We had undertaken the big task of completely clearing the site ready for the excavators. The clearing included picking up all the big and little bits of timber lying around, removing the duckboards we had installed around the house to allow us to work out of the mud as well as moving a large pile of timber left over from the frame and roof that had been in the place where the truck had left it over a year ago. The left over bags of hemp, that looked like a blue elephant in the front yard, also had to be moved to a location that did not have to be excavated. The only such spot we could find was beside the driveway and so began the task of unstacking the piled bags moving the pallets they were on and lifting, the lighter bags, and dragging, the heavier bags, to their new site then recovering them all with tarps and plastic. Finally a brush cutter was hired to cut all the grass that had grown up around the site, particularly around the wood pile where the grass had been left to grow for over a year and had completely covered some previously neatly sorted and stacked piled of rubbish. Having been building for 1 ½ years we finally took our first load of rubbish to the tip. Our sorting, recycling and reusing of what we could had saved a lot waste.
|Front of the house for the first time without building materials stacked in front of it
My original excavator Brummy, whose machines were now too big to fit around the house put me onto Stephen, the man with the little diggers, from Jervis Bay Underground. The day before we got to site Stephen the excavator had been in and put in a drain along the back of the house, where the land sloped toward the house. A further pit and drain were put in outside the back bedroom where we had previously got “Lake Culburra” when it rained.
|Drain installed and ground levelled
The land had been cut and filled for the slab with no extra material to be brought on site and the waffle pod slab was formed on top of this levelled area. We now had 5 tonnes of crusher dust brought in to help level and shape the land. Soil was kept away from where we are going to put the decks as we sought to keep as big a gap between the soil and land as possible to allow for air flow.
The diggers got to work and by the end of the day the land was levelled and sloped where needed and looked like a blank canvas ready to start creating a garden, but first we need to get the rendering finished and the decks built.
|Front pavilion ready for decks to be built
|Back pavilion, with ground sloping down toward front of block
|West side of block
|Ground levelled and pavers installed ready for gas bottles
Meanwhile inside the house we started hanging the overhead cupboards in the kitchen, the floor units will have to wait until we get the floor refinished. Disaster struck when we found that the range hood that was supposed to fit on the cupboard was too deep and would not fit in the cupboard. Later investigation showed that the size stated in the brochure for the product was different from the actual size. This brought a halt to the cupboard installation.
|Half the overhead kitchen cupboards installed
On another front, a milestone was reached, after several months of work the first half of the shower mosaic has been completed. My mosaic technique has improved, so I hope the second half will not take as long.
|First half of "The Great Wave" mosaic