Humphrey sort of….

Ok so I’ve hit over drive, sometimes you just have to stop I usually try have a day of rest at least one day a week, (the Bible is full of fantastic common sense life lessons).

I tried to copy & upload the Humphrey page for this week but alas I have had trouble coordinating anything & have decided to just give you a simple idea from one of the many pages that is Humphrey.

20190725_082036 Mum wanted to have a browse in our secondhand shops & of course I was more than willing happy & able to oblige after all it is our favourite thing.

Besides a few things Mum found i grabbed these sun visas, paid 50c for the lot. Had the string at home. Simple really just put holes in the corner of the material tie string off making lengths as even as possible & wella.

I had already dried everything on the bottom 3 shelves, I wanted to see how it balanced. I cant put too much on as the weight makes the shelves fold (I could crisscross some wire for extra strength) but I only really have a small amount to dry at the moment any way, which I placed on the top shelf. Its fun experimenting.

Helps to get to the final product which will be a cupboard or old fridge, not sure of size yet covered with gauze & chicken wire (our rats chew through everything) & with gauze or these visas as shelving. Yes I could make the cupboard myself 4 frames screwed together there you go, I have enough major projects at the moment there is a limit to what I have time to do. (haha apparently)

20190726_084412.jpgYears ago I had already made a couple like this using picture frames & gauze, frames from the second hand shops.

I like to try different things out, as if I cant use it for one thing there may be another use for it & if not, clean it up & send back if I can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your latest project?  Whatever it is I hope your having fun….

 

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Budget break throughs.

Pray for rain, please please please we did have a little which was so great,  but alas we are now on water restrictions & with the dam almost empty our poor ponies paddocks are looking very sad. Yes outside the fence line looks great & I was going to put the horses out there then council decided they would spray it all, not just the trees (which is all there supposed to get rid of as they are under the power lines), but also the grass & the Swanson pea which is a native & the horses love it. It is no good now & as you can see everything is drying out & dying off, such a dissappointment. I have tried talking to those in charge but I don’t get much of a response. If the guys spraying wear full protective gear including a mask then what are we all being exposed to. They do not understand our land & what we are trying to do anyway. Frustrating beyond belief. If we could put the horses out there or at least collect feed (which I have done in the past) they wouldn’t need to spray & it would give our horses almost 2 extra acres of feed. Well that’s my rant. Sorry to start with that. We just pray everyday for rain.

pray for rain.

My little old Danny boy eagerly trotting up ready for his mid morning feed. I love his winter wooly mammoth coat & then in summer we have Danny coat EVERYWHERE for weeks haha.

One thing I do love about our town & out lying areas are our markets. I’m not sure why it has only been really the last 2 years that our markets have grown.  We can now work our shop days & budget around our markets. Which we are so fortunate to have. Our shopping was done fortnightly usually at our local supermarket, with our fortnightly shop doubling in less than a year & that’s without meat, $300+ a fortnight to feed a family of 4 eating healthy was becoming out of our reach.

Our markets have improved exponentially we decided to try our fruit & veg shopping at our river side markets $20 bought 2 weeks worth of fruit & vegies & $60 at our local butchers (remembering our little land is in drought)for meat & for the few condiments & necessities from our supermarket was still around $60. We don’t have exact amounts but $150 or there abouts was all we spent on 2 weeks worth of shopping to feed our family of 4 that’s $75 a week. Next fortnight should be less as we had to spend a little to save a lot in the long run. I’ll let you know.

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With the extra money we had left over we were able to & with a little extra help from Mum, purchase a bread maker. Watching our favourite Sunday show Landline they had a program about an Australian flour company, PERFECT, our local supermarket stocks it.

It meant that this fortnight we had enough money for extras to improve our selection. The next big market was an hrs drive from home,  with new found enthusiasm I headed off.

Arriving at lunch time I found a carpark easily & off I went. This market is set in one of my favourite areas. The town of my ancestors, Bellingen, rolling hills, beautiful mountain scenery if I was able to pull over & take photos I would have, maybe next time…. I took my time as PTSD does not do well in crowds at all, it was a little overwhelming (I am country) & I  had to constantly slow my thoughts down to concentrate. I was hugely disappointed with the fruit & veg side of things & thank goodness for my sanity I found 2 stalls that are regularly at our Kempsey markets. lol.

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I purchased myself a gorgeous little apron with pockets for when I’m gardening & collecting eggs.

