And so the saga continues. I don’t really know why I called it the P project. It’s actually the A project – a big spacious walk-in aviary for small parrot type birds. A certain young gentlemen wants to breed with really tame birds, which I quite support as I bred cockatiels and budgies from when I was about his age right up to Uni. Joy and responsibility mixed in together, and way back when I made good pocket money out of it too.
The past weekend was filled with social events, but fortunately I had some gaps on the Friday and Monday so it was basically four half days.
Day 10: I had a three hour gap from work, so it was just varnish, varnish, varnish. I was working fast so the end effect was that I was one big sticky mess at the end. But I got everything covered once, plus the outside frame and the roof area covered twice. One tin of three and a half left to go. My word, the plywood is thirsty.
Day 11: We went on a wine-tasting to celebrate my brother in law’s birthday – which is a nice story in itself, there are some really nice boutique wineries on the Bellarine peninsula. So before and after the outing I managed to get the roof up. Left the third sheet half screwed, half clamped when we departed on the road trip and hoped no wind would come up. Fortunately when we arrived back it was wind-still. Finished the last few screws as friends arrived with pizza and sushi.
Day 12: We started Sunday with a massive breakfast for the birthday boy, as you do in our home, and after that it was a bit of a sluggish start to get going. One of my least favourite jobs – drilling with the post digger in our hard clay and planting posts. I must say the slammer again came in handy again to remove some rocks and to loosen the soil when the digger refused to go deeper. It was literally remove clay mud, pour some water, slam the edges, drill, repeat, over and over and over. But we got the base of the water tank sorted as well as the legs for a bench in front of the aviary. The QA manager had us all swimming after a massive debate about the length of the bench. He wants it 2.33m exactly, but the hardwood comes in 2.44m lengths! That night just as I closed the chooks and ducks it started bucketing down! Good test for the roof. Two little holes we have to fix.
Day 11: Monday morning at five o’clock as the day begins… or is it rainy days and Mondays? It was still raining hard, as it did the whole night. All in all we got 60mm overnight – all the tanks are full again! Got up early to get some day job tasks done because I had a three hour gap and I wanted to put more support beams in the roof. I didn’t like the way the roof was flapping in the middle when there was a breeze. It doesn’t bode any good for the strong winds we get. So after school drop-off I got some (more) wood and briskly started putting in more supports. It wasn’t fun in the light drizzle lying on the wet roof to drill the roof screws in, but got two beams in before I had to clock in for work. At least now it will handle stronger winds. One beam to go, but this one was tricky – I had to put the support struts in without a bean below them – if I put a supporting beam in underneath them, the mesh is going to have a big bulge in it due to the slope of the roof.
That has been a constant challenge right through this project – always keeping the mesh in mind. Where it’s going to be fastened, how and which parts have to be done first. With a single layer it’s not so hard, but with a double layer, it gets really tricky. But we do have wild cats and foxes around – more about that later…
During the week one day after work we fitted the bench and the shelf for the tank. So another big weekend followed:
Day 12: Fitted the tank and the gutter with great help from our industrious QA manager, but he disappeared into a blur of devices and friends when it came to the connecting pipes and fittings. Maybe he was as disillusioned as I was by the connecting pipe flowing from the tank – why would anyone drill the outflow holes at an angle on a slimline tank, which is most likely going to be mounted flush and square against a wall? I spent the afternoon with small wood projects to prepare holders for the feeders, sanded the bench down and so on.
Day 13: We had another 6mm rain, so the tank had some good water in it. I did the pre-dawn trip to the green shed to get two stupid fittings I missed, and a few other bits and bobs. Luckily the smart cookie with the dreadlocks was there and she gave me an excellent solution for the skew outlet. After one of Patricia’s gourmet Sunday breakfasts, of course our young QA manager had to test everything. With water flying everywhere I had to try and keep the tools try while fitting the tap and copper conversion. We don’t want plastic pipes in the aviary in case they chew on it. Well, at least the tank got even fuller with all his experiments, or did it? He tested the outflows too… repeatedly. The afternoon was quiet around the house so I chiseled the gaps for the feeders, varnished everything that still had to done, sawed covers for the feeders and then I had the biggest brainwave of the year! I was not looking forward to digging a 10m trench for the overflow, and my big challenge was that it would have been slightly uphill. Then the thought struck me – the trampoline is only 4m away and it has a pump built in to empty the sump after big rains. Why not re-use that? I bit of a challenge to drill a 50mm hole at angle through the hardwood half-underground, but got it done working from both sides. So as Patricia was calling for dinner, I glued the last bits and covered the overflow pipe.
We now really need the mesh to arrive, so many things are now waiting for the mesh to go in first, but there seems to be some delay with it coming from South Australia. I didn’t know mesh was affected by the virus, but you live and learn.