Flexibility is the key
This week: Woodworking; Flexibility is the key; Spring is in the air; What to do with the hole that is left;
With another week of good weather I have spent all my time outside. Apart that is, from a morning shopping for more timber and the usual supermarket run.
A neighbour had a mini excavator delivered on the back of a truck. So far, so good.
At the end of the day, it was loaded onto the back of the truck again. However on the way out, the jib caught on the telephone line and completely ripped it out of the wall.
All that was left were the broken metal fittings and a coil of black cable on the road.
It then took HR Telekom several days to send the line men to install a new cable.
I still don’t have complete internet access and I’m now waiting for an engineer to call and make the right connections. Waiting is the normal state of affairs here in Croatia….
I am actually starting this week’s blog a little earlier than usual. Having spent all Saturday morning digging out soil, I now have aching shoulders and can feel a few muscles I had forgotten existed.
So rather than push things too far, I decided to have an early lunch. Then perhaps I’ll do a little more manual work in the later afternoon.
Sometimes you just need a change of activity to renew your energy levels…
Meanwhile I have an unhappy feline on my knee.
Pongo was attacked by the village bully this week and has some bite marks on his rump and tail. He is obviously sore and there is some swelling so I have been giving him antibiotic to fight any infection.
I have an extensive feline First Aid kit for just such eventualities. He’s feeling rather sorry for himself and just wants lots of “knee time”.
On Tuesday I came home from Stari Grad with my car’s roof rack fairly full of timber.
There are several projects which I want to get on with, so I thought I might as well buy all the timber I need.
At the start of the week I finished fixing the first run of palings to the fence at the end of the orchard.
They do look rather nice now they are finished and the fence has succeeded in keeping my neighbours dog out of the orchard. So the construction can be viewed as a success.
There is a second panel to complete now, but I needed more timber.
I calculated how many more palings I needed, beyond the half dozen left over from the first length of fencing. Then I went to Volat to choose nice straight lengths of daska with few knots.
With everything in the courtyard, I used my table saw to rip the lengths to the right size.
Then once more, they are being treated with two coats of Cuprinol wood preservative.
I am making the smallest window for the cottage myself.
I have the double glazed unit and I prepared the various lengths of wood I need to make the frame a couple of weeks ago.
With the morning sun now shining into the courtyard, I brought out my hand router to cut the rebates into the top and bottom rails of the frame.
I have already cut the rebates in the side rails.
With the two pieces of wood clamped in place to hold them firmly, I used the router to remove 12mm of wood. This is where the double glazed unit will sit.
All woodworking creates mess, but the resulting wood shavings were all collected and used in my wood stove.
I have not yet cut the mortice and tenon joints to create the frame. Once the joints are cut, I’ll then glue the various pieces together. A job for next week I think…
Flexibility is the key
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I’m still waiting for help to lift my big appliances into the new Cottage utility room.
These includes the chest freezer and the double refrigerator, which are both too heavy for one person to lift.
So the imperative to have everything finished is not especially strong. Especially because I still do not have the new double glazed door and windows.
Getting things done here does take longer than you would expect or might wish!
Having completed the wiring up of the sockets in the cottage walls, I have been getting ready to connect up the leads at the consumer unit.
But before I do that, I also needed to connect the two consumer units together.
Although I have completely rewired, with new cabling everywhere, there are still some adjustments to be made in the light of experience.
Linking the upper floors to the ground floor requires a large bore tube to take all the various cables. This is to make future access easy so cables run neatly and all in just one place.
The bottom part of the tube was included in the workshop build, so I’ve done more work this week on channelling out a 12 cm vertical shaft in the wall. When the walls are 80 cm thick, twelve is neither here nor there.
Then at lunchtime on Tuesday, there was a message on the local facebook group to say that the electric company would be turning the power off on Wednesday morning between 08:00 and 13:00, to renew some sub-station equipment.
I rapidly changed my plans. While there was no power in the wires, I could very safely work on the consumer units.
