Our move to Daylesford was made in September last year. We nestled into our guest house accommodation and decorated its floors with boxes upon boxes full of our belongings. The shed too was filled with fridge and couch and bedding frames.
Since then we have been at work to create a home.
I am at my best when organised. I don’t like looking for this nor for that. I like to move like a dancer moves, slinking past kitchen, billowing skirt, toes pirouetting pointed and taught. And when I’m asked where something is, I simply extend from below the knee, a leg, an arm, a finger, a wrist, and daintily grab that which I need.
For the moment a dancer I am not, I look at the boxes, and all the projects yet to be done, I hunt for underwear, I chase for books, I stalk for space on a desk much shared. I drown a little, my toes down deep, then rise again, then look again. This time I stare. I focus in on just one thing, one project done. It shines, it’s polished! It’s clean, its ready, it’s made to look so very steady.
Oh Dr Seuss come in I say, enjoy a cup of tea, it’s ready made! I made it just for you my dear, with finished shears I bought not dear. And in the study you shall see one desk for me, one desk for thee, no! one desk for me and one desk for Ralf, one shelf for books one shelf for elves. Desks wooden, varnished and to be installed, shelves wooden smooth with books to bear. One white, two white, three white up there. Above my hair so brown and fair, luscious, long and near Times Square.
There are a lot of projects yet to do, some to be done by me and some to be done by you.
But all is well. All is good. Flight of the Conchords are in the Hood. So just for now, with winters rain our wetland is full once again.
At the beginning I shall start and end with a photo of our home as it is right now. Our 15 acres of land is beautiful but when we bought it, it did not host a single tree and no habitat at all for birds, for frogs. As Ralf and I had worked for a wetland revegetation company we had fallen in love with the beauty and ecology of wetlands and set out to build our own. This picture shows the initial excavation works where our wetland now sits.
The guest house was the first light-earth building to be constructed. Here Ralf is removing the form work (wooden boards) that hold the straw/clay/water in place. Once the straw has settled in, sometimes just a few hours on a warm day, longer on a cold day, the boards are removed.
One building drying in the sun.
Some of the walls sprouted mushrooms. At the time I had no idea what species they were but now just maybe I can at least say that they look like Lawyers Wigs (Coprinus comatus) and that they are likely to be in the Coprinoid genus.
Rendered wall of guest house. A final render of lime will be added.
In between the building works there is time for joy.
And time for nurture.
Our doors and windows arrive from Germany where high quality double glazed units are affordable. The market in Australia is rapidly maturing and as demand for double glazed units increases the price will drop. We have bought Australian made double glazing from Paarhammer in the past which were excellent, but could not afford them for this build.
The wetland establishes itself with plants growing and creating a wonderful habitat for us all.
A bike ride in the afternoon sun and in the background the framing of our home goes up.
Ralf sieves straw to produce a fine internal render.
Toni and other local builders come and help to speed up the building over summer.
Friends from Adelaide come and visit and build straw homes of their own.
West wall stage one complete.
Second storey needs to be light earthed. This will be heavy work and a lifting mechanism as well as scaffolding is needed.
In the meanwhile the wetland plants are looking very beautiful and they bring me much joy.
A sleep before thunder.
Light earth and render completed for second storey.
Painting internal walls with low VOC paints.
Lights with LED’s and Fan for summer cooling.
Lintels look golden and fantastic against the white lime washed walls.
Bannister made for the staircase filters light through its decorative circles.
Learning to make a concrete bench top.
Greenhouse is finished and will provide warmth in winter.
One room is looking comfortable for a brief moment when some of the building clutter is temporarily moved for this photo.
From the top of our attic bedrooms a view of the courtyard.
A study wall in deep yellow.
A moment to socialise with beautiful friends newly made.
A room with a bed and too many toys, one lonely set of draws with more to be made.
A dining table made from leftover floor boards.
A larder is made with a cooling underground vent.
A kitchen is made and Ralf has worked soo hard to make it and yet more is to be done. An island bench large enough for a party of ten keen to knead dough and to learn to make bread.
A room temporarily uncluttered with a yellow wall that needs to be lime washed white and a ceiling fan that spins all winter to push warm air down from the ceiling height.
A picture drawn.
A flue that sends warm air into our bathroom.
A house on its way to being a home.