A Couple of Monster Tasks

It seems that everywhere we look on the Homestead at the moment there’s something in need of more attention than we have time available. This has made work on our current perpetual garden clock orbit rather halting to say the least as we juggle time invested in run-of-the-mill weed pulling and garden titillation with monster tasks.

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The front gets a bit of a spruce-up

One monster task we’ve been chipping away at is the battening and general revamp of the chicken coop. Six years sitting out in all weather, on a drunken lean to boot (propping the front up on bricks seemed the perfect solution to rainwater collection to us hammer-challenged newbies) has taken its toll on our paltry, poultry palace.  Boards have shrunk making for less than snug conditions and constant insect harvesting around the front “foundations” (read haphazard row of bricks) has a way of creating perfect, rodent-sized doorways. In the way things do when you look around, a stash of wood off-cuts suitable for plugging chicken coop drafts happened along our way and a great amount of time has been spent attaching these in a vaguely uniform manner to the chicken residence.

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Painting will have to wait until next year

Next up is implementing the devilishly clever/totally devoid of logic (delete as applicable) plan we have for creating fall on the roof while keeping the footings level. This was to have happened on Saturday, as the sun was shining, making it perfect roof removal and refurbishment weather. Then, as things tend to do around here, our attention was diverted during a quick “half-hour” weedfest of the ground behind the garage, “just to keep things moving”. It just seemed silly to stop half way through the job.

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The old 200L barrel is to be used to collect the chicken coop roof run-off

A couple of months ago, we were told of two 1000L water tanks in need of a new home.  Although it was a little early in proceedings for us, we know a good deal when we see it and the tanks have been hanging out at the top of the Homestead driveway attracting a fair amount of attention, especially as they arrived the day our local paper ran a piece warning of council plans to implement water charges. Once the ground was cleared, one of the tanks was manhandled into temporary position where it will spend the winter collecting the garage run-off.

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Check out that custom-built Union Homestead plumbing!

The tanks had come without a small hose adaptor, meaning that every time we opened the valve we could potentially lose litres of water; these adaptors are sold on the internet but, impatient souls that we are, we decided to have a go at manufacturing one ourselves. The Goat Herd did a bit of research, donned her Mech Eng thinking cap and disappeared down to our local hardware store, Hammer Hardware, New Brighton.  There’s none of that “look in aisle 15A, next to the garden rakes, opposite the wheelbarrow liners, you can’t miss it” in this establishment. In this place you get greeted by the door (usually along the lines of “what have you lot broken this time?” in our case), shown the location of the item you seek, and the visit is not complete without a bit of a catch-up gossip about nothing in particular.  There was no doubt that, with everyone on board, the adaptor of The Goat Herd’s imagination would become a reality. It took a while, a fair bit of head scratching, talk of flanges and nipples and stuff, and a bit of custom sizing with help of a grinder but in the end…

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we got there!

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As I sit in the Homestead Mobile outside Farm Girl’s weekly swimming lesson frantically hammering this missive into the laptop (because life is currently very much a case of seizing the moment) soft but persistent rain has begun falling. My thoughts are drawn to the Homestead a few kilometres down the road. There’s not many sureties in life, but of these things I’m certain:

  • Tonight we’ll be watching television in a room festooned with the three loads of washing that were hanging on the line when we headed out this morning

  • Currently our wonderful neighbours are being subjected to the cacophony only three over-indulged, rain-phobic goats can produce, and

  • come morning, we’ll know whether our  rainwater plumbing efforts do actually hold water. 

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12 thoughts on “A Couple of Monster Tasks

  1. I expect your water tanks will work fine. You are lucky to be able to collect water in the winter – we have to empty ours and reinstalling them is such a pain. Still, I wouldn’t be without them.

  2. I guess this is why so many people live in apartments — they don’t want to have to keep up with the gardening, weeding, mowing, building, tearing down, etc! I’m glad to see you’re just the opposite. Good work on the water tanks and rainwater collection. You’re a step ahead of a lot of people in that regard.

  3. Clever girl that engineer of yours. Did she do the plumbing from the gutter too? What will you do with the other tank? We have two largish piles of old brick collected from a demo site in town years ago – I believe we had vague plans of making a brick path somewhere, that died from lack of time. Those bricks can be found all over the place around here – raising chicken water drinkers up, propping up vacant broiler shelters, edging a new flower bed (#2 daughter was busy this weekend). holding down wire over the area planted with peas and carrots (pesky rabbits and quail). I see you have quite a few of my bricks around your garden paths :).

    Monster tasks – yes – an apt title. I seem to have trouble getting through all the daily routine stuff, so that adding in some big project just seems impossible – hence taking months to complete the flipping chicken fences. This is, as you already know, a thing I really struggle with. For me, the issue is not necessarily unwilling troops so much as a disorganized leader (me). I often have a broad brush idea of what I want to accomplish, but am making up the plan as I go along, and helpers are often stuck waiting for me to think of what I might need them for. Once I have a task for one of them, I then tend to micro manage, which everyone really enjoys…and the result is that my willing helpers are often busy with other things when I have a project in mind. You’d think with a military background I’d have this issue weighed off, but it’s funny how one’s own offspring don’t respond to command and control in quite the same way that recruits do. So how do you do this? How do you get the crew pulling together and getting things like house painting, shed cleaning, paltry poultry palace improvements, rainwater collection systems etc done?

    • Along with the long nails and bindertwine, gleaned bricks and cobbles make up the bulk of our DIY projects. The Dr Seuss-like guttering was a team effort.
      Know what you mean about broad-brush ideas; I often wish I could just download the inside of my brain like a computer as actually forming the ideas into words is my downfall. Micromanaging…yep, get that too and as for the whole command and control…it’s a bit difficult when the “troops” know all your foibles.
      There’s no way I’ve got this lifestyle sussed but we talk a lot (and yell, scream, swear, fight, make up…) and we’ve also got a pretty wide base of interests and talents eg: the mad inventions of The Goat Herd, The Renovator who actually enjoys sanding and prep work, The Farmer’s muscle and trailer backing skills etc. Biggest lesson for me (in truth still learning it) is that life is never perfect. It’s quite liberating 🙂

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