Protecting Trees 1-2-3

Got that pottering itch again on the weekend. I miss my backyard shed in Australia and all my tools sooo much ! Anyway, come Sunday I was fidgeting and felt the need to create something. My mind turned back to the fence / tree conundrum and so I decided to make some Khmer-style split-bamboo tree protectors. When we were down in Kep last time I asked “Mr Moto” and his mates how much they would charge me to make 12 of these things. I could see them mentally scratching their heads, coming up with an inflated white-boy figure and then multiplying it by 3.

” Er….$200 !!” was their reply.

SNORT ” Fuck Off ” was mine. ( Insert perfect Captain Goodvibes voice here….)

“Er….how much you pay ?”

“I will pay you a fair price …which $200 is not…..so how much ?’

Cue more mental fidgeting….

“Er……$60 !”

“Fuck Off”

We then spoke to our man Juntha who said about $2.50 a pop would be about right. Needless to say I will not be using Mr Moto for anything. Anyways we left it at that stage because I decided it was something I could handle and so last Sunday was the day. We headed down to Takmeo to source the bamboo and this proved easy. as we knew exactly where to go. A bundle of 20 x 1.5m split bamboo reeds will cost you $1. I bought 20 bundles figuring I would need at least 2 bundles per 4 sided cage . I then bought half a kilo of 1cm tacks and we were off vioa the booze shop for ice and beer – sustenance for the afternoon ahead.

Step 1 . Procure the bundles of split bamboo

With trusty helpers Nek and Pek on the team, the first few attempts were not bad but a bit rough. I then figured out I could use the driveway pavers as square guides, figured out a solid method ( tack 4 corners first, then a middle vertical, then the rest of the verticals, then the diagonal support, then the remaining two horizontal end caps) and was away to the races.

Step 2 : Lay bamboo on ground and tack together

After about 6 or so I was turning out near perfect sections however working at ground level was just killing my back and legs. Constant bending and reaching and the odd tack failure leading to hammered fingers and many ” you FUC(*^ &^*&%*&” made for a long afternoon but the beer made it a bit easier. At the end of the day I had tacked together 12 frames. Great……another 70 odd to go. Of course I have now realised that the rains have stopped and it is a shit time to be planting but what the hell…..it was fun and I saved myself about $175………….

Step 3 : Frame complete, sigh, uncap beer.

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