Slow Progress

You may have noticed a little lull in activity here on the blog. This can largely be put down to three reasons:

  • Football season
  • Planning permits
  • Wet weather

Our house was scheduled to move to it's new location a little while ago now, but a few hiccups with planning, and a busy football coaching schedule for Marcus has meant things moved slightly slower than planned.

But that is all about to change. Right now, our house is sitting on the back of two trucks and it is ready to go!

Brace yourself for a flurry of news in the not too distant future.

For now, you'll have to be satisfied with these snaps.

Our house has been cut in two!

Our house on the back of trucks. Ready to go!

We're Moving A House

Yes, you've read that correctly and no, you're not seeing things. We're moving a house.

After many weeks of back and forth, weighing up our options and not having all the information needed to make an informed decision, we bit the bullet and bought a house to be relocated.

The most common response from friends when this somewhat strange piece of information is revealed looks like this: "Really?! I didn't even know you could DO that!" or "What? Like, moving an entire building?!" or "How the hell did you find a house to MOVE? Was it just sitting on the side of the road?!"

Actually, the very clever Marcus stumbled upon the idea via Trading Post, way back when we were looking at modular, eco housing. Thinking there must be something along these lines sitting somewhere waiting for us to find it he started trawling ads for ownerless houses. About this time he found many houses (alas not the made to be moved kind) that really were waiting for us to find them.

When you consider the pros and cons the list looks something like this:

Pros Cost - is approximately a third to a quarter of the cost of new modular housing. BARGAIN! Sustainability - you're essentially recycling a pre-existing home otherwise destined for demolition. Time - modular housing built on site is quick, but this is even quicker! Character - rather than a brand new place devoid of personality, these homes often have period features and design, much more in keeping with a country farm house.

Cons Risk - granted, a wall could fall out during transport or the whole thing could fall apart but it is highly unlikely and company guarantees and insurance largely cover us for any such risk.

So the decision is clear, really.

After inspecting just two such houses we made a purchase. Here are some snaps of our new pride and joy! Hopefully we'll have some much nicer ones very soon!

Currently, our future country abode is in the suburbs, namely Canterbury. But in less than a month it will be cut in half, loaded onto the back of two trucks and transported to its new home in Guildford. Then it is simply stuck back together, given a bit of a polish and it will be ready for us to move in!

Fencing

One of the most interesting challenges to taking over a largely neglected rural block is the state of disrepair the fences have fallen into.

This isn't so serious now, but in the not too distant future when we have lots of delicious vegies and an orchard possibly sheep or other furry animals on the property we want them to be protected from unwanted wild animals or pests, including rabbits, foxes, or feral dogs and cats.

It must be said though, that most of our visitors are of the kangaroo variety, which isn't so much of a problem and we like having them around to enjoy the scenery, except if we don't keep a bit of an eye on things they can eat a hell of a lot of grass and not leave enough to feed our flock.

All this said, repairing the fences had been one of the first tasks we (mostly Marcus) have taken on.

So, on Australia Day, Marcus and I made our way to the farm ready for a big couple of days of fencing - pulling apart the old fence and installing a shiny new one in its place.

We were pretty disappointed when we arrived to find the trailer we'd left there some weeks earlier loaded with fencing equipment had been stolen. Yep, front gate unlocked with bolt cutters, trailer locks broken with bolt cutters and our borrowed trailer gone - no sign of it at all!

Never the less, Marcus soldiered on, ripping the old fence down and making a good start on the new fence with the equipment we had available.

Fortunately, much of the fencing mesh, though a bit dilapidated, was of a good enough condition to be reused. Many of the steel posts too, could be cleaned up and reinstated. Sadly, almost all of the wire and the wooden posts are completely worn out, rusted or rotten. The wire will have to go to the scrap metal recyclers and the wooden posts will make great firewood.

Marcus did manage to erect a fair stretch of fence, complete with new corner posts. It looks a fair bit straighter and sturdier than the one we pulled apart.

I think the new version looks much nicer and will hopefully stand the test of time and keep out any unfriendly furry fellas.

So it wasn't a complete disaster after all. Marcus did a great job, I helped a little. We both got sunburned and met our next door neighbours.

We also visited some fairly amazing places in the area. More on this to come soon!

To Build, Or Not To Build

Vital to the happy existence we have planned on the farm is a house to live in. With a vacant block soon to be at our disposal, we have started investigating housing options. As we are looking at potential plans through the lens of sustainability, I do have some hesitations with the idea of building a new house from scratch. However, we have come across several companies who come highly recommended when it comes to sustainable housing options.

PreBuilt

Modhouse

So far we've had meetings with PreBuilt and Modscape who both specialise in modular, pre-built housing. According to my sustainable architect friend Tim, these two companies really do walk the talk, employing key principles of environmentally friendly design - including passive design, renewable materials, energy efficiency and natural ventilation. Also, as they are assembled in a factory and erected on site in a day, there is minimal damage to the local eco system, plus a reliable build time thanks to no rain delays. Plus, they are infinitely flexible when it comes to modifying plans and have a simple and clean design aesthetic that is easy to make your own.

As we're looking to build a house that is entirely off the grid, we have been looking at viable options for power, water and sewerage. At this stage, it looks like solar, gravity fed tanks and a simple septic system are the way to go but we're still exploring our options.

Would love to hear any suggestions.

The first step

The first of many small steps to our dream of owning and operating an organic and free range farm has been taken. Today, we made an offer on 80 acres of vacant land - and much to our delight it was accepted.

We now await the settlement date - set for December 1, which seems excruciatingly far away.

Many adventures to come - but thrilled to have taken our very first step.