Quote

“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Friday, December 24, 2010

Banana

The messy banana tree
Everyone knows the banana. Every supermarket in the world sells banana's. Nothing special. But ...

Not everyone recognizes the tree, so here it is.

As you can see it is not a nice tree and to be honest it is basically not a tree.

The stem is like an onion, it has a lot of soft layers, which can be peeled off. The big leaves look very messy, but are very useful for all kind of purposes in the kitchen as to pack food for cooking or to use as a table sheet.

Jack fruit


Since I have now a bit more time to give attention to other topics then posts in Lolo's House B(uilding) LOG , I intend to report with brief blogs on local animals and plants that I encounter here. Also because we intend to plant fruit trees in our new garden soon.

This time I want to show you Jack fruit. This tree is growing in our garden for probably three years, grown from some seeds.

Each piece can weigh up to more than 30 kilo. It is the largest tree borne fruit in the world.

It looks like a durian, which I saw first time in Indonesia, but unless the durian, the jack fruit is not so irritating smelly. It seems the two are not related.

What amazes me in the garden - well it is not really a garden, but just a few meters between the house and the fence - that we have three such trees in a row, but only one bares fruit, the others not. May be it has to do with the fact that the fruit baring tree is next to the sink of the pump and gets most of the water.

This is an interesting tree for us to put in the garden as the tree grows fast, gives a lot of shadow and the fruit looks nice and can be used for all kind of desserts and even as a kind of vegetable.


Theft

Christmas party with our renewed team of workers and guards
Two weeks ago some people reported to me that one, but probably more, of the workers are steeling materials from us, while pretending to work. It was the group around the steel-man. This group is responsible for cutting, bending and fixing the reinforcing steel bars for the foundation columns and beams. Be aware that steel is a valuable material and when cut in pieces, it is easy to bring home a few kilo per day. So that is what the cutter did, in stead of working for us, cutting for himself.

After reporting to and consulting with the building company from whom I hire the workers, the people were immediately removed from the construction area, and punishment arranged by the company.

A team of 5 new workers were added the next day. A few days since it was quite silent, the workers were really impressed and I believe that it was an important message to all workers.

Last week I was again confronted by, this time potential, theft. In the middle of the night (2 am) I was called by the guard that 4 men were seen around our property with a clear intention to try to steel materials or worse. So we rushed to the site by car, with a lot of noise. We didn't see them, of course they were flown already. We decided to sleep there as well for the rest of the night.

A measure taken since last week is that we have now 2 extra guards, in total 5, such that at all times (nights) we have 3 guards on the site.

When we had our Christmas party yesterday, I got several comments saying that I am a good boss. Mind you they have a lot of freedom, within limits, now and then we organize a party and salaries are above the free market price.

So for the group of thieves this will not be a happy Christmas, but for the rest of the team it will be and they may expect a good New Year as I will hire them at least for some more months.


Merry Christmas 2010

Christmas lights flashing around the bahay kubo
Of course I wish all people who read my blog a Merry Christmas, but this blog is also especially for my family, back in The Netherlands.

Unfortunately I cannot join the celebration with you as I am still waiting for my permanent visa. As long as the procedure is not completed I am not allowed to leave the country.

On the other hand it seems to be very cold now as well as a lot of snow in The Netherlands, and you know I don't like it.

I am just recovering from an illness with high fever (39 degrees), but feel much better already after I consulted a doctor yesterday and took my prescribed drugs (augmentin 1g, twice a day).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Deep well pump


December 4 we started with installing the deep well pump installation. December 10 the job was done, however we found some problems that have still to be rectified. This will be done as of December 14.

The guy I hired for a project price - actually his team of 5 to 6 workers did the job- did it before in my in-laws house 5 years ago.

It started with drilling the hole and installing the deep well pipe. In our case 9 x 20 feet = 180 feet or 54 meters. Note that it is all done by manual force, using a drilling installation, a manual pump, some water and a lot of patience.

With this depth you get very clean potable water in this area. That seems the reason that we have here a production facility from Coca Cola and San Miguel Brewery.

It took them three days to drill the hole and install the pipe (2 inch, schedule 40, 54 feet).

The location of the pipe is next to the outbuilding (workshop/utility room).

Outbuilding

Ready for fitting windows and doors
In previous blogs I wrote about our garage, workshop, utility room and storage. It is basically an outbuilding with several functions: a workshop and utility room and will later be extended to include a shelter for 1 or 2 cars, so a kind of garage/carport and perhaps a shower/toilet for the swimming pool.

The reason that I built it now, is that I wanted to have a storage room where we can store all materials and machines that we use for building our house.

The workshop (6x6 meters) can be used for storing materials safely (for rain and typhoon) and locked secure against robbery during the building period.

The utility room (6x3 meters) will be used for the deep well pump and water tank, generator, pumps/valves and filter for the swimming pool, and drink-water filter if required.

It seems that it is very uncommon in the Philippines to build something like this before you build your house. Everyone here thinks I am crazy. May be I am, but I am very happy that I built it.

It is almost finished. The temporary roof (from coco lumber and cheap aluminum sheet) is completed now. Some say that it is spilling money, but I don't see it like that. I will reuse or resell the roof materials later and put a roof made of steel trusses and same roofing material/color as we will use for the house.

Anecdote:
From here-say via one of my workers - who is living in our hamlet (barangay) - I learned that the people here believed that we would build a 2-storey house and are surprised to see a 1-storey building and strangely connected to the fence in the back yard.
What they believed was a house is our outbuilding!!!
What still has to be done is the flooring and windows and doors.

The flooring will be done together with the flooring of our house (next week). The windows and doors will be done after the gate is done (target before New Year), so target is mid of January.

As the storage/workshop will be ready in the course of January, it can and will be used as well to temporally store our household stuff that I will send from the Netherlands, probably end of January or early February. The storage room is 72 cubic meters and the container is 60 cubic meters, so it should fit.

Find below a short history in picture format.


Digging for the back-side fence has started

Back-side fence almost completed

The building will be attached to the fence



The building will have 2 compartments and will have 11 columns ...

... of which 4 are shared with the fence, and ...

... 2 windows and 2 doors



On top of the walss of hollow-blocks a concrete beam will be made


View from the fish-pond outside the fence















LK

Friday, December 10, 2010

Foundation

Today is a remarkable day again. We finished more or less the foundation of our house. That means we completed:
  • all digging work
  • all steel bending work for the columns and foundation beams
  • all concrete for the column foundations and foundation of the beams was poured to the soil
  • all foundation beams are filled with concrete
  • all foundation walls (hollow blocks) are erected
  • all gutter pipes are installed
  • the steel works for a final beam on top of all walls to join later with the floor
  • the wall beams are filled with concrete
  • the columns are filled with concrete until 1st floor level
  • all spaces between the walls are filled with fine (beach) sand until floor level, about 232 cubic meters of sand (still going on)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pay day


Every Saturday is pay-day, but we have basically two pay days:

  • Wednesday a cash advance of 500 peso is payed to all workers
  • Saturday the remainder sum of the salary is payed
The salary is based on pre-defined daily rates for helpers and skilled workers.

I administer every day who is present, so at the end of the week (Friday evening) I calculate for each individual the remaining salary and  write the results on a little brown payment bag. for each individual. Up to now that is 22 bags every week. Then I fill the bags with the money. To be able to do this I went to the bank already early morning to get the required small notes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fence (3)

The front of our property,
bordering with the barangay road

This is a picture show of the building of the front fence, as part of phase 1 of the fence building. Phase 2 has started already and I will report about it in a next blog early next year.

Period: 28 October to 1 December, so 4+ weeks.




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