Thursday, June 28, 2018

The potting shed has windows

The transformation of the 5,000 gallon water tank into a potting shed continues. First we moved it (see the post here)

Then we cut holes in it!

The latest development has been the lead light windows. (Don't all potting sheds have lead light windows?)  It was an interesting exercise making and installing windows into curved walls which varied between 100 mm to 150 mm thick.  But, job done.

The next challenge is to make a door.  I might need to mull that over a bit before I get started though.  

Saturday, April 14, 2018


After a couple visitors recently missed our entrance we thought we'd best make it stand out more. The make-over included moving the gate 3 meters further into our property, giving us more room to get off the road when opening the gate - especially handy when dragging the trailer around.  We also upgraded to a wider, 14 foot gate and galvanised posts.
Front entrance

There's still some fine tuning needed to smooth out a couple of humps and the old fence posts are yet to be removed... but it's nearly finished.  After the front gate went so well we figured we were on a roll so we did the eastern house gate as well.

I kept track of the time involved (and I now know why no-one else around here has a white picket fence.)

Hours below exclude installing the posts and swinging the gates:
  • Front entrance
    • number of pickets - 110
    • paint pickets - 28 hrs
    • install pickets -  17 hrs
    • install rails - 7 hrs
    • paint rails - 5 hrs
    • sand pickets - 5 hrs
    • shape tops - 3 hrs 
    • average = 59 minutes/picket
  • House gate
    • number of pickets - 60
    • paint pickets - 9 hrs
    • install pickets - 9 hrs
    • install rails - 2 hrs
    • paint rails - 2 hrs
    • sand pickets - 2 hrs
    • shape tops - 1 hrs
    • average = 42 minutes/picket

Two things I discovered:
  1. Things always take longer than I think they will. (I did already know that.)
  2. I do get quicker as I go. (Thankfully.)

Rolex and the eastern gate

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The phone's home

I picked up our 1950s telephone box from a friend of Mum's last century for the princely some of $20. After repairs it become somewhat of a local landmark on the front lawn of our Canberra home.  But we couldn't leave it behind, it was destined to be part of the Pemberley landscape. 

I don't know how much a phone box weighs, but the glass is 1/4 inch thick and much of the timber is hardwood.  The roof is galvanised sheet tin and the ceiling is 1/2 inch thick lining boards.  But despite the kilos, getting it on and off the truck was simply a case of manpower.

However, repairing it required a bit more effort.

Looking a bit sad after the long trip and a couple of decades between makeovers.
I repaired and repainted as much as I could before we stood it up.
(Somehow a red phone box doesn't look right in white.)
The bottom of the door and walls needed new timber and reglazing.

Friends, family and the 1948 Fergie all helped to stand it back up.

Rolex is very happy with the final result.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas at Pemberley

The 25th of December, 2017 will stand as a red letter day.  It was the day that Christmas came to PemberleyThe day was spent with trusty watch dog Rolex, 18 month old grandson Callum and significant others, (left to right: me, Georgii, Nette, Simon holding Callum and Sam at front).  It was an absolute blessing to share church, gifts and the day together.

Christmas has also given me a bit of time to rest my broken little finger.  It appears to be healing well, with the last X-ray showing it starting to knit back together.  However, 3 weeks in it still surprises me just how debilitating such a seemingly small injury can be. 

But as I can still use the computer mouse left handed I've started drafting stage two of the croft.  This will be single level and add two bedrooms, a library and a kitchen/living area to the existing, approved building.  It's a bit of a challenge to draw: for two reasons.  Firstly, I'm right handed, so while I can use a mouse in my left hand, my lack of dexterity is frustrating.  Secondly, I'm using SketchUp a free application for drawing 3D models.  It's a great product - but along with the left hand, there's quite a learning curve - though so far, well worth the investment.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It was bound to happen eventually

While building Pemberley I have observed that the probability of incurring an injury increases exponentially as the day progresses. It's that last hour or so around 5:00pm that I seem to push myself to lift just a few more kilos, stretch a extra couple of centimetres or finish those last few rows.

To date I have been fortunate to stave off serious injury - though drilling through my thumb and arguing with the tractor hydraulics were clear near misses. I'd like to be able to say that this great record is due to my wise and considered work practises. But that would be fibbing a little (check out my scaffold). While I try to be mindful of what I'm doing and how I'm tackling it, ultimately I have avoided hospital visits mainly as the result of having a wife who is a nurse (instant, on-site medical attention) and who keeps a wary eye on how tired I'm getting.

But the system let us down yesterday. Around 10:30am I was moving my bandsaw (it wasn't running) in the workshop and it got stuck on the edge of the fatigue mat. So I lifted the castored corner about a centimetre, slid it over the mat and popped it back down. The problem was I dropped it on my finger. Nette's medical advice astounded me – it's the first time that she has said we should go to the hospital.

Seen last night in ED. The sign reads
"Please keep clear! This space is for
the emergency cart only."

We got home around 10:00pm after X-rays, orthopaedics and attempting to realign the bone in my little finger.  (She was right.)

Moral to the story – whilst you can minimise the risk of injury by knocking off before 5:00pm, you can never totally eliminate it.

Some facts
Injuries due to contact with tools and machinery most often result in an open wound (31%) or a fracture (23%)Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Apr 19, 2017.