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My Escape To Reality.

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  • My Escape To Reality.

    This is a thread I hope some of you guys like regarding the ongoing fight of a stupid Aussie male's fight trying to make his Utopia in the untamed Aussie bush.
    Well I did dress that up a bit but you know what I mean. The wife and I bought a farm roughly 6 years ago and this is my story to date on how it has come along so far and into the past if you guys actually like it.

    We looked for over 2 years before we found this place with the only real conditions being-

    I wanted more than 100 acres so I could legally shoot on my own property.

    We didn't want 100 or more acres of farmer's paddock, dead flat with nothing on it.

    It had to be within 3 hours of Sydney so we could visit regularly.

    The place had to be interesting and mainly treed with no tree listings. Basically, I can cut down what I want without any idiot telling me other wise.

    What we ended up with was 137 acres of land that is far from flat but negotiable, 68 acres of it are forestry pine plantation planted in the 70s by some get rich carbon scheme that failed and the rest is gum forest.

    It has seven creeks running through it but these are seasonal. Winter they have water, summer after rain. The creek at the end of the property has water all year round but it is 3kms away.

    When we bought the place it had a partially constructed shed on it that had goats living in it...

    I stripped the place to mainly it's frame and started again with heaps of insulation and a plan to make it into a house at some stage. A full concrete slab also went in with plans to expand. It is actually the 1st of 4 slabs we have put in since.


    A little later and a shitload of work. I do everything except dig, concrete and tile. These are my shortfalls that I figure I am to old to learn and have a crook back anyway.

    001 (3).jpg

    Doubling the size of the place with the idea of raising the upper roof so a mezzanine level could allow you to easily stand up...


    Another slab for my workshop and a concrete walkway along the front rear and side of the house. Two shipping containers for the workshop walls and somewhere to store my tractor...


    Anyway, that was then, now it is like this. Last week when I was there...


    Here are a couple of pictures of the property. A bit more exciting than the house. Just random pictures I have taken on the property over the years.

    This view is from the back door looking towards the back of the property. The hill on the horizon is about 1/3 the length of the property. 870 meters away that hill is with a big valley between.


    This view from the front door to the dam we recently put in and the from pine forest in the background...


    Burning off. We do this yearly when the conditions are right. If we don't clear by burning off, we get fined actually so for about 3 months of every year a group of my mates go down for a boy's week and basically burn shit targeting a different area of the property every year. Heaps of planning goes into building up good piles of scrub to burn off...

    Anyway, this is basically to bring you up to date. I'll add some more tomorrow if I don't get shot uploading so many pictures from the mods.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Autosteve; 19th July 2017, 01:18 AM.

  • #2
    Its awesome thank you for sharing , what a huge space ! What council rates are involved - do you have to pay upkeep for a shared access road?
    What do you do for electricity?


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mikie View Post
      Its awesome thank you for sharing , what a huge space ! What council rates are involved - do you have to pay upkeep for a shared access road?
      What do you do for electricity?
      Fortunately land size is determined as the crow flys so when the land is hilly, you actually gain more land.

      Council rates are around $860 a year with no rubbish pickup but we do have free access to the tip about 12kms away. That tip takes absolutely anything. All wood supplied to the tip is put in a massive pile and when the pile is huge, it gets torched and all the redneck locals go to the pub to watch the fire.

      No upkeep of the road. The property is direct access to a tarred road.

      I priced power to be connected late last year. The quote was over $32,000 so that won't be happening. I made the place solar but that is a fight. I have a couple of generators but only use them occasionally. Amazing the work involved to supply your own power but we don't get any bills either.

      We do only pay the council rates and a bill from the Live Stock idiots even though they supply us nothing.


      • #4
        Just a couple more pictures of the place. I'm heading back down tomorrow for a couple of days of hard labour and I did say I would post some more today so here it is. Hope you'll enjoy.

        One of the wood fire heaters. There are two in the house and a wood fire stove. Can't have to much heating in a place that gets snow in winter and besides, I have enough wood to supply a town and that is just the wood from the trees the wind blows over. When ever I ride a quad to the back of the place after not being down there for a while, I always put the chainsaw on the quad because I know at least one tree will have fallen over the track blocking it. Ow, to the right of the woodfire you will see one of my Taito tables.


