Wednesday, 30 September 2009

It's a washout!

The last couple of weeks have been extremely wet, which is pretty typical spring weather here. At this stage in the build there's only one job left to do before we can make any more progress, and that's putting in the posts for the veranda. We managed to dig one of the six holes before the rain set in two weekends ago, but when we went up on site last weekend, we found that the trench where we need to dig the holes was flooded. We bailed out as much water as we could, but the ground was far too gloopy to dig. 

 Our newly-installed septic system and water tanks looking the worse for the rain

 Oh dear!

There's been an awful lot more rain this week, with more forecast over the next four days, so we're expecting the flooding to be even worse when we go up to the site this weekend. What we need is at least a week's worth of fine weather to dry everything out before we can do any more work on the build. It's very frustrating, as the chances of going for a week without rain at this time of year are pretty slim. The build could easily be held up for another month.

This is where the veranda posts go

On the positive side, we've now only got another two or three weeks to wait for the yurt, and once that arrives we'll be moving up onto the site. We have to give 21 days' notice on our rental, which we won't do until we've got the yurt, which means we'll have a nice and leisurely three weeks to do the move and work out where the heck we're going to put everything.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Picture post

So much to do, so little time...but just enough to do a quick picture-based blog post to bring you up to date with developments on the house build.

High altitude power tool usage -- Iain takes his life in his hands as he trims the hanging rafters

Batter boards, Mark II: our new, improved version, with string lines marking out the position of the veranda

We were given this caravan by our friends Frank and Linda. They lived in it while they were building their house, but it's spent the last twelve years as a storage shed.

 First job is a thorough clean (I'm halfway through that now), then we'll give it a couple of fresh coats of paint inside and out, and some new upholstery. It'll never be roadworthy again, but it's going to make a great kitchen/diner while we're living in the yurt, and a cosy office-come-guest room once the house is finished.

 Rob the Digger Bloke starts digging the hole for the septic tank.

Our septic tank is huge. Iain's planning on doing a lot of poos.

20 minutes into the dig. It would have taken us months to dig out that hole by hand. Hooray for diggers!

The septic tank is winched into place.

The installed septic tank (buried, at the front) and water tanks (half-buried, at the back)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Spring is sprung

September the first is officially the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere, so in honour of the occasion, here's a little ditty my parents taught me when I was little.

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz,
I wonder where the birdies is.
The little bird is on the wing.
Well that's absurd!
I always thought the wing was on the bird.

I've no idea who wrote it. My parents used to recite it in a bad New York accent, saying 'boid' for 'bird'. At that age my only experience of a similar accent was from watching The Abbott and Costello Show on Saturday afternoons, so for years I assumed it must be one of their little bits of nonsense. After a few minutes of Googling I discovered that some sources attribute it to Ogden Nash. I've not found definite proof that it's one of his, but it wouldn't surprise me if it were.

Iain and I have been very busy since I last posted. In my free time last week I took part in a collaborative project called SPARK, in which writers and artists create new pieces using each others' work as inspiration. I was paired with artist and musician Jim Doran from Baltimore, Maryland, and I wrote a story inspired by his photo 'Sisters'. Jim created a wonderful cartoon after reading one of my poems. To read my story and for a link to Jim's cartoon visit my writing blog here. By the time you read this, the work from the latest round (Round 5) might have been posted on the SPARK website. If you go there you'll also be able to see the photo of Jim's that inspired my story. It's well worth a look. And, of course, it goes without saying that you'll also be able to see the work created by all the dozens of other writers and artists who took part. I'm looking forward to reading what my friend Melissa has written.

House-build-wise, Iain and I had a wonderfully productive day last Saturday, and an incredibly frustrating one on Sunday, so our batting average for the entire weekend was fair to middling. We've completed the eaves on the back of the house. Cue photo...

To paraphrase Churchill: 'Never in the history of human building has it taken two people so long to attach 12 pieces of wood.'

We've also installed the hanging rafters on one side of the house, and trimmed them and the purlins to the right length.

Iain attaches the last of the hanging rafters on the east side of the house

We're now only a couple of hours (or, as Iain would say, 'a gnat's cock') away from completing the roof framing. So next weekend we'll be able to make a start on the veranda posts (at last!) This will involve concrete. Be prepared for some interesting photos of mess and mayhem!