The next stage was to get the tree down onto the hole below, but first we had to lift the dingo out of the way, we still needed it to fill in the hole, so with some ropes we managed to lift it out of the hole and over to the side of the sand bank. Next, we carefully attached straps to the tree, and winched it off the trailer, and with a bit of manoeuvring, we had the root ball of the tree over the hole, and we slowly lowered it down into the hole.
The nursery had wrapped most of branches and leaves in a netting to protect it during the move, which helped getting it down into the hole, and before touching the bottom of the hole, I cut away the moist hessian that is protecting the roots and pulled it clear of the hole before lowering it the final metre.
With darkness, almost upon us, we turned on all the lights, and we did the same thing with the Eucalypts, which were a lot lighter and thinner, so they were easier to handle. When we had all the trees in the hole we began to fill the hole, as well as adding a lot more water, with the help of filling the water tank at the well, and running a short length from the trailer, down the cavern hole.
It was fully dark by the time we had finally finished filling in the tree hole, and I had driven around the trees on the Dingo, to try and compact the soil as best as possible, I decided to leave the netting on the branches and leaves till the morning, to give the trees a rest from the move. Tom and I were totally exhausted from the very busy day, as we collapsed onto the swags in our camping area of the cavern.
There is the scent of peppermint in the cavern, with a mixture of Eucalypt, which I found pleasant, as I prepared a light dinner for us both, and we climbed into our swags and fell asleep right away. The next morning when I woke up, I looked at my watch to see that it was after 9am, and I gave Tom’s swag a shake to wake him up, he grumbled about still been too tired, and I just told him that all the real hard work was completed yesterday, and that the rest was easy.
After a good cooked breakfast, we both felt a lot better, and we looked at what we had achieved so far, putting on a harness, I got Tom to raise me in the bucket of the Dingo, and moved it close to the netting around the weeping peppermint, and cautiously I started to cut the netting, till suddenly the tree spread out to full width, nearly wiping me off the loader bucket. Tom moved the Dingo back, so I wasn’t amongst the leaves of the main tree and brought me alongside the first Eucalypt.
After about half an hour, and with me being hit by the released branches each time, all six trees were now free of the netting. The peppermint tree in the centre, looked magnificent, and the 5 Eucalypts, standing 3 metres high, around its edge looked great, with the branches all slightly entwined together. There was still at least a 1-metre height difference, from the bottom of the trees, and the level of the campsite, so I got to work to level the excess soil to create a fairly level ground, up to within 10 metres of the back wall of the cavern, so as not to interfere with the house area.
When this was done, I worked out the positioning of the Boronia and Tee-tree shrubs, and I got to work digging the holes for each of the 15 shrubs, slightly forward and evenly spaced between each Eucalypt, and Tom planted each shrub and watered them in. When that was done, I dug two holes, slightly forward and on either side of the shrubs, so Tom can plant the Blue Leschenaultia plants.
When we had finally finished all of the planting, it was nearly lunch time, but we decided to go for a swim first, so we took the bikes down to the beach and had a nice cool swim. After we had eaten and taken a short afternoon nap, we lifted the Dingo back up to the surface, so I could dig a trench to bury the poly water pipe, from the well and pump, to the hole, that I had chosen to place the water tank, which was almost empty from watering the trees and plants.
We rolled the tank to the hole that we wanted it to be in, and using ropes we carefully lowered it into position, and Tom went down to make sure that the outlet was facing the tunnel and that it was still closed, before I completed the last section of pipe down to the inlet hole of the tank, and went to the well, to start up the submersible tank, which runs on a small generator. While the tank was slowly filling up, I went down to cavern level, and ran some more pipe down the tunnel stopping about 12 metres into the main cavern, where I placed a tap on the end.
When finished, I returned to the top to turn off the submersible, and Tom joined me and we filled in the pipe trench, to hide its existence, before carting the Dingo back down to the beach, along with the tripod winch and other equipment that mostly was not needed. Once loaded onto the trailer and onto the barge, we made the 45-minute journey to Port Lincoln, where we returned all of the hire equipment, and stopped by at the hardware store to grab a few more supplies, called into the café for some lunch, before we returned to the island.
Back at the island, we were surprised to see a small boat that was anchored about 5 metres off the beach, the bikes were still where we left them, and as we looked up, we could see Jack and his boys waving to us. I was not happy about this intrusion, and I was hoping that they had not discovered our hideaway cavern. There was no sign of any camping gear in or around the boat, so I presumed they were just making a day trip to the island.
I didn’t move off the beach, hoping that they got the message that I wanted them on the beach instead of up on the island snooping around, and eventually they realized that I wasn’t coming up, so they started walking down. “Hiya Gres, we saw you taking the barge towards the city yesterday, we thought we would come over this arvos to see if you were back” Jack said cheerfully.
“I’m sorry Jack, but I have plans for the whole weekend, as you see we are not camping here this weekend, we just called into Louth Island on the way back home” I said, trying to give Jack the hint that I wanted him to go. Meanwhile Tom had moved the bikes and trailers to their usual hiding place, and covered them up with branches, removing the ignition keys which he put in his pocket.
