Mischiefs' Folly

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

  1. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I got my local earthmover-(plus) rep out this week to look at what I wanted to do with the parking area.
    Apparently, putting a seal and chip down would not resolve my problem with weeds popping up all over it.
    We decided that we would just put a layer of crusher dust down and pack it down. That will make it easier on my bare feet,not to mention not so hot AND harder for weeds to get a foothold. I will still have to pull out and/or spray the weeds though.(with my organic pine based spray).
    I have a couple of weeks to get the last two beds edged and the bits of firewood and weeds out before they can come to do this. I am getting the bit under the seat done as well because I have not been able to find anything except weeds-(grass) that will grow under my park bench seat.
    As well as that, they are going to grade the area infront of the path up to the back yard so it slopes up because I am finding it hard lugging my bigarse wheelbarrow up all the steps.
    The ramp from that point up to the back lawn will have to wait for a bit til I get to it. At least it will be one less step to deal with.

    Meanwhile, I have been working on my major inside job- building the shelves for the linen cupboard.
    Up til now it has been a freestanding wardrobe popped in the alcove that I then, called my linen cupboard.
    So far I have the three lower, wide shelves done with just the narrower top shelf to make and then put them all back in.
    I have decided that I will do a major and a minor job outside one day and then then next do the same inside the house. Otherwise, I dont seem to get to the inside jobs.

    The outside job was getting the old compost bin that was falling apart, pulled apart and removed. I have been looking at where a better place would be for this. It was in full sun and from what I have read, should be in shade at least part of the day. I have a couple options to consider for this.

    While the rep and I were talking, he asked what I was going to do in the courtyard. I told him about my plans for an outside kitchen. He recently made a form for a concrete bench which he also made. He still has the form and said that I could borrow it to make mine.

    Today, I got some retaining wall boards and reinforcing mesh delivered. A friend needed an emergency repair job on the fence at their rented home and we are going to use the mesh to fill a gap so their dogs cant get out should the rotten bit of their fence fall over.
    It was easier to get the mesh for this delivered to my place where I can cut it to size with my angle grinder and then take that over to their place. and put it in place.
    Thats tomorrows outside job.

    The retaining wall boards were got at the same time so I could edge the last two beds in the general parking area-outside my bathroom window and the one between the parking area and the courtyard.
    The left over mesh will go to make up a trellis in this bed. I still have a couple of posts lying around to attach this to.
    So once the crusher dust is packed down, this area is pretty much finished, construction-wise.
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    you mention i make you tired, but i hardly do a thing in comparison!

    in the past few weeks i've got the gardens ready for winter (the last few
    that were done, plus the one holding the beets, which have also been
    harvested and put up) and we took the garden shed contents out and
    then i could get in there and seal the gaps in the walls that were being
    used by mice and bees this past season. that being done the next
    step this coming summer (months away now) will be to fix the wall and
    put some tile on it (mice will have more of a challenge chewing through
    that compared to foam board or wood).

    now the winter routine is here, worm keeping, reading, walking,
    shovelling snow if/when it happens. not much else. neighbor down the
    road hasn't called back so i dunno if i'll be clearing his drive for him this
    winter or not yet. guess not...

    i hope the shed project has gone well (or is going well)? and the
    drive too. i should snap some pics of the crushed limestone area
    here which is being taken over by thyme plants sometime (no pun
    intended). i like them much better than the limestone. it is rather
    amazing at what will start in crushed limestone (with no other dirt).
     
  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Bees? You had bees in your shed? What happened to them? I hope you didnt give them the boot!
    If only you lived next door instead of HER.

    The shed was built around the same time as the house-1939 and so is in need of a little TLC now.
    When I realised that the back wall was not load bearing, I decided to let it dry out while I finished some unfinishjed projects, like the linen cupboard.It isnt going to fall down.

    Actually, to be more truthful, I find the idea of tackling this a little daunting, and so am procrastinating while I build up the courage to tackle it. It does need to be dealt with before winter though.
    So, first the linen cupboard, which is now finished, then the parking area. By that time I will have figured out how to do it all and have the money to buy the cladding that needs to go on the walls as well as the timber to do the repair job.

    I am going to have to empty it out too before I can work on it.
    Some of the stuff in there is glasshouse bits that my friend is going to take away....at Christmas time. Oh well, its not all that far away now.I am looking forward to having less Stuff lying around.
    Unfortunately, knowing me, I will probably find something very useful to replace it all with.

    When the shelves finally got put in place in the linen cupboard, I discovered that the space beneath the bottom shelf was tall enough to put the vaccum cleaner, so that now has a permanent home and ... aha! lots of room to put my power and hand tools where they will stay dry ( and not right by the back door).
    My mother will be relieved. I sure she dispairs of me.

    The porch has had a makeshift job so that isnt going to fall down either. My neighbour that moved was a builder/carpenter and was going to help close in the porch-drat them moving! I could have done with his experienced help with this one.

    Now that my daughter's caravan is now out of the back yard, I have started weeding the parking area of the larger weeds, leaving the smaller more irritating ones to spray. I have another week before the crusher dust arrives and gets packed down.
    So, this week its getting the edges put in place on the last two beds so all the hard edges are in place for them to work around.

    When I hear about winter coming with snow, I sometimes think it would be so much better than here.
    It seems like there is more of a definite edge to the seasons when you have a winter like that. Some years the seasons just seem to blur into each other.
    This year for example, I still had convovulus growing(green), when it should have died back.

    I am eating oranges straight off the tree at the moment and enjoying the beautiful scent of the new flowers. I found an early raspberry that was ripe too.
    I am wondering if I should be moving these to somewhere less shady. While I do get fruit off them, they dont seem to produce alot. I was expecting them to put out suckers and spread out more than they have done.

