May 10, 2008

Stone Picking the day away!!!!

I am sitting here and can barely stay awake, its been a long long day but I decided to end it with a nice can of cold draught Guiness :)

Started the morning working for my Dad at 5.30am, he delivered papers and for some reason the setup was poor this morning with papers and bundles missing so I was out until 9.45am, luckily my sister Marian was with me in her motor otherwise I would not have finished until 11am.

Georgeous morning, very sunny, so got a quick breakfast and was out and ready to start stone picking at 11am.
I bought a "Landscapers Rake" yesterday in NCF, its about 3ft wide with a long handle, also bought a fork, the two cost me 70 notes, so bit pricey. Also I enquired about the grass seed there and was told it was going to cost me 100 euro to cover the whole 3/4 acre.

The area I was to start with is 60ft by 20ft, roughly. I found that there was serious amount of stones, but I got stuck in and did my "molly Malone" and wheeled my wheel barrow etc.

Sean the next door neighbour and plant owner came over to investigate and suggested I get out a mini digger with rake.
He had one out so he got hold of it for me and with the rake buckets he started to tear into the area, I had at this stage probably 20 odd barrows of stone removed.
But once he got stuck in he took out in or about 30 mini digger buckets of "Skutch grass" and stones.
But it still needed to be covered by me also. So I also raked it for another 3 hours with him.

Then he came back with it and levelled it with the bucket of the digger. Again we took off another 5 buckets of stone, then he returned the machine.
To hire a machine like that is 140 euro but it costs 40 euro to transport!!!! Pricey for the day.

So I had to re-rake and re-level it again with my "super rake". I went in for a bit to eat at 6pm. Out again for 6.30pm and started the re-rake. Sean, fair play to him came out about 7.30pm again and between us spent another 1.5 hours raking and levelling.
I told him to head off home as we had 90% of it done and we also had the side section done, about 4ft wide by 40ft.
So at 9.30pm I finally finished so we are ready to seed this section. Considering that this section is 111 sq m , what remains is over 900 sq m then we are a LONG way off :)

I will try and take a pic of this tomorrow, that if I can walk. Working a 5.30am so I will be gimped!!!
Over and out

May 06, 2008

Kerbing,leveling and finishing

So once the lads had a done the wall I had to gather up all the timber and try and tidy up the site, it was a mess but still lacking shape and it was hard to motivate ourselves to get ready for seeding.

I had done a little research on hedges, tress etc and then decided it was time to try and get the hedging done, it was decided that Escolonia was a very good option. I borrowed Seans tracktor and started to shovel loads of soil into the transport box and make a 10" 2ft wide bank for the hedging all along the railway line, 92m to be precise, but once I had 18 loads done my dodgey groin was killing me, been out of soccer for 9 weeks now getting physio but with little joy, doing the basic work is now killing me so picking stones will be some challenge!! :)

Anyway, Sean approached me and told me that if I wanted to get the kerbing done that he could have a machine and men to me for the last week of April, they would also soil up the whole site and get outside the wall done with gravel and also the drive in the house with maintanence.

He said to also save me a lot of work he could get the machine driver to build bank 2 ft high and 3ft wide for me to hedge on, this was going to be great.

So they kept to their word and myself and Sean set out the kerbing on the Sunday for the lads to start on the Tuesday. They had all kerbing done in 2 days and then spent the next 4 days drawing soil and fill to to the site to try and level and soil the whole site. As you can see from the pictures below it made some changes.

The container was going to be a problem, it was planked right in the way of the work, so the decision was made to move it. Dad came over on the Bank Holiday Monday and we set up a base for it.

The Micheal used their 30 ton machine and chains and we moved it to its new home :) Nothing fell out of it!!!!

Then I spent the next couple of hours moving block, timber and other crap to the new site. It left a full run for the lads to fill it up. Luckily for me Sean donated about another 12 loads of soil, black bog soil to the back of the house. Hard to see it from the pictures but it is black!!!!

So I now have a gap of 70 ft odd to fill between the stone wall and the railway line. I did some pricing today.

Chain link, 70 euro for a 35m roll of wire.

12 concrete stakes, 10 euro each.

Then the other options was the panels, I have 9 panels already and 12 stakes. So I need to sit down and work out the budget :)

The plan now is also to price the decking, Siobhan would love a place to be able to sit and chat with our families, at the minute we have nothing so I will price that and again check our budget. Since January we have pumped about 12k into the site, a lot of money.

I have now to spend many days now working the rest of the site, about .7 acres!!!!! It will be fun!

View along the side of the house, all along this side is 92m!!! Side is in or about 30ft wide at the narrowest point.

