Happy New Year

Hope you all had a great New Years, and wishing all readers all the best for the coming year.

There is little in the way of news to report, so here are a few updates on where we are and what we are looking forward to over the coming months.

We’ve struck a deal with a neighbour who owns some fantastic boys toys (he owns a business that provides machinery and operators to major road construction, mines and so on) to get the housing site cut to our specs.

Building Consents
Currently waiting on the final detail drawings, and waiting to hear back from the certifier so we can get the correct tests done on the samples of building material we will be using. The samples are tested for various descriptors of strength to be sure the house will stand in extreme weather events and potential earthquakes.

Anything that doesn’t require the input of others is flying along. We now have over 2000 saplings ready to go with another 1000 or so in various stages of development. By autumn we will have somewhere around 5000 saplings to plant that will give us an instant landscape.

These will form the wind barrier protecting the house from the gales that whip over the cleared landscape around us. They will also be used as a living barrier to protect the housing site from bushfires. There will be a minimum distance of 40 metres between the house and any trees. The trees will be planted in ascending height in towards the house, essentially creating a lip that wind will sweep up and over. The theory is any fire front and embers will follow the wind pattern and be deflected over the house.

As corny as that sounds, there are many examples from some of the worst firestorms over the past century that houses using these living barriers have a far greater survival rate than those that do not, and for the sake of the $1000 or so it has cost us to raise just these trees, we think it’s an added layer of protection worth having.

We have a variety of plants from groundcovers to lavenders, small to medium shrubs and medium to large trees. Providing we can get them in the ground and established before the frosts of winter set in, by spring the landscape should be taking shape.

Christmas (and my birthday close by) have been a great opportunity to get family and friends to combine the two and buy me something I can use for the coming build. Some cool new tools and consumables include a 2 handled spade (digs holes like a post hole digger but without needing the space to spin a handle), a tacking hammer (drives staples by striking like a hammer) and a 5 kilos of welding rods to get the mold system welded together.

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