work in progress

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Work on our new life continues… on many levels.

work in progress... view from the verandah
work in progress… view from the verandah

Practically, our 1930’s house made it clear she hung on as long as she could in our absence. Once she had our attention, it became apparent we couldn’t ignore the few cracks that were appearing. When the G.O. looked at her underside, the bearers were holding her up without much support from the stumps.

work in progress... TLC needed
work in progress… TLC needed

This was the G.O.’s cue to bring forward beginning the restumping work he had planned for 2017. This involves the 6 foot + tall G.O. digging tunnels under the house, pulling out timber stumps, inserting temporary jacks, pouring concrete pads, bricking up new stumps.

work in progress... where does time go? 4 hours replacing door knob
work in progress… 4 hours replacing door knob

Over the past several weeks as well as attending to other ongoing repairs and work he’s completed replacing a dozen of the worst stumps, with only about 38 to go…

work in progress... where does time go? chopping wood... will it get cool enough to light a fire?
work in progress… chopping wood… will it get cool enough to light a fire?

Unable to assist sub-floor, as well as everyday domestic goddess cooking & cleaning I embarked upon the stages of sorting and spring cleaning I had thought to park until we returned from our travels, in doing so discovered the warm Autumn we were enjoying had created the perfect environment for seasonal sub-tropic climate mould-mildew we experience every so often.

work in progress... wiping and sorting
work in progress… wiping and sorting

This was my cue to twice wash every curtain, wipe all surfaces I could reach -climbing up & down a step ladder- with clove oil & hot water, wash windows and pull contents from cupboards and shelves to get into their nooks and crannies.

work in progress... re-sorting
work in progress… re-sorting

That done, on a roll, I revisited the shed’s storage shelves and cleared another load destined for a charity op-shop in town.

work in progress... sorted & destined for charity op-shop
work in progress… sorted & destined for charity op-shop

I’d like to say we are thankful and philosophical about this opportunity to embrace our new lifestyle but honestly, it’s not quite what we planned for this part of our holiday year. However, we are grateful we have the time, money, health and pleasant space in which we’re doing what we need to do in a home, place and among people we love.

There's no place like home
There’s no place like home

Stay tuned… before we leave on our next trip mid June, I’ll share details of where we’re headed, some highlights of our travels through Victoria last March, and how we plan to link the two.

work in progress... Soossie-Cat holding the fort
work in progress… Soossie-Cat holding the fort

For glimpses of our new life you can see my Instagram snapshots on the right and if you are an Instagrammer, you can find me at dalelee011.

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47 thoughts on “work in progress

    katechiconi said:
    May 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Good grief. Holiday, was it? The G.O. must be nearly wrecked by now, how does he keep going. But I do like the sound of your clove oil organic mould solution – the house will smell like apple pie instead of bleach and other noxious chemicals. Selfishly, I’m sorry it’s deferred your trip as it means we won’t see you so soon, but I love the idea of the Grand Old Lady getting some much needed new corsetry underpinnings down there, as well as having some of her worst ‘wrinkles’ removed.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      The G.O. needs a break, and so do I… so no delay. We will see you towards the end of June. Our travel plans are on track. It was our r&r at home plans that were replaced by a period of urgent DIY.
      I’ve been using clove oil for years. Cleans, deters pets & pets, and smells good.

      Like

    Francesca said:
    May 22, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Nice to hear about the work in progress. Nothing like a bit of stumping to keep you occupied!!! And mould removal. These things have a habit of revealing themselves after a holiday. I am busy trying to ignore the chores that await me here. Now where’s that novel….

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      May 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      The G.O. just wishes the need for restumping had been apparent before he did so much work restoring the interior over a decade ago… he’s going to have to re-do some of it after the structure has settled.
      I’m slowly finding bits of time for myself, and also have a novel to read on the go… assisted during the past few days by Telstra’s internet speed reverting to dial up rendering it virtually unusable.

