Creating an urban homestead and news about life.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Land of the long white cloud

I have been away from the computer for a few weeks now, travelling by campervan through the south island of new zealand. Have just spent the morning at the ashford centre (home of the said spinning wheel and lots of other goodies. I'll be home in a week or so, but those of you who pray please lift up my housebuying, banks wanting expensive checks and things they didn't ask for at the beginning. Talk soon Hannah

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Colo River Fun

I spent last weekend at Colo River with one of my closest friends Rae, her baby boy Xavier, her husband and their housemate and my Mum. We stay at a private holiday park that I am part owner in, kind of like a time share. It's a beautiful part of the world, just north of Windsor in the Hawkesbury northwest of Sydney. The property has about 30 cabins that owners can stay at and a private beach, playground, tv rooms and sporting areas. The best thing is that there's no mobile coverage, so it means you really do get away from every thing.

I find that life is so busy and full of information that to stay healthy and sane I need time away. Sometimes this is at a Benedictine Abbey, sometimes it's hiking in Wilderness Areas, and sometimes it's Colo river. Kayaking up stream with only the birds to keep me company.

Having friends there with me was really special. We spent lots of time drinking tea, reading and being amused by Xavier's antics. He's really a happy little boy, only cries when he's due for a feed or tired. It was a great blessing walking around and doing things with Rae as she had a difficult pregnancy becoming almost bedridden and having to use a wheelchair for much of the last 10 months. She's a walking talking miracle!
And so is the little guy. This was his favourite toy of the weekend. It's the strap from the picnic blanket he's sitting on.
We even took him kayaking in the baby harness on my front, as Rae had enough trouble getting herself into the boat, but loved it anyway (Xavier didn't like it as much :) He also made it very hard to paddle. We also visited the markets in Windsor which were lovely, the plaza was full of stalls with lots of homemade crafts and food.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Shopping Tote Swap

This is the cute Shopping Bag that Susan made for me in Rhonda's swap. It is lined with Bright orange material and has a cute pocket on the outside. I think it's one of the bags styled after the plastic shopping bag design. I haven't used it yet, but will take it shopping tomorrow as I'm having some friends round for dinner. She received my bag a few days ago and liked it as well.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I've bought a house!!!!!!

It's official, I am buying this house. I signed the contract yesterday, and I paid the deposit at lunch today and as I write this I expect my solicitor should be exchanging the contracts. It's all very exciting, but I feel more relieved than excited right now, I just was not looking forward to having to look for another house and going through all the stress of inspections and negotiating a price.
It is a solid brick house, with a sunroom added on the back and a new steel fab garage out the back. It is three bedrooms, and has two living areas, plus a seperate dining room. The bathroom is redone, but not the kitchen, although I'll be looking at repainting initially rather than putting a new kitchen in.

It's a great block, the house is set with the living areas to the north and the garden areas are all north facing too, and on a north facing slope so should be great for growing. At the front the brick wall is about 5-6 foot high, (I can't see over the top of it) and I see great potential for a courtyard mandala type garden here with some espaliered fruit trees and a garden seat.
The back is also on a slight slope and there is already a chook run which needs a few repairs behind the garage. The car won't be allowed in the garage of course, it will be some storage and then a workshop/creative area. Oh the possibilities, I'm even thinking of planting some of my growing challenge winter seeds now before I can even move in. Then they will have time to grow before I move in so there is food straight away. actually there are already a couple of citrus trees (not in great health though) a paw paw, a grape vine some herbs and millions of cherry tomato plants. (I have been going around there and picking food already :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Saving seeds and so much more (Growing Challenge)

So....Why was I in Gulgong???

Because the national seedsavers conference was there of course! About 50 people from Australia and overseas met at the Gulgong showground to be fed the delicacies only the show society wives could dream up (think homemade scones with homemade jam and cream, homemade lamingtons - far cry from the packaged variety, lunch plates with over 15 types of food on the plate, and all of it delicious, oh and trifle for dessert)

Oh and there was the whole seed thing. Seedsavers was set up my Michael and Jude Fanton and supports and teaches seedsaving in australia and around the world. I am part of my local seed network in the Shoalhaven where we distribute seeds and other plant stock at the Tomerong Markets each month.

We had some great speakers, David Murray on Genetic Modification - widely known Australian Author (I had actually borrowed one of his books from the library the week before and was surprised to realise he was the author, and that he only lives an hour away from me.) Peter Andrews was another speaker who was brought to Australia's attention through an ABC program Australian Story (I remember when presenting for Permaculture at the Royal Easter show last year everyone talking about him (you can see an excerpt from the show if you click on his name) I watched the show and later purchased his book, in which he talks about Natural Sequence Farming, his way of studying the hydrology and nutrients in the land to amazing results.

We also had workshops on developing local seed networks, saving different kinds of seeds, both edible and native. Sue Pridmore, a local from near the Gulgong area came and did some basket weaving, which was intrigueing. I have decided that after I work out weaving on the loom, it will be my next project.

My friends and I camped in the showground under the cattle yard roof without tents and this was the view from my sleeping bag when I woke up....

Utter Bliss! New friends made, and lots of exciting seeds swapped to give me lots to plant as soon as my house is mine....Please pray for the sale to go through this week, I am signing the contract today but the solicitor needs one more piece of information before I can exchange and the owners are starting to grumble about the time it's taking.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Historic Gulgong

I visited Gulgong this weekend. It was for a purpose which I will talk more about tomorrow, however just thought I'd share some photos of the town. I got up quite early on Sunday morning and went for a walk.

This is a beautiful building, says it is art rooms, not sure if that is a studio or a gallery. Gulgong is the town where one of Australia's most famous poets, Henry Lawson lived.
I just loved this little chook run with it's ladder up into the shed with small gum trees shading it from the hot sun. If I was a chook I'd be happy to live there.

(oops, forgot to flip it around) An older house in Gulgong, just caught my eye. I wonder what that house has seen, the children who grew up in it, the marriages, the fights, the laughter and the tears, the hopes and dreams (in a mining town, probably often unfulfilled.) If houses could talk....

We'd all want to shut ours up.

It's true though that houses are more than the space we occupy, they are memories, they are happy times and sad.