Tag Archives: port elizabeth cob house

Tree felling 101

As mentioned in the last post, I don’t have loads of cash to throw at removing these trees. So, I do it myself. What I have had to build and experiment with is Tree Climbing spikes. These little buggers help you to climb stupidly high in order to get to the tops of the trees for cutting. They are effectively just a long spike protruding from the inside curve of your boot, which you kick into the tree to give you grip. Put a rope around the tree to hold on to and go.

Obviously, climbing harness, carabiners, safety ropes and such must accompany you!

DIY Tree Climbing Spikes
DIY Tree Climbing Spikes
DIY Tree Climbing Spikes 2
DIY Tree Climbing Spikes 2
Tree Climbing with Spikes DIY
Tree Climbing with Spikes DIY
Up a tree to secure a cable
Up a tree to secure a cable
Cable secured
Cable secured
I ALSO WANNA CLIMB DADDY!
I ALSO WANNA CLIMB DADDY!

On most of the trees that I have recently felled, I was allowed enough space to let the tree fall where I wanted it to. To do this I climbed the said trees and secured a long strong cable at about two thirds of the way up. I then fastened the other end to the Jeep ( normally snaking around the base of a tree in the direction I wanted it to fall) I loaded the Jeep with bricks and rocks to weight it down for more traction, put it into Low Range and pulled the tree as tight as possible. I then fired up the chainsaw and cut out the ‘V’ near the base of the tree in the direction I wanted it to fall. I I then cut around the sides and back of tree until I heard the tree shift and start to lightly click as the heartwood fibres took strain. I then sprinted my ass off to the Jeep, started it up and pulled.
Some times I’d have to repeat the last 2 steps a few times before the tree gave way. (Better safe and tired than sorry) The tree would begin to shift under the torque of the vehicle and start coming down. I would keep the tension on the cable for as long as possible to ensure that the tree fell exactly where I wanted it. Even on the badly leaning trees I was able to land them near on perfect.

20140504_11103620140504_11100620140504_120802inthetreescobhouse.wordpress.com tree removal

Cob house Inthetreescobhouse grass roof

MY NEMESIS:

The last tree on the menu on Sunday had been giving me a worried finger for a long time. I
It had been shaped by the prevailing South Westerly wind to curve from it’s base to midway and then straighten up but keep all of it’s weight and foliage on the wrong side.
Cutting it at the base meant dropping it possibly on the house and definitely on the neighbor’s fence and chicken coop.
No vehicle in my reach would be able to pull it over against it’s strength and weight.

So, suck it in, climb and cut..

Mr Nemesis
Mr Nemesis
Rather high,  Mr Vertigo.
Rather high, Mr Vertigo.
And the wind started picking up!
And the wind started picking up!

It took me about an hour before I started to cut up there with the chainsaw. Life at that height is a different world.
I even phoned my wife to come and give me moral support!
I managed to cut all the weight off the tree to then cable it and cut/pull with the Jeep.
Done. Yay!

My girls coming to give me moral support! I was trying to pretend I was on a ship's mast by singing a sailor's songs!
My girls coming to give me moral support!
I was trying to pretend I was on a ship’s mast by singing a sailor’s songs!
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Slow, Broke March. Chin up!

Jeez. We thought January and February were tight… March is watertight.

But we are making progress, albeit slow.

Widson has been putting in some extra time for us, cobbing the exterior and filling in some more sections with fencing and wattle.

Here are some pics of our progress as of beginning of March 2014.

I have also started experimenting with final cob plaster layers in the main bedroom, using a 25%red clay 25% horse manure ( yes, I shall build with poo!) and 50% fine sand mix.

Horse manure is a perfect substitute for finely chopped straw as it contains superfine grass for binding and some enzymes that aid in giving a smooth and easily applied, flexible when wet, plaster. If that makes sense.

Basically, it is just perfect!

It only has a feint odour when wet and by the time has half dried and set, there is no sign that you’ve been mucking about!

Anyway, here are some photos…

Note the kid’s handprints, I love it it, this is now turning into a home!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Cob Master, aka, Widson

Money.

What’s that?

Time?

I used to have some of that…

On the upside, building like this doesn’t cost much, but it does take time. Unfortunately because I work full time and we have kids, time is also a resource that is in short supply.Enter Captain Cob. 

Widson is our Cob Master and make it work man. He is a Malawian national new to this strange way of building but, man, he learns quickly and works hard!

He has been helping me for the last 5 months or so and has been instrumental in the shaping (pun intended) of the house.

Image

 

 

Where we are today.

So, we’ve got the roof on, we’ve thrown a cement floor throughout, we have the basic fireplace, water tank and feed done, now we are busy boxing the walls, filling them with wattle and cobbing them in…

Next will come the electric points, db boxes for the solar, home rebuilt solar geyser with rocket water heater, internal walls, skylights and eventually ceilings (eventually love…not now!)

18th Jan 201420140126_180306 20140202_173048 20140201_081452 20140118_140000 20140202_173048 20140202_173157 20140205_224833