December Holidays Ho Ho Ho December 2011
From the long weekend of the 16th onwards we closed our business almost completely and spent as much time as possible out on the farm. We marked out an area where we first wanted to build our garage block and had some crusher stone and river sand delivered. We also wanted to make a start on our new lapa site under one of the black wattle trees. We camped out often. But our December thunderstorms were not very kind to us: one afternoon while digging foundations we got drenched and decided we couldn't get any wetter or work in the downpour, so we just went out for a walk in the rain into the nearby gorge to see the water rushing down in torrents from the hills. Also on more than one occasion we spent most of the night supporting our little tent from the inside during wind storms.
First time sighting
- lone Red Hartebeest


  Starting the New Lapa

This lapa was not as ambitious as the previously planned one. It was less than half the size and we would only make it about 270 degrees around as one quarter of the area under the tree had a broken branch (actually more like half the tree) that had fallen down a few years back and there was some interesting birdlife in the fine branches (specifically a pair of very cute Black Chested Prinias).

 
The site was chosen, ground and low branches cleared and foundation digging started

We still had the sloping ground to contend with and planned to raise the downhill side by about half a meter and cut in the top section about the same amount. All retaining walls would be built from rock, the upright supporting poles would be built into the walls and together with the crosspieces would be treated. Thick straight sticks would be collected from the forest and used between the crosspieces all around the lapa. We would build a serving counter on the one side with some kind of little roof over it (the black wattle drops small leaves and sticks all year round!) and use some wooden tables and benches inside.

Area cleared, centre area levelled and foundations complete (although top section to go a bit deeper)

 

 
Digging the first hole
First pole planted
We had good rains right through December so the ground was fairly soft. This made the digging of the foundations and levelling "fairly" easy.

The post hole digger made short work of the holes and we had the front section poles planted and levelled in a day.

By the end of the holidays we were ready to mix and throw the concrete for the foundations.

 
 
Getting pole levels right