16 April 2011

Framing... April 2011


We were fortunate to find some awesome chippies, and they've been hard at work now for 3 weeks.  Very impressive guys!

The new shed... March/April 2011


The shed is coming along nicely, although it could have been completed much faster had MOTH not wanted to play Meccano. 

Stumps... February 2011

How exciting... it's all starting to take shape.  The stump holes are finally concreted and the gang worked damn hard to put the stumps in and have it all braced ready for the final pour.  We are grateful this happened smoothly and the inspection was approved without too much trouble.

Caddy joins the family... January 2011

LOTH doesn't feel very useful.  Just tending to the accounts is not enough and as we all know, fresh air and sunshine is important.  So is the appearance of our land. 

Since all the rain over summer, the green stuff on the ground, some call it grass, has gone mad and taken over. LOTH comes up with the bright idea of acquiring a ride-on mower.  Sounds like fun, hey?  There's no chance whatsoever that a standard lawn mower would cope and Fuzzy's tractor is not quite ready for this job, so we adopt a new member of the family and name her Caddy. 

Thankfully, she was placed on the trailer for us to take her home, but getting her off at the other end wasn't quite so easy.  Actually, it was hilarious to watch.  It took 4 of us to do the job.

Driving it downhill to the flat section looked scary, so MOTH took on the task of taking her out for a test drive, and to ensure Caddy was safe for LOTH to drive.  She is!  and LOTH enjoys every minute of it!

La Nina wreaks havoc... December 2010

Things were on a roll and we were finally making progress... but the weather had other ideas.  In December, we suffered our first calamity when the rain started... and ultimately continued during the entire Melbourne summer.  Other parts of Australia suffered horribly, and our crisis was only a speck in the ocean of how rain affected the whole country, but when our newly dug stump holes filled with water, some even collapsing, all of us were totally gutted. 

Then it happened again!  What next? we asked ourselves.

It then became a salvage matter.  MOTH and Fuzzy put their heads together and came up with Plan B, and putting all their time and energy into ensuring the holes were saved, usable and inspected for approved without delay.  Quite an expensive Plan B, but ultimately essential.

The building process starts... November 2010

Finally we have our permits... yay... and the initial house works begin.

In no time at all, we have the house marked out and stump holes dug.  Luckily Fuzzy organised the big guns to come in and dig holes, cos we hit a few rocks and it could've ended up an extremely long and drawn out process had we ordered the baby digger.

The land is ours... July 2009

Settlement of the land has finally taken place, tho in the meanwhile we have been organising planning permits and dealing with the local council... which has not been an easy or stress-free experience!  Who ever thought that little ol' me would have to prepare a landscape plan to satisfy the town planner?  Lucky we have Fuzzy available to visit the municipal offices on a weekly, sometime daily basis, to bang on the counter and do whatever is necessary to get this project on the road.

While we wait for all the necessary permits, we start on some simple tasks around the block... like taking care of the odd dead tree, plant some new ones and begin minor works like replace an old, ruined retaining wall to support the new shed.

And I suppose we should discuss the actual house.  It's a straw bale house, as we've already established, to be built on a sloping 5 acre block, to fit 3 separate families under the one roof-line (to comply with local building regulations).  And so the fun begins.  MOTH puts his IT skills to the task and creates this enormous masterpiece - 70 squares of house, plus a 4 car garage.   See why we call it the Straw Palace?  It's gonna be massive peoples.  Ultimately, we all get what we want.  AC gets the top floor penthouse suite with the best views.  Nama & Fuzzy get their own 2 bedder retreat.  MOTH, LOTH, K1 & K2 get the family home they've always wished for.  We all get to live happily ever after... the idea being to provide company and support for each other, while at the same time, enjoying independence and personal space.

I should mention here that MOTH and Fuzzy did actually attend a pretty awesome weekend-long workshop to learn HOW to build a straw bale house.  More information about this will be revealed in good time.

At this time, jobs were also established-
Nama busies herself preparing the ground and planting fruit and nut trees;  Fuzzy buys a sad-looking tractor to help with some of the hard labour and attends to a massive amount of investigative work as the "Site Manager";  MOTH does much of the physical hard-yakka at the block while also holding down a full-time job;  LOTH holds the fort at home, plays taxi driver to the youngins (K1 & K2) and manages the group's finances;  AC toils away during the week at the office and endeavours to spend time at the block whenever she can.

Searching for the right parcel of land... March 2009

All angles had to be covered.  Not too close to anything in particular, but not too far away from school, leisure interests, friends & family.  Then we lucked upon a beautiful piece of land in the outer-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.  It had everything we were looking for... views, space, character, peace and quiet and a handy location within the metro, but also with a feel of being in the country.  Perfect.  The bonus of an existing shed with all utilities and working facilities just sealed the deal for us and the land became ours... all 5 acres of it.

Where it all began... back in February 2009.

The Man of the House (MOTH) had always wanted to build a straw bale house.  This was a theme the Lady of the House (LOTH) couldn't quite comprehend and figured it was a pipe dream.  However, the stars aligned and the MOTH and LOTH agreed it was time to build a new home together and figured... what the heck.... a straw bale house would be great fun.  So they went off a'searchin for that special parcel of land that would be just perfect for the project.

It soon became evident that LOTH'S big sis and aunty to youngin's (we call her AC) would like to live with LOTH's family, and after much discussion, realised MOTH's folks (Nama & Fuzzy) would quite enjoy participating in the venture too.

So... it was soon agreed that together, these three households would join forces and build the ultimate family home.... and live happily ever after.