25 January 2009

Year of the Ox

The neighbors suggested we go down to the Chinese Gardens and see the fireworks show. It was a great evening, and the fireworks were awesome!

New door and a gate

Put a gate in the fence between the neighbour's and us. We visit each other often, trade food, and generally help each other out and a gate has been talked about for a long time. We plan to combine energy and produce a lot of food this year I think.

I also put a new door in the back of the house. We picked it up for $40 from Hall Bros (really cheap!). It has a big reinforced window in it so the entry hall gets light now. Even at night, the outside light gives good light through the window.

Lighting is an interesting design challenge in the house. Obviously we have replaced all globes with pearl energy savers at the lowest wattage we could get (11 Watts, still looking for less), and now its a matter of positioning the lights so that they give the maximum amount of useful light. Right now for example, we have 1 light on. It lights the lounge room and the kitchen slightly, as well as our bedroom through the glass doors. I've already mentioned that the outside light lights the hall, and the kitchen light lights the deck through the windows. I don't think there is ever a time we have more than 3 lights on. Thats 33W per hour as apposed to 180W per hour if we had normal light bulbs, or 360W or more if we used twice as many lights. This, combined with fire heating (and cooking), gas, a very small fridge, and no entertainment system is probably why our energy bill averages $45-$50 per month right through the year.

15 January 2009

Produce garden coming along

This is a great time of year for gardening. Our produce garden is getting better, with more of a focus on perennials this year, as well as fruits and berries. Next year, maybe livestock! Here's some photos:

13 January 2009

Byron, Singapore and Malaysia

Sunshine and I spent 3 weeks visiting some of our family over Christmas/New Year. This took us to Byron and Brisbane to see my Mum's side, then onto Singapore to see Sunshine's Dad and her Brother and Sister. Amazing sky scraping architecture, museums and shops, parks, and organic farms. From Singapore we all went into Malaysia for a little look see, stopping at the amazing Malacca to soak up the blends of 16C Portuguese, 17C Dutch, 18C English colonial building mixed with the foreverness of Malay, Hindi and Hokkien Chinese. We drove straight through Kuala Lumpar to the impressive Batu Caves where Hindu shrines have been built, and monkey clans hangout and snub tourists. After that we breathed some 1500m + mountain air up Fraser Hill and videoed Sunshine's brother riding a wave board down the mountain road.

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map of our Singapore tour