DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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3 December 2013

Changes and ongoing maintenance

One of the many things we do here is to keep an eye on our house, car and garden maintenance. We don't want things to get out of hand and then not be able to do the repairs ourselves. In the past, Hanno and I could do almost everything we needed to do here but in the past year we've started to slow down a bit and sometimes we need help with some tasks. Kerry cleaned the gutters and the solar panels for us just last month because is not safe for Hanno to be up there now.  We're still as enthusiastic as ever about living our lives here, doing everything we can to keep our slow routines going, but there are changes taking place.

This is where Hanno is building the extension to the chook house.

We often discuss what's coming up for us as we have morning tea on the front verandah; recently the topic of chickens came up. We're getting more chickens from Kate at Beautiful Chickens soon so we decided to enlarge the chicken coop to give the hens more room to shelter from the rain and provide a bigger isolation area for new and sick chooks. Sounds straight forward but there was only one way for us to make the extension and that was to build into the vegetable garden. We'll lose one garden bed. We talked about it for a while and agreed that we'll be doing less gardening in a few years time so the garden reduction will just speed that up a tiny bit. We also agreed that even when we don't do as much gardening as we do now, and when we stop altogether, we'll still keep chooks.


Over the past week, Hanno has been collecting recycled materials from his own work shed and around the district so we can keep our costs right down. We got a quote to have a small cement slab poured and it was over $900! We bought enough 400x400x40 cement pavers (seconds) to cover the same area for $150. The outside wall will still be the outside wall when it's moved back and the dividing wall inside the coop will be wire netting. The girls will see each other but still be separated and they'll eat and drink from different containers. It's quite a big change, and we've had to give up some garden bed, but it will be much better in the future.


Out in the front garden, Hanno has brought in pine mulch and applied that to a few beds. He also attached the old shutters (above) we had in the shop to the lattice work on the front verandah so we can close them off for more protection when it's raining or windy. The shutters had just been sitting around in the shed so it's good to have them in use again.



In the back garden, Hanno moved some of our taps. I always like to have a connected, working hose close to the house in case of fire. The one near the back door was attached to a very old and badly rotted piece of timber. Hanno attached it to a very solid post and rolled the hose up so it can hang neatly out of the way but close enough for us to use in an emergency. He used an old hose hanger we'd been using over on the other side of the yard, attached to one of the tanks. We've both almost tripped over the hose when it was laying on the ground so he bought a hose winder to eliminate the tripping hazard. This thing is really easy to use. It recoils just like a cord on a vacuum cleaner, winds itself up and stays protected from the sun in a plastic case. He had to lower the tap so the hose case can swing around freely but now there's nothing for us to trip over. 

I'm getting on with my maintenance work inside the house too. My latest project is to clean the oven before Christmas, and I'll be doing that today and writing about it tomorrow. I'm hoping to get some others to join me. Are you up for the challenge? All you need is a pack of oxy-bleach - Napisan or the generic form of it. I'm using Di-san, from Aldi.  You'll also need bicarb/baking soda and vinegar. These products are environmentally sound so you won't need the rubber gloves and mask that many of the commercial oven cleaners call for, and if you're asthmatic, like me, you won't be gasping for air.

We enjoy our maintenance work. We see it as part of the daily work we do to enable us to live productive and useful lives in our own home. We hope to be able to do that for many more years to come.  Do you keep on top of your maintenance tasks?

…… ♥ …...

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25 comments:

  1. worst job ever - cleaning the oven - I'll take up the challenge.
    Love Leanne

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  2. I'm looking forward to reading about your oven cleaning adventure. Last time I just cleaned our oven with bi-carb, vinegar and hot water. It work pretty well, but with lots of bi-carb residue. I've been looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to hydrogen peroxide, because I can't seem to find it in big bottles in Australia, but that's the recommended cleaning product by so many American sites.

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  3. You are lucky to have such a handyman for a husband! I just want to add my two cents about the goodness of having a working hose on the side of the house ready for emergency. Twice in my life I have been involved in saving a building from burning down while the owners were not home. As neigbors, we were able to put the fire out and stop big damage because there was a good long hose available to use near the buildings even when nobody was home. I am sure in Australia you worry about forest fires but this is why I make sure we have a hose on the back and the front of the house at all times.

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  4. I love your way of taking up with things as they come.. so tranquil, with no stress!

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  5. I've let my son know that I'd like one of those retractable hoses for Christmas, so fingers crossed :) Look forward to seeing the new hen house after renovations. And yes, I do try to keep up with the maintenance on my house on a regular basis, although sometimes I have to hire someone in to do some things, which I budget for, but always make sure it's someone local, and then I feel that I've done my bit to keep someone in work.

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    1. We're headed in that direction too Nanette. We'll hire local folk to do our lawn mowing and some repairs in the future. It gives a good feeling to give work to someone, doesn't it.

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  6. I am loving the hose winder. I wonder if such a thing is available in the USA. I need to join in on the oven cleaning as an apple pie overflowed all over my oven the day before our Thanksgiving and has now burned into a black mess.

