March through May 2017
At the start of March we poured the first concrete pour on our new ROW. It is very exciting as it is the first time that the Firth Industries Declare certified concrete has been used in NZ. We are literally their very first customer! Firth's have supplied concrete before for other Living Building Challenge projects, but this is the first time that the concrete used holds the official Living Future label.
However the day did not start well. I got a text at 7am from Aaron (our concrete layer) saying that we should cancel the pour as the weather was not looking good. I rang Firths and asked if we cancelled today when was the next time that we could get concrete. They said 2-3 weeks and that was probably a bit messy as it is meant to rain all of this week which would mean that all the pours this week could be cancelled creating a back log!
So we decided to go ahead with today's pour. Firth have been amazing and tried really hard to help us out by bringing forward the times of our deliveries to try and beat the rain. We changed from 1pm, to 10am to 9am. And here is the first truck arriving at 9:20am! We have had Aaron, Darren and Joel on site today wheeling the concrete around and smoothing and pouring it all out. They have been doing an excellent job. However the bad news is that it has just started to rain a little bit. And its only 12:25pm! 3 hours early. I'm kind of hoping that it was just a passing shower, but it looks little set it! DAMN IT. Fingers crossed that we aren't going to end up with massive problems. Currently it sounds as though we are going to have massive problems trying to expose the aggregate as the Masterfinish spec 380 won't set on the concrete, meaning that they wont' be able to expose it easily!
We've finally managed to get the second half of the driveway poured by the end of March ( with a few false starts with the weather ) and finally have a complete driveway to the Living House.
In April we spent the delightful post Cyclone Cook weather of the Easter weekend battling to install the Abodo fencing on our boundary between us and Margaret (Lot 2). I don't believe that this battle is in any way the fault of the Abodo fencing system as it is a delightfully simple kitset, but somehow Joel and I have been completely unable to get our heads around how best to install it along the boundary.
In our defence I think we would be fine if we had a straight and level boundary line to work with. However instead we have sloping ground that we have partly retained. This has lead to very difficult design decisions and I'm still not 100% that we had determined the best installation method.
We have decided to install the Abodo fence with the pailings in the horizontal plane. While this looks A LOT smarter than having them vertical we have discovered that it also makes it a lot harder to install as the second it is slightly out of level then the fence starts looking terrible. We've ended up installing and then taking down quite a few panels over the weekend!
We also managed to get the Beachlands Hammer Hardware truck stuck in the mucky bog that is the Living House site (sorry about that!).
I have to admit that I had quite a bit of dissatisfaction at the end of the long Easter weekend as we have worked pretty hard and we still don't have all the fencing completed for the Living House! In fact if I was going to be honest I would have to say that I am bl***y p*****d off. about the fact that the fencing is not finished. It feels like it is a never ending job trying to put up the various fences that are required. We have the fence that we need to put along the E-W boundary between us and Margaret's house and then Joel agreed to put up some fences inside Margaret's property so she can have a 'back yard' and a 'front yard'. His reasoning was that it would only take a couple of hours to put them up. Well he spent at least a couple of hours on one of those fences and gates yesterday and it wasn't even 1/3 of the way complete at the end of those hours.
In fact if you take a look at the below photos I think you will see that there is not much difference between what the Abodo fence looked like at the start of the day compared to nearly the end of the day.
Start of Easter Monday
3:30pm on Easter Monday
It was only after I (Rochelle the fish wife) pitched a fit and said that I wasn't having the fence under 1/2 way complete at the end of the 4 day solid fence building weekend that Joel agreed to put some more up and we got this far
End of Easter Monday