Saturday, July 9, 2011

Outside work

There is an almost infinite amount of outdoor work to do at Paia, both constructive and destructive. After we cleaned up the house enough to live in it, and the sauna enough to sauna in it, we set to assembling the boardwalk between the house and the kõrvalhoone. Fortunately Andy was here to help me get the sections out of the garage.
After a bit of confusion when I tried to assemble the pieces in the opposite order, I was pleased at how easily the boardwalk went back together. I think it's even a little solider than last year.
On 4 July, Jüri came back to continue cutting, and we started hauling the winter deadfall, after which we cut firewood and kindling from the branches.
Jüri did an excellent job on the cutting. Particularly at Ojakalda he focused on weedy and dominant species, and left the meadow grasses and plants from the old flower garden. I asked him to work especially on opening up the old garden structures so that we could demolish them and haul them away.

We also began cleaning up all the random trash that accumulates on a vacant piece of land.
The old beds were pretty easy to tear apart, but there was an old fence that seems to have separated the garden from the field. It was made of rectangular metal frames with chain-link for the fencing. The bottom side of the frames were buried several centimeters in the ground,
and various weeds and bushes had grown up between the chainlink. There were also piles of trash and wood along the fence line.
This was not a fun demolition job. The chain link had to be cut off the frames, then the bushes (with thorns) cut out of the chain link, and finally the frames levered out of the ground and the remaining wires between the frame and the chain link cut before everything could be pulled out and hauled away to the scrap metal pile, all while being bitten by flies and mosquitoes.

One section of fence even had wheels buried in the ground. The fence was apparently mobile at some point. I wish it had been the last few days.
Eventually the fence yielded and went to join the rest of the old metal stuff waiting to be hauled off to Paide and sold for scrap by Feliks' crew.
The wood hasn't been as bad. There were some largish structures previously used for sawing firewood, an old doghouse, and the frames from the old garden beds, but the only real problem was dealing with the wood that was too rotten to haul. We mostly just knocked this apart and left it to rot. We still have a good pile to burn this weekend, and a lot of odd pieces to haul later.
This afternoon Andy started brick patrol, which we've done every year. It consists of picking up all the old bricks people have left sitting around after using them for one thing or another and hauling them to one of our brick piles for possible re-use (there are many uses for old brick here).
I figure we have two or three half days of work left cleaning up the Ojakalda garden, principally haulding brick and wood and bagging trash. Our goal is to get it to a point where it can be mowed with a minimum of trouble and hazard to the person mowing.

Cleanup is one of the hardest jobs here, and one that is difficult for anyone who isn't doing it to notice the results. At the same time it's one of the most satisfying if you know just how bad it looked before. It makes you understand the Estonian obsession with demolishing and hauling away all the crap the Soviets left behind and making things shiny and new. The Occupation/Cold War isn't really over until the last piece of plastic string has been picked up and thrown away, and the country is safe for weed whackers.

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