

Cladding going on on west wall. Not much room between wall and boundary makes it interesting.

Cladding going on on west wall. Not much room between wall and boundary makes it interesting. The colour is Colorbond ‘Shale Grey’, a pale grey-ish/beige-ish/neutral-ish colour.

caught me doing the first coat of the verandah posts. Had to be done before the scaffolding leaves. Elegance isn't the key word here!

Hmm. Colin caught me doing the first coat of the verandah posts. Had to be done before the scaffolding leaves. Elegance isn’t the key word here!

Love my roof!

Love my roof! The tucked under section covers the verandah. The blue isn’t true to the actual colour here, as it’s quite darker and less fluoro.

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Revised plan.

A couple of requests for the revised plan – so here it is. Run a line from the end of the garage on the left hand side, top of plan, to the corner of the kitchen on the right and from there out is the new section you’re seeing built, so far: bedroom extended, lounge room and dining nook.

ground floor plan

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Rain again, gone again, come again.

The garden loves this fine rain that just drizzles on. The builder doesn’t!

The weird weather we are having is very unhelpful. One day will be glorious coastal spring, the next it returns to cold, windy winter. A run of dry weather would be useful so Colin can do the prelims for putting the roof on the new back bit – so giving shelter to the frame and subfloor that really doesn’t like getting wet, but has been so way too many times.

Even so, he got part of the roof up yesterday, and of course today it’s raining. But wait – soon I’ll be talking about how dry and hot it is!

 

Pre-roof.Pre-roof.

Pre-roof.

Up on the roof!

Up on the roof! Gutter comes first.

Roof over the new bedroom.

Roof over the new bedroom.

My only contribution to the build, except for cheering on and supplying food - painting the bargeboards.

My only contribution to the build, except for cheering on and supplying food – painting the roof bargeboards.

And it must be spring - the lorikeets live and eat in the bottlebrush(Kings Park Special) hedge that lines the lane.

And it must be spring – the lorikeets live and eat in the bottlebrush(Kings Park Special) hedge that lines the lane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, probably the last pick of sweet peas before they go to seed.In the meantime, probably the last pick of sweet peas before they go to seed.

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Everything grows in Spring, even houses.

Rocking right along, here!  Phil Kellalea (son of a builder who was working here during our first residential time) has joined Colin, and the extra pair of knowledgable hands really speeds things up. As Col said, they’ve done in 6 days what would have taken him a month on his own.

Newspaper pages we found in the external wall cavities placed by the original carpenters as a time record, as they served no purpose. The Sun was a Melbourne tabloid – Merimbula, at that time, was heavily Victoria-centric: we arrived from Melbourne for our first residential here in 1978.

How old do you have to be to remember “Tutti Frutti’ and ‘Long Tall Sally’?!

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Joists attaching to the old cottage frame. The beginning of the kitchen floor and the garage ceiling.

The only way to get heavy timbers up!

The only way to get seriously heavy beams from ground to first storey.

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Start of kitchen wall frame. Yah!DSCN2222

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The large gap is facing north and will have a glass sliding door onto a small covered deck. This will get winter sun – morning coffee place. The south end, where I’m standing with the camera, will be the same and be a cool summer morning deck. The north-south openings will allow summer northerly breeze (or gale, at times) to cool this side of the house. The long side faces west. We get fierce summer sun so double glazed windows above the long kitchen bench will have outside blinds to keep the direct heat hitting the glass and keep it reasonably cool. Hope high school physics were correct in this theory!

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So long – but now…

It’s been a while since you’ve had any pics, because things have been really slow around here. Blame the weather! Can’t remember how many times the slab pour for the lower garage under the one-day-to-be kitchen had to be postponed because of rain. BUT things are moving – slab is poured, as you’ll see below, Colin has a local carpenter helping put up the frame for the back extension, and although it’s still pretty chilly with the southerly – or today, westerly right of the snow – wind, spring has sprung and the house will grow along with the vegies, and the weeds.

The view from the kitchen today! Yah! Walls - of a sort.

The view from the kitchen today! Yah! Walls – of a sort. This looks through what will be the dining nook.

