Behind the Scenes

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Just because I have not posted very much recently does not mean there is nothing going on here at ‘The Castle’.

We have had 2 phone calls in the past 48 hours to confirm that some of our plans are coming to fruition.  The first was from a tree lopper to confirm that he will be here early next week to remove a couple of very large trees and mulch them as well as the smaller ones that GMan cleared recently.

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Once this is done we will be able to consider the next step in some of our long-term landscaping plans.

Yesterday we received a quote from the builder for the next major renovations.  This will include replacement of some of the verandah floorboards, new railings, cafe blinds and screening and gate to provide added security to the verandah area.  Some more concreting to finish the path near the steps and provide a base for an additional water tank will also be done.  We will discuss the finer details with him this weekend and hope that the work will be completed with the next couple of months.

It is great to feel that some of our planning to beginning to come to fruition.

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.

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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.

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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.

Garden Update

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Much of what goes in the the garden happens without a lot of input from us due to the fact that both The Duke and I work full-time.

Today I want to share some progress on a couple of different fronts.

On Monday we finally had the large poinciana tree near the driveway removed.  This has been planned for over 12 months but when another large limb dropped a few weeks ago we were galvanised into action.  The tree lopper came on Monday and by the time we arrived home there was no sign of it apart from a small pile of sawdust where the stump had been ground.

This is now the view from our front verandah.  We will be replanting beside the driveway but have yet to decide exactly what we will do.

This is the remainder of another tree stump which we also had removed to make way for a revamp of the vegetable garden area.

The harvest from the vegetable gardens has not been as great as last year but today I was finally able to pick the broccoli.

2.1kg of broccoli from 6 plants is not a bad return and that is only the main heads.  As usual, there will be more smaller secondary florets.  We will use some of this before we go away and the rest will be blanched and frozen.

The cauliflower has been a disappointment compared to last year but at least I got some.  There was also 1 other small head which I picked for dinner last week.

Like everything else, the snow peas have not been spectacularly prolific but here are enough for the stir-fry tonight and the salad for my lunch tomorrow.

Finally, this is 836g of ginger that we pulled up on the weekend.  It grew from 1 small piece that we planted last year.  There is still more in the ground but I saw no need to harvest any more!  We will be dividing it up and planting lots of separate pieces.  The plants look lovely and thrive with the other ornamental ginger, cordylines and heliconias that are growing in the shade of the the cedar tree.

Last but not least I wanted to let you know about my 2 new blogs.

Eating For Health is about my decision to try a grain-free, sugar-free diet.  Click on the link and find out more.

Somewhere, Anywhere  is my travel blog.  This will be an online journal of our travels, beginning with our upcoming overseas trip.  You will be able to follow our adventures as all of the updates will be posted on there.

Crash!

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Last night when we got home we discovered that another large limb had come off the poinciana tree.  The tree is close to our boundary and this has fallen across the fence and into the neighbour’s ‘paddock’ near the front of their block.  Undoubtedly, the wild weather of the past few days has contributed to this latest loss.

2012-06-28 01There have been at least 3 other occasions where sizeable branches have fallen from this tree and we had decided that it really needed to go and were planning to have it lopped later in the year.  This latest incident has forced us to re-think our plans and move them forward so I have contacted a tree lopper.  He is going to come next week to give us a quote.

2012-06-28 02As well as having the tree lopped, we also plan to get it mulched so that we can use this in our landscaping.  We have decided that we can better utilise the mulch than making more firewood as we really have plenty and this type of tree does not burn well. I am hoping they will be able to grind the stump so that we can then decide what we will plant in this area.

2012-06-28 03I took these photos today.  You can see that I am very thankful that no people or property were in close proximity.