Pyrography on Cypress Pine


Today’s piece of pyrography, was done on a piece of Crypess Pine left over from the flooring of the cabin.  It has water attributes, so water it became.  The two little holes I’m thinking of filling with something….something sparkling, or perhaps some mother of pearl.  That would relate to the ocean.  That faint streak of blue was in the timber, but I think works.  This peice is quite small, 19cm wide x 14 cm high.



Ironcore Pyrography Machine

Ironcore Pyrography Machine and nibs

Pyrogrpahy – Making art with fire!  Well almost.  Once upon a time it would have been done quite differently.  Now it is commonly done using an electrical pyrography machine – basically an electrical transformer with a handle and a nib attached.  The one above is the one I bought.

After putting down Cypress Pine flooring in the cabin, and Spotted Gum on the deck we had a lot of scrap material left over.  I didn’t want to see it go to waste.  My birthday gift from mum and dad was some money.  I decided to do something creative with it.  These are early days of a new hobby for me.


These paintings are done on small pieces of scrap floor boards.  They are quite small.  I look forward to doing some larger work, but I’m still learning how to use the nibs, and how to control the heat.  The beautiful woman above, was burned onto Cypress Pine.   This one onto Spotted Gum.


I’ve done another couple on paper, and on an old dressing table.  The dressing table isn’t finished yet…it ain’t easy.

The different canvases are challenging and provide great learning experiences.

A lot has happened, and it’s all good!

It took a while to start.  There was council building approval, fire rating, owner builder course, and waiting.  In fact there is always something one is waiting for so it seems when building.  We are now waiting for the Christmas and New Year break to finish, so we can get tradesmen to do electricals and plumbing.  But look how far we’ve come –

From that first turning of earth  img_0789












to this-


Viewed from the north

Col Jack, our builder, was amazing to observe.  He is a perfectionist, who loves what he does.  Here is  a house he built in Tanja:

Unfortunately, other houses I have seen of his, I don’t have photos of, but he loves his timbers, and asthetics.   He works well with Keith and has been a great teacher.

Here is the way it all went up:


That’s Col Jack.


Keith dressed for building.


With no power, a generator was essential, under the shelter of a beautiful Spotted Gum.


The scaffolding


Yay! First Cypress Pine posts.


Beautiful Cypress Pine


Starting to take shape.



Before we could contine, the floor had to be braced.  It could have been done in various ways, but this was a robust attractive way that appealed to both builder and owner.


























This is the western wall.  What you see here is the kitchen window in the centre.  On the south side of the window is the bathroom, on the north side the lounge/bedroom.


The interior is still incomplete, but some furniture has already been bought, along with the kitchen sink.


Right side of the bed is the entry to the bathroom. Left side of the bed a cupboard/wardrobe. Doors will be sliding.


Lily and Col’s dog Ninja love being here.

Now that things are taking shape there will be more stories and pictures to come.  Right now though it’s Christmas Eve, and I’ve been sitting here trying to get to know this wordpress harmonic theme again….time to get off the computer!  Have a wonderful Christmas.
















The Clearing

The clearing has begun!  Building plans are ready.  We just need to add road distances from our place to various intersections.  We also need to get our BAL report done.  We are going to have the report done professionally to avoid any errors.  We are wanting the site to be considered as “managed lands” s one description, or “managed gardens” is another description.  We have been doing quite a lot of clearing to fit into one of those criteria, and there is still a lot more to do.


Dead Wood

I don’t like cutting down trees, but there is dead wood that has to go.  Fortunately, sometimes the clearing reveals hidden gems.

beautiful belly

This tree is still hidden in depths of fresh and old growth.  She still has to be found, but one can now sit on/by her, enjoy quietly, watching birdlife dance across the dam, and breathe in nature’s fresh, alive air.

Before clearing

Before clearing

After clearing

After clearing

As you can see, we try and remove as little as possible.  The idea will always be to keep as much as possible, turning some of the bush into native forest garden that can be walked through and appreciated.

Bermagui Sunset

Our sunsets have been stunning of late.  Whenever I’ve been by the ocean in Bermagui at sunset lately, I’ve regretted not having my camera with me, but here are a couple of shots of the sunset at home yesterday.june sunset

Dramatic changes occur quicklyIMG_0638Better than any queen’s birthday fireworks

IMG_0636The sunsets are even more striking at this time of year, by the ocean and harbour in town, in Bermagui.  I’ll remember to take my camera.   Watch this space!

Winter Vegetables

Our upgraded vegetable patch – from   the original vegie patch

to this:

The upgraded vegie patch

The upgraded vegie patch

We still need a gate, and then we wait.  If the birds become too problematic we will net the garden, if not, I may get away with plants netted when necessary.  That’s what I’m hoping for.  I love the open look.  I’m not sure what to do with the long posts if we don’t net, but I’m sure they will be used creatively.

As can be seen from: IMG_0575There is a plan.

