Just like scraping away layers of grime on an old artwork, another round of clearing revealed the beauty of this block of land. We had to get the area back to basics so we could start the work of preparing for an indigenous garden.
Clearing out the wire fence.
First to go was the wire mesh fence that split the back garden into two sections.
It had been there so long that small trees had grown up through the mesh, effectively anchoring it to the ground. With some elbow grease and determination, the fence surrendered.
Waste not, want not. The three concrete laundry tubs have since been sold on eBay to customers who were looking for planters. They’ve gone off to a better life and are now giving other families the pleasure of their company.
Sharing resources with neighbours.
Putting the fence palings and timbers on the footpath as free firewood proved to be another opportunity to meet our neighbours.
As we dropped loads of timber onto the pile, we often met people who were happy to take some firewood to top up their winter supply.
One neighbour, David, asked if we minded him digging through the pile looking for palings in reasonable condition. Our conversation revealed that he used them for feature walls at his house. After trimming, he lightly sanded the boards before putting on a coat of oil. Photos of what he had done at his house showed the old fence materials had come up a treat.
David had another wall project in mind and was looking to collect another batch of palings. In fact, he was so keen that he spent an hour or two removing palings from another section of the fence that was on our to-do list. Talk about a win-win situation. For us, it was less demolition. For David, he simply took all the palings he needed and loaded them directly into his ute which was parked in our backyard. These palings were the best ones in the fence as they had been protected from the elements by metal cladding. The metal was installed because an incinerator was located on the other side of the fence.
Clearing another section of side fence.
After the success of removing the decaying fence from the front of the property, everyone was keen to demolish other sections which were equally frail.
Note the pile of scrap metal we’d collected from the previous backyard and fence demolition activities. By the time we finished this project, the pile had to be relocated as it had grown so much.
Ron, who does the maintenance for the units next door, said he has a mate who will collect the metal and arrange for it to be recycled. Another example of the community spirit in our neighbourhood – people who know people helping each other out.
Clearing the old sheds to reveal the orginal land.
Getting rid of the remaining sheds turned into a family event. Of course, Libby’s offer to provide a home cooked dinner as a reward could have helped with the positive response.
There hadn’t been any chooks in the chook shed for quite some time, just the evidence of their presence.
With a little bit of persuasion, the shed came down, revealing a collection of old bottles, metal pipes, bricks, roof tiles, …
On the other side of the block was the last remaining shed, possibly used to store firewood based on the remnant materials inside. This one proved to be more of a challenge as thick strands of ivy were holding up the structure.
As bits of timber were removed from the structures, larger sections were trimmed to make them easier to handle before being shipped off to the growing firewood pile on the footpath.
And then, the clearing was finished.
After a busy afternoon, the job was done. Jack arrived just in time to collect another load of firewood in his trailer, and to snap this photo of the tired workers.
Demolishing the old sheds and clearing out more weeds has revealed the starting point for our indigenous garden.
For the next few months, the focus will be on weed removal from the cleared areas. Once the weeds are under control, we plan to secure a few loads of mulch to cover the original land and start the preparation for planting.