Sunday, July 29, 2012

Getting Closer to the Concrete

Last weekend meant no work in the yard as the club headed down to the Gold Coast for the "Miniature Trains on the Coast Model Train Show". It was great as usual.

In between going to the Gold Coast model train show last weekend and then catching a super cold or flu from it, I've been hitting the backyard nice and hard to get it prepped for the concrete man.

While I was crook on Tuesday I got a call from the concrete dude and he came round and we discussed what was needed and what other concrete, tree stumps etc had to be removed and of course how much fill was needed to bring the back of the yard up to the correct level for the shed.

So Tuesday mid afternoon sees a bit more paving being lifted and a  few poly-carbonate sheets now off of the cactus shed.

This week was also council pickup week, so I was able to get rid of a huge pile of stuff. On Wednesday whilst I was crook again, I managed to offload all my cacti to a nice lady at Moreyfield and get rid of all the other plants, and pots. 

Above we see the last few plants awaiting the lovely lady who came back late in the arvo for yet another load of cacti and got rid of the remaining ones above. She also happened to take an old wooden entertainment unit I'd been holding onto for 2 years - now I walk in my lounge room without kicking my toe so much.

At the end of Tuesday we have this many pavers lifted, cleaned and stacked.

So between 3 sick days at home, where the sunshine and hard yakka did me more good than harm, and this weekend, I managed to get it almost all clear for the concreter to be called back to do his magic - I'll call him on Monday to tell him the good news. 

Friday happened to be my third day off crook, so I used it to advantage and got some plumbing bits so I could re-route the down pipes that feed the water tank so that the tank could be moved out of the way. I tried late in the arvo to do some paving removal, but I got rained on, so gave up.

With the help of my old man on Saturday, we got the old cactus shed cut down. He'd built it for me about a decade or so ago and it was earthquake proof. All welded water pipe and weldmesh and all sunk into concrete footings. I'd skinned it in poly-carbonate sheeting to keep the UV and rain off of the cacti and had shade cloth over parts to reduce the sunshine levels a bit too.

Above is the old man - smart cookie with all sorts of tools and building/demolition as well. You can see that the cactus shed is almost down. During all the cutting of water pipe, we managed to finally burn out the 20+ year old Skill docking saw - just not made to last!!  So off to Bunnings and picked up a new Bosch for 99 bucks. The new one is a bit better with it's extra 500 RPM and a tad more HP- cuts the pipe like butter now.

At the end of Saturday we had a pile of pipe and posts - above is just some of it.

Sunday was my day to take a lot more crap to the tip including a lot more wood and stuff that's been sitting around for yonks. Also a pile of dead pots of cacti and plants had to go. While I was at it I filled the trailer with more stuff from the car garage to make it a really worthwhile trip. It ended up being a 360 kg trip. Then I came back and got more enthused and grabbed a pile more stuff like my original 8x4 super heavy table I built for my first layout that never happened - it had 4x2's for stiffeners under the chipboard top - it was bomb proof. That trip to the tip was another 350 kg to the total dumped tally.

The end of the day was spent cutting up the water pipe to sizes suitable for putting in the trailer. In the end I had the 6x4 trailer chock-a-block with water pipe and weldmesh, ready to take to SIMS Metal recycling during the week - well, the old man can do that for me, as I'd better show up to work this week I suppose.

I also pushed the water tank out of the way after getting the last 1 foot of water out with a siphon hose. Another 60 pavers got lifted, cleaned and stacked as well. So here is the old shed and also the back of the house where the tank and cactus shed was, as at the end of Sunday.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Still no Trains - But I'm another day Closer

Sunday dawned behind dark clouds. So I slept in nice and long. By the time I got up and read the online papers and had a few cuppas, it was 9:30 and still cloudy as, and looking like rain. The yard was absolutely soaked though.

But it hadn't rained for a number of hours so I figured it was safe enough to don the work boots and climb aluminium step ladder whilst carrying a hammer, large screwdriver and nail pulling pliers.

By 1pm I'd gotten all the timber beams down and it was time to get out the power tool - the docking saw. Nothin' like making a crap load of sawdust out of lengths of timber. But after swinging it around a bit, I got all the timber cut up and into the trailer. So it was off the tip to get rid of the 340 kgs of old and rotting timber.

Once back, it was time to pour on some bleach on the pavers and scrub a bit with the broom and then hose down the whole area with water from the rainwater tank. Safe to walk on again, and the end of another day getting closer to that train shed!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Finger is Out

Today was a very nice day actually. Sun was out, no one was around to pester me, all was good in the world.

So after reading a pile of online newspapers and a couple of cups of coffee, it was time to get out in the back yard and do some work so that the train shed of mine can get built.

