I’ve finally completed the retaining wall behind the steading—only six years after I started it.
The job started well back in May 2004 when I dug a deep trench behind the steading, removing the spoil that had collapsed onto the building’s back wall. By September of that year I was putting in the concrete foundations.
I started laying the blocks in October 2004 but work ground to a halt when I ran out of salvaged concrete blocks to do the job. I was only a dozen short and, as people will be quick to point out, blocks aren’t particularly expensive but other things have enjoyed a higher priority from our limited funds. As the wall was high enough to do its job, it was left until such time as we either accumulated more salvaged blocks or came up with the cash for new ones.
Over the past few years, we’ve acquired blocks here and there—even digging one up from beneath the centre of the main chicken run—but we were still four blocks short. Then, two weeks ago, we started clearing the old cottage of the rubbish left by a succession of the croft’s owners. When we removed a pile of old timber, plasterboard, and smashed kitchen cabinets, we discovered four new concrete blocks. They were metric, which means they are slightly narrower than the old blocks we’ve been using, but they would do the job.
Jobs may be delayed until we have the materials to hand, but when we have what we need there’s no mucking about and we plunge straight in. Having found the last few blocks we needed, I made up a batch of mortar and finished building the wall. Then we excavated a dozen barrow loads of soil from around the croft, levelled the ground at the top of the wall, and rolled it down hard. Job done. Well, not quite. We now have to come up with half a dozen 6×6 posts, 30 feet of 6×1 planks and several sheets of corrugated iron to built a barrier along the wall to stop livestock falling over it. And we need the materials for a gate to close off the chicken area. So, we’ll just wait until the things we need turn up—in their own good time!
(Thanks to the Wee ‘Un for taking the three recent photos.)