The Water Tank: Part 2

9am: Ooh goody, more water tank preparations today.  Because we’re so very organised and prepared, we’ve left the bulk of the tank base preparation to the day the tank is due to be delivered.  Well done us.

Levelling the clay for the tank base

Felice and I in our dorky straw hats fiddling about trying to level the clay for the water tank base. You can see the plank retaining wall at the bottom of the pic along with Maz the chicken doing a chaser-style bonehead.

What we’ve done so far: we moved the old tank and diverted the roof water (see Part 1).  We marked out a circle of slightly greater diameter than the tank base (stuck a stick in the ground, tied a string to it, then tied another stick to the other end of the string, at a distance slightly greater than the radius of the tank.  We used the second stick to draw the circle in the dirt, like a dodgy compass).  At that point, I had a strategic elbow injury (no, honest, it was really painful!) and retired inside for a cup of tea and some ice, while Felice hacked out the clay inside the circle.

So here we are, the day of the delivery.  We still have to chop out a big root that’s protruding from the clay base, and then somehow level the clay at the bottom of the circle.  And then we have to put the sand on, and level it.  Lucky my Mum’s up for a visit, so we’ve got three pairs of hands.

11am: The root succumbed to a couple of whacks with the axe.  Piece of cake.  Now we’re levelling the base, which isn’t.  A piece of cake, that is.  Or level.

There must be a better way to do this.  Surely?  We have a straightish piece of timber (salvaged from the old tank base) which we lay across the dug-out circle, with a spirit level on top.  We see which side is highest, and where there are bumps, then we take away the timber and level, and dig away the excess clay.  Then we do it again until it’s flat.  And then we rotate the timber around the centre of the circle and repeat the process there.  So very slow…and time is running out….

1:15pm Done!  The clay base is level.  Ish.  We’ve picked out the stones and roots, so it’s reasonably smooth as well.  There’s a couple of narrow planks arranged on the downslope side, as a kind of retaining wall to hold in the sand.  They’re just propped up with clay at the moment, but after the tank’s in I’ll probably hammer in some short wooden stakes to make them more permanent.  Feeling quite proud of ourselves.  At least I am.  Just the sand to go…

1:45pm All three of us barrelled down to the compost area, where our pile of sand is stored.  It’s been there a while (was left over from making a sand bath for the chooks) so is covered with a convenient layer of twigs and leaves, all of which we remove (very fiddly!) before shovelling the sand into the ute.  Very glad there’s three of us, because I wouldn’t have had the patience without all the chatting and laughing.

2:10pm Everyone is buggered.  Can’t go on without lunch.  Felice goes inside to make it, while Mum and I ferry bucketsful of sand in the trolley from the ute, around the sloping suicide path at the front of the house, to the tank base.

2:30pm Lunch is on the table, and the delivery guy just called.  He’ll be an hour or so.  We have an hour to ferry the rest of the sand from the ute, and then level it somehow, probably the same fiddly way we did the clay.  No pressure.

I’d better stop writing this and get to work…I guess that means there’s going to be a Part 3.

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