Mischiefs' Folly

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by mischief, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    This the next chapter in my quest for the perfect plan.

    Last year was in some was in some ways abit of a washout, yet in others it was actually quite successful....just depends on what perspective you are using.
    Washout cos my head was so far up my arse with dramas, I didnt achieve targets I had set myself.
    Raving success because when I look at what is growing and what it is growing in- its fantastic. Beautiful black moist soil, rich lush healthy greenery, birds, insects not a spot of disease in sight... except for the sooty mold on the citrus trees; all the vegies we ate were all from the garden as well as our own eggs and we even had rooster for dinner that we grew ourselves.
    There were alot of things that didnt work out and alot of things that didnt grow as expected...but our neighbours still like us and still talk to us.
    Yes it looks like a wilderness right now and I am still not used to this look, but it feels wonderful to be in it and strangely people tell me how nice it looks-I look at them to make sure they arent making fun of me, but they are quite serious and they are not looking at the empty bark garden when they say it, which I find even more surprising as that seems to be the normally socially acceptable type of garden to have.

    So, why am I calling it my folly?( I refuse to admit to mistakes, sorry eco, no way)

    Seriously! what sane normal female of my age would even contemplate turning their beautifully manicured Flat lawn, much loved by the children, into a f..... forest!, as my brother called it. and then to keep going with a plan that didnt really seem to fit, just in case the problem was me not that particular concept.
    Four years later- cant believe its been that long, but it has, I start all over again from scratch.

    Obviously a serious case of nuttiness.

    "Design from patterns to details".
    I like this permie principle.
    I tried to jam in lots of different things willie nillie and it didnt work.

    I started making note of what we did, how we did it and what we actually wanted.

    Chooks.
    I want to keep my chooks but they obviously do not respect my intentions for the garden so they either had to go or they had to go elsewhere.
    I chose elsewhere.
    Their new home is a central run with their house at the end of it. On each side are two forage yards-alittle on the empty side at the moment so they are allowed outside to graze each afternoon because I recognise that they need their greens which are not being provided for in their yards at the moment.That will change as things are planted and start to grow.
    I have dropped the number down to 6 hens and 1 rooster and may drop the hens down another two when a friend finishes fencing their backyard and wants a couple.

    (Funny story..... I asked my brother if he wanted to have a couple of hens- he said yes, but please make sure this time that they Are hens and not roosters.
    I chose two of the babies that I knew had started laying.These may well have been Houdini's offspring cos they were feisty and smart... and alittle more aggressive than the others.
    He let them out of their cage too early and that night when he got home he found that they had got out of his back yard...I did clip a wing on each, so this shouldnt have happened.
    Since then he found one, spied on her to see where she was roosting and caught her. The other, he was told by a neighbour had been seen flying over the creek.(The creek is at least 10 metres wide!! Definitely one of Houdinis'. He's still thinking about whether or not he wants another one. I think he may ask a friend to get him one of his extra large meatbird type so that he knows it will still be there when he gets home.)

    Their forage yards are or will be miniature orchards to provide us with most of our fruit as well as theirs.
    So far there are afew trees planted and a couple of vines-one grape and one hops. This one will shade their central run so they have somewhere to get out of the intense summer sun.
    Bit by bit things will grow and less and less will I have to buy in their feed. One of the reasons I put up the palings with the wider than normal spacings was so that they could stick their heads through to the pen next door to get to things like kale and silverbeet without destroying them- havent quite worked out what to do to protect these when they are in the same pen with them, but I'm sure I'll think of something.

    By having four large yards for them to roam around, I do not have to worry about them getting things like worms or mites- they are only in each yard for couple of weeks, so no nasty smells either.

    Food storage and firewood storage.
    Currently we dont have anywhere really adequate to store what the garden produces-everywhere seems way to hot.
    I had eyeballed the current woodshed as a possibility for this as one wall is half underground. This was the old original laundry and quite large-2.6mx 3.6m with a leanto that is 2mx1.8m alongside of it-I think this used to be the original woodshed to supply wood for the copper that used to be in the laundry. Once the ceiling is insulated I think it will work quite well as a cool store.

