Thursday, December 18, 2008

45, The bays, done at last!

Wednesday, the seventeenth of December, I'm happy, much of my cursing is now in the past. The final block is placed for the bay windows, they are complete and so is the ground floor stonework. Next on the agenda is the raising of the scaffolding to enable me to install the string course and pour a reinforced concrete beam behind it to hold the house together.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

44, Yet more distractions.

That time of year had come around again, the grass had started it's annual migration towards the sun. With this part of the country suffering from a prolonged drought, water has been in short supply. With reticulated water not being available to us, we rely on tank water collected from our roof areas for domestic use. To help supplement this we had begun to pump water from our main dam for use in the toilet and for other external use. For this purpose I had laid out extension leads and a 1 inch poly pipe across the ground the 80 or so metres to the pump.
With there being no relief in sight from the drought, it was becoming apparent that this setup was going to have to be made permanent. Mowing the block with this stuff in the way was a pain in the proverbial and as for thepower leads lying in the grass, not a good idea.

In late October the digging started, I began with a trench from the house to the shed, in which to lay some poly, for dam water to be piped for use on the saw, enabling me to remove two lengths of garden hose from the grass. At the start of November I began the 600mm deep trench to the dam, in which to bury the conduit and pipe. The first 40 metres proved very easy work by hand, traversing the damp ground below our septic system. To make full use of this trench, I enlarged and deepened it near the house to pass below the footings to install some needed drainage pipes to connect to the cellar.
The progress came to a halt shortly past the mid point, nearing the eucalypt trees in the vicinity of the dam. The ground here, being so dry and full of roots, proved for it to be next to impossible for the pick and shovel to penetrate. I had no choice but to contract the services of a friend, armed with an excavator, to complete the digging.

Concurrently with this project, our attention was also preoccupied with the searching for a more reliable mower, our old MTD ride on, purchased new about 10 years ago was costing me far to much time in repairs and maintenance to make it worthwhile. We needed one that could take a bit of punishment. Happening across an hour old ad via the trading post online had me making a $50 direct deposit to secure a little? Kubota G5200, a sturdy ride on with a 3 cylinder diesel and a 44 inch cutting deck. This led me to my next problem, how to get it? it was located near Hobart, Tasmania.

Quotations from shipping companies varied upwards from about $300.00 with no insurance, so for a little extra I decided to pick it up myself. This entailed a 100km drive to the ferry terminal, a 450km overnight trip for my van and I aboard the "Spirit of Tasmania" and a further drive of about 270km to Acton Park, near Hobart airport. Impressed with the machine, I paid the balance of $2050.00, loaded up and began the trip home. On the return journey I stopped off at Hobart and posed the van at the "Queens Domain" for the above picture with the Tasman bridge in the background. I also took the opportunity to scout Hobart's streets and other various locations on the way to expand my photographic record of much of the beautiful Colonial and Victorian architecture this state has to offer. Another overnight trip saw me returning home the following morning, about 41 hours after leaving.

After a week or two's work on my return the mower was ready to roll and I was more than impressed, it runs well and cuts beautifully. The machine was in excellent condition for it's age but the deck was a bit sorry. I re-plated the entire front section with 3mm steel, turned 4 new "anti scalp" rollers and fitted them with new axles, fabricated new belt covers, installed new pins, clips and bolts, adjusted the angle of the tension pulley and cleaned and repainted the whole assembly.