So it was into that pile of thorns out the back roll-a-door. Most had to go as they'd grown too big and through the bottom of the pots. A few though will get a reprieve at the side of the house in a raised garden bed I have some spots in - like a whole bed. The bed closest on the left now is fully replanted.

The worst one to handle of course was the big Agave at the back left ("Agave parviflora"). It was as healthy as buggery and a full ball of sharp spines. Six hours later and I'm still pulling bits out of my hands and legs.

The rest of the plants went into the trailer for another run to the tip. Mostly Euphorbias and hard Agaves. But I did it and that back area even got a sweeping and a hose down from the rainwater tank which also is being emptied for moving to a new location. About 300 Kilos went to the tip. I think about 1 kilo of spines are still in my body as my right leg is swelling in many spots from embedded spines and I expect until they all blow up and infect I wont find 'em all!

You ask why there is still one plant left. Well, I figure since it is right up against the wall it can stay a little longer as it is not in the way yet. It is a very special one which I will keep - it's an "Alluaudia procera" which comes from Madagascar. It has spines all over, yet gets leaves directly on the branches and not on stems.

Anyway, That's one less job done and one step closer to my train shed. Before the sun went down I also got the mesh off of the old pergola, so the timber beams can now come down and be got rid of as well - a job for next weekend think.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Quickie in the Arvo

So I took this arvo off and took the 12:07 EMU home.

The main purpose being to go purchase some walking shoes and new jeans for my upcoming train journeying around the USA at the end of August and September. I plan on doing train trips from LA to Denver (9 day tour with lots of trains in Denver) to Chicago to Seattle to San Francisco to LA. With a stop at Williams to train it to the Grand Canyon and of course a flight (no trains) to Vegas. So once the shopping was done and some groceries purchased, there was still just enough time for a quickie.

It being garbo day tomorrow, and the bin being pretty much empty, I was able to fill it to the top and make it very heavy before the sun went down. I hooked into one of the large succulents out my back door where the new pergola will be. 

Here is the spot needing to be fully cleaned out - bet you can't even see where today's one came from.

This area needs to be empty for plant storage and all sorts of things whilst the new shed goes in. So out with a saw and into the shrub. Then the fun of picking up all the pieces and putting into the bin - the shrub, "Euphorbia grandicornis", has 2-3 inch (5 to 7 cm) long spines all over it and they just love to bite into me. Making it harder is that all the plants long ago threw their roots through the bottom of their pots and into the paving and ground below. Hence they are all extremely healthy and large.

After filling the bin I got into removing all the Agave plants from around the old orange tree stump. Plenty of homes were found for them as they are so easy to grow and are soft leaved and don't bite ya! "Agave attenuata" being the name, these came out with the large digging fork and spade. Off to mum's golf club they will go. The stump is now clear for the bobcat to finish off.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dr. Smith was right - "Oh, the pain, the pain, the pain!"

Finally got a sunny day here and got into it.

No, this is NOT a plant blog - it is about model trains - keep reading!

My back will complain in the morning, but my arms and legs are complaining now as I type. The reason is that many of the plants removed were large bromeliads - the ones with sharp barbs up and down their stiff leaves. It looks like I was attacked by a large swarm of bees - feels like it too. At least half of them got a new home at the front of my house - I think they look much better than the dead Camellias that were out front. Really needed that shower at the end of the day too, as I smelled like a swamp! Bromeliads hold water in their crowns and this water is always pretty fetid and of course spilled all over me when lugging these large monsters around.  This one below I think must be almost the same as a modeller's razor saw - I bet if I measured it, it would have teeth at about 56 TPI !!

First order of the day was to get a loaded trailer to the tip that was loaded up last Sunday. It was full of plants and pots and the old timber sleepers from around the lime and orange trees.

This made the old stumps look a bit more naked. A backhoe can now easily finish the job when the concreters come round.

So the main aim today was to get as much cleaned up under the old pergola as possible. This will allow me to lift the old pavers to expose the underlying concrete slab that needs to be got rid of - half of it anyway for the shed to go up and the other half not long after to allow the old brick shed to be demolished.

By the end of the day and another 220 kg to the tip in another trailer load, I got the old area clean enough. Even went past the hardware store and picked up a bristle broom and a gallon of bleach to clean the algae off the pavers so they can be reused for the new pergola.

And before anyone asks, no it was not financially viable to refurb the old brick shed. Ceiling was too low, the slab had sunk below ground level and always floods, timbers were past it, etc etc etc.

Over the last couple of weeks, have been chipping off bricks from the old BBQ to use under the chook shed. What is now left of the BBQ can be knocked down by the back hoe when it comes.

So I had some eggs for dinner, courtesy of my chooks and will probably hit the sack a tad earlier than normal I reckon. CYA next time.