It’s raining men… well not quite!

Welcome to my (Claire)’s first blog. I know it sounds strange but the other day I realized I have never loved our shower like I do my shed shower…why? Glad you asked.

Here are my reasons all organised in dot points:
1. We made it from scratch including sheeting, proofing and designing an original genuine one and only shower from things we have bought cheap or recycled. The floor was made from aluminum with grids on it like workmen use on their utes. We had it bent up on the sides and creased so water can go down the drain. The walls are made from recycled packers which have been water-proofed then two pieces of a white composite sign sheeting material water proofed. We used this instead of glass or tiles for reduced cost and a great time saver to get it finished and sealed. The taps and spray part were seconds from a shop. Finally there are 2 very bright and water design shower curtains were purchased new from Ikea.

2. The water is mostly from the river so is super cheap… yes it is a bit brown but you can’t see it in shower! I say mostly as we can change it over to rain water when we have surplus and there is more expected.

3. The hot water is heated using the sun or the water booster wet back of our wood fireplace depending on the season… so again basically free and we haven’t run out of hot water yet.

4. I can have a quick cold shower 3 or 4 times a day when it is really hot (37 degrees yesterday, 38 today and 36 tomorrow) and not feel too guilty.

5. I guess it acts as our air conditioner or way to survive summer in the Riverland with no air conditioning. We all shower just before bed then go to bed damp to allow our fans to cool us enough to sleep.

6. It is also huge so one child can be going out one side while the other is going in the other side which makes showers quicker in the end.

So there you go, I can’t believe how much I love that shower!!

One day come and check it out and let us know what you think.

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!




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.


Rain on the Roof

Pitter patter, pitter patter….

…gee I love the sound of rain on a corrugated iron roof!

And bet2016-05-25 10.09.59ter yet for us here at Reimann Ridge, it means the rain water tank is filling up, and our vegies are getting watered plus our now nearly 60 trees, shrubs and groundcovers are getting a lovely drink.

Thankyou God!

We’ve had 3mm of rain since early this morning, and it looks like for the first time this autumn we might get a good soaking rain today.2016-05-25 10.09.31

This also means we will hopefully be able to start some post hole drilling and get some fences up around our farm.

It’s been great getting to know how our wood oven (a Nectre Big Bakers Oven) works. I have it ticking over in the background because it’s pretty nippy here in the shed today.

Last night we tested out the oven part of the wood heater by cranking it up – we got it up to just over 100 degrees Celsius and warmed up some meat pies (our kids are into meat pies currently) as well as cooked some M&M biscuits which was fun.2016-05-24 19.13.012016-05-25 10.10.20 A couple pies and biscuits got a little black around the edges, but you can’t have everything perfect when using a wood oven for the first time, can you!

We can’t wait to try out our oven more.

We have hot water!

Wow. Amazing. As i sit down on the couch in our ‘shouse’ or shed tonight, its to the very comforting and relaxing sound and feeling of a wood heater.

Today was another big day for us in our epic adventure. 

It started at 6.30am when I finally dragged myself out of bed after a pretty HUGE day yesterday fitting the 30 evacuated tubes to our solar hot water system (I spent 3 hours straight on the roof… something i dont want to repeat anytime soon).

Today the plumbers arrived at 7.30am to connect up our solar hot water system and wood heater (with wet back).

We were so blessed to get to know Quentin and John from QS Plumbing over the 5 hours they were here.

Check out their website if youre interested.

For those who are interested in the details of the systems we have they are a 250Litre 30 tube evacuated solar hot water system from Red Circle Solar in Melbourne ( and a Nectre Big Bakers Oven from Mitre10 in Waikerie.

The water booster or ‘wet back’ on the wood oven has a tank factory fitted in the firebox that has two fittings at the back to connect up to the solar hot water tank on the roof.

It works on the principal of thermosyphoning the hot water back up to the tank on the roof and bringing cooler water down to heat back up!

The install wasnt all plain sailing but thanks to Quentin and John, we got there!

Tonigh we went out to have showers at my folks place, hopefully for the last time. I worked some more on  finishing off our shower in the shed today but there is still a fair bit to go.

Then as a celebration we went out for dinner for the first time at the Moorook Club which was fantastic.

It takes a while for the water in the tank to heat up, however we tried it tonight and it’s pretty good! It was actually exciting to wash the dishes using only water from the tap, not having to boil the kettle a couple times first. So this hot water is purely solar and wood heated!

Although being completely offgrid means our kettle uses fully renewable power too, but we need to watch our batteries!

The exciting adventure continues. Thanks for your interest.