    When I looked at how we got our firewood delivered and stored and how we went about bringing it in at night, this presented a solution to our lack of produce storage.

    I needed a buffer for the neighbour from the chooks, so by designing a woodshed that was situated between the nearest forage yards and the parking area- this will work.
    Our firewood man will only need to back up as usual, but will now only have to(with our help) walk a couple of steps to put it away rather than walk all that extra distance to the old shed.
    When we come home, our first stop is the woodshed; so its just a matter of getting out and collect it as we go to the house.
    So, less work putting it away and no extra time spent bringing it in.
    This also will give extra rainwater off the roof to the chooks water tank.
    On top of that, as the roof is going to be quite flat, I can use it as a drying platform if I make alittle set of steps to it.

    One thing I really liked about Hardworkinghippy's place, was the feeling of a clearing surrounded by trees.
    It took me quite awhile to see how I could do something like this.
    I have done away with the idea of having a brambles trellis around the north side and worked out how to put trees around the edges of the garden.
    Alot of these are going to be espaliered rather than naturally grown, like the two pear trees on the other side of the parking area.
    In afew years my baby Feijoas should start providing a nice wind break on the norwest side.

    Another thing I have started working on, is using only New Zealand trees and plants for the flower gardens and weaning us off exotics.
     
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  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Folly is much more romantic anyway!
     
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  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Yeah, I'm definitely a romantic at heart.

    We are only 3 weeks away now from getting the water tank installed.
    When I got the parking area leveled and gravelled, I initially wondered if it would be better to get the tank first as that is more of a priority, but I'm so glad I didn't.

    I was supposed to be home when this was being done because only 2 sides had the edging put up and I was going to get them to clear the garden side first so while they were doing the rest, I could put the timber edgings in place before the gravel arrived.
    The day they were due- a monday, I got an early morning call to say that they had not finished another job and would not be able to get here til the following day. Unfortunately, I had already arranged to go up and spend time helping my daughter with her baby son and try to figure out why he would not sleep for very long stretches...she was getting seriously sleep deprived.This is alittle better after we worked out that he was not getting enough water and was alittle dehydrated.
    Consequently, the earth works got done without me being there and the area closest to the garden was cleared 15 cm wider than I planned for.
    I decided to work with what was there, rather than go to the trouble of scraping the gravel out of the way.

    I hit a major problem when I started putting in the first board, when I found a curved bit of glazed pottery sticking out of the ground. I tried to pull it out but it wouldnt budge and so started a little archaeological dig, expecting to find an old bowl of some sort. Then the soil in the top of it disappeared down a hole.
    I knew straightaway what this was- the vent to the old septic tank that I didnt even know was there!
    If I had got the tank delivered without doing the parking area, the truck would have broken through the roof of this and got stuck and may even have tipped over- a definite Major.(problem)

    I had to get the diggers in again to scrape back all the gravel they had just carefully laid and compacted so this could be caved in and filled.
    When the rep told me they would fill it with sand, I suggested that instead of doing that, why didnt they use the soil from where the tank will go instead.
    We had intended on digging this up and spreading it around the garden and yard in general.
    So all in all a major disaster was averted and the area for the tank was cleared and made level so we could work out exactly where it would do and how deep to make the hole for it.

    Because the gutter along the back of the house is lower than normal,we need to drop the tank alittle to allow for a decent fall rate to the tank and that was not easy to work out with shrubs and trees and sloped ground.
    I wanted the down pipe to go straight from the roof across the front of the old woodshed to the tank, rather than drop to the ground,across the courtyard and up to the tank, as had been suggested.
    The thought of all that water sitting there going stale and then winding up in the tank because it rained while we were at work and had forgotten to drain the pipe, made me shudder.

    Part of my design is to have the inlet pipe act as an 'archway' infront of the steps leading up to the garden as well.
    I did get odd looks when I said this and a gentle reminder that the pipe will be heavy with water in it and will have to be supported. At the moment, there isnt anything there for the 5 metres between the woodshed and tank...but there will be- a railing and posts with a planter box under it, turning this part of the concrete slab into a nice area to go up and have breakfast/dinner etc and enjoy the view of the garden and courtyard.(the slab is alittle over a metre above the courtyard,I'll post pics of all these so you get to see how things look before, during and after.)

