Category Archives: Interludes

Interlude: school tidy up

Back during the big blow in October, a tree near R’s classroom split in half. It’s on council land, and council’s response was to blow past and put a fence around the fallen branches. It’s stayed that way for a couple of months, so it was time something was done.

A couple of weekends were spent dismantling the branches and transporting the bits back home to be dealt with.

All those little twigs cut with the shears, it’s motivating me to get a proper mulcher.

Thar she blows

After the very nice weather of the previous weekend, it was only a matter of time before the universe sought balance.

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Many moons ago when we chopped down the dead tree in the front yard, we promised to look after another that was just sprouting nearby.

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Little seedling Febryary 2013

But then the wind and a bad position meant that down it came.

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This might have clipped the back of the car, but we’d parked in a different spot. Came down about 7:30am, and we can attest that the thump of a tree hitting the ground is a great way to get one leaping out of bed – even a littley like this guy.

Steps: fixed

Steps up the hill: there were more than expected. It’s done now, however, and we managed to use up most of the treated pine that was making a junk pile over by the chicken coop.

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The fill will settle over the coming days, particularly in the rain, and there’ll probably be a bit of rock topping-up to do to keep the tops level, but they should do the job now for a good few years to come.

Side quests

The weather was a bit rainy – ok, a lot rainy – so I needed inside things to do. The shed was in a bit of a state, though, so a tidy-up was in order. There was also this old potting wheel that S got cheap, but which was really grubby and broken to boot, and needed a good clean and fixing.

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The friction ring that was on that little wheel was melted, so another was procured. Once the new one was installed, it still wouldn’t go, and it turns out one of the bearings on the main wheel was seized (which is probably why the friction ring melted in the first place). Should be about a $50 fix all up, and $50 for the wheel. It’s an old industrial model, and new ones go for more than $1000, so we’re pretty happy.

It’s mostly about getting it off the workbench, though. We’ll probably pop it in storage until we have a space to throw pots in, and a kiln.

Then the sun came out. We have a big pile of treated pine from the sand pit and trampoline base dismantling, and it seemed a good idea to use some of it to fix up the steps at the top of the road, which have become very agricultural and downright dangerous.

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I have to say, Kallista has some of the most unloved steps I’ve ever seen. There’s a set down Gleghorn Rd that are just the craziest thing.

Anyway, much carting of wood, dirt and rocks resulting in a job two-thirds done.

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There’s still plenty more wood in the pile, but that’s enough for this weekend!

Winter distractions

Chopping up the big Vic ash stump and levelling the ground took all of June and a bit of July, too. In the meantime, there were also plenty of distractions to keep us busy!

Winter solstice: Belgrave lantern parade. This year R went with his school group so attendance was pretty much mandatory.

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Cindy and Pete’s wedding: the wedding was down in Sorrento, and there was quite a bit of organising to do. R did a great job packing the macaroons into their bags, and did a reading at the reception to boot.

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Nice seaside town, although completely given over to the tourist trade. A clear day didn’t stop the icy wind from biting like a tiger.

Super party preparation: R is having a superhero party this year for his birthday, so of course we had to make capes and get helmets and masks and wigs and cheese and make laser gauntlets for all the kids. What a production!

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It’s OK, really. The weather has been so cold, just too cold to be out in the garden.

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Terrarium refresh

The little plants in the terrarium S made me for Christmas ’14 struggle a little bit. There’s not enough greenery in there to keep the moisture in, and the rocks develop a bit of mould after a while.

So the whole lot was pulled out, the rocks washed and new plants put in. Some ferns were chosen this time to see if the leaves would crowd the opening enough to keep the moisture in.

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Interlude: Ollivander’s apprentice

Nina is having a witches and wizards party tomorrow, and R has almost all the gear: the Harry Potter glasses (adapted from a Groucho Marx disguise from Osh’s party last year, with the nose ripped off), the black robes (S’s old dress ripped down the middle) and a preppy tie (from Lucinda, S’s high school friend in Dublin). The only thing missing was the wand, so rather than buy a plastic one we thought we’d make one.

First, we went into the forest looking for a suitable stick

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We saw Tom and Molly on the way in; they were off on their bikes to “jump on the mulch pile”. There were some really great corkscrew-shaped vines in the forest, but we didn’t bring any snippers to cut them. We eventually found a nice birch stick over by the Alfred Nicholas gardens.

The initial plan was to make two, and we fished a blackwood log out of the wood pile for the other one, but it was going to take too long to pare back and the blades on the plane are finally blunt (after 18 years – not bad).

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A birch or blackwood wand for sir?

We chopped the stick, planed it back and then gave it a whole lot of caressing with the belt sander. We gouged out some wiggly channels with the router to give it some interest.

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We painted it with gold spray paint left over from Christmas, and then once it was dry we sanded it off again, leaving gold in the channels and in bits of the grain.

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R tried to make the window go up and down in the car on the way to pick up S – the wand works with “Downio” and “Uppio” (and papa’s finger secretly on the control in the front).