Australia Day working bee

The Friday before dawned cool and damp. Heavy rain in the metropolitan area and some forecast for the bush, but unless you are there, it’s difficult to know how much will actually fall.
We set off just before lunchtime, this time taking a packed lunch as we didn’t want to sample either the delights of fast food (ugh!!) or the local bakery in Heathcote. Traffic was a little heavier than expected for the time of day and it was bothersome to realize that we had left the keys to the shed and dome behind. Luckily we weren’t yet on the tollway, so we took the next exit and returned home to fetch the keys.
A couple of projects had been planned, so we had the ladder, some pavers and a water pump loaded.

First project to tackle was sorting out the gas bottle.

With a decided lean on it, the regulator had started to come away from its fastening on the wall.

The paver supporting it was not only a little too small but had subsided since the original installation.

A larger paver had been purchased and this one was going to be re-purposed for the next project.

The bullants generously donated some of their ant sand/gravel to seat the new, larger paver & in return got some food scraps later.

The next project was a little larger.

We had been generously gifted a tank stand by a friend, whose copper tank once graced it…..until some unfriendly passers by “liberated” it.
It was the perfect size to relocate the 500litre tank next to the cottage.
The tank had been installed with no room to add pipes to take the overflow away, so any excess water flowed directly onto the wall of the cottage and onto the ground.
A half brick held the downpipe in place at the top of the tank.

In order to move the tank, the water needed to be drained.
Rather than wasting it, some was pumped into clean 20litre drums and the remainder pumped into the main concrete tank.
The residual was tipped out and allowed the silt that had build up to clear from the bottom of the tank.

Gingerly, we rolled the tank away from its base……

The bottom of the tank was rounded from the weight of the water once the original wooden stand had rotted away.

Also resident was a large redback spider and a family of fat huntsman spiders lurking in the holes of the bricks……

The redback was dispatched to its maker and the huntsman spiders scuttled off to find other accommodation.

Gloves on, the rocks and bricks were carefully removed to reveal how badly rotted the timber supports were.

Lifted off with a shovel and put aside they will eventually form part of the environment or be used once the firebans are lifted as small kindle for the evening fire.

The tankstand was set in place and the pavers lined up.

A little work to level them all out, then the empty tank was lifted up onto it, and some work done to shorten the down pipe.

The overflow was placed away from the house and will have pipe plumbed in to divert the water away from the cottage.

The tap was located (to the right in this photo) so as to make it easier for hand washing and shelf will be added later.
A small retaining wall was built to divert the natural runoff away from the pavers and eventually garden drains will be added as part of the plans to have paved areas around the cottage.
 The leftover bricks were used to form a platform for the rubbish bin which is currently used to collect greywater from the kitchenette and also form part of a temporary splashback for any overflow if the tank fills.
Water from the 20litre containers was pumped back into the tank to provide weight, so that any strong winds don’t catch the tank and blow it away.

Another project that was underway on Saturday was the restoration of the futon mattress.
A distinct “parfum le chat”  assailed the nostrils on awakening and the mattress was removed out into the central area and washed with a mixture of laundry detergent and PineOClean.  A parting gift from the mad cat that lives downstairs……
Perhaps the cleanse and a couple of days of strong UV would restore it to almost new….

Sunday’s projects were a little less obvious, but still industrious.

With plenty of sunscreen on, the dirt and lichen was removed from half of the Observatory.
From a distance the lichen looks like holes and can’t be good for the fibreglass.
Two buckets – one of soapy water and alternating between the use of a scrubbing brush and a tea towel, the dirt was cleaned off.  The other bucket was for rinsing off the grime.
 It was easier at times to pick/peel the lichen off once it was moistened.  
Heat and flies got the better of us and we retired for lunch.

More projects are planned over the coming months, such as creating either a paved area around the cottage or constructing a verandah.

Sunday afternoon saw the temporary placement of “pegs” to mark out the proposed area.

This is something to contemplate for a while as drainage needs to be considered.

Later in the afternoon, an amble down to the front boundary fence to check out what needs to be mowed, slashed or fixed.
Apart from the gate posts, there are a number of posts that have rotted or been damaged by falling trees, so there is no possibility of having any animals on the property for agistment.
The local kangaroos have well worn pathways where the fallen branches have flattened the fences.
Again, another job to be put on hold for when we can safely use the chainsaw.