Yesterday we had a break in the seemingly-endless October rain. This was good, as I had arranged to take some camelids across the road, at the request of a neighbour (Dani). The back story is that her daughter is taking Japanese in high school and had done a trip to Japan back in April. Now a group of about 20 Japanese high school students from Osaka were visiting, and Dani was having them up to their block for the day to see critters (they have horses and sheep).

I arrived with Hob and Durendal.

True to all the stereotypes, the (tiny) Japanese schoolgirls shouted “kawaii!” (“cute!”), and all had their photos taken while making little “V” signs with their fingers. Very amusing.

Durendal, once again, did very well with the crowd. I don’t know if he *likes* it, but he does a good job at enduring it all while keeping his ears up, tail down, and no humming. Hob was doing his usual careful sidesteps to prevent unwanted touching. He is a funny llama.

Labor(ing) Day

You can tell that you have had a “proper” three-day weekend when you feel like you need another immediate weekend just to recover.

Tam spent the weekend (along with Jenny and Kerry) at the Folk Music Festival, over in Wainuiomata. For the first time in 5 years it did not bucket down rain! Long days listening to live music performances, followed by late nights participating in sing-circles, results in a fun time, but in little sleep.

Meanwhile Zane and I were moving his household from Tawa to Trentham. Having a Ute and a big braked twin-axel trailer makes me very popular when it is time for people to move house! In theory I could move up to 2.5 tons of stuff per load, though we ran into volume/packing limits long before the weight limit became an issue.

By my reckoning we spent 24 hours over the 3 days loading, transporting and unloading (with help from Stefano on Sat/Mon, Richard on Monday, and Tam/Jenny/Kerry on Monday after they got back from the music festival). And Zane of course was working before I arrived and after I left, packing, cleaning and preparing. I can only expect he is extra-super-tired this morning.

One more trip will be required some evening later this week (when it is not hosing down with rain) to move the fridge, washing machine, and industrial sewing machine.

It takes a tree to build a barn

And that is just to generate enough paper to file the consent!

For those of you that are curious, the process of designing our own barn- and then filing a complete building consent application, is still ongoing. About 10 days ago I had another meeting with someone at BCLS (building consents and licensing services). All in all it was an encouraging and productive meeting. He was impressed by the plans I had generated. He wanted a few more figures, and he wanted some of the figures I had done rendered differently, but that is easy enough with a computer.

We will need an engineer to come and look at our slab. Why? Well, all structural components must meet a durability requirement of at least 50 years. Concrete slabs meet that requirement. The problem is, our slab is about 20 years old. So we just need a structural engineer to sign off that it has at least 50 more years of life in it.

But… when going over our plan he noted we had a load-bearing wall without sufficient support beneath. By code, to put serious weight onto concrete it must be at least 200mm thick and have 2x 12mm reinforcing rods in it. That portion of the slab, while plenty thick, didn’t have reinforcing rods. Now, I could juggle the design to move the load-bearing wall 1.5 meters onto a reinforcing “beam” built into the slab (which is extra thick and has the 2 x 12mm rods). But that got us thinking, why not approach the problem with a blank sheet of paper.

All along our designs have looked at the barn as a 3 bay structure, along the lines of the so-called “American Style” barn (http://www.fairdinkumsheds.co.nz/store.php?cPath=1).

But our reinforcing beam runes right down the middle of the slab, so now we are looking at design options that treat it as two halves, rather than 3 thirds. Hopefully we can get a design we like done and approved soon. I am getting better and faster at generating barn designs using sketchup, with all this practice.