    When the tank circle was leveled, I saw that we had clay here and as my brother is a potter and had been talking about getting back into it, I thought he night be able to use it, if not we only need to move out alittle over a spade depth which could go in a couple of spots to resolve minor problems.
    He didnt want it cos it takes so much time and effort in cleaning clay to use, so once the rain stops this will be dug out and taken over to where the chooks water tank is going to go to level the area behind their house and if there is enough, might do away with the need for bought timber to make the stand.

    There should be enough to level a gap between the fence and the old concrete slab behind the woodshed.
    Doing this solves a problem we have with the dodgy fence the prior neighbour built. Those wrong retaining wall boards that got delivered that I had decided to keep anyway, are going to come in handy for going up against the fence posts.
    As well as this, it will widen the space we have in this area, making it alittle more useable.

    I had planned on putting the greenhouse/potting shed up here, but the building codes make this differcult-the wall along the fenceline would have to be very low,so its going somewhere else.
    It is a nice spot to sit especially in winter, and I used to find it handy to dry the walnuts from our old, now cut down tree.
    The girlie in me sees a good spot to put a couple of sun loungers for that very important bit of sun worshipping and a cafe style table and chairs.
    Perhaps I could entice my step-sis with fine wine and gourmet meals, hand her a grubby pair of shorts and tee shirt and talk her into painting the water tank(with limewash type paint Not acrylic or oilbased) so it looks like a Tower in Tuscany.
     
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  4. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Well that's a good illustration of sensible observation and 99 hours of thought rather than one hour of action! Sounds like you are tapping into the right universal energy to ensure good luck and and easy life.
     
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  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Funny you should say that, so many things have started to just go right.I'm going to keep doing my Yoga classes and my meditation, I'm sure it's helping.

    Oh, I forgot to say that I had asked my Yoga instructor if he knew anything about bees. As it turns out, they have a couple of hives.
    I am going to learn how to do the bee thing from them which hopefully will help me overcome my fear of bees.
    Cant wait.
    I started looking at the grand scheme to see how we could fit hives into our plan.
    Because we are on the highest point we do get some fierce winds here from just about every direction, so their home will have to be well sheltered.

    I'm thinking of a 'Bee Square' down the back third of the garden, with espaliered apple trees around a courtyard filled with year round bee plants and maybe a deciduous fruit tree in the middle for summer sun protection and a wooden gate to keep small grandchildren out.

    I hope I can do this, we will never need to buy sugar ever again, and I might even be able to have a go at making Mead.
     
  6. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I might have to move in. Just gotta off load my kids first....
     
  7. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Nah, dont be in too much of a hurry to do that.
    When they've gone done left home, you sure as hell miss them.
    All those reasons for culinary creations go with them....dinner just aint the same now they're gone.
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    You are right - one is on school hols with her Dad and the other out at work - and I'm thinking that last nights mashed potato and vege served cold straight out the fridge seems like a great idea for dinner!
     
  9. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    ah, hang on a minute.....sure !! come on over.( I have a hole you can help me dig out)
     
  10. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    This week I have been working on getting the water tank area cleared out properly.... and setting up the chooks little water tank 'stand' while I was at it.
    I had botched up my measurements for the house water tank and found that I had it too close to the house by .....1/2 a metre. Doesnt sound like much but it makes alot of difference.
    So.... I needed to find homes for some soil.
    Two ute loads of top soil got taken over to a friend who is making a vegie garden and needed to raise it alitle.

    The subsoil that was left was used to raise the level behind the chook house for their little tank.
    I was trying to work out how to make a 'floor' for this using joists and posts, but that was too much for me to figure out how to do safely.
    Soil I know so, I dug.....and dug....and dug and lugged all this soil over to the chook yard using my extra large wheelbarrow.

    I needed to nail in place a couple of bits of timber to stop the soil from falling out the bottom of the slope.
    To make sure it was level, I used my builders level to scrape the soil so it was even across the whole area.
    Once that was done, I needed a floor.
    I had just the thing.

