Pig’s Ear rebirth

May 26th

Colin has finished the block-wall section of rear extension foundations – has decided that he won’t ever be a brickie! Although I must say this job improved greatly on his last similar one in Frankston in 1972.Whether he spends the day or so finishing (owner’s finish, not builder’s finish – a great divide between these concepts) the garage, or whether he continues with the extension will be decided sometime today, no doubt.But – the vegies are leaping out of the ground with this weirdly unseasonal weather (26C in May?!) and Elle and Luka continue their supervisory roles with typical catty aplomb.

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May 16th 

Halleluljah, Halleluljah, Hallel-luuu-u-jah!  Near enough to post as FINISHED, even though there’s about a day’s work still in finishing off bits (just ignore the yellow fluff in the gutter, it’s the end bit of insulation waiting for a haircut) and some drainage to ready for the arrival of that tank that is still to be ordered. Have to be soon – all predictions say a hot dry late winter and summer ahead. Stuff has moved in to the shed – I now have a laundry I can get into without squiggling sideways – we’ve had our first after-work drink there, and there’s talk around the site of blockwork being started for foundation wall at the rear, and timber has landed on site – enough to build a house, Vicky our neighbour said!

In the meantime, we have eaten the first radish crop, Colin has filled the raised permanent beds, I have planted the blueberries – an early, mid and late cropper –  and strawberries, and taken over Colin’s experimental bed until he wants it, for beetroot, more radishes, and carrots.

And we have glorious autumn sunsets at the moment – this taken from the soon-to-be-demolished deck. Please don’t ask me to define ‘soon’.

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 April 24th

Slow slow at the moment! Frustrating for Colin who wants to get on with the ‘real work’ on the cottage. Four sick days and more rain stopped everything.

BUT – moving along again, between showers! At least the vege garden likes the rain and is establishing nicely.

Anne H, this pic is for you – Colin promised you he’d have the shed roof on by last night. This morning he suggested colouring-in the roof area so you’d think it was done

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April 10th

A while since pics have gone up here – blame rain, rain and more bleedin’ rain! And it’s still coming down.The good thing about all the moisture is that I’ve planted out the lower terrace bed with winter-growing things and don’t have to water them – pics below.The bad is – obviously – that work has slowed, and Colin had to lay turf in the downpour – pics further down the page.

And here are two of up-to-the-minute, nearly. Taken before the rain started again.

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The 4 raised beds between the lawn and the terrace-bed will be mainly for permanent things – blueberries, asparagus, strawberries and one over for Colin to practise gardening in.

 

Below is the rock retaining wall for the tank platform at the rear of the soon-to-be-finished shed.

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In here are leeks, spring onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, beetroot, lettuce, cauliflower, radishes, dill, marigolds (to keep bugs away), bush peas, and short sweet peas around the edge – if they come up. Don’t think they will like all this water.

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Definitely need these in the swamp!

 

 

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The second day – turf’s down, Luka-the-cat thinks it’s for him – and the rain has stopped. Briefly.

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End of first day laying turf in the mud and rain.  I just watch from the window and make admiring noises now and then.

 

 

And here he is – mud, mud and more of it.  That white stick in the back corner is sitting low in the water.

Cut turf waits for no weather.  Unless it’s laid within a day or so it heats internally and dies, even in the rain.Not able to cancel it because it was already cut to deliver.

So here it is, all stacked up and waiting for Colin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 25th

A few hiccups have slowed things down these last ten days – rain and Colin going to Sydney for a few days are just two.  We are doing the ‘this thing first, then…’ again : moving everything out of the bottom garage to wherever it will fit, so that a bobcat can get into the backyard. But the garage door opening is too low for the BC to fit under, so it will have to dig out 200mm of soil as it goes – make its own road, so to speak! This will happen Monday – if the rain stops.

All this is needed because we have to stabilise the soil that slopes towards the right back corner, and turfing right around the slope is the quickest and most economical way to do it – hence the BC to level the slope and bring in topsoil for the turf, and with any luck I’ll get the bottom tier of the terrace filled with garden-soil (topsoil and mushroom compost mix) at the same time and get some autumn veges planted.

So,no new pics this week – but hopefully some next week when things start moving again.

March 17th

Workshop going up – long job for one on his own, even if I hold things occasionally. A meccano set workshop that need a lot of extra bracing, otherwise our high winds in spring and early summer could see it flying off over Merimbula Bay to Pambula Beach.

DSCN1988Going up….

 

DSCN1989…and up…

 

 DSCN1990  …and up…

DSCN1992…and still more to go…watch this space!

