Sunday 13 January 2013

Wood and More Wood

With rain falling on Thursday 10th I am snookered for outdoor work and decide to attack the next indoor project, this set of shelves for the Utility Room. The ultimate plan is to have our two room-height fridge/freezers at either end of the left hand side of the Utility Room, with 7 feet of free standing shelves down the left hand side between. Most of the stuff due to go here goes into the stack-able crates you can see bottom right of the shelves; spare jam jars, Christmas Decorations, Bread making stuff and so on. These slot neatly into an 11 inch space, so I went with 12 inch shelf spacings, 20 inches 'deep' and knocked up a simple design with uprights of 2 by 1.5 inch and laths of 2 by 1. Even my basic carpentry skills could manage that! I left any diagonal bracing till the end in case the structure was rigid enough without and this proved so, and I got away with it.

On January 11th, John Deere Bob generously gave me another lend of his tractor so that I could shuttle back and forth collecting the logs from the big ash tree down across the fields. Bob was out for the day and left me the keys and instructions to come and collect it from his cow pens. I walked down to get it at about 11.30 and then made 6 trips back and forth from the field loading the logs including some of the huge bits of trunk (one of which almost made a load on its own).

The big trunk bits had proved a bit too much for my saw and were also starting to blunt the chain on it, so I decided to lop them into 3-5 foot lengths and bring them home like that. I can stack them in a corner pending a chance to sharpen the saw again and then cut them into sensible rounds for axing up. We have so much wood now that these are probably going to be 2013/4 winter fuel so I have plenty of time.

With my wood store choc-a-block full and overflowing at ground level, I started a new stack on the wall of the yard. This I have now given a make-shift roof of coal sacks and corrugated iron which should allow it all to dry out. I will split the bigger bits with the axe once they are a bit dryer. Ash is much easier to split when dry. We are finding it a joy to burn - it gives a good fierce heat in the range. Bob advocates alternating ash with the spruce logs turn about as you lob them into the range which we will do but I must admit that the last huge load of ash filled the front row of my store, so that I can only get at the ash at present - we need to burn a bit to make space to play 'solitaire' games with the stock.

Big thanks to Bob, then for the use of the tractor. We have now pretty much met the need and we can close the gates and try to repair the tractor ruts I have made across where the pond garden will be this year.

The only other fun and games to report this week was a blocked sewer. We'd noticed around Christmas that the plumbing was starting to belch and gurgle when the washing machine was running. The washing machine is out in the Utility room but its outflow runs under the kitchen where it unites with the outflows from the two sinks before passing on into the kitchen garden. Here the upstairs outflows from shower, sink and loo join in the fun and everybody heads for the septic tank.

We thought nothing of the belching till Sat 12th when I noticed that while Liz showered, water was coming up from the inspection cover a couple of yards outside the kitchen window. We had a blockage which had possibly been slowly accumulating since April, when we finally moved out of the caravan and stopped using the chemical toilet. Still an hour of rodding with Liz as chief observer and sluicer of clean water plus flusher of loo at the end soon had the backlog hoofed down to the tank and we were flowing as clear as a trout stream again. This being a solid Irish farmhouse system, the main issue we had was that the inspection cover downstream and the septic tank cover are not lightweight galvanized or even paving slabs. They are huge thick concrete slabs which took two of us to prize up and "fold back" so that we could see what was up. All good fun on a Saturday lunchtime.

1 comment:

Anne Wilson said...

Very jealous of your wood pile, it's looking good.