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In which our house is a hive of industry - Tactical Ninja

Nov. 8th, 2011

08:51 am - In which our house is a hive of industry

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Gosh, they've hung the Christmas decorations in Courtenay Central! *meep* Of course we know what this means - not long till Dr Wheel's return! And I get concurrent time off work. So, um, I'll see you about two weeks later?

*cough*


In case you hadn't noticed, I just moved into a central city apartment. I've been there a month today, in fact. Ooh! One of the things I'd never considered about city living is what you do to dry your washing. I've always had a washing line, and it just never occurred to me that this might be an issue. I guess most folks use a clothes dryer but that just seems like a horrendous waste of money and energy when we have wind aplenty in Wellington.

Anyway, I have a balcony. Currently it looks like this:



Yes, that's my shearing clothes and that blue shirt really is as holey as it looks. There are also a frangipani, some basil and some dill, and the butt jar for when smokers visit. I would like my balcony to look like this:



OK so maybe that's a bit unrealistic but I love plants and flowers and herbs and damnit I shall have them! But I also need to be able to dry my washing on there - and as you can see, the rack takes up valuable people standing plant space. I considered a retractable washing line but the only anchor point is right above the door which would make it hard to open, and also the washing would then block the view from the windows. However, the stud in this place is really high and there's a fair bit of headroom out there. So after cogitating for a month, last night I went down to Bunnings and grabbed some stuff:



6m of timber, 4 skyhooks, 4 brackets, 4 ubolts, 4 pulleys, 12m thin cord, 24m sash cord, and a hook. I then broke out the power tools and made a frame:



Why yes I am doing wood-related DIY on the lounge room carpet. The balcony is full of washing! And also not large enough to easily manoeuvre around things. And I have a vacuum cleaner and know how to use it! Anyway, after the frame was made and braced with brackets I drilled some holes and added the string.



The string will stretch so I'll tighten it up in a few days. The next step is to get the skyhooks up into the wooden parts of this up here so I can attach the pulleys and measure out the sash cord:



For this I'll need a ladder. 14 foot stud, remember? My wee ladder isn't quite going to cut the mustard so here is where I ask if anyone has a reasonable height step ladder I can borrow for a few hours over the weekend? Happy to collect/return it. As it is I'll probably be enlisting the Youth of Today and his extra 8 inches for this part.

Meanwhile, in the ladder waiting period, I'll smooth off the corners which are not perfect enough for me, and maybe paint it to make it last longer - colour suggestions welcome. And then, I'll have a clothesline that I can raise up into that unused space, that will catch sun and wind but not block the windows, that will let me use my balcony for washing AND jungle, and that will make me feel right clever.

Total cost for parts: $88, at least half of which was the pulleys. It's $10 more than the retractable line would have been.

While all this was going on, my offspring was baking. He had eaten all the chocolate chip bikkies I made with his friends and not even left me one - so when I went WTF at him he decided it was baking time. In true Allison family style he does nothing by halves and made three batches:



<3 my offspring. They are as tasty as they look. And as big. We shall get fat, clearly.


My next mission once the washing line's hung is to plant out the balcony. There are super-sunny bits that get sun from 3ish till dark at full bore, there are bits that have lots of light but no full sun, and bits that are in the shade all the time. Thus, I should be able to have an interesting (if mini) balcony garden. I would like to mix ornamental plants with vegies and herbs. Plz to be telling me what plants you think are essential!

In other domestic goddess news, I used the mincer vernacularity gave me on Saturday to make a kilo and a bit of minced beef. It was messy but fun and saved me $4 a kilo on bought mince. Score! Did I mention it's fun? Now I want to Mince All The Things!