Tuesday 4th March

Two very busy weeks for Colin-the-man-who-does-everything, but nothing to post pics of.  When this back yard is all done and gorgeous I want to put a notice up – ‘under this calm and gentle-looking exterior is a heap of money and weeks of hard labour by the builder.’

And here it is - at last! all neat and tidy, and ready for the next bit: THE SHED!
And here it is – at last! all neat and tidy, and ready for the next bit: THE SHED! There will be steps in the first gap and a ramp in the one close to the shed.
this might still look messy - but remember the mine-site here previously! This is looking down what will be the driveway through the garage to the shed - the heap at the right is waiting for the block foundations to be done then it will be levelled into a slight ramp from the garage door.
this might still look messy – but remember the mine-site here previously! If not, scroll down to last week’s pics.  This is looking down what will be the driveway through the garage to the shed – the heap at the right is waiting for the block foundations to be done then it will be levelled into a slight ramp from the garage door.

looking from rear of yard - this section will be under house and deck, but still has to be well shored up.

looking from rear of yard – this section will be under house and deck, but still has to be well shored up. The white pipes are drainage downpipes waiting for the house to catch up!

this small monster did a sideways slip around about now - scary for me but the driver wasn't troubled at all.

This little monster did wonders, and also a bit of a sideways slip around about now.  Scary watching, but the driver and Colin didn’t seemed at all concerned. Amazing the small spaces they can manoeuvre into. 

The under-workings of the retaining wall serious drainage needed on this very clayey hill - aggie drain  (white thingo) in place over screenings, crushed rock to fill the gap over that, then topsoil to fill the full length of garden bed - I have the picture of it full of leeks, tomatoes, corn, greed things, blueberries, and asparagus, and lots of other yummies.

The under-workings of the retaining wall:  serious drainage needed on this very clayey hill – aggie drain (white snakey thingo) in place over screenings, crushed rock to fill the gap over that, then topsoil to fill the full length of garden bed – picture it full of leeks, tomatoes, corn, green things, blueberries, and asparagus, and lots of other yummies.  The steel rods tie the sleeper wall to the one above,  for security, and the one above is tied into the workshop concrete slab – these aren’t going anywhere, anytime!

Wednesday 19th February

A couple of days of waiting around for Council inspection of the drainage system, and all’s well of course. Rob – our electrician and friend, added cabling to the trench at the side that runs from the house to the shed, this takes power to the shed, water from the house roof to the tank behind the shed and piping to run tank water to the front garden for watering.  Colin will be working on the retaining wall stabilisation for a few days yet before the machinery comes back to scare the cats, backfill around the terraces and level out the rest of the yard. Today had a huge storm – here’s the result in one pic, and what I did during it in the other.

A repair job to something that was once an Akubra hat - and yes Zoe, this IS the one we bought your father for Christmas in the late 1980s.

A repair job to something that was once an Akubra hat – and yes Zoe, this IS the one we bought your father for Christmas in the late 1980s.

A sad sight/site!

A sad sight/site!

Friday 14th February – no St Valentine romance around this lot. 

Just what we need
Just what we need, more dirt!

Colin the Drainer - is this man versatile, or what?

Colin the Drainer – is this man versatile, or what?

Not the great wall of China, just the first terrace of the retaining wall.

Not the great wall of China, just the first terrace of the retaining wall.

two terraces to stabilise the slope - the bottom one will be a garden bed - asparagus anyone?

two terraces to stabilise the slope – the bottom one will be a garden bed – asparagus anyone?

Looking from falling-down deck north west - fog, not smoke.

This morning, looking from falling-down deck north west – fog, not smoke.

Tuesday February 11th

Lots of action and noise today – I left home when the water went off and read in the relative quiet of the local library.   Alan Ford – if you thought the back yard looked like a mine site on Sunday, look at it now! The white marks along the centre of the photo are where the retaining wall support posts will go, and the last pic is the holes being made. Can’t imagine if Colin tried to do this by hand himself – maybe another six months on the build time?

More to come tomorrow –  the second level of retaining wall will be levelled.  The mess in the second pic that looks like an overactive wombat has been at work is where trenches have been made for electricity to the shed, and  for drainage pipes from the house to the tank that’s not there yet – but will be at the rear of the shed.

