Friday, September 4, 2009

Big is not always beautiful

Spring is here and with Summer to come, we've been throwing ourselves into a few BIG projects. They're not things you want to be doing in the middle of summer with all that heat. Already we're limited to working a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon - otherwise we risk becoming heat struck.

First job we've been tackling over the past few weeks, is finishing our last retaining wall in-front of the house. It needed seven courses of blocks, as opposed to the other side, which only needed five. That's because it's on the lowest section of the house pad. This side is where all the water will drain away. It requires a wide spoon drain later on - but first we need to finish the wall.

The reason it's taking so long however, is the amount of back-filling needed...

In the picture, you get an idea of how much space there is to fill. First we have to dig up the dirt, put it in a wheelbarrow, wheel it to the very top and then dump it over the edge. It's tedious work but also good for exercising your body and mind. Although using a machine would be quicker, you'd also miss the experience of moving a mountain with your bare hands.

This is stuff we can look back in our golden years as crazy to attempt, yet satisfying once achieved.

Next big project involving our hands though, is the tree-felling exercise which happened yesterday morning. The sapling we felled a few weeks earlier was nothing compared to this 30 metre giant eucalypt! I think it's a spotted gum - very common in our area and grows quickly.

We had to call in the professionals to cut it down for us - apart from the fact we don't have a chainsaw to speak of, it was also too close to the house to risk any mistakes. Dave is attempting to roll part of the trunk away. He needed to position a block of wood in the sand, on which to place his lever; as it kept sinking into the soft surface every time he tried to use it.

With a little help from me towards the end, we managed to get it onto the bank. We need to clear this area because it's where our storm water runs through. The tree is also on part of our neighbor's property, so does have to go. Dave plans to mow the area with his brushcutter after we're done, as a way of thanking our neighbour for letting us fell the tree there. It was the only safe place for it to fall.

We sort their permission first of course. Once it's all done we'll give them a dozen fresh eggs too!

One more picture for the road though, as it's my first Spring flower of the season. This is a lovely Flander's Poppy. I love the delicious red colour of it's petals. They say you can even use the dried seeds for baking.

Anyway, must go as there's plenty of work to be done!

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