Wednesday, 22 July 2009

"LANGFORD" HOME ON LAND. April to July 09

On the 14th of April, after the Wacky Bush Wedding we moved to the farm house on "Langford" our farming property just north of Albany. Its roughly 400ac. and predominantly a forestry. Blue Gums for paper pulp. There is just 50ac of pasture and the house is rented.

The house was extensively renovated about 15 years ago and now none of the original house is visible from the outside. The plan was to add a big solar passive living space and new wet areas and office. Then to re clad the exterior of the old house , build verandas and replace all the windows. Construction was Stabilized Earth Blocks. These are made using Road Base and Cement. We made the 8000 brick and 200 paving slabs for the house over a 6 month period and then built the house. 80 ton of Gravel and 8 ton of cement went into the concrete mixer and out into a barrow..then into the moulds... and then they were stacked. This was all done by hand!!!. The brickwork was laid in gravel mortar and then all the joints were pointed up with a sand and ochre mix. A time consuming and laborious job but well worth the effort, from a purely aesthetic view. I don't need to tell you that all this history makes for a fairly strong sense of ownership. Not to mention a fair helping of satisfaction as one sits back and admires the finished result which is of a quiet, warm and functional home.

There had been no one living in the house for over 6 months and the grounds, particularly, were looking very dejected as a result of a lot of windfall storm damage. Inside was clean and tidy and very empty. We dragged some furniture over to the house from the locked storage room adjacent to the house and made ourselves moderately comfortable. Winter had set in although the days remained bright and sunny. Mornings were really cold.

The objective was to replace the lining in the main bedroom and build Built In Robes. Re tile the ensuite, repair some old termite damage in the roofing, re carpet throughout, replace several doors etc. This project went on and on...and on...until the 19th of August when we finished the fencing by torch-light. Tenants had moved in on the 18th.

Well you may be wondering how it took so long. The jobs grew bigger and the projects more extensive. A deck was added to the back over the big pond. The house was repainted inside and out. The waterfall glass windows were stripped and the sills replaced. Extra sills were installed to windows hitherto without them. The sun-room indoor garden had new jarrah tops made.Exhaust Fans replaced. Barge boards and gable ends replaced or added.Brickwork pointing with mortar. Guttering replaced or repaired. Underground pipes replaced. Shed interior demolished. Garden beds mulched with chips, Mountains of storm felled trees were heaped and burned, along with a great heap of junk abandoned by tenants gone bye. Fencing replaced or repaired and electrified..and all of this we did without any outside help.!!!..sigh. I really thought we might be permanently land locked.

The upside was that there were many, many visitors. Family and friends dropped by regularly to check on the progress and break the monotony of work. We are also indebted to friends and family who loaned us tools, as all ours are on Taipan.

The house has 2 slow combustion fires. A huge one in the lounge and a Rayburn cooker in the kitchen. The house was very snug although wood gathering became a regular event to keep up to the hungry fires. As the weather got progressively colder the heating was much appreciated.

We took great pleasure in observing daily, the large number and variety of birds which frequented the pond in front of the sunroom. Smokers, Greenies, Western Red Rozellas, Black cockatoos, Kookaburras, Shrikes, Honey Eaters, Red and Yellow Breasted Robins, Willy Wag Tails, Fantails, Egret, Mudlarks, Magpies, Crows and Whistlers. Several other varieties with which I am unfamiliar.

Well by the time we left exhausted and pleased to be going, the house and grounds were all in pretty good shape. New tenants were nesting and seem very happy with the house.