Saturday, 1 October 2022

That Ivy may have Grown Again

 Ivy is by many considered just a creeper.  Some love it. others rip their hair out illuminating the plant from anywhere it is. Like any plant there are things underground that may cause unseen hassles to house and land owners.

In this post there was a challenge with the Ivy plant that grows over the concrete sleeper under the back fence. For over twenty-five years that little plant has had a hold of the ground and it just will not give up growing ... yet.

Twelve months later and still a challenge

Over the last six months tools have been added to the equipment list.  Yes, there were tools like chainsaws already in the equipment.  But, these were 'someone else's'. Way to heavy for the wrists of me... a retiree with no training in the tools or safety for the more complex out-of-the-box challenges. 

This job was defiantly what was called different in it's approach.

Thus help was asked for. The tools were there ready and waiting. Including the hard hat that had earmuffs and face shield.

The situation presented was this...

Imagine an A5 standard sheet of computer printing paper. Landscape view.  Now that width is the width of a trunk based Ivy spread over the concrete  that sits between the earth, and the fence.  Mind you those fence palings are really very thin, thus fragile.

Add the fact that the fence is held in place by vertical 4x4 inch stakes.  Well, maybe these stakes are meant to be in the ground. But they are not  as they sit three inches higher than the horizontal concrete slab.  

The conundrum is this:

  •  Cut the lowest point and the tool you use now has the possibility of being destroyed due to concrete, or bolts too close.
  • The space the tool needs to work in has two dogs on the other side of the fence.
  • While even scrapping away the earth  to expose the lower areas may just make things easier, the tool you have has a 'bar' above the blade. The height of the bar reduces the access
The experienced person said... 
    "No !. I will not cut that with the extendable chainsaw. Maybe an axe. " 
    "The tool will be damaged beyond repair if it hits 
  • the concrete [footpath/under the fence slabs], 
  • the bots [sticking out of the fence posts],
  • or the wire [ holding the palings together.]

Logically explained the hopes of a quick solution went south!

After an hour of cutting wedges, pulling out roots, removing dead sticks, to small branches, the 4in chain say just is barely making head way.  

Until you actually take a minute to realise there is a lot of sawdust, smaller branches have been pulled away. Now nicely sitting in a tidy pile on the blue shade cloth.

But the trunk has not been cut through yet. 

What has happened is there is a very public area of this ivy stem that has both no bark on there, but there are positive indentations , in a hap hazard way, where the chain saw has done a wonderful job.

One container of weed killer later, over these areas, and some more on the Ivy's fresh growth at a third growth point made the day.

This year is slightly different from last year

It may already be coming into spring here but its time already to beat the Ivy before the spring growth startles you.  All  this past year the determination to get rid of the ivy along the fence, make way for the chicken coup fences has taken a quiet precedence.

Ivy may look great in other peoples gardens, but that little thing that someone planted years ago has taken a lot to get rid of.  Understandably there is still more to go. 

With determination and tools

What truly amazes is that the little 4inch blade chainsaw is an extremely effective tool.  While tall trees and giant root systems are not in it's 'doable' list what you have there while working is a way to create an indentation , tackle the problem with other systematic tool use, clean up the area and quite happy note the tool needs attention.

All things one at a time

The battery gets recharged, plus the tool itself gets a one over with its friendly paintbrush.

After the battery recharge was done, everything is packed up in the box, including the paint brush.  The shed is locked . The garden tools are in their little shed. the rubbish now in the green waste bins, along with the worms that were disturbed. These worms hopefully will enjoy the recently freshly turned compost.

Importantly the area is safe again

The area that had been exposed in order to see these roots and bits is now safely covered up again.  What's not there is the possibility of so many small bits of Ivy sticks or roots.

As important is the gradual illimitation of the roots in the water boards drains.

No matter what happens each year knowing that the ivy may have grown again allows no rest.

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Plant the little Aloe Vera's today

 Today the Aloe Vera was suddenly seen.  Poor little thing was not doing well inside the dinning room little table near the windows.  

The winter sun time is still flexible.  Sometimes hot, other times very cold.  Often forgotten and so not watered.  Which of course leaves weak, wet rooting system to develop.

That of course is not much good when this healing Aloe Vera plant needs to do.  

The plant is a special plant. 