        My trusty Engel fridge. This is what I use to keep things cool when I'm at the place by myself. No need to fire up the LPG fridge for just me. The Engel has been doing this job since we bought the place and hasn't missed a beat. Runs on the 12volt battery bank, pulling 4 amps from hot but after about 1 hour this drops to a 2 amp draw for about 2 minutes every hour. Incredibly light on power and turned up it freezes milk solid. A very effective unit. If there is better, I really don't need it.


        These 6 modules under that organized mess of wiring, ( I really need some wire saddles down there aye), are what gives the whole house it's lighting. They are car laptop charger modules. 12vDC in and 220vAC at 75 watts out each. The one with the fan is a 150watt version. I found this to be the best solution after spending heaps of time and effort on 12vDC LED lighting. I was using off the shelf 240v CFLs for a while but found the Phillips 240 volt LED bulbs better than the CFLs. I found the 12vDc LED lighting used far more power for a lot less lighting and the cost of the 12 LEDs was no good either so going to 220Ac was the way I went.

        I trialed a couple of these laptop modules on a 60 watt load of bulbs in Sydney for over a month before committing just to make sure these Chinese laptop inverters could actually do the job. I have not had one fail in the last 5 years but I never put more than 60 watts of load on them either. Not bad for a part I buy for about $16. Above them on the power distro board is a normal 12vDc to 220 volt AC inverter. It is 1000watts and I use it for heavier loads like TVs etc. I didn't want to use one of these for all the lighting because if it fails doing all the lighting, I then have no lighting at all. Using 6 modules, I only would loose 1/6 of the lighting aye. I'm like that. I love redundancy. Redundancy means reliability I think.


        One of the 3 dams on the place. This one is full of yabbys. It about 2 meters deep. Lucky for them because much shallower and they would freeze in winter. I've seen dogs walk on the ice in winter. I wouldn't try it myself.


        After 3 years of using 4 stoke push mowers around the place we invested in the ride on. What a time saver and it actually makes mowing a couple of acres something even the kids like to do. Last week I hit a hidden star picket, bad move. It was a new blade too. Fortunately only $29 for a new one. I do straighten them but sometimes when you hit something like a star picket, they are always out of balance.

        A line up of quads yes but to me it is a line of batteries I need to maintain or the quads go no where. I really need a good solution to maintain all the batteries in all the equipment, preferably without needing to remove them, when the machines aren't being used. Some machines don't move for months at a time and guaranteed, they will have a nearly or completely flat battery. I really need a solar solution. Batteries are making me broke. You may say get rid of some of the quads. All I can say to that is if any of you ever come to this place, you won't want to walk and I hate doubling on a quad especially if your fat.


        The wife's two seater buggy after I built the ute rear end for it. Ow the back rims and tires aren't stock either. Actually neither is the lighting. Thinking about it there isn't much stock left on it. Ideal for getting wood of the sides of some of the hills. The quads can do the job on the hills but with a trailer behind a quad on a hill and the trailer likes to tip over so you are committed to go straight up the hill or straight down. The buggy can go across the hill face. Not uncommon to cut a gum down on the side of a hill and end up with about 10 buggy loads of wood to get off the hill. Walking it out really suks so that isn't happening. It also kills the ankles and hips walking across hills to many times. Better to get the machine right next to the pile of wood, load it then drive out. Ow forget 4 X 4s, they will tip over.


        Somewhere down the back of the property.


        Anyway I need sleep now. Gotta go in a couple of hours and doing these little posts takes me hours. I'll continue when I get back.
        Last edited by Autosteve; 16th January 2017, 08:14 AM.


        • #5
          A couple more days in paradise. Usually I go to the place in the early hours of the morning to avoid the wildlife on the roads but this time I arrived at 3pm in the afternoon. It was quite busy on the roads with kangaroos and wombats with a couple of rabbits.

          Last week when I went down it was 2am in the morning when I arrived. That trip was full of wildlife and it sort of had me thinking probably not wise traveling at night after seeing about 30 roos on the road and probably close to 20 wombats.

          The whole purpose of going down was to finish off the kitchen area with the new floating floor we have put right through the lower floor. This is what I got up to last visit. I had water coming under a wall and getting into the old floor so the wall needed to be sealed and a new floor put down. One that matched the rest of the house also..


