In October 2014 we decided to sell our old home in Doonan. It took us seven months to find Lot 16 in Black Mountain by sheer accident. So here it is. This blog will document the progress and development of this beautiful piece of paradise in the Hinterland of Noosa.
When we first saw the property, we fell in love with it straight away. We had some questions about boundaries, fence lines, easements, dams etc. and asked for a meeting with the developer and owner. On the same day we met with him on the land. His name is Steve and he is a keen helicopter pilot with a taste for European helis. Stevo reckons it is better to fly around and not copping speeding fines.
The block of land is about 15 acres in size and borders onto creeks and council reserves on two sides. There is also a concrete bridge leading to the gate which belongs to the property.
Stevo put a road up to our hill so that trucks and normal cars can get up - thank you Stevo! He also left us his 20 heads of Brahman cattle to graze on the land - at least for
On 9 October 2015 we became the official "owners" of this beautiful piece of land, even though we see ourselves more like "care takers" of it. We love nature which is the reason we bought it. The plan is to make it a place for wildlife and maybe even a conservation area if possible. The 9th of Oktober is also Katrin's dad's birthday which made the day extra special for us. We immediately moved our 20" storage container onto the hill. Weeks before Katrin and Bela had painted the container orange and also painstakingly packed it with all of our belongings. We think we will miss our piggy mailbox though!
After the storage container arrived we had a celebratory drink and enjoyed the sunset over Black Mountain and the view towards Eerwah Vale. There is cow poo everywhere on the land, which is fantastic because we'll be able to use it for our veggie garden later on. Wearing boots is a good idea and not just for the reason to avoid stepping into cow poo, but also for protection from bull ants and jumping ants and of course snakes. We saw a huge King Brown (Mulga) snake down by the creek, so we decided to name it Mulga Creek.
10 October 2015: we had a "bonfire and bubbles" container warming party with some of our dear friends. To make it easier for everyone to find our place we decided to put a street number on the entry post.
Our two boys Nils and Bela (Tim currently lives in Dresden, Germany) also need a place to stay. To accommodate for them we decided to buy a 1970 York caravan. We asked them if they like the idea of living in a caravan. Bela: "I don't mind". Nils: "I am not living in a frickin caravan, where is my castle and room service?". (Just kidding ;-)) Once Bela and Nils have moved out, the caravan will become the guest accommodation.
On 11 October we borrowed Mark and Phil's truck to tow the small York from South Brisbane all the way up to Black Mountain. We decided to name it "Zora" to honour our Sinti/Roma heritage. Zora means Dawn or Aurora and there is also the children's story of a red-haired Croatian girl called Red Zora who leads a gang of orphans committed to righting injustice. Of course the plan is to paint the caravan red and orange! You might have guessed by now that there is a bit of an orange and red theme going on ;-). At the end of an exciting day Katrin planted some (orange flowering) grevilleas to attract the birds that we all love so much.
15 October: Nils came back from his theatre tour and had a look at his and Bela's new home. Kate made red curtains for Zora. We also pegged out the building site and received a driveway and a building pad for the container home the next day and planted another grevillea that Mark and Phil gave Katrin for her birthday. Thank you Mark and Phil - we can't wait to see the fabulous flowers!
17 October: Today we worked our little butts off, caravan partially de-rusted and Kate sanded and painted half of Zora. Nils and I mowed 2800sqm, trees watered and now we are buggered but happy. It was a beautiful and fun day!
22 October: While working on the caravan this week we also created a little garden bed under the trees which is now home to our bromeliads, tillandsias and orchids. We made use of the old timber fence posts as a sculptural feature element incorporating the air plants. Nils' comment: "It looks and feels so much more like home now." Nils is also always very keen to be the Wippa Snippa dude!
23 October: Our first night in the caravan! A special moment in our lives. We enjoyed the sunset with a dramatic cloudy sky while we watched a flock of black cockatoos fly over our heads. Afterwards we sat by the fire and had a simple but delicious meal of baked potatoes, butter, cheese, fresh cucumber and tasty tomatoes, accompanied by a glass of red. Even though the sky was cloudy it was a bright night and all very romantic :-). Sleeping in the caravan was great. Very cosy and comfy. We snuggled up on the tiny double bed (1.1m wide) and listened to the sounds of the night. We slept really well, waking up early - greeted by calls of the black cockatoos.
For breakfast we reactivated the fire and toasted some Turkish bread on sticks. A warming fire, toast, butter and tea, the songs of birds and watching the wind play with the clouds was all we needed for a beautiful and happy start of the day!
6 - 15 November: Container Numba Too aka the big red fridge arrived. We are now awaiting approval from Council to go ahead with septic system, footings and roof construction. If we are lucky we will be living up on the hill within a month - fingers crossed. We had some huge storms lately which has filled up our dam nicely, but unfortunately also washed away some of of the road base on our driveway.