Early in 2019 the dogs and mum and I were at Inverloc.  Happened there was a market there.  Jennifer is the lady who sat patiently waiting for the animals in need to come along.

This definably was a fantastic opportunity.  The dogs loved her.

A few months go by. Boof had been hurt in a car accident a few months later. Jenifer was contacted.  There was mum on her knees tending to the areas Jenifer was walking her through on.

Appointment time number three

Next time was Martin and I taking Boof and Sox down to the bay and catching up with Jennifer.

Needless to say Martin stayed out of the way. Watched the birds in the trees and the shadows on the wall.

Sox and Boof remembered Jennifer too

Well Sox has had a small open sore just between the eyes on the right side of the medium line.

Told to purchase the Aloe Vera plant.  And what this particular plant would look like.

Everywhere was in lock down  

Plus the vehicle was not functioning well.  

One of the last things purchased before the vehicle refused to move was the Aloe Vera plant.

It's now a few seasons later. The plant has done what the nursery lady told me to allow it to do.  Grow up.  Shoot side shoots. Let it live before the harvesting is done.

Aloe Vera Action time had come

A few days ago the little gravel pieces out the front of the kitchen and dining room windows was wet enough to allow the grass to be pulled out.  

But what to go in there now. Something that would survive having no soil that's for sure.  Something that does not appreciate continued wet area surfaces.  

Location, Location and Location

Well the stones will take care of that.

And somewhere where it is easily reachable in times of emergencies.

Challenge Accepted

So here it is... A potted Aloe Vera plant with nineteen shoots ready and waiting to be planted.

And that was a quarter of the main plants surface area. That main plant sits in the now aeriated soil, in the pot that needs worm tea for uplifting and growth factors.

Forgot to take in the dogs choice here.

Now Sox does not like it when the Aloe Vera plant leaf is picked, picked open a so that the moisture within can do it's stuff.

Oh come on mum, it's wet, sticky, gooey, slimy, and any other descriptive word that may be applied to a little healing kindness donated to his sore by the plant.

So what does a dog do when a plant is planted... 

Goes and urinates on the Aloe Vera plants of course!

Monday, 5 September 2022

"To Grout that shower, or Not to Grout the shower walls"

Strangely doing something is different from just looking at the end results and going "I can do that  grouting too". Nearly every person on this earth knows that. Yet how many people go ahead without checking little bits of how too's. In this post the is the "what you see effects of a first time grouter.

Having arrived home from a local cove tucked just at the foot of the Brown Mountains [New South Wales] very early this morning one good sleep was necessary.

Besides it was Fathers  Day here in Australia and quite frankly getting stuck into another project just after travelling that long was not a cool idea to float.

So Monday, being the start of the working week for many, was also the start of the grouting job ahead.

Just the bathroom shower tiles to do!

The first job was to find the things from last weeks job. I'd met up with a friend, had a cuppa and some tea. Somehow ended up in Batemans Bay. There is where I'd witnessed the grouting of the shower recess once more. The last time was about twenty-years-ago. At the old house the people putting in the new shower  during a refit made everything look so easy!

Then there was the refresh over the week of a friend cleaning down, fixing up, and making a mad near closing dash to the local hardware store.

By the next morning the shower recess was so clean that even the corners shone. Literally every crevasse was gone over with a fine tooth comb [ toothbrush and cotton-tip actually]

After that one of the two bottles purchased was end cut. That allowed the grout to come out  with pressure backing the movement forward.

That same movement was also used to take the open nozzle tip steadily down, or across, the existing grout.  To which a finger was used to bring the grout into the line between the tiles. Steadily, carefully going down, or across ways, in a gracefully flowing manner.

That is what I saw happening up in Batemans Bay.

However, this is me and I'm in Victoria.  

The top half of the shower recess going downwards was pretty awesome.  Across though was slightly different.

Things got worse when the floor was as far down as possible. Yet the horizonal application of the grout was getting better.

Then it was confirmed.  A tile had split. The sharp jagged edges were showing through.  Although it was not a totally happy moment that sure answered questions about the possible ground movement.

Anyway back to the grout application

Grout.. the longer it is on the gloves converging the hands during actual application - dries up the actual grout faster. [ So it seems]

With all the little bits dropping on the floor there was at least a plastic bag on the floor to cover the drain hole. Plus clothes to pick up the fallen pieces littering the shower tray.