And more frames.

And more frames. The loungeroom extension.

Beginning of the long journey to the slab!

Beginning of the long journey to the slab!

Dieter the marvel - who'd be a concretor, although you do get to play in mud all day.

Dieter the marvel – who’d be a concretor, although you do get to play in mud all day.

And in the meantime these have grown - I have mounds of sweetpeas, and peas, because the packets said they didn't need staking. All lies, and next year they ALL get something to hang onto.

And in the meantime these have grown – I have mounds of sweetpeas, and peas, because the packets said they didn’t need staking. All lies, and next year they ALL get something to hang onto. Even living in a building site flowers are essential, even if that’s practically all there is n the room. The metal pole behind them is a prop holding up the roof..

A drafty bedroom. The sub=floor will help tie the new section to the old cottage, and keep it solid. In the meantime the cats think they have a new cat-door.

A drafty bedroom. The sub=floor will come through the wall (which eventually won’t be there), help tie the new section to the old cottage, and keep it solid. In the meantime the cats think they have a new cat-door.

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August 11th

So the Bobcat has come and gone and I wasn’t home to take pics. But a machine is a machine – right! The site for the garage slab is basically levelled off, with some serious muscle work to do from Colin this week to finish off, and the tree at the front has left home.  I hate taking trees out but this one was full of borers and heading towards its deathbed anyway. The front is basically shaped for landscaping, but by the time the front of the cottage is pushed out a bit and the deck up there will only be a smallish area anyway.  Probably room for another small tree and a couple of shrub to give us some privacy from the road – it’s rather like living in a TV set at the moment, with road and lane on two sides.

We’ve put in the orchard – citrus lined up neatly to make a sort-of hedge when they grow -Colin’s job to keep them pruned and out of the lake-view! Lemon, orange, lime, mandarin and grapefruit around the vegetable beds, and a nectarine-cross-plum at the house end.  Somehow we ended up with a hole too many dug, and no remarks from the mathematician in the family, please, about how can five trees equate to six holes! Just accept that trees and holes didn’t equate, probably because we kept changing the locations, and so we also have a soft-fruit tree.

Two cumquats will give a visual break between terraces. These are the really bitter ones (good for cumquat marmalade), but with gorgeous glossy leaves and a good shape.

Two cumquats will give a visual break between terraces. These are the really bitter ones (good for cumquat marmalade), but with gorgeous glossy leaves and a good shape.

The beginnings of Colon's citrus grove!

The beginnings of Colon’s citrus grove!

 

Luka wants the deck back so he can get to ....

Luka wants the deck back so he can get to ….

...here with less climbing.

…here with less climbing.

From right hand side of front - tree gone, garage gone.  Forlorn little cottage left behind.

From right hand side of front – tree gone, garage gone. Forlorn little cottage left behind. But watch this space!

looking from back to front, through the demolition zone waiting for new garage and kitchen.

looking from back to front, through the demolition zone waiting for new garage and kitchen. The tall posts at left is for the fence extension to hide the neighbours.

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Going, going…

July 22nd

It’s been a while, but things slowed down here for a week while Colin had cataracts removed from one eye – the other will be done in about a month. He reckons he’s seeing lopsided now!

The rear extension subfloor is pretty well done, and won’t be moving for the next, oh, say 100 years, and now the west side of the cottage is being attacked – literally, as you’ll see below. Bye-bye deck, (and from the rotting timbers it’s surprising it’s not fallen down long before this), hello garage below and kitchen above – eventually. Gotta say though, that for one bloke with a few tools he’s really rockin’! Rubble was cleared today, and the space is ready for pier holes and prep for garage floor slab to start next week – so watch this space for more big machines in small spaces.

I’m learning more about this WordPress site – just realised that if you double-click on a pic it becomes large enough to see. But you would have known this anyway!

 

The best way to empty a plant pot - over the side.

The best way to empty a plant pot – over the side.

Try a chain saw...

If there’s no co-operation try a chain saw..

or a very big hammer...

or a very big hammer…

and don't look down!

and don’t look down…

...or up.

…or up.

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