    The Black Hamburg grape that is growing over my little aquaduct has set an amazing amount of bunches of flowers- not calling them fruit yet cos they Are still at the flowering stage.
    I am going to leave them all in place instead of plucking out most like I normally do with a plants first fruiting because I know that the vine has been there long enough to have a good root system and should be able to cope with the load. I am letting it grow lots of leafy growth which will be encouraged to grow over the shed roof and over the water tank.
    At the end of the year, I will trim the whole thing back, leaving the main leader with a bud or two right along the length of it for next years crop.
    One of the guys I used to mow lawns for had a grape vine growing like this and it always did really well, so I am hoping mine does just as well.
     
  4. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    the bees were more like a yellow jacket/small bumblebee
    and were aggressive, both of us got stung multiple times.
    so, sadly i used spray to knock back some of them and
    then sealed up the entire shed for several weeks to keep
    them from getting water and food. these bees commonly
    nest under piles of debris in the ground so it was a
    surprise they got into that back wall of the shed. the hole
    they used was a mouse hole to get in. all sealed up now.

    once winter sets in i want to plug that door up even better
    so the mice won't get back in again. they can crawl under
    the door. i can stuff old rags there to keep them out.

    my Ma despairs of me too. lol. i'm a clutter person, ( though
    not food scraps, dirty clothes or wet towels on the floor sorts
    of clutter), just that i am what i call a horizontal organizer. out
    of sight out of mind i tell her. it only really takes me a few
    minutes to an hour to reorganize my room if we have guests
    coming over. dusting makes me sneeze and my noze run, so
    i find that leaving it alone for a few month at a time is better.
    she just shakes her head. haha... the rest of the house is
    her domain. this room is mine. she can clean that all she
    wants...

    good luck with the shed and porch projects, if you need some
    references or help i'm sure it's all there on-line or at the library.
    i am waiting for a microbiology text for a few weeks of winter
    reading. i'll probably skim most of it as it is a refresher. what
    i really should do is a course on chemistry and organic
    chemistry before diving back into the soil sciences again. well,
    sometime...

    the oranges sound divine! the grapes, depends upon how much
    you want to fiddle with them and what kind they are for results.
    in other words, if you want large grapes and nice bunches for
    impressing the guests or whoever, you can thin some of them out
    and even remove some of the grapes once they have been
    pollinated. i just made jam with mine or ate them fresh and did
    not care about fiddling so none of that happened here. i do miss
    the grape vine now, but it was more trouble for me than it was
    worth. some year i may replace it with one more tolerant of
    black rot. we have a poor location overall for grapes even if the
    wild grapes grow here. as for the next year's fruiting the number
    1yr wood/buds to leave is dependent upon age and conditions.
    most grapes also will recover from a severe pruning back if it
    is needed.

    congrats on the pantry! we need one bad here. nowhere easily
    done though. easiest option is to put more shelves on my north
    wall, but i don't want to lose more space in my room. eventually
    may happen if i stick here longer term. it is hard to shift and
    restack cases of jars when we need something.
     
  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    The linen cupboard!!
    It was the linen cupboard that I finished.

    Actually, it was the shelves.
    I still need to work out how to get the doors on. My ex stuffed up the doorway so the doors I wanted to put in wont fit.
    It will most likely be a couple of curtains on a pole for the next 20 years or until they annoy me enough to do something about them.
    I do have to say though, that I definitely prefer pantrys to top cupboards. Better still walk in pantrys like my nana used to have.
    My problem here has always been that there was never any built in storage, hence the linen chest and free standing wardrobes.

    After I finished my last post, I was reading through it and suddenly thought....hang on, when exactly did I speak with the
    rep? After checking the dates and looking at the calendar, I realised that The parking area makeover was Today! not next week.

    My mate had just delivered a load of firewood too, so this morning bright an' early, I was out there pullng the last of the weeds, moving the seat out of the way along with the mesh and retaining boards, moving the vehicles out of the way and generally running around like a lunatic.

    Luckily, they had another order so I didnt get to see them until mid morning.
    It still took most of the day to get it all done though. The rep had said that they would just level the crusher dust over the existing gravel....but that wasnt the case. Apparently, it would not have packed down properly so all the loose stuff got scrapped up.
    I was a little concerned that I had only recently paid for this to get put down here only for it to be carted off elsewhere.
    I asked if it could instead, be put down at the bottom of the driveway where a dip (small trench) had developed.
    All in all things went quite smoothly. The parking area is now rather nice to walk on and that part of the driveway is no longer down to bare clay.

    Re- the grapes, yeah! I am still buzzing over the amount it looks like producing. I used to thin out the bunches of all those little ones that wont ripen properly and will be doing that with this lot.
    Last time I had a glut of grapes, I made grape jelly and froze some as well.

    With wasps, I am afraid, I kill on sight now. Not because they stung me but because they chased and stung my poor ol' cat. I found flyspray works instantly on them.

    While my diggerman was away to lunch-or on another job most likely, I rehung the gate to what wil be the dogs kennel area. I had this blocking of one of the doorways to the old chook pen after I learnd that a neighbour was pinching my firewood. The back wall to the shed has been covered over so it wasn't needed there any more.

    All in all a good days work by every one.

    Dusting? no, I'm not very good at that either, same with the cobwebs. I dont see why spiders should have to be evicted unless their webs are looking alittle grey and hanging unbecomingly down the walls.
    Mum doesnt like dust so its a win win situation as far as I am ccncerned.She sneakily does it for me. I'd much rather play outside with the dogs.

