Thursday, December 16, 2010

Progress with the house (both of them)

Derek has almost completed the fence that he has been building which will allow us to get a puppy dog.  The gate went in yesterday, and once he has painted it I will post up some more photos.

We're in the final throes of sorting out the house plans. Nigel will finish the working drawings shortly, so we can get on with the processes to get it into Council for our building permit.  Once we have the new floor plan we will post it up here.

In the meantime, Derek's done one last clear of the block so we can mark the house out for the bulk excavation early in the new year.  I'm sure we'll have plenty of photos to share from that process, big machines moving around heaps of soil and knocking down trees. Needless to say that Derek is looking forward to the process.

For now though we are preparing for our first krismas alone together. It is not feeling very krismassy down here though, maybe we should have gotten a tree :-)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sea Shepherds

One of the things I hadn't really thought about was how busy Hobart harbour is for boats that work in the Southern Ocean. We were in town last weekend and noticed that the Sea Shepherd ships were in port. Unfortunately the stealth ship wasn't with them, but they were quite impressive.

The Steve Irwin (the one at the back) is a pretty impressive piece of kit with a helicopter and a rubber dinghy from hell.

So Hobart does have its own level of excitement, just a little different than we're used to.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mr Peugeot is not happy

Our first bit of negative excitement occurred last Wednesday on my home from work.

Not 1 minute from home I was t-boned at the intersection on the other side of the Huon River.  The guy was taking off from the intersection, so thankfully the damage was limited - but he still caused over $9,000 damage.

We've also discovered the one drawback of a european car - we may be waiting for the replacement door to come from France.  There is a chance we'll have it back at the end of next week, but it is likely to be the week after.

And yes, this means that on those days that Derek can live without it I am driving the ute to work!

Please be fixed soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where did the days go...

Can't believe it's been over a month since we last posted.  I guess it's definitely time for an update then.
  • First and foremost, we finally sold the house in Lapstone!!! It settled last week, so that is a massive weight off; not only losing the mortgage but the cash injection for the house build will be appreciated.
  • Last Saturday was Huon Show Day, which I thought was fantastic because they had goats AND miniature donkeys.  Derek enjoyed the farm equipment, but is not going to get the ride on mower he pointed out, or the quad bike for that matter. As Tony quite rightly pointed out he has had enough toys for the time being, and we realised we hadn't even mentioned the MacBook Pro on the blog.
  • We had our first set of visitors the weekend before, Derek's sister and her family.  It reinforced what we've already come to realise, the cottage is quite small; so bring on the new house!!
  • We're still waiting on Council to get back to us on the development plans for the house, they have about three weeks left to do so.
  • Derek successfully completed his chainsaw course today, and didn't even bleed.  He had a great time cutting up bits of wood for the day; at least now I'll feel a little more comfortable about us getting one (although that is a toy he can wait for).
Apart from all of that things continue along down here. I'm still enjoying the job, although the national agenda work is a little frustrating to say the least.  Derek nearly has the back fence completed, we will post more photos when that finally happens.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Two Weddings and a hole in the backyard

We've had a busy couple of days, and we're feeling very sleep deprived at the moment, so if this post makes no sense you'll have to forgive me.

Two Weddings

Why the sleep deprivation? I hear you ask. Well we've recently returned from a long weekend in Perth for a wedding.  An old friend of Derek's (in that they have known each other for a long time, not a commentary on his age) named Sambo (well actually named Ian, but called Sambo) married the lovely Kate on Friday.

It was a beautiful ceremony, very sweet, and we had a great night.  It was really good for us to finally meet Kate, and their gorgeous little girl Violet as well.  One of the problems of being a continent away from friends unfortunately is that you just don't get to see enough of each other.  But we did get to meet them and be part of their very special occasion, and that was great.

We also caught up with other old friends of Derek's while we were over there (again a comment on the length of time they've known each other).  All in all a fantastic few days, just very tiring with all of the time zone changes, long flights and the red-eye last night.

