Saturday, 17 April 2010

A fulcrum-up.

I have sprained my wrist.

Okay, okay, get the mind bleach. It wasn't like that. It's not RSI (aka 'wanker's wrist' either). I did it gardening. I'm not exactly half a Charles Atlas and I decided to move my rhubarb because it was undermining the shed - which is already a bit tumbledown and in need of a new roof, door, walls and floor. One day. The window's good. I can keep that bit. It is a good and sound window. One day I will clean it.

The trouble is, it's so full of crap that replacing it could only be done by putting a new shed somewhere else, moving the stuff and then demolishing the old one and that's just too much bother. I mean, come on. I've done the garage and half the attic this year. I'm not doing the shed too.

So it went like this. I dug all around the rhubarb apart from the sides against the shed and compost bin, which I couldn't get at. It soon became apparent that I was not going to be able to move it so I split the root in two. It's ten years old, fed with that stuff cows leave lying around and very, very productive. In fact it's the only thing in the world that really loves bullshit and delights in being urinated on. Perhaps we should respond to politicians with 'tell it to the rhubarb'.

The place I intended to put it was a little higher, up a two-foot wall. The hole was already dug and composted and roughly three cubic feet of hole-in-the-dirt. The wall was not something I had considered might be a problem, it's not very high, but the rhubarb - even after splitting - was very heavy.

Ah, I thought, it might have been a long time ago but I do have an A-level in physics. Most of it has been wiped out by string theory and quantum witchcraft now but the bit about levers must surely still work.

It does. I lifted the root with a fork and wedged a board under it. Then I tied rope around the root and sat on the board, like an offset see-saw with the rhubarb on the long end, me on the short end and the wall as fulcrum. I pulled the rope and hauled the root up the board until my weight on the short end was enough to lift the board.

After a few false starts (if the board isn't central, the root falls off) I managed to get the root moving towards me.

Now, the new hole is not far from the wall and as the root approached, it reached a point where I could not get off the board or the root end would drop, and I couldn't pull the root any closer to me without moving myself backwards.

Over the hole.

It worked well for a while until the root's centre of gravity passed the fulcrum point. Then I was sitting in a hole with a large rhubarb root above and a good solid board below, crushing those parts nobody wants crushed and with only arms to pull myself out.

Eventually I did. Obviously. It would be a serious geek indeed who took a netbook gardening. Plus, if I hadn't, this post would have started with 'If you're in the area... help!'. Hmm. it might be an idea to take the netbook into the garden after all.

It turned out okay in the end. The rhubarb has been beaten into submission, the shed has heaved a sigh of relief, the compost bin is glad to be rid of the parasite that already had roots all through it and the other half of the root has been donated to a neighbour.

Then I tried to move some daffodils using a small hand-shovel, and sprained my wrist. Damn.

It's raining now. I am delighted! Let it pour.


RantinRab said...

It pretty much sums up my life that I'm spending a Saturday night reading about the adventures of a chap moving his rhubarb!

rhubarb lover said...

Same here Rab. Plus sitting thinking it sounds all wrong. If you're planning to move rhubarb I think you're supposed to dig it up in December. Let the frost get to it for a week. Then replant it. But if it's got to move then it's got to move.

Leg-iron said...

Yes, it's entirely the wrong time to move rhubarb.

The shed must be fixed this year or it will fall apart, and the rhubarb is in the way.

So I won't get much out of it until it's settled in.

Rab - it is indeed a terrible way to spend a Saturday night but I'm too knackered for Smoky-Drinky.

Leg-iron said...

And my nuts are crushed...

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your wrist Legggy but... Lol!

Anonymous said...

Sorry - laughing so much I can't spell :)

But I really am sorry about your wrist.

TheFatBigot said...

You can split rhubarb into small bits. There's no benefit moving a big chunk and getting your delicates mangled when several small chunks can be split off the crown and planted close together in the new hole. Sorry to piss in your soup but rhubarb is like that, it thrives on being in dung however much of it you put into dung. Even one small bit of new growth will thrive and produce a good crop if the soil's right.

I think I might be a day late with this handy bit of horticultural advice.

subrosa said...

I was about to say what the FatBigot has said so well.

Oh, another thing. Check the shed in the morning. Just maybe the rhubarb was holding it up. :)

Mrs Rigby said...

Dammit, we've been looking for a spare rhubarb plant, our succumbed to the winter wet and got dug up, and our shed is going the same way as yours. Are you quite sure you're not Mr Rigby?

Snakey said...

Aye it's the little things that get you lol

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving me a chuckle on a Sunday morning - reminded me of the story about Paddy, a rope and pulley, and a barrel of bricks...

Chuckles said...

Did the rhubarb move for you too dear?
I think you should stick to stalking the wild asparagus, till you're more experienced. There's a lot of custard being flung in the rhubarb patches, sometimes gets heated.

microdave said...

You must have been inspired by the legendary Gerrard Hoffnung:

Leg-iron said...

Wrist is recovering (in that it hurts less today) but the damage has apparently spread to the elbow.

So I painted the pergola in an attempt to work the joints. Damn that thing, it is impossible to do it all in one session without getting covered in paint and I should have realised that, at fifty, some of the contortions required are no longer available.

So now, most of me hurts.

I put it down to being virtually housebound for three months of snow and cold, which has atrophied my already unimpressive musculature. My body is raging at me with 'You want to do WHAT? Well okay but it's going to hurt.'

Funnily enough, I'm feeling fitter (apart from the pain) and stronger and coughing less and waking up more easily now that I'm getting more fresh air and exercise.

There might be a lot more in this 'hermetically sealed houses' problem than I thought. No draughts equals stale air. That might be causing a lot more respiratory problems than smoking ever could.

Leg-iron said...

FatBigot - my anatomy curses your words. To make recompense, you will have to come here and shit on my rhubarb.

No curries.

Leg-iron said...

Subrosa - the shed door is harder to close today. It might be time to phone the shed shop.

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