    I am having a day off tomorrow, I'm going to sleep in and blob all day.
    The shed will have to wait. I seriously need to rest up.

    The down side of working weekends when everyone else you know only works weekdays, is you forget that they have the weekend to relax. For some reason,they still expect you to be as busy as they are during the week.
     
  6. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    glad it all worked out ok. :)

    full on winter here now. reading a refresher on microbiology
    and watching the wind blow the snow around. we have tons
    of hornets. only thing i do is keep them from nesting under
    the eves of the house by knocking their early nests down
    using a stick. i really don't like using any poisons because
    i think those are the worst sorts on the market. the rest of
    the nests i leave alone as they do eat some of the garden
    pests. the raccoons will come through once in a while and
    look under and behind the rocks for nests and eat them. in
    the 20yrs here i've been stung only a few times. luckily not
    allergic to any of them as of yet.
     
  7. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I thought we had Hornets, (because I had been told that that was what they were by somebody who should have known). They are paper wasps, not as bad as the German wasps but when I saw my poor ol' cat running around and hiding under (cant remember what now), I lost the plot. Fly spray seemed to be the way to go at the time and certainly did the trick.
    I dont like wasps because I have also seen them hunting honey bees that were visiting my Rosemary.
    Nasty things.

    Slowly, I am working my way around the yard again.
    All that glass I brought home when I pulled down the old glasshouse and stored safely in the dogs kennel had to go to the recycling centre, it was just too thin and brittle. Had to be done in three trips because I filled up the drums for the clear glass.
    It wasnt til the last trip that it occurred to me to take my trusty handdiggy thing to break the glass and a sheet of cardboard to stop splinters from flying everywhere, otherwise, it would have been yet another trip next week too.

    This kennel is going to a new home tommorrow, along with the bed box that hangs off it.
    OMG! the courtyard will be totally junk free for the first time in ages.Well almost. I still have some of the framing for my mates glasshouse waiting for them to pick up stacked up here.

    Now that I have two dogs and not one, I have redone my master plan so they will both have a kennel and bedbox over between the woodshed and the fence....but there is some aluminium framing I bought that was to be a small glasshouse and.....big sigh, that I dont need anymore and dont know what to do with yet, so there it sits, in the way.

    I have been working on making the garden bed that will separate the parking area from the courtyard. Hopefully this will help deal with the wind from the norwest.
    I probably dont do things the right way round, but anyway.
    After the parking area was rechipped with the crusher dust, I realised that I didnt really need to have a double layer of pavers to edge the Almond tree bed that was in front of the woodshed, so the top layer was taken over to the 'fireplace bed' and laid out in front of this. Once these were in place, I got out my trusty ol hand hoe and chiselled out the gravel, chopped up the clay a bit and transplanted the NZ Irises that I had put in a wrong spot to here.

    Next went in the retaining board to edge the fireplace bed. I bought 200 mm high boards by mistake instead of the usual 150mm I usually get, but it will all work out.
    While I was at 'Goldpine ltd', (very friendly and knowledgeable people), I spied a small water tank and asked about it.
    As it turns out, it had been there so long, they didnt know what to sell it for. I jokingly said- reduced to clear then haha... and thats what I got. A 1000 litre water tank to for $300. This is going to be my header tank so I can water the garden and glasshouse properly.
    So .... that sits patiently on the parking area til I get to that bit.

    Meanwhile. The big seat I had in the parking area along the boundary got hauled out and moved over to in front of the fireplace bed and was replaced by a smaller seat that doesnt look so congested there.( I still have to work out a cover/canopy to go over this area before the dogs-Amy in particular, realise they can jump the fence there, to 'visit' the chewtoys next door).

    The 1/2 wine barrel that I bought on a whim has finally found a home next to this long seat and has a new occupant- my baby mandarin tree..
    I actually bought two of them, the other one is full of water under the cabbage tree and is used to save dried out pot plants etc. The dogs love it too mainly for drinking, unlike 'Auntie Shadow' who thought it just the thing to escape from over enthusiatic puppies.
    (My brothers dog got to stay with us at one point while he had a holiday. He did say he was a little worried about her when he first got her back cos she appeared to be full of holes. He realised eventually that it must have been puppy teeth marks, not that she seemed to worried about them).
    I am going to have to find a home for this one too because the cabbage tree is starting to lean onto it and is sending down a rather blunt tool like root, both of which will ruin it.

    Back to the fireplace bed.
    So far two posts have been put in place for the trellis- two more to go and then the mesh gets cut and stapled in place.
    The Jasmine plant got saved from where it was not doing well and is currently ina big pot waiting for its new home to be finished and yes it is sitting on a brick in the tub under the cabbage tree.
     
  8. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Too bad your glass was of the thin/brittle type (usually used for small panes). I really cherish the sliding door glass panels I've managed to collect (safety glass, much thicker) for winter raised bed covers, and of course for the ongoing greenhouse project.
    And congratulations on the tank! What an awesome deal. Will it be used for rainwater collection?
     
  9. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I am going to use it to water the gardens and the glasshouse.
    The way my yard is with the house lower than the back garden and glasshouse, meant that the water tank is also lower......so I needed a raised header tank that I could fill up to see to the needs of the garden.
    Yeah, it was an awesome deal.

    I just need to get a solar pump to get the water up from the main tank to the new header tank and... I need my mate to come get their glasshouse framing that just happens to be right where I thought the header tank should go..
    Story of my life really.

