tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

In which our house is a hive of industry

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?


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!
Tags: bikkies!, diy tats strikes again, i am a *cough* domestic goddess
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