Swingin’ The Sledgehammer

Some big outdoor projects have begun around here. The double-pronged plan is a new chicken coop and a new firewood storage area. That sounds simple, but, as usual, it is a multi-faceted ball of interconnected nuttiness. I outsourced some child minding recently, in order to make some headway on these things. The Big Sister-in-law also came around one day and helped me to get a bunch of stuff done outside, which was exceedingly helpful. I’m not used to having four hands on deck very often. We got the lawns mowed, a bunch of old wood cut up for the fire, which had either been lying around in the back carport or in the garage, the chickens’ compost bin in the Cedar Pen moved, along with some compost, in preparation for knocking down the raised garden edging, and the sandpit decluttered, ready to receive something pretty awesome… Sand! Yeah, the sandpit has actually been waiting for sand for more than a year. How bad is that? It is coming, very soon.

Two wood racks have been acquired and the first has been assembled and put in place. It is in the concreted rubbish corner, against the fence opposite our bedroom window. This corner had to be prepped and tidied. It has always been a corner of mess. Tree branches were trimmed, weeds between the gappy fence were pulled out, some ivy was removed from the fence, the ground was swept, the taps to nowhere were removed and a collection of rubbish items were ousted. The rusty barrel still needs to be removed from our property but it is in the carport for now.

This little skink was hanging out on the rusty barrel. I felt almost guilty for removing the barrel, but there are better places for the skinks to live around here.

The first wood rack is up, it’s had chicken wire wrapped around the sides and back so wood doesn’t fall through the gappy fence and some wood has been stacked on it. We haven’t done a permanent roof for it yet, but The Husband rigged up a temporary roof using half of one of the long pallet frames we still have sitting around and some black plastic. Of course, right after we started all this the heavy rain returned with a vengeance. The tanks and rain barrels were full and overflowing and everything is saturated again. We’ve just stuffed black plastic around the bottom half of the rack to try and stop the rain getting in. The shelves are only mdf. Yes, this is bad, but I wasn’t planning to use them. I was going to replace them with wire shelf panels, but the ones I was looking at are 2cm too short to sit on the shelf frames. Sooo, it is mdf for now until I find something more durable that will fit.

Getting the two new chicken food storage tubs meant that I could repurpose two of the old feed bins as rubbish bins. Our old rubbish bin was broken and I don’t like bags of rubbish sitting around. The small one is too small for a bag of rubbish but I’m storing rubbish bags in there that we can reuse from getting wood shavings, chicken food, etc.

Once we get the next wood rack set up we can suss out how to do the roofing and how much weather protection will be needed. The next rack is going to go along the solid wooden fence between the first two fence posts. Rack #2 has wire shelves. Hooray! There just wasn’t one like this that would fit in wood rack #1’s spot. I’m guessing we’ll need more than two wood racks, but we’ll see how things are looking after we’ve done these ones. And why haven’t we got wood rack #2 up yet? Because of a stump. Of course. The five feijoa stumps are still alive and sprouting along this fence, and we have to get at least this one out so that wood rack #2 can stand on level ground. There’s no concrete under this one. I have finally succumbed to the lure of a stump grinder, and we are hiring one for a few hours on Saturday. This should be interesting. Let’s see how many stumps we can get rid of!

Wood rack #2 will go between the two fence posts, right where that feijoa stump is. Time to say goodbye, Mr Stump.

The second prong of this project is a whole lot of demo in the chicken area in preparation for a new coop. After the compost bin was moved off to the side and a few plants were transplanted out of the way, I began sledgehammering the wooden garden edging in the Cedar Pen. I didn’t make much headway. The logs, or rounds, are concreted in. Then The Husband came along and wielded the sledgehammer and wrecking bar mightily, getting out all the edging that we needed in a couple of sessions. Ok, maybe I got three out… I’m currently pondering how, if possible, to get the concrete edging out, as it’s not thin. Next, the dirt will come down, with a stump or two, and the old fort shelter. And there’s a lot of firewood to move out of the old woodshed.

The days of heavy or steady rain mean that progress has been slow. I had to focus on some indoor things like drying cayenne chillies in the dehydrator to make cayenne pepper, chopping and freezing bags of tomatoes (6kg so far) and beginning work on the spice shelf. I have cut all the pieces for the spice shelf ready to join, but with the return of fine, hot weather today, it’s back to the outdoor work as much as I can.

10 thoughts on “Swingin’ The Sledgehammer

  1. What makes good firewood there? I know that is an odd question, but it seems that all the (many) trees we have from both New Zealand and Australia should not be used for firewood. (I have no problems using them because I just clean the chimney regularly.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The native trees that are considered the best for firewood in NZ are manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and kanuka or NZ tea tree (Kunzea ericoides) because they burn long and hot. They aren’t very big trees though. I haven’t heard anyone say not to burn any particular type of tree. Exotic trees are often used here, like pine, Eucalyptus, macrocarpa, etc. The exotic ones seem to be the most commonly sold, but I’m sure people in the country grow and burn all sorts of things!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that is how it is here. People in town buy mostly oak. We burn what we have. Sometimes it is oak or maple. I have even burned redwood just to get rid of it, although I would not recommend it if there are other choices.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Curious, do you grind your dehydrated chilis into powder or do you use them simply for cooking like that? With our hot peppers we always use them to make hot sauce but I’ve been contemplating the spice rack as well…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We grind them to make chili powder. Last year was the first time we did this, with tobasco chillies, and the powder really packs a punch, so much so that we still have plenty left! The cayenne chillies are a little lower on the heat scale so it will be interesting to see how they compare.
      You could use them just like that too, it just depends how hot the chillies are and how spicy you like your food.


        1. Oh true! We don’t have squirrels here so I’ve never done the old cayenne pepper on the garden. Apparently some people do it to keep cats out of the garden though.


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