-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Saturday, January 26, 2008

orchids in the bush nearby

A quick blog hello to Leah and Julian, who have a cottage near Dunach not too far from us. Thanks a lot for getting in touch.

They recently went bushwalking near the giant Quartz Reef which is very close by our place. Here's an a photo of a greenhood orchid that they found near it - apparently there are about 60 other types of orchid that grow round there too.

We've not managed to visit in wildflower season yet, but I've heard it's meant to be beautiful and this photo from Julian is proof. Can't wait to see it for myself. :-)

Greenhood Orchid talbot
Originally uploaded by jkexpress

our new garden edging

A few weeks ago we did a little Ebay splurge and bought some reclaimed edging tiles from a Gloucestershire manor house.

They're ultimately destined for the garden at Amherst, but in the meantime I'm using them here. They make a much nicer edging for around the chicken run don't you think?

backyard 19th Jan

(PS: you can see no chickens as this photo was taken at dusk - they'd taken themselves to bed!)

We also had far more than I expected, which is brilliant. Here are all the leftovers that I need to figure out how to use:

leftover edging tiles

Gosh we're going to have a fun time scrubbing the dirt off them when it's time to send home. *sigh* Still, it will definitely be worth it. :-)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

architectural models

On my recent visit to the V&A museum I visited the Architecture Gallery for the first time. It wasn't as big as I thought, really just the one room:

Architecture at v and a

However, what it had was delightful. Here are a few photos of my favourite models. We are *definitely* going to have to make the model of Amherst into something like this, I love them.

My favourite: inside this even had furniture!
Architecture at v and a

Some others:
Architecture at v and a Architecture at v and a

Wrought iron at the V&A museum

I'm a big fan of wrought iron, and so one of my favourite parts of the V&A museum is their iron gallery.

I had a chance to visit it again on Monday and this time I took pictures. :-)

It's just so beautiful, the sad thing is I expect there's hardly anyone left who has the skills to do this sort of work nowadays. If money were no object I'd have this sort of ironwork on the fences and verandah at Amherst...**ah, dreams***

Ironwork gallery Ironwork gallery

Ironwork gallery Ironwork gallery

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Photo-history of the gum trees

I am in awe at how fast the gum trees lining the driveway have grown.

Here's a photo taken last weekend, when Mum and Dad went up to water the orchard:
dad walking down the drive.jpg

They're recognisable now as trees, small trees but still, they're trees!

Hard to believe that this is what they looked like when we planted them back in October 2004, less than 3 and a half years earlier.

024finished tree with irrigation pipes

They were only about the height of a pencil! We coddled them yes - they got cages, they got irrigation pipes set up, they got pea straw; later they even got shadecloth to protect from the wind & frost. But they started off TINY.

By September 2005, they'd grown to just over knee height:

view of driveway with trees (Sept 2005)

Over the course of that summer they shot up to about chest height. Here they are in April 2006 swaddled in their shadecloth to protect from the frosts soon to come:

trees with shadecloth roofs

It was a tough winter that year and most of the trees hit the roof of their cage, so started to bush out rather than go up. (We later took the roof off and put side extensions). Here they are in December 2006:

gumtrees along driveway with dam

By October 2007 they were all doing well and most taller than a person:
Amherst September & October 001

And finally, by mid January 2008, here Dad is with one of the biggest that's over twice his height!
dad with a tree thats grown.jpg

We have peaches!

Wow wow wow.

a peach tree with peaches.jpg

I would never have dreamed we'd have fruit already - considering how last year we were happy just to see the trees had some leaves, given they were getting constantly nibbled at and constrained by the wire. Dad was so right about putting in the fence.

Here's the same tree from a distance. A very happy tree I think. :-)

peach tree with driveway in background.jpg

(Notice too in the distance there are trees. They are the gums lining the driveway that are huge! More on them in a sec)

Here's a few other tree shots. I'm just so happy that we have some that are thriving.

happy tree in orchard.jpg

happy orchard tree 2.jpg

persimmon tree.jpg

Orchard fence is finished

Well, almost finished. It only has a temporary gate at the moment, but close enough as it'll probably be years before we get something permanent.

Here you can see the fence clearly, and also how we've interspersed old tree trunks with the poles.
orchard fence closeup.jpg

The old trees were from some that had long-ago fallen on our property. They're Ironbark which is incredibly strong (hence the name) so they're not going to rot away anytime soon. The posts need painting perhaps to make them match the trunks, but overall I like the effect... I think it'll be even better when I get creepers growing over some of the poles, etc.