    I had bought some shaggy inkcap mushroom spore that for some reason I had forgotten about and 'lost'. I recently found it again and started it in its grow bag.
    The plastic bag that the spore came in had some sludgy stuff inside of it so I soaked some organic barley and poured that into the bag, scrunched it around for a bit to move this stuff of the sides of the bag and all through the barley. This was then put in a glass jar with a sealable lid. A week later I have another batch of mycelium growing. One of these is going in the glasshouse to innoculate the wood chip and the other is going under the fruit trees that already has quite a bit a woodchip breaking down.
    I am not expecting miracles with these. I know it will take some time for them to get to work to the point that they will start to produce mushrooms and that summer is not really the best time to be doing this but, what the hell. It will work out even if it might take a little longer than it should.

    Today, I got two more posts in for the trellis between the parking area and the courtyard, got the re-inforcing mesh measured, cut and stapled into place for the largest section of trellis. Now there is just the small one next to the to-be back door.
    Somehow, it is not exactly level which is annoying but once the jasine is growing over it, nobody will see that, so I am not going to fuss too much over it.
    It didnt take as long as I thought it would cos mum made a rare visit and got roped into holding the mesh up for me while I stapled it in place.

    I may have a solution to paving the courtyard.
    My neighbour wants to get rid of all that concrete rubble/broken paths that her predecessor used to make raised gardens. I had let her know that my mum might be interested in it for a retaining wall she was looking at building, but.... I might pinch it for the courtyard instead.
    There might just be enough to pave the whole area.

    I was hoping that the glass would not prove to be too thin and brittle so I could use it for my glass art, but it just wasnt working and would crack incorrectly. Not good.

    My mates dog really likes her new kennel, even though she was put in it for the first time for being naughty.
     
  10. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Today I got off to fantastic start for the New Year.
    My bees arrived today.
    I finally got my courage up and bought some off Trademe from a bee keeper in Taupo.
    He decided to bring them up instead of me going down to collect them. I did wonder if he wanted to see what sort of home they were going to and what sort of person was going to be looking after them.
    I have to say, I was a litte worried. What would happen if I was found to be wanting?
    Would they refuse to hand my bees over?

    I did get the third degree- what exeperience did I have? What courses had I done? member of a bee club? Got my DECA?A mentor?Wheres my hive tool?(answer- no I dont have one, If I do need one I have plenty of screwdrivers, haha).Why the chest hive and not a conventional one? Queen excluder? What? None! You do realise that she will lay in the honey frames?... yes How will you extract the honey then, its not pleasant to kill brood to get your honey!-I wont be, I'll leave it or cut a little bit out for myself=What??!...

    I had my little charts of disease indentification and the NZ (bible) Practical beekeeper book to show him.
    Shook off my almost new jacket and veil to wear and had my newly bought smoker all ready to go by the time they got here.
    It took a bit of working out to get it lit and to stay smoldering. Pretty damn good seeing as I had never used one of these things before.

    Man, they stay hot for a LONG time. (After they left,) I burnt the tip of my finger when I touched the top of it, stupidly thinking it had gone cold, seeing as there wasnt any smoke coming out of it.
    The bees were really quite docile considering that they had been locked up in a small box for an hour and a half in the back of their car and it hadnt been needed. Murphy's law though- if I hadnt lit it, it probably would have been needed.

    He decided to install them for me, so that went well and quickly. It was his wife who noticed the bee friendly plants including the 2 Manuka. They wanted to know if they were Manuka or Kanuka. Which lead of to a conversation of plants, plant nurseries and that the early spring flowerings were thought to be the most important for the bees.

    I explained how I always sow brassicas for them every year and make sure that these are in flower from late winter right through spring as well as all the other things have planted and why I hadnt moved my geriatric Prostrate Rosemary yet. She also lets her plants go to seed and was pleased to see I did too.

    They wanted to know why I had chosen to place them towards the courtyard and why the mint tubs in front of them. So I explained that I get winds from just about every direction here and with all the roof tops, it tends to be gusty and sometimes quite turbulant. I felt it was important to have the entrance protected as much as possible. Being up on the terrace also means their flight path is over my head, so we arent getting in each others way and the dogs are also not going to annoy them either with all the running around the place that they do.

    She did ask where my clothes line was, to which I asked what clothes line? and pointed to my two clothes horses that were neatly leaning up again the old washhouse wall, right next to the hive. I was told I wont be able to hang my washing up on the terrace any more as the bees Will poop on them.
    Good thing I am doing the covered clothes line in the courtyard at some point in the not too distant future then. I might make the cover out of something white specifically in the hopes that the bees Will poop on that and not my niegbours washing. Their line is not too far from the terrace either-just on the other side of their Orange tree.

    All in all it went very well and I think they were quite relieved to find that, although I am a complete never-bee(n), I have in fact done my homework and have some idea of what to do.
    I do think they were rather puzzled by my not worrying too much about whether or not I actually get to eat home hive honey and as a parting gift, they gave me a nice big jar of clover honey from their hives.
     
  11. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Its been raining pretty much non stop since the hive got installed. There was a brief respite yesterday and the girls were out doing their orientation flight again.
    I did see one checking out the marjorum, which is promising, so long as it stops raining long enough for them to start collecting nectar.
    I am a bit worried about this and emailed the supplier to find out how long the honey they have will last just in case I need to feed them.

    In between rain drops, I managed to get the gate rehung between the courtyard and the parking area.
    I had to attach it to a 4x2 and then attach that to the post because the gateway was wider than it should have been..... I discovered a sewer pipe right where the post should have been and the latch 'n' catch got put in place.
    I have decided to add yet another post so when the gate is open, there will be something to hook onto to keep it in place. I think it will most likely be open most of the time and only shut when I need that extra bit of privacy/ protection from the wind or need the dogs to stay in the courtyard.

