After nearly 20 years in big Tokyo I was feeling burned out in my not-so-successful "career" in the service industry, knocking on several after a chance discovery of cheap old farmhouses we set out towards the countryside - but still close enough for my wife to further pursue her working live, commuting by Shinkansen while I would take care of the house and kids and build my own little cafe at home...
Our first bump came when we realized that the bank wasn't willing to give a loan for an old rundown house on some worthless property in the "Hinterland". So, we changed plans and will be building a new house. We already bought the plot last year, with about 400 square meters size, and I have started the vegetable garden beforehand, next project will be the garden house.

08 June, 2011

In The Garden

This is how our garden looked yesterday afternoon after I spent another few hours weeding and seeding. It was the first time that I really felt it looked like a Garden and not like a big neglected property with small patches of vegetables in. Sure, there is still a lot of weed around, but partly I will leave it that way to not have the open earth   totally dried from the hot summer sun. And the partitions might look very differently next year, except for the artichoke and caraway plants, if they make it. Because I still haven't found the caraway plants yet between all those fast growing weeds. I smelt some leafs that I thought might look like caraway, but couldn't detect any flavour. At the back of the pic you can see the Mulberry tree which seemingly has decided to bear fruits without blooming before...or the flowers stayed on for only a few days, cause I haven't seen any.
In the front is "The Hill", the separator between cultured garden and wild growing weeds where the house will be built. There is just nothing else to do with all those stuff I plugged from the earth, I would love to make it to compost, but that would also include the seeds, meaning I will have new weeds again growing from my compost. Having said that, I really have no idea when this battling of weeds will go down to a more human level, esp when I look at what is still going on below the Mulberry tree..!

So this morning, my second off-day for this week, I finally started building the Garden house in earnest. I went to a big home center half an hour drive away where they have a bigger choice of woods and, most importantly, free use of a larger truck to transport the stuff home. And at half past eleven, I was finally ready to start, with beautiful weather, also a bit humid, but a cool breeze was blowing making it not too unbearable.

I had my measurement list close by, starting with cutting the 2 by 4 for the bottom frame, marking the nailing points, nailing half through while the wood was on the side, making it a bit easier on my back

The frame, ready on the blocks. I wanted to run a few screws in as well to make it more stable, but had to found out that my battery driver lasted for only half a screw before stopping...There is no electricity around here yet, meaning I will be doing a lot of cutting by hand! The friendly neighbor had offered to let me plug in my cord at his home some time ago, but it seems that his and my off-days never seem to match.

I nailed in some supportive wood because it turned out that my optimistic choice for the cheap bottom plates was not as stable as I had hoped for. In the front you can see the international members of my toolbox: nails and wood bought in Japan as well as the half-hidden scribe and the hand saw which looks so thin because it's teeth, like all Japanese wood working tools, are cutting on the pulling action only, not at the pushing. The 2-meter measure with pencil and that carpenters hammer are tools I had sent over from Germany because you just can't find them here and that nice 45/90 angle tool I had found a few years ago in a big diy-shop in paris, right next to Notre Dame!

After finishing the frame I put in some insulation foam boards by tapping small nails half into the wood and laying the cut boards into them. I intend to use this house for a long time to come, and as such it might be used in many different ways, not only as a diy-shop or gardeners house. And keeping the inside warm while cold wind is blowing below the floor might not be very successful. The walls will go up in wood only for now, but those are much easier to insulate later from the inside. And those boards at 20 mm thickness are only a few bucks for one plate. In the middle I left one field open to use later as a cold storage space.

Finished for the day, cleaning up, stacking the wood on the platform and covering everything against rain.

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