Thursday, July 30, 2009

49, The threat of bushfires.

The cooler Autumn weather and the lifting of the seasonal fire restrictions saw my attention diverted away from the house for a couple of months. The major fires which devastated much of north eastern Victoria, (about 150km away), were of a ferocity and intensity which was unprecedented in this country. Many of us, who were lucky enough to be spared the ravages of these fires were served a far from subtle wake up call. The front end loader and chainsaw were pressed into service and most of the trees in close proximity to and threatening my sheds, fence lines and driveways were removed and the ground rubbish cleaned up. Bonfires were lit and were kept burning non stop for about 7 weeks, to dispose of the tops, stumps and litter.

The bulk of the wood I cut into short pieces suitable for splitting into firewood as it was unsuitable for milling.

Having a friend who, in the 2 years since he procured his explosives licence, has not had the occasion to put it to use, gave us the opportunity to remove one of the more stubborn stumps the fun way. After the placing of 3 sticks of gelignite under the offender only resulted in blowing the dirt away, we drilled 2 holes into it with another stick placed in each. The end result of which is shown in the above photo. Click on this link for the video of the event.

The removal of the native eucalyptus trees threatening the drive also afforded me the opportunity to complete the planting of elm trees to fill the voids in our avenue.
With enough cleaning being done to satisfy me for the time being I was able to re divert my attention back to the house.

Next on the agenda, while I was still set up for cutting bricks, was to form the upstairs bedroom fireplace and raising the stack as high as possible underneath the temporary roofing. The front of the opening is formed to the same dimensions as on the ground floor but the breast needed extra width to provide ample insulation for the flues. This I achieved by stepping the stack out by a 1/4 of a brick and narrowing the internal width of the opening by the same amount.

The completed lounge chimney with the bedroom fireplace and hearth over.