It was recently bought to my attention that I never did share our story of how we went about beating the bushfires with eaves. How installing eaves increased the protection our home from Bushfires. Originally we began installing eaves on our ‘front’ verandah and deck back in February 2019. This was a long project that spanned many, many months. Like with much of our building progress it had to fit around the margins of an increasingly overflowing life.
Firstly PC had to prepare the boxing in, the cutting and installation of the battens in preparation for the cement sheeting to be nailed onto.
Then with the aid of our ever trusty panel hoist and our dedicated ‘Team’ the first few sheets went up.
Then work was halted for months whilst life intervened, with PC installing more battens on an odd weekend here and there where life allowed.
In September we swung back into action in a race against the ever present bushfires that were raging throughout our Valley. We needed to finish sheeting the eaves if we were to have any chance of defending our home against bushfires.
As you can see by the constant sky haze, this was a very real threat of many months.
We would lift each sheet up, then together we would tilt and maneuver each sheet into the joining strips. Some sheets were an easy fit, some took more finagling.
This was our first major project we’d undertaken since Michelangelo had left home. We were so proud of how the girls were able to step up and take over much of the work their big brother would have previously undertaken.
It also gave the younger boys an opportunity to learn new skills and gain confidence. In particular Jack Jack and Jem, who were 13 and 11 at the time. It was wonderful to see them grow.
Like with many tasks when owner building, you don’t always get a clean run. You have to go back and complete one task before you can progress with another.
By October we had progressed along the verandah to the deck, but we then had to stop to complete cladding the walls around the kitchen windows.
Once the walls were complete, PC was back to cutting and preparing battens for the deck area.
Though it wasn’t yet time to turn our attentions to sheeting again as there was one more incomplete task that needed finishing. The guttering along the back section of the deck and up the side of the original house needed to be installed.
Finally all was ready to begin installing the cement sheeting again. We moved our attentions back the the verandah and began moving along in a clean sweep towards the deck.
By November 2019 we were nailing up the sheeting under the deck. We raced along in a fever of anxiety as the bushfires moved in a path of destruction towards us. Any embers coming to rest in our unprotected eaves would mean we’d have little chance of saving our home.
Every evening PC would come home from work and nail up another cement sheet.
Finally the eaves were all installed on the deck and we began to breathe a little easier, feeling we now had a fighting chance.
Just loving the clean, clear lines here.
By December 2019 we only had the last section to go and we were flying along.
During those long months the vigilance was constant with the sky blanketed by smoke nearly everyday, the bushfires creeping ever closer. Our van was packed and ready to go several times and living behind the road blocks was draining to say the least. The ferocity of the bushfires were intense and our Valley was declared a National Disaster with half the Valley, 550000ha burnt and over 160 homes and countless sheds destroyed.
When we were finally finished we were so grateful to still have our home.
By January 2020 the bushfires had finally been extinguished and we were free to enjoy our completed project.
It brings such joy to admire what we have achieved, and to enjoy our outdoor area.