But, as you can see in the title of this post, that was not the only wedding. Matt, my brother, married his lovely fiancee, Pia, last Friday as well.  This was a registry office occasion on Friday morning, I won't go into all the reasons why they opted not to have a big ceremony, suffice to say families are interesting parts of our lives :-)  So a big congratulations to Matt and Pia as well, I'm sure that you will continue to be as happy together as you have been for the last few years.  And remember Pia, you're a Dunn now, "one of us, one of us" :-)

The hole in the backyard

As some of you may know, part of the treechange will involve us finally getting a pet (or a few pets really, but I will talk about the goats and miniature donkey in later posts).  In order to achieve this we need to dog proof the backyard of our current house.  Derek has started this process by digging a hole in the backyard, or to be more precise, digging a step out so we can put a retaining wall and fence from the house to the shed.

Now the fun part of putting in posts, retaining wall, fence and garden - and Derek thought digging it was hard work :-)

Not an insignificant amount of work, given the concrete that was on top of half of it.

The ute finally starts doing some real man's work!
From this we have learned a few things:

  • Number 1 - we are very glad that the soil classification on the land found very little clay, as the Huonville house is on a dolomite clay, which is apparently a b!tch to dig.
  • Number 2 - when people renovate houses they cut some bizarre corners. The new downpipe was not actually connected to the old drain pipe, instead there was a half metre drop - lazy.
  • Number 3 - concrete is not easy to break up, and even harder to get rid of in Huonville - luckily we found someone who is looking for clean fill.
  • Number 4 - not really a new lesson, but Derek still continues to bleed with every handyman activity. I'm thinking we might need to get him to start donating blood now so there are reserves for the house build :-)
We'll post a lot more photos when the wall and fence actually start getting built - and then there will be the photos of the puppy when we finally get him/her.

Apple Blossoms

As a footnote, we haven't posted a photo of the apple tree in our backyard, see below.

Pretty apple blossoms - although it does attract bees
The whole valley is starting to really bloom at the moment, given this is apple and cherry country that is not surprising.  We'll have to drive down to Cygnet next weekend and see how the cherry blossoms are going, I think they will be spectacular.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Even more SNOW!!!

Last week we had a bit of a cold blast and some frosty mornings.  Everyone was saying to us "oh that's normal, we usually get one last blast of winter before spring really kicks in".  Apparently it wasn't enough of a blast because this morning we woke to the largest snowfall we've had.
All of the mountains around us were snap frozen on top, it looked exceptionally cool.  There was a defined line of white trees and a lot of mist hanging around.
It was when you got up to the top of mountain range though that the winter wonderland really kicked in.  There were kids on the side of the road building snowmen, and the "slippery when frosty" sign was covered in snow.  Derek came up after I went to work and took some photos, my favourite was the dam
How gorgeous is that! Put me in a great mood for my day at work.
 Derek also went to the land to see how much snow we got. The frogpond is very, very full and a little icy, but the picture below is looking up to the back of the block.

I'm sure that we'll get to the point that this stuff is not exciting, although I don't want that to ever happen.  But until then, expect photos of snow (probably no more for this year) when it's this impressive.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Laying out the house

Last weekend we took a massive step in the process of building our dream home in Tasmania.  We had the block resurveyed on Friday and on Saturday we went out onto the land with our designer, Nigel Jones, and  marked out the house on the block.

It was really strange to stand there and have a first conceptual image of how the house will sit on the land.  We were going to scan in the floorplan and put it with the post, but as we were working things out we made a few minor changes, so we decided to wait.

This week we will be having a soil classification done on the block, and from there it should only take about a fortnight to get the development application into Council.  They have about 6 weeks to give it the thumbs up and then it's a building surveyor and then submitting a planning application. Once the development application is approved though we can start preparing the site (excavation) for the build and Derek and start trying to cost the project (the really scary bit).

