Sunday, 3 October 2010

Counting Down to Winter – part 1

It’s been nearly a week since my last summer visitor, my son ‘A’ left but is seems so much longer. ‘A’ had been here for nearly 7 weeks and between us we got a couple of the more difficult/time-consuming jobs done.  The first one was the hay-loft floor. This is a long running saga and starts about 2 and a half years ago; that’s when my other son ‘G’ fell through the hayloft floor while helping me stack bales. We decided that on his return visit we would re-floor the loft.

He returned last summer for a long stay, by which time I had also had a go at falling through the floor but thankfully didn’t succeed anywhere near as well as ‘G’.  After a few days of searching we found a reasonably local building suppliers and collected twelve 4m long flooring planks.  They only had the 12 so the other 88 I needed had to be ordered.  Not too much of a problem or so I thought; I’d glanced at the order and saw that the date was only a couple of weeks away.  Silly me, I didn’t think to check the month as well, I just assumed that a national chain of building supplies wouldn’t need nearly 2 months to obtain 88 flooring planks!  So ‘G’ and I put up the dozen planks we had obtained and the remaining planks arrived 2 weeks after he had left.

I put another dozen or so in on my own, a long task due to having to keep going up and down the ladder between measuring, cutting and fixing the planks and put in about the same again with the help of other friends over the course of late spring and early summer.  With ‘A’s’ help we put in all the remaining boards that we could, (I still have 3 support beams to replace before I can re-floor), and also removed an old pigeon loft which was in the corner of the hay loft.  We were then able to move all remaining planks onto the hayloft floor so they don’t have to spend another year outside.

As well as the hayloft, ‘A’ and I had another project, the polytunnel.  The instructions said it was a 2 day job for 2 people……. I beg to differ.

It took us around 3 weeks – not every day and not all day but long enough each day.  Making sense of the instructions was the first challenge.  It wasn’t that the instructions were lacking it was just making sure we got them right.  It would have been a lot faster if we’d put up a polytunnel before and knew what we were doing, so I was paranoid about making a mistake and ruining it.  Added to that the days were very hot and it is difficult reading instructions with sweat running into your eyes.  ‘A’ was very patient with me.

The site I chosen look relatively level and I’d rotavated the ground and raked it too, however once we’d put the support post in; a small matter of digging fourteen 30cm square and 50cm deep holes for the anchor plates, it became very obvious that the ground sloped quite steeply.

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The picture above shows the basic frame and the top of the boarding to the right is on a level with ground level on the left.  A lot of earth shifting was and still is required.  Thankfully the rotavator did and excellent job of digging into the rock hard ground and generating earth to backfill but I think that I will still be shifting earth throughout this winter before it is fully levelled inside and out. However:-

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The first planting is in :-)


Olive said...

Great job, wish I had one of those, but here high on the hill it would more than likely blow away with the first strong wind.
Here in Oz we are looking forward to Summer after having been through a very cold Winter.

dND said...

Hi Olive, I am a bit worried by the prevailing winds here too but saw a video of one of these surviving a force 8 gale. I also 'maxed' up the tunnel too. There are anchor plates on each hoop support, the hoops are the bigger 35mm dia tubing, and I ordered crop bars and storm braces too. If it does blow away I will have at least tried :-)