And so to Lock Up.

The weeks of July sped by with a concentrated effort to reach lock up by the 3rd August when Chris and Holly would cease to be builders and once again become musicians. Each morning saw them, fueled by coffee, practise for half an hour, attend to the myriad of administrative duties that a travelling musician deals with and then head to the block. My main job was the keep the caffeine flowing, the morning and afternoon tea supplied and be the general dogs body around the work site. Greg spent a fair amount of his time holding things, being generally tall and useful, cooking most dinners and keeping the workers laughing.

I even got to lay some bricks….and a few small people came to play in the mud and ‘help’ by making mortar, nailing random bits of timber together and painting with mud.

Rob’s spent a few days with us, along with the small people, to cut more bricks and build two walls.

Days were spent alternating between bricking and roofing depending on if the wind was blowing or not. And it was very fierce at times!

There were some spectacular sunsets. But no rain. good for us builders but not for the farmers.

Chris found free insulation on Gumtree and we ended up with 36 bags of paper insulation to put in the roof. How to get it up there was the next question. One of my sleepless nights provided the answer and 3 old doona covers were called into service.

The method was very high tech. Pour the bag of paper into the doona cover, secure the end and then beat the living daylights out of it with whatever method worked best, kicking with boots or bashing with rakes!

Velux windows were installed on the south facing roof. These were to add light to the back of the house but also to draw the hot air out of the house in the summer and hopefully let a few cooler breezes in. Then the roof was screwed down securely.

On the western wall it was decided to have made two windows that were narrower than the ones we had. Once Chris and Holly had built the wall to height to accommodate the windows they stood looking at it trying to ascertain my height and if I would actually see out the window. They asked me to stand in front of the wall and tell them what I could see.

‘Mudbricks’.

So, a layer of bricks were removed amidst much maligning of those of us vertically challenge. We now have two windows that both Greg and I can enjoy looking at the western mountains no matter what our height!

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Peter returned to frame windows, put up door frames and hang doors and help get the windows into position. The south wall had two pieces of glazing that went in very smoothly along with the bi-fold kitchen window.

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Then came the move of the HUGE northern windows to their final resting place. Four tall people, two short people, cardboard, a trailer and some strapping saw them in place by mid afternoon on a pretty windy day!

After years of storing them and moving them several times it was truly amazing to see them in place. They are enormous and will require quite a lot of cleaning. Should have thought about that one more carefully.

The next job was cladding the south wall with the second hand corrogated iron. Another Chris gumtree find. Once done there were several references to shearing sheds and such like but my plan for scarlet window frames should change that image a little.

And then a rather spectacular sky behind the little shearing shed.

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And so we came to the final push. Bricking was finished, gable ends were built and covered with corro. The design allowed for the corrogated iron to slip in place beneath the fascia boards thus eliminating any need for trimming. Another great Ray Trappel idea.

Ash arrived on the last weekend and built half a wall of bricks while Chris and Greg put up the beams for the bathroom ceiling and loft floor.

The last things to go in were the two little louvres windows above the north windows to allow for the warm air to escape and maybe let a little breeze in too.

While all of this was happening in the last week I was bagging the mudbrick walls and filling gaps with mud and working on finishing techniques.

So… we have a house. Locked up and with plenty more to do but a house none the less.

None of which would have happened without Chris’ dedication and willingness to build a house for his parents. Nor would it have happened without the combined skill, commitment and  perseverance of Chris and Holly.

Rob, Lucy and Annie all helped at various times and it will stand as the family home built by the family for the family.

Thank you will never be enough…..

More to come!

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