We may not know what it is … but we built it anyway!

There were a lot of semi-dried, over-sized eucalyptus logs that needed a use. So we built this ….thing …

Tendai hammering a smaller infilling log

Tendai hammering a smaller in-filling log

 

Very heavy wood logs

Very heavy wood logs

 

 

Needing a lot of effort to roll

Needing a lot of effort to roll

 

 

 

Rolling logs

Rolling logs

 

The big lift

The big lift

 

7 man lift

7 man lift

 

into place

into place

 

Didymus lifting

Didymus lifting

 

Didymus in charge of the design

Didymus in charge of the design

 

 

Tongai trimming and shaping

Tongai trimming and shaping

 

Tongai and Ramius congratulating themselves!

Tongai and Ramius congratulating themselves!

 

The rolling team end of day

The rolling team end of day

 

The designer - triumphant!

The designer – triumphant!

 

Team photo!

Team photo!

 

Ok, it’s a tidy way to store the logs for future stone cracking (i.e. burning) and provide an interesting castle for the school children to play on. It’s a good place for grown-ups to sit absorb the surroundings too.

 

 

Sorry – missing a doggie photo!

 

Fencing Part 4: Start Fencing – Section E to D

It has really arrived! The day we start putting up the 2.1m mesh fence supplied by Fence Secure of Msasa Harare and made in Zimbabwe (also termed Veld Fence or Bonox Fence).

I will post under the alphabetical boundary sections. We are starting from point E (close to the house) and heading off to D about 250m away to the east.

 

Ramius and Tendai on Day 1 of fencing

Ramius and Tendai on Day 1 of fencing

 

100m of fencing rolled out infant of the poles

100m of fencing rolled out in front of the poles

I’m sure there is a technical name for this device – ‘fence grabber’ will do for now!

Using our custom made fence grabber for the first time

Using our custom made fence grabber for the first time

 

To pull the fence tight requires the use of a fence puller. The puller is tied on to the grabber (which is temporarily screwed down onto the fence) and then itself wraps around the straining pole (right of picture below). The straining pole has extra (barbed) wire tied down to a large stone(s) buried in the ground. You can just see the barbed wire below top right.

George attaching the fence puller to the fence grabber

George attaching the fence puller to the fence grabber

As we learnt the hard way – the chain must not be twisted or else, sooner or later, the puller cannot grab any more links as they are twisted out of alignment compared to the jaws.

The chain must not be twisted!

The chain must not be twisted!

 

George happily inspecting the fence grabber

George happily inspecting the fence grabber

The whole lot is tightened using the jaws, one by one, to grab and slide over successive chain links. There is a lever coming off to left below which provides the manual driving force.

 

The fence puller jaws

The fence puller jaws

 

Manually helping the fence puller create that tension

Manually helping the fence puller create that tension

 

 

Helping the fence puller along

Helping the fence puller along

 

 

Fence held tight by the puller

Fence held tight by the puller

 

Hold the tensioned fence against each post

Hold the tensioned fence against each post

 

Nail the fence up everyone!

Nail the fence up everyone!

 

Nail it Garikai!

Nail it Garikai!

 

and repeat for 4.5 km

and repeat for 4.5 km

And if you must be tarred and feathered at least don’t do it to yourself ‘Hamletta’!

Tarred and feathered

Tarred and feathered

 

New litter of Jack Russell puppies

New litter of five Jack Russell puppies

 

New litter of Jack Russell puppies

New litter of Jack Russell puppies

And, finally, more of our home made poles ready to continue the fencing journey.

Our lovely poles

Our lovely home made poles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fencing Part 2: Produce your own poles and droppers

In clearing the fireguard area more completely this year we have been able to tackle a large area of Wattle trees and make our own fencing poles and droppers (narrower supporting poles).

The Wattle is a highly invasive foreign species i.e. a weed in Zimbabwe that is out of control. Seeds can stay dormant for 50-70 years so its not going away anytime soon. Based on the clearing of the fireguard last year I can see new saplings (from previous roots) growing to 2.5m high in a single year! That is no joke when it comes to trying to control the spread and growth of this tree.

Wattle trees on the boundary

Wattle trees on the boundary

Loading 3m droppers on the trailer

Loading 3m droppers on the trailer

Loading 3m droppers on the trailer

Loading 3m droppers on the trailer

Wattle droppers loaded up

Wattle droppers loaded up

Arriving at their temporary resting place  to be skinned

Arriving at their temporary resting place to be skinned by hand

Below right you can see the already de-barked poles left to dry in the sun.

Ramius and crew unload

Ramius and crew unload

Off they come

Off they come

Mid air wattle

Mid air wattle

Garikai with de-barked pole

Garikai with de-barked pole

Wattle pole before drying

Wattle pole before drying

Still very heavy as you can see

Still very heavy as you can see

Wattle poles after a month of so of drying in the sun

Wattle poles after a month or so of drying in the sun

OK lets end with a true local botanical – at least in the foreground (wattle and pine in the background of both pictures below – you see the challenge!)

