Saturday, 31 October 2009

The second post!

October this year has been glorious .......warm, dry, balmy sunny days with blue skies and very little cloud or wind. So warm in fact that last night I walked down to the local Indian restaurant without a coat on! However, November has arrived with a bang today - the temperature has plummeted several degrees overnight, the sky is steely grey and the horizon is invisible because of the rain pelting against my windows- which are rattling ominously in the face of the gale. The leaves are flying past horizontally, to eventually land in sodden red heaps on the drive and the lawn but I am safe and warm inside, huddled up in my snuggly hoodie and fluffy boots (well, and my jeans - obviously. I'm not that weird!).
Welcome to Autumn, Derbyshire-style!

Let me take you away from the dismal day outside and back to hot sunny days when the world felt good ......... and the second post went into the pond! Chris and OJ weren't around to provide muscle, so we roped the Gnomelets in to help. That was it - three girlies and Himself, our full workforce for the day!

Himself wanted to do things the same way as last time but, despite my love of adventure, I refused point-blank to stick my head down a muddy, mucky barrel whilst balanced precariously on my knees on a wobbly plank over 4 foot of very wet water!
Another way had to be found!

I was convinced that the way I had suggested last time (and been ignored about!) had to be quicker and easier - especially given our current lack of muscle, so Himself agreed to give it a go. We tried it out first on the original post because Himself wasn't happy with how the post was sitting on the cement-filled pillow. He'd accidentally made the mix with sharp sand rather than building sand, so the mixture didn't 'flow' in the pillow and had set lumpy (note excellent use of technical terminology there!), causing the post to be unstable and not truely vertical - a problem which, if not resolved, would have a knock-on effect throughout the rest of the building. We used the chain-hoist to raise the post up and out of the way and lifted up one edge of the pillow with my big leaf catching net so that Himself could reach it to lift it out of the pond.

We then made a new pillow filled with a nice flowing cement mix .....

slid it into the pond .....

pushed it into place with the handle of my trusty net ......

checked it was in the right place ........ ooh look, I'm on my knees on a wobbly plank over 4 foot of water!

lowered the post back down and popped the wooden post back on top. Easy!

Now convinced that this method would work (!) Himself did some precision measurements for where the second post should go .....

sighted it against the first post now sitting snuggly and vertically on its new pillow.....

then we did the same process with the second post.

For some reason I was back to my old familiar position of 'counterweight and shover of big beams with heavy things on the end' ........... but apparently this does not yet qualify me as Technician Third Class, it only keeps me at Grunt Worker level - one day I shall achieve promotion ...well, a girl can dream can't she?!!!

Placing the post onto the plank .....

First-Born in charge of the chain-hoist and lowering the post into the water - I have to say she wasn't exactly thrilled at the prospect!

post in place and being checked for stability on its pillow .....

and the really exciting bit ......... the first horizontal post is brought into play!

getting nearer .......

and nearer ..... it was flippin' heavy and jolly unwieldy too! Oh look, yet again I'm on my knees in an unstable position near water! I'm begining to think that he's secretly trying to topple me into the pond!

Having got the beam into place, Himself decreed that we should take both bits back onto dry land, assemble the two upright posts and the horizontal beam there, then lift the whole job lot onto the concrete posts - simple eh?!

When Himself was using a bit of persuasion I became the brace ....... suppose it made a nice change from being a counterweight! (but still no promotion!)

We then carried/walked the completed structure on wobbly planks out to the posts. Himself's plank is precariously balanced on the edge of the concrete post!

The structure was carefully lifted into place so that the holes in the bottom of the posts corresponded with the metal locators on the concrete posts and pushed down to fit tightly onto the posts. It was hard work!

Enlarge this photo and look at the bubble in the spirit level - precision engineering or what?!

Finished - and tied off on a couple of suitable posts to keep it vertical whilst the cement set.

Total time taken = 3 hours :)
Total time taken to get ONE post into the water last time = 5 hours and one wet Chris!!!

and there I rest my case m'lord!


Liz said...

Lots of work done there Liz!