    The concrete slab behind the old original laundry that used to (I think)hold the orginal water tank for the old laundry and for some reason had a missing quarter, making it an L shape rather than a square.
    Years ago, I had filled this missing section with with some decking that my neighbour had left over from making his deck.

    When we had the digger in, I gott the digger driver to force this up from where it was, cos it was too heavy to lift. He managed to get it upside down onto the concrete slab where it sat while I tried to figure out what to do with it.
    All I had to do was use the crow bar to prise it apart, which wound up being easier than I thought.
    Once it was in pieces, I measured up the area that needed to be 'decked', cut each piece using my trusty ol' chop saw- thank you hubby, haul them all over to the chook yard and nail the boards in place.....recycling the old nails as I went.

    Now the chooks' tank is upright and in place, just waiting to be connected to a roof that isnt there yet and........ I have yet more subsoil to find home for.....but I have another idea for that, which will have to wait til next week.
     
  11. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Geez you are talented! I don't that I would have managed all that! (PS I'm glad I didn't have to dig - it isn't one of my favourite things...)
     
  12. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Sure you could, you just work out exactly what you want to achieve and figure out the easiest way to do it, then start.(making lots of mistakes as you go and learning from each and every one of the bloody things, til you get it right)

    I thank my dad. When I was 10, he told me I was being brought up in a liberated household and I got to learn how to do things that girls didnt normally get to do then...like fix the car, my brother got to learn to cook and he is better at it than I am.

    I was thinking of changing my signature line to "You only fail when you give up"
     
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  13. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Couldn't agree more. Just do it... and do it again a different way when that doesn't work... and...
     
  14. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    failure is shorthand for "Time for a nap." ... :)
     
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  15. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I like that...or cuppa.
     
  16. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i was thinking about how with some children when they get really cranky means they are ready for a nap. as applied to adults, for me at least, when i get to the point when i start getting irritated over something or antsy or bored with reading or learning it usually means a time out is worth it, change of pace, nap, walk, snack or even a cup of tea, sure. :)
     
  17. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    My brother let me know that he had found his missing hen.....in the backyard of the neighbour who had told him it was last seen flying across the creek. haha I wonder how long he would have kept it, maybe I should go visit him and suggest he start keeping a couple as well.
    Bro waited til it had roosted in a shrub before collecting it and returning it to its proper home.He's getting an egg a day, which may mean that his 'Houdini' is hiding hers'.

    My Houdini disappeared, never to be seen again. She had been there up on the perch one night and gone the next morning.
    As she has been the only one to disappear, I think it may have been that a neighbours new cat absconded with her. Upsetting cos she and I have been through quite abit.

    She was the one who managed to get out through a small hole under the dome and spent a rather wet night huddled outside the dome in front of its door,the one who somehow managed to fly out of the dome between the bottom of the door and the dome-I measured it, 4 inches- amazing wing eye co-ordination; the one who went broody and tried to go back to the flock only to be victimized and winding up having to live in the porch til she recovered, the one who nested in amongst the ferns by the back door....big sigh, I miss her and now every time I see the cat I think is responsible, I hiss at it and chase it off, even my cat Axle has taken to seeing it off the property.
    I have started to think maybe I should get a larger type breed rather than the Bantam types so this sort of thing doesnt happen again.

    I finally got the water tanks circle properly in the right spot. Some of the soil went to level the space between the concrete slab and the dodgey fence. I used some of the retaining wall to line the back of this along the fenceline-didnt nail it to the fence incase the neighbour wanted to put a higher fence or make changes to it.
    This has made the fence along this section alot more stable and given me almost half a metre extra 'floor' space for the 'sundeck' that will later have paving stones cross the whole area....I'm hoping to get this done over Xmas when the family come down for the Big Family Day.

    The last lot of subsoil went to level the floor of the chook house.This had been sloped back towards the back of the house and is now flat.This means that the chooks dont need the second perch I put in for them to use as a halfway point up to the highest perch and their nestbox feels more stable- no more needing a brick to keep it level.

