The guy looked kind of familiar. He was delivering some supplies for the new shed project. The supplies were 6m long (almost 20ft in length) and I had no other way of bringing the items back to the farm. Curiosity got the better of me: ‘Didn’t you deliver materials here a dozen years ago?’ And he replied with ‘Yup’, before then taking a good look around and going on to say: ‘Don’t you ever stop.’ It wasn’t a question.
In recent weeks the Editor might have suggested that I’ve been a little bit tense over the uncertainty and complexities surrounding obtaining materials for the new shed project. And during that time we’ve been constructing the thing, we’ve also been working on paid work, maintaining the farm and trying to take some days off. I’d like to imagine that I’ve been as cool as a cucumber – it’s certainly possible that this was the case.
However, the truth is, I have been concerned that I might not be able to obtain the materials for the new shed project. And the costs are coming in at about 40% more than I’d anticipated. It’s like being stuck in a bad episode of Grand Designs UK and the cheeky presenter is asking the tough questions: So what was the budget? And how did it end up?
So, the delivery bloke spoke the truth – the Editor and I haven’t stopped for many weeks now. Obtaining some of the materials has been an interesting, expensive and sometimes complicated experience. It also doesn’t help that the state government is requiring people to wear masks due to the health subject which dares not be named.
The concept of wearing masks is usually sold by the government as a small impost. On stonking hot summer days, wearing a mask is an abominable experience.
The warehouse was seriously long and the summer sunlight poured in from the tall openings at either end. The Dirt rat Suzuki and bright yellow trailer took up almost no space at all. Truck bay number five was now in use by yours truly. Whilst standing next to the trailer, I spoke with the warehouse guy. He didn’t make any pretence at wearing a mask, but I could not take such liberties. So much for a small impost. Sweat was dripping from my forehead and into my eyes. And the mask was damp. Gawd, with all that sweat, I hope the bloke didn’t think that I was ill, if only because he might decide not to supply the steel. Knowingly, he said to me: ‘Usually the air blows through the warehouse, but not today.’ Lucky me. To take my mind off my discomfit I said to the warehouse bloke: ‘Mate this is the best warehouse layout I’ve seen for a long while.’ Hearing that cheered him up, despite the heat. He then told me that the new management a few years ago allowed the warehouse guys to rearrange the warehouse, and it took more than a few weekends of work. It was a great layout. The steel was loaded onto the trailer and I was quickly on my way, and relieved to be rid of the mask.
In hot weather, mandating masks for hours on end is an act of cruelty. Recently, I’d been offered some reasonable paying work, although it is a long work day. In the past with this job I’d begun at 7am and finished at 11pm. I quite enjoy the work, and speaking with the public for hours on end is no hardship for a person as chatty as myself. But if I have to wear a mask on such a long work day, no amount of pay is enough for that torture. Technically speaking, they can go f!@# themselves and find someone else to do the work.
Turns out that others feel much the same. During a recent walk in the inner suburbs it was not hard to spot the ‘help wanted’ signs.
I now know more than a few restaurants that are having serious troubles staffing their businesses. Many no longer open seven days a week, and some are spontaneously not even opening for some shifts – especially lunch shifts. It is not hard these days to spot the owners having to muck in and wait on tables. Generally the staff look run off their feet to me. And they’re all required to wear masks. It’s cruel and it’s pushing people out of the industry. But for all I know, that might be the desired outcome of the policy? The thing is though, if the staff and customers have all been double vaccinated (which they have to be in this State), then it seems like an arbitrary requirement.
Most people I know are reasonably understanding about the situation and respond gracefully to the circumstances. But there are always a few people though who are oblivious to the experiences of the people who are serving them, and to those people I say: to be patient is just a small impost.
Another week, another bunch of truly odd weather. Some days were warm and sunny, whilst other days would challenge the faith of the true believers that solar power will save industrial civilisation.
It wouldn’t be this crazy ‘year without a summer’ unless there were a couple of days of foggy weather. Fortunately there were a couple of days of foggy weather.
On Thursday the sun did finally produce some warmth. The Editor and I used the fine weather to construct the remaining half of the roof trusses for the new shed project. These were then installed onto the shed frame.
Heavy duty steel strapping is used to tie all of the roof trusses to the timber posts. The strapping is a very clever arrangement and has some neat tensioning devices. The farm was directly hit by a minor tornado on Christmas Day many years ago, so I like to ensure that the roof on any structure we construct is well anchored to the ground. It seems only prudent.
Some of the materials for this shed were recovered from the shed which we deconstructed last week. The demolition work produced a lot of chunks of concrete which had been used to anchor the timber posts to the ground. Most people would discard those chunks of concrete, but we have other ideas for them. The chunks of concrete are perfect fill for a new set of concrete stairs.
The first step for a new set of concrete stairs was poured on Saturday.
Saturday was hot, and it was the third growing day (a day in excess of 30’C / 86’F) for this season. Not a bad effort given that we are only a few days out from the summer solstice. Anyway, the cement set very quickly on that hot day. This is a good thing because the dogs have this odd inclination to attempt to sign their paw prints in wet cement.
Sunday, well, it turned cold and rainy again. This was the perfect weather to cut up the Moby (body) rock. Long term readers will recall that during excavation works a few months ago, we unearthed a bonkers hard rock. Most of the granite on the farm is easily worked with the right tools, but not that rock. It was special.
Being a specially tough rock, required especially tough tools. The inner twelve year old in me wanted to get someone in to blow the rock up, but unfortunately that required an excavator. Getting such a machine into the site would be too difficult. We scratched our heads wondering about how to deal with the rock, when the local equipment hire bloke suggested getting in a special blade. It sounded expensive, and was just that. But we thought that we’d give it a go anyway.
That was one of the dirtiest jobs that I’ve undertaken for a very long time. The blade was cooled with water and so there was not much dust, but there sure was a lot of mud.
The blade was 16 inches in diameter and could make deep cuts into the rock. I crisscrossed the surface of the rock and then used the electric jackhammer to remove the chunks.
In between the rain storms, the sun shone. The demolition process produced quite a number of irregularly sized granite bricks.
I spent many hours slowly reducing the size of the Moby (body) rock. But eventually, the job was completed.
In breaking produce news, the little Issai kiwi berry vines have produced some tiny fruit. The four vines are about two years old now, and I’ll be curious to compare how the smaller variety taste. The larger variety of kiwi fruit are very productive vines here, even in cold and wet summers, and so I have high hopes for the smaller variety.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 18’C (64’F). So far this year there has been 1,218.8mm (48.0 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 1,213.4mm (47.8 inches)