    Now there is just the 'bathroom bed' to finish.I got two edges in place then it hammered down.
    I am going to have to dig out all the soil from this and replace it cos it is full of couch grass. This will be going up to the lawn to fill in all those hollows the dogs have left from all their running around.
    Good thing I have some almost well rotted woodchip to replace it with.

    Oh, I had the observation window on the bee hive open for a bit too and got to see a young bee with wax scales on its abdomen, underneath.She was walking on the glass.
    I had read about how the young bees were the ones that made the honey comb and there she was.
    Another one was helping? nibbling the wax from her.
    I cant wait to show the hive to my grandkids, they are just goin to love this.
     
  12. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Today, I noticed that a couple of the frames in the hive were not straight up and down, so I took the plunge and popped the lid, moved the internal cover board and moved them slightly so they were more in line with the others. I was going to wait til next week, but saw that they had started to work on the first tilted frame.
    I have found that the slide out tray under the hive shows where they are most active just by the debris they drop on this.

    All the soil from the bathroom bed has been dug out and used to level the dips in hollows in the back lawn. It WAS full of couch and convovulus even though I had weedmatted it over winter to try to smother these-didnt work although it did stress them out so they were quite spindly.
    I have the bottom of this covered in woodchip from my front yard pile. A friend is bringing me some of their compost they have left over to fill it up so I can plant into it this grow season. Should happen tommorrow.

    The trellis between the parking area and the courtyard is up- just some posts with reinforcing mesh stapled on and posts used to top it. The left over paint from the greenhouse foundation beams came in handy to paint it all.
    The end of this extends out past the trellis, I was going to cut it off but have left it as is. I thought I could put a hanging basket or a windchime here.
    I learnt from another 'fence', that is was best to make the join and put it up to make sure it was right, then cut the surplus off, rather than cut the post to fit the width. That way if its not right, I still have that extra length to redo it.

    The bed on the courtyard side has also been made and filled up with woodchip. The last little bit of compost I had has gone in where I planted a Jasmine vine here. Hopefully this will in time cover the whole trellis with lovely sweet scented flowers.

    At some point there is going to be a fireplace in the middle of this bed-courtyard side. I had this idea of making it a dual thing in that it could also be the BBQ.
    I have two of the cast iron pieces from my brothers old BBQ to use for the hotplates when I figure out how to do it. Need to look around for a flue for this too.

    The last bit of retaining board that was to go behind the shed to stop the neighbours lawn from collapsing due to me digging out my side. It wasnt needed there as they had dealt with the situation themselves. SO, I made a start on the deck that is going outside the to-be back door.
    I've got all the bottom bits in place and almost half of the actual deck screwed down.
    I am using recycled decking timber from the benches that came with the old glasshouse that I pulled down. Some of this is seriously bent but most seems to be reusable.
    With the mildly bent lengths, I am using a trick my old neighbour showed me.
    You screw down the end (or the mostly flat bit), take a chisel and hammer the chisel in to the joist right next to the length of decking timber. When it is firmly, you pull the chisel towards you and the length you are working on. This pulls it closer to the previous one. You then screw/nail in the now straightened piece..... and voila la! Straight decking.
    I should get this finished tommorrow.
    If it doesnt rain, it will get painted. Its been funny weather today, lovely and sunny, then it starts to spit then stops.

    Yesterday, my mate came to pick up the glasshouse framing for thier glasshouse, as usual they arrived late and had to go early so I am not sure if they got all the bits they needed. I thought we were going to lay it all our in the parking area to make sure we had everything. We'll have to do that at their place. There is just all the little things like doors and bracing to take over.

    OMG! I have more space.
     
  13. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    as much as i like honey bees and would love observing
    them i am not happy with how things are going here with
    the person who has placed hives near our property.

    they mob the bird baths and we don't have nearly the
    diversity and fun watching birds that we used to have.

    otherwise, sounds very busy for you even with all the
    rains. :)
     
  14. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    One thing you could try is to put a container with pebbles in it and of course water.....closer to the hives. They might find this more to their liking.
    Have you tried talking to the beekeeper and making them aware of the problem? They may like to provide water for their bees after knowing what is happening.

    Yeah, I'm on a roll.
    I got the deck finished and painted the bottom edges of it.It is only a little deck, a little bigger than a step- 1100mm wide and 3500 long. I put a couple of chairs and a small table up on it. Great spot to get out of the mid-late afternoon sun.I am quietly thrilled with it. Mum almost cried when she came up and saw what I had been up to.(Good cry)

    Mum has come up to give me a hand, we got the first load of 'urbanite', (concrete rubble) over to my place and stacked up neatly in alongside the driveway. It was just too hot to do much more than that today. I did the lugging and throwing and mum did the stacking. I would normally have used the work truck.... drive it up their driveway, load everything up and come back here, but it is at the mechanics getting its yearly checkup while it is not needed for work at the moment.

    The gate has its primer on and tomorrow it gets painted.The same colour as the petals of the evening primrose.
    I took a flower down to my magic colourman who matched up pretty well spot on. I wanted something bright and cheery for this. It will be open most of the time and as you come down the hall, this is what you'll see through the back door- bright yellow framed by the green post and mesh trellis covered in Jasmine behind it. Something nice and bright to start the day with.

