Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 Posts of All Time- Part 10

It's the end of another year and I'd like to share my top 10 posts of all time.  According to the number of views.  According to blogger's calculations, anyway.  Some of these are not what I would have chosen, but they must have caught the eye of someone who needed to know more!

And FINALLY, #1

How To Grow Your Own Clothesline

After building the greenhouse and tearing down the clothesline, I've been "making do" and putting up ropes all over the place to dry my clothes.  K-ster said he'd make me new posts, because he hates walking through my clothing traps that I put out, and I finally planted them today.  Here's a step by step manual for growing your very own clothesline.

You have to figure out what you want to use for posts and then either convince someone to make them for you, or buy them pre made.  The already made kind cost a fortune, so if you're willing to trade your kid for posts, go right ahead.  Otherwise, I recommend the build your own variety.

And I probably don't have to say that if you are going to use pressure treated posts, you better high tail it out of here right now.  Those are the devil's very own words and I will not use pressure treated wood under any circumstances.  I will rebuild the damned thing myself when it rots, rather than use pressure treated and grow a third arm before I'm 40.

I chose cedar posts because they are supposed to be fairly bug resistant, by nature.  I do suspect that even cedar is treated with something, but everyone swears it is not.  I'd like to suggest these people lick them right in front of me to prove a point, but I do have some manners.

Then you have to choose your location.  I'd always had my clothesline here, but the greenhouse necessitated the removal of it.  Ultimate sun exposure is imperative.  There is also a need for a good breeze.  I always had both, no matter the season, so I really wanted to put it back where it was.   I think just behind the greenhouse, before you get to garden #2 might be a good spot.  It might interfere this winter with the sun getting into the greenhouse, but who am I kidding?  There is plenty of sun to get into that greenhouse!  And it's our very own windtunnel right there, so I am sure this will all work very well.  And the residual heat coming back from the greenhouse toward the clothes might be a big bonus in the winter.

All of this does require that you get very hot, sweaty- to the point of soaking your own shirt- and dirty.  You also have to be prepared to almost dangle over a hole that is more than half of your own height, if you're under 6 feet tall.

If you are afraid of any of those words, then you should just stop reading my blog all together because many of my posts either mention most of those words or will induce your ownself to experience any combination of them.

Step 1:  Always choose a significantly hot day when embarking on the planting of a clothesline.  Too hot and it would be just foolhardy.  Too cool and you'd have nothing to complain about.  90 degrees seems just right.  And the humidity should be pretty outrageous too.

Step 2:  Choose a very large hat such as the model here.  This takes care of several things.  First,  and most important, it keeps the sun off your face and neck and maybe your shoulders.  Second, if anyone were to want to tell you how to do your job, one look at this hat and they would know they are dealing with a complete lunatic and should stay very far away.  Then you can work in peace and no one will bother you.
Step 3:  Assemble the proper tools.  A tape measure, a level, a sledgehammer (or tamper if you have one), a shovel and some kind of rake, unless you put the dirt on a tarp.
Step 4:  Start digging.  It may look like I am standing in the hole, but I am actually kneeling on the ground.  You must dig a VERY deep hole.  I had 10 foot posts, so I should have dug holes that were 4 feet deep so these suckers will never move.  I am 5'2".  Digging a 4 foot hole is a feat that I really can't even capture in pictures.  Kneeling while digging is absurd.  I may look like I'm having fun but I was pretty sure I was going to end up IN the hole.  I dug the second one wider thinking it might be a little easier but it really wasn't.  4 feet is a very long way.

Step 5:  Stick your shovel down there often to see just how much further you have to dig.  It's important to check it after like every 5 shovel fulls in case you're there already.
Step 6:  When you really think you might be there, get out the tape measure.  Yeah, so it's not quite 48 inches, it'll do.  Especially since I had hit rocks at that point that were going NOWHERE.
Step 7:  Once you put the post in, you have to do a lot of juggling between shoveling dirt back and and trying to keep it upright.  You want to get it pretty level from the outset so you don't have to keep tinkering with it.  If you have an extra person nearby, you really should ask them to come hold it for you, or better yet, shovel for you, so you can hold it super straight.  Then you have to tamp it repeatedly.  Once it's deep enough that you don't kill yourself stepping down into it, you can use your foot to squish it down.

Step 8:  Check it with a real level many times.  You want the bubble in the center of the black lines.  Not too shabby since I did it alone.  If you're anal like me, check it 50 million times and wonder if it's still straight later that day.  Put the level away when you're done so you aren't tempted to keep going back and checking your work.

Step 9:  Use the sledgehammer as a tamper when it's high enough that you can reach it comfortably. 

Step 10:  This step is the hardest one for me to accept.  When you're about halfway filled, you have to water it.  This will help everything to settle down and compact itself.  I think it really just makes the wood already begin to rot.  It makes no sense to me.  And if you know anything about mud, it's pretty slippery, so how this helps compact it, I just don't know.  But my resident post digger swears this is the proper way to do things.  I did not do this as I put in the fence for garden #2 and you might be able to tell.  Or not.  I guess it would depend on whether you've made a living putting in fenceposts.
Step 11:  Finish filling it in and tamping it a million times and checking the level a million more, and then go do the same thing with post #2.  When you're done, water them both sufficiently and tamp them one more time.  Then get some rope and figure out how you want that to work.  K-ster and I have very different ideas about how these ropes will hang.  He thinks I am a giant and can reach up to the 6 foot level they are standing at.  I think the posts are pretty far apart and I might rue the day I put them in, so time will tell.  And I will only have myself to blame.

Step 12:  This should have been step #1.  It is most important to have a supervisor on the job.  Be sure to get one that will snooze on the job.

Finish it all off with a nice thunderstorm that brings the temperature down 15 degrees AFTER you are finished.


Once you're done, take a nice cool shower and then sit and admire your hard work.  Admire the fact that you did it yourself, with only one consultation about the use of the level.  And that it didn't take all that long to do.

And know that if push comes to shove, you maybe could do manual labor for a living.

And then laugh because two fence posts does not equal a day of manual labor!

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