      Liked by 1 person

    ardysez said:
    May 22, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Well, that has certainly satisfied my curiosity about what you have been doing lately! It has also pulled my thoughts into line about the jobs we have to do around here. No stumps and no mould so I consider myself lucky. Best wishes with it all! xx

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      May 22, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Your post that mentioned organising & tidying up prompted me to assess our cupboards & shelves, and along with the rest of the cleaning the effort has been worthwhile as the house has a much pleasanter feel… which we’d get to appreciate more fully if we were spending the following months, rather than in the caravan travelling.

      Liked by 1 person

        ardysez said:
        May 22, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        Glad to know that tidying post was useful. I find living in the house with more space and fewer things calming and easier. Just packed a bag to go to Darwin in about 15 minutes because I can see everything and know it all fits. 👍 Your lovely, tidy home will be waiting for you with open arms.

        Liked by 1 person

    roughseasinthemed said:
    May 22, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Mould. Tell me about it. Must try clove oil. I’ve got some kicking around that I bought for toothache but tended to use vodka instead.

    The door knob was interesting. Partner does ‘handyman’ jobs. Some people are happy to pay, others don’t appreciate the tools needed and how long a ‘five minute job’ actually takes.

    Anyway, please come here and clean my houses 🙂

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      I can’t use bleach, so it’s white vinegar, or clove oil – which smells better & I think the effect lasts longer. For serious mould cleaning I use a double sink of hot water & clove oil, rinsing & wringing cloths which I change frequently… time & water consumjng but effective.
      The G.O. commented about the door knob, that it looked like a quick job but from gathering the bits & tools to packing up, it took a whole morning.
      Your offer is tempting but I need a holiday, after which I’ll probably have to repeat my own 😕

      Like

        roughseasinthemed said:
        May 22, 2016 at 4:57 pm

        Being in a similar ie subtropical climate, it is a big issue here. I wipe the odd nit down with a cloth, but when it’s redec time, we go the very uneco route of washing down with ? (When I say we I mean he hence I don’t know what he washes down with), applying an antifungicide or something, followed by Dulux anti-mould paint. Keeps it at bay for a couple of years. My contribution is cleaning the grouting on the floor tiles with a toothbrush. Takes me a couple of years to do it …

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          EllaDee responded:
          May 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm

          I think if we were to repaint we’d have to wash the walls etc with sugar soap, and would definitely look at anti-mould paint. I think your sub-tropical climate may be somewhat more tropical then here.

          Like

          roughseasinthemed said:
          May 22, 2016 at 5:12 pm

          I’ll ask Partner what he washes down with. He’s a sugar soap fan but it might be bleach. He’s busy cleaning the block right now, so when he gets in …
          Climates are interesting. Gib has it’s own because of the influence of the Rock. For some reason, the pueblo in Spain seems to have a micro climate too. It can be raining all around and totally miss us. Weird.

          Liked by 1 person

          roughseasinthemed said:
          May 22, 2016 at 7:24 pm

          Okey dokey. The expert is back.

          One, sugar soap isn’t env sound either, but it’s no use against mould. It’s really for years of crud and nicotine stains, that sort of thong.

          Two, he does use a bleach and water solution, vinegar might work but bleach def does.

          Three, anti-fungicide solution isn’t env friendly either but it is necessary.

          Four, gloves and eye protection needed for all these.

          Five, you can apply anti-fung once the bleach solution has dried, but you need to leave 24 hours before you use the paint.

          Six, don’t know if you can get the Dulux over there, it’s hellish good, and has a wonderful matt finish, but I’m sure you’ll have the equivalent. Worth paying for.

          Seven, damp spores are very unhealthy. I think it’s a trade off worth paying. For once.

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          EllaDee responded:
          May 23, 2016 at 2:36 pm

          Ta. Our dusty pale green type of mould-mildew responds to clove oil. For general cleaning we use a vinegar-lavender-eucalyptus oil mix or locally made eco dishwashing liquid & hot water. Simple stuff 🙂 For pre-painting prep -if we ever get around to it- I think sugar soap would be sufficient. And Dulux is a popular brand here.
          I moved quickly re the mould-mildew as I’m aware of the health issues… had terrible experiences with it when living right on the coast in Sydney.

