Category Archives: Focused destruction


This slide did not see much love. It seemed to me that it would be far better in a park or at a primary school where it could be used and enjoyed.


We got in touch with Kallista and The Patch schools, and Kallista baggsed it. They’ll be having a working bee soon, so we can pull it out ready for delivery.

The main slide bit just unbolted (with a bit of persuasion from the hammer), but the stands were concreted in (surprise!).


A bit over-the-top, Carl, as usual. The slide was probably not going to leap from the ground and go running across the hillside.


When I was 19, I worked for a surveyor as his assistant. This is mostly holding sticks, banging things into the ground and digging holes. We had to dig up people’s yards sometimes, and he taught me to respect their lawns. The grass should come out in a way that it can be put back in again once whatever needed to be dug out was out.

Of course, my lawn is not so much grass as a loose association of plantain, dandelion, clover and cats ear weeds, but this patch should recover quite nicely.


And that’s the last of the “playground” that was here when we bought the house.


Goodbye wood hutch

This ugly, ugly wood hutch has been lurking at the side of the house since 1995 (I have on the good authority of the date being scratched into its concrete base).


I have hated it forever. But often we put up with the unsatisfactory because we don’t know what else to do. It’s completely a mental thing. In this case, we didn’t know where else to put the wood so that it would stay dry.

We were going to make a wood shed over by the chicken run, but it wasn’t really a good fit there. So then it was going to be over the other side of the house, but some wall-building has to happen first. And so on.

We did finally figure out a wood storage strategy, and this wood hutch is totally surplus to requirements now. But it’s been that way for a good year. Just another one of those things we mean to get to.

In the recent winds one of the moudly woven polypropylene bag doors blew off, and seeing it lying there in the dirt gave the tiny little kick needed to Do Something. Let the destruction begin.

Tin comes off
Cladding comes off the sides
Framework yields to the sledge
Wood goes somewhere else

Total time: 1 hour.

Big hole tidy up

Last year we took the cherry tree out from the south side of the house and moved it up the hill a little in preparation for the eventual garage to go in.

What an intrepid bunch of burly blokes!

That left a fairly giant hole, and over the summer it dried up and became a flourishing weed patch. The whole area is a bit of a mess, with dirt flung over the grass in a vague attempt to level things out. Time was of the essence. Now it’s time to tidy it up before it gets completely out of hand.

There used to be a giant Vic ash growing next to the cherry, but it was chopped down well before we arrived on the scene. True to style, Carl left the stump there. The top got chopped off while the cherry tree was getting dug out, but the job remained to get the rest of it out of there.




Since we’re hard core around here, out comes the fork, the shovel and the axe. Down we go, one root at a time.



Okay, maybe that’s actually a lot of work. We might need to blunt the chain on the chain saw a few times to get this job done.

Dismantling as we go. That wood is like rock and weighs a tonne.


Getting underneath a root is the hardest thing. The dirt underneath is super-hard, compacted down by the weight of the tree. It never occurred to me that trees create their own kind of rocky bed to stand on before.


Wash the dirt off when we can to save the chainsaw chain. The grain goes every which way so it won’t come away with the splitter – it has to be cut.

A metre and half down and 7 weeks later, we finally get to the bottom of it. Well, far enough below ground so that it won’t poke up.


Bonus: the rock tax. These will make a nice bit of wall.


The hole gets filled in and then we get on to flattening out the rest. This will make another nice sunny vege patch. The cut on the left is about where there garage wall will go.


Planter changeover

The planters on the deck are a mess. The original idea was to have a tree grow in the middle, surrounded by low, leafy herbs. But the trees don’t grow, and the low herbs turn into tall stems that go everywhere.



One has a Tahitian lime, which got trashed by hail and, while it’s recovering, it’s having a really hard time of it. The lime is surrounded by white peppermint, spearmint, tarragon, parsley and a strawberry which never produces any fruit. In stark contrast to the ones on the meadow stairs, which are going gangbusters.

The pots are pretty dry; we’ll need to give them some reticulation if we want to get things to really grow well in them, and be a bit more conscientious with their feeding.

The other┬áhas irises in it, which are nice, but it’s also got a fungus that gets into the bay laurel.

The fungus goes for whatever leaf is lowest

The fungus grows on the wood – it’s just half a wine barrel. As the wood ages it rots, and fungus grows up at the edge of the soil where it’s damp.

There’s a long-term plan to put in some magnolias around the grassed area. We’re going to try to get them going in these planters, with the addition of two new ones.

Baby magnolias (with the big leaves) waiting in the seedling table

We’ll give them a proper clean-out, and line the inside of the barrels so that the wood isn’t wet. Hopefully that will stop the fungus from returning.

So step 1 is to remove any plants that we can – the laurel planter yielded a tiny sage bush, two chives with two leaves each, a strawberry plant, an oregano plant that is all flower stems, and a bunch of common mint, which I’ve developed a distinct dislike for. I don’t know how it became common; it’s the worst kind of mint for anything.

Southern fall

One of the things about Australia that dismayed the English settlers was the fact that the trees shed their bark instead of their leaves.

In December, the big Victorian ash trees squeeze out of their old bark shells and litter the ground with great sheets of discarded skin. We make it into nice fire-starting bundles.

The bark just hangs until a strong wind arises. It was good and windy today, and bark and sticks rained down on the house and garden.


This is all one piece. Chopped up, it makes enough fire starter for a week or so.


Starting the great wooden retaining removal escapade

Those wooden retaining walls look really rustic. Except when they’re done in treated pine, in which case they just look like something cheap that you threw in because you were trying to sell the house.

The older ones, which look to be red gum or such, are big thick sleepers that seem like they would hold back and english soccer crowd, but they must have been there a while because they’re starting to rot and fall to bits.

This ‘retaining wall’, outside the kitchen window, wasn’t really retaining anything except the leftover road base from when the driveway was done. And Shelley didn’t like it, so out it came.

Actually cracked in on Friday evening thinking they would just come out …


But burn my eyes if they weren’t cemented in there, as well as bolted together. Like, a foot of cement. Not to be perturbed, out comes the big crowbar and that cement soon yielded to some good old-fashioned smackin’. Well, half way through Saturday afternoon, anyway. Maybe the sweat dripping on it softened it up a bit.


The posts will go towards the new wood pile and compost heap.

Time to rip up some carpet

The carpet on the stairs is manky. Actually, all the carpet is manky. We had a water pipe burst in the main bathroom, which flooded the kitchen, hall and eating area. The stairs got saturated and started to stink, so the carpet came up. Decided we liked the wood underneath better, even if it is pine.