Monday 29 May 2023

Her lovely horse

For a few months in 2016, we had "Young Bolivar" aka A Good Pair of Hands staying /WWOOFing with us learning English. His last project was building a mighty, and mighty handy, woodshed at the bottom of the yard. We measured up and decided that for the desired design we'd need N=130 lengths of western red cedar Thuja plicata to clad the walls. Jim Davis in Graigcullen didn't cut to length and threw in a few extra planks for luck, so we were left with a big stack of surplus planks not to mention many offcuts of different lengths from 150mm to 900mm in length. Heck'n'jiminy that's seven (7) years ago! The cedar planks have been stacked at the back of the woodshed all that time, quietly drying out some more.

This Spring Dau.II would have nothing but that we build a tree-house for her niblings down in our sustainable micro-forest. That's as well as the refurbed garden seat. And, because cedar is naturally pest-resistant and because it was already on site, we robbed the stack in the woodshed to fabricate the base of the tree house. 

The latest QALY adjustment here is planting salad and other veg for home consumption. But ppl can't live by bread alone and the democratic majority has voted for The Return of The Sweet-pea Lathyrus odoratus to grace the front of the house.In years past I have constructed functional outdoor beds for either side of the front door. But the pallet-wood aesthetic is sooo yesterday and when these planters stand directly on the ground they become a residential hotel for slugs, snails and ants; for which the democratic majority has little tolerance. Furthermore, pallet-wood definitely doesn't last forever when it is permanently butted up against wet soil. Accordingly, I pulled out all the longer [800-950mm] cedar off-cuts and paired them off to those of equal length and then started making jardinières / window-boxes / Blumenkastenpflanzer. I also sourced 4x ash logs from the wood-pile that were close enough to 30cm tall. 

Another option is to add legs to the boxes which make them a lot lighter and more convenient to move around. But the ash-logs are prolly better for the sweet-peas because that allows the planters to get up close to the wall all the better to string-up the peas. Yes, yes, I know it's possible to have two vertical legs at the back and stabilizing splayed legs in the front - speak to my carpenter. The problem with four legged furniture is that unless the floor is actually flat it is a royal PITA to get all four legs touching base and sharing the weight equally. You can see my third iteration in the foreground [L]. Notwithstanding George Orwell's “Four legs good, two legs better! All Animals Are Equal. But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.” In this case three legs is best of all. The top may not be spirit-level flat, but all three legs must be in contact with the ground and doing an equal amount of the work. That's why milking-stools have three legs.

Sharing is caring! It seems invidious to construct such lovely functional outside furniture and become all hoarder about it. The Girl Who Invented Herself [who prev] is WFH really hard while juggling her caring commitments. The [only?] good thing about WFH is that the inevitable 'unproductive' office time is not spent waiting for a meeting in your cubical or chatting at the water-cooler. TGWIH, by contrast, can nip out into her own garden for a bit of dead-heading or weeding as the sea-mist rolls in. The lawn is out to contract mowers but the rest is a mix of raised beds and jardinières containing a striking array of plants shewing off their reproductive parts. In her younger days, she was mad about the nags and spent a few years shovelling shit for a pittance and meagre board before she came to her senses. It turned out that, like Jack Woltz, we have had a spare horse's head about the place since Dau.I and Dau.II dragooned their HomEd pals [and associated parents] into a perf of Cinderella at the village hall. Said head and a plywood cut-out wheel painted silver had been screwed to a baulk of timber to conjure the arrival of cinders at The Ball with his glass slippers. All it took was a hank of straw stapled to the other end et voilà - cheval! My ♩ove♩y horse, indeed.

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