    The to-be back door got pulled out of its storage area and some security bars got taken off. Just one stubborn screw to deal with tomorrow. Its been blitzed with some CRC which should help loosen it up so I can get it off tomorrow, otherwise I will have to drill it out.
    I'll paint a coat on the gate then do a bit of sanding on the door then go back to the gate when the first coat is dried etc....
    I've measured out the space it is going to go in and it is definitely going to fit. I am going to replace the opaque glass in this with some clear leadlight creation.(at some point. I think my leadlighting stuff is store in the back of the garage...behind all the drying kitchen benches).

    When I was in the old wash house getting the decking timber out, I had to move some 4x2's that the bench frames were made from. On inspection these turn out to be treated timber!!! so I can use them on my rear wall repair job. I still need to get some damp proof 'stuff', dont know the right word for it. Sort like a wide thick black tape you put between the concrete and the bottom of the timber so it isnt sitting on damp all the time. Even treated wood will rot out eventually if its sitting on damp.

    My friend gave me some slips of kumara when I visited to organise their glasshouse framing. I have 4 of these is two tubs with holes drilled in them. They are filled up with compost and topped with .....woodchip of course. I did have pot plant pots sitting over them for about a week so they would get a bit of respite from the hot sun til they got going. So far so good.
    Last year, I tried growing these in an old bathtub. For some reason they did not do as well as expected, possibly because we did have more rain than in previous years and the tub waste got clogged up= saturated soil and rotting roots.
    My soil is too soft to grow big tubers, I am hoping the walls of the tubs will be enough to get them to grow nice and fat this year.

    I'm still eating Oranges straight off the tree. I have even given a mate a couple of bucket loads to share out and still there are more to eat AND the next lot of flowers have already set fruit and are beginning to grow.

    The Apple tree doesnt have so many fruit on it this year, which is disappointing. I didnt get any of the plums off either of the Christmas plums this year either, once again the birds got the lot before they had even had a chance of turning red. I dont really mind, I have had other things to eat.( I dont really like them compared to the larger plums, so no real loss, more a bonus).

    The dogs missed a raspberry again- I average about one a week so far. The Hawera plums have dropped afew slightly unripe ones which they also got. I have left all the lower branches on the tree even though the do get in the way after I saw Jack mouthing plums on these branches, checking them out for ripeness. I get more than enough for me from the higher up ones. I did prune back a couple that blocked the back steps to the back yard. I still have to duck under one to get through here even with a branch holding this up. The weight of the fruit has made it droop even more than before.

    For once, I feel like I am on track with things and am really please with how they are turning out. There are still afew area that got away on me again, but thats okay. I just look at it as a bit of wilderness doing its own thing.
     
  15. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Today, I took over the doors and odds 'n ends my friend will need for their glasshouse. We still havent been able to lay it all out to make sure they have all the frames they need due to the rain though.
    They have alot of work to do with what they have already so there is plenty of time to sort through it all.

    All the green waste that is full of convovulus got taken to the dump. our dump composts green waste so I dont feel so bad not doing this myself.
    I have cut out the little hedge I had growing in front of the shed, This was put here to act as a wind break to stop the southerly gale that hits the side of the house and shoots up into the courtyard.
    It isnt needed any more cos I have something else.(makeshift) that is doing a good job for this as well as keeping Amy from escaping to visit neighbours!
    This means I can get to the front of the shed.

    Now that this is getting emptied out of clutter, I can start working out exactly what needs to be done.
    Its the original wash house from when the house was first built in 1939 and is in, um, original condition. It is not worthwhile to pull it down because it right on the boundary, I cant get a permit anymore to build a new one so this has to be a bit by bit repair job.
    With the hedge out of the way and it being pretty much empty now, I can see what I need to do to fix it.

    Yesterday, I finally finished sanding down the to-be back door. I had been using a disc sanding paper attached to my corded drill. A mate told me to go get a belt sander and stop wasting time....I did, it wasnt as expensive as I thought it would be- dirt cheap actually and where I had spent three hours doing a side and the edges,I did the second time in less than half an hour. Absolutely brilliant.

    I have a glazier two doors down from me, so when I finished, I trotted down to see him to find out if I could bring the door down to get the windows replaced. The top two windows in it are opaque and the bottom one that has an old broken catdoor was black glass.
    Because the back yard is secure and because I need all the light I can get into this house, I need them all to be clear glass.
    When the door is in place, the midwinter morning sun will pour through this and go right down the hallway.
    He isnt able to do it straight away but I was able to take it down to them and when they have finished afew other jobs, they will get onto it.
    I dont mind cos it means I dont have it cluttering up my shed.
    He is also going to frame it up complete with doorsill. Luckily it is hinged the right way So we dont have to muck around with re doing the hinges.

    The gate is now a beautiful evening primrose yellow. My new neighbour loves it. They could see me building the trellis and put the gate on from their front door and at first, wondered what on earth I was doing. ( I am soooo looking forward to the jasmine growing over this so I can have some privacy!!!

    I had a piece of leftover mesh that was trimmed off one edge of the mesh for the trellis- just a length with a few short bits sticking out. I was fiddling with this wondering if I could use it anywhere instead of sending it to the dump and realised that Yes, if I trimmed it, curved it I then had an arch to attach to the top post that ran over the top of the gate.
    The gate has a curved top while the top of the trellis is, of course, straight. So now there is a little curved piece that has been stapled on the courtyard side.
    It isnt really all that noticeable, but marries the two things together.

    Just to procrastinate alittle more on getting started on the shed, I measured up the dogs kennel area and made a start on fixing a design fault on the back of the woodshed. Basically taking off the palings so I could rework the back wall so it doesnt let the rain in as it has been doing, soaking the back couple of layers of firewood.

