Pumphouse - Roof Beams June 2013
  With the southern part of the country in meteorolgical turmoil we had amazingly warm but very windy weather all weekend.

Dismantling the scaffolding for re-erection on the other side
of the building to finish off brickwork to roof
Complete roofing kit
ready for the pumphouse


  We had all the pumphouse roof sheeting ready and while waiting for the beams to be delivered Leno and James finished off the remaining brickwork to close up to the roof on the workshop block. There was also time for a cleanup in the workshop area before Jada's delivery arrived.

I also bought two sheets of shutter ply board and we put them temporarily onto the floor beams of the upstairs workshop. It was great to be able to get up onto the top floor and check the view from the window openings.

Once the roofing beams arrived it was full speed ahead on the pumphouse roof.

James laid out the beams, attached them to the walls with the roof wires and started nailing on the purlins.

On the right the guys sharing a joke while on the job. Although we do not enforce a dress code on our building site, their helper did look very smart in his suit jacket.

  Pumphouse - Roof Sheeting
  Sunday morning it was back to the pumphouse. Leno decided he wasn't going to battle with the bricklaying under the eaves like he did on the workshop so began the brickwork to roof sheet height before the roof sheeting was layed.

  James continued nailing down the purlins onto the beams. Many of the beams were also very warped and it took a while to jig them straight.

Leno shouting for his mortar and bricks
Inside the pumphouse

Leno on the brickwork, James doing purlins. Generator out for wood saw and drills

  Then it was on to laying the IBR sheeting into the purlins.

We worked out where the polycarbonate diffusers were going to be and then started the long drilling and screwing process.

I'm glad we are doing the smaller roofs first and I'm learning a lot. Especially as we want to use polycarbonate diffusers throughout the farm buildings and house. On these first two roofing projects we have a few beams running through the diffuser sheets but with proper planning I think I can get the diffuser sheets laid out between the beams when we do the house roof. This will be important for when we add insulation ceiling sections between the beams. I can then use flat sheet diffusers between the beams and it should look great (not so "industrial").

Everyone busy. Painting the beam ends and laying bricks

Corner cut-out for water tanks both sides of building

Almost done for the day. All roof sheeting secured

  Dog Tired
  Out on the farm for three days in a row in the fresh air and so much place to run was just too much for poor Charlie.

Once we had showered and got into "relax" mode, she just passed out on the couch for a few hours. Any position would do just fine.

  Pumphouse - Getting on with the Small Things
  Second weekend in June and a bit of an issue with building supplies. We were ready for windows and roofing trusses on the garage block but I hadn't had time to do the proper design, planning and seeing suppliers for quotes. I was under pressure from all sides and just wasn't prepared to rush these rather expensive bits. I discussed it with the builders and only Leno wanted to come out on Saturday. There was lots of small stuff to do and Leno was always keen to get stuck in.

He started by finishing off the brickwork to the roof sheets on the pumphouse and completed the woodwork on the purlins and ends. there was still more roof screws to be put in, some alignment and sealing of the IBR and polycarbopnate sheets, smoothing off the metal edges of the sheets that had to be cut and fitting of the flashing to be done. Leno was busy with mortar so he was leaving the roofing for James.

  While Leno was busy outside I arranged some mortar (it's so great not having to mix it yourself) and built up the two little walls for the shower bench. I also took the opportunity to use James's trowel. Wow, what a difference the right trowel makes. It was just the right size and had a certain balance to it. But I don't think just buying a nice new one will do it - it has to be worn in nicely.

We were glad to be able to focus on the pumphouse for the weekend. The pumphouse block was going to be a place to experiment with all the technologies we plan to use on house. It will have quite a fancy bathroom with toilet, bath, basins and showers. And it will even have a fireplace! We will be able to use the facilities when we camp out and while working on the house and farm so we can iron out all the problems.

Once Leno was finished outside we marked off the base walls for the corner bath and he got going on building them up to the required window sill height.

  The builders were planning to start plastering on the Sunday so we ordered in the plastering sand and cement.

This meant I needed to very quickly get the electrical and plumbing planned ready for them to grind the slots in the wall for the conduit and copper pipes.

I had a good idea of what I wanted to do with the electrics and plumbing so I ordered all the bits and pieces for that as well.

Corner bath support walls up ...
... and bath in place

  Pumphouse - First Plastering
  Sunday morning we felt the first real cold front get through to us for a long time. The light breeze had a bitterly cold bite to it. Winter had finally arrived on the highveld - with only two weeks before our winter solstice!

James decided to join us to start the plastering on the pumphouse. We had a small team for the day with only the two helpers from the previous day and I can't blame them deciding to take on an "indoors" job plastering the pumphouse inside walls.

Electrical wall ready for plastering

Electrical wall plaster thrown
Entrance walls plastered
Wash basin area

  While the helpers were mixing the plaster we quickly cut the slots in the walls for the electrical conduit with the big angle grinder. Then I worked on laying in all the conduit and wall boxes while the builders started plastering the walls that didn't need electrical.

I was keeping the electrical very simple with a small distribution board, one plug box and a single box for a three lever light switch. We plan to use light boxes hanging from the roof beams for lights in the bathroom areas and input will be from the inverter from the solar panel which will be able to be switched to generator if necessary for the borehole pump.

