Highgrove, our first weeks in the countryside

We have been in our new home now for just over two weeks.

Mike has been inducted in off-grid living, and now knows more about septic tanks than he ever thought possible or wanted to. Our tank is quite empty (thank goodness), and probably only needs emptying in 4-5 years. Emptying the grease trap is an annual event, which you can pay somebody to do for you. And you should put in some enzyme grease digester stuff to keep it healthy in between.

Our water tank is full, thanks to the recent downpours. We are getting used to putting the hot tap on before the cold, and are amazed at the water pressure of the shower. The water is lovely, very soft and has a great taste. All we apparently have to do is to change the water filters every 6-12 months.

The rainwater tank is next to the house

And the gutters have been cleaned, just before the massive East Coast deluge hit us. The far side of the carport was full of leaves and debris, so we had a young man come around and check and clean them all. Living in Queensland, keeping gutters clean is essential, as they can easily overflow and damage walls and ceilings, cause mold, and even electric faults. And we want our rain water to head into our water tank!

In the meantime, I have started painting the loft. Something I have wanted to do since I saw the place. It is a large space, 40 m2 of floor space and yes, I wonder what I have started. Mike has kindly helped me paint the top parts of the sloping roof, after seeing me juggling the paint tin on top of the ladder, and managing to tip it all over the plastic sheeting that covered the floor.

I started DIY when I was around 10 years old, helping my mum putting wallpaper up and I got to paint skirting boards and doors. It was part of the annual spring cleaning, we worked slowly through the house; cupboards, wardrobes, and bedrooms. I recall that part of finishing primary school was getting new wallpaper in your bedroom and getting a desk (which involved flat packs and lots of screws).

Tip: when planning to paint, always make sure you have plenty of drop sheets, and do not cut corners on the prep work, sanding and cleaning using sugar soap!

As we have agreed on the kitchen renovation design, it was time to select new appliances. So we headed down to the coast on Tuesday and Good Guys to have a look; fridge, cooker, range hood, oven, microwave, dishwasher, sinks and taps.

Needless to say, I forgot one key item, so we had to go back on Wednesday, carrying a dinner plate to make sure the selected dishwasher would fit it!

Tip (from Liz): take a dinner plate with you to make sure your dishwasher is spacious enough. Check the inside of the appliances, although the outside dimensions may be similar, the inside dimensions can vary largely.

Tip 2 (also from Liz): check out which way your taps should go. A lot are now designed to fit on islands, and in our case the sink will be in front of the window, so there is less space to push levers back.

Yes, the plate fits!

And we had Josh and Sanjana visiting over the weekend. It rained quite a bit, so naturally a great opportunity to test out the fireplace. And yes, it works fine! We had to open doors and windows to let some of the heat escape, and the fire continued until well into the next morning.

Josh and Sanjana visiting

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