Teraz terrace

I’m looking out of the window, just back from walking the dogs, happy that I made it before the storm that is now upon us. After a week of temperatures close to and exceeding 30 C it’s almost a relief to hear the crack of lightening and catch the cooling breeze through the open window; the crops will certainly benefit from the rain and if the forecast is to be believed then we should have a cooler week ahead to look forward to.

It’s been a hectic week or so as our friend Slawek came over to help out with the building of the terrace, working to the suns schedule we put in some serious time and have achieved a great deal, but it has made us realise that when your building a house you have little time for anything else. So we finally made the decision that keeping livestock this year is no longer an option, I think we knew this already and as time has gone by the inevitable conclusion had to be drawn; after all we have struggled to look after the garden this week and forgetting to water  your pigs is a little more serious than neglecting to the water the tomatoes; there’s always next year 🙂

Monday 17th June:

After a trip to the iron mongers to stock up on nails, nuts and bolts we started building the terrace.

Tuesday 18th June:

Building the terrace

Wednesday 19th June:

Building the terrace

Thursday 20th June:

Building the terrace. Emptied the composting toilet! And for those of you eagle eyed and interested people out there who noticed that it has lasted a long time then I can assure you that I have emptied it on two previous occasions, I just forgot to add the date to the Composting Toilet Diary; shame on me.

Friday 21st June:

Building the terrace

Saturday 22nd June:

Building the terrace

Of course it was all a little bit more involved than that and Slaweks woodworking experience shows as he has notched joists and created large scale mortise joints for the supporting posts; no metal angle brackets on this build. Meanwhile Gosia has got to grips with the plainer that we have borrowed from a family friend and the piles of wood shavings are testament to the many cubic meters of wood that have made it past the spinning blades; very sharp blades as the cuts on the back of my fingers prove after slipping when installing new blades. Mind you when you consider the lack of guards and the exposed mechanics of the home made machine then a couple of nicks are needed to earn respect and avoid more serious injury.

Hard to believe that this plainer thicknesser was hand built during the communist era; if you wanted something back then you built it! And it works a treat.

You may guess that this is a big job and we were happy to have achieved the lower level and get the joists down ready for the decking next week; unfortunately the modrzew (larch) that we are using for the planks is very hard on the blades, as whilst the pine that we have used for the framing gave up it’s outer layers without too much fuss the boards require a little more attention, consequently we have had to order a new set of hardened steel blades. Lets hope they arrive in good time next week.

As I mentioned in my last post the horseflies are having a feeding frenzy and you have to be quick if you want to avoid making a blood donation to the insect world, thankfully we had the help of the yellowhammer. For some odd reason, possibly just because we are there, the horseflies are attracted to the white walls of the building and fly into them kamikaze style; dazed and confused by the sudden interruption in their flight they then fall to the floor and this is the point that our little yellow friends step in and are quick to take advantage of an immobilised lunch. I’m not sure if it’s learned behaviour, but a pair of birds have remained with us all week and they are happy to come within a few meters of us as we worked and of course we are happy with a reduction in the blood sucking insect population.

Bug hunter
Our little yellow friends

It’s easy to take all the wildlife for granted as you get used to seeing the newts, lizards, slow worms and toads, all good food for the visiting stalks and our resident buzzard who has happily started to announce his presence once again after a worrying mute period. Sadly none of these wondrous creatures eat the potato beetle and as the lave that missed our inspection start to grow the potato’s are starting loose a bit of foliage; lets hope this wont affect the crop too much and that our efforts of hand picking pay off. It’s a little disheartening as you see the farmer next door spray his crop, eradicating the pest almost over night; such an easy solution, or is it?

Our potato patch

One final note, as I took a quick photo before we left of Saturday, the tomato experiment is starting to show results; the plant on the left seems to be developing a little faster than that on the right, contrary to the result I was hoping for as the plant on the right is the one grown in the humanure mix. Still it’s early days and it’s quite likely that I used two different plant varieties such was my attention to detail when I set up this highly scientific experiment. I only remember which one is which by remembering what right rhymes with!

