26 October 2009

Goodbye Fruit Tree, Hello Firewood

Today I woke with a sore back, so I was having a slow morning wondering what to do and waiting for writing inspiration when I remembered my new oven! I dashed upstairs to the lounge where I found my trusty Edmonds cookbook waiting for me on the bookcase. I found a nice easy chocolate cake recipe, one that I'd previously marked 'lovely but not dark'. The cookbook and I went back downstairs where I made the chocolate cake mixture and put it into muffin tins. So I guess I made chocolate muffins.

Stuart has been losing weight at the rate of a chronic anorexic so I need to feed him more. My baking should do the trick. We've also upped our carb intake something amazing. If we were working in an office now, we'd both be dangerously obese!

Then I decided to clean. Yes, tragically, cleaning appears to be my new pasttime. Cleaning is not something I've been very good at to date (just ask Stu) but apparently it is one of the critical tasks associated with renovating a house. Why didn't anyone tell me this before!? Renovation cleaning means removing construction detritus and cobwebs and sweeping tonnes of cement dust.

Last week, I cleaned the main bedroom and the ensuite bathroom. Among the detritus I found two grotty t-shirts which I can only assume belonged to a previous renovator, several strange circular metal contraptions and many fluffy pieces of decomposed insulation batt (used to seal the gappy door).

Today I cleaned the smoke house (the room where long dead owners used to smoke their salamis and which will be our lounge) and the dining room. The smoke house requires the most work of all the rooms so we have decided to use it as a construction storage room while we do the rest of the house.

Just before lunch, Stu sought me out to talk about our fireplaces. He had found a brochure on fireplaces and wanted to identify the types of fireplaces we have and how to use them. In one of them we found an ashtray full of water which had leaked and rusted its marble front. I guess it's never too late to correct problems during a renovation. And I guess you've always got to expect surprises. Yesterday, we found a hole in the cement casing of our stormwater tank and had to do some quick repairs (but that's another story...).

After lunch, Stu started up the chain saw in preparation for another afternoon of firewood cutting. We have an incredible amount of wood lying around the place which just needs to be cut to fit our fire places. The benefits of cutting are two-fold: we get firewood but we also tidy up the place. The pile we cut today was in the garage so we are getting nearer and nearer to parking our car in a covered area!

We have a good system. Stu cuts while I feed logs into him, pick up the bits, throw them onto the wheelbarrow and transfer them to the woodpile.

After 3 hours of cutting, we finally agreed to stop.

Unfortunately, we always have trouble stopping and the next thing I knew Stu had wandered over to a tree and started to cut it down!

This tree had been dead since last winter when it had perished in the severe frosts and minus 10 degree temperatures. We had been eyeing it off for some time because it stood at the beginning of our garden and we wanted to replace it with a wine barrel in which we would grow strawberries next Spring/Summer.

So we spent another hour cutting and making firewood and kindling from this tree before finally calling it a day.

This once beautiful fruit tree, a pomegranate, had been adored by the previous owner and our neighbour. Now it seems Summer 2008's fruit tree will be Winter 2009's firewood...

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