Inside view of the pumphouse bathroom.
Showers on the left, entrance door behind the wall. Basins on the right
Also notice the lovely natural light from the two sections of
polycarbonate roof sheeting


  To end the day off, while the builders were packing and tidying up, we watched the most amazing sunset with those typical cold front clouds looking like they were on fire reflecting the last of the sun's warm rays.

And of course, after another hectic weekend on the farm, when we got home poor Charlie was all pooped out.

  More Facebricks

So far every time we've needed facebricks, Brikor has had them "still in the kiln" and we have had to wait two or three weeks for delivery. So we took the plunge and ordered enough bricks to finish the entire house project.


On the way out through the forest

They wanted to send out their super humongous truck with 10 000 bricks on it but I was a bit worried about them not being able to manoeuvre through our little gate systems and the old forest road, so I forked out a little more for their two truck delivery option.

Tuesday afternoon they called and wanted to deliver. I was too busy to get out to the farm so we arranged Wednesday morning early. This delivery went a lot smoother than the last one.

They start loading in the Brikor brick yard at around 06h00. So we headed out to the farm just before sunrise to let them in and check delivery. Good cell phone communication allowed us to pick them up on the road into Heidelberg and guide them through Rensburg suburb so they didn't have to take their chances with the weighbridge on the old Durban road.


Soft spot? Stabilser foot
sunk 30cm into the ground

Within a hour of arriving we had our bricks offloaded onsite.

And as we were out at the farm and it was such a beautiful morning, we made some coffee and a small breakfast and spent an hour or two out there.

Just check out that load bed bending on the long reaches!

10 000 face bricks safely offloaded

  It was great just mulling around the building site without the pressure of the builders being there to be managed. We reviewed progress, did some planning for the next few weekends and then took a walk up the hill before heading home back to work later in the morning.

  Two big and expensive projects were holding us up at this stage: windows and roof trusses. Both required sub-contractors and thus required design and drawings. Ago referred us to a reasonable (price and quality) local aluminium window manufacturer and we submitted our "drawings". Three weeks and we should have our first batch of windows to finish the pumphouse and workshops.

Must get down to designing and drawing those roof trusses soon.

  Working on Walls
  Everyone took the long weekend off from working on the farm but we were all back to work on the fourth weekend of June.

Saturday morning James and Leno made a start on plastering the downstairs workshop walls. Plastering made the rooms look so different - really neatening everything up.

I started the plumbing work in the pumphouse bathroom. Surprisingly there were no volunteers to chase the walls for me, so I tackled the job myself. It's fairly quick with the diamond grinding wheel on the big grinder but still very dusty work.

I decided where the hot and cold water pipes would come into the building and drilled the holes through the wall for them. Then I chalked lines where the hot and cold water pipes would run for the showers.

Then the chasing. And then some chiselling. After two hours I emerged too dirty to be concerned about it any more. And from what came out of my nose that evening, I don't think I should be alive!

  Plumbing, Plastering and Cutting Grass
  On Sunday morning I started fitting the copper water pipes in the pumphouse bathroom. I used a small oxyacetylene system to solder the copper pipes to the fittings. This is not the ideal system to use as even on the lowest heat that I could possibly set, if I wasn't very careful it would get too hot. And the adjusting every time you fire up was just too tedious and time consuming.

  Anyway, the oxygen tank ran empty early in the afternoon so I called it a day on that job.

  Leno worked on the water tank bases on top of the pumphouse. He layed a roller course on top of the walls, layed down the screed on the concrete slabs and built another course of bricks around the base with a drainage pipe on each side.

The basic theory was that if we didn't control the water run-off it would run down the face brick walls and we would have algae growth on the brickwork after long rainy periods in summer.

The bases were now ready for waterproof sealing.

  James continued with the plastering work on the workshops.

We had laid down four big shutterboards on the beams and had a few smaller ones to fill in the holes which gave us a workable "floor" for the upstairs workshop. We used the aluminium ladder to get up and down and he was able to safely set up his scaffolding.

He managed to plaster three of the walls upstairs.

  There wasn't much for me do do on the building site so I hopped onto the tractor and headed out onto the pavement to finish off cutting the grass up to the fence.


  Slow Weekend
  The last weekend of the month and the builders had a funeral to attend on the Saturday.

I went out to buy some materials for the plumbing and electrical and we only managed to get out to the farm just before lunchtime.

I also bought a small blowtorch for soldering the copper pipes and fittings and that allowed me to make good progress on the shower system plumbing during the afternoon.


I was getting a bit tired of working on the floor and in the air so on Sunday morning I took some time and set up a temporary workbench using one of the scaffolding boards.

  James wasn't feeling too well so we only had Leno and two helpers for the day. I fitted the electrical conduit into the workshop wall and Leno plastered the last workshop wall downstairs and upstairs. While up there I took a photo of the cool view out from the upstairs side window:

  And Some Nature Stuff
  While fetching tools from the trailer this cute little black-chested prinia (he loses most of his black chest and yellow underparts during winter) visited the dog's water bowl for a drink of water. While high up on the scaffolding a pigeon had made it's nest and laid two eggs on it.

  ... and while the builders cleaned up we took a walk a little way up the hill to see the sun go down ...