Reuse, repair, recycle. Well, I reckon that there is a fourth “R” word: Maintain.
Yeah, alright sure the word “maintain” starts with the letter “M”, but that probably is the only real reason why that particular word wasn’t included along with the original three. Just because it doesn't fit is no reason to exclude it!
It’s been really hot this week at the farm. The heat has meant that very hard outside work has had to take a break and instead, I’ve been focusing on maintenance activities.
Even the bees reckon that it is hot here. Early one evening, Scruffy – who incidentally happens to be the best behaved dog here – and I, went for a walk to investigate how the bees were coping with the heat. The bee colonies at the farm are only a few months old. The extreme heat of last summer caused the wax inside the original hives to melt and the original three bee colonies swarmed and departed for cooler parts of the nearby forest. I now have two new bee colonies and they are located on the farm so that they receive only morning sun and afternoon shade. Those two new bee colonies appear to be coping with the heat quite well and in the photo below you can see the left hand side colony has forager bees happily coming and going, whilst the right hand side colony has worker bees on the front of the hive box happily getting some fresh air, before returning into the hive.
|the new bee colonies are coping very well with the recent heat|
|Toothy the long haired Dachshund avoids the monster zucchini fruit|
|Golden orb spider clings to a wormwood, whilst she is building her web|
|Scritchy and Toothy supervise the filling of various gaps and holes in the fire rated wall|
|Scruffy supervises the filling of various gaps at the front of the house|
As far as I am aware, the house is now completely sealed.
The new steel stairs have been installed on the house and they have received their final paint coats. Surprisingly the under coat and top coat metal paint actually cost more than all of the steel itself! All up that project has now cost a bit over $400, but I have also constructed another set of stairs for the cantina shed (which were installed a few weeks back) and I also have enough scrap steel and paint to build a future garden bench seat. Oh yeah, plus there is just enough heavy duty steel plate to do some much needed future repairs on the wood heater. I must confess I’m not looking forward to doing that job.
|the new steel stairs have now been installed and painted|
|the go-kart trailer has received a freshen up coat of paint and both Scritchy and Toothy look on with approval|
I have plans to replace the go-kart arrangement with an electric skid steer trolley and was recently offered two small DC motors towards this future project.
The weather follows a very unusual and unpredictable cycle here. However in this part of the world, a hot and dry spell can sometimes be followed by a very heavy tropical rain storm. This week was no exception – the photo below says it all:
|Incoming heavy summer tropical rain storm|
|Southern brown tree frog hunting insects attracted to the LED garden light|
|Blue wren and one of his ladies in the self-seeding carrot bed|
|the site for the new wood shed has been pegged out and there are some piles of stuff in the background|
I also have to apologise to another regular commenter here: Lewis. Sorry mate, but I advise you to skip the next paragraph and whilst you are at it, avoid the next photo too. I’m sure you won’t see them.
It is blackberry season here and I love them. I don’t care what anyone says (Lewis, I told you not to read this paragraph!), but they are the easiest to grow berries. I eat them fresh and make jam from them too. They are the best tasting berries and the canes keep giving year after year. Yum!
|1.5kg or 3 pounds of blackberries picked fresh today|
How did I get here?
The Country Fire Authority (CFA) which is responsible in this state for fighting all fires outside of the inner Melbourne urban area had said that our land was too risky to build upon. Unfortunately, I had committed everything I had into building a small house on this very block of land, but the refusal for permission to do so was a real bummer, despite the zoning legislation saying that I could build a house and also despite previous discussions (prior to Black Saturday) with the CFA which indicated that they would give the green light for the permission. The CFA unfortunately had the final word on the matter and that was apparently that. Permission to build was denied.
Honestly the whole thing gave me a headache and what was worse was that both my lady and I were volunteer members of the CFA working with the local brigade and giving our time to the community and that organisation free of charge. It is worthwhile remembering that there are more active CFA members in just this state than all of the people actively employed in the Australian military and that tells you something about the fire risk.
There was no avenue to appeal the CFA decision either. So we had a brainstorm session here and decided that given the entire process was a legal process as distinct from a common sense process, we engaged the services of a specialist bushfire consultant to review the CFA’s decision.
Yes, they actually really do have people and organisations here that are specialist bushfire consultants. It goes without saying that they were expensive, but a thorough analysis was performed, a lengthy report was prepared, then the whole lot was delivered to the CFA for consideration.
The CFA in turn was delighted that a specialist consultant was happy to take responsibility for the decision and sometimes that’s how things go. The specialist consultant deemed that the house be designed and built to the highest bushfire specifications: Flamezone. The CFA then gave the green light to proceed with the approval process.
Honestly, I had no idea what they were all talking about – at the time – but had the approval paperwork (which was by now several hundred pages long) in my hand, so simply got on with the job and started building.
To be continued…
The temperature outside here at about 9.00pm is 14.4 degrees Celsius (57.9’F). So far this year there has been 104.2mm (4.1 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 74.4mm (2.9 inches).