The large diameter feeder cable between the two units was already in the upstairs unit, it just needed connecting up.
Some more work on channelling finished making the space for the tube in the wall. Then I fitted it and secured it into place.
It was just a few minutes work to run the linking feeder cable between the consumer units.
With all power off, I was able to work to make the connections between the two consumer units.
The inside wiring is not particularly neat. This is because of where the unit is and also that I was joining legacy wiring to a new unit when I installed it.
As I have progressively completely rewired my buildings, new cables have replaced old, worn out wires. However the new cabling often follows the old conduits
However the big difference is that now every lead and pigtail is marked and mapped. This means that anyone in the future doing work, will know exactly what everything is and where it goes.
I have tried to get some short LED strip lights, but none are available on the island, so I fixed an old incandescent light fitting and a bulb to the cottage wiring.
With the power restored at lunch time, I switched the light on and it worked.
Not that I ever doubted that it would!
Spring is in the air
We are continuing with the northerly airflow that we have had for the past six weeks. The Rossby waves still had not moved.
The day time temperatures are rising noticeably and with clear blue skies it had been a lovely week to work outside.
The Scarlet Lily Beetles are already out and doing their courting rituals. According to my Springwatch calendar, they are two days earlier than last year.
I had a walk through the olive grove on Thursday morning, because I could see that a couple of Almond trees were already in blossom.
The largest tree is fully in blossom and was covered in honey bees collecting nectar and spreading pollen.
I could smell the trees from some distance as the scent from the flowers drifted on the lightest of air movements. The smell is like almond essence or marzipan. Around the tree the scent was especially strong.
This area is a short distance from my Dol house and is on the flood plain, but it gets more sun than my home. In consequence my almond tree, which is one of my Springwatch indicator species, is still in the shade of the hillside behind my home.
Because of this my tree is a week or more behind others in the village. But the buds are visible and will soon be open.
The first blossom has opened on my red Myrobalan plum.
Even the felines are getting in on the act. The yellow flower is a Hamamaelis and I wonder of if it is like Catnip?
I have Crocus in flower in various places and leaves starting to appear all over on different shrubs.
This means I need to get a move on with the border along the length of the Top Orchard if I want to plant it up with a chance for everything to establish before summer.
With soil to riddle and move from near the workshop down to the border, I set my rotary riddle up and started to dig out what used to be the corner of the foldyard.
Rick dark earth tumbled out into the wheelbarrow and stones, bits of root and debris into a pile at the back of the machine.
I was trying to finish the job on Saturday morning but a drop in my energy levels put paid to my plan.
So far I think I have moved around half a cubic meter of soil. However I lost count of the number of barrow loads, but there were a lot.
With a chance of some showers next week, I would like to get some more new plants into place to benefit from whatever rain we get.
What to do with the hole that is left
I have a set of different master plans. They were mostly drawn on the long flights between Zagreb and Abu Dhabi, before I had even purchased the property.
Since I moved in, I have made subtle changes in places as I have grown into my Dol house. However the main principles and vision for how everything should look remain.
Having dug out the soil, I am putting in a hardcore base, using the stones which have been riddled out.
Eventually here there will be a spiral staircase up to the terrace above, but for now I want to move some medium stones into the hole I have just dug out.
On top of these I will roll some really large stones. This will then give me access to where my dry stone wall will go.
With progress on the building work being slow, I am determined to do what I can outside while the weather is agreeable.
One of my plans is for a “Moon Window” at the entrance to the Top Orchard.
Even with the walls which I intend to build, I will still have stone to spare and I’d like a Moon Window close to the steps down into the orchard.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Although I will probably put the concrete foundation in, the actual window may be a while before it is built!
For now I’m just going to move some stones around so they are more available for when and where I need them! NCG
I did start working again at 4pm. After an hour and three more barrows (25 shovels to a barrow – I was counting) I am down to the layer of thick stones at the sub-soil boundary.
One of the stones I planned to move decided to self locate, so it is one less to move!
Meanwhile the border bed is taking shape.