Inbetween doing all that did you manage to get your bulbs in? ;)

Btw, I'm loving himself's patchy trousers! :D

I thought yesterday was a lovely day... mind, early morning it was rather grotty but it didn't take long to clear.

Today's been a different story, although it has cleared and stopped raining it's very windy and we have casualties in the garden... Oh well... I'd expect no less of November, this is why I plan on having two birthdays - one in the summer so it's actually nice weather! :D

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Yay, it's so exciting to see the beams going up, especially since I didn't have to do nay work on it! I bet you're excited, too, at the progress. Happy November.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Liz - I think my computer must be on a go-slow. I did this post today whilst it was chucking it down, but it says I did it yesterday! Hmm?! Perhaps it was affected by our very brief 2 second power cut earlier?
I've still got a few Alliums left to plant! Vanity got the better of me wonderful In-Laws were coming up yesterday, so I spent the bulb planting time clearing and tidying the veg garden instead!!!
Himself's trouser patches are great - First Born did them with cotton flowery fabric (tres manly!)then I put bigger patches on in tougher fabric - then the rest of his trousers fell apart! :)

I have an April birthday - St. George's day!, so it's usually good weather, but I like your idea of two birthdays ;)

Hi Monica - feel free to pop over and help any time you want to!!! The wind and rain has slowed progress this weekend .... who knows, a few more grotty weekends and the blog may actually reach real time! :0

joey said...

I sighed when I finished reading this, Nutty ... you all must have been exhausted! Take a break, I insist, put your feet up ... and ... do you perhaps have any that your red currant vodka left :) Happy November!

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hi Liz

It's chucking it down here as well at the minute.

All this DIY stuff is immensly satisfying when said and done.

I've just got back from a short trip down in Marseille. Didn't feel like autumn there. I need sunshine.

Patsi's 'Garden Endeavors' said...

Did you use the word "easy" ?
No no no...this is some production !

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

So it sounds like when there were more girls on the job it got done more quickly? :) It sure looks great and I bet you're happy to be one step closer!

Anonymous said...

Its like everything we do in life can be a meditation towards relaxing and aligning into the Moment. Like you said, how can we do this with a sense of ease where it can be fun and entertaining. How do we all work together and combine our skills to balance the situation at hand. Its fun to see you all in action in your own personal environment and habitat.

Nutty Gnome said...

Morning Joey! I really like the concept of taking a break and putting my feet up .......but I'm not always very good at making it happen! Mind you, too much redcurrant vodka and you have to take a break :)

Hi Rob - Marseille, you lucky thing! After yesterday's gales and rain I too would love a trip to the sun! :)
I know what you mean about the satisfaction from DIY - I love looking up the garden to the tea house, it just makes me smile :)

Hi Patsi - well, BITS of it are easy! Other bits are jolly hard work both mentally and physically, but it's mostly good fun and it's starting to look really stunning now, so there's a great sense of achievement kicking in too, which always helps!

Hi Catherine - are you suprised that things got done quicker with the girls in charge?!!! :0
Wait until the blog catches up with current progress .... and if this vile weather continues, it won't be long until I hit real time!

Hi Bernie - we are certainly in the Moment when we're working on the tea house, but I am blessed with a wonderful family and group of friends who are all happy to come and help (obligatory teenage moanings aside!).

I feel immensely grateful that our family are all very close and the 4 of us work well together - and have immense fun whilst we're doing so! We all love where we live and enjoy the challenge of creating the garden that we want out of the one we inherited when we bought the house.

I'm still working on the relaxing bit!

Connie said...

Wow, what a project! I look forward to the continuing saga, and eventually the finished tea house. :-)

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Connie - it is turning into a bit of a saga isn't it?! - but the finished tea house will be superb! I must do another post on all the planting I've done in the Japanese garden too :)

Tootsie said...

you guys are ambitious!!! I hope you have a productive week!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Tootseie - I had a great 1/2 term week thanks! I got loads done .... I cleared,dug over and composted the vegetable garden, cleared leaves,planted bulbs, cleared leaves, pruned the blackcurrants, cleared leaves, dug up a load of brambles and cleared leaves! But by Thursday my body was reminding me I'm not 22 anymore, so I had a day in Nottingham with my daughters! :)
The weekend was vile, so I didn't get anything done - not even clearing leaves!!!

