Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Attempt Number 2

The weekend before last was our first attempt at erecting the shed frame, and let me tell you, it was something of a disaster. I arrived out on site nice and early and got started preparing things. It was the first time I'd loaded the generator onto the truck to take out there, so there was a fair bit of screwing things together to be done before everyone started to arrive at 10am.

Things went well for the first hour, then trouble struck in the form of a generator that ran erratically, allowing at most one screw to be placed before it went off into a flurry of stuttering that prevented anything but hair pulling.

A quick call to Dad who was on his way through Bathurst and I'd arranged for him to purchase one of the cheap and nasty generators from the local big-box hardware stores. The hire company was shut over the weekend, and other loan options were hours away, so the only option was to purchase if we were to salvage anything from the event.

Everyone had arrived by the appointed time, and we got the new generator out and set up, then commenced installing the first frame. All appeared to be going reasonably well (with the exception of a number of missed steps thanks to the panic induced by the loss of the generator, something I was to discover later) but for a few organisational issues. Once that frame was up we started screwing the braces to the second frame and the drill stopped working. Thinking that we'd be smart and put one of the cordless drills on to charge whilst we figured out what to do about the dead drill and we came to realise that the second, new, generator had also failed.

Unbelievable! We tried a few things to get either of them back up and running correctly and ended up sorely disappointed. In the end we unbolted the frame we'd already erected and packed everything up then went for a drive around the place to show Dad, who was experiencing his inaugural visit.

The old generator was in the workshop the next week, the new one is sitting back in it's box waiting to be returned. On Friday I got the call that the generator was ready to be picked up, so I made arrangements to collect it Saturday morning. They gave me the sad news that it was making some strange noises and might not have long to live. My fingers are firmly crossed that it makes it through the next couple of weeks to get the shed finished.

Sunday was spent out at the block again, finishing all of the preparation work that had been neglected in the panic the previous weekend. This time around everything is pretty much ready to go, so it should be a matter of erecting the frames and stitching them together with the tophats. Sounds easy enough on virtual paper, but the experiences of the last attempt have shown me that things don't always go according to plan. I'll let you all know sometime next week how things went!!

Back on the home front, we've now got 11 new oak trees sprouted, and just over a dozen tallow trees. I was able to collect a lot more seed a couple of weeks ago, so as soon as the toilet roll collection is large enough I'll put in another big batch of those.

The baby chickens are growing at an alarming rate, and eating to match, and yesterday we hatched eight out of twelve duck eggs that we've had in the incubator. Some were reluctant to leave their eggs so DW helped them along a bit, but they don't seem any worse for it.

We've planted out the first batch of tomato, zucchini, melons and pumpkins from the glasshouse, though some of the tomatoes are a bit worse for wear (ie dead) as the couple of days after planting got rather warm. I'd tried planting the tommies into half toilet rolls this year, thinking to save on potting mix, but it seems they needed to be potted on anyway so I've exchanged the extra potting mix for stunted plants that keel over when the sun comes from behind a cloud. All is not lost of course, but we'll be a bit behind for tomatoes this year.

We've also got an unusual problem in the strawberry patch. It seems the feral guinea pigs, currently living under the stack of timber in the carport have discovered the patch, and make daily excursions there to feast on the bounty. Time to trap the little fellows and return them to confinement I reckon.

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