If you’ve seen the currents projects sidebar in the last few days, you’ll know that attention has at last returned to the orchard/chicken run. (The one that should have been finished in November.)

So far, we have a square trench, about 20 metres on all sides, surrounding several two-metre-high posts. The corner posts have leaners to stop them falling over when the wire goes up (I hope – I really hope). And two posts are set just over a metre apart, to form a door.

To finish, all we need to do is add a lintel to the door posts. Tidy up the trench. Fix tensioned wire all the way round at the top, middle and bottom. Hang one curtain of chicken wire from the top wire. Hang a second curtain of chicken wire from just above the ground, feed it into the trench about a foot down and a foot across to frustrate foxes. Fill in the trench. Buy and plant the trees. Build a chicken house. Collect the chickens that are currently in their eggs. Ah – and make a door, without which the whole the would be pretty pointless.

You have no idea how much mental energy I’ve expended on Designing a Lintel. You’re not alone in this. It is, literally, unmeasured.

But today, I strode into the workshop resolved to solve the problem once and for all time. I paused – a short pause – to look at a piece of oak recovered from the woods that was part of an earlier lintel plan, then went to an old door leaning against the wall. This, I was about to smash into very useful, if unattractive, pieces.

I looked closely at the door.

I went back to the oak post.

It was still heavy.

Even cut to the right length.

Too heavy for those door posts.

But like a man who has decided to cut a six-foot piece of oak in half, the long way, because it is The Right Thing to Do, I picked up my (nearly new) saw and went to work.

There are two things I can tell you about long-but-satisfying task of cutting a big chunk of oak, lengthways, by hand:
Thing 1) It takes a long time.
Thing 2) It is very satisfying.

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