Steps: fixed

Steps up the hill: there were more than expected. It’s done now, however, and we managed to use up most of the treated pine that was making a junk pile over by the chicken coop.

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The fill will settle over the coming days, particularly in the rain, and there’ll probably be a bit of rock topping-up to do to keep the tops level, but they should do the job now for a good few years to come.

Slide-be-gone

This slide did not see much love. It seemed to me that it would be far better in a park or at a primary school where it could be used and enjoyed.

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We got in touch with Kallista and The Patch schools, and Kallista baggsed it. They’ll be having a working bee soon, so we can pull it out ready for delivery.

The main slide bit just unbolted (with a bit of persuasion from the hammer), but the stands were concreted in (surprise!).

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A bit over-the-top, Carl, as usual. The slide was probably not going to leap from the ground and go running across the hillside.

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When I was 19, I worked for a surveyor as his assistant. This is mostly holding sticks, banging things into the ground and digging holes. We had to dig up people’s yards sometimes, and he taught me to respect their lawns. The grass should come out in a way that it can be put back in again once whatever needed to be dug out was out.

Of course, my lawn is not so much grass as a loose association of plantain, dandelion, clover and cats ear weeds, but this patch should recover quite nicely.

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And that’s the last of the “playground” that was here when we bought the house.

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Side quests

The weather was a bit rainy – ok, a lot rainy – so I needed inside things to do. The shed was in a bit of a state, though, so a tidy-up was in order. There was also this old potting wheel that S got cheap, but which was really grubby and broken to boot, and needed a good clean and fixing.

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The friction ring that was on that little wheel was melted, so another was procured. Once the new one was installed, it still wouldn’t go, and it turns out one of the bearings on the main wheel was seized (which is probably why the friction ring melted in the first place). Should be about a $50 fix all up, and $50 for the wheel. It’s an old industrial model, and new ones go for more than $1000, so we’re pretty happy.

It’s mostly about getting it off the workbench, though. We’ll probably pop it in storage until we have a space to throw pots in, and a kiln.

Then the sun came out. We have a big pile of treated pine from the sand pit and trampoline base dismantling, and it seemed a good idea to use some of it to fix up the steps at the top of the road, which have become very agricultural and downright dangerous.

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I have to say, Kallista has some of the most unloved steps I’ve ever seen. There’s a set down Gleghorn Rd that are just the craziest thing.

Anyway, much carting of wood, dirt and rocks resulting in a job two-thirds done.

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There’s still plenty more wood in the pile, but that’s enough for this weekend!

Mulch pit half mulched

Carting mulch down onto the orchard level is becoming a least-favourite job. I reckon it’s about half done. Mulch comes down in the 42L tub, but only about 30L at a time. There are 30 tubs to a ute tray, and there are about 12 ute trays here. So 360 trips up and down the garden and nearly 11,000L of mulch so far.

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Another side

It takes about a day and a half in total to collect pallets, dismantle them, burn them, scrub them, oil them and make them into nice cladding.

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But it sure does look nice.

Wicking bed tweaks

After putting the geotextile down in the wicking beds, we folded the spare cloth over the side of the plastic and down behind the cage to keep it in place. There was a bit of spare cloth there, but didn’t think much of it.

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Of course, it’s wicking, so a couple of days later that cloth is soaked, and where the wood cladding comes into contact with it, it will also soak up the water, which kind of renders the whole shou sugi ban thing pointless.

So it got a trim. Just to be safe, it’s probably a good idea to put some plastic around the exposed bit.

Also a minimal cladding framework was placed on the first bed on the side where the levelling tube comes out. It’s clear now that it doesn’t extend out far enough: we won’t be able to turn it around once the cladding is complete, so a little extender is needed to bring the elbow away from the side of the tub.

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Wicking bed planting

With wicking beds filled up with dirt, we’ll waste no more time getting some veggies in. It’s too late to germinate seeds, so we got punnets of seedlings this time around. Spinach and lettuce for these two.

I’ve grown lettuce up here before and expect it to do well, albeit growing slowly over winter. Our last lettuces were shop-sized by mid to late September,┬ábut were also a bit more advanced at the same time of year.

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The spinach I’m not sure about. This bed at the back gets shaded in the afternoon and I’m expecting to see a growth gradient from back to front. I’ll also keep a close eye on them because I have seen little spinach plants disappear overnight in the past.

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For a bit of science, a few leftover seedlings were planted in the ground nearby. Let’s see if they escape the pests!

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