Comments:

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From:friggasmuse
Date:November 7th, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC)
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Cool! I like DIY Tats, and, kids that bake ;)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 7th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
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He tells me he makes a mean cupcake too - an assertation I will have to test. ;-)
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From:adam_0oo
Date:November 7th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
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Impressively handy!
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From:tatjna
Date:November 7th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
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This is true. May I borrow it for a bit on your day off please?
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From:vernacularity
Date:November 7th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
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I have one of those handy ladders that folds into all sorts of shapes. it is possibly suitable. I think it is as tall as me or taller, when it is folded like a stepladder, certainly it is high enough when unfolded. an issue might be if that is a combination of too short and too long. I'll measure it.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 7th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, one of those. They are quite awesome.
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From:vernacularity
Date:November 7th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC)
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from memory, I'm pretty sure it's taller than me when it is a stepladder
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From:tatjna
Date:November 7th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
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By my calculations it would need to be at least 6 foot. But my calculations might be wrong, since I can't actually get up there to measure the height of the stud without a ladder! ;-)
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From:vernacularity
Date:November 7th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
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poke a stick up it!

if you have a 14 foot distance from deck to roofing then i'd guess either a slightly longer than 14 foot ladder you can lean up between those beams so it won't slip sideways (with someone at the foot so it wont slip outwards), or something like a 9/10 foot stepladder secured with a rope and/or a bracing partner. as they say, never stand on the top rung.

but if it was me i'd just find whatever ladder I have to hand and stand in such a way as not to fall over and move it as often as I had to to ensure that I don't fall over, and operate a drill with one hand while holding onto the beam with one hand to ensure I don;t fall over... basically the bleeding obvious and don't tell OSH

I've painted a fair few outsides of houses. When a ladder goes it just goes, there is no warning apart from a few milliseconds prior catching the thought in your head "gee I hope the ladder holds while I just reach out here.."
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From:vernacularity
Date:November 7th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
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ps sorry if my comments are browbeatingly stating the obvious that you are already sensible enough to know and have already thought of
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From:tatjna
Date:November 7th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
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Heh, I had more or less resigned myself to using the second method as it's unlikely that anyone I know has a 10 foot step ladder and extension ladders are damn hard to transport. ;-)
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From:vernacularity
Date:November 10th, 2011 06:49 am (UTC)
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it's 6 foot as a stepladder, folds out to a 12 foot straight ladder. technically 6 foot 3 and 12 foot 6, but hey....
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From:t_c_da
Date:November 7th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
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One can always push a tape measure up the wall to get an idea of the height, always assuming you have a tape measure more than 2 metres...

If necessary I have an 8 metre one on my desk that is readily borrowable for an overnight duration...
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From:tatjna
Date:November 7th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)
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Also, being foldy would make it easy to transport!
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From:heartofawarrior
Date:November 7th, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
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Yay for DIY projects, and kids who bake! The world needs more bakers :-D
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From:n3m3sis42
Date:November 8th, 2011 02:18 am (UTC)
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Nom, cookies. I baked over the weekend too. :)
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From:bekitty
Date:November 8th, 2011 06:50 am (UTC)
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As it is I'll probably be enlisting the Youth of Today and his extra 8 inches for this part.

*cough*

My mind went there. And it really, REALLY shouldn't have. o.0
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From:explicitreality
Date:November 8th, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC)

Bikkies!

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Whoo! Good job to the kid!

And! Way to be industrious...it's a beautiful thing.

As far as turning your patio into a robust garden....Totally do-able, with a little creative use of vertical space and some over-the side love. Do you have restrictions? And! I can make suggestions, but I need some dimensions and details about your growing seasons/zones, etc. Also, watching how the sun tracks through the space during the various seasons would be helpful. I've even got some rough suggestions/ideas about a waste-less water system *wiggles*
You know....geeky-green-love is my happy place ;)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 8th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)

Re: Bikkies!

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Yay!

The patio is about 2.5m long and 1m wide. The balustrade is solid but with a wide wooden top that I can attach things to. The whole space is about 3.5m high and faces west. It catches the sun from about 3pm till dark and will do that all year round.

Our seasons are similar to San Francisco, so I'm told. Average winter temp is 8-10 degrees celsius and in summer it averages 18-22 but can get up to about 28 and down to -3.

The patio has shady bits and sunny bits - the corner you can see in the back of the photo will never get direct sun but plenty of light - I was thinking of putting a cupboard there with a layered planter for seedlings on top.

The rules say I am not supposed to 'alter the appearance of the outside of the building'. I'm guessing this means not painting it funny colours or attaching gargoyles, but I'm sure nobody'd worry about a few hanging baskets and whatnot that actually make it look nicer, eh?

Thank you! ;-)
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From:38
Date:November 8th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
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Yummmm those cookies look sooo good!
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