Bay scenesĀ 

I had to head off to work this morning.  The bay always looks so beautiful and whenever I’m on the water I really miss having a sailing boat.  Unfortunately trying to renovate the old cottage and build gardens is taking up all of my time. I’m keeping a look out for the ideal boat and found one which almost ticks all of the boxes. 

  

New Project – High-Water

I’ve been working on the island property with a view to developing it into a micro organic farm and community hub.  This type of idea isn’t new and it’s a movement gaining momentum around the world known as “Urban Farming”.  In fact, it’s an old idea which died off due to modern lifestyle and now we are beginning to realise that our food supply is not only controlled by corporations but that the quality is less than ideal.

The concept of the guest house is to create a completely off grid residence where people can visit and experience a sustainable, self sufficient and organic lifestyle.  I’d love for the property to eventually produce enough food to supply fresh, free organic food to the local community.

So I’ve created a new website which features the island property.

It’s http://www.high-water.com.au

  
It’s in its very early stages so if you are interested, please check back from time to time.  I’ll put a link in the menu above.

The Westsailor blog will be more focussed on boating and general activities again and the new website will be focussed on the island project. Feel free to send me your suggestions.

Capers

 Below is what may appear to be a jar of odd looking capers.  I re-used the caper jar and in fact they are nasturtium seeds pickled in vinegar. 
 My nasturtium plants produce hundreds, probably thousands, of these seeds which have a really unusual peppery flavour.  This is how they grow on the plant.

They have been pickling for 3 weeks now and taste very similar to capers.   I used plain white vinegar for this batch, but I’m going to experiment with some other vinegars for the next batches.  Balsamic should be tasty.   
 

The big clean

Now that the interior painting for the guest cottage is finished it was time to give it a thorough clean.  The previous tenants’ daily priority was drinking, smoking and just about anything else that didn’t involve cleaning or effort.  They hadn’t cleaned the place since they occupied it and I doubt it was cleaned for years prior.  This is what the top of the kitchen cabinets looked like.

  
I didn’t bother taking a photo of the stove and range hood, but after spending an hour scraping off the built up grime and grease I figured it would be better to buy a new one. It’s astonishing how some people live. These people mowed the lawn twice in 6 months (and I use that term generously) then complained about their dog having fleas and ticks.

It took me most of the day but in the end it came up pretty good. A new ceiling fan and lights are on the to-do list.

   

The new floor in the laundry and toilet came up pretty well. 

 The cottage is now in better shape than my house which is well and truly in need of paint and tlc.
While I spent the day cleaning in the guest cottage, Cutty sat in the main house recovering.

She has to stay immobilised for at least a couple more weeks but she appears happy and on the mend.

  

Seed time

Work has kept me away from the island for the past 2 weeks and the garden is looking out of control. It’s frustrating only having a weekend to get work done here. It would be nice to be able to sleep in one day and just relax but that’s not going to get this project finished.  

Most of the plants, including broccoli, broccolini, Bok Choy and various lettuce have now gone to seed.  I’m not complaining though as it’s going to provide me with plenty of new seeds for future planting.    

The leeks in the photo below have shot up from tiny seedlings in just 2 weeks.  By having the plants seed now, I won’t be needing to buy any new seedlings for new crops. Ever!

  
My tomatoes are going crazy.  There are literally hundreds of these beautiful tomatoes which grew from simply burying food scraps.

   

These green tomatoes should be ready to pick next weekend.

 

I’ve been eating all of the big peas from the garden over the weekend and still there are more.

  

Nature is amazing.  The food process where our modern society relies on supermarkets for produce is clearly flawed.  From a micro economic perspective, a $3 seedling of Bok Choy has not only returned me with fresh produce, but has now seeded with literally thousands of seeds which will provide thousands of Bok Choy plants.  The rule of diminishing returns doesn’t seem to apply here. It’s an incredible return on investment and ensures food security for the future.  It has even better potential with a community of gardeners who exchange seeds for free. Unfortunately, I don’t think the government or supermarkets like the concept since they don’t make any money from it.

   
Below are the perfectly formed seeds, ready to grow again.  They will go into a paper bag and labelled for future use.

 

I’m trying to make progress on the guest cottage. It is coming along a bit slower than I’d like, but I have to go to work to pay the bills, so I can’t expect it to happen overnight. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do.  This is the living area next to the kitchen sanded and painted.

   
The next job is to sand and re varnish the timber ceiling, which despite looking ok in the photo, really needs to be done, especially in the bathroom.

And this is the main bedroom freshly painted with a “bay window” looking out onto…well the bay 

 
The view from the guest cottage looks straight down to the park where my old Westail was moored.  I’m looking forward to finishing it off so I can have some guests give it a trial run.

  

dog day

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and my leisurely schedule of working a few days per week has turned into a frenzy of juggling work and life.  I didn’t get to the island last week as I had to work through the weekend.  I’ve been putting in some very long days and I’m feeling mentally exhausted.  I’m also not getting any work done on the island which is frustrating me.  

On top of that, poor Cutty hasn’t made a recovery and requires surgery.  I dropped her off this morning at the surgery which we both weren’t thrilled about.  

  
The operation is for her cruciat ligament and involves cutting the bone and screwing in some plates.  It’s crazy how this happened, one minute she was fine and the next she just jumped up a stair and she was lame.

Hopefully the operation will be a success and she will be back to normal in 6-8 weeks. The recovery period is going to be difficult but fortunately she comes to work with me every day and I can keep a close eye on her.

Update: By the afternoon, surgery was finished and I brought Cutty home.  Poor thing. When I arrived at the surgery, despite being heavily sedated, she heard my voice and was howling for me.  

I bought her a comfy new bed yesterday in preparation for her recovery.  Here she is sleeping off the anaesthetic.