In bed number 3 – Fruit/ Root vegetables, there are now, leeks, and garlic on the far side, sprouting beautifully.

Bed number 2 – Leaf/ Brassicas has red and green cabbage, broccoli, spinach and lettuce making there appearance.

Bed number 1 – I’ve added very little, some peas, and broadbeans along with a couple of self sown peas.  There are potatoes and pumpkin planted before the new design/system.  So far I have found 2 pumpkins, yay.  There have been lots of flowers, but not much to show for them.

The permanent bed remains the same – leftovers of the previous garden.  I will eventually plant berries, rhubarb, and I’d like to give asparagus a try.

We are also in the process of establishing a bit more of an orchard.  We have bought two more citrus trees, a lime and an orange.  The lemon, mandarin and Kaffir lime are planted near the water tank, and I’m not convinced it’s the best place for them.  It may be a bit too windy and a bit too wet. We will see.

The other thing we will need to consider is frost.  We had our first light frost yesterday morning.  I wasn’t sure if we would get frost up by the house, but now I know, so what we plant, and where, will now have to be thought out, with frost in mind.





























Crop Rotation – enough to make your head spin!

Crop rotation is a growing/planting system designed to minimise pests and plant diseases, and maximise soil and plant health.  The idea is to have garden beds growing one plant family/group per bed.  The following season rotating the family groups to different garden beds dependent on nutrient requirements.  There is a sequence to follow.  Basically a plant family that takes a lot of a particular nutrient from the soil is followed be one that replenishes that nutrient and certain plants that attract the same pests or diseases, aren’t planted together, or after eachother.

Sounds simple!  There are about nine different plant families, some of which you can grow together, some you shouldn’t.  The ideal time before growing the same family in a bed, is four years.  A four bed garden, would have a four year rotation.  Some plants are perennial, requiring their own bed….make that five beds.

Our new garden space, has four beds.  If I have one for permanent plants, that leaves me 3 beds, and that’s O.K.  There is a 3 year crop rotation system.  In fact there are a few.  The more I looked the more I found!  Did I want to grow potatoes?  Should they go in with the tomatoes?  That seems to depend on which system you follow.  Well after much planning and scribbling on paper, and trying to incorporate what is already in the garden, here is the plan:

IMG_0575This autumn Bed 1 will grow legumes and potatoes, both of which were already there along with pumkin, I have planted before my wisdom.  Bed 2 will grow salad greens, broccoli, red and green cabbage, and some spinach and Bed 3 will have carrots and turnips.  Come Spring, Bed 3 will grow the legumes and potatoes.  I’ve also divided each bed down the middle, so one side of Bed 1 will grow legumes, the other side, potatoes.  The next time I plant those in bed 1 I’ll swap sides.  It all looks and sounds good on paper.  We will see if it works!

After the Storm

We’ve had a couple of storms here in Bermagui recently.  An electrical one, that had Lily, our Border Collie, chasing thunder until she was frothing at the mouth, and I had to hold onto her inside, until it was over.  That storm left this stunning sunset.

After the Storm

After the Storm

Both are mine!

The other storm was not that literal, but left us reeling a little, adapting to the limitations of a broken ankle.   The moonboot has now been off for 2 weeks!  There is however some swelling and a bit of pain, so I’m still taking things slowly.

Progess is being made on our projects.  A couple of trees have been taken down: 

The vegie patch has been dismantled, and new timber and wire is waiting to be erected.  Once that starts, there will be photo progress updates.  I think it’s going to look really good and be very productive.

I’m also going to start another project.  Recipes and cooking.  I’m constantly trying and developing new recipes.  In fact it’s lunch time, and fresh bread awaits!


Black and White

We now have our builder Colin Jack onboard with ‘The Clearing’ project.

Things are down in black and white!  The designing process is well underway.

I like the notion of a shack style cabin, something like this:

retreatshackAlthough at this stage only sketches are taking place, I’m not sure that it’s quite what I had in mind, but it is looking good.

IMG_0478and the internal layout:

IMG_0481Keith and Col came up with very similar designs, (that’s a good thing, when working with a builder) so we are happy, after thinking about things, and not finding anything that requires changes on the sketches, to formalize the sketches and turn them into a plan.

Keith has paced the area where the cabin is to be built, and next I think he will stake it out….I wish I could get down there.  I did venture some of the way down on crutches, but wasn’t game enough to go further.  I do intend to do so as soon as I’m more confident walking in my moonboot.


Light My Fire

It’s a strange thing being restricted in movement.  I’m an active person.  Here, on our acres in Bermagui, activity is pretty important.  There is always a lot to.  Right now my vegie garden needs attention, and I’m longing to get down to the dam.  Yet the best I can manage is to stumble around the kitchen, cook the odd meal and do the dishes.  Outside one evening, I sat by the fire and was wooed by family, friends, and music.

Light My Fire

Light My Fire

The warmth was soothing, the flames romantic…..too much heat for mosquitoes.  Just enough heat and firelight to evoke stories and stir the imagination.