November 16, 2014

Path lights - more recycling

The opening of our new B&B suite required us to improve the path lighting to the house. We wanted something a bit funky and unusual. Russell had the inspiration to use some green glass high-voltage electrical insulators which he had picked up on one of his field trips.

We began with standard Bunnings 12-volt lights at $5 each - pretty boring!

Lights - before
We took off the top cover and slipped over some scrap pieces of PVC water pipe. These were various heights, painted matt black and with holes of assorted sizes cut into them to diffuse the light.

The PVC was topped by the green glass insulators to provide a gentle green glow upwards, but with the majority of the light directed down to the path.

Cheap, good looking, very funky and great recycling!

Lights - after

September 12, 2014

Winner - Best Eco-friendly Property, Queensland!

We're a winner!
We're very excited to have won Best Eco-Friendly Property, Queensland in the Stayz tourism group 2014 Holiday Rental Awards.

We take our eco credentials very seriously, so it is great to be recognised for our efforts by what is now one of the largest tourism groups in Australia. 

As a member of the Land for Wildlife Scheme, Turkey's Nest forms part of a wildlife corridor that links private properties with the National Park.

Both in our buildings and in our day-to-day work on the property, we aim to minimise our impact on the environment.

June 8, 2014

Land for Wildlife

We are delighted that Turkey’s Nest has just been accepted into the Land for Wildlife program, a voluntary program that helps landholders provide habitat for wildlife on their property. 

Over 130 species of native birds make Mount Glorious their home as well as a vast array of mammals, reptiles and amphibians, some of which are on the vulnerable and threatened species list. Turkey’s Nest provides a significant area of remnant rainforest, including a palm grove, which, in connection with other properties and National Park in the area, creates a wildlife corridor for native species.
Eastern Spinebill feeding on Grevillea

Land for Wildlife began in South East Queensland in 1998 and as of March 2013 had over 3900 members protecting over 50,000 hectares of wildlife habitat. It is a tool to help encourage, link together and inspire landholders to look after their land for our native wildlife. Providing healthy habitats for wildlife also has wider benefits such as reducing erosion, connecting patches of bushland together, improving soil health, improving water quality in creeks and improving our sense of well-being and aesthetics.

Palms. giant figs and rainforest trees cover two-thirds of Turkey's Nest

We are honoured and privileged and to be included in such a wonderful scheme

March 30, 2014

Pressed metal ceilings

Our first project for the year has been installing pressed metal ceilings in three rooms of the house.

We sourced the pressed metal panels from Heritage Ceilings who have a tremendous range of traditional as well as more modern styles.

We'd had a quote of $11000 to install the ceilings, so decided instead to do it ourselves. The first job was to paint all 60 panels, plus cable moulding and corner rosettes, with three coats of paint, finishing with a gloss enamel. If you have to paint ceilings, it is certainly way easier when you can do it on the ground before they go up!

Installation started with the downstairs 'powder room' as it was the simplest - all one style of panel with no border.

Next was the dining room. This presented some challenges with angles around the bay window, and the additional features of cable moulding and border panels.

The final room was the yet-to-be-completed Macadamia Suite, the B&B suite at the end of the house.

All rooms were finished with timber cornice. It pays to spend time filling nail holes and joins then painting them  - tedious, but it results in a much more professional finish.

In all, putting up pressed metal ceilings is not particularly difficult. It requires two people to hold the panels up, and pre-drilling the nail holes helps. Our main concern was that the panels should be well aligned - like tiling, it would look awful if the lines were wobbly. But the panels have ridges on the edge, which allow for a sort of automatic alignment, so it wasn't as difficult as expected.

It took us about eleven days to put up the three rooms. Given the installation quote we had, that equates to $1000 per day for our work. Better that we usually get!

February 22, 2014

Vegetable garden

It's been a long time between posts, but the second half of last year was spent almost exclusively on establishing the veggie garden.

We built long narrow beds from corrugated iron (recycled, of course!). Because of the slope they are shallower on one side than the other, but still deep enough for anything we're likely to grow.

They are filled with a "lasagna" mix of layers of straw, manure, compost, lovely Mount Glorious red soil, and liberal sprinklings of Dynamic Lifter. The whole area is netted to keep out the turkeys and larger birds like bower birds, but the netting will let through  the little birds that eat insects.

So far this year we have harvested beans, broccoli, Asian greens, capsicum, garlic, lettuce, rocket, potatoes and sweet potatoes, snow peas, silverbeet, three types of tomatoes and zucchini, as well as ten or so different herbs. I've bottled loads of tomatoes for use during winter, particularly the small Black Russians, which produced enormous quantities of perfectly formed, fabulously tasty fruit.

Behind the veggies are three bays for making compost. Further down the hill are two cut-down water tanks, which hold bananas and pumpkins. Strawberries, carrots, asparagus, ginger and eggplant are now coming on. The sweet potato will probably be moved to the slope outside, where it can run wild.

It's a constant learning experience discovering what works and what doesn't, but I never tire of the excitement of whipping up a meal that's essentially from our garden. And the bonus is I don't have to go shopping nearly as often. More time on the mountain!

June 3, 2013

Happiness is a well-organised pantry!

For someone who likes cooking, a well-organised pantry is a must. For a couple of years I had made do with an old melamine cupboard in the recess which would eventually be the pantry. All the shelves were the same height, and it was very deep, so things got lost!


We began by taking out the cupboard and lining and painting the interior.

Shelves are hardwood T&G flooring

Russell made shelves from some old recycled floorboards, which were hard and strong. He ran them through the thicknesser first, to take off the old finish. The spacing of the shelves was based on the sizes of what we usually keep in the pantry, and the shelves are in a U-shape so we can walk in and find things without them being hidden at the back.

On the front we added a pair of recycled French doors, and some architrave. The glass is lined with fabric (an old table cloth!) in case the interior ceases to be as beautifully organised as it is now!

Recycled French doors on the front

Super-organised pantry space!

Result - one happy cook!

April 18, 2013

Recycled kitchen - continued

In January we completed the first stage of the kitchen cupboards, using recycled hoop pine. The part I was most looking forward to was the island bench, which Russell has just completed.

I've mentioned elsewhere how I prefer hand made items to overpriced commercial products (yes, I know, the economy would not survive if everyone was like me!), and how we enjoy recycling materials. Well this is the ultimate recycling project!

The legs for the island bench are made from some short scraps of the crap timber that were used to support the loads of timber we had delivered (two 90x45 glued together). The frame is made from bits of 70x35 pine framing left over from the build. In fact one bit was used by the builder in the original markout for the foundations!

The bench top is made from some black wattle slabs that we had milled when we cleared some trees for the building. Four slabs are joined with threaded rod to make the top. This was Russell's first go at doing a slab and what he learned will be put to good use for the other slab benches that I have lined up for him!

A few remaining Blackbutt floorboards from the attic bedrooms are used for the drawer fronts, (complete with hidden compost bin drawer) and the ornament shelf.

And the ends (which include a hidden rubbish bin) are scraps of the T&G pine used on our walls.