Insourcing is a term that my friend Mimi from ‘A Tray of Bliss’ uses.  I don’t know whether it is an original term but it is basically the opposite of what so many businesses and households do – outsourcing.  So, insourcing is pretty much an alternative term for DIY.

It probably sums up a lot of what we do routinely – everything from growing food, gardening, sewing and even cooking meals.  However, I am nowhere near as diligent as Mimi when it comes to calculating the potential savings of learning and using skills instead of handing relatively simple tasks over to someone else.

However, the calculating was handed to me on a plate today when we received an email with a quote for replacing the outdoor steps and installing a handrail.  Upon reading it we saw the amount which had been allocated to removing and dumping the old pavers and timber sleepers.  This included the hire of 2 rubbish skips.

“We can do that!” These 4 simple words saved us almost $2,000.  Additionally, none of this will end up in landfill, we will have a pile of pavers that we can use for other projects as well as old hardwood sleepers that will provide firewood for next winter.

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I know that pulling up pavers is not for everyone but it is definitely worth looking around and seeing if there are things that you could do and create for yourself rather than parting with your hard-earned cash for what may even be an inferior product.

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We made a start this afternoon and will finish it on the weekend before the real work begins in earnest next week.

I can’t wait until this job is completed as it will provide a much improved entrance to our home.  The new steps will be concrete with a non-slip finish coloured to blend in with the surrounding rock walls and there will be no issues with pavers subsiding and causing a trip hazard.  The handrail will provide safer access, too.

Woodshed – Finished


As you know, we demolished the old chicken run a couple of months ago but left the woodshed which was attached to the end of the run.  There was only chain wire between the coop and the woodshed and this was removed during the demolition process, leaving the woodshed without a side wall.  We had plenty of Colorbond sheeting which we salvaged from the demolition and yesterday The Duke created a side wall.  We also had to add a narrow strip to the roof and then finished it off with some metal angle, also salvaged.

Side of woodshed
The finishing touch was to plant a climbing vine that we bought yesterday.  It is a Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Vine.  I have been meaning to plant one for ages but have not really had the right spot.

I finally finished tidying and sorting all of the wood in the shed.  The wheelie bin is also full of kindling.  All of the wood is now in one place instead of various spots around the garage and under the house as well as the woodshed.

This is the area where the chicken run was so we are planning on extending the area which is planted with heliconias, gingers and bromeliads.  These are currently on the embankment to the left of the photo and we will extend it into the vacant space.  I plan to move some rocks to create a defined edge to the area .  The ground has lots of leaf litter as well as chicken manure and composted vegetable scraps so I don’t think we will have any trouble getting them to grow.

Just to let you know that starting from tomorrow I will be doing a series of posts about the practical applications of having a smaller selection of clothes.  Please join me then.

Going, Going………Not Quite Gone

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Last weekend we did some more demolition work on the old chicken coop.  We have been fairly careful in how we went about it because it was our goal to salvage most of the materials for use in future projects.  There is now only one piece of chain wire to remove and then the posts.


The Colorbond sheeting from the roof and walls will come in handy for some of the remaining raised garden beds that we are planning to construct.  The posts have been earmarked for use in building the perimeter fence of the vegetable garden.  That was the reason that we fenced the new chicken run before the vegetable garden as the posts for the run were taller so had to be purchased.

The woodshed which is in the foreground of the photo will be retained and some minor modifications made to it.


I will also be making some changes to how the wood is stored.  Although it cannot be seen in this photo, I had wood stacked quite high against the side wall.  I use the past tense of ‘had’ as recently there was a tremendous crash during the night and we have now discovered that my carefully stacked wood has collapsed and is now a disorganised jumble on the ground.  I suspect that some of the local wildlife was instrumental in this event.

As always, there is always another project lurking in the background, even if it is only in our minds at this stage.  Once the structure is completely removed this will open up the possibility of having at least one large limb lopped from one of the jacaranda trees.  There is also a very large boulder which has dislodged from higher up the mountain and is resting against part of the old fence at the top of the block.  We may remove the fencing to allow the rock to roll to the bottom of the garden (another ‘meteorite feature?) before repairing the fence.

Then there are the possibilities of what to do with the area where the chicken run was but I will save that discussion for another day.