Moving Into My Rainbow House

I have my own house! I can draw on the walls, and bang nails in, and dig the ornamental plants out, and… wow, what a nurturing and fun moving week it was! We put rainbows up on the walls on the first night. For the last two weeks, we’ve been steadily merging two households. Everything is falling into place, like this home already existed and is just being uncovered.

This is the loungeroom on the very first night, and two weeks after moving in. We brought firewood in the first trailerload of things, and a bottle of cider, and managed to cook our dinner without gas. Since then, I’ve unpacked most of my books and almost all the furniture is set up. So far, it’s a household of three, with visitors. We still have one spare bedroom, but for now we’re still settling in. I’ve updated our listing on Couchsurfing, so this will likely be a flexible space for a while.

We moved here on the 30th of June, so we’re swinging right into Plastic Free July! We still don’t have an indoor bin, although we’ve set up a recycle bin, compost bucket and guinea pig bucket. So all the plastics are very visible in the cupboard; way more than I’d usually use! I’m trying to pile soft plastics on the top shelf in here, to take to Redcycle bins. Some of the sources of plastic are bandages for my son’s infected toe, lots of food products that have been merged into my pantry from other households, and plastic rubbish that was left in the house (eg. an old electrical switch that was replaced before I moved in). As Lindsay says in this post, you can’t fail Plastic Free July! I’ve read about plastic-free bandaids, haven’t quite convinced my son on dressing his wound with Mother yet… we have been using bits of wadding and tape, so I could try composting them.

To reduce our ongoing waste, all members of the household share food shopping & cooking, and are learning how to source plastic-free food. I’ve also put up posters like this one one the wall. I went through the supermarket with my eight year old this week, and he pushed the trolley up to the checkout, unloaded our fruit & vegies in paper bags and confidently told the lady ‘we don’t need a bag, thanks’. He’s an old hand already! Our local supermarket provides cardboard boxes at the checkout, so there’s always another option if we forget our cloth bags.

We planted the vegetable garden with leeks, potatoes, broad beans and rocket before we even moved in as the house was vacant before we arrived, so it’s all growing well now. We’ve planted more lettuce to get the greens producing. So soon we’ll have food with zero food miles and no plastic wrapping. Tomorrow I’m teaching my housemate how to correctly identify dandelion, as we have both dandelion and lookalikes in the backyard. Edible weeds give us easy local food.

Our first harvest from the new house is winter rosehips, which is timely to prevent winter colds. I didn’t prune the rosebush with the fattest hips, so we could pick them when we moved in. I pruned all the other roses before we arrived, when I couldn’t resist pottering in my soon-to-be-garden! I don’t yet have a lemon tree, but when the first colds hit the household it only took half an hour after posting a request on our local produce barter page on Facebook to find some, just around the corner.

Verge rubbish pick-up in our suburb was scheduled just before we moved, so I managed to borrow a trailer and gain permission to offload free furniture into the garden shed & veranda before the house was legally mine. With the help of my son and friends, I picked up several loads of useful discarded items: a washing machine with a broken water pump, books, rugs, balls, hula hoop, a dresser, wooden drawers and building materials, an outdoor table setting, a grey recliner chair and more. Pretty good for the cost of a little fuel!

When it was time to move our belongings in, I obtained large boxes from a cardboard skip at a local business. Now that our things have been ferried from house to car to house, I’m stacking the used boxes in the spare room. They will end up as the light-excluding layer under mulch on the garden: we have way too much lawn! I’m still in the observation phase of permaculture, while I decide where the major structures and trees will go. For now, the kids are enjoying playing ball and chasey in all the space.

I’ve always dreaded moving house. This move did have some overwhelming moments, when we were all hungry and tired, and it was getting dark, and it hailed on the trailer load of soft furniture, and we still had to push through with sore muscles. However, we drew on our support networks, including taking our new neighbour up on the offer to help shift furniture in, and with the use of vans, utes, trailers and muscles we’ve almost got it all sorted now. Thanks to all our mates who pitched in, and gifted us firewood. 🙂

It’s a very dynamic space, full of drying laundry, folded sewing projects, kimchi and sourdough bubbling away, dishes that pile up and disperse, stacks of firewood and always lego. Watch this space for the unfolding of community, creative expression, permaculture, gift economy and activism!

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