Monday, 4 April 2016

TREE CHANGE JOURNEY | MARCH



The month of March was marked by the arrival of visitors - both welcome and unexpected. The former were friends - almost local, although they live closer to the coast - as well as some international visitors, who have been travelling around the world with their family of six. Both families had four children apiece and made for a fun albeit slightly rambunctious day. These are the visits we remember though - when the house is full, there's food and special treats aplenty, conversations are somewhat snatched but cut to the essence of what's important in life, and a walk down to the creek becomes an adventure. We see our home with fresh eyes.

Unexpected visitors also provided us with a new perspective on where we live. After the flooding rain of January we experienced two months of virtually no rain. The extended summer kept temperatures warm and the humidity high. And snakes came out searching for water. We have seen at least three different varieties in the past month - a diamond python, a tree snake and potentially a yellow-faced whip snake - although we're still learning to identify our slippery friends. One of them was found in our living room and had to be captured on a makeshift hook attached to the end of a broom handle. 


We also came across an injured bird that had flown into our living room window. The children delighted in creating a temporary home - made out of a cardboard box, lined with wool and filled with berries - where it could recuperate. The four-year-old was initially devastated though when it was well enough to fly again. Although she's since told me several times that she's happy that it flew away. We spoke about the bird wanting to return to its family and friends.



The tree house has continued to be an ongoing weekend project with the children. The platform was completed last month and since then we had added a safety rail and fence. Our visitors helped us to collect sticks and they were cut to size and attached with twine. We've also added a more permanent ramp and the children enjoy spending time on the deck, playing and eating meals.


Work on the house itself has been on hold for the most part while the treehouse was being built. However, in the past month the magenta fireplace surround was painted white and a hanging rail was added to the girl's room, as well as a cupboard converted into a temporary wardrobe of sorts. Over the Easter weekend a wall was built in the place of a hanging curtain behind the bed in the master bedroom. Modest changes that make a difference to our day-to-day living.


We are fast learning that there is always maintenance to be done on a property. No sooner had we moved in than we were issued with a notice to clear under the electrical power lines. As a lot of the bamboo had grown out of control, removing tracks of it was the first stage. We then employed the school gardener to trim some trees too. This turned out to be a good exercise as afterwards he was he able to walk around the property and identify various trees and plants, giving us a quick lesson in what is native and what should be scaled back.


One benefit of chopping down trees is that we now have a small supply of firewood for the upcoming winter. While it is still warm during the daytime, the evenings can get cool and so we decided to test out the fireplace. We have never seen the children bathe and dress for bed so quickly.


The end of the month posed some challenges. Our water supply is derived from rainwater tanks - three of them at various points along our hill. Pumps feed the water up to the house and when one of them died a couple of weeks ago we tried to get it serviced, were given a different pump that didn't work, and had to cart water up the hill in containers. Then the hot water system itself failed and, finally, we ran out of water completely. It was a sharp lesson in the importance of water, and how much we are beholden to nature and its inconstant ways.


But every morning we are treated to watching the mist lift off the surrounding mountains and the view from almost every room provides with the most wonderful, calming vista. And we can open our front door and the children can run, play and explore. That is why we moved here, and embarked on this journey. To find freedom in the everyday.

images the indigo crew

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