          After sealing the wall the floor being layed....

          Floor finished nearly...

          Plumbing hooked back up. Benches back in and looking so much better. I'm actually glad the water ruined the old floor. I was never real happy with the floor that used to be in the kitchen area.

          The first day I was down I started hearing of a bush fire at Tarago on the radio. Tarago is 30kms away from the farm. It grew from 100acres burnt to 1300arces in a couple of hours and was fast running. 2nd day it had grown to 2300acres burnt. I took this picture clearly showing the smoke from that fire in the valley behind the house.

          I was standing at the kitchen window enjoying my nice new kitchen setup and this goanna walked past on the concrete outside the window. By the time I grabbed the camera he was up the nearby tree. About 1/2 the size I have seen some but this one lives real close to the house. Not a worry, not likely to get eastern brown, red belly, tiapan or tiger snakes around the house while this guy lives here. Ow yes, we do get all those types of snakes in summer on the farm. We have seen them all except the tiger and one of them got flattened by a truck on the main road. The neighbour grabbed the dead tiger snake and put it on the fence so my boys could see what they looked like.

          After replacing the ride on lawn mower blade, I was able to finish off the "front lawn". It mainly serves as a fire break just in case but this field was also covered by 2 meter high tea tree before I cleared it.


          Now providing I keep mowing it, the tea tree shouldn't be able to take back over. I have quite a few of the areas I have cleared of tea tree or trees with many more to go but all you can do is chip away. One thing I have learnt about this farm is don't spend all my time on one project, this farm has 100s of projects.

          I find it best to do a bit of multiple projects on this farm because if you do just one job, while I may be able to tick off one job, everything else suffers. Also one job usually means working the same muscles for long periods of time usually resulting in sore muscles. Multiple jobs using different muscles, no aches. Things you need to consider when your an old bastard I guess.

          When I was leaving I noticed a cracked water pipe as a result of driving the tractor to close to the house and resulting in breaking the water pipe that supplys the water tank we use to get our water. Another job I need to do next time I guess. I also need to drag the two 28000 liter water tanks we bought some time ago over to there new home on the sand plinths I have been building up for them over the last couple of months.

          They will be hooked to the same water pipe so may as well do that job as well. Just gotta plan the job out and work out I have everything. No hardware store near the farm well not within an hour.
          Last edited by Autosteve; 21st January 2017, 08:07 PM.


          • #6
            Great work ! you must do a fair bit of planning before each trip to the property


            • #7
              This is such an interesting post so thanks for taking the time to put it all together. You and your wife must be hard workers to achieve all this!

              In the event of a massive firestorm, would you be thinking of building a bunker or just get in the car and piss off as early as possible?

              I'm sure it must be incredibly peaceful down there and you would be able to see every star in the universe on a clear night. I'd love to own something like this, very jealous
              The Mamushka!!!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mikie View Post
                Great work ! you must do a fair bit of planning before each trip to the property
                Yes I certainly do. If I forget to take something or it isn't already there, I have to improvise. While there is a Bunnings store about an hour away, a round trip is two hours and when I go to Bunnings, I just can't help myself and it always takes an hour if I hurry so basically I loose 3-4 hours. A high price to pay for something simple I could have bought before I went down.


                • #9
                  Looks good mate, nice setting, looks like bush around bathurst up in the hills, all looks the same i suppose.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sando75 View Post
                    This is such an interesting post so thanks for taking the time to put it all together. You and your wife must be hard workers to achieve all this!

                    In the event of a massive firestorm, would you be thinking of building a bunker or just get in the car and piss off as early as possible?

                    I'm sure it must be incredibly peaceful down there and you would be able to see every star in the universe on a clear night. I'd love to own something like this, very jealous
                    Thanks for the kind comments Sando. Most of the time I go down by myself. The wife doesn't like going down for too long till I get the shower working. I have built two shower/ bathrooms but I need to hook up the pressure pump which is another job.

                    The bunker idea was one of the wife's ideas actually. She wanted to get in another shipping container and bury it in the hill behind the house in the hill that overlooks the valley. It would allow us to extend the flat behind the house and be ideal if a fire came providing it had an air supply for such events. Problem was excavating the hill and getting a container dropping into that location. I had no trouble getting container carriers to drop the container beside there truck but not able to drop it down about 3 meters lower into the ground.