 

 

Then I found one of our best native plant suppliers, $3:50 each for start ups & everything we have brought from them in the past has grown beautifully, there’s a tip if your buying from a new supplier ask around first or buy 1 or 2 things see how they go, before you commit. Well I went a little nuts, 11 natives & they are beautiful.

Market fun

From left to right: Native Olive, Sandpaper Fig, Green bottlebrush, Yellow Banksia, Brush Cherry, Weeping Lilly Pilly, Native Olive, Sandpaper Fig, Black Sheoak, Magenta Cherry, Black Sheoak. Yes I did buy 2 of a couple of the varieties, as well, I don’t know why, it was fun to be able to & there pretty.

I am yet to decide where to plant but if they can help block out the neighbours dogs barking & provide food for friends & our animals & us that will be great.

The bag in the background was made by an elderly man using plastic packing strips that you see around boxes sometimes. Its a great size can be hosed out washed & will last ages, its soft to handle & saves adding to our landfill. I’m actually hoping to buy more & use them as washing baskets.

20190721_110741.jpgSee it fits a great load of washing & was quite easy to carry to the clothes line & sat up well in the washing trolley & its pretty too. I have to get more & support a dweller of my ancestral land.

 

 

 

 

 

Back to  fruit & veg, no need to panic there is a fruit market on the way into Bellingen. I stopped there on my way home & bought some amazing beautiful fruit & veg locally grown. 2 – 3  weeks worth under $40 there is actually a whole bag of mandarines & pears & lemonades. What seeds I can save as it is all organically grown I will save & yes it will take a long time to fruit but the idea of purchasing like this is to be able to now & one day pay it forward.

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I am contentedly exhausted & knowing my family is eating well is always a great comfort. As our garden grows & improves there will be less need to buy so much, but that doesn’t mean I wont buy more…..

On an equally wonderful note my fantastic boy bought me a gift from our tender centre. I did shed a tear. Sorry the photos aren’t great.

20190718_163140.jpgPizza oven. The front has the perfect size opening for a pizza & its adorable little chimney & quaint little metal stand. It has taken  huge thought process away about building a pizza oven. The transformation of Little Italy is getting closer & closer to fruition. It is kind of tucked under the barby for now I don’t want it getting damaged in any way.

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Wow that was a lot, i hope i didnt verbose you out, but was so much joy to share.

 

 

 

 

 

Sincerely Humphrey

Ok now I think I have  a clear thought of where Humphrey should be.

Right in the middle of the week. I know sounds odd, but there may be something you want to right down or look into yourself if not that’s ok to. Its just going to be fun to share a page or 2 & before the weekend. We’ll start in the middle.

I have decided to put Humphrey in the middle of the week we have established that, I will give you the first page in the middle of the week to begin,  inspiring right.

Just in case its not too clear for you to read, I will list below the picture, what the quotes are. Feel free to use them, right them on your mirror, stick it on the fridge or like us maybe you have a blackboard or feel free to just browse through you’ve probably heard them all anyway.

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                     1                                                                                               2

Land living for living land                                     Someday your going to look back at all
      stacking functions                                             progress you’ve made & be glad you 
     Everything gardens                                           didn’t quit.
Work with nature not against                              Serve one another in love. Ga l5;13
Least effort for most effect                                   Contentment always eludes those who                   small is beautiful                                          don’t count themselves blessed for what
         Fill every niche                                              they already have.
        Simplify simplify                                            Dear Noah we could’ve sworn you said 
             Diversity                                                      Ark wasn’t leaving till 5, sincerely the 
  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it                                   Unicorn.
         Efficient layouts                                             If you are too lazy to plough don’t
         Do less with less                                             expect a harvest. Prov 20;4.
        Simplify simplify                                             She is clothed in strength &
   God, Love, Live, Prosper                                     she laughs without fear of                                                                                                                   future. Prov31;25.
                                                                                    Its a brand new year try no to mess it up

I will work out the best layout as I go along with each page but for now I hope this makes sense & you draw some inspiration to keep you going.

Sincerely Humphrey

His majesty & the teeny tiny frog.

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See how teeny tiny it is, not much bigger than the grains of dirt surrounding it, the colours are beautiful such a striking little frog.

That absolutely frightened the living daylights out of me.

