Saturday, November 1, 2008

The end of MegaGarden 08?

Looks like this could be the last weekend of work before winter sets in, we're nearly there and the house needs a lot of work inside to get it cozy in time for Christmas. We're down to the last few stones including a lot of awkward ones that need using up, so this last bit is looking a bit of a mess.

I couldn't find any decent through stones for my wall end - this floppy one was okay but not great. I'm still not too sure what i'm going to do between this wall end and the back wall (using next door's shed as an inbetween). I think i'm going to make some sort of lean-to / woodpile to store the fuel for my next project - INGLENOOK

Swapped the through but i'm still not 100% happy with it (or even 50% happy). Nick is doing an amazing job at the front end though.

And that's all we've got left - probably less than half a ton out of the original 6 tons. That precarious tower of concrete and brick is earmarked to be used for my troglodyte outdoor pizza oven which will be an integral part of the goings-on up here next summer.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Little to the Right

The clocks went back this morning, I spent an extra hour in bed dreaming about finishing this right hand mini-wall. I finished the edge of the steps first of all.

Even though we're down to the last few stones, we're still managing to pull out a few magic shapes. I was leaning over the wooden stairs to take this, so 1 second after I took the photo my feet whizzed from under me on the slime, giving me a massive horizontal bruise right across my body off the handrail. Not had a good winding for years - ooooffff.

Got about 8 inches to go to get it to ground level. The camera ran out of batteries at this point - i'll have to take a photo in the week of the next exciting course taking shape.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Holder of the Boulder

Nick came up again today, I was a bit intimidated by starting all over again with the corner wall and I needed some motivation. We're getting down to the last stones now, so there's not as much choice as when we first started but they need using up even if they are very wonky.

At one point when we were shovelling soil and rubble down to backfill the gap between the wall and concrete, I pulled out a grimy piece of plastic which immediately flashed me back in time to the happy days of 1980. Even my mum recognised what it was straight away.

I knew Nick would get things whipping along - I wish the days weren't so short because we could have got this finished in a few more hours. Hopefully if the rain's not too bad tomorrow I will get stuck in with Zo.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rubble Reduction

I figured out that I had overestimated the amount of rubble we were going to need to level the ground. This 2-ton pile of concrete, brick and dirty dust that's been sat there since we wrecked the inglenook in spring was going to have to go to the tip.

Sorting out the big bits to bag up, we'll leave the finest dust behind but I think we need to shift about 3/4 of it.

This was parked up next to the rubble skip, I took the photo for Jim.

8 round trips and I reckon nearly 100 back-breaking bags later, it's time to spread out the remaining gravel. My back is breaking but I can see the finish line now.

Yes! There's ground level. Unfortunately now I can see the back wall it has reminded me that it is about to collapse and is going to need to be rebuilt. Not this year though.

Finally got all our remaining stone lined up neatly, sorted into shape ready to use - the remaining work is going to be a joy.

Looking at that is really relaxing me. Ahhh

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Adam Attack

After 4 months of mithering, Adam made it down today and it turns out he is born with a natural gift for this walling biz. Zo gave him the rules of the game and we left him to it...

A couple of hours later there was 6 feet of rock solid, level, deluxe walling. He does like to do a good job.

Remember that dodgy bit that I promised to fix for Stuart last episode? Adam scooped it out and replaced it all with new stones, totally locked.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Whaley Walling Weekend 2

We kind of overdid it on the beer-reward yesterday so we are all feeling a bit tired today. Luckily the weather is amazing and Stu and Sal are ripping through at great speed again in no time.

Stu has nearly completed another course. I was supposed to be giving him a hand with that gap on the left but I got sidetracked. I've still not fixed it.

When we raised the string for Stuart's next course I measured it and there are only 9 inches left to go. We have begun to worry that there won't actually be enough stone to finish it.

Another meticulous job from Sal, straight as an arrow.

Back to my personal nightmare, I don't know if this is cheating or whether it is part of the tradition of using whatever materials are to hand but I had a few concrete paving slabs that needed using up. I hope they are okay to build on top of.

Zo was working from the wall out to meet Sal in the middle, she was working super-fast as well, i'm lucky to have a gang of such amazing craftsmen.

Zoe reached the bus! This is going to be the eventual height of the wall, we've not decided on the coping yet - I don't know whether we will have any decent stone left by the time we get to the top, so might have to get some more from the quarry.

I got a couple of pieces in on my wall-end by the end of the day, i've got quite a way to go but it's an alright start and I feel a bit more positive about it than I did yesterday morning when I started.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Whaley Walling Weekend 1

We've had a few weeks break from the wall with weddings and whatnot, last weekend was spent pulling down and putting up a new bedroom ceiling round at Stu and Sal's so they are returning the favour with 2 days hard labour. I really wanted to get the steps finished but Nick decided that we might be better off building the facing wall-end first.

I had been putting off going anywhere near the right hand side of the steps, thinking I could maybe build the matching wall there next year but we ended up getting stuck in. I think this could be a huge job though. There looks like an existing wall in place next to the fence but it is just a pile of rubble so it's going to have to come out and get rebuilt.

That's the old wall taken out and a couple of foundation stones put in. It's not a very wide space but we are going to have to build an L-shaped wall about 4 ft high. At this point I feel a bit like i'm back to square one and get a bit demotivated.

Luckily Stu and Sal come round and get me feeling postive again. They are both total naturals and speed through the walling like magic.

Stuart reaching the end of his course. As you can see from the beading in his hair, a giant cloud decided to set down on us for the rest of the day which covered everything in mud.

Sally had started from the corner and had done about 2 metres in 2 hours - she's quick! That'll be those nimble ladyfingers.

We decided this hobby is definitely more fun when the sun is shining.

Smashy smashy

Stuart just surveying his work, probably a good time to call it a day now. Wash the mud off and go for a few pints of dark mild as a reward.

You could smell the bonfires all around the valley today, it forced Nick to go foraging in the woods so we could have one of our own. He spotted a load of mushrooms that I was going to go back and check but I totally forgot, I might go back tomorrow.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Step to the beat

We went out with Xian and Jade yesterday to see if we could summon Merlin round Alderley Edge (no luck but we did get some ice cream and chips) so today it's time to get those steps in. I dug down to the earth and at this point have got a couple of hefty 'character stones' on the left to hold the first step up.

Another big chunker on the right hand side to hold the step up. I laid some flat bits of crazy paving between the top of the front wall and the bottom of the new steps.

This was the sum total of this year's tomato harvest by the way, ALL THAT EFFORT TOO

Nick and Dad had been laying some giant lego brick type stones around the top of the steps at ground level.

The bottom steps and top surrounding step are done now, i'll do the middle step next weekend.