    When I started to lower the 'floor' for the tank, I ran into a spot of bother.
    Under a couple of inches of clay, I found a lovely black very soft soil filled with houshold bits and pieces.
    When we first moved into the house we were visited by the old man who was the son of the original owner and had grown up in our house, (its a pity that septic tanks arent considered suitable for polite conversation), he had mentioned in passing that they had dug out an air raid shelter during world war 2, waving his hand in the general direction at the low spot not far from the back door. I thought it unfortunate at the time, when he said this had been filled in after the war.

    I had always assumed that they had filled it in with what came out of it, but NO, it looks like ash from the fireplace or the woodstove they had at the time,along with broken crockery, bottles, tinned cans and the end of a ploughshare missing the very end of the pointed bit.
    I have even found a squashed tin of putty with 5mm of putty still in the bottom which still smells like putty, an old leather strap-dog collar? and a couple of jars still with their metal lids, tht appear to have some sort of hand?cream in the bottom.
    All from a couple of metres, one spade width wide.
    So far, I have managed to dig along the edge of this closest to where the tank will be and found where it turns back towards the house at both ends.
    Its just as well that I did decide to move the the tank back to where it is supposed to be as the closest edge is almost 1 metre inside the tanks' 'floor'.

    Because water tanks are very heavy, especially concrete ones, the area they sit on must be firm and of the same consistency across the whole area or it will eventually crack.
    Sooo, this means digging out all the soft stuff, removing it and replacing it and packing it down with clay, just as is in the rest of the area.
    I think to be on the safe side, I need to extend the clay refill out past where the tank will sit to make sure it doesnt slump towards the softer stuff.I'm hoping half a metre will be enough, its still going to be a big hole to fill.
    Alot of this will be filled up with what I take out to lower the level, but if I need more, then I will use the clay in the missing section of the concrete slab. There is very little top soil or organic matter in the soil here so it should be okay to use.

    Just as I found the second returning wall, the driver who will be delivering the tank arrived to check out the site and access....with me standing in a hole 4 1/2 feet deep...he grinned when I told him what I had found and agreed that yes, it had to be filled in with clay to make it all the same as the rest of the tanks floor.
    No problems with the access-the driveway and gate are wide enough for the truck and tank to get through. The plum tree needs to be shorn of two thick branches, the rest are soft enough to be bent down out of the way and yes it would be wise to move it if at all possible as soon as possible after I have let it set fruit so the roots do not decide to check out the bottom of the tank.....I see yet another drama looming very soon.
    The tank is now paid for and delivery should be in 10-15 working days, giving me that long to get things completely ready......and it has been raining solidly since then, so please pray that it stops cos I dont like digging in the rain.
     
  18. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    To bad those old timers didn't mistaking throw away a Gold coin or something valuable.

    I hope it stops raining for you!
     
  19. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    digging in clay has been what i've been doing the past week. no i don't envy you in the slightest. much mud as there are springs and a fairly high water table. luckily no rain is forecast until Saturday evening. which by that time i hope to have the drain tubes down and some fill back in the trench.

    i know you don't seem to be asking for suggestions, but this is ringing warning bells in my head... for a foundation for anything on clay, it moves so much as it gets wet and then dries out again that i recommend a rethink especially if you are putting in something that won't flex. the footing recommendations for construction add extra whenever clay is involved. and disturbed soil is even worse. i really would not do it as you are approaching because the disturbed area is unlikely to match the area that isn't disturbed (for both water content and consistency). so i would bet you'll end up with a cracked water tank... instead you may want to dig up the entire area to the same depth and then compact it all at the same time so that the base is going to settle at the same rate...
     
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  20. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Hi songbird,
    Hmmm, thanks for pointing this out.
    I just emailed the rep to see if I can get advice from one of their engineers.
    It would probably be much wiser to set the tank back alittle further so it is on a base that is all the same.
    Before it is put in place, 100mm of crusher dust is laid and leveled over the area the tank will sit on.

    I'm kinda looking forward to not having to dig anymore. So much easier on my back to get the digger in yet again and I'm ahead of target budget wise, due to the parking area costing less than was quoted, so I'm not going to be stressed out on that point.....more beans and rice though if we run into any other hitches.
     

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