20190707_104412-1.jpgThe little darling was hiding under the seed trays I was putting seeds into for late winter planting.  It didn’t look scared just indignant that it was disturbed like this. I gently encouraged it into a new hidey hole once my hands stopped shaking & my heart had settled back into my chest where its supposed to be.

 

20190703_120314So here’s my first ever go at hang on what’s it called wait I’ll have to look it up again.. found it; Propagating or air layering. I did a bit more research into what types of plants are best for this, so the cherry guava & the pineapple guava. It was suggested that these are the best ones to try first.

I also had a go at grafting some citrus onto an established citrus tree. I have a chat to them everyday  letting them know its my first time doing this & if they could take & grow that would be greatly appreciated. So far the grafted citrus are looking good. It is so frustrating & tests your patience, with the propagating I wont know for a couple of months yet probably early spring. I’ll let you all know or take a photo, if it all works out, if not well I don’t know I’ll just try again & hopefully the tree will tell me what I did wrong.

20190716_130852It is bigger than it looks but we have a fire pit now so while we can it will be great to have picnic barbecues & my Girl wants to brew her morning coffee over a small fire. I had to wait for a bit for the ground to soften under a sheet of old lino, the groud was still hard like cement but i was able to dig out the grass & level the area a little.

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There is plenty of room for more chairs & it is right near the dam & over looks the patch & the lower gully behind. Surrounded by bird life its going to be so nice.  It looks so inviting.

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Finishing on an obvious majestic note is our Edward. He likes to help where he can around the place.  The last float load of bits & pieces from our friendly neighbours Edward decided he would oversee everything for us just in case of … well…. I’m not sure really.

He is gorgeous though isn’t he? if we don’t think he is that’s ok as he thinks he is  & that’s the important thing….

Material shopping

Make your own bags. When we heard on the news that the big supermarkets were getting rid of plastic bags. Mum had some material so using a plastic bag as a pattern Mum proceeded to make shopping bags for us.

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So cute they are great & can be washed. Mum has made a few different sizes so that not too many heavier items are put in one bag. They will break down over time not contaminating & filling up our landfill.

The checkout workers love them, the bags even have the little loops to hang on the bag rack at the registers.

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Ironic isn’t it the big stores get rid of plastic bags but the new bags take even longer to break down & still end up in our rivers & oceans & they start packing fruit in plastic that sweats & make the fruit & veg go off quicker.

We try & do our fruit & veg shopping at our local markets as they are bigger now & we have a list of when other markets are on in surrounding towns.  Its so nice to be able to do our bit for the environment & the locals even in this small way.

 

Walter, teddy, Dennis & Jemima.

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These cold nights we’ve been having, really there is nothing better than to have a cuddle with your favourite teddy. Walter has had this teddy since he was a pup, it is the one toy that has survived.

Come for a wander with me I have lots to show you.

I have beautiful friends whom had some bits pieces to get rid of, you know the old saying “one mans junk is another mans treasure” well its this women’s treasure anyway.

I needed to construct a chook tractor but with no extra finances for a fancy pants store bought looking one. not gonna happen. I put my building & constructing brain on & off I went.

20190712_150603A very rusty swing frame with just enough life in it to be repurposed. I was able to thread a bamboo pole through the top to add a bit of weight & reinforce the top. Laid the swing frame on its side & pushed down on each end till the supports at the end bent to the right width. Thus will cover a garden bed & path in width.

The base sides are old metal bed base sides wired through the holes in the base of the swing frame. At each end is tin that I cut to width & length & bent so they slide along the ground without collecting debris.

The whole swing set is wrapped & secured with wire netting & all joins wired together nothing is getting into this one.

On the ground in the background is the plastic nest box an old saucepan & freezer draw. Which I will explain soon.

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Hilarious, nothing I ever build or put together is without personality or character it looks like the mini mother ship chook love tractor.

 

It took me some time to work out if I would put a door on it or not & decided not, as I can move it wherever I need if the chooks lay on the ground & I have cut a door & put a handle on the back of the nest box to access any eggs for collection.

 

Given the exposure of the area that it will be in I didn’t want tin. I used a big grain feed bag, by cutting up one side it slipped over the back of the frame perfectly  & tying it on really tightly with twine useful for amazing array of things.

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I wired up the nesting box nice & secure, placing a bit of straw in it for comfort. The little door at the back is completely covered by the bag but I can easily lift it to collect eggs.. It actually adds a little more security.