This is the house that Jack built at the moment – this has to be done first to stabilise everything before Colin puts up the shed that has to be done to give somewhere to move all the stuff under the house and in the garages so he can start work on the house!

to this.  Alan, now it really does look like a mine-site!

to this. Alan, now it really does look like a mine-site!

from this relatively clean and peaceful place...

from this relatively clean and peaceful place…

setting the retaining wall first layer

setting the retaining wall first layer

drilling holes for retaining wall post/supports

drilling holes for retaining wall post/supports

Tuesday February 4th

I’ve managed to lose most of the early pics – it took a while, but now I know how I did it but not going to say as it was really really stupid. This is a real learning curve, and there will probably be more strange things to come.

Where it’s all at is that the slab for the workshop has been poured – yesterday on the worst day imaginable for concrete. Forget rain, this was hot with a dry, hot wind. All of which make the concrete dry too quickly and cause cracks.  Hence the black plastic wrapping, to keep this rather expensive thing damp and drying slowly. I know all this because I keep asking annoying questions of the builder!

Colours and cladding have finally been agreed on – Colorbond steel, which is used often near the ocean as it doesn’t need painting and is long-lasting and doesn’t mind salt winds. Colours are Shale Grey for walls and Deep Ocean on the roof, with a couple of sections of dark-ish timber at the front new bits for variation and interest. If you want to look at the colours go to

http://colorbond.com/products/product-overview?gclid=CJyjrcmMsrwCFYEJvAodFX4A2g

and scroll down to the page ‘Download the colours for your home colour chart’.

Slab with all its layers done ready for the pour.

Slab with all its layers done ready for the pour.

Just as well we have very good neighbours.

Just as well we have very good neighbours.

Time to hear it for the tradies. Without these guys who know so much about what they do there would be no towns, no cities, no modern buildings. We'd still be living in grass huts.

Time to hear it for the tradies. Without these guys who know so much about what they do there would be no towns, no cities, no modern buildings. We’d still be living in grass huts

All wrapped up for the next week.

All wrapped up for the next week.

Thursday January 30th

Not a lot going on that makes a good pic, although there’s a lot going on.  Must say that I didn’t know the work and layers of things that go into a cement slab: build up site with fill, level off, dig deep trench at edges and across the centre of soon-to-be-slab, drill holes in the trench and fill with concrete and bits of metal sticking up. Then pour black crushed rock over the whole lot and pack down with a noisy machine, wrap in black plastic, cover the lot with steel mesh – 2 layers in some parts. Now it’s ready for the actual concrete, which is being poured on Monday, if it doesn’t rain! Family joke – need rain, ask Colin to say ‘concrete pour’.

All layered up and ready for the concrete. This looks small here but is the size of a large double garage.

All layered up and ready for the concrete. This looks small here but is the size of a large double garage.

End of levelling the area around the workshop slab area. It's just one small pile, Col!

End of levelling the area around the workshop slab area. is this one pile too

Last pile going over the edge of the retaining wall on the right.

Last pile going over the edge of the retaining wall on the right.

The foundation trench at the front of pic and the metal posts show the line of where the house will extend to.  The hard to see small metal stirrups and witches hats to the left of these is the line of the balconies and roof.

The foundation trench at the front of pic and the metal posts show the line of where the house will extend to. The hard to see small metal stirrups that line up with the short white post at the top centre (it’s really that sewer line!) to the left of these show the line of the balconies and roof.

Tuesday January 14th

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Outside looking at the back of cottage…

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…inside looking out south.  This is one reason why this is a good place to be.

January 8th 2014

And it begins.  There’s six months or so of living on a building site as The Builder will do as much as possible himself.  Been there, done that, and maybe this is the last time.

Colin started to pull down the old deck. Nothing has been done to this cottage since it was built in  1973-ish, so there is rot through the south-facing timber and evidence that termites have had a meal or two somewhere along the way. And the original builder didn’t bother to nail down the decking to the timbers!

 

Rotten to the core.

Rotten to the core.

floor plan pigs ear as it is now.floor plan pigs ear new 

Above is the cottage as it is now, and to the right is as it will be in around six months time @ around 16 squares. What is not shown here is the bedroom and attached small bathroom underneath – a bit of a bunker but it will clean up into a useful space for visitors.  The red line is the original cottage – the kitchen here is on the original deck, and has a garage underneath.

Tuesday January 8th – the beginning!  Robbie Gordon – who did all of Colin’s site work when he was full-on building in the Merimbula area between 1975 and 1992 – re-arranged the back yard ready for the concrete slab to build the shed on.

THIS is a shed?!  IKEA ha a lot to answer for.

THIS is a shed?! IKEA ha a lot to answer for.

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About Glen Guest

writer, editor. All about words.
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