Archive for the 'The Bubs' Category

Sunflower Living Playhouse – Demolition Free Zone

I thought I would forget for a moment about the demolition at the house and have a look around the garden – OK I will have to ignore the fact that the garden is currently being used as a dumping ground with excuses such as ‘burning pile’ and ‘dirt for fill’ and ‘yeah – about that’ being bandied around – but I am trying not to note the rising of blood pressure and focus on the pretty things – like my Sunflower, Sweet Pea, and Borage living playhouse that I made/grew for the bubs.

The living playhouse - in the beginning...

The living playhouse is about the burst into life!

Sunflowers, Sweet Peas and Borage - living playhouse a la Pump house cottage

Sunflowers and Sweet Peas in the living playhouse

Stars of the living playhouse

OK, so the fact that the bubs are completely disinterested in playing in it is not going to put me off doing it again. Next time I will plant my Sunflowers out earlier and plan a reinforcing system so the wind doesn’t win.  Have to say that the Sweet Peas using the Sunflowers for a climbing frame is awesome, and fragrant and inspired! And the Borage was free-range but seemed to fit the bill. The overall affect was quite ‘dense’ so if the kids had been into it there would have been some awesome playhouse-o-rama action!

Before you ask – if you are dying for some graphic renovation pics – watch out for my next post – it is going to be full on carnage….. promise!


The Pump House Vege Garden Grows!

Ok, it was a bit of a slow start – and the wind does still wreck havoc on the odd occasion and totally flattens my tomatoes – but it turns out that the garden is quite resilient and bounces back every time! I attempted to take some photos of the vege garden and all you can see is green, green, green….. I hope you like green….

I am going to start with a before picture – back when seeds were being planted and the weather was bitter and all hope of summer and sun and veges growing was fast disappearing…..

But, summer did turn up in the end and seeing we have a ‘micro climate’ here at the pump house cottage the results were very lush…

It is hard to tell what is there from the pictures – but we have been eating:

Yellow, green and purples beans (purple are best!)

Courgettes (and some marrows..)

Baby carrots – pulled, washed, steamed, eaten!

BBQ corn

Three type of potato par boiled and fried in butter on the BBQ – is the best way to eat new potatoes!

Towering Tomatoes

 Yellow and red cherry tomatoes – the bubs eat them like lollies straight from these gigantic tomato plants!

Spring onion (bbq’ed with sausages in blankets)

Apple cucumber & Lebonese cucumbers (the best cucumbers I’ve ever grown!)

Gherkins – not sure what to do with these – suggestions anyone?

Stawberries & blueberries – these are fought over and I even think the repilers have been pilfering them….

Eating stuff from the garden makes our friday night camping trips to the pump house cottage feel like we are living off the land – I harvest and the produce gets thrown straight on the BBQ or in a steaming pot of hot water on a gas ring. We are like some ‘back to basics’ reality show!

Now all we are waiting for in the garden are the pumpkins, onions, and parsnips…..

Repiling! Pump House Cottage Style

The old lady has been stripped and jacked up – not one shred of dignity remains – and the repiling hasn’t even started yet!

The pump house cottage – thanks to her repiling antics – is currently starring in an article about repiling on the Propertytoolbox website! We are famous… Sort of….

 Before you go on – I have to warn you – it is not pretty – view the following pictures with caution!   

Hang on PHC - your already looking sad - but you are about to head skyward!

The house is already a shadow of its former self here – the lavender has been dug up and the bottom of the wall demolished – ready for the big move to a firm foundation. 

Perhaps not the PHC's best side

The jacks are in position – plug that baby in! So now the fun starts. Let the repiling begin!  

Just fresh air under here - and some old beer bottles....

Over a couple of days the PHC moved about 1.2m off the ground – I didn’t expect it to get that high! These repiling dudes make it look easy! It is fairly entertaining watching people walking about under the house… I think if I ventured underneath the house it would just tempt fate…. 

Ready for the close up!

 The bare bones exposed – all ready for a good clean out – this house repiling thing is cathartic. 

Now for the classics…

The ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots…… 

Up close and personal with the driveway - Before

IT Guy: Hmmm – dilemma – our house is holding up the neighbours driveway 

The tea lady: Hey! Lets move it over! 

The IT Guy: Yeah – good idea! 

The general public: You guys are insane. 

Moving a metre - all in a mornings work...

And viola! Done! Not a problem for the experts! Now we just need some new piles… 

Around the back - my lovely, serene toilet.....

I loved this little toilet room off the end of the house – there was something serene and peaceful about it – good feng shui (or something) or perhaps it was the only room in the house with a lock… 

Bye bye toilet - what a lovely toilet you were....

Anyway bye bye toilet – you are unfortunately collateral damage of the ‘big picture’. 

Sigh! The IT guy says he will get me a relaxing cubical for my next birthday. 

The inside has had a revamp too….. 


So much for the $23 trademe kitchen...

Now you can see why a $23 kitchen was the order of the day at the time – a dollar more would have been a waste…. 

I personally think that the repilers get a lot of satisfaction cutting holes in people floors – they are brutal!

