Fixing an old home with old things…. my way of recycling

When I think of my home, I see a very long to-do list.  It’s a really old place with very many things that need to get fixed, changed, built, painted and planted.  I want to use second-hand (or older) products to do these things where ever I can – firstly to save money and secondly to recycle products that would normally be thrown away.  I know that there will be times where I will have to buy some things to complete tasks and I won’t beat myself up about them, as long as I can stick with my principles for the majority of things.

This last weekend I made good use of my parents being with me and we got quite a few things done. My dad replaced two very old broken light switches (with new ones) for me.  I can now use my bedside light properly and my veranda light can be switched on.  There was just a black hole to put your finger in if you would have tried that last week.  Not a good idea.

While we were at the hardware store I looked very lovingly at new hose pipes.  I really need to be able to water the area where I want some lawn before I even think about planting any. I did however have a few shorter old bits at home which we decided to join and try out.  It looks really bitty with about 10 joins in it but I now have a hose pipe that is about 30 meters long and works reasonably well.  The few leaks get positioned to water plants en route. Even the joins are made with different bits and pieces – it’s rather colourful actually.

We also started a mini herb garden –  I now have basil, rosemary, chives, origanum, lemon grass and parsley planted.  They are not planted where I eventually will have my herb garden because a lot more needs to be done there before I can plant.  This way I can get some herbs now – while I slowly prepare my veggie patch.  I just hope they don’t get eaten by passing animals.


It still looks a little sparse – I will be adding to it when I can.  We also built/laid pathways to the guest cottage and to the Beans cottage so that one can walk to the main cottage without getting thorny dirty feet – especially if it ever rains when it rains.  The pathways are made from old railway sleepers which I got for free and big flat rocks that we went in search of on the property.

You can see how incredibly dry it is here now. We look to the sky many times a day in search of rain clouds. According to those in the know, it should rain by the 10 October. That’s a long wait when things are so very hot and dry.

We cleared this area of some rubble and rocks too – it was good exercise. My wheel barrow is about 95 years old and is full of holes. I think it might die soon.

I want to plant grass in the area around the pathways and I am already one step closer by having my long hose now so that I can water the lawn.  I need to get something to cut the lawn with though.  I mentioned to the folk at work that I wanted one of those old roller lawn cutters that don’t require fuel or electricity and they all burst out laughing at me. They think I am very funny and old-fashioned. Ah well. I will find something.  I think some animals will help keep the lawn short but I am not sure to what extent?

Thanks so much to my parents who worked so hard (and bought me some plants).  We had a grand weekend!

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2 thoughts on “Fixing an old home with old things…. my way of recycling

  1. Isn’t it excited to be getting things done!?! Congrats!

    As for the lawn, I’d plant something scruby (does that make sense), something that doesn’t require a lot of water and can handle the heat well. And then you can just mow it with a goat or two! Or some chickens!

    Left in a fenced area, chickens will eat it all the way to nothing if you let them, but if you have a nice little movable fence, they can eat the grass to where you want it and then move them to the next place. Goats or sheep will go the same faster, but require more input from you. Waterfowl and turkeys are really good at cutting the grass- they can get more of their food needs from grass than chickens can. My goose and turkeys are great little lawnmowers. And geese can be used to weed the garden.

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    • Brilliant ideas although some just wont work here I think although I need to ponder a little more 🙂 . The section I am talking about is in fact at the front of the lodge – which is open to the bush and must be more “bush lodge” like. Animals on this area wont work because all the wild animals will have free access to the area. I need to keep it short and not too “scrubby” to limit the number of snakes trying to get into our cottages ( there are LOTS here). Wild cats, jackals, buck, porcupine, giraffe, and vicious honey badgers etc will walk here.

      Round the back of the lodge I will have a portion of land fenced off with a wooden fence and electric wire for veggies, fruit trees and chicken run and a walled in (rock walls) section covered in shade cloth for growing veggies in summer when it is very hot and for growing veggies in winter that need cooler spots. This is the area where my chickens will be able to roam around during the daytime. They will be more protected here although the eagles, falcons and vultures will be able to swoop in so I will probably have some losses. This area will also attract pythons as they go where ever there are chickens and eggs so my night time coop must be very very secure. I will not be keeping goats and sheep though. I can get their meat from local farmers very reasonably so for now – I wont have time to look after them with me working and no one being on the land during the day. I dont think many people in SA keep turkeys – not a popular meat here. I would love some geese though although I need to research how hardy they are for my area.

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