          Like

    fergie51 said:
    May 22, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    The G.O is a god! Stumps are the most arduous things especially if not much room under the house. The old ones make the best firewood. I Like the idea of clove oil, not one I’ve heard of before for moulds. I bet it is satisfying that you have done so much sorting. That is a beautiful door knob!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 22, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      The G.O. appreciates your comment ☺ I’m in awe of what he does, and simply try to do what I can to lighten his load otherwise, and feed him. He is using old stumps for a wood chopping block, will keep some as they are tough & handy, and burn the rubbishy bits.
      I love the door knob, especially as it, unlike the previous remains attached to the door when I open it.

      Like

    ladyredspecs said:
    May 22, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    It was the never ending costs for upkeep that forced our decision to sell our place on the coast. My GO is no handyman either so the $$$$ were getting out of control. Must remember the clove oil solution for mould, I hate to use bleach. Lots of sorting and discarding happening here too even though it’s only 6 months since we shifted. How many Melbourne wintery clothes do we need? Only a suitacase full for a holiday.

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 22, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      We’ve remarked that we couldn’t afford the upkeep on our old house if the G.O. couldn’t do it himself… the costs are prohibitive which is sad because often it means such houses or their original features are lost… as has already happened some parts of this house.
      The sorting & discarding has been therapeutic… over the past decade we’d saved quite some accumulation of one day might be useful things…

      Like

    acflory said:
    May 22, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Ugh…commiserations to the G.O. After the stumping comes the replastering, repainting, redecorating? All I can say is, you’ll need a holiday soon – coming back our way at all? Remember, you’re invited for lunch chez nous this time. 😉

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 23, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Yep. Ugh. Yep, I think the G.O. will need to revisit some of the wall repairs and painting he did when we restored the house but at least not a full reno 🙂
      Thank you. It’s quite likely our return route from the next trip will be via Melbourne but if not, future visits to my sister will be necessary anyway.

      Like

    Gerlinde said:
    May 23, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I remember replacing the cement blocks and piers that hold up our cabin. Replacing your stumps looks much more difficult because of the little crawl space you have.. What a job? Both of you deserve a break soon. I just finished reading The Goldfinch , it’s a well written book.

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      May 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Thank you. I’ve added The Goldfinch to my Goodreads TBR list. I’m hoping to get lots of time to read while we’re travelling around.
      I’m so thankful the G.O. has the skills otherwise we wouldn’t be able to afford to own an old house… or it would be so run down as to be unliveable. Between us we get done what we need to 🙂

      Like

        Gerlinde said:
        May 24, 2016 at 11:32 am

        Keeping up old houses is expensive and hard work and it never ends.

        Liked by 1 person

          EllaDee responded:
          May 24, 2016 at 4:04 pm

          I know.. good thing we’re not trying to create a show home or heritage icon… there’s something perfectly imperfect about our old house, it is just the kind of home I always dreamed of. It does help to have a handy G.O. 🙂

          Like

    Glenda said:
    May 23, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Hi Ella. You sound too busy to work:)

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 23, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      It would be a disaster -literally, possibly- if we had paying jobs. We had postponed attending to the house long enough, I think.

      Like

        Glenda said:
        May 23, 2016 at 8:01 pm

        Ella, that is the beauty of not working. you have time to see things.

        Liked by 1 person

          EllaDee responded:
          May 24, 2016 at 4:05 pm

          See -and ignore- the dust worked for a while…

          Like

    diannegray said:
    May 23, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Clove oil is pretty expensive so I just get cloves, smash them up with my coffee grinder (or mortal and pestle will do) wrap them in gauze and slowly heat them in oil (good for wooden furniture) and I also heat another sack in vinegar (good for everything else). Although, this is probably how you do it too, so ignore what I just said f you do 😉

    Re-stumping is a huge job. The G.O. is a legend 😀

    We’ve been in the RUC three years and now I actually have a bathroom and don’t shower with the hose downstairs anymore (YAY!) It’s been a slow process, but well worth it.

