Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sweet Determination

What a gloriously sunny and warm late September and early October it has been here, I was certainly not expecting it but it is definitely a welcome surprise!

The Blue (and green) border enjoying some October sun. This bed is still 'unfinished' and mainly planted for establishment, 
hence the stakes and wires on some of the plants. It's also largely unmulched, hopefully we'll get that done in the next few weeks.
When a forecast for an unseasonably warm spell was announced last week I immediately thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to finish the concrete base of the koi pond. As I wasn’t expecting such warmth at this time of the year we made an impromptu decision to go ahead and made plans about ten days ago in preparation for this huge task, by making enquiries for the delivery of ready mixed cement and looking at equipment hire. First, we left it too late to order some ready mixed cement to be delivered so that’s out of the equation, but equipment hire of a cement mixer is still fine so at least we can avail of that.

But what I wasn’t counting on was Gaz catching the flu, and a bad one too.

So what am I supposed to do now?  Having such fine stretch of days and miss out on the golden opportunity to do something important was too much to bear. Mind you, I wasn’t expecting that we’ll have the base fully laid till next year so the thought of having it done this year will be a fantastic bonus.

So last weekend, with Gaz feeling under the weather but strong enough to do some light work, I just told him that we’ll do as much as we can without pushing ourselves to the limit. I didn’t want to tire him out, and I was fine myself so I told him to stay within the pond (which is under a shade) and leave all the hard work to me. I will do all of the shovelling, dry mixing, wheel barrowing, wet mixing, bucketing, and all he needed to do was stay in the hole so I can pass the concrete mix, half a bucket at a time, to him to pour it on the hole and do the levelling.

I decided to ditch hiring the cement mixer as in our situation it would have made very little difference in easing off the work burden and would just be a waste of time. Doing it all manually would just be as efficient in this case 

And so we did this, all of last and this weekend. And we finished it Sunday afternoon.

As I stood from a corner looking at the finished base, Gaz, being the ‘maths’ person that he is told me, ‘Considering the ballast, cement, and water you shifted, you just hand mixed four tonnes of concrete.’

Four tonnes, oh my goodness! Until a week ago it has never, ever crossed my mind that I would end up hand mixing all the concrete to make the base of this pond. I had always thought we’ll get it delivered ready mixed and pumped in situ, or at least use a cement mixer. But hand mixed….

All through out I never thought of figures and the total amount of what I’m shifting, just pleased to see the base slowly building up to the desired level, and finishing it in two weekends would exceed my expectations (which we did). So I was genuinely astounded when I heard the total figures. I guess I’m a lot stronger that I thought, considering I’m not exactly a big person either.

‘You’re a determined one aren’t you?’ Gaz told me last Sunday evening, recovering already from his illness. Yes I am, always have been and a personal character I cherish within me.

My body is very achy now, and my hands are sore. I’ll rest on my laurels for a few days to give my body a chance to recover but after that I can get cracking with the rest of the built again. At least Gaz has recovered now and we can have a fairer division of manual labour again, hehe! For now I’m just glad the base is done, it’s a fabulous personal bonus :-)



  1. Outstanding! It always feels great to get a headstart on a project, utilize the weather and finish something ahead of schedule. A friend and I are about to built a 40 foot greenhouse to save some of our tropicals. I'm hoping for the weather to hold but the rain leers on the forecast. Inspiring post!

  2. You two are so cute! That pond is a huge undertaking. You both should be feeling really proud of yourselves. i suppose we will have to wait till next summer to see it full, though.

  3. Thank you Nat, and good luck with the greenhouse built. I'm sure you guys can do it with a bit of perseverance. Hopefully the rain steers clear until you guys finish it, cross fingers!

    Ahhhww, thank you Hazel :)I'm extremely pleased with our progress although I'm paying for it now as I'm sooo tired (yawn!). I should be fine by tomorrow after another good night's sleep. We did need the base done so we can put up some scaffold so we can finish the blocking (as the wall is getting too tall to lift heavy block safely). By getting the base done we can go on with that too! :)

  4. Congratulations, that really is awesome... :)

    Also, the blue border looks really nice for being not quite finished.

  5. AMAZING. It looks like the foundation of a house! I'm so impressed with your accomplishments. What's the next step now? I assume you won't fill it until next spring?

  6. I think it was good that Gaz held off announcing the size of your accomplishment until the end, so as to not make you prematurely tired!! What a great feeling to be ahead of plan...

    (I too think the blue (and green) border looks fab!)

  7. It looks great! I can't wait to see it filled with water and fish! Glad Gaz is recovered. Hope your muscles don't ache for long. That really was a big undertaking!

  8. Thanks College Gardener, glad you liked the blue border :)

    Come to think of it, it does look like the foundation of a house Gerhard, or at least the floor of a basement, lol! We'll just play it by ear as weather is very changeable now but we'll probably do more blocking. The next step will mainly be the filtration house as that is mostly wood work and can be done during winter :)

    Loree, I did wonder if Gaz was just being crafty and got away from doing lots of work, hmmmm...Glad you like the border btw :)

    Thanks Holley! :) I was really achy and sore this morning but the worst is over now and I'm feeling much better recovered. I think I'll just take it easy for a few days now.

  9. Outstanding effort Mark! 4 tonnes - you should get a T shirt made! Sorry Gaz was ill but between you you still accomplished so much. I love the sweep of the wall in that first picture by the way, perfectly finished by the slate top, and you will be getting great shadows on the fence behind too. Impressive all round.

  10. Great progress. I'll be interested to see how you water-proof it.

  11. Holey, Moley, well done you. Its amazing what one can do when they want something bad enough!! lol!!

  12. Holey, Moley, well done you. Its amazing what one can do when they want something bad enough!! lol!!

  13. Oh God that is a big job for two, I can't imagine you doing that with Gaz still sick. Amazing, and you certainly have a big garden to include that big pond, big already for my standard. And the plants at the first photo are all looking great, i hope they will not succumb to winter, that would be depressing. More power to the two of you, Happy Sunday.

  14. Thanks Janet! The area is a sun trap and I'm pleased with the way it looks so far, especially with the white paint.

    Thanks b-a-g, the pond will be waterproofed using fibreglass but that won't be done now till next year.

    I agree Libby, I'm well pleased the base is done now :)

    Glad you like the plants Andrea! Most of the plants in that bed we've had for a few years now and the rest are usually hardy so should be fine over winter here, fingers crossed! :)


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