Spring time blues

Spring budsI’m borrowing a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins here:

“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring – When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush…”

And don’t they get away after only a few millimetres of rain? We could do with a lot more rain at this stage, but there seems to be just enough to get the weeds growing.

It’s a busy time as everyone seems to decide at once that they want things cleaned up for the warmer months ahead (and the clock is ticking down to Christmas) – everything from garden clean-ups to small renovations.

The key to making the spring clean not quite so big a job for me or you, is to do things more regularly. A tough gig when you’re busy and not always fun, but it certainly saves time and money when the weather warms up.

Anyone in trades will probably be finding that the work becomes more constant from here on in as everyone wants their job done today…or at the latest, tomorrow. Patience is a virtue, or so my mother told me, but it doesn’t always wear so well when talking with potential clients.

So, if you’re looking to do a spring clean at your place – be it oiling the deck, a fresh coat of paint, a garden tidy up or changing batteries in your smoke detectors –  think about what you can do and then give me a ring about the rest. Get a list happening of all the things you want done and prioritise it. And if I can’t do it, I’m always happy to give you some idea of who might.

In the meantime, enjoy the warmer days and have a word to that person of influence about sending down some decent rain before summer gets here.


The Handyman’s 12 Days of Christmas

Cameron the HandymanOn the first day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“Toilet’s blocked again – you won’t be using it to even pee!”

On the second day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

”There’s still no water in the toilet, the bathroom light has shorted and you’ll have to use a candle to see.”

On the third day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“The front gate is off its hinges, the dogs are down the street and I’m looking like I’ll be a busy little B@*#%!@*.”

On the fourth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“I hear four birds are calling in, three of them are artists, two own cats and one of them has my key.”

On the fifth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“Fair dinkum, doesn’t anyone make outdoor furniture that isn’t put together with Chinese instructions and an Allen key?”

On the sixth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

”I saw six geese a-laying on the farm I was working to lay five metres of paving for a new outdoor area, before Christmas Eve.”

On the seventh day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“Struth, I was offered seven swimming swans, six laying geese, five golden chooks, four calling birds in exchange for my Handyman fee!”

On the eighth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

”I made a maid happy with my drilling and I told her I’d fix that leaky tap tomorra before it’s time for tea.”

On the ninth day of Christmas, the Handyman to me,

“I had nine ladies dancing in delight about the leaky tap I fixed for the grateful maid…turns out they’re all widows and have lots of jobs for me to come and see!”

On the tenth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

Why are there ten lords a-leaping naked on our front lawn?” To which I replied, “If you can have nine ladies dancing, I’ll go a couple better…you obviously didn’t see the one hiding behind the tree?”

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“It’s the eleventh hour, we’ve had too much Christmas cheer – your eleven naked lords a-leaping need to go home so I’m ready for my nine dancing ladies who in the morning will be needing me.”

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Handyman said to me,

“There are twelve drummers drumming in my head, after eleven beers drunk ten hours ago on the job for the nine dancing ladies, accompanied by the happy maid and those pesky eleven leaping lords. Shut up those bloomin’ seven swimming swans, six laying geese, five golden chooks, four calling birds and the dogs barking down the street.”

Merry Christmas! Get in early with those jobs before the Christmas cheer kicks in!

Written by the Handyman’s marketing staff over a few drinks…

The birds are a twittering

Willy Wagtail eggs in nesWe’ve certainly had a warm start to spring and everywhere you look there are signs we’re in for a long, hot summer. The only thing holding back lawns at the moment is the lack of rain, but deciduous trees are either flowering or leafing up and spring flowers are coming up everywhere.

While the weather at this time of year can be a little unpredictable, it’s still a good time to start getting ready for the summer ahead. Some things you might want to have a think about for the coming months include:

  • Check your gutters – gutters that overflow back into the roof space are a common cause of damage in homes;
  • Check fly screens – most are easy to replace and stop that bug invasion that happens when the weather warms up;
  • Check your evaporative cooler* before you really need to turn it on – over winter bearings can seize up and the float valves stick shut;
  • Check filters on the internal unit of your reverse cycle air conditioner* – read the manual; it’s usually not a difficult job;
  • Fertilise your lawn and spray out weeds – use a selective broadleaf herbicide. Kamba M gives good control of most broadleaf weeds if use as directed. Spread your fertiliser at least two weeks after spraying for weeds. Tip: It all works better if your lawn is well watered before you start.