Nigel has given us a building figure which is above what we had hoped it would come in at, but we need to qualify some of this.  The big thing is that if we owner build then it should be cheaper, although Derek is a little freaked out about it all at the moment :-)

So we'll get the floorplan up as soon as we have an amended copy, but barring any unforeseen changes in the plans it is very likely we will be starting the build before the end of the year at this stage.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

SNOW!! (and photos of the ute)

This post is a little late, since it is a week and a half since I got snowed on driving home (we're not talking a snowstorm or anything, just a light fall as I was coming up over the mountain).  Since then we've pretty much had snow on the surrounding mountains the whole time, but it hasn't come back down to the road I drive into Hobart.

The great thing is that Derek went up the next morning and there was snow on the land in Mountain River.  Again, not great big snow drifts or anything, only about a centimetre coverage by the time he got there in the morning (the block gets a lot of morning sun), but snow nonetheless.  Below are a few photos of the block, in its newly cleared state and with snow!

The ute and the nearly cleared block
Light snow on the land (dark lines are the piles of bracken that we have to burn)

Obligatory ute close up
However, I can categorically state that even with picturesque snow capped mountains surrounding us it is still warmer here than Canberra!!!

Our view with snow

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The New Ute!

Yes it has arrived, well more precisely Derek went into Hobart yesterday and collected it.
The Mazda BT50 is pretty cool, and it is really nice to have a ute so we don't have to try to cram the brushcutter into the Peugeot anymore.  We'll get a photo of it up soon, I'll try to get Derek in his flannie and ugg boots beside it :-)

In store competitions

You know how you sometimes enter in store competitions and never win them, or know anyone who does? Well now you know someone who has.  When Derek bought my bike from Anaconda we entered into a draw to win a few hundred dollars of bike gear.  We didn't look at what the prize was because we assumed we wouldn't win, but then we got a phone call from Anaconda and yes we had won first prize!
We went down to collect the gear and it was a pretty good haul really. Clothes, bike computer, trainer and a cleaning kit.
So maybe the move has been even better than we thought :-)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's been a busy 10 days

Since I've been so slack this will be a bit of an epic post, so I'll just get straight into it.

Matt's Exhibition
We went to Melbourne for the opening of The Fortunate Life of an Unfortunate Man in Fitzroy.  This is Matt's second big exhibition and it is really fantastic, and that's not just sisterly bias talking :-)
Derek took photos and Matt will post the exhibition up on his website in the coming weeks.  There are a few images that nearly made me cry, but overall it is a sweet and uplifting exhibition - way to go Matt.
It was also great to catch up with family down there, both Matt and Pia and also Louise, Stephen and Emma.

The Ute
We came back and decided that we really needed to sort out a ute sooner rather than later, since I was starting work on Wednesday and Derek would start losing the car, and the brushcutter doesn't fit very comfortably into the Peugeot.  We got it down to Nissan, Toyota, Mazda and Mitsubishi and headed into town to have a look at their base models.
Funnily enough three of the four dealers we went to are called DJ - so DJ Nissan, DJ Mazda etc, so it's pretty clear that there was a good chance one company was getting our business. 
After gathering all of the information Derek geeked it up with a spreadsheet to try to work out what was the best car for our needs, but it was the discussion with one of the local mechanics that sort of sealed the deal for the Mazda.
So next Friday we officially become locals when we collect our Mazda BT-50 ute, or as I will refer to it from now on 'Derek's Car', because if he thinks I'm driving that thing around he has another thing coming :-)

My New Job
As mentioned above, on Wednesday I started my new job.  Derek drove me in, as that was the day he test drove all of the utes, so at least I didn't have to deal with parking on the first day (which isn't actually bad at all since some of the people at work recommended a place).
The workplace is great, everyone is really friendly and I'm not the only new person.  Another newbie started the same day, and she's come down from the NT, so it's been a big climate change for her.  It's great having another new person to share some of the pressure with, and someone else to talk with about whether we should know things or not.
The bosses seem really nice and it is a very laid back atmosphere in the place, I can actually go to work in jeans all the time if I wish.  There are only 240 people in Housing in total, so it will be really nice being with an organisation where I can know everyone and what they all do again.
My staff all seem really nice as well, and there are only 10 of them this time, which is a bonus.  I also have an office, which is a definite bonus - open plan whilst managing people is never an easy ask.
This is not to say that my bosses, colleagues and staff in the RTA were not nice - I actually do miss a lot of you guys - I'm just saying that I think the Housing role will be a good fit.