    I'm getting some help with the back door,the porch and the shed repair. A friend had a ramp built by somebody and they think he might be interested in some work.
    He's not a full time builder at the moment so if it's a go, it will be a part time thing. Worst case scenario, he will be able to supervise me doing the repairs etc... which will be good too.

    I have alittle over three months before my winter season starts, to get these things done.
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Well, so far my mates mate hasnt turned up to earn some extra money helping me sort out some serious issues, so I made a start on them myself.
    The wall depth got measured to make sure I got the right damp proofing stuff. Its all plastic now, not the really coarse tarred paper like the last lot I bought,(about 20 years ago).
    I had to weedmat the space between the fence and the wash house wall so I could then run this up the wall abit and under the damp proofing. I really dont need weeds getting a foot hold here, its just too hard to get to to pull them out. Luckily I still had galvanised staples for my staple gun and used these to attach it to the bottom of the fence.

    I've run the damp proofing along the top of the walls base and left enough to go up half way up the wall. This is because there needs to be a stud smack up against a concrete block wall. (Man, this is sounding like a tecnical how to.)

    Oh, before I could put the weedmat down, I had to dig out a small trench along the back and make sure it was sloped for a drain to go along here. The concrete slab behind the old wash house drains at this end, so hopefully this will take all that to the end of the shed where is can not cause any problems.
    The one stud I could move without making the wall of the cladding fall down is now off the wall. I had to go down to mums to borrow one of her tools. She had told me that it had alot of niffty attachments and could do all sorts of things, one of which was cutting nails out. That made a huge difference in being able to get that stud out.

    After five hours I decided to have some play time.
    I found a couple of hanging basket brackets up in the attic and messed about with popping them up on the trellis posts to see where they would look best and hung up a small wind chime at the house end of the trellis.
    During the day, I cant even hear it due to all the road noise, but when it died down it did make a nice tinkle.
    Now I need to find out about hanging baskets, its not something I have ever done before, I didnt event know I had the brackets up there til I found them while I was looking for something else.

    The back of the woodshed is now clear of palings and undergrowth.
    I was going to use the chainsaw to trim back the railings, but as it was a bit drizzly this morning and I dont like using the chainsaw when I might slip, I am leaving this for tomorrow.(When mum is going to be here).

    I've pretty much worked out what needs to be done with both these little projects.
    Tomorrow, I'll measure them all up again and go down to get what I need to fix things up. Again, I am just up the road from my local timber merchant and they are more than happy to drop it off.

    Yesterday, mum and I went over to the neighbours with my work truck and loaded up all the concrete rubble and bits of river rock that they had dug out of her garden. I was actually more interested the bits of concrete paving that are currently being used as garden edges, but said I would take the lotn as they clear them out.
    There was one large rock that I couldnt manage even with mums help so that got rolled up against their fence and conveniently 'forgotten'.

    At the moment, its in one big heap.I want to sort it into types and there is flat concrete footpath stuff, rounded river rocks and some sort of really sharp angular rock.
    all the flat concrete is going to be used to pave the courtyard. I thought if there is enough round river rock, I might be able to use this somehow with the outdoor fireplace.
    Some of it will go to making the path between the Feijoa tree and the to-be pizza oven. I'm hoping that bit of a break between the two will help protect the Feijoas roots from the heat of the oven.
     
  17. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    err, somehow I just lost half my post. Bu@#$^&!!! all the stuff about the bees and its way past my bedtime.
    I'll have to re do it all tomorrow!
     
  18. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    if you are going to be walking on the concrete pieces it might actually
    be nicer to use some of those rounded rocks for footpaths through
    instead to provide contrast/pattern. broken concrete pieces are kinda
    drab, useful, but drab, just an artsyish idea... :)

    been busy working on my website. this time i may actually finish it. i
    have three chunks to do yet. a good mid-winter project i've wanted to
    do for many years and got started several times before but was not
    happy with the tools/results so i never finished it. now i have a chance.
    check the "Test" link from the main page (if you want to peek). :)

    sounds like you are keeping plenty busy as it goes there. i hope you
    are getting enough rains and warmth there? our winter has been mild,
    almost too mild, but the colder temperatures returned this week.

    ok, gotta run, cheers, etc. :)
     
  19. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Hi songbird, yes we are getting rain. Not as much as last year though. Its been a funny summer though, I think I already mentioned that I had to bring my aloe vera indoors due to the cold nights making them go brown. Some nights are quite humid like summer is supposed to be but mostly they are cold. I have condensation on my truck's windscreen which is odd for this time of year.

    A lot of people are saying how their tomatoes just are not ripening. The only ones of mine that are are the cherry tomatoes and I have only had half a dozen so far this year.
    At least that crazy wind that used to pop out of nowhere and blow a gale, then die down again is missing this year. That was just plain annoying.

    I checked out your website.I am impressed.
    I have computer expert kids who probably dread my emails asking how to copy and paste again, lol. It took some time but after one of them wrote it down on a post-it and stuck it on my laptop, I finally got the hang of it.

    The last one was my son in New Hamshire asking me to get my skype up and running on my new laptop. That didnt take as long as I thought it would....about a week.
    I found I had 3 accounts. I decided on the third one seeing as it was the latest, but couldnt remember my password, til it told me I couldnt have my old password as my new one.
    Sorted!
    I am going to assign my photoblog to my daughter so that might get updated on a more regular basis.

    My little trial run of a small rectangle behind the yellow gate seems to be okay.
    The concrete is a different colour to the 'grout' and does look quite good. I have learnt that a gentle spray of bleach, left sit for a bit and then waterblasted, brings the colour back,(or deals with the mold that seems to form on the surface of concrete).