Humanure challenge
Humanure challenge tomato plants

Author: Eddy Winko

Left the rat race to live a less hectic and harmful life. From the building of a straw bale house to the composting toilet diaries; read my blog https://winkos.wordpress.com/

16 thoughts on “Teraz terrace”

  1. Wow, excellent progress, Winkos! That frame looks awesome! You’re quite fortunate to have a friend who does joinery, I wish we could have framed without steel brackets and other connectors.
    Don’t give up hope on the humanure-fed tomato. We are having the best garden of our lives this year and it’s the first year using humanure! Seriously, everything is really growing great! We’ll be working in the garden all day today, so we’ll see what is there to harvest now….

    1. Cheers 🙂 I wish that we had Slawek helping when we did the house frame, which like yours is held together by bits of metal, mind you it’s all hidden in the walls! The terrace though will benefit from the extra work and his skill, I look forward to his return next week.
      As for the humanure, we are committed; it’s more a point of interest and I’m happy to see it competing well with shop bought compost. I wouldn’t normally plant then in anything other than earth so free compost has got to be well worth the money 🙂

  2. I’m glad you set the record straight on emptying the compost toilet. As a fellow humanure-er, I feel it’s my duty and responsibility to keep you honest. Every time I dump my buckets I think about you (not in the way it sounds)…did Eddy mention dumping his buckets recently??? I don’t think so. 🙂
    Side note…I grow ALL my tomatoes in the stuff (after it’s been composted for a year.

    1. You will be happy to know I emptied again on Tuesday, must be all the extra traffic! Many buckets mean much work done:) I ,only mentioned the beans and tomato’s in a post I think, but we have had radish and onions out of the patch I set aside; all doing well and tasting great 🙂

  3. Nice word play, well done, and very funny!

    Looks like you got a nice bit of work done. I hope you get the cooler weather your expecting. We’re after some rain, we’ve not had anything significant since 25th May, and it is still close to 30C.

    I like the plainer! That is definitely a Polish machine. Another phrase I’ve learnt from the people working on my Wife’s’ Parents house is bez bhp, translation = no health and safety. It makes things a bit quicker & cheaper but sometimes looks a bit dangerous/crazy.

    1. Nadal, Nadal; as he won the French open 🙂 It certainly has been hot, lucky you missing the storms, calmed down here now and should settle into the mid twenties as the week goes on..Bez bhp, aint that the truth 🙂

    1. Cheers; I’ll drink to that. As the weather has cooled the horseflies have gone. but mosquitos have arrived; I wonder why human blood tastes so good?!

  4. That’s going to look good.

    Say hello to Slavek for me . . . on second thought, it’s probably not the same friend I used to have at GM, back in the 80s. I doubt he would have gone back.

    1. Thank you Disperser, I hope it will balance the house better when it’s finished.
      I said hello from you anyhow, just in case! I think more stay away than come back, but that’s changing as the economy and opportunities improve.

  5. Looks like it has been a case of Teraz, Teraz, Teraz, for you this week Eddy. It is looking good though, a job well done. (or started, anyway). That ancient plane thingy looks fierce, no wonder it left some scars!
    What does eat a potato beetle? According to Google, stink bugs or lady bugs will eat them, but not in sufficient numbers to make any difference. (You’ve got me looking up veg on Google now!)
    As for the tomato experiment, I doubt that I would be best pleased to be cultivated in a pile of Winko Humanure either!
    At least you have good weather mate, cloud, rain, and 16 degrees here.
    Regards to you both from Norfolk. Pete.

    1. Cheers Pete, it’s all happening at the moment. Teraz by the way, is Polish for ‘now’ but pronounced much the same as terrace; I was trying to be clever, but its lost without an explanation 🙂 Should I spray or should I go now, as The Clash would say…..I’m thinking about importing ladybirds! It’s Sunday and the Piwo (beer) is flowing so ignore this reply, I’m in a world of my own 🙂

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