17 November: Today we installed the Philosopher's Bench and took some time to capture some of the beautiful nature surrounding us before we watched another glorious
19 November: We now have a water tank matching the red container! Also today the septic system went in. We are making progress which feels great :-)
21 November: Today we found some new flowers (not sure if they are weeds!) andmore kangaroo poo (yay!). Andy our builder came to make some nice concrete blocks for the containers to sit on. We now also have some electrical power thanks to the mini-generator. Katrin used it straight away to sand the plywood floor. After three coats of clear varnish it looks fabulous. And the fireplace underwent some improvement too, so we can bbq in style :-)
4 December: Today was the big day of lifting the containers onto the concrete cubes. The first one needed five goes until it sat exactly in the right spot! More crusher dust arrived in the afternoon to make it look more beautiful around (of course we need to spread it out first...)
For the crane enthusiast only, others might get bored ;-)
5 December: Today we were so busy shovelling the crusher dust around that we forgot to take a photo. It was very hot so we didn't finish the job and moved on to planting the Macadamia tree into the ground and the Christmas bush into a pot which was placed next to the red container for colour coordination ;-). It almost looks like a home now. And we found the cute little green tree frog again. This time he was in the brick under the caravan.
6 December: The "recycled" container is now rust proofed and connected to the water tank and the sewerage system and we even have an outdoor shower - YAY! It's been very hot for the last few days, but that did not keep us from working hard. Unfortunately there is an unexpected hold-up with our roof structure over the two containers, so we won't get it before Christmas :-(
There are always beautiful sunsets though to make up for any disappointments and difficulties we encounter.
23 December: We finally moved into our new home :-) . Since we don't have a roof yet, we also don't have solar panels and therefore no power. We are getting by with our generator which we turn on for a (cold) shower and to (hand) wash our clothes. We use a little camping gas cooker or the BBQ to come up with simple creative meals as our ingredients are quite limited due to the lack of a fridge. Solar lanterns provide us with beautiful light in the evenings. It's amazing to see how little you need.
It will be a big improvement when we get the roof which is unlikely to happen before the end of January. We are sure by then we will really appreciate to have a dry and shady spot to sit outside, a sheltered area for the washing machine and fridge and of course the solar panels to generate power.
End of December: Uwe is still working on the electrical wiring, making sure everything is perfect and according to Australian standards!
Mid January: A new shade sail, a beautiful sunrise, and more delicious solar food!
February 2016: Katrin's outdoor shower project taking shape. Lots of hard physical work - washing rocks that were covered on clay, then moving and arranging them around the water tank, getting the slope right for the water to run off and at last the fun part, filling the sower area and run off with the smaller pebbles. Rocks and pebbles have several different colours, some matching the water tank. Of course the tables and generators will be gone once the roof is finished and we have solar panels to charge the batteries. We are quite happy with the outcome, what do you think?
March 2016: Outside... Plenty of stormy weather not only helped the garden thrive, but also made the grass grow like crazy. Lucky our wonderful friends Paul and Fran lent us their fabulous "mature age" and very experienced tractor "Katie". After an intensive driving lesson, Uwe is having lots of fun mowing now :-). Thank you Paul and Fran! Some of the running grass had to be pulled out to make way for more garden beds, but since it is so beautiful Katrin uses it for some experimental weavings.
11 March 2016: The roof is finally happening :-)
15 March: Roof progress...
17 March: Here is a roof :-)
Mid April 2016: We now have something that is starting to resemble a house!
27 April 2016: we are making progress on the outside and the inside, but are still waiting for the power to be connected. On the weekend we took some time of to celebrate with friends over a sunny and very windy breakfast. What we have learnt: your patience will be tested as trades often don't show up or other causes will delay the work. Also putting an Ikea kitchen together is not as easy as it seems ;-)
And yes, we do wake up to see these beautiful marsupial creatures from our bed and the veggie garden is coming along nicely.
End of April 2016: We have POWER! Such luxury. Sometimes we still forget that we can now turn on the lights at night ;-)
The kitchen is making progress too. Not quite there yet though. Here we were thinking we could put it all together in a weekend. It's definitely taking much longer as we are taking some well deserved breaks in between drinking tea, making toast, watching the clothes dry and the mushrooms grow in the rainy weather.
Early May 2016: Painting, painting, painting. Finishing the garden beds, spring cleaning the caravan and enjoying more spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
Mid May 2016: The kitchen is now complete and the first dinner was a real celebration. With water, power and internet working, we feel very comfortable. SO much luxury! Veggies are still growing happily and nature keeps on being extraordinarily spectacular.