Wednesday 25 June 2014

working on a building

Well the gloves are ah, on and the demolition phase has well and truly begun on our new home. A new home that is a little weatherboard place about 90 or so years old. It needs quite a bit of loving, but it resides on a most spectacular 1/4 acre north facing block, 400 metres from town on a quiet little friendly street.
Basically the vision is to restore the front house by installing insulation, wardrobes, filling gaps, redoing the bathroom and giving it a whole heap of love. We will then add a 6 x 10 extension out the back, basically one big living space; kitchen, dining and living, with a whole lot of north facing windows and a bit of a deck.
By 'we', I am referring to Scott, myself, a good friend Josh and a builder friend who will be assisting in the extension bit. We also includes Poe and Ilo and as many friends as we can garner for various working bees. On the fore front of thoughts behind this build is a) how to do it in an environmentally sensitive way, b) how to do it with a very limited budget and c) how do we do it as quick as possible so we can stop paying double with rent. Hmmm, a challenge is good and we have been relying on a lot of knowledge from those a lot wiser than us, doing as much as we can ourselves, reusing what we can with what we already have, the wonders of gumtree and ebay as well as various local salvage yards. Our builder is wonderfully on the same page as us and has been helping us source quite a bit of secondhand timber and timber from locals who have had to knock down a tree or two for one (very good) reason or another. It is a very great and exciting challenge to have.
So far, just 7 days into the build, my most favourite moment, wasn't when we unveiled the beautiful floorboards, nor was it marvelling at our now exposed verandah, it was yesterday when Scott, Josh and myself got to work with the jackhammer, removing the old fireplace, which involved a ridiculously tremendous amount of bricks and concrete (which we will be reusing of course). It was hard, sweaty work but so very satisfying, made even more rewarding when Poe and Ilo got involved both with the removal of the bricks and the jackhammering. It reminded me of that old adage; 'A family that jackhammers together.....".
thanks to Bruce Jacups for the above pics.

Monday 16 June 2014

a visit to Autumn Farm

A couple of weeks ago Poe and I made a big journey down the south coast to Bega to visit Autumn Farm, the home of some dear, dear old friends; Olive, Oscar, Annie and Genevieve. We spent a precious few days catching up, marvelling at their wonderfully small handcrafted straw bale home, their perfectly proportioned 7 acres, clucking over their chickens, drinking lots of tea, reading lots of books, drilling their brains for building knowledge and doing all we could to love and support them during a particularly crappy part of their lives. 

You see our lovely Annie was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, she has since had a mastectomy and embarked on her chemo journey, of which we were there to witness round 2. As we entered this special space created by this amazing family that are currently going through al of this I couldn't help but step back and marvel at how well they were all functioning. There is a strength, love and focus that surrounds them. They bolster and fight against the chemo (and the cancer) in the most purest of ways, with love and a whole lot of really wonderful and strong food as medicine, think bone broths (galore), fermented foods, yoghurt, bucket loads of greens and an overwhelmingly positive 'let's kick cancer's butt' attitude. It is nothing short of inspiring.
I have no doubt that the reality of the situation creeps in and everything does go pear shape at certain moments but I can see that this family is also supported by a beautiful and giving community. A community that is strong and is just waiting at the sidelines whenever they are needed. 

Unfortunately for us the time between embraces with these four had been far too far apart, but once we were there it was like no time had passed at all (yes, as it happens to those who are indeed so true and dear in our hearts). Poe, Olive and Oscar had a ridiculous amount of fun together, adventuring, laughing, standing, watching, night time giggling, wonderfully imaginative journeys and the simple joy of just being together. Poe at one point said to me "I am having so much fun, I feel like I am dreaming". I know how he felt. 
It was a quick trip squeezed in amongst lots of other things but I feel so lucky that we were able to come and visit, to reconnect, to be there for them when they needed us most. We will be back and we can't wait. 

This post is absurdly photo heavy, yes I know I have said that in the past but this is seriously big. However I feel it shares our trip with you all in such a perfect way, a real tour of a very special place and a very special time. I hope you enjoy being inspired by the magnificent Autumn Farm and the four outstanding humans who call it home.