Bonza bonfires

2016-05-13 17.43.34 One thing that has fast become a tradition here at Reimann Ridge is having bonfires now that the fire ban has been lifted. Claire has been leading the charge with weeding our 1 metre high thistles and huge rollie polie round prickle bushes and heaping them ready for lighting.

One of the added benefits of bonfires is that the kids run around pulling up and collecting weeds and putting them on the bonfire for us!2016-05-13 17.44.34

There is so many more weeds to pull up…. we could have 5 working bees and there would still be more to go!

It’s also a great way to tire them out so they sleep well (and us adults too!).

2016-05-13 17.44.39So bonfires are definitely a tradition already here at the Ridge. Who knows, if you drop in and stay for a bbq at the right time of year, you might get to experience one too. 2016-05-13 17.44.30

Wouldn’t that be a treat?


Wicked woodfire

IMG_0073Our Big Bakers Oven from Nectre (A South Australian made wood heater range has been fantastic as the temperature has been dropping. The other great thing is it heats up our hot water, and we can use it as an oven!

We got it installed by Mike and Matt from Waikerie Mitre 10 who are also a local supplier of Nectre heaters and Brenton was able to watch how they did it. The idea with that was so he has a better start for when we move it over to the house once it’s built!

It was a bit disappointing discovering on installation day that we couldn’t light it up until we had the wet back (water booster) connected to water… which meant we had to wait until we had our solar hot water system delivered and installed!2016-05-21 13.23.31

So about 3 weeks later it was an amazing day one Saturday afternoon after the hot water system was all plumbed up and connected to the wood heater when we could light the fire and feel it warm the room for the first time!

It was just in time too, as we have started to drop in temperature at night lately (although
2016-05-24 19.13.02nothing below zero degrees yet so no frosts so far!). The wood heater is the main focus of our open plan living area, and Claire has already been experimenting with the oven and so far has cooked biscuits, a chocolate self saucing pudding, a beef roast and scones.

The only challenge is that we’re going through our wood pretty quickly, so another wood cutting day will need to be scheduled with my dad and mum sometime 2016-05-09 18.03.50soon.

Another thing my dad, Adrian, has done is build us a wood box for storing our wood out of the rain, ready for putting into the fire. Here’s a photo of it which doesn’t do it justice at all – it’s been fantastic!




New school

IMG_6153All the kids have started at new schools. Abbie and Daniel at Moorook Primary School and Caleb at Barmera Kindergarten. They are all enjoying themselves and look forward to going to school which is fantastic.

Caleb’s first day was a bit of an adjustment for him and he was very clingy and took a while to feel relaxed.

Eventually one of the staff (they have fantastic staff) took him outside to see their “mud kitchen” (yep, that’s right) and he was able to unlock the water pump and start pumping it… and then he was right!

So every day since then it’s “You can go now mum/dad!” when we drop him off!2016-05-03 08.21.03

Barmera Kindy have a bush kindy program that starts this week, which he is looking forward to very much. They get to go out to the bush and climb trees and search for bugs! Completely up his alley.

Abbie and Daniel are enjoying themselves – Abbies is in senior school (Grade 3-7) and Daniel in Junior school (Reception to Grade 2).

Daniel is the only Grade 1 student but has fast made friends with some other boys, and has already had several playdates.

Abbie is enjoying a smaller school. In fact today, I heard her say to a teacher that she loves the smaller school environment.

IMG_6329The staff are fantastic at Moorook Primary School.

Abbie and Daniel have also started music lessons with a local private company called “Music Alive”. Daniel is learning the drums and Abbie has started voice lessons. We’ll see how they go.


Reimann Ridge

Screenshot 2015-06-21 18.44.08We’ve agonised over a name for our piece of heaven, our block, and have pretty well settled on “Reimann Ridge”. Although we haven’t made a driveway yet with a main gate, so who knows, things may change yet.

Another suggestion has been “Reim-moor-ridge”, which combines Reimann, Moorook and Ridge!

A couple of weeks ago we received Planning Approval for our house from Loxton Waikerie Council. It was very exciting to receive this letter, and there aren’t very many conditions on the approval so that’s great.

Before we can start building we need to apply for and receive Building Approval, which is a bit more complicated as we need to decide on our wastewater system, get soil samples and who knows what else.2016-05-08 16.49.52

Getting planning approval also meant we could apply for and receive a Rural Property Address, which came through last week, and that in turn meant we could get council to deliver a general rubbish and recycling wheelie bin, and we should have our first rubbish collection this week!

And added to all this it looks like we can now apply for NBN fixed wireless internet connection – YAY!

My data on my phone plan account is fast running out.

2015-12-29 14.13.45So in this area we’re certainly further ahead than what we were hoping for by this time.

It’s been interesting trying to proof our address for centrelink and changing over our licences etc. We don’t have a power bill (off grid power only), water bill (rain water and irrigation water only), phone bill (except mobiles) with our address on them.2016-06-01 10.12.24

We are really enjoying the ability to live with less of a ‘footprint’ on the earth with off-grid power generated from the sun, low power LED 12 volt lighting, a wood heater that we can cook with and heats up our hot water, and a solar hot water (no power needed).

We’ve started a compost bin and a small vegie garden – it’s been an emerging dream for the last 7 years or so to get to this point, and it feels deeply satisfying to be here, even at this early stage.2016-05-08 17.09.12

So far we have planted over 60 trees, shrubs or ground covers. It’s been great to start an orchard too, with 4 fruit trees so far – a lemon, two peaches and an apple tree!

It’s great to be starting to fulfill our dream of creating a more sustainable future for our family.

Let us know if you’ve got any other ideas for names for our farm!


Taming terrain

2016-05-08 17.09.12Our block isn’t just flat or perfectly level, and we don’t have any workable tracks on it yet, so this last week has seen us taking the new ute (the Red Baron – a 1987 Nissan Navara twin cab 2×4) out now that we’ve had a bit of rain to do some trail blazing!

Just last weekend the kids and I weeded along our eastern boundary and drove up and down a few times to start making a track there.

Then the other day when I was home with Caleb we both went down and started a track through the middle of our property up the western boundary which included pulling out a box thorn tree/bush which even with heavy duty gloves meant a few thorns through the skin.27072015 Some Kangaroos Visiting

We also have had a few irrigation plumbing jobs to do – our block has whirly gig sprinklers all over it, but we’ve needed to get some leaks sorted up near our main irrigation outlet.

Our block also has huge thistles and big prickle bushes all over it, along with innocent weeds and calthrops. These are taking a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get out but together we are slowly getting them out and piling them up to burn them on one of our bonfire nights.

Every little bit of the ground we tame means we can use our block as we hope to.

A couple weeks ago we weeded and cleared the area that will be roughly where we are hoping to build our home.

It’s exciting to be able to stand on that patch of ground and look around and try to imagine where our house will be and what it will be like to have it finished and be able to move into it.

Baby steps. Baby steps.