 

Wiring the freezer basket to the frame & placing the water saucepan in it, it wont spill & will slide along the ground without tipping or leaving the saucepan behind.

 

Jamming a flat piece of timber in the wire creating a sturdy perch, round perches aren’t good for chooks feet.

I am really happy with way its coming together now how to move it.

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You can see the cover is pretty tight. Perfect I had an old extension cord that was way passed its used by date.

I have tied it in a knot so the chord is shorter & with the rubber coating it is quite soft on the fingers & not too heavy to move. Was so exciting dragging it down to the patch.

The crate for the water worked perfectly.

The measurements are perfect.

Its just perfect.

 

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The first occupants who got stuck into digging & scratching as soon as I put them in they are not related & will breed beautiful little egg layers.

Dennis as he is our biggest silky rooster & Jemima our very verbose bossy hen.

Hopefully we’ll have noisy little butt nugget laying happy hens in the future. All part of slowly but surely building our chicken stocks for meat & eggs.

All whilst they do the hard labour of cleaning up fertilizing & preparing the garden all year round.

On another note we have soil this is at the top of our property another area that was clay 3yrs ago. Dug out a swale, holds the moisture perfectly. Beautiful rich yummy soil.

 

 

Humphrey & I

A page from Humphrey.

Obviously was a little rushed but you get the gist, double the width stairs so there is more sitting room to enjoy the view, tyres bolted together to make a fun way to climb back up as well as keeping joints & muscles agile & strong & just for fun a slippery dip at the end. I have the slippery dip ready & waiting now all I need is timber for stairs & tyres.

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The full page reads….

20190712_075035-1.jpgUse an old coloured gumboot as a vase if the gumboot has a hole place a glass or tall glass bottle inside the boot as a vase, then you don’t have to worry about spillage. Only limited by your imagination. An empty can or milo tin placed inside the boot you can screw the boot to a board or screw 2 boots together fill with a bit of sand or pebbles for stability use for an umbrella stand or a jar or vase for flowers.

 

 

 

 

An accident avoided.

1 (5)This is the East facing side of the house. I had already started to remove the railings when I took this picture & this is the only time of day, mid morning, that sunlight ever reached.

It had been frustrating & worrying me for some time as this was the only access to & from the verandah from the yard, there are of course verandah doors on the house but to go out to the yard just always seemed an effort, it just didn’t flow. The stairs were quite often wet & slippery, this only added to the weight of what to do.

 

1 (6)Stairs moved the landing pulled down or rather just fell down & already much more light & I felt like I could breath, immediately opens up access down the side of the house. It was one of the most nerve racking things to start. Just so you know when you’ve had a lifetime of abuse to be able to think for yourself & make decisions can be terrifying. This was one of those moments, I will say though once starting on a project the adrenalin that ensues makes you super human.

 

 

1 (7)It pays to go with your intuition no matter the demons you battle in the process. If I hadn’t of done this I wouldn’t have found that whoever built the stairs & the verandah used the wrong screws. The fact that I had to turn all the decking boards over should have been a give away as they were upside down & the wrong nails had been used. (The smooth side goes up the rough side down it helps with keeping the boards dry). The bolts & screws were all rusted, the main bolts holding the landing up were rusted down to a pin thinness in some places, truly was an accident in the waiting.

 

1 (8)I know this looks really bad & the original cut out at the top of the stairs is wrong for this set up & believe me stairs weigh a ton. Thank goodness whom ever built the stairs got it right though, no rusty screws bolts or anything nasty.

The cement slabs at the base of the stairs are the old ramps to the shed that were of no use. Its amazing what you can move with 2 round logs & a long crow bar took a bit of fussing not much lifting though rolled into place beautifully.

As you can see the stairs are still a bit short, what to do? what to do?

1 (9)I wouldn’t recommend this but I had a couple of car ramps in good condition that I just don’t use, well haven’t had a need for yet. They are the perfect height for the stairs. Sorry the picture isn’t too clear. This photo as taken a few years back its all much tidier now. The very top step is a little deeper still legal height for stairs though. I will say it opened up the verandah immediately & accessing the yard became more enjoyable. 

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Now there is a beautiful place to sit where the stairs used to be a positive warm welcoming vibe.

Bench seat at the end is made from an old bed head & end.

The bench seat from old stair balustrades for legs then timber I had left over from the kitchen build.

The table & chair was free from our local community markets they know us well.