Sunday, January 29, 2012

Goodbye 2011. Hello 2012.

Twelve months ago, we set out our dream list of projects that we hoped to complete during the year. It was a big list but we got stuck into it and are happy to report that most of the projects were either completed, or at least a start has been made.
The new steel garage is up, but still needs a concrete apron to make it easy to get into it (there is a 100mm step up which needs fixing). However, even if we did this, we would still be unable to use it as intended (to house our car) because as soon as it was built, it somehow managed to fill up with a whole lot of other stuff (mainly materials for building and future projects). It seems that there is some law of nature that says “create an undercover area and it will be filled”!
The garage has the new woodshed built on one side and this is not only finished, but we have started filling it up with firewood. We have divided it into four bays. Two are for short lengths of wood for our wood fired stove and two are for longer pieces for the heater and steam engine (when installed). The two bays of each, allow one stack of wood to be built up and seasoned while the other bay is being used. Usually we don’t start filling the woodshed until Easter, but because we have to fill the lot from scratch, we are getting an early start this year. This woodshed is also about 50% bigger than our old shed so it will take longer to fill.

Our seedling white sapote in front of the hothouse has put on a lot of new growth
We managed to shift the hothouse to its new location and used the opportunity to improve the design at the same time and change the layout. One improvement was sitting the walls on top of some free pavers that we picked up. This stops weeds from growing against the metal walls and should reduce corrosion at the base.
Our solar system batteries and inverter are now much more accessible in their new location in the house. We also made some minor changes to the system to boost output. Unfortunately the shift gave our old petrol generator a “heart attack” and it “died”. The good news is that we are now 100% solar (at the moment).
We put a new access track in to our solar panels, which also provides a firebreak to southern side of our clearing. This project still needs a fair bit of work because the wet weather earlier in the year made it impossible for the machines to do their thing. Hopefully we’ll finish it off this year.
After a seven year break, we finally managed to get back to house building. We put down a concrete patio, added a verandah and have now completed painting and staining a third bedroom. This room, which is a spare room for visiting friends and family, looks so good we may even spend some nights in it ourselves. They say a change is as good as a holiday!
So, what have we got lined up for 2012? For a start there’s dozens of smaller finishing-off jobs like drainage pits that need to be built, more tree planting, bird netting to go over the orchard, seven more rooms of the house to complete, some fencing and some more pipes and taps to go in. Plus there is our bed and breakfast building to finish, the steam engine and boiler to install, as well as a new doorway to be cut through the garage mudbrick wall. We’re exhausted just talking about it.  I don’t think we will be getting bored for quite a while yet.


Norma's Place said...

Can you tell me about your A & A Worm Farm Waste System. We have one, had it in situ for 4 years, and never quite happy with it, we thought it had a pipe not attached. Then we got our first inspection ever on the 20th January this year, the next day we noticed it was filling up with water... a coincidence, but the technician when asked on the Monday after, said it was all normal! By Tuesday we had to siphon liquid to the third distribution point. The companies response? " Don't harass our staff by your constant phone calls, get a life and to solve your problem, move"! That was from Ev Duke the CEO, her hubby hung up when we were about toask if we could get a local plumber to fix the problem. Seems there are a few disgruntled people, but not until there is a need for a service call. Thanks, Norma

Norma's Place said...

By the way, only made 4 calls in 4 years, one on Monday and the next to ask if they had received an email we sent with diagrams of where my partner, an engineer, had discovered the blockage, breakage or whatever it is that is stopping the flow of fluid, and also a photo of an underground "stream" that is flowing to the third trench, missing the pipes altogether!

Andrew and Heather said...

Hello Norma,
We'll send a detailed report about our A&A Worm Farm system to you by email as there is too much to fit into the comment space. As we said in an earlier post these systems can work well, but may need some tweaking to fit in with local conditions. Hope yours is up and running well in the near future.

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