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.