When we first moved into this property it was ‘as is’. Other than basic mowing to tidy it up, the people that were selling were doing so due to a dissolution in their marriage. They had three kids, and by the time it came to selling the husband was the only one left, sleeping on a mattress on the floor in a big 4 bedroom, 3 living area house.
So there were still some remnants of their time here. Such as, the dirt mounds made for jumping quad bikes and dirt bikes over, the growth height markers on the shed door for the children and the cubby. The place was bushy. There was no separation between the paddocks other than around the entire property and then an acre around the house. We’ve slowly done the work we needed as we needed it, so as not to make negative property improvement decisions. I also like to wait a good year of living in a new place before I decide where I want to put things like water tanks, livestock sheds and tack rooms, as I better know the layout of the land, what if any, flooding is like in the wet season, what kind of pests and predators are around and what other natural wildlife lives in the area that needs protection. Thankfully, we got around to removing those dirt mounds more recently with the earth works we had done, and we’ve now started removing the cubby and are halfway through splitting paddocks.
The cubby as it was served simply to keep termites away from the house from the time we moved in as it was already quite old and dilapidated and we don’t have kids, so have obviously never had use for it. For a short while, we contemplated using it as a chicken house, but these days you can always find old trailers and the like that serve better as chicken tractors that are much easier to maintain than this cubby would have been. (I’m also SUPER keen on getting Joel Salatin’s book “Polyface Designs” on homestead buildings and so would rather spend the money on getting that book instead!) It’s inevitable where we live that there is termites because we are in woody, Australian bushland. So sometimes, the ugly, unsightly things serve a purpose. Well, I can’t say it (the cubby) was unsightly because it was quite well made, but it was pale yellow, with a rotting floor and we had no purpose for it other than being able to hook things onto it for the garden.
So finally, after 6 years, my husband started removing the cubby! It’s not that we didn’t have time before – we did – it’s just that now was the time to do it. We’re doing a small reno to our garden and this space is fantastic as its the same size as the garden and will allow me the space to have a bee and good bugs friendly garden bed with flowers and companion plants to encourage growth in the garden.
I also wanted to fix the top of the garden and this will help. Currently we have sullage pipes that must have been excess to their needs at the time (the former owners) and used them in a hoop shape attached to star pickets to provide the cover. This is really annoying to work with as it always falls in and is too weak to hold the gum branches that sometimes fall onto the netting when windy. So instead, I asked my husband to re-use whatever he could to frame it at the bottom, like our current garden is, and use what he could from the cubby to add posts at each corner and a top rail so we could permanently fix the netting to the frame.
We’re halfway through the project but it’s not a huge one and one that will make a massive difference. I want to use that bed to plant flowers and plants beneficial to the garden to work as companions and encourage bees to come. So I don’t need to fuss over that yet. I do have the vegie side split into 30 x 30cm squares, with two rows either side and the middle row for me to walk through. I am doing a metric version of square foot gardening in the original garden section. The new section I will need some soil for, and to get that area fixed first, but it won’t impact me getting the original vegie garden back to its glory.
So make sure you check back regularly because this project will probably be almost done in the next week or so and I’ll be putting up new pictures on Instagram when it’s done!
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