Monday, 25 May 2015

A little bit of this and a little bit of that. !!!

Electricity production on an off grid property is always an important  consideration. Until now we had made do with banks of large second hand gel batteries that were 2 volt  1000  amph, but as these are getting older we were beginning to experience a few problems with them .
We decided to bite the bullet and purchase a brand new set of lead acid batteries that hopefully will be dependable for the next 10-20 years.
As they are lead acid they couldn't be stored inside the shed where the other batteries were, so hubby had to build a new little shed  at the back of the power room to store the new batteries
He then connected this through the power room  wall to the  inverter and controller.
We have also purchased 8 new 250 watt  solar panels, and  we are halfway through installing them up on the roof, hubby has to put the last four up tomorrow. This will make a huge difference to our power supply, we will run the house off the new  panels and batteries, and run the cool
room and laundry off the old panels and batteries.
Our building is progressing well, the builder  is now up to doing all the trims, architraves and cover strips, we chose cover strips as we have a flat roofed house and we get a little movement  and the strips will allow for that.

It is finally starting to look like a proper room now, and we are also really pleased with the more uniform look  of the front of the house.
This morning  I realized  how great those  three new front windows are, we had the most amazingly  stunning red  sunrise  and  the view through my new windows was just  wonderful.
Our vegetable garden has been going well, we have  been picking piles of green beans,spinach and have dug lot's of lovely new potatoes.
We pulled the small crop of  beetroots that we planted  and  I  pickled them into pints,( the lid went onto the water bath pot after I took this photo) they will come in handy over the summer  days for salads and  burgers.
The cauliflowers are  growing nicely, they have just begun to form their lovely white heads, and we  have also planted two raspberry vines  that our next door  neighbours on the coast  gave us as a leaving gift.
We had a very special visitor for a couple of days and she loved helping her Pop with the chooks and turkeys, she is such a busy little person.
I also had a few goes at making soap, we have been saving the sheep  fat when we butcher our sheep and the first batch I made we were really pleased with , so this time i did a batch  with purple colour and berry fragrance  and the other batch was green colour  with green apple fragrance.
I  mixed the green batch while it was still too hot  and that is why it ended up with two colours.
It smalls delicious, almost edible, and if these batches are as  nice to use as the first was I will be very pleased with it, I am really enjoying soap making and will continue to  make more in the future.
Tonight we  lit a bonfire of some dead wood,sticks,palm fronds and old furniture that wasn't worth donating or giving away, we invited the neighbours over and shared a few drinks and   nibbles with them, we had a lovely evening.
 We will probably have a few more fires over the next couple of months as we have several piles of  dead tree stumps and sticks that need burning and we haven't been able to burn  the last couple of years as it had been so dry and always happened to be windy when we would be here for a few days at a time.
We should soon be able  to paint and tile the new area before  much longer and finally will be able to unpack the rest of the boxes, it will be wonderful when my home gets back to normal.
So until we meet again,
Take care ,

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

RENOVATIONS.........need I say more. !!!

When we  made the big move to the farm we were aware that a long road of renovations lay ahead of us.
Sourcing a local builder was a big issue, as they are few and far between. We finally found a lovely older retired gent who we had both known since our childhood who had been a  builder locally for most of his life( he is nearing 80 years of age), and he has worked out brilliantly. He only works 3-4 days per week and only about 5 hours a day and is more than happy to work around our erratic schedule as we are his.
We decided to  push our lounge/dining area out onto our existing front verandah creating more  living space and bringing in more light.
we sourced our timber from a  good local sawmill and have been really happy with the quality.
It has been wonderful  and at times frustrating  to see the progress and start to see what it would become.

We finally reached lock up stage and the builder  had to take some time off as he was unwell,, this gave us an opportunity to catch up on some other things and take some time off to visit our  children and grandkids.
On his return to us, the demolishing  of the interior walls began in ernest. we had some close  friends also visiting that week and it was wonderful that they were here to  watch the goings on and share our excitment.  Sadly Ken our wonderful friend passed away only weeks after their visit  after a short aggressive battle with cancer.
The open space is just brilliant, I can't believe that we lived  with it as it was for so long, just wish we had started this process 10 years ago when we first bought the place, but maybe then i wouldn't have appreciated it as much as I do now.
Brian and the builder then got to work lining some of the interior walls and ceilings.
When it got to this point, our electrician friend and neighbour came down and did our lights and powerpoints ( we exchange lamb for his labour, a system that works well for both of us)
While all this was happening, the company that were to lay our vinyl in the 3 bedrooms contacted us to see if they could do our work earlier than originally planned and we agreed, the sooner the better even though it would mean total chaos.
Our floors which are concrete had to have a self levelling slurry  poured and spread over them( and in our case 2 layers)  which meant 3 days with drying and laying of the vinyl.We went with the vinyl option as it is easy care and just needs a few mats popped down for warmth.
We were in such a mess during these three days, i thought I would never see the end of it, but we did get there eventually.
At this point the builder left us for four weeks to go to a prior  commitment that he had agreed to do and once again we took the opportunity to sort out a few other  things around that need doing and again spend time with family.
Yesterday he has returned and we have now  moved
on to our sunroom, replacing old windows with  a new sliding one. He opted to just open one up at a time today as the weather is quite chilly and not expected to improve over the next couple of days.
This is where we are at as of today.... I will  update sooner rather than later as we now finally  have a decent internet service. hence the lack of posts   over  the last few months.
We have much to do, but it all takes time and money.

Finally a photo of our mates and us, the last time were were ever together and a sad day knowing that this was the last time our dear  friend  Ken would come to the farm for a visit.

So until we meet again down the track,
Take care everyone,