                    @ Steptoe, very similar to Bathurst a bit wetter though. Been right though the mountains when I was younger. Hartley a mate had a property for over 20 years and we would explore right though the mountains. Newnes and Yeranderi were some of my favourites before they become popular.

                    Yer you see stars there that I don't in Sydney. Good news is it looks like the mobile phone towers have been put in and I "may" now have coverage.

                    Just a couple of random trail cam pics I have taken on the farm...


                    Amazing pictures the trail cam takes I think. This was all at one location. I have others at different locations, I just can't find them right now. The videos are better and I'll upload them when I work out exactly how to do. Sometimes it's as if the animals like being filmed. Not unusual for the animals to come right up to the trail cam and sniff it, wombats especially. The trail cam is set to take a picture followed by a 30 second video followed by another picture ever time it detects anything.

                    Its cool to get back to Sydney and go through the sometimes hundreds of pics/ videos on the SD card and see what the camera has actually caught. Once dark, the trail cam reverts to IR pics and videos, ( they are the black and white pics). Every picture or video has a time stamp and also the temperature the film was taken.


                    • #11
                      Another couple of days planned in Paradise. Going down with a mate to start and finish off the guest room floating floor and that will be the whole lower floor finished.

                      I want to get another couple of solar panels hooked up.

                      Repair the water tank supply pipe I stupidly drove the tractor over.

                      Trap some yabbies and try out some of the excellent cooking ideas you guys have given me to try. I grabbed some lucerne hay during the week from the produce store so I'm expecting some full nets

                      Seeing as I won't be on my own in the middle of snake season, I'll take a quad ride down the back of the block with a chainsaw because no doubt, trees will be down over the track.

                      They are the must does, now these are the I'd like to does...

                      Get the tractor out and finish off the back filling around the house dam.

                      Use the tractor to drag the new water tanks up to the house and hook them up.

                      Just a couple of random photos. Trying real hard to keep it interesting for you guys aye...

                      Burning off like I do annually...

                      My favouite tool for clearing scrub. I call it the "light saver" because it cuts trees up to 3" with a "ching" noise. By God this is one hell of a dangerous tool but very effective.

                      Going down the final hill at the back of the farm only to find a branch snapped of one of the gums blocking the track.

                      That is where it came from.

                      A place we call Grassy Flat. The tea trees behind the quad to the gum tree line is the area we will be clearing and burning this fire season. Once the tea tree is gone the grass should take over the whole area making about 5 acres of grass flat.

                      Two thirds of the way down the back. Some of the best gum on the place and there is about 30 acres of it. Once I build a log bridge over the creek directly behind the house and can get my tractor to this location I'll invest in a Lucas mill for some of these trees and build a track though here to unlock this 30 acres I can only get to on quads ATM.

                      This place can be hard on quads.

                      My Air Hockey that lives at the farm

                      The back pine forest track

                      The pool table after i re-clothed it. Also made the light for it for playing at night.

                      WELL UNTIL THE NEXT TIME. Hope you enjoy.


                      • #12
                        I have a problem I hope someone may have an answer to. What is the best paint to seal colourbond to concrete to make a weather proof seal?.

                        The walls on the house are colourbond steel sheet and they come down and sit about 2mm above the concrete slab. I have a water seal inside the wall but I figure it best to just keep the water out all together.

                        Any suggestions of a suitable paint that will form a waterproof seal?. Colour doesn't matter as I can paint over the top of it providing it is paintable with the paint colour of the house.


                        • #13
                          not paint.. perhaps sikaflex maybe


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wiredoug View Post
                            not paint.. perhaps sikaflex maybe
                            Thanks for the help Wiredoug, Sikaflex may do the job. I didn't think of that. I was more thinking paint and didn't consider Sikaflex.

                            I have some water proof membrane paint I used to seal the shower/ bathrooms left I did consider but thought that may not like the sun's UV over time and that had me thinking of nothing but paint therefore overlooked something like Sikaflex.

                            Again that's for that suggestion.


                            • #15
                              Nice spot, You really need to shoot those foxes asap, they kill everything they come across. I had a fox & rabbit problem when I bought my farm. I also knocked off a feral cat two days ago.
                              Gemini2544's 4th Pinball meet Saturday 21/03/2020


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