Sunday afternoon Tom and I were finishing the cement so that Karly could lay her mosaic in gate posts 3 and 4. We had a bit of extra cement so decided to go for it and finish the last two gate posts.
Today I was planting kale in what I finished as the flower of life shape, when Jean came looking for me. We talked to Tom, got the go ahead to do it without him, but when it was explained to Jean she was not convinced and had apprehensions that we should wait until the afternoon to have Toms supervision.
Patricia came and helped and we did it anyway. We figured out what level looks like. Then cut the new collar, cut out a piece of the other collar so that the circle could be as post could be as centric as possible and the collar could rest on the cement from the compost bin post creating a smooth stream of concrete holding it all together.
I went up to the barn to get screws and later realized I had got nails, so went up and got a different type of nails. Then we drilled two holes for nails to hold the collar together around the post then stuck nails through, I thought we should use three nails because this collar was so tall but Patricia did not think that was necessary. I went a little heavy handed when watering the concrete that Patricia was mixing and it was even runnier than the yesterday I thought it might be okay so we tried it anyway. It was not really okay, as it flowed and kept finding each nook and cranny it could and lift the collars finally all pouring out underneath. We stopped scooped the concrete up and Jean went to get more cement.
The holes Kimberly, Patricia and I dug last week for these posts, after further consultation over the next days, were in the wrong spot so we had to start the whole process yesterday.
We dug the holes, realized that path and slope made the levelness a bit tricky, but Tom had a solution! We put rebar and a big rock in the lower hole after putting in the gravel and that brought the top of the posts pretty well level with the other side which was also level with the compost bin posts.
We set up the frame to secure it and keep it level (ingeniously recognizing that the hole was now right next to the other post for one of the compost bins which was cemented in. We could also use that post to attach to the stabilizing frame), then we poured the cement that was already in the wheelbarrow. But it was not enough so I went up to get more and realized that the tire on the cart was blown, so swapped it for a different cart and brought down some cement. We started mixing the cement.
Jean came by and informed us that she could not put in the mosaic until the next day (Monday) after 11. Tom said that would be okay he might not be around but I have put enough of these posts in to know how to do it and if he is not available I will be Tom for that time... then it started to rain (lightly) and mixed the concrete on the wetter side such that it could be poured from the wheelbarrow into the hole, and trying to shovel it just made a bigger mess.
This watery cement resulted in running more places than we wanted it to and flowing quicker than planned but it is cement so once it dries the extra can be easily chipped away. By now we were started to be quite wet and luckily were also done so cleaned up and found dry places for the tools that we would need today and took put the rest away.
We mixed half a bag into the salvaged runny stuff and tried again, this time it was more viscous and did not leak out but did bulge it and explode out the middle (time for that third nail)... for a second time we shoveled all the concrete back into the wheelbarrow and drilled a third hole and stuck in the third nail, then repositioned it before starting again on the concrete. Third time is the charm as they say, and the taller one held!
We added a little from the second half of the bag then started on the second (much smaller) collar. The imperfection on this one came from the fact that we only had one nail in the collar so the bottom (where it was right up against the compost bin post cement) bulged out a bit and the top might not be as flat as Jean would prefer for her mosaic but it is the best we could do...
Continuing the tradition of enclosing the land one gate post at a time (this time we are enclosing it from rabbits not peasants (not that the dominant class [of species or society] makes much distinction...)... by Max Mills - Garden Intern
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