Indigenous aloe in winter bloom

Indigenous aloe in winter bloom. Mufenge to left and right.

Aloe arborescens blooming on Hornbydale

Aloe arborescens blooming on Hornbydale

2015 Fire guard or Fencing part 1

It’s that time of year again =  time to prepare for the inevitable bush fires.

With Hurler the Tractor overlooking Troutbeck Lake

With Hurler the Tractor overlooking Troutbeck Lake

Hurler brings water supplies

Hurler brings water supplies

 Refilling backpack sprayers

Refilling backpack sprayers

The three of us fill up with glyphosate

The three of us fill up with glyphosate

And 4 weeks later ..

Ramius and Co scrub the 6m strip of land

Ramius and Co scrub the 6m strip of land

Tendai in profiled against the fireguard

Tendai in profile against the fireguard

Below you can see to left and right of the fireguard the dead trees – i.e. a reminder why a denuded strip of land is necessary.

Hornbydale fireguard

Hornbydale fireguard

Mufenge overlooking Troutbeck Lake

Mufenge overlooking Troutbeck Lake

My favorite tree: Mufenge (Cussonia spicata) {NB: soft ‘g’ in chiShona}

Mufenge

Mufenge growing new leaves (in winter)

Rondavel extension part 4: Foundation Walls

Although these look like walls – they are in fact the foundation walls build on top of the footings  i.e. they will be below the level of the final building ground floor.

 

Here is the idea in progress – the foundation walls now part way up.

 

Rondavel extension foundation walls in progress

Rondavel extension foundation walls in progress

 

and here, showing a temporary retaining wall in stone immediately behind the builders

Rondavel extension foundation walls in progress

Rondavel extension foundation walls in progress

 

Next some details of the building process when working in stone as we are here.

 

Farai begins his wall

Farai begins his wall

 

Of course the stones don’t come in  pre-packed sizes…so yes they have to be first burnt, then hammered and finally, artfully positioned so that they fit and the ‘look’ from the outside or inside is ‘good’

Hammering stone to size

Hammering stone to size

 

 

Mr Patrick Samhembere in action

Mr Patrick Samhembere in action

Mr Patrick Samhembere in action

Mr Patrick Samhembere in action

 

Mr Patrick Samhembere in action

Mr Patrick Samhembere in action

The hands that built Hornbydale

The hands that built Hornbydale

 

The hands that built Hornbydale

The hands that built Hornbydale

 

 

After a day the spare cement is scraped away

After a day the spare cement is scraped away

 

Mr Perkins Makore

Mr Perkins Makore – builders assistant

 

Mr Farai Samhembere - builder

Mr Farai Samhembere – builder

 

Mr Farai Samhembere - builder

Mr Farai Samhembere – builder

Mr Mabika - builder

Mr Mabika – builder

 

Mr Tendai Mushonga - builders assistant

Mr Tendai Mushonga – builders assistant

 

Mr Tendai Samhembere - builder

Mr Tendai Samhembere – builder

 

Mr Tendai Samhembere - builder

Mr Tendai Samhembere – builder

 

Nearly there on the foundation wall

Nearly there on the foundation wall

Finished section of foundation wall

Finished section of foundation wall

 

 

Tendai enjoying having his picture taken!

Tendai enjoying having his picture taken!

 

Update:

 

The completed  ‘slab’ on top of the foundation walls

Completed slab on top of foundation walls

Completed slab on top of foundation walls – looking west

 

Completed slab on top of foundation walls

Completed slab on top of foundation walls – looking east

Rondavel extension Part 2: The foundation trenches

After burning some of the granite rock out of the way we start digging. How hard can it be after all?

Mr Tongai & Mr Didymus in the easy trench

Mr Didymus & Mr Tongai in the easy trench

 

Edmore getting that earth out

Edmore getting that earth out

and then signing off for the day

and then signing off for the day

Well up here what you see on top is not what is lurking underneath – more rocks.

OK more burning was to come. The rocks are all under ground too

OK more burning was to come. The rocks are all under ground too!

 

after burning - well nearly after

after burning – well nearly after

 

Somethings still alight in there

Somethings still alight in there

And it is a building site with a pretty good view too.

It slowly goes down

It slowly goes down in size

 

We have to dig round out to burn it. Lots of digging

We have to dig round out to burn it. Lots of digging

 

smaller now!

smaller now!

 

Temporary retaining wall

Temporary retaining wall

 

The men who bring the sand and gravel take a look

The men who bring the sand and gravel take a look at progress

 

If this tree was to fall down...

If this tree was to fall down…

 

 

Mr Garikai does the job first

Mr Garikai does the job first

 

and shows us how its done

and shows us how its done

 

He's getting good at this

He’s getting good at this

 

The site is ready

The site is ready

 

Measuring for the footings

Measuring for the footings