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  7. Good thoughts there, preventative is better than trying to fix things. When you're done with your oven you couldn't pop down and do mine could you Rhonda? :)

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    1. Throw in some raspberry muffins and a cuppa and you've got a deal, Rose. :- )

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  8. Yay! Count me in on the oven cleaning! I think I'm going to buy mu husband one of those hose winders for Christmas,

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  9. I like the way you calmly work through the challenges of everyday life and find practical solutions. You are my role model! We are on an acreage, so as we age we have found we need some help with the more manual tasks, such as fencing. We have budgeted for a local man to help us out 3 days a month. We don't always use that much but over the year it averages out. Having it in the budget means that my hubby doesn't need to feel awkward when he can't manage something, he just picks up the phone and calls in our helper. It's good for him too, as he was very unwell a year or two ago and no longer has a full time job, but wants to be active and earn some extra now and again.
    Yesterday we finally worked through our bush fire plan and today I'm committing it to paper. There are a few jobs in there that we will get our helper to work on, cleaning the gutters, doing a minor repair on the roof etc. it's quite confronting thinking about bush fires, but I'm glad we have a plan and can be prepared.
    Oven cleaning... Yes, count me in. It needs to be done before Christmas festivities start, as the oven will be given quite a workout.

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    1. Deb, you're budgeting for that help like Nanette does. We haven't added that expense to our budget yet, we have three sons, two close by, and they've helped us in the past. We can't reply on them for the routine things like lawn mowing though so next year, this will be added to our budget.

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  10. I'm in for the oven cleaning. I may be a day or two behind you but this is a chore that needs to get done in this home...thanks for the motivation.

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    1. Welcome Eileen. It doesn't matter if it's a day or two behind as long as it gets done.

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  11. Hello Rhonda, We are doing just what you are doing. We've been thinking about how to keep our home running smoothly as we start to wind down a little. You have a couple of years on us and a great amount of wisdom under your belts so it's good to read what your strategies are for the next few years. I'm making a determined effort to stay home more and am not feeling guilty when asked to participate in something that is not really needful at this point in time. I just say thank you but that doesn't suit me at the moment. I'm enjoying my slowing down years and really look forward to putting my feet up after lunch for awhile. Life is good and I want to enjoy every minute and not feel pressured by too many tasks. One other thing I am doing at present is letting go of the unnecessary. I think of my decluttering as blessing others as well as myself. We have no children to help us so we now will employ someone for the tasks that we can't manage ourselves. Thanks for a really good post.
    Blessings Gail

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    1. Hi Gail, this is on my mind more and more lately but I guess my mind is just trying to keep up with my body. It's certainly something we have to keep on top of as we age. Decluttering, as you're doing now, is also a must do. I bet you feel better giving it away. :- )

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  12. No Rhonda...not the oven!! :D last time my mum stayed looking after our daughter she cleaned it after my hinting. Ok, I'm in but I'm dubious it will clean it like the horrible chemical ones.
    Thanks for the motivation
    Jan

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    1. It depends on how dirty the oven is, Jan. If it's just a normal kitchen oven that's been cleaned every few months, it should do a very good job.

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  13. When I cleaned houses for a living I cleaned at least one oven every month! This year we came round to replacing our old kitchen stove and I saved up enough to buy one with a self-cleaning oven - no chemicals - I have huge allergies - just steam - I'll let you know how it works:-)

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    1. Patty, lucky you! My son Kerry has just started a new job in a state of the art kitchen. All the ovens are self cleaning using steam. He LOVES them. I hope you love yours too. I'd love to know how you go with it when it needs a clean.

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  14. Thanks for the reminder about the oven Rhonda. I want to make my first Christmas cake this weekend so I think that monumentous occasion deserves a sparkling clean oven. Will be interested to see how you go about doing it tomorrow :) Cheers, Tanya

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  15. We too have been looking at changes as we age. My DB collapsed in the kitchen the over day, just like a tree being felled. BP fell too low out of the blue, cut his head open, ambulance required etc. He's better now but it spurred us both on again. We used to have vegetable beds like you but re-used the wood, plus some new, to build 3 1/2 raised beds, (1m x 1m x 3/4m) that I can stand at to work on. Can't grow so much, but still love growing.

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    1. HI DC, I'm pleased to know your DB recovered. Happy gardening with your raised beds.

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  16. Thank you for the reminder, just started my oven on cleaning mode. Also, just wanted you to know I really enjoy your weekend reading links and find so many interesting things there. Also, I have found some really nice blogs from your site as well. You are fantastic Rhonda, have a great day.

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  17. Hi Rhonda, thanks for the great cleaning tip for the oven. My Mom used to use ammonia, she would put a bowl filled with ammonia in the oven over night and in the morning take it out of the oven and it would just wipe down clean. That is my memory of it anyways, I can't handle the smell of ammonia so I never tried it. I have been baking up a storm lately so I really need to clean the oven before I start in on the cookies! Happy Holiday cooking to all of us!

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