What's that thing called again?

The other nifty thing was the paint application and cleaning tool set. Two from that pack were used.  .  Primarily the 3 centimetre scraper thing known by the trades as a Taping knife..

The tapping knives used may have been flat on the edge at the beginning. However, they were being gradually filed at an angel whilst the excess grout was being scrapped off the pink tiles.

There was a fine grout all over the place.

.. and me. Doing all this though had interesting results especially with the empowerment attitude..

 More about these results To Grout that shower, or Not to Grout the shower in the next post. 

Friday, 2 September 2022

Tomorrows brighter ideas for No.14

Late Thursday night the made dash to a late night Batemans Bay warehouse was made.  

There the mad dash around this huge store in search for 

  • grouting materials, 
  • wall washing objects as well as 
  • general purpose clean up.
By the time the drive way was sighted, for me, it was cuppa time and literally time to rest. What happened after that was any ones guess. But by the next morning 'gee' the upstirs master bedrooms shower looked really terrific.

Which is just as well as towards the end of that night before the shower run wheel had come off, been 'fixed' and somehow between both of us that little screw was into the wheel, then onto the rail again.

Breakfast time was nearly a meal on the run. 

With visitors about to arrive it was time for 'time out' and away from the business discussions about that house. After all my presence as a friendly helper was not needed.

But there was something really fun learnt - that a sparkling clean, freshly grouted, shower looks really fantastic.  Secondly that the squeezy plastic bottle of ready-made grout has a tendency to dry out between grouting's.

Luckily just before we headed back to our respective homes the next day that part used bottle was gifted into my possession. A terrific bonus as now there was a picture in my head of a finished set of re-grouted tiles in the bathroom and the shower.

Somehow that grandiose idea of maintained skills application just kept slipping into fruition. All that was needed to do was practice what was seen doing.

There was one challenge, besides the fact that this was a new learning skillset, - the shower tiles were old pink with older looking pink grout. Something that for years was a pet annoyance was finally getting dealt with. Therefore it would be a "To grout that shower, or Not to Grout the shower walls" action choice tomorrow.

And with any luck the job would be done in a day! Oh how that was not the case.  Like any job, there are bit's not known about.

Not tomorrow's brighter ideas for no 14 ... the day after will do

Monday, 1 August 2022

Paint The Veranda Rails Once More

As an experimental painter [2nd day on the job]there were a lot of things, tips and trade secrets to learn. Even knowing that the only resolution to make was do the painting correctly. 

Definitely, not to start a new job until the first job has been completed has been a common team. Focus on one before you start on another.. 

So I Got into painting the veranda rails once more

Having painted the first coat of hard gloss paint over the white primer used on the veranda rails with a too large paint brush there are little pockets of paint that were missed.

Still love the marble effect that the wet paint had. Except that where the paint was applied in two layers, as the first coat had a kind of seal over it already the second coat change the wet marble effect.

The next morning this effect was of a solid low golden bronze colour. A really beautiful solid soft golden colour.

What was actually needed during the 

One that even came up really soft with a sheen when the pictures of the veranda were taken.

Hence the walk down the road to buy another paint brush. 

And of course the wait now for a convenient morning with which to wash the painted hand rails . With a dilute soft soap addition to a bucket of water.

Buy the tools that suit the job size

While at that the 1 centimetre paint brush will break free form the packaging to begin the painting all over everything again.  

The convenience of having a correctly measured brush size adds to the fun of knowing there is a one stroke 'downward' all the way down on the vertical parts.

From left to right horizontal square pipe work. Especially the inside rail on the actual handrail facing the door.  Mostly hidden out of view.

Stokes matter with paint jobs

These are just some of the small things that have risen from the first time of painting a veranda hand rail.

Sunday, 10 July 2022

That drain outpoured the dirty water

One year ago the drainage challenge made itself known. Even through all the times it rained, poured down, or just down pored, there were leaks above the inside walkway.

Today, on inspection the dirt and debris from the tile roof and trees around was found to have blocked the side garden's drain.  the hose went into the gutter drain The hose was running already. Okay the drainage hose was competing with the washing machine water.

Yesterday, the gutter on the other side of the downpipe was cleared. Mud, leaves and twigs came out. Water on the other hand went and flushed what little remained away.  

