The big day finally arrived I was judging honey at the rockhampton Show yesterday and today we are off to Bundaberg to visit Mecano Homes ,left early morning with a coffee stop at boyne river the on to bundy on the back road . at mecano homes we selected our style of building an Acadia 15 metres by 8 metres with a 3 metre verandah across the front it will be on steel stumps with ba steel joist flooring system 3 bedrooms cyclone rated . villaboard cladding and steel colorbond roof with a quiller deck timber.
We finalised the contract paid our deposit and headed home to await our 3 month delivery date
It is now full speed on getting the site prepared ,that meant felling about another 10 trees out to about 40 meters from the house to satisfy fire regulations. Many a week end spent hooking up a pull rope to a tree the farthest up the tree we could with a ladder then through a block right angles to the winch on the troupie sue would then tennsion up the winch and i would cut the tree down and most but not all of the time it would fall where we wanted it to then the slow job of docking it up cutting branches and hauling it away to the various dump we had set up
Wayne Emms then came over with his tractor and did some site leveling enough to get us started on setting out the floor plan and many thanks to wayne for his help
We finally got the shed slab down with no rain in sight a week later the boys from shed boss arrived and erected the shed took 3 days finishing on easter friday. They have done a great job it looks good.
Over the easter break we kept on cutting down trees it is slow going as there is a lot of work dragging the branches off to the several burn dumps scattered around the property. one night we tried making honey chicken and fried rice it turned out perfect and made the end of a great weekend even better.
The following two week ends were spent bringing down more trees, one was 120 foot long. Then on the first weekend in May we have now cleared all the threatening trees from the house site
As for the bees there is still no rain and its looking like we will miss this flow of honey unless we get some good rain, i have started feeding 3 hives
Easter is fast approaching with just another week to go and we are still waiting for the concrete pad to be poured we have had a 2 week hold up because of the bobcat wheel bearings having to be renewed so with any luck we may have some action next week, we have been lucky not to have had much rain recently as that would stop the cement truck from delivering the concrete so fingers crossed.
The Bees are working well and the narrow leaf is just starting to come out in flower we could have a honey flow on in the coming weeks
A few weeks have passed and we have slept on our previous discussion and are confident that we can build a house. So we have started cutting trees down again to clear a spot for the shed which will go up first so we contacted Shed Boss in gladstone and put the wheels in motion.
My next task was to start an Owner Builders and White Card course which is done on line this is required to get a building permit in Queensland costs around $300.
The shed plans were approved and we have to locate it 20 metre from the boundaries so all systems go.
2018 has arrived and we are back at the block for a weeks holiday, it is sunday morning tea time and me and sue are sitting under the annexe looking down the block and once again the conversation comes around to what are we going to do with this place.We both agree it would be loverly to live here it is quite, peaceful, and beautiful when the morning light shines through the trees and native ferns. We decided that a house on the block would be far better located at the back of the acreage even though the access would be cut off in heavy rain, maybe we could build an all weather road if necessary or just get one of those mud bike four wheelers and leave the vehicles down the front or just don't go anywhere for a week.In any case it is decided to build at the back.
Sue suggested why don't we build ourselves, now that would be interesting i have the experience of building a 36 foot catamaran called Wriggles surely it can't be that much more difficult. So we once again looked at the Meccano Homes in Gympie they are steel frame kit homes. This could be just the thing to recharge and mentally stimulate a couple in their mid sixties
Around this time of year nothing much happens on the weekends as we are very busy at the Picture Framing shop but we managed to split our bee box into 2 nucs and introduce 2 new queens from Kangaroo Island , we also managed to buy 6 more nucs from a beekeeper in maryborough that has increased our hive tally to 9 hives a good number to manage for the time being.
We have stopped cutting down trees because we are undecided whether to build a house on not, coming up with ideas of a container house , a kit home , a couple of dongers , or a old house moved to the block, we just don't know. So we have decided to put a hold on everything untill after christmas then have a totally fresh look at it
Our first hive had been delivered and it settled down quickly and luckily the broad leaf ironbark flowered ,great start to the season.
We laid a concrete slab for the tank and i made a steel tank strand so it is back up and waiting for rain. The plan was to start and clear the area around the pump shed for the house so i started to cut down some trees, it is a slow process i can only deal with one at a time as you have to clean up and stack the branches on a stump away from the area, this was our lot throughout the winter. and what a dry winter it was no rain till october then finally 175 mm that amounted to about 10 inches in the tank.
It was just another sunday morning cuppa when i said to sue what are we going to do with this block of land. We had just had the biggest wet season with 1 metre of rain ,the ground was so wet the tank stand collapsed , the duck pond was full of water and the ground was saturated for a few weeks we even got bogged down to the axles, maybe it was just a one off a once in ten year thing we thought we had bought a lemon. But as usual Sue came up with an idea as she always does, she said well i still want to live on the block blow the rain but we might locate the house at the front of the block and i agreed that it was a good plane but how are we going to earn a living off the block and with her master stock of ingenious she suggested that seeing we already had native bees at home that we got some honey bees. Now that might work as i already had 20 hives back in the 90's,so the research started where do we get them from what is needed . So we put out the call on the facebook and a beekeeper form Gracemere came to the rescue, he would supply us with 1 hive
A couple of months have past and we have bought the acerage and taken over the next thing was to get a mower and start mowing it takes about 2 days to mow the block .
With christmas fast approaching time at the block was limited but we managed to install a shipping container as a temporary shed and also a 8000lt tank to catch the water coming off the container
Christmas was followed by 1 metre of rain which dampened our enthusiasm for building at the top of the block as the place turned into a swamp we even got bogged and to top it all off the tank stand collapsed and we had to let all our water go luckily no damage to the tank. Great start to the year 2017
Les & Sue Rigby are beekeepers located in Central Queensland around Rockhampton. We keep Native stingless bee and also normal Honey Bees. This blog is our story.