Derek's Interview
And for all of you that were bucking for Derek to be a kept man, he has a meeting with a recruitment agency on Monday afternoon to try to get a real job - more on that as it progresses I'm sure.

So a very busy time in the last few weeks.  For anyone paying attention, we still have not sold the Lapstone house, which is probably the only thing that continues to be a downer in this whole process.  We're really at a loss of how to sell the thing, given that there are still heaps of people going through it. I guess we couldn't have everything go our way though, because everything else seems to be going very well at this point in time.

I think I need to get back into the lounge room in front of the fire though, we've hit a cold snap and there is a lot of snow on the higher peaks, including Sleeping Beauty which there is a photo of earlier.

Bye for now, hope you are all well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The picturesque stuff

Our block is situated on the south-eastern side of Sleeping Beauty, a very pretty mountain range which is very aptly named
This is the view of Sleeping Beauty and we drive towards our road in Mountain River.  We can also see it from our house in Huonville.
With the clearing of the land that we've been doing I took a photo today that is pretty much what the view from our lounge room will be, except it will of course be a little higher than I stand on the land (no comments thank you)
We look down into the whole Huon Valley, which I should have taken the photo of when we first got onto the land this morning as all of the fog hadn't lifted. It's really going to be hard to take waking up to that each day :-)

Clearing the Land

When we purchased the land in 2007 it had been cleared and had a sparse covering of bracken (about 10cm high at most) over the majority of it.  As we've been coming back over the last three years to sort other things out we've been confronted with the ever growing bracken, as well as the growth of tea trees that have been taking over the lower part of the block.  So now that we have finally come down and are starting to sort things out in preparation for the build we have to re-clear the land.
Now, we could have done this by hiring someone to come in, but that would have been costly and not nearly as enjoyable [insert sarcastic tone :-)].  So instead, Derek has bought another new tool (I haven't mentioned he bought a sliding compound mitre saw the other week to build a bench and some shelves for the shed), a Stihl FS90 Brushcutter.  This thing is a beast of a brushcutter, but given what we're hacking through it is certainly not overkill.
So on Sunday we took our first venture out to start preparing the land, followed up with a few more hours out there today, and below are some pictures of our efforts.
A wide view of the land before the work commenced, you can see Derek just to the right of the car
Closer view of Derek and the new power tool - the tea trees to the left are the same level, but the stuff in front is on a rise
Clearing on Day 1 - the bracken in the middle is a pile of all of the cleared material from the house block, so about 9 x 29 metres worth of work
Clearing on Day 2 - this is where Derek was standing in the photo above on Sunday, so just a bit of work done
And on the house block part we did twice as much today as we did on Sunday (sort of got the hang of it now)
We probably have another two days of work to get the area cleared that we'll be building on, then of course the fun part of waiting for it all to die off a little before burning it all off (got to love Tasmania's burning rules).
Once it is all cleared we'll be getting the surveyor to come and mark out the land again (there are still some pegs from where the previous owners had it done).  Then Nigel, our designer, will go out with us and we'll mark out the house on the block and make sure it fits properly.  From there we can get plans drawn up and submitted to council, very exciting.
And yes, it is very rewarding and a great sense of achievement to clear to block ourselves, I was only joking :-)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Birthday celebrations