Up close the trunks have a lovely pattern:

closeup of old tree in fence.jpg

The other thing I like about the fence is that from a distance the wire fades into the background (at least when it isn't wrapped in shadecloth):

looking across dam and orchard to far side.jpg

I was so worried that having the fence would make it feel like a compound but it doesn't. When the fruit trees grow big it'll be even less noticeable.

orchard view.jpg

Glass dome supplier

Glass Domes.

For some weird reason an ad for a glass dome supplier came up in my gmail today. I can't work out why - the email I was looking at from my Mum mentioned a pewter jug with a lid - perhaps they'd bought an ad linked to the keyword of "lid" or something.

Anyway, I wanted to make a note of it as I've toyed with the idea of getting a display case or dome for the architectural model of our house.

Of course, we haven't actually got the model yet, let alone decorated it, so it's a bit premature to think of buying a display case... but one to remember. :-)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

wrought iron supplier in Sydney

Just wanted to make a note of this site that I stumbled across while reading the Cacatua blog. Might come in handy when we finally (finally!) get to the point of needing decorative details like this.
Artistic Wrought Iron Suppliers

1930's architectural model

This isn't directly related to Amherst, except it has inspired yet another whimsical project to pass the time until we move back and can properly start!

I just found a lovely 1930's architectural model of a typical bungalow house. I think it's just a really cool display item, a piece of work-related art, just like the stained glass window designs we got last year.

bungalow model

The detailing is magnificent. It even has curtains painted on the windows and paper in brick, tile patterns on the outside. When we finally get the model of the new house at Amherst, I want to do something similar. A kind of real life russian doll to have a model of the house displayed inside the real thing. :-)

bungalow model inside

From the Ebay description:
"This is a rare vintage 1930's Bungalow architects plan model building. It measures approx 10" x 7.5" (from above) and is made from balsa wood. The roof comes off so you can see the inside plan of the building. It is in good condition for its' age, with just a few indentations on the roof and one of the chimneys missing. It's a must for any interest in the 1930's, especially if you've an interest in 1930's architecture".

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ebay wins: garden ornaments

These don't look much yet but wait till you see them in the garden. I think they'll be used in a herb garden, or perhaps just to line either side of a path on the way to the house. But first, they're going to do service in our London backyard. :-)

edging tiles

From the description:
A good run of reclaimed clay / terracotta garden edgings from a large estate in Gloucestershire. Condition is variable, the two runs shown are intended to provide an average sample. There are 60 pieces, around 18 m. Depending on your requirements, 3-4 m may be too worn. This is quite an unusual moulding and they are all handmade with some size variation. The eight on top of the pallet are the most worn. Approximate dimensions: Height 15 cm, Width 5 - 7.5 cm, Length 30.5 cm

edging tiles

Next, also for the garden, a stone mushroom. The picture shows 4 but we sadly could only afford one and so went for the tallest - the one in the back of the photo.

stone mushrooms

From the description:
Beautiful antique stone garden mushrooms. They are not concrete, they're 100% genuine solid stone. The back one is 1 foot 7 inches high by 1 foot 3 inches wide

Finally on the garden front, some lovely lions to serve as pot supports:

terracotta lions

From the description:
Set of 4 superb and realistic terracotta lion plant pot supports. Each one measures 4.25 inches long by 3 inches high. They are very heavy for their size and are covered in age moss. They'd also make superb book ends

daily weather during 2007

I did this last year and have decided to make it a tradition. Here are some charts that show the daily weather in Maryborough, which is the nearest station to Amherst.

First up, here's a graph showing the maximum & minimum temperatures reached each day, in celsius:

daily temperatures in Maryborough in 2007
(Click graph to see it full-size).

The pattern was similar to 2006, so no surprises. The hottest it got was 41 on New Year's Eve ie: yesterday. :-) The coldest was -1.9 on the 22nd July.

Next, let's look at rain. Here's the cumulative rainfall, plotted daily:

cumulative rainfall in maryborough 2007

It looked like it was going to be another low rainfall year and then miraculously there were some huge rainfalls in late Spring and early Summer. As one of the best presents ever, the day with the maximum rainfall (50mm!) was Christmas Day!

To put this into perspective, here's a chart comparing the monthly rainfalls in 2006 and 2007 versus the historical average:
monthly rainfall in maryborough

2007 turned out to be a bumper year for rain, with 590.1mm for the year - higher even than the long term average (527mm). The contrast to 2006 is vivid. In 2007 we got nearly double the amount of rain. Fingers crossed that 2008 is similarly as good. :-)