Freedom to Water

Our country is recovering from a really bad drought, and in the city we have had level 2 water restrictions, which limit water for gardening, car washing and the like. During summer, there were 6-to-6 restrictions, but with some recent rains and the onset of cooler weather, Joburg Water has relaxed the restriction window so it is now from 8am to 4pm

I’ve experienced a very strange freedom which has come with these limits. I have had a fresh realisation of the freedom we have to access water, clean water, at the turn of a tap, whenever we want it. The civil restrictions have emphasised the value of this precious resource. They’ve emphasised not only the preservation of it, but the good use of it too! Before, I could neglect our plants for days – weeks even. Now, when the evening comes around, I am spurred on to water our few balcony pots and thirsty planters that are waiting for a drink.

It is such a joy that within the limited window of 4pm to 8am we can shower our garden. There is such a difference between this and the dry attempts we used to make; everything is growing really well even as winter sets in!

Make the bed!

Our little man has outgrown his cot, and the alternative of a single bed takes up too much space in his small room. For a while he’s been bunking with us, but we thought it was time to find him a bed. Our local pine shop had one but it would cost too much. True to our maker selves, we made a plan.

It turned out to be really easy. A bed is essentially a frame with all right-angles and nothing finicky! We haven’t built a headboard as yet, but we are really happy with what we made. I did the design and woodwork, and Sarah did the painting and organised the custom mattress. Benjamin did the sizing and some screwdriver work. All in all we saved a few hundred rands and we got exactly the design we wanted. It’s 1.5m long and 70cm wide, with a rail to stop our son from sneaking out to late night parties.

This was a really nice project to do for our boy. It’s another one of those projects which proves “you can do it” with basic tools and without a real workspace.

Planning and cutting:


Painted and finished:

Oh, and a quick Easter Morning side project while the drill was out:

P.S. if you would like the plans, please let me know!

A house under the stairs

One of the parents at Sarah’s school works for an import/export company and has access to a most amazing resource: used packing cardboard. Huge sheets of unprinted brown, with strong corner strips. The school made great use of it when someone built a castle out of it. For me, the thing which highlighted the seriousness of such a structure was that it is fastened together with bolts and nuts. This is no simple wood glue job. I wanted in.

Sarah brought me home some excellent building materials, as we had this awkward space under the stairs, which just collected our son’s toys and generally presented a prime construction site. So I got to work. Save for a brief pause during which I restocked my doorknob bolts, the work was quick and the result is just right.

With my wife’s design advice we placed and windowed the door, and proceeded to move in the furniture – namely, a blanket, a truck, two Lego dogs, and a little broom (well he’s got to keep the place clean, hasn’t he?).