    I have been edging these with left over 4X2's I had lying around. This have been painted with creosote to help make them last a little longer and give them a black finish, so there is some pattern to it all as well. Ithink it looks quite good so far.

    I like my crazy paving to be Very level, unlike the one my parents did when I was young which was not nice to walk on...too many lumps.
    I dont actually mind if it goes all the same colour. I just want to pave the courtyard. Reusing rubble that might otherwise get sent off to the dump if they could afford to do such a thing, is a definite win/win.

    With the hive inspection, it went really well. Things were not as bad as I feared.
    My mate was really impressed with the system and the quality of the hive-he's a builder/wood worker.
    The two frames I was worried about, weren't that big a deal. I wasnt sure how much rearranging I would have to do, so I started from the frames more in the middle of the hive first.
    I was told that I had too many frames within the two follower boards, so the extras that the bees hadnt even looked at were taken out. This also gave me room to move.

    My big heavy duty screwdriver did very well as a hive tool, probably to the amusement of my friend.He didnt say anything though.
    The only frame I moved out of sequence was the one right next to the end wall follower board.
    This had fully capped honey on one side and absolutely beautiful wall to wall capped brood on the other. There were three cells that had obviously hatched out and the bees had started to put honey in these. This frame got moved to the other end and the same way round that it came out-brood inward/honey outward.

    There was one frame that had such an amazing amount of bees on it, I didnt want to disturb them too much so that one got a quick look and put back I figured that this one was open brood and/or eggs, and possibly where the Queen was.
    I didnt want her getting upset and running off and possibly getting lost outside of the hive.

    There was one that I had to cut the comb and reposition it.
    This was next to a fat honey comb frame and they had started to build comb on the far edge of the frame instead of in the middle of it.
    I lay this down, cut it off and jammed it into the top corner so that it was held firm by the first wire.

    This was also one that I had taken the foundation off- I want the bees to build the comb as they want to, not as they are dictated to by the foundation.
    I have some frames with the top third still with foundation and some with none at all.
    With the dodgy comb frame, I stuck it between two that had some foundation on it, hopefully htis will encourage them to build straight comb on this.

    When they were first installed, there was wax scrapped off- about a big golf ball sized amount. I have been slowly giving it back to the bees by chopping it up and dropping it down on the entrance. It doesnt fall off because I have a robber screen permanently in place due to a noticebly large wasp population. The bees have been taking it back into the hive and I assume have been using it to help build there home.

    I found that best time to have to window exposed is around 7:30-8pm. The arent fussed at all, whereas earlier in the day, they start to run up and down the glass looking quite stressed.
    Its been really interesting watching what they do. I saw the Queen the day after I opened the hive, which was a relief.

    Im sure I have seen grooming behaviour by at least three bees grooming others. It couldbe that they were cleaning them of pollen, bu I didnt see any pollen and they were at it for some time . The ones being groomed were even moving their wings out of the way and bent their bottoms so their underneath segments could be seen to.
    Absolutely fascinating!

    The back of the woodshed is now fixed. I still need to get up onthe roof to make the corro iron angle downwards though. That should stop the rain from dribbling in from that direction.
    It now has its first load of firewood in for the year- This is hopefully next years wood.The other bay is already full for this years lot.
    I want to get a year ahead with this, just in case we have another down turn. Better too much than not enough.

    I took some plums over to my new neighbour and in exchange was given some eggs from their chooks. She asked me to have a look at her vegie garden, things just are not growing right and she was a bit upset with it.
    She had her tomatoes growing where Matt did but they did not look good. I didnt really have an answer for her, except to say that alot of people have been saying their tomatoes are sad this year and that I thought it was due to the cold nights we having been experiencing.

    She did mention the convovulus that had been coming through the fence, which she had been spraying. So once I finished the woodshed back wall, I made a start on clearing out the chook yard behind it.
    I have been tossing up whether to keep this as a dedicated chook yard, or a dog run.... or able to be either as needed. It still needed to be de-weeded though.

    I decided to cover the gaps in the fence with extra palings. This will help stop the weeds from getting though and stop Jack from barking at her through the fence.
    These came off one of the scratch yard fences. I am not going to have 14 chooks again and am downsizing the yards. I was going to have four yards and rotate them, growing vegies/something edible while they were not in them.
    I have decided to just have the two yards along the back fence and will keep the gateway to what was going to be the forth yard that I never actually got to finish, as my entrance gate.

    I no longer have Amy, she was just too aggressive and it got to the point where I am over dealing with dog fights.
    I do think it sad that Jack doesnt seem to miss little sis at all.
    The other day when we were going somewhere in the car, he seemed to realise that he now had the back seat all to himself and did a nose dive along the length of it.
    I think we are both less stressed now that we dont have to deal with her temper.
     
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  20. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i think bees are facinating to watch too. :) i spent a lot of time as a kid
    watching ants.

    sorry about the doggies not getting along. :( yes, it's too much stress
    when they fight and the vet bills can be $$$. nothing i really ever want to
    cope with. i like quiet too much. i do like dogs, but mostly i like to
    visit (like kids) and then be able to leave when they get to be too much.
    it makes a lot of difference when you are used to being around them
    all the time vs. not much at all.

    tomatoes can take a long time and it does seem forever sometimes.
    we plant ours the end of May and it will be 70-90 days to get the
    harvest in (beefsteaks). the cherry tomatoes may show up a week or
    two before. but i think we are going to stop growing them since i'm
    not eating them any longer. too many for Ma to pick and eat. we'll
    just use the space for another beefsteak.

    cool weather is not their friend either. i hope the warm weather and
    sunshine picks up! :)
     

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