Irene said...

I stumbled over your blog the other day, didn't quite have the time to read, but decided to come back. Today I have read this terribly exciting post about building something I don't quite know what it is yet (since I haven't read your older posts), and I was thrilled! Would someone fall into the water or not?

If my boss wants to know why I haven't been working for the last 15 minutes or so, I am sorry to say that I will have to put the blame on you. ;-)

As Arnold Schwarzenegger so elegantly put it; I'll be back!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Irene, nice to meet you and thank you for coming back ....hope you (and me!)didn't get into too much trouble from your boss?!

We are slowly building a Japanese garden and Tea House in part of our garden - it was my little 6 week project 3 years ago and we still haven't finished ... but it is getting nearer! :)

- and no-one has actually fallen in the water yet, although it's been close once or twice!!!

ren said...

Hi there, th
ank you so much for leaving a note on my blog. Its always nice to knows whos reading it!!

This project of your seems very ambitious! I love the idea of a Japanese garden. There is a beautiful one at Kingston Lacey (NT) But for some reason they coloured the pond with black stuff, which to me looked just like poluted oil / tar!!
Hope it all comes together for you.

Irene said...

6 weeks or 3 years... it's just time after all! We moved into our house 25 years ago and still haven't finished everything we planned for the first year!

You are very welcome to visit my blog - but since it is in Swedish you might find it a bit difficult to understand!

Roses and Lilacs said...

After reading your last post, I had to go back and find out what you were building. It sounds exciting but a lot of work. Things will speed up as you learn. See how quickly you are learning to set posts;) As the commenter above says, it's just time. Many of my projects tend to take years to complete.

Naturegirl said...

So much work involved in building your pond but oh how worth it..when all's done!
Thank you for your generous comment on my blog. I see a few of my cyber friends comment here!Very nice to meet you!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Ren, thanks for coming to see me. I keep hearing about the Japanese Garden at Kingston Lacey - I really must go and visit it! I wonder why they coloured the water black? How odd! Ours sometimes looks dark because of the liner and the way the light reflects off the water, but if you get in the right position you can quite clearly see the bottom - and you don't have to be on a wobbly plank either!!! :)

Hi again Irene - I'm glad it's not just me who takes her time...or vastly underestimates how long it'll take!
I did have a look at you blog, but my very limited knowledge of Danish wasn't really any help with Swedish! ... you had some nice photos though :)

Hi Marnie - it is a HUGE amount of work, but mostly good fun too! Himself reckons you should never do anything for the first time because you know where all the mistakes are. I said he'd be fine doing my second building then - but he ignored me for some reason!!!

Naturegirl - nice to meet you too and thanks for popping in. Yes, I'm sure it's going to be wonderful ....when it's done!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Thanks for stopping by Farmhouse...your blog is wonderful...I have wished for a pond...forever..sure was alot of work..a family effort...but how much you will enjoy it....

Don't you just love Thomas? I do.
He is a pleasure.

I'll be back.
More later,

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Kary - thanks for popping and and I'm really glad you like my blog! Thomas is a joy and an inspiration!

Just go for it on the pond - it doesn't have to be quite the bone breaker this one has turned out to be ..... oh how naive I was!!!

It has been a lot of work - but mainly because we kept getting things wrong and having to redo them! But we really are nearlt there now :)

Hope to see you again soon :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a project! And you guys look like you did so well working together. I look forward to seeing how it all turns out. I would love to do something like this, but our pond is much too small! Maybe a mini version for the faries to enjoy. hehe.

Tootsie said...

hope the weather is holding well for you this week too!!!

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

I am amazed by your project! You are such busy folks!


LeSan said...

Good heavens, I just loved reading this post! I love reading your blog period. Every single little word and sentance. It is like looking into a mirror, we are so much alike in approach and attitude. I don't suppose you're missing a sister are you?
By the way, Gnomelets? Too precious! I laughed out loud.

mountainear said...

Hello - thanks for visiting me. As you can see curiosity has drawn me here - I am so impressed with all your projects.

