The Little Fulla and I have been working on The Worksite: the site of the compost bin build in the Orchard chicken pen. I wanted two low wooden compost bins in the Orchard Pen to help accommodate all our compost-making and greenwaste-processing needs. The compost bin in the other pen, the Cedar Pen, was piled quite high and so the building of the next compost bins moved up high on the project priority list. But we had a bit of work to do before the actual building of the compost bins.
There was this weird concrete-like pad beside the garage, next to the garage rain tank, which was partially covered in dirt. It wasn’t actually concrete, it had sandy sort of layers, varying in composition, thickness and hardness throughout and it wasn’t as hard as concrete. Whatever it was, it had to go. It was right where the compost bins needed to go. An effective compost pile needs to be sitting on organic matter. Of course I would pick the difficult spot… I didn’t think it was going to be that hard, as I had removed a little of it from near the gate before. Not quite so.
What could be more exciting to a small boy than a worksite in which he gets to dig and whack things with tools? The Little Fulla took to his job with such enthusiasm that he almost shunned lunch. I certainly wasn’t going to miss out on lunch. In the end I called in reinforcements and The Husband did a much better job of breaking up the ‘concrete’. We wheeled some barrow-loads of it out the front by the carport where we can use it to bring up the height of the ground where it had dipped.
Then began the part in which I tried to level the ground while the small child scampered around pretending to be a cat; a cat that seemed intent on disturbing the smooth surface of the soil. I turned a blind eye to the not-entirely-level ground and moved on. It was far better than before anyway. I started positioning the pieces of timber frame that I had for the first compost bay.
The next challenge was cutting and attaching pieces of timber from what we had lying around. Half the time this large, reckless cat was jumping in and out of the ‘pens’ and the other half of the time he was attempting to use tools on bits of timber that he wasn’t allowed to cut or hammer. When I gave him a scrap piece of timber to practice using tools on he suddenly turned back into a cat again. However, The Little Fulla was helpful in finding the right screws and helping to hold the timber in place while I screwed it together. I let him hold the handsaw with me while we cut through a piece of timber. That helped him realise how much effort is required to cut the whole way through the wood and keep the saw straight.
It doesn’t really matter if the compost bins aren’t exactly straight, what matters is that we did it together, he learned some things and I didn’t send him away in a fit of anger. Sure, I could have done it faster and potentially better myself, but what would the fun in that be? There would be no worksite, complete with cones, a fire engine and a trike for transporting tools.