Thursday, 20 January 2011

Filling: the time, the yard, the skip, the potholes

Lots of varied work been going on in the last two weeks. The main job was getting the "Grumpy van" (aka Dads caravan) out of the mud at the top of hill, down the hill into yard ,into a position that catches the sun, and that stays out of our view from house.

But first the remnants of that big silo shed had to come down. This photo gives some idea of the size it was - Those timbers were huge !

Once that was out of the way we had to extract the caravan - because of all the recent snow it had sunk up to the axles on one side - resting on the lower part of chassis.

This led to a day of graft, first jacking it up...    (the face tells the story !)

then trying to pull it through the squishy mud using the tractor...

...and then the van for the hill down to yard because I know the brakes work well !

As always there were plenty of suggestions on how it should be done properly. Funny how everyone has an opinion after you've got it dragged out successfully ! ;-)

Getting it almost into position was "easy" , if reversing around a corner in a van, uphill ,with a 35 foot long x 12 foot wide caravan can be considered easy. OK, it was "slow".

Doing the last 4 feet sideways was really hard work - it took a whole day ! The problem was eventually solved by sawing up telegraph poles to make rollers - then jacking it onto them. With that done it was just a quick push with the tractor - after we'd dug up the yard to remove the mud and replaced it with hardcore !

The cheesy grins hide the frustration of the rest of the day !

The caravan is now in place. I insulated most of the underside yesterday with waste 25mm Kingspan insulation. A whole day of lying on my back, hammering above my head , really tedious, dirty and giving me acid reflux all day. Yuk!    Dad had the "easy" part - cutting up about 100 pieces of insulation after sweeping the old chicken crap off first ! Nice job ,not !

 The photo above does give a good idea of how the yard is starting to open up especially if you compare it to what it looked like at end of September 2010 (in photo below). The concrete "pit" (to right of picture above) can be used to orientate yourself in both photos)

I decided to get the "rubbish" shed down next (thats the one to right of both pictures above /behind Dad in picture below)  - its been full of old gas canisters, rotten wood and all that plastic I picked up four months ago.

Lucky they make a BIG skip...

 ...which looked even bigger inside ! Its already about two thirds full. The "rubbish" shed is already just the frame and roof.

One trick I learned is to get hardcore delivered in the skip at the same time, so I ordered 10 tonnes  saying "that'll be loads and last for ages" to fill the potholes on the track.

It was quite a pile, maybe as tall as me almost - however after a day and a half of pothole filling its ALL gone! I knew they were bad holes but TEN tonnes , that track must have cost a fortune to build its 300m long !

The tractor earned its money again today thats for sure . So did Dad , payment in the form of wine and pasta!

Its been quite a successful couple of weeks and despite some crappy back breaking jobs recently its been good fun in a challenging kind of way. By way of relaxing April and I chopped some rhododendrons down one Sunday and the following weekend I started on pruning the vines in the glasshouse. No photos yet of that - you'll have to wait - its as dramatic a change as the sheds !

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New year, same old shed

Happy New Year  !   Time for Resolutions and inspiration for new goals.

Well usually it would be, but we're still carrying on with last years goal, inspiring as the view of the sunrise from my bedroom window was the other day.

As the popular saying (almost) has it, recent work has been very much
"Same shed ,different day".

With the "car parking" shed cleared away we moved onto the "silo" shed immediately adjacent. Now stripped of the big metal bins I decided to start removing it entirely since it will be the temporary site for the "Grumpy's" caravan. Its proved much easier  having two people working since I could be up on the roof while the bits of wood, pipe and corrugated steel could get cleared from the ground by Grumpy (aka Dad)

Its been quite an effort - this new section is about 140 square meters of shed in its own right and it all seem to be getting higher and higher - which led to an interesting solution for cutting off the metal fixings on 28 roof joist junctions.

This is not the Health and Safety approved soution to working at height although I do have a wooly hat on to protect my ears from the cold . It was certainly exciting in a stress-migraine-inducing kind of way !

Once the shed is cleared the eBay caravan can be wheeled down the hill - it arrived just before Xmas day - although rather disappointingly Grumpys present (to himself!) did not come wrapped in paper with a giant ribbon.

 It is quite large (35 feet) and without a working tractor (at the time) it has had to stay at the top of the  hill.

However the tractor is now fixed - which was immediately really useful for rescuing the van which we'd filled up with scrap metal from around the walled field. No way was the van coming back up the grassy hill alone !
This would have been pretty tricky on my own thats for sure - although the previous owner of the tractor had once managed something similar, towing a second tractor steered from the first tractor by means of ropes !!

 The tractor is already repaying the effort and expense I've put into fixing it. Although I've not got a transport / linkbox yet (Dads offered to make one) or a trailer ( there are two derelict ones in field to repair) the front loader has been a real boon for shifting stuff. Having fixed the hydraulics, I could now pick up the counter weight so the manouver below no longer results in the rear wheels lifting off the ground when going downhill ! (Phew!)

For a change we started demolition on the old prefab concrete stable building (behind me in photo above) today, however Dad wasn't really up to the job on his own...

Lucky we had the tractor to pull the ivy off  - still a bit of a fight though !

Underneath the ivy was the first asbestos cement roof to demolish. There are a few more of increasing difficulty. What you cant see is that all the moss of the roof has actually frozen solidly onto it! Hopefully that will keep all those asbestos particles together...

We got all the roof panels off today, the rest will come down tomorrow.

"Same shed, different day".  

I suppose not every day was the same recently though...  ;-)