*Please take care if you’re climbing on your roof. If you’re not sure about working at heights, seek help.

For some more ideas of what you could be doing this spring to get ready for the long summer days ahead, check out an earlier post – Spring clean your way to a carefree summer!

If you have problems with any of these basic maintenance jobs, give me a call! I’m more than happy to give a quote. Don’t forget though, it’s a busy time of year for blokes like me and a little bit of notice is always appreciated.

Rain rain go away (for now)

Cameron the Handyman on the jobWith only weeks left of summer, I’m wondering where summer disappeared to. Hasn’t it been a wet one?

Thankfully, my job sees me working inside as well as outside. However, those outside jobs I have been doing bring to mind how important it is to get your drainage working well during wet periods like this summer.

The rain we’ve had has often been storm rain, falling heavily in a short space of time. Your gutters and down pipes have probably been tested. The amount of water flowing off hard surfaces can cause quite a bit of damage if it can’t get away quickly enough or gets banked up at some point. This is when basic house and garden maintenance becomes critical.

At our place, we’ve been trying to find enough dry days (in between jobs) to renovate an outdoor entertaining area. However, we had a garden bed next to this space that flooded every time we had heavy rain, floating bark chip on to the verandah. It was important to get this fixed before laying any concrete or making other changes to the layout of the space. We cleared the garden bed, lay down some ag drainage pipe, packed it out with rubble, covered with geotextile fabric, then replaced the soil before planting out the bed again with drought-hardy, flood-tolerant native reeds.

Sounds like a bit of work, but worth it in the long run. I’m looking forward to enjoying this outdoor space…next summer! The Bureau of Meteorology forecast to the end of April isn’t showing a likelihood of big rain in early autumn, but I’m not sure we were quite expecting the amount of rain we’ve had so far. So, if you have some drainage issues at your place – gutters that need cleaning, down pipes that are blocked or a garden bed that needs some extra drainage, give me a call.

Winter is upon us

Baby, it’s cold outside! They might call it autumn, but winter is almost here and we’re flicking switches or stoking fires to keep the chill at bay. With the focus on the indoors and “cocooning” on cold winter’s nights, we need to be mindful of some of the safety aspects of heating and fires and general winter home maintenance.

  • Make sure you get your appliances checked out by a qualified electrician, particularly electric blankets.
  • Don’t waste money and let the hot air out – check for drafts around windows and under doors.
  • Check your fire alarms and for good measure make the first day of winter the day you change your batteries, if you haven’t already done so.
  • If you have a wood heater, make sure you check the flue is clean and there are no obstructions there that may have built up over past winters or occured over summer.

I’m not a qualified electrician – but there are plenty around. However, I can help with fixing drafts, checking fire alarms and cleaning wood heaters. Then there are those other little jobs that build up and make life a little more uncomfortable over winter – like doors that don’t close properly and taps that drip all your hot water down the drain. Give me a ring and I’ll get those things fixed for you!

By the way, Fire & Rescue NSW have a really handy little website up called A lot can happen in 3 minutes and there’s a great Home Fire Safety Checklist that is worth having a look at.

Image: (c) 2011 Kim V. Goldsmith, wire sculpture on wood heater (c) Merryn Spencer

Summer is almost here!

Summer is almost on us and there are a few jobs you should do so you can enjoy the longer days and warmer months:
* Clean and check your guttering
* Remove rubbish from around your home
* Ensure your taps don’t leak and your hoses are in good repair
* Check and clean your flyscreens
* Make sure screen doors close properly
* Get your air-conditioning checked
* Clean the dust from your ceiling fans
* Make sure your smoke detectors are working
* Tidy up the garden, re-mulch beds that need a top up

Running out of time to do some of this? Give me call! In the meantime, stay cool – check out the great tips from Sustainability Victoria on keeping your home cool this summer – see the favourite links in the right margin. I’ve included some other useful tips and contacts below – the links of which are in my favourite links list as well:

For emergency help in floods and storms call:
State Emergency Service (SES)on 132 500

For ideas about how to prepare your property for summer check out information from the NSW Fire Brigade and NSW Rural Fire Service.