“Oh ok, sorry to have disturbed you, we will get a move on then” Jack replied feeling very rejected, and he waved his boys to join him back at their boat, and they were soon on their way back to Louth Bay. I was glad that they hadn’t discovered all the work that we had been doing so far over the weekend, and we parked the vehicle near the bikes, and we walked up to the top of the island, and down to the main cavern.
For the rest of Sunday, and half of Monday, we just relaxed and did very little, apart from swimming, a bit of sun tanning, and some leisurely walks along the long beach. When it was time to head home again, we decided to leave our swags and the gazebo and most of the camp cooking gear where it is, so we just grabbed our clothes bags, the car fridge, and the esky and headed back down to the main beach, loaded the car onto the barge, and we made our way back to Louth Bay.
When we arrived at home, I discovered a lot of missed calls on the landline phone, all but two of them were from Jack, stating that they had seen us taking the barge east towards the capital, and asking if we were on the island. When I turned on my mobile, I had the similar amount of missed calls from Jack, I was not very happy about this and considered cancelling any further work with them. When I arrived at work the next morning, I was summoned to the manager’s office, where I was informed, that more budget cuts meant I would now be working only 9 to 3 Tuesday and Thursday, and 9 to 12 noon on Wednesdays.
In a way, I didn’t mind this, as it meant I could spend more time with Tom and spend more time on our project on the island. At the end of the day after picking up Tom, we went straight home, I told him of the change in my work hours and I suggested that we make a trip to the city on Friday to check out possibilities for a prefab home, that we can put together ourselves, and Tom liked the idea very much.
I booked our flights and accommodation for this coming weekend, and also sent a text to Jack, “Going to be in the city this weekend, no work on island till following weekend” and a short while later I received a text back, “Ok”. After just a short, 3 day working week, I dropped Tom off at school on the Friday morning, and returned home to pack our luggage for our trip to the city, before beginning a good spring clean of the whole house, which took me most of the day to complete, interrupted only when I had to go and collect Tom from school.
We headed to the airport about ½ an hour earlier than needed, and we arrived in Adelaide on time, and checked into the hotel. I had arranged an appointment with the building design company for 10am Saturday, so we could have a bit of a sleep in. When we arrived at the house designers, we presented to them the plans that Tom had created on the computer, and I explained that we had used laser guided surveying equipment to get the exact dimensions for this house.
Knowing that the cavern is 4.6 metres high, I suggested that maybe we could have an upper level, that is two metres forward of the lower level, so as to create a sheltered veranda, and that the 1/3rd section on the plans that shows bedrooms, bathrooms and store rooms, be moved upstairs, and be expanded to include a 3rd bedroom for guests, with separate bathroom and guest lounge.
This would leave 1/3rd of the house on two levels, as a large open living space, I also mentioned that the house would be built in an environment sensitive area, so the house would have to include environment safe waste disposal as a major consideration. The house designers asked to leave the dimensions with them, and they would contact us with a draft plan within a week, for our viewing. Next, we went to view a wetlands reserve on the edge of the city, which has raised boardwalks through it, and we took a walk along the boardwalk, which also has special viewing lookouts.
We looked at the way it was built and took some photos with my phone for future reference, before we went to find a café for some lunch. After we had eaten, we went to a kit homes and sheds builder, to look at their designs, for the public toilets, shelter gazebo and lockup shed for the quad bikes and bike trailers, and after looking at some of the designs, I found what I thought was the most suitable design, 4 individual toilet cubicles with wash basins, and a disables toilet cubicle in the centre, also with a wash basin, and a long lockup shed that can be attached to the back of the toilet block. I like the design so much that I went ahead with ordering the ablution block, storage shed and gazebo.
A separate large octagonal gazebo, with half walls from the floor, bench seating, around the inside of the wall, and an octagonal bench in the centre, with a gas BBQ on one side, would be perfect to provide picnics for visitors, with raised boardwalks connecting it all together. I was thinking of having the toilets and shed in the centre of the island, just north of where the old sheds were, and the gazebo to be due east of there, overlooking the long eastern beach, where steps would be to get down to the beach.
Just by chance I spotted an advertisement for Hovercraft tours of the Port Phillip Bay region, and this got me thinking of having a hovercraft tour from Port Lincoln to the island, but decided not to look into it for now, as I had to many other things to think of at present. We went to the cinemas to watch a movie, followed by a bit of sight-seeing, before heading back to the hotel for some dinner.
The following day we hired a car and headed north to the wine producing region, were we saw plenty of vineyards, bought quite a few bottles of wine, and saw some interesting places of interest, before returning to the city for our last night there.
Although it was a public holiday the next day, I received a call for the home design company, to inform me that they had completed a draft design and asked us to come to their office to view the plans. When we arrived, we were shown into the conference room, where the large plans were laid out in front of us.
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