JUMBO UPDATE 14 December 2012


Having completed the digging of the foundations for our barn the Jumbo construction team is steaming ahead with brick making – well actually as it is a very small team of people who also have other jobs to do crawling is probably a better word.


My cousin Mark used to have a small construction company that he called “Speedy construction” and after he converted a garage into a bedroom for me I renamed his company “Snail construction”  (in fairness to Mark he was doing the job free of charge and in between other jobs when his builders were not busy)  but it created much amusement within the family especially when I did designs for letter heads and business cards with a snail fast asleep in the wheelbarrow. You have the last laugh Mark as “snail construction” were as fast as Billy the whizz by comparison to us.


 Jokes aside we feel that it is not worth spending a fortune to employ a big group of people to make bricks as a) we don’t have enough funds to complete the job anyway and b) during the rainy season building is very dependant upon the weather and so we will plod on with our brick making whilst we slowly source other materials and wait for the building team to be free in order to build the foundations and lay the concrete slab.


We are making the “UNICEF bricks” which, whilst more expensive, are more environmentally friendly than the traditional burnt bricks which result in trees being chopped down to burn the bricks and they are stronger as they contain 12% cement in each brick. Weather permitting we dig out subsoil and sieve it in the morning and then make bricks in the afternoon. This involves mixing the soil and cement, adding just the right amount of water, filling up the mould and then 2 strong guys pull down the lever to compress the mixture – they have found that swinging on the handle gives the best result ( and adds a little fun to the exercise). It takes about 10 mins to make a brick and carry it to the covered area where it is protected from rain and direct sun for 21 days whilst it cures. We are very proud of bricks which are 30cm x 16cm x 13cm so rather substantial and, once dry, very strong.


Mr Bo Jangles disgraced himself the other night as he decided to wander around the shed and managed to stomp all over the 80 bricks that had been made the afternoon before and as they were still wet they could not withstand a donkeys sharp hooves so….. a fence has been put around the shed and Mr Bo Jangles is no longer welcome there and has been relegated to wander into  the garage or verandah at night instead of the shed. He had to do some serious cuddling to get back into my good books but with those big eyes and floppy ears he can get away with murder and be forgiven pretty quickly.


It has rained every day this week with one huge storm that had Barney on my knee, he is terrified of thunder and leaps onto you at the first sign of clouds – not too much of me left sticking out with a 60kg dog on top of you – he really should have been named Scooby Doo as he is so similar to the cartoon character.


Last weekend we helped out with some advice on husbandry and care of a sick lion and then a sick ostrich both of whom, I am happy to say, seem to be getting better and so are still keeping our eye in with wildlife that need our help and Suni , the little ele in Zambia who got Moses orthopedic shoes is doing really well with them – she shows the same fighting spirit as Moses and so it is wonderful to see her being given another chance to heal herself.