The P project

Well this isn’t strictly permaculture. But then, everything doesn’t necessarily have to be. The P stands for something else. But I guess repurposing a climbing frame may well be closely related. So this is about construction (again). Read more and try and guess what this new and interesting development is all about.

Well, after weeks of deliberation with a certain young gentlemen about finances and responsibilities and risks and rewards, one sunny Saturday morning we hooked Gaë’s old bigger trailer to the xTrail and we set off with a clipboard full of “stuff” to obtain. Between North Geelong Building Supplies and the big green shed we eventually got all we needed. My word, it’s a slow process with limited entry and all that stuff going on.

I always forget to take “before” pictures, but this time I remembered. This is what we started off with:

So at about 2:30 we started to work in earnest. Young mr. was clearing the climbing nets off the frame and I got stuck into my favourite past-time (not) – drilling holes in the hard clay soil. He did the watering in the holes to make the clay soft too. Messy affair. Always interesting what you’re going to strike in your backyard. No pipes this time, but a few rocks in our normally rock-less clay soil. Fortunately, the slammer, which I thought was a dud tool for our soil after trying it once, came in very handy to break the rocks off so I could drill deeper. Work had to halt at 5:00 to get ready for a small but great Halloween party, full moon and all. But a lot got done in that short time.

Day 2: Planted the door posts – hopefully the right spacing off the other new posts. Cut all the base beams and Patricia started varnishing them.

Day 3: Sawed the posts level and did the run’s top frames.

Day 4: A big day. The young gentlemen played sick because I had an off day for the Melbourne cup public holiday; but he helped a lot with laying the fox-proof wire and clamping the base beams, so I could just drill and screw. It was a hot 31C day so he also “forced” me and Patricia to take a swim break early afternoon. That was a good thing. The afternoon I did the door frames and double-door entry cubicle, as well as the roof beams of the front open part. The front part is now ready for mesh. Double layer mesh, 10cm apart. Melbourne Cup long-weekend well spent – I did hear the final race on the radio in between the drilling and screwing.

It’s quite nice logging progress like this in a journal. Next were a few work days, but a lot of researching and product ordering taking place. Waterers, grid mesh, roof sheeting, water tank, and so on. So on to the next weekend:

Day 5: Prepared the covered roof structure and the covered areas.

Day 6: Markus was very helpful in screwing on the marine ply panels while I was doing more woodwork. It’s quite tricky converting the old climbing frame, which was very roughly built with lots of nooks and gaps to hold on, into something more structured and precise. We also hung one of the doors, which is quite a tedious process with a little precision engineer as QA supervisor. But the outcome was good!

Worked myself silly during the week. Combination of too much work and trying to fit an extra day’s hours in so I could have Friday open. Initially it was to go for a surf, since the forecast looked ok, but as the week progressed my mind was slowly moving towards putting another day into the project. Wednesday during work quickly rushed off and got more wood after I researched that all the plywood had to be covered by mesh. Plus there was the challenge of a large double-door. That afternoon after work quickly sawed a few pieces, which would give me a head start on the weekend. I can drill and screw at 7:00am on a Saturday, but the saw makes a bit too much noise for the neighbours and my late sleeping family. Captain’s log continues on Friday.

Day 7: Built the inside “maintenance door” in the slightly skew frame. So instead of building the door and then trying to fit it, I built it inside the frame, with thin plywood spacers clapped all around. Added odd little pieces here and there to make sure we can fit the mesh everywhere. The afternoon after school we went “window shopping” to inspect some options for the future inhabitants.

Day 8: Another big one – as Saturdays have become lately. Built and hung the big outside door, over the inner maintenance door. The purpose of this outer door is to be able to close off the western side when we get those foul winds and rain. Of course my QA engineer wasn’t happy with the way I extended the door to overcome a gap in the by now the skew claiming frame, but he eventually gave in to sound reason, and he did help a lot through the day and came up with an excellent idea to finish off the door and clasp the fox wire in the same process. Saved me screwing wire for a long section on ground level – which is a pretty uncomfortable job at my age. Late afternoon was spent closing off all the gaps where wild birds could crawl in and nest. Scott came over and helped screw in some very shabbily cut pieces of plywood to close off more bird entry places. He earned his beer.

Day 9: The morning we planted all the pot plants, fitted the “shelves” for the nest boxes, went on a road trip to get all the guttering and pipes, plus a little enclosure for the little girl’s new puppy. Timmy she calls him, Prince Timmy actually. Amazing girl at the green shed helped us get all the correct fittings, at the best prices too. Avid bird lover, maybe that gave us the edge. It’s quite fun to drive back in the gale force wind with 6m flexible pipe and gutter on the trailer overhanging the car. Fortunately the roof racks took the brunt of the punishment. When we arrived back home it was sooooo windy! We actually moved the pot plants into the protected corner with the outer door shut to protect them.

Quick swim as instructed by the QA manager, then I finished off sanding some of the rougher edges.

The work week was a blur again, squeezing in an hour or two of varnishing here and there. Any guesses what this is going to be? To be continued…

About (207 Articles)
My name is Martin Rennhackkamp, I now live happily in Lara, Victoria, Australia with my wife, two children and two dogs. My interests, apart from the obvious Organic, Biodynamic and Permaculture Gardening and Farming, include sustainable living, surfing, horse-riding, a wide variety of music, dancing, nature, birds, reading, Christianity and a few other things which I never get to...

3 Comments on The P project

  1. Looks good!

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