Friday, November 26, 2010

Crazy Man re-stumps house alone (well,almost).

Living with an eternal optimist (Mr CrazyHouse) usually makes you feel as though you can take on anything. However the thought of re-stumping the reno cottage ourselves was more than a little daunting. I don't know anything about re-stumping a house. We have never seen it done and don't know anyone who has had their house re-stumped, I mean this is a job for burly guys with fancy hydraulic lifts or something who don't mind grovelling under houses in the dirt.

 I've watched that TV show Monster Movers, that's scary stuff! They even get under buildings as they move them, not to mention that crane that lost traction on a steep hill and only stopped when it crashed into a bridge 200m down the road. Even the experts have dramas.

Unfazed Mr Crazy House went off to buy him some plastic tubing.

Well he bribed no.1 and no.2 sons with digging holes for monetary rewards which no.2 son then swapped for a skate-ramp. Holes with little head room attracted higher premiums. Needless to say they tired of that quick-smart and holes remained half dug for weeks until we finished the job. I think the holes were getting smaller and smaller by the end.
Mr CH bought 28m of RHS and FMS steel and welded up new house posts in his Dad's shed.
Using a jack he lifted sections of floor beams and packed-up the existing stumps first and then added extra supports using hardwood from the demolished shed. My assistance was only required to add packing, spot for moving supports and help Mr CH stand up straight after he crawled out.
A hand-held posthole digger.
Getting there!

The hard worker, the jack that is.

25cm worth of packing in some areas.
Posts bolted on and almost ready to go.

We couldn't get our stumps any worse than these, could we?
One of our stumps was a little crooked, unfortuately when you are working with old timber not every surface is straight and you just need to go-with-the-flow.

Levels checked and adjusted with a water level (thats what the tubing was for).
All ready for the concrete.

Now the real back-breaking work begins. 15 holes to fill with concrete.
Thankfully the stumps around the outside walls had already been re-stumped by a previous owner which meant less work for us.

2 stumps had welded joins to save on steel cost.
Poking to avoid any air pockets.

2 down 13 to go


Putting a teenager to work.

Mum and Jay signed their respective holes.

Last hole added as overkill by Mr CH.
Not finished yet. He has this 90% thing where we get almost finished and then he's had enough,( until it has to be finished)
Still waiting for other 90% jobs to be finished(stair railings,kitchen drawer etc.)

That's as good an "after" shot as you get.

The old wooden stumps and supports were left in place for a few weeks to allow the concrete plenty of time to harden,one solid stump still yet to be removed.(90% again)
Unfortunately under this house has become the storage spot for anything that has no home at the moment-bikes, go-cart, wood, mower, pink bathtub!

1 cubic m sand and gravel mix $80

cement $100

clear tubing $39

bolts and washers $54

steel rhs 16m, fms 12m $600

blood, sweat and backache-priceless

total-$873 saving thousands?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baking gingernuts.

US, NZ, UK and CANADA use 15ml tablespoons
1 teaspoon 5ml
1 tablespoon 20ml
1 cup 250ml
1 egg 60g approx

Moderate oven- 180c or 350f

I love to make these gingernuts for my family and usually have some in the house.


2 cups plain flour

1 cup sugar (caster or raw)

1 teasp mixed spice

2 teasp powdered ginger

1/2 teasp baking powder

125g butter

2 teasp golden syrup or treacle

1 egg

1 egg white

1 2/3 cups icing mixture or sugar

squirt of lemon juice

100's and 1000's sprinkles
food colouring (optional)

This icing is enough to ice a double batch of biscuits. So I usually bake my biscuits on one day and ice them the next day, these biscuits are great for school fundraisers esp. if you have four colours of icing in one packet.
First the oven, then the tin,

wash your hands and lets begin.


Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl and rub in butter with fingertips until crumbly.

Lightly beat egg and golden syrup together and add to dry mixture. I like to use my hands for that part. Roll about a tablesp and a half into balls and flatten slightly onto a tray with greasedproof baking paper on it. Bake in mod. oven for 15 mins approx.

Beat eggwhites in a bowl with an electric mixer until firm peaks form, gradually add sugar beating well after each addition to disolve sugar. Add a small squirt or two of lemon juice and a colour of choice.
If you want to test if your icing will set nicely , touch the surface of the icing and lift to see if it will rise up into a peak.
I ice with a small metal spatula and sprinkle with 100's and 1000's before the icing sets and then I leave to air dry for a while and if that's not too long there will be some left for the bickie jar.

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