Brett Writes!

My name is Brett Coulstock. I’m a writer and designer from Western Australia

Archive for the ‘Red Moon Sanctuary’ tag

Vegetable Garden Pt 3

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The garden progressed nicely. I demolished the hill of dirt, and started eating into another. Sue marked out circles for garden beds according to a permaculture design, with the middle one becoming a frog-pond.

Filling the Frogpond

Vegetable Garden Beds

Written by Brett

November 18th, 2011 at 6:03 am

Kangaroo Paw

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Photographed this lovely kangaroo paw beside the sand-track on our place the other day. First time I’ve seen the splayed “paws”.

Kangaroo Paw

Click ye to make it larger.

Written by Brett

November 1st, 2011 at 8:18 am

Vegetable Garden Part 2

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This is an intermediate photograph, showing the reduction in the hill, and the spread of the topsoil 13 days later.

While I was doing this, we constructed a compost bin out of shed leftovers (a very smart Manor Red sides with Wilderness Green posts), and Sue made compost with cut grass/weeds and horse manure. You can see our scythe resting in front of them.

Compost bins and Scythe

I’ve been using the scythe lately to mow between the trees in windbreak — hard work but fun.

Written by Brett

November 1st, 2011 at 8:13 am

Vegetable Garden Part 1

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Having built the shed, and waiting while we developed the house plans, we decided to put in a vegetable garden. Behind the watertank was a gentle north-facing slope of empty land, perfect position for a garden. The photo below was taken from a very large pile of stockpiled topsoil scraped off the house site and driveway.

Brett looking down at the vegetable garden area behind water tank

And here’s me standing on top of it, with a post-hole shovel and a mattock (the latter proved unnecessary).

Brett standing on top of a mound of topsoul

The object of the next few weeks was to redistribute that pile over the garden area. This was actually a lot of fun! It’s not mentally challenging to dig and wheelbarrow, so my iPod helped immeasurably, and I listened to a lot of Sapphire & Steel and Doctor Who audio dramas, as well as a few informative podcasts (mostly from the ABC). Also, it’s very good exercise!

Written by Brett

October 10th, 2011 at 11:20 am

Int. Shed. Day.

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The inside of the shed after the roof went on (left) and what it looks like today …

Interior of shed after the roof went on.

Interior of shed - full up

Part of the reason it’s so crowded (aside from the airing horse-rugs) is that we have our 2nd-hand kitchen stored there …

Kitchen in Storage

Written by Brett

October 3rd, 2011 at 4:57 am

Shed Built

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It’s been quite a while since I posted anything here. I’ll be putting up some photos and updates over the next few days and weeks, and see if I can keep it a bit more consistent in future. Anyway, here’s a photo of the finished shed and water-tank:

Shed and Watertank

This is view is from the West, looking roughly East. We’ve put woodchips around the shed and tank, which (a) help prevent erosion and (b) look nicer than sand.

Written by Brett

September 26th, 2011 at 9:15 am

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Shed Building

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We’ve been building our first permanent structure on the site, a shed, which is about 3.something meters high at the apex, and the walls are 2.something meters. A couple of photos of us working on it, and various stages of construction …


The shed structure on Saturday Evening


Me fixing the roof batten to the end frame, quite high up! :)


Me, fixing the roof batten to the end frame, with one of those ratcheting socket spanner doohicky things.


Partially clad shed. We managed to do the entire face, and half of the opposite face.

Written by Brett

February 21st, 2011 at 11:54 am

Red Moon Sanctuary

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Red Moon Sanctuary

Photo: looking East at sunset on Red Moon Sanctuary

We bought a farm.

We’ve been looking for a house or land to buy for a while now, and we realised that houses in the area are overpriced, and none of them were quite anything we could imagine being happy in, for one reason or another. We found a block of 60ha in Redmond, which is about 25 minutes drive from Albany, somewhat inland. It’s a subdivided farm, with no buildings.

Settlement was last Thursday, and it all went through with no problems.

It’s about 10ha of pasture, and 50ha of bushland. The former gives us ample room for a house, vegetable gardens, chickens, Sue’s horses, and a few cattle. The latter we plan to leave exactly as it is. Growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Sue and I both developed a real awareness of the catastrophic amount of forest and bush cleared to make way for development and agriculture — both in Australia and globally. So much diversity has been lost, and so many species reduced.

We know about the orangutans, and the pandas and the gorillas and the snow tigers, but they’re abstract and distant. But I do remember that, growing up in Stoneville, that there used to be Christmas spiders (also called Jewel Spiders). I haven’t seen them for a long, long time. Where did they go? Why? I can’t help but think some variable changed by the gradual development of the area, caused them to disappear. I have no idea if the Christmas spiders are native to WA. All I know is that they were there, and now they’re not.

So it’s with enormous satisfaction that we’ll preserve the bushland. There are kangaroos. There are emus. There are bolete fungi, and coral fungi. There are magpies and kookaburras and crows. And we’re going to have a lot of fun investigating and cataloging the rest of the variety of flora and fauna that’s there. It’s a shame that a little had to be cleared to put in a new fence on the boundary (a legal requirement) but that’s the first and last clearing that will be done. We’re putting our house in the pasture area (away from the bush, and bushfires), and we’re planting more trees. We will keep the pasture — since the damage is already done, and it should absolutely continue to produce food (we’re already drooling over catalogs of heirloom seeds).

We named the place “Red Moon Sanctuary” after “Redmond”, and since it’s a special place for us, and something of an unofficial reserve.

Now we have a million things to do. The first and foremost of these are preparations to build a house.

Written by Brett

August 3rd, 2010 at 8:59 am