Thursday, 9 June 2016

Drama Queen

It's perfectly normal and healthy for chooks to moult once or twice a year.  They stop laying, lose some feathers, have a bit of a rest, grow them back and go back to laying.

Violet has to go further than everyone else.  Of four attempts to take this photo (she kept running away - do chooks feel embarrassment?) this was the best.  Makes you groan.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Little tarts

Marmalade Cottage didn't have any citrus when the Reinventors moved in.

Now it has tangeloes

which make sublime marmalade, and grapefruit

which would make good marmalade, but the Practical Reinventor eats them all fresh.

Sunday, 5 June 2016


There's a fence somewhere under the ivy hedge at the front of Marmalade Cottage, or the remains of one.

What we didn't know was that it still had this.

Rather sweet vintage numbers.  Nailed on crookedly.
They suit the place.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Climate creep

It's winter in Perth, which means it's something like spring would be in Europe, a bit of rain, lots of gloriously sunny days and the garden has covered itself in green.

One of our local gardening celebrities has been talking about climate creep for a few years now, and it's pretty obvious what she means.  Our seasons really are changing.

Exhibit A: baby silverbeet.  I'd ordinarily expect to seem them a couple of months ago, but it was far too hot, or in a couple of months' time when it starts to warm up a bit.  But it's warm now, at the beginning of winter, and we have a carpet of these.

And roses.  We have lots of roses.  Mostly green waste collection passes Marmalade Cottage by - leaves get mulched and composted, branches dried off and used as kindling, and the chooks take care of most of the weeds.  But this year we pruned a few things quite hard in late April. 
The poor roses are blooming magnificently, but not drying off well at night as we are getting a bit of dew, so lots of them are rotting on their stems.

The pomegranate seems to know what to do.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Arranging and rearranging

This dresser (art deco, found in an op shop, painstaking stripped of multiple layers of ceiling white) has been our main piece of kitchen storage furniture since we moved in.  But it really doesn't hold a lot.

So it's been sold.  Which means it needs to be emptied and huffed and puffed out of the house.


This will form part of its replacement.  The other bit is much prettier!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Another transformation

When the reinventors moved into Marmalade Cottage, this back bit of the house was a kitchen of sorts.  It was so disgusting most of it went straight into a skip, and the reinventors put a sink and stove and such into the original kitchen.
This bit got left as a storage room/passage to the sewing room, but with the cold water sink.
The sink was moderately useful for washing dirt off vegetables or paint off brushes.  The rats that moved in last summer found it a useful entryway and nest.  
Finally the sink is going and the space will be far more useful.
We definitely needed expert help with this.  Once the sink was gone and the wall behind reinstated, the area needed plumbing and some useful stuff fitted.

This is as far as we got in a day.  You can't see the plumbing, trust us there's now hot water and washing machine fittings.
The reinventors are going to have a go at tiling that unfinished bit of floor (how hard can it be?!), and then the bench will have a cabinet end put on it, a big hole cut in it and a sink and shiny new taps installed. Then there is space for some shelves or a cupboard, and the front loader to fit neatly under the bench.
It'll be a proper, indoor laundry!
The only downside seems to be that we won't be able to put the greywater from the washing machine on our tiny patch of lawn/green weeds under the Hills Hoist.

The filthy, rat-poo infused, broken sink unit went out on hard rubbish.  And was snaffled by someone with lots of ambition within a couple of hours.  I guess it did have its original bakelite handles, but still...

Sunday, 29 November 2015

This took too long

Whenever the back verandah of Marmalade Cottage was filled in to create more indoor space, the builder (who wasn't too sure on the concepts of level, plumb, or square) used what pretty much every house of its day used: louvres.

They let air and light in, but you can't see through them when closed and they're most definitely not secure.
Louvres being removed

So we finally got them removed.  All five banks of them.

And put in a real window.  Which is secure and provides much better vision and air-flow.  And cost $50 off Gumtree.  Hopefully someone will want the old louvres, otherwise, it's hard rubbish collection week and they'll go on the pile.

The reinventors are particularly pleased that they're now compliant with their house insurance...

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

When life hands you mulberries

Make mulberry gin!

