17 August 2013

Stage One finished!

The slab's been poured, and it looks pretty good. The concrete plinth with the bits of steel rod and plastic pipe sticking out of it is for the bales to sit on.

View from the south east corner

Ramp down to the pit where the composting shitter's bin goes.

The paddock's really green, and the nanoforest looks fantastic. The wattles are starting to bloom again. On a recent trip (not the one where I took these photos), I saw a euro in the scrub and tried to photograph it. Unfortunately the camera is not real flash, and it didn't really show up. About a minute later, I saw three of them bound out of the trees, jump about the paddock a bit, then turn and go back into the trees.

Now I need an estimate from the builder for the frame and roof, so I know how much money I need to borrow to finish it.

10 June 2013

Progress (continued)

The builder has done some work - the site is leveled and there's a hole for the grey water settling tank, but not much else. I'm a bit concerned that there's no pit for the composting toilet bins yet.

As you can see, the paddock is really green.

I went for a bit of a wander, and took these photos of the micro forest.

Looking south along the western fence.

Looking into the northern edge. The taller trees are at least 4 metres tall.

06 June 2013


I've finally got around to engaging a builder to put in the slab. He started digging the trenches on Tuesday.

I'm going up on the weekend to check on progress. There will be photographs and a proper post.

07 January 2013

Has it been nearly a year?

Well, yes it has.

I still haven't managed to get the fox, unfortunately. I've only seen him once since I bought the shotgun, and I couldn't get it up quick enough to shoot the bastard before he ducked behind some trees. And he has been eating the quail - there were hardly any of them escaping from under the slasher last time I mowed.

Still, all-in-all the health of the paddock is pretty good - I've got clumps of trees and saltbush scattered over it,  and there's a lot of grasses and other short plants as well, including some lucerne that Chris and I broadcast-seeded a couple of years ago.

The thing in the foreground is the handle of my Hamilton tree-planter, to give some scale: it's about a foot long.

And here's a photo of a bit of the windbreak from last August. The whole of the windbreak and the micro-forest had this beautiful golden haze from a distance because of the wattle blossoms.

The paddock is no longer quite that green.

I recently bought a second-hand post hole auger, which was really hard to attach to the tractor, and I still haven't worked out how I'm going to store the thing other than on the tractor itself. I think I need some kind of gantry in the shed. After Chris and I spent a day playing agricultural equipment Tetris, I've got everything under cover (the slasher spent a couple of weeks out in the weather). Having sons has turned out to be handy ...

So, the next steps are to find a contractor to put the slab in before the building approval runs out in May, and get some fencing organised. I need to fence in the micro-forest and the windbreaks, and along the creek line, and also divide the paddock into 5 or 6 bits, of a bit over a hectare each, so I can cell graze when I finally put some sheep on it. That's actually not as critical as the rest, especially as too much fencing will make building the Hovel trickier, but I need to at least plan where the fences will go eventually.

11 April 2012

A new beginning

Prompted by Ootz, I've decided I need to resuscitate the near-dead orphan blog.

Since I last posted, the tractor's been fixed (it was the battery, and the first replacement was fucked as well), and the paddock has been slashed. The trees have grown, some of them are now 3 or 4 m tall. Not bad for seeds direct-drilled in 2007! Even better, on a recent visit, I disturbed a couple of euros who'd decided my 5 acres of short forest beat the shit out of the surrounding several million acres of wheat'n'sheep as a place to live. (The fox I saw on the same visit wasn't such a thrill: I've bought a shotgun to deal with it.)

Plans for the Hovel are with the local council for building approval (although I still need to produce and send the design for the reed-bed system to deal with grey water), so I may be able to get the first stages of the build underway later this year.

I'll take some photos next time I go up there, and post any that may be of interest - hopefully in the next few weeks.

07 December 2010

Biblical floods

I reckon the Robertstown Lagoon will have a bunch of water in it. (A mate of mine, when I told her I'd bought a paddock in the Robertstown Valley, asked if it was in the lagoon, having grown up in the area. Fortunately I was able to reassure her.)

So. I have a new tractor battery, purchased at a discount price (it had some scratches, or something), but it's too fucking wet to go up there. I reckon I'd bog the ute on the way over the creek. I was planning on going up this weekend, but I don't see the point. I've missed the opportunity to slash at the right time for weed control, and I reckon it'll be too fucking wet to burn until about March (which is all the Council cares about).

Update: Still too wet to go up (12th Dec). Maybe next weekend.

16 November 2010

The week in review, and other matters

Well. It's been raining a bit up on the paddock, according to the BoM's radar maps and rainfall observations, and I need to slash it in preparation for the bushfire season.

When I was last up there, the fucking tractor battery was too flat to start the engine. That probably had a bit to do with it having just sat there, connected to the tractor, since I last used it a year ago. I've had it on a battery charger for several days, so hopefully it'll kick it over this time. I'm going up for the weekend (if things go well), so I should be able to slash the paddock, and run around the perimeter with the brush cutter. (Or come back Saturday night, cursing the cost of new tractor batteries.)

Update: I need a new tractor battery, dammit.