October - November 2017
After a recent dispute with a neighbour regarding our pig pens (see The Summons), it was agreed that we should build a "firewall" along our border in front of their house.
October 24th, the contract was signed and the first payment made.
The Pig Pens (see Garden Diary for October and November) were still under construction.
Monday October 30:
Before the foundations could be dug properly it was necessary to cut down two trees and remove their roots.
Because there was nowhere for them to fall safely, these trees had to be cut by hand. The branches also needed to be put aside so they could be used as fodder for our animals.
Some banana trees growing in the area were also rescued.
After clearing the area, the foundations were dug out and a begin was made with installing the metal armatures (which had been constructed in the meantime).
Tuesday October 31:
Friday November 03:
Following the two day holiday, a few lads turned up for work.
However, with rain and sun alternating each other throughout the day, progress was slow.
Saturday November 04:
The rain has been making life really difficult for the workers -but the situation was made much worse by the lack of organization with regards to keeping the site clean .
The wall is actually the last phase in the construction of a group of new pens for our pigs.
Initially, the wall was not part of the project -but was added on afterwards because the person who owns a neighbouring property, but does not live there, made a (spurious) claim about bad smells. The wall was added to appease them.
Unfortunately, the architect has, until now, insisted on finishing the wall before finishing the pig pens. This has resulted in a total mess -because paths that should have been made around the pens were not made -and the debris from felled trees was not cleared.
Without clear pathways, workers were forced to make difficult and dangerous detours in the mud -often through areas intended as plant beds.
Indeed, earlier I had a serious fall in the mud resulting in a painful right arm and shoulder for nearly two weeks.
Today, I got stuck in the mud up to my left knee -and had to be pulled out -loosing a shoe in the process.
Unfortunately, we had the feeling that the architect had absolutely no understanding of the problem -even after it was explained to her. Apparently, it was her intention to finish all the construction work and then clean up the site. One can imagine that this may be very sensible if the site is unoccupied virgin territory -but, in our case, we had to move two pigs into the first set of new pens -so that the old pens could be demolished in order to make way for the next round of construction. Indeed, we are now waiting for completion of this phase, so we can transfer the runt to his new pen -away from his temporary place under the house.
Under these conditions, it must be clear that each phase of the construction needs to be rounded off before moving on to the next one. Pigs have to be fed twice a day.... One simply cannot leave them until all the work has been completed -so properly constituted paths and working areas are essential -not only for practical pig feeding -but also for easy access, through the area for those working on the wall.
Luckily, the foreman seemed to understand the problem much better than the architect and he was willing to work with us to clean things up.
This also seemed to re-motivate the other workers -who could see more clearly what their tasks were -or were able to complete them without wading through thick slippery mud, struggling with uneven terrain or falling over discarded bits of debris
Sunday November 05:
The tree is finally cut down and made into logs -temporally protecting the planted area
The general site clean up is improving working conditions for everybody
Even the new cement mixing area is more contained and less messy than the previous two areas.
After the clean up, work seems to be proceeding much faster
Monday November 06:
The work continues to go well -until heavy rain prevents it from continuing.
Tuesday November 07:
No work because of rain all day.
Wednesday November 08:
Work on the wall continues....
Thursday November 09:
Only the cleaning up still to do.
Before packing up their gear and going Home at last!
We were so glad to see them go that we decided to finish cleaning up ourselves -because we were not sure if we could trust them to do it -without making the situation even worse.
Friday November 10:
Behind the wall
...and in Front.
The concepts of "Finishing" and "Tidying Up" seemed so strange to these guys that we didn't think it was worth trying to force them to do it properly.
The Neighbour's Drainage