Great to hear the water going down the downpipe.

Where last year there were so many fussy cats left behind on the property what was also in the gutters was a smelly, slushy, totally horrible thing to unexpectedly put your hands into. Bleach and soap washes, hand cream with a better smell applied. Even to the extent of wearing a mash, and a scarf to thought the stink.

Gloves defiantly went on. Plus, a just in case safety mask set were purchased. 

The hardest thing was finding someone to hold the ladder. Eventually my eighty-five year old mum held the ladder. but, even then we had to do this on the quiet. Like when no-one was around.

The explanation went that they were protecting me! Bull! If this was so then they would have cleaned the gutters properly as soon as asked!!

It is known that in order to properly clean cutters the best way to do this is to 'remove the waste in the gutters.'  Downpipes are slightly different. There are machines to do this. Or chemicals.

Well let's just say that two gutters leading to two drain pipes out the back were successfully completed  just as 

  •  it began to gently rain.
  • a son rocked up in the car parking just on the other side of the roller door.
Yip we smiled quietly. The ladder was away now.  The hose where it could go and be unsuspected - on the garden next to the washing line. The dogs were busy eating... just in case they took the son out to show him our gutter work ands he became suspicious!

Asked the son if he would/could do this the next day... "My mum. A friend and I did this six months ago.

Yeah I remember that they looked in the gutters during what was meant to be summer time. Twigs, which were seen from the foot path, were still sticking out the gutters.

But what was able to be got done was some drain cleaning blue crystal chemical were put into two of the five drains yet to be completed.  

Suffice to say that when people think you cannot do it, ask around, you will find people that know what they are talking about.

  • Listen to these people.  
  • Then go research on the internet.
Now you know what questions to ask a tradesman.  Also what dot list of job specifications and guidelines to give to that trades man.

This dot point list will include 
  • Safety precautions to be taken.
  • Request for their insurance policy number.
  • The equipment and backup that they have.
With a small amount of research there is the answer. Call in the experts.  They have a vacuum commercial gutter cleaning outfit.  Added bonus is besides the domestic gutter cleaning available the video camera shows where there are leaks, blockages and the trouble cause and effect.

Plus those tiles... well there is the roof repairs and restoration. The re-pointing of the ridge caps  and valley area.  They also have the resources to replace any broken roof tiles.

Additionally Made Easy roofing maintenance has solar panel cleaning.  Therefore they may know where to get a solenoid.  The rental agency sent out a bloke who removed the solenoid instead of replacing it.

Action is better than the stress of living with all three of these things causing stress and trouble in the long run.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Move That Old Garage Door Over There

That aluminium covered, ratty and tatty, door really needed to move. That old garage door. Over there seemed simple enough.  Push, pull, slowly and surely progress of a few meters was made.

Things were actually going well - until, with the slight unbalance, the door went to the left, got jammed and just would not budge.

Meanwhile the dogs watched [amused] from just around the corner. The challenge was there was no-one else available to help move the door.

Time to go do something else

All in Gods plan was muttered.  So the situation was safe, just the door was not moving anywhere fast. 

Enter one son. Bliss.

Ask and you shall receive!

The end goal is to utilise the frame work as a roof of a chicken house. If not a chicken house then cover for the worm farm and compost area.

Meanwhile, just a few days ago behind the water tank the blackberry was cut down. As much as possible was removed out. This will be the potatoes in pots area for this year.

Make the area tidier

Since arriving at number 14 this old garage door, that was at number 19  

  • was meant to be a detachable roof for over the green tin shed.
    • only thing was the shelter part was delayed until it was never actually created.
  • hung around under the kitchen window.
  • was finally moved around to number 14 where the number of 'resting places' became very scare.
  • always seemed to be not quite in the right place
    • was getting closer with each 'move'.
    • is now blocking the actual garage door. No-one is getting in there without a noise being heard.
    • guess where the garage door was suggested to be placed in the first place!

So move that old garage door over there is gradually getting closer to where it was meant to be in the first place.

Oh well someone listened!

What seems junk to some people is a treasure to others. So stick to your inner vision even if it means just slowly make things happen. 

Remember that all garden adventures start with an idea.

That Ivy may have Grown Again

 Ivy is by many considered just a creeper.  Some love it. others rip their hair out illuminating the plant from anywhere it is. Like any pla...