On falling on my feet….

21 02 2018

The formwork for the slab is finished, and I frankly can’t believe it….. sometimes the way things turn out has me baffled, even when things go all wrong…..

Lately, I’ve had cumulative problems that inevitably consist of spending money I had not planned to spend; although in the process I managed to get bargains. Like my Makita cordless drill blowing up. I thought it was out of warranty, but it turns out these things have two years warranty, not one…. which I discovered after replacing it with a better (brushless) unit for 60 to 80 dollars less than the shops sell them for, on eBay. Not only that, at the time of this purchase, I discovered you could buy (aftermarket) 6mAh batteries for less than half the price of a genuine Makita 3mAh battery. So I spent the dough…..

Then Ute II started overheating on me, driving back from Hobart with 1.3 m³ of compost in the back. I quickly established that it was all down to the thermostat, so I replaced that; only to discover that half the radiator was blocked as well! I don’t know why I even thought of looking on eBay, but I did, and there I found a brand new radiator for $130 delivered. I could have spent the money better, but the car is fixed. I still can’t believe how cheap it was.


The dilemma…..  the bottom of each board had to be cut to conform to the profile of now hard concrete footings.

But the real corker was the arrival of my four Danish wwoofers. They’d booked ages ago, last year in fact, and because I’ve had an unbelievable number of requests so far this year, the old brain got a bit confused. I was expecting four young whipper snappers (as usual) arriving in a camper van. Instead I got four middle class grey nomads in a hired posh Commodore Station Wagon! Luckily, Matt next door came to the rescue again, and let me have his wwoofer caravan for three days…..

Talk about an interesting bunch though……  it turns out one couple were permies who live on an island in the Baltic Sea, and the other basically city slickers (my assessment…) this was even evident from their luggage……  two suitcases, and two back packs!

The really important part of this story is that the two men were very experienced,


Kurt and Jens, problem solving…

cunning, and capable carpenters, and they saved my bacon. Because you see, when Caleb and I poured the house footings way back in June last year (already…..?), I forgot to engage my brain, and they were not even close to level or flat making the construction of the formwork, errrrr…..  difficult!

To cut to the chase, Kurt and Jens were shown the predicament I was in, and after much hahing and harring in Danish – making me concerned they thought the whole job could not be done I add – they got stuck in, and in their first afternoon had two boards up.

While they were doing that, their two wives assisted me in moving loads of long dead Macrocarpa branches cut two years ago to the market garden where more biochar was made. They all seemed to really enjoy themselves I might add……

By mid afternoon the next day, all the necessary formwork boards were up……  all scribed and cut millimetre perfect. I was truly gobsmacked at how clever and efficient these two oldies were (I can even call them that, because at least one was older than me it turned out….!)

Because the memory card in my phone must have got dislodged somehow, none of the photos bar one that I took of all this ended up being stored, and even then I only have it because I sent to Glenda as a MMS…. A real pity too.

The following day, the two city slickers went sightseeing, while the permies insisted they’d rather do manual labour……  can you believe it?


The three of us moved I don’t know how many ute loads of branches, and now the entire western side of the market garden has been biocharred. And the huge pile of dead branches has been reduced to a mere quarter of its original size, which means I’ll now just burn what’s left in situ once the bushfire season is over.

The good news is that I inspired Kurt and Dora to have a go at biochar on their own farm in Denmark, and that makes me most pleased.


On their last day, I treated them to roast leg of lamb and veggies, all from the farm….terrible picture I know, but it’s the only memory I have of them unfortunately

Then yesterday, Caleb was back, and we straightened all the bowing boards and pinned them into place, making a 32m long dead straight, dead level, and dead plumb formwork ready for pouring in a couple of weeks once I’ve organised everything that that job entails. With any luck, I’ll have a slab for my birthday……. and it’s all down to Kurt and Jens, to whom I will be forever grateful….  I cannot thank them enough.


Finished, ready for pouring……



7 responses

21 02 2018

Are you just using standard concrete for the slab? I have a memory that at one point you were going to investigate some sort of Eco-concrete (with some guy in Hobart who had a unique product??)

21 02 2018

I was going to use that eco concrete, but it’s all too hard I’m afraid…. it looks like his patents were ‘stolen’, and he just doesn’t have the funds to fight it….

21 02 2018

Wow every time I read one of your posts I say that’s it, enough of this capitalist shit and then I persevere in the hope that one day you will have something useful to say about farming or anything but no, you continue with the spend, burn, get everyone else to do your work method. Good luck, your rants about the future of the world economy will surely come true – you’d know, you are the problem!

21 02 2018

Geez, thanks for the spray…. I guess you can’t satisfy all of the people all of the time…

22 02 2018

Looks like 4 really nice wwoofers. How lucky you were. Hey, I might even apply for wwoofing at my age! (only a few yrs older than you, by all accounts).

22 02 2018

Take no notice of Gerard. I cant wait to see every post on your build.
Every twist and turn and set back is a lesson for all of us, and is inspiring
For people like me who may want to follow in your footsteps

22 02 2018

Don’t worry Ray…… I can’t even work out what he’s on about…

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