That's it on the left.  And there's the Practical Reinventor sieving passionfruit for strawberry passionfruit gin.

Strawberry passionfruit gin on the left.  We'll leave them to mature for a bit.  They should be wonderful with soda on a hot afternoon.

Sunday, 11 October 2015


Oh the relief.

That's five large garbage bags of stuff that we don't use.  So it's gone.

Who needs KonMari?  We just got ruthless.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

She barely squeaked when she landed awkwardly catching a stick

The Reinventors knew when they adopted Jodie the Neuriotic Kelpie that kelpies tend to tear cruciate ligaments.

So she has health insurance, where the Reinventors are happy to rely on Medicare.

And it's a good thing.

She's torn her cruciate ligament.

Surgery next week.


Monday, 28 September 2015

Goodbye Marion

September has been a bastard of a month.

Aside from considerations of bills, middle-aged aches and caterpillars destroying the lettuces, the second-last of our original chooks, Marion, got sick.  We thought she was just broody.

She was looking bloated and hormonal and refusing to get off the nesting basket.

So we picked her up and took her outside, made sure she got water, the usual things you do for a chook you do not want to be broody.

But last Sunday, the Practical Reinventor was outside gardening and noticed two other chooks and the kelpie sitting with her.

Just sitting with her.

The sun started to set and the other chooks headed back into the pen.  Marion did not.

We took her in and settled her on the roost. 

Not 10 minutes later there was a desperate flapping, and then silence.

She died.

Just like that.

She's buried with Joan and Joyce under the mulberry tree.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


This climate change lark (should that be accorded capital letters?  Is it a proper noun?) isn't fun.

Exhibit A: the lemon tree.

It has, simultaneously, mature fruit, juvenile fruit and blossom.

The poor tree hasn't had its traditional rest over winter.  Largely because winter hasn't happened.  There's been a bit of rain.  It's been a bit cool.  But winter - nope.

The other citrus are suffering similarly, but it's most noticeable on the lemon.  The poor mulberry hadn't even lost its leaves before it was bursting forth with juvenile fruit.

We also feel sorry for the bees who are as busy as they are in spring and summer.

Friday, 21 August 2015

The perfect thing.

There's been some decluttering at Marmalade Cottage of late.

The Practical Reinventor is thoroughly sick of the 1930s furniture that came with the house.  It's lovely Art Moderne, but too modern for a lady of 1917, who's more suited to Art Nouveau, or at a pinch Art Deco.

So it was out with this:

Which is a fairly large sideboard that had seen better days.  There had been plans to sand it back and revarnish...

Anyway, the Creative Reinventor's mum was delighted to load it up, take it to her workshop and lavish the shabby chic treatment on it.

In its place we have this:

A very simple telephone table with storage - that little drawer and a box under the seat.

And this detail:

Much more appropriate to the era of the house.  Also not in perfect condition, so it fits in beautifully.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

A gentle parting of ways

It's taken a week for this post to compose itself.

Grief does that.

Our lovely Maremma (Italian sheepdog) Maddie, she of the long legs and platinum blonde coat, is no more.

We think she had a stroke on the flight over to come to join our family 16 months ago.  She was always a bit wobbly.

Then she collapsed last week, possibly after having another stroke.

She was in obvious distress, panting, licking her nose, not able to stand or sit comfortably, not even wanting water.

We did the compassionate thing.

The Practical Reinventor held her as the vet put her to sleep.  Heartbreaking.

She's buried in the front garden of Marmalade Cottage.  Heaven knows what the neighbours thought if they'd seen us digging a large hole in the dark with tears running down our faces.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Saturday morning

The sun is shining outside, no doubt the chooks are respectfully enquiring after their breakfast.

The superannuated Italian sheepdog is snoozing in the hall and the neurotic kelpie is snoozing at the Practical Reinventor's feet.

Breakfast has been had and the Creative Reinventor has been at the coffee roastery for more than an hour dispensing caffeine, which is the nearest thing to happiness made tangible.

Rage has finished off with ABBA.

The reinventors are going to dinner tonight with dear friends, which requires the making of a birthday present and card.  What does one make (or even buy if inspiration does not strike) the gentleman who has everything?  Wine, while appreciated, does rather lack imagination.

And there is housework to be done.