Front of the site, with the kerbing down and panelsKerbing at front.
A good view of the panels

Images of the back of the house, container moved as you can see.

Picture from 1/2 way down the back. That on the right is a raised bank which I will plant hedging on.

Down the back, side panels also as you can see:

May 01, 2008

Its been a while

Been a quite few months to a year :) Cannot say we had done a lot with our patch but after much huff and puff we finally got ourselves back on track.

We started initially back in the middle of last year with a chat to girl called Paula Halpin in Westport re doing a landscape plan for us.
She sat us down asked what we wanted, we told her our thoughts and she came back a week later with a full drawn, taken off our CAD drawns outline drives, lawns, garden patches, hegding, flower beds, decking, paving, kerbing etc. Cost us 150 notes but to be honest it is well worth it as we have a goal now to aim for.

Back then at the beginning of the year I finally got Sean and his lads to come in and level the place off.
There was a load of fill to go in to pull up the back of the house to the near required level before soiling.
Over the next 3 weeks they left in 30 loads of fill to rise up the back and sides of the house.

Then the decision was also made to put a boundary between myself and Sean.
The options were hedge, fence, post and rail, blocks or concrete panels.

The panels in the end were the best and quickest option, with Seans lads able to do the lot of the work we would split the costs on the 50m run.
The panel are 6ft long and 1ft high, we used min of 4 and max of 5 panels high per run. Each panel cost 13 euro each ex vat and also 13 euro per each of the concrete posts which house the panels. The panels are stone effect on one side and plain on the other.
The work itself took about 8 days to do but it was an A1 job which really changed the whole face of the site.

Next up was the front wall. We have a run of 192ft from side to side along the front of the wall. Planning had it noted that we need to have 60ft of stone frontage. I weighed it up and decided that we would use up 125ft of the side with stone faced wall.
I got Sean to put the foundations in and then we were going to block it ourselves, well we did until I was told that a lad would block the lot of it for 290 euro, which was spot on, working out about 70 cent per block.
This changed the whole frontage big time.

The next job was to find someone to do the stone. The original stone masons were no longer working so I had to search about. I got a lad who said he was a good stone mason, brought to work he did and sure enough it looked spot on. Put a price of 3900 euro on it.
So I told him to match the house, got him his bags of cement (4.35 per bag) and 10 ton of sand.
So I left him to it, was working late so it was difficult to see progress, that was until my next door neighbour asked me “Did you spot the stonework”, my answer was “Ya, it looks spot on” but when he asked me did I “really see it” I was worried.
So next day I headed out after lunch to see “the stone work”. I nearly collapsed, how should I put it, if you were to give the work to a 1 handed blind man then you may get better. So to summarise, I got shot of him and spent all one Saturday pulling the lot down with a sledge hammer. So it had to start again.

I got a number then of a lad who I gave UFH advice to for Lithuian lads, Mindy. He arrived with a portfolio of maybe 50 photos and had his tape and measured and priced. He quote me initially 4800 for the stone work and 5400 to also cap the wall.
After a little discussion we arrived at a price of 4500 to do the whole lot, including capping.
So I then got delivery of 45 bags of cement and I already had the sand. It would be 6 weeks before they were able to start.

Then one morning about 2 weeks later I got a call from Mindy to ask me if he could start tomorrow as he had been let down on the delivery of stone!!!!! I near had panic attack J I had no cement delivered and no pallets of stone, which I agreed with Mindy I would get.
So I rang Sweeneys down the Newport road to see if they could deliver and sure enough within 2 hours they had the cement landed. The lads had enough sand and stone to work away with.

So off they set. The worked from about 7am to 5pm most days, Saturdays and Sundays 1/2 days.
To watch these guys work was a joy to say the least, they would spend hours chipping and shaping, no angle grinders or con saws.
They lads were eating up the stone, I had intended to buy 2 pallets of stone at 150 euro per 2 ton pallet.
Mindy wanted 4 pallets! So I was looking at 600 spots for 8 ton of stone!

I rang and chatted to them there. They said they could deliver to me no bother but then asked me would I have any use for a full load? A full load is 20 tons at 950 euro cash so I decided that for 350 euro more I would get 12 ton, so no real decision. They delivered, made a drop at either side of the gate and the rest of the back.

The lads wrapped up the whole job in 2 weeks, 4 of them. The returned a week later, took down all the casing they used for the caps.
They also then proceed to chip away all waste mortar and clean down the whole wall with a mortar clearer!! Now that’s a service!!
Below is pictures I took during the site fill, the wall build and you can just spot the panels.