Friday, January 27, 2012

Backyard Living

We've been working on making our backyard into an enjoyable outdoor living space.  We've put up a gazebo with mosquito netting and a rain tarp and scored a free outdoor table and chairs setting on Freecycle.  We've stocked the gazebo with a selection of kid toys, a stroller for rocking Ari to sleep and a kid sized table and chairs.  Next to our gazebo, we've got a plastic kid swing that we got for next to nothing at Tiny's Green Shed, an LPG fired outdoor oven and our awesome Mexican hammock with full mosquito netting and tarp.. 

We've been enjoying meals outdoors in the evenings when it's too hot to be in the house and it's great to have a space to escape to with a fussy baby when the other baby is trying to sleep. 

Our outdoor living space is also doubling as a workshop area for Brian and he has two major projects in the works at the moment.  One is an adsorption chiller which will use heat to ultimately make ice.  An engineer at heart, he's been tinkering with this idea in his head for some time and is now getting ready to build it.

The other big project has been his first attempt at all grain beer brewing.  He cut the top off of an old keg and fitted a spout to it so that he can boil water.  This is then transferred to the mash tun (an old esky) where the sugar is extracted from the grains.  Then it's back to the keg/pot where it's boiled with the hops before going into glass and plastic carboys to ferment for two weeks before bottling.  He's done two batches so we've got a Smoked Porter and an India Pale Ale in our garage.  One of the interesting outcomes of going through this process from scratch is that Brian has found that he actually prefers good beer without carbonation.  Truth be told, given the warm weather and the tastiness of the brew, I'm not sure much of it will make it to the bottling stage!

One view of our outdoor living area - the gazebo with brewing supplies out front.


  1. Looking forward to testing out the ice-maker sometime in the bush!

    1. Indeed! Thought we might make it to Tassie with it, but not looking good as it's not finished yet and we've got lots to do before our big trip to the US.