Setting in Gate Posts

Setting in garden post is sometimes like a game of jenga. You know that pub game that was all the rage in the nineties, oversized bored tetris blocks in a tower that inevitably bonked someone on the head. Garden posts have a tendency to bonk me in the head, the last one knocked me out when in a comedy moment I tried to loosen it out of the ground by pulling it towards me. You can guess the result and why I ended up on my backside clutching my skull hoping I hadn't split it. I have been more careful with posts since and now get Carol to help me in a Chuckle Brother sketch of me-to-you-ow-my-bloody-foot-watch-my-fingers-bonk-bonk-bonk. I have learnt to get posts that are taller than the job requires because the ground round here when dug isn't always level to the thing you're building. I mean this is a hillside and hills tend to slope, not always in the same direction.

Gate post, life on pig row

I'm pleased to do this as I am using my Dad's old spirit level, a spirit level that has followed me through my childhood years and into adulthood. When my Mum mentioned giving it to a neighbour I simply couldn't be without it, to me it was something I always saw my Dad carrying after a day at work. It was an extension of his arm. It always hung in his shed beside garden tools and was there when I took it home with me.

Old tools, life on pig row

Before I even start setting in the post I treat the posts going into the ground, even though these are pressure treated posts and will last years, treating them will maybe give me a few more years. I then dig some rather deep holes, to take the posts, digging down through layers of peat, stone, and sand stone grit. Then in with one post. Once one post is level and rubble filled, I use a mix of broken bricks and stone, stuff that I have dug up from the garden to stabilise the post before adding concrete. I then measure across for the next post, this will be a wide gate to get wheelbarrows through and food trays; we plan to have an eating area in a new wild garden behind the hedge. I have an old door that I am toying with, I may make a mosaic on top. The gate will have a width of 93cm. The post holes are just over 70cm deep. I don't want these posts to go anywhere. When I get the second post level I need to measure from the first post to the second, why? To make sure that from top to bottom they are 93cms apart. It's then a matter of bracing them with scrap wood and keeping on measuring to make sure there is no shift when I add the final brace at the top of the posts. It's then a matter of leaving the concrete to go truly hard over the next few days, even though it will be hard in 24 hours I want it to be truly cured before adding fence parts, steps and gates. Stay tuned for a change in this part of the garden to make it easier to maintain and work in.  

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