Total distruction inside - now I agree - it is not habitable!

I think you could say that the whole place is ‘open plan’ now… 

And some really scary stuff just to put everyone off buying a 100+ year old house, re-piling & renovating in general….. 

The inside is unrecognisable – wall, floors, doors, toilet, windows – all keep disappearing indiscriminately – I try not to look too hard or ask too many questions.
Is that daylight I can see through that rotten wall

This was not a surprise – and not as bad as it could have been – hey but we still have some extra ventilation for now. 

Piles of dirt in the house - and holes in the floor - hey its progress!

This is the bubs room…. hmmm not sure that this is a worse mess then I have seen them make.

The old piles - whats left of them - how was the house holding up!

No wonder walking around the house was like traversing uneven terrain, the piles were a mere shadow of their former selves – but you have to marvel that untreated native timber lasted so long anyway. Go totara!

That floor was no good anyway…

 Now this one was a surprise – for me – not for anyone else – seems I was out of the loop on this floor ripping up decision… 

So anyway – the big renovation has started yay! Step one – repile – step 2 – everything else….. hmmmm…

And incase anyone is wondering – no we are not currently residing in the pump house cottage – we are temporarily living in some very small digs in Aro valley – a bit too close to Aro cafe for comfort. 

But we have pitched a tent in the garden of ‘the broken house’ as the bubs call it and camped out last friday and plan to camp out again – if the weather cooperates. 

To find out how the repiling pans out and the renovations progress – watch this space…

Potatoes and Peas at the Pump House Cottage

Check out the produce from the pump house cottage garden. Finally there is something resembling a harvest!

This was the pea harvest for christmas dinner. We didn’t even bother cooking them – the kids love to eat them raw – they treat them just like lollies!

The peas have been great – no only feeding us, but providing a wind break for the only tomato plants producing tomatoes.

Talking of tomatoes – the first was eaten from the garden tonite!

After being potato rustlers for a couple of days – snatching a peeping potato here and there – we decided to go for it and dig in. Laurie controlled proceedings, I dug and Laurie shouted and pounced each time a red skin peeked out! They were dutifully collected in her green sandpit bucket and delivered up to the house for everyone to ooh and ahh over.

We ate these for dinner tonite – steamed and served with Paul Newman original salad dressing on the side for ‘dip’

There was lots of ‘hmmmms yummmmms’ all round.

Funny Thing About Strawberries

I could have sworn my strawberries just weren’t ready yet – but unless bird netting has magical maturing qualities it is odds on that the birds or perhaps my children have been plundering the strawberry patch – both don’t wait for them to get red and jucy .

To explain – All of a sudden, since putting on the bird netting – I have a bumper crop of strawberries… Hey I’m not really complaining – I got around to the netting task just in time for strawberries to double in price at the supermarket for christmas.

Yes – Cupcakes and Champagne Can Sustain Life – As I Know It.

Crazy weekend. Laurie had the whole shabang around for a birthday bash – a great time was had by all (or so they say!) and we are still eating left overs – Yum – I love left overs! Here is my recipe for a fun filled 2 year old party:

1 Treasure hunt – Chocolate coins and ladybugs look lovely in amongst the leaves and branches(I am still finding them in the garden) and glinting in the sunlight they are easy for the kids to find – gets them out and about too!

1 Pass the parcel  – Chocolate in the layers is VERY popular, keeps the kids happy, and you can tell who has had a turn by the full gob and/or chocolate moosh. If you get the number of layers right, by the last layer everyone is chocolated up and some have moved on leaving only the dedicated, making the choice for the final pressie easy!

1 Pinata – Our scarey spider pinata was thoroughly bashed (my mistake was putting fragile items inside – not one piece of candy cane that made it out was bigger then 5mm!) The kids loved the finger laser lights – fights broke out! Sometimes it is just really really really hard to share!

1 CD of kids music – they love to boogie!

Mix all of these ingredients thoroughly with

Cupcakes, chocolate crackles, ham and cheese rolls, fresh fruit, sugary drinks, lollies and Birthday cake!

Make sure to keep the parents topped up with sugary treats too, and alcohol (if necessary). 

Try not to let the neighbours kids kidnap all the partygoers and you have party central!!

And at the end of the day, after everyone has left, and the bubs are in bed – my recommendation for dinner is:

The pump house cottage cupcakes can not be beat! Especially washed down with a glass of Lindaurs finest Rose – Boy is the tea lady a classy chick!

How Does Your Garden Grow

Well mine grows, and grows and grows – oh the pleasure obtained from watching the little cerubs scoffing peas, straight from pods, not 10 seconds picked. This is the life! If only my precious peas could be used to barter for stuff – then I wouldn’t need to do any work! Dreams……

To confirm – Yes – the ever expanding (check out the latest photo!) pump house cottage garden has yeilded some produce! The stocktake found – three raspberries, 5 pea pods and a lump of dirt. Ok the dirt doesn’t really count – but it came out of the garden and was consumed – so maybe a little leyway is required….

Gossip Over a Cuppa

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Feed me the Tea!