Begone old heater!

We’ve been wanting to get rid of the old heater near the stairs for a while. It sticks out from the wall as you go past and makes the whole going down the stairs experience cramped and uncomfortable. It also only heats a small patch under the kitchen table when it is on. We only used it a few times last winter.

There it is, lurking in the background.


Hard rubbish time is a good time to get rid of stuff like this, so we called in the gas fitter and had the connection severed, then ripped that puppy off the wall.

Having the wall open was a good opportunity to install my wired gigabit network. The study is upstairs and the phone line is downstairs, and I was running everything (including the web server) off the wireless. The signal struggled a bit getting around all the corners between the kitchen and the study.

Rather conveniently, the flu from the heater went straight past the outside of the study. So a hole was put in the study wall, the insulation moved out of the way, and another hole drilled into the side of the flu. The network cable went down the flu and emerged into the bit of wall opened by the removal of the heater. The gas connection from the heater came up from under the house, so the cable just went straight through the existing gas pipe hole in the floor. Then around under the joists and back up into the cavity behind the oven and clicked into the router. A new switch and a wall socket for the study lets everything get plugged in.


Gigabit network! Files fly between computers! M gets a happiness level up!

Then, a bit of plasterboard goes into the gap in the wall where the heater was, and S set-to with the putty and paint.

S is going to turn this into a gallery wall.


Vegie patch v4.0

Pulled up the tarp on the old sand pit, that we’d filled with compost-y stuff, and it was half way to becoming good, rich soil. A handful of compost worms from the worm farm had turned into a whole population busily breaking it all down.

We were going to wait and add some regular dirt to this patch, but it actually looked good enough to take some plants without it. Making a pathway and piling the compost up turned it into something we can use.

The parsley that was planted in veggie patch v3.0 didn’t sprout at the time, but it’s coming up now. Note to self: plant parsley seeds at the beginning of March, not in spring.

A few parsley plants came up in spring, but they all immediately grew a big flower stalk and gave hardly any leaves to eat. These ones are all leaves, and with luck we’ll have parsley over the winter.

You can also see the beetroot there brewing away in the bottom left corner, and the capsicums that nearly died in veggie patch v3.0 are starting to come good.

Little Pink Lady apples are in the black pots, grown from seed. The far corner is dill, and there’s a single carrot there that spontaneously sprouted further up the hill. I pulled it up thinking it was a weed, and there was a tiny orange carrot on the end!


Roma? tomatoes

These little tomatoes were supposed to be Romas, but they’re more like grape tomatoes. They’re ripening up now, and are making great additions to S’s quiches.

Naomi, Luca and Ari came around; Ari (not yet 2) just walked down the line going munch munch munch. There’s something delightful about a child knowing he can wander through the garden picking and eating the food he finds.


Christmas larch

After suffering for a while sitting in the sun under the deck, last year’s Christmas tree finally got planted.

We made some mulch from the spent dill from the veggie patch to keep the moisture in the soil – and a whole bunch of coriander started sprouting! Must have mixed some of the veggie patch dirt in there too…


Hard rubbish goodness

Hard rubbish day is swiftly approaching, and all the junk is out on the street. We cleared a bunch of stuff out of from under the house; mostly stuff Carl had left behind in the garden (old bits of guttering and roofing and PVC pipe).

The rubbish attracts the scroungers: even on a quiet street like ours there were frequent cases of scavengers with loaded-up utes blocking the road while they rummaged.

We got two good bits from our neighbours: Keith and Jo’s old front door will do perfectly as an entrance to the chicken run – I was looking for one on eBay just the day before theirs appeared on the verge. Perfect!



Also of high value was a mirror-door from someone’s built-in robes. The mirror was cracked in one corner, but it was giant, so we just removed the framework, chopped off the offending bit with the glass cutter, then stuck it to the wall. S achieves a happiness level up! Time for dress ups!


Citrus for the chicken run

We’ve put two citrus trees in the chicken run. Any fruit we don’t eat the chickens can have.

A little cage around the trees will protect them from the chickens, and also make a good spot for a little healthy garden. Some nasturtiums will provide nitrogen-fixing for the citrus, and some garlic and chives around the perimeter will help to keep pests away from the chickens.

Hula hoops from the $2 shop in Ferntree Gully make a good framework for the cages. The tree in the foreground is an imperial mandarin; the one in the background is a navel orange.