Incidently I share your role of 'counterweight and shover of big beams with heavy things on the end', and I might add 'knower of when it's- not-going-to-work-if-we-do-it-this way...(so-I'll-shut-up).'

Nutty Gnome said...

Dowhatyoulove - hi! Himself reckons we should have only made the tea house 4 foot high .... just right for the fairies in your garden! (or you could always make the pond bigger!!!) ;)

Hi Tootsie - it has rained most of this week, but I've been back at work so didn't much care what it did - except for yesterday when we were teaching outside! The forecast for the weekend is to be dry so, hopefully, we'll get the roof finished -yeah!! That'll be some milestone :)

Hi Cameron - as they say round here " that's the pot calling the kettle black" about being busy!

Hi LeSan - actually, yes I am missing a sister ...want to volunteer?! I know what you mean - I recognised so much in your writing, attitude and general approach to life that I think we are kindred spirits! LOL!

I'm not sure I ought to carry on calling them the Gnomelets as, at 19 and 16, they are both considerably taller than me - and have been for some time! ....but they will always remain my Gnomelets, so I guess they're stuck with it!

Mounainear - hello and welcome!Hahaha - I love that...'knower of when its-not-going-to-work-if-we-do-it-this-way...(so-I'll-shut-up)'

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Liz! You are so entertaining! I loved your retelling of your three-hour episode. :-) What a lot of precision work... the best and only way to do it, right?

Have you taken a dip yet, whilst purveying your expertise?? lol. Wish you were more 'round the corner! I'd be over to investigate.

By the way, here's the address to a post that might prove interesting! I finally finished the instructions for the Crazy Quilt. :-) Do you have a text program (such as Microsoft Word) that you can copy and paste the pattern onto paper? Each block is supposed to measure 8 1/2" x 8 1/2."

Thomas said...

Wow, it looks as though you've been quite busy Ms. Nutty Gnome. Will you be able to get everything squared away before winter arrives? Hopefully you are enjoying the process of putting this project together!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Shady - the whole tea house building has been (mostly) good fun and exciting, so I have tried to get that into my writing ... so I'm very glad you're enjoying it!

Oh that's brilliant - I'll follow that link and get the pattern. Thanks for that, you've quite made my day :)

Hey Thomas, nice to see you again. Hmmm, getting everything squared away before winter?? Not a chance!!! Actually, that's not strictly true - the roof is very, very nearly finished and Himself is still umming and ahhing about whether to do the floor or walls next - but something will get done! Fortunately (or not, if you're like me and love snow!) our winters are tending towards warmish and damp, so we'll just layer up the clothing and carry on. I have decreed that I'd like it finished by my 50th birthday -which is in April, so we're working on that as our end point .... for the tea house anyway! :)

Tootsie said...

is the weather still holding well for you? it is unreal how nice it has been here...not any snow or even rain! We usually have at least a few inches of snow by now!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Tootsie, we've had a fairly awful week of wind and rain most days - except for yesterday, which was good as we were teaching outdoors at a school all day! It held off until we were leaving, then threw it down for hours!
The forecast for the weekend is rain, wind and more rain ...... but it's dry and still at the moment, so I'm going to nip outside for a bit to get leaf clearing done - soggy leaves, YUK! :)

VP said...

Judging by what's happening outside my window at the moment, your pond must be full to overflowing by now!

Sorry to hear you've been having problems loading my blog. Is it a problem at your end of things, or this there something I can do at my end to help make things better?

Nice to see you around again today :)

Anonymous said...

Its like creating a minature, but collective, Eden.

Each unit is responsible for fulfilling its special talents and creating a space that everyone can happily call home.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi VP - yep, the pond is pretty full right now, but at least it's dry today!

I've sussed the blog loading problem ... it was Himself! He nicked my screen to do something, but didn't screw the cable thingy in properly when he put it back - just in case he needed to borrow it again! The cable then slowly began to slither out, but it only became obvious when big blog pages with lots of detail on wouldn't load properly. I've fixed it now though! :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Bernie - what a lovely way of looking at it ... a miniature, collective Eden!That's wonderful - thank you so much! :)