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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ebay win: Edwardian screen

I like screens, they're useful as a quick way to hide messy corners. :-)

Originally I got this to use in London but it turns out to be twice the height I expected - it's door height, not waist. But I can imagine many uses for it at Amherst.

It is a little bashed about, as you'd expect, but I like it as it is. The bottom isn't as badly damaged as it appears in the photo. I will just varnish it I think to protect, and put on replacement hinges, then it will be fine for another few decades.

edwardian screen

From the description:
Edwardian tri-fold screen featuring prints of birds by Lynn Bogue Hunt. Green painted screen with detailed bird prints on both sides. In need of rejoining and attention to bottom of panels. An unusual antique for the bird enthusiast

Monday, May 24, 2010

Patio doors

Dad stops by architectural salvage yards regularly and has managed to get some rather incredible bargains over the years. Recently he picked up two sets of lovely old hardwood patio doors for use in the old house renovations.

This set we'll use for the side door from the bedroom. They even came with have made-to-measure blinds(!)

patio doors for Amherst 002

The other set are the perfect size to be the doors from the kitchen to the verandah.

patio doors for Amherst 001

Sunday, May 02, 2010

a full dam

We had a lot of rain recently in Amherst, so the dam is looking pretty full. The steel that Dad put down to be one side of the path to the damshed is already underwater(!)

It's so funny considering that last year when we built it, everyone was worried that it would never fill up again and just look silly being up so high. Now I'm wishing we made the stilts higher...

Here it is now:


Here is as it was, when first built:

working on base for damshed - 7

setting up the new shed

Because we are running out of storage space, Dad has taken the plunge and begun work on erecting the old shed Michael gave us, down near the container.

He had to tweak things a bit because some bits had been cut off when it was taken down. Dad also decided to build it higher so that we would have option of storing taller things in it. Overall, it's now a good size: approx 8mtrs long by 3.3mtrs wide by 2.6m high.

This will solve the storage problem temporarily, although I like where he's put it so hopefully will be able to stay there long-term too.

So far the frame is partially up - here's some photos:

shed frame 02

shed frame 01

shed frame 03

Dave might get to do some excavation, after all...

It's only a few months until Dave is next back to work on the place. One of the things that Dad would like Dave to do this trip is to get the area for the soaker field sorted.

We've installed a treatment plant for the sewerage/greywater, so that it can be recycled. In order to work, however, it needs to have an area where the cleansed water from it goes.

Because we don't want to fuss with chlorine (risk of smell, bad for environment, more cost), we need for this to be dispersed in pipes that are underground.

There are two areas that we would ideally like to have soaker fields - the long border, and the secret garden (see rough plan).

The first soaker field to go in though will be the one in the long border. This means therefore that we need to get the terracing done for the path/border area. Which means that we need to start the new house excavation, in order to get the necessary dirt.

I'd originally hoped not to have to start this until we were back, but now it seems unavoidable. So Dave may get some tractor action on this trip, after all :-)

rough proposal for garden layout

This isn't drawn up properly to scale, but I wanted to jot down my recollection of the garden plans agreed at our last visit.

Of course, a few details have changed since then - not least because I have (for now anyway) abandoned the idea of a giant haha and huge terraced lawn... It would take months of work, and so I want to live there for a bit and be *really sure* that it is what I want before we attempted it. It's such a lovely slope down to the dam now anyway that it seems a shame to lose it.

But the garden areas close to the house are unchanged. This is what they look like thus far:

Birds eye view:

Birds-eye view of proposed garden

There are 3 distinct areas I'm thinking of:
  1. The Long Border: this will be my main garden plot.. It will likely be a mixed border, with some shrubs like roses, but lots of perennials. From memory it is about 50m long by about 3-4m wide. I will have the occasional stepping stone within it so I can get in to the plants, but mostly it will be layered planting. Eg:
    gravetye manor border

  2. Herb Garden: I may relent and have some roses here too, but at the moment am thinking this would be lovely to have as a herb potager... some parts could be laid out quite formally, others could perhaps be more informal, like the lavender/sage/yarrow in this:
    lavendar sage and yarrow garden (Dry Climate Gardening - Orthos)

  3. The Secret Garden: I'm not sure exactly what this will look like yet, except my thinking is that it will be the more shady area, so where we could have things like hydrangeas, maybe even ferns, a small fountain...
The secret garden and the herb garden would be left as the natural slope of the land. The path and the long border though would be levelled, forming a terrace. Supporting the terrace would be a rock wall. To provide further fencing protection, as well as windbreak for the plants, I would propose to have a chest height fence running along the back. When you're in the house or on the verandah you'd be high enough up to see over it, so wouldn't be blocking the view. And I'm hoping that combining this fence with the rock wall would be sufficient to stop the kangaroos.

Side view of long border area:

Side view of long border proposed