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2016 started with a hot summer and the gift of a small shed from a friend of Dad’s and a whole lot of paving from my brother, Richard. The pavers covered the back garden area and provided edging for all the garden beds out the front. There were so many that we even gave a stack away!
Marlon and I laid the pavers over a very hot Christmas period. Dad came and showed us how to get our levels and helped us get the sand level – he’d done that job many times before. Once we all had about 8 metres laid, Lon and I started to do about 1 square metre at a time, then resting for the rest of the day! It was so hot. We even invested in some shade cloth to cover us.
Then our friend, Spencer donated a raintank and some trellising.
We didn’t want overflow all over our freshly laid pavers, so Marlon and I dug up a few to put in a drainage pipe. As is usually the way, what we thought would be an afternoon job turned into a nightmare when we discovered that the downpipe from the house roof wasn’t actually connected and the pipe that it was meant to run into ran backwards, to below the average drainage height. How it hadn’t eaten out a huge hole underground, I’ll never know.
The pic below is of Marlon, absolutely buggered after we dug down and found the issues.
About this time, friends gave us a pond which we put at the back and connected up a solar pump for it.
By far the most important thing that 2016 brought us was Athena, a two year old Labrador from Animal Welfare. Marlon had been itching to get a dog for ages but Jelina and I said ‘not until the fence and gate were in’. He waited patiently and saved his money and fell in love with Athena as soon as he stepped into the dog pound.
I was initially hesitant to get a Labrador – they’re known for their energetic, boisterous behaviour. Marlon insisted and, to this day, we’re happy that he did. Athena is such a gentle soul, she was housebroken and trained how to be around human people. Why she was left to wander by herself, unchipped and untattooed, to be found by the Animal Welfare League is beyond us. She’s beautiful and a joy to share the place with.
We covered the whole area that we had marked out as garden beds in paper and cardboard scrounged from neighbours, Foodland and Bunnings as sheet mulch. Then we shipped in 5 cubic metres of compost, mushroom compost and mulch.
The heavy worked started in earnest. We put the organic material into the beds and moved the old raised beds into the new areas and, well…raised them. Our friend Bonnie dropped by to help, but I can’t find a pic of her…sorry Bonnie.
Next came filling the paths with gravel. It took about 2 tonnes, so was backbreaking labour by Marlon, Steven from next door and I over a couple of days but it looked so beautiful when it was finished.
After a bit, it was all looking organised and tidy and just a little greener than when we started. We could even walk from place to place without tripping up or getting our shoes dirty.
Our first livestock in the garden were Quails. Two males and five females. They went into the Quail house that I had made by joining two donated pet houses together.