    Enjoy your holiday 😀

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 23, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      We watched Grand Designs last night about a man creating a house from a cave… beginning it himself by literally digging it out by hand. And I commented to the G.O. that despite the work that’s necessary, we’re fortunate our house is intact & comfortable as is. The restumping is necessary but now the urgent stumps have been done the others and the list can be absorbed into a lifestyle.
      3 years showering using a hose… I hope you are REALLY enjoying that new bathroom 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      May 23, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      P.S. I ♡ this tip, have been buying water soluble clove oil but when we return from travels will be making my own clove oil & vinegar to add to my collection of homemade cleaning products. Thank you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    mybrightlife said:
    May 23, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Ahhh….a house full of character! We have one of those too back home, sans the G.O. Hope you are finding enjoyment and satisfaction in the process though! Certainly it sounds like a learning process.Good luck!!!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 24, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Our house certainly has a personality, one of the consolations is she responds beautifully to any work we do, which, as well as the satiisafction of being able to do things ourselves, is gratifying 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Richard Guest said:
    May 23, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Sorry to hear about the stumping. It’s going to be a beautiful home. Thanks for the clove oil tip!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 24, 2016 at 10:21 am

      The house is a colourful, comfortable old girl, she’ll never be a show pony but we love her – cracks, to-do list and all ☺

      Like

    Lori said:
    May 24, 2016 at 12:24 am

    Wow, and here I thought you were retired and relaxing. 🙂 You’re right though, it’s good that you two have the time and good health to take care of these things. My husband and I are not healthy these days, and we are looking to buy a house. One we’re looking at needs work, and if we buy, we will have to hire people.

    Looking forward to reading about your travels. Stay well.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 24, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Well, yes, I thought we’d be holidaying and relaxing, conveniently forgetting how little attention we’d been giving the house. For us, hiring people just wouldn’t work, as well as economic considerations, living out of town in a rural area there’s always the question of will they drive out. I hope the perfect home finds you ☺

      Liked by 1 person

    memoirsofahusk said:
    May 25, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Goodness how exciting the clove oil thing is (and how unoriginal of me to mention it!)! Since we moved to a 70s house we haven’t had any mildew/mould problems except in the shower but I do like the sound/smell of clove oil. Maybe I’ll just buy some and sit a drop or two in a saucer in the sun now and then (given our sunshine situation it would be now and then!). But I’m afraid this post has distressed me quite severely as your TA home looks just TOO TIDY! And now you tell us it;s also CLEAN. Sigh. As a Twitter friend who’s an editor recently replied to me, ‘are you telling me dust is a verb as well?’

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      I would not normally devote such time & effort to extreme housekeeping… I’m a reformed cleanaholic and hope to never revisit those behaviours from my younger wasted years. It’s quite surreal… we’ve been coming and going for so long; learned to live with dust, cobwebs and not being quite sure where anything was. Never mind, a few months away will see it back to normal.
      Clove oil as timber furniture polish is lovely even if you’ve no mould issues, and is lovely in the oil burner. Lazy housekeeping tip… if it smells clean it’s good enough. I ♡ incense and essential oils.

      Liked by 1 person

        memoirsofahusk said:
        May 26, 2016 at 10:51 pm

        I buy church incense – makes me feel holy (and clean) on Sunday mornings!

        Liked by 1 person

          EllaDee responded:
          May 27, 2016 at 6:54 pm

          I had no idea you could buy church incense but yes! I think I have incenses for every occasion but favourites are Sri Sai Flora, and for serious energetic cleansing Dragons Blood.

          Liked by 1 person

          memoirsofahusk said:
          May 30, 2016 at 6:52 pm

          Yes and it’s called things like ‘Sanctuary’ or ‘Abbey’. Very uplifting but you need charcoal discs to get it going.

          Liked by 1 person

    Kourtney Heintz said:
    May 26, 2016 at 12:45 am

    Sometimes you have to attend to stuff at home. It sounds like you and the G.O. had a great plan for that and did a terrific job moving it up when things had to be dealt with sooner than expected. Here’s hoping you get to enjoy your next trip, knowing all the work you put into the house. 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 26, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      I look back with nostaglia at those heady years when paid work demands necessitated employing a weekly house cleaner, and I could swan in & out pretending I was a princess or at least an ugly sister rather than Cinders. But there is a certain sense of accomplishment in banishing mould & dust, creating order, and knowing the house won’t fall down. However, it’s not something I want to make a habit of…

      Like

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