Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Daily bread

The reinventors love a good garage sale, and last weekend we found a great bargain.  In our quest for self-sufficiency, and taking into account various motorcycle injuries, neither of us is capable of properly kneading bread, so we've been looking for a bread maker for a while.

We thought $20 was a fair price, and so far it's given us two great loaves.

On the left is pumpkin bread, and the right is standard wholegrain.   Even buying premium pre-mixed bread flour, each loaf costs us less than $3, where buying a decent loaf of bread at the farmers markets on Sunday morning costs us $7.

We'll be having fun experimenting.

Our new addition

Nearly two years ago, our beloved Blue Heeler cross Kate died.  We were devastated, and we still feel the loss.  But we always intended to get another dog.  We knew there would be a dog who needed us, and we found her.

This is Jodie.  She's a Kelpie X Red Heeler.   We think she's been an only dog for a while, then her owner married a guy with two much bigger dogs, and inevitably she was the one chosen to go.  She has lovely manners, but hasn't been taught important dog skills, like riding in the back of the ute.  She also thinks it's OK to jump onto the furniture, and we disagree.

But she's learning, and she's a sweetheart.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Not even close

The reinventors had been quite looking forward to today - the day the security screens were fitted. 

We got the quote five weeks ago, T of Security Company came to Marmalade Cottage and measured up the odd shaped doors and windows very carefully, then promised they'd be fitted in two weeks.

That deadline came and went.  There were a number of phone calls and today was settled upon.

The agreed time came and trickled by.

Three-quarters of an hour later, the installer drove straight past Marmalade Cottage.  Two bemused phone calls later he parked out front.

Better late than, well, you know.

The front security door went on with only a little swearing and bodgying on the part of S, the installer.

But not the back door or either of the window screens.

It transpires the T's measuring has the been the subject of rather a lot of swearing of late.  But this was a new low.

S loaded our back door and two window screens back onto his truck, to be taken back to the factory to be recut and he assures us they will be secured next week.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Treading somewhat carefully

The loungeroom floor has always been a bit... unsteady.  To be fair, the house is just shy of its hundredth birthday and it's been badly neglected, so some settling and slipping is to be expected.  We bought Marmalade Cottage for land value only - there was no receipt for restumping.
Lovely friend G has access to all sorts of demolition material and, perhaps more importantly, some very impressive skills in carpentry and general make do and mend.
Bless him, he scrounged us some jarrah from an old fence, machined it into floorboards and arrived bearing tools and goodwill on Sunday morning.
Pretty soon there was some destruction.

And more destruction.

And it got worse.

The cat was fascinated.

And then it got scary.  That's dry rot.  There's only one way to deal with it - cut out the affected bit and replace it.

The creative reinventor had not expected to be digging out his loungeroom floor.

There was one trip to the Green and Orange Temple to Lost Weekends to buy some new timber to, erm, hold up our house.   There are also some pretty interesting chocked up bits using bits of brick and concrete and more timber.  But this approach very effectively stopped the house swinging and swaying. And then the boys made it look better again.

So we had lunch to celebrate, along with L, who came over to see Marmalade Cottage for the first time, not expecting to see it in bits.  But, she took it in her (very elegant) stride.

And then the job was done - and there was rejoicing.

Now the furniture is back in place, but the reinventors are still smiling at the new solidity underfoot.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Going back to basics

One of the things we were so impressed about with Marmalade Cottage was its Metters No 2 wood stove still in its original spot in the kitchen.

Knowing the former owners refused to spend any money on the house, we were fairly sure the chimney had never been swept, but with everything else that needed - and still needs - doing, it got put on a list.

Enough jobs have been crossed off the list that the chimneysweep (called George, but sadly not wearing a top hat) came on Saturday.  An hour and a large pile of soot later, we were good to go.

George have us some invaluable advice on how to manage the fire in the stove, then left us to it.

Here's the creative reinvetor carefully making newspaper tinder knots.

And here it is in action!   The chimney drew beautifully and the stove warmed the kitchen delightfully.  The enamel is in exceptionally good condition, needing only a wipe down.  We'll get a thermometer for the oven before we try baking anything, but boiling and frying on the hotplates should be fine.

Baked, boiled, fried or chips

Way back in the beginning, the creative reinventor fell in love with the practical one when she took him out to her garden to dig potatoes for dinner.  They'd known each other about three weeks.  With Marmalade Cottage, there was never any question there'd be potatoes as a key part of the kitchen garden.

They went in today.

We decided to plant ordinary white potatoes, usually called chats or gourmet potatoes and some pretty royal blues.  The first layer of organic matter on the soil is coffee chaff, a waste product of coffee roasting, to which the creative reinventor has unlimited access.

With a layer of compost, we'll leave the potatoes to wake up and sprout leaves.  Once they've established themselves, we'll add another layer of compost and some straw, forcing the plants to grow up through that layer, and hopefully leaving behind another layer of new potatoes.  We'll keep layering three or four times before we harvest.