Another event of some note was my birthday last Thursday.  Derek decided that it would be nice to take me away for the night, especially given all of the boxes that still litter our lives and make us feel guilty when we aren't dealing with them.
He booked a romantic night away on Bruny Island, the ferry for which is about a 40 minute drive away from us.  We had an amazing time, and will have to go back in slightly warmer temperatures to do some of the walks and one of the adventure cruises out to see the seals, but it was very relaxing just driving around, and really being very much alone.
The accommodation Derek booked was... interesting.  We stayed in Morella Island Retreats, in their cabin called the cockpit (so named as it is similar to the cockpit of a boat in design).  It is very well placed on the land and the view really has to be seen to be believed, the picture below does not give it credit.
The entire north facing side of the cabin is floor to ceiling windows, which offer this spectacular view back over Bruny Island, and is quite mesmerising to watch as night comes in and millions of stars come out.  It was a wonderful place to stay, the people who own it were very friendly and I had a brilliant birthday there. So why was it "interesting", well there were a few little things... there are two small mirrors on the ceiling above the bed which are disconcerting; and the door to the bathroom, which is beside the bedroom of course, is completely see through glass - see through directly to the toilet.  However, the most disconcerting thing is that there are five (yes FIVE) guest books, which contain some rather graphic accounts of how "romantic" people have been there!! Actually it was probably more disconcerting that Derek discovered them and briefly read through them all making comments to me about the spa, hammock etc.
But it was a wonderful birthday and I really would recommend the location to anyone, just don't read about the other people who stayed there :-)

New modes of transport

It was our six year anniversary not long before we left NSW, and I asked for a bike for a present. The theory was that it would give us another way to explore Tassie, and a quick and easy mode of transport in Huonville.
We went shopping yesterday and got my bike :-) which is very cool. It was a little depressing that I had to get a small, which meant that we couldn't get the bike we wanted as they didn't have my size, but the one I got is even better so it's all good.
That meant that today we went for our first bike ride.  We chose a short 5km route through the back of Huonville and all in all it was very nice.  There weren't too many cars on the road and it was pretty flat for the main part.  Derek already had a bike which he occasionally rode to work, but he hadn't ridden it much of late.
So this evening we both of little niggly muscle aches, and I'm fairly certain I have bruising from my bike seat :-(  Tomorrow we're certain to be a bit sore and sorry for ourselves, but hopefully we'll stick at it and it will be more than a passing fad.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New fireplace

We have the fireplace installation guys here at the moment putting the lovely new fireplace insert in, so we can be warm tonight :-)
Still need to patch up the sides since this was a little thinner than the previous one
Fortunately the last few nights have been pretty mild, so it hasn't been too uncomfortable for us, but we are very much looking forward to having a nice roaring fire in the lounge room.

Derek has been out with them trying to understand how it all works, so I'm assuming he will be installing the one into the new house by himself... well maybe with someone to help him lift the sucker and get the flue in place.

Apart from all of this we got the tv antenna installed on Friday, nothing like have a new tv that you can't get any reception on. It did mean that we spent a few nights watching DVDs though, so I can recommend Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland movie, and Van Dieman's Land is pretty unsettling.

With the installation of the fireplace we will have two rooms complete, our bedroom and the lounge room. The kitchen, laundry and bathroom are almost there, it's really just the study and the spare bedroom that still need a lot of work.

Overall though, our new little house in Tassie is quite comfortable, and we're still excited about the change :-)

Friday, July 9, 2010

We have arrived

Five years in the planning, some anxiety and stress, purchasing land and a house, trying to sell our home, leaving jobs, leaving family and friends... We're finally here!
We don't have internet yet, so this update is being done on my phone, we'll do a more detailed post later. For now things are pretty good. The house is great, except the fireplace doesn't work, so we're freezing to death :-( but we've got a new insert being installed on Monday, so it's all good.
Imet my new boss and some of my staff yesterday. I'm really excited about the new role, but also very thankful for the 4th August start date. Derek continues to push the 'house husband' bangle, but I'm yet to be convinced.
No regrets at this stage, even though we are freezing. It's all starting to get very exciting.

Monday, May 3, 2010

We have a date

We have finally reached the moving point.  After buying a house to live in while we build our dream home recently, we have just booked the boat for the 5th July.  So we will move into our new home on the 7th July and start our new lives.

It would be nice if we could sell our house in Lapstone sometime soon though, getting a bit sick of the show home thing.

Anyway, we're almost there with the general plan of the house, after about two years of going back and forth with the designer.  Once we have an agreement we'll put the general outline up on the site.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Plan

We have had a five year plan to move from Sydney to Tasmania, this plan culminates this year. This blog is the start of tracking the progress of our move, house build and new lives for ourselves, friends and family.

We will start posting up information shortly.