"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Sunday, 15 August 2010

My stove, painting and the verandah

We left Cape Town at 10.45 am on Friday 6th August.  We were only going to leave on Saturday morning, but Negosiegat, in Barrydale, wasn't going to be open on Saturday, as it was the first day of the long weekend (Woman's Day was on Monday 9th).  And we had to get to Negosiegat in order to purchase the Dover stove.  RMan had promised me that the Dover would be in situ by my birthday on Tuesday, and working!

As we were driving we heard the weather report - rain was expected over the weekend, and they were predicting snow on Sunday!  Perfect :-)  If you're not living in, and confined to a caravan, anything is bearable.

After a leisurely drive we arrived in Barrydale at 2.15pm and made straight for Negosiegat.  After choosing our stove, and waiting whilst the storekeeper had it loaded onto the back of his bakkie (double cab) we led the way to our farm.  I was so excited - I had saved for this stove 3 times over the past two years - twice before I had had to use the money for other more essentials, but now, finally, I had it.  (I make salad dressing for a few restaurants locally, and had saved up the 'profit' from that.)

This first photo was taken with my phone camera just after it had been placed in it's position in the kitchen - the quality of the photo isn't so good, but I was too excited to care.

Things were looking positive - now all we had to do was install the chimney!  A piece of cake, I thought.  Easier said than done.  The height of the outlet had been placed as high as possible on the internal wall in order to utilize the heat from the chimney as well - only trouble was the hole was made using scaffolding and now all we had was a 3.2mtr aluminium ladder or a homemade 4.5mtr ladder - the latter being very dubious.  It was made out of builders planks which had been left on site - it definitely works, but the steps are +/- .75mtr apart - not easy to scale and work from.  And the chimney outlet was 4mtrs high.  So homemade ladder it had to be.  It is so heavy that it takes 4 grown men to move into place...

But the chimney got installed!  RMan discovered that the bend which had been plastered into the wall a couple of months ago wasn't at exactly the correct angle, but he persevered and managed to get it to fit the straight sections.
Just a bit of advice regarding new Dover Stoves - because of the black paint that its' coated with, when you first light it the paint visibly smokes and gives off a very unpleasant smell - if possible I would recommend lighting it outside before it is installed.  We managed to get rid of the fumes through opening all the windows - it took about an hour to an hour-an-a-half to sort out.  Do so wish we'd been forwarned though.

Hey! Hey! Hey! We have a working Dover stove - on my birthday and just in time!  It was freezing!  That morning we had woken to ice cold thick mist - I took a wander down our driveway and snapped this shot:

Yes, that is the caravan and house in the background.  When the mist lifted and the clouds cleared off the mountain we saw that they were full of snow - it literally covered the top 1/4 of them!  Brilliant!  I l-o-v-e snow - must be my British roots.  And now we had the wherewithall to keep warm!

Admittedly, the outside chimney was a little more difficult to adjust, but a plan was made so that we could use it during this visit.

I was absolutely no help - and felt helpless.  It was very dangerous as the wind was howling and I wasn't happy about RMan being up the wonky ladder at the best of times.  But he persevered and when the first puff of smoke came out of the chimney you would've thought that a new pope had just been elected!

It was a really nice feeling when our kettle started boiling(whistling) on the Dover stove for the first time.  I managed to get the oven temperature (together with the baking stone) up to 180oC - only need 20oC more and I can bake my no knead Artisan bread...

Friends of ours in Rietkuil, Neels and Petro, came round in the evening with a bottle of bubbly, some home grown arum lillies (to go with the beautiful yellow roses which RMan bought me) some dry wood (for the Dover stove) and a bottle of homemade preserves. What a lovely evening. Couldn't have asked for a nicer birthday.

Whilst our time had been taken up with installing the Dover stove and the chimney, we had also arranged for our builder and his team to be there - RMan Saturday and on Monday (at double time wages, being a public holiday) they proceeded to start building the wall.  3 days, 1200 bricks and 10 bags of cement later we have the skeleton - it still has to be filled, compacted and the slab thrown - but the vision of sitting on it on a hot summers' evening, with the protection of the house behind us, and out of the wind, is becoming a reality.

We also got the builder to finish building and plastering the walls of the kitchen porch - one more item to cross off the list.

And finally, we also managed to give the internal walls a coat of Harlequin low VOC plaster primer.  Low VOC is definitely the way forward - we couldn't smell a thing - and we slept in the room - and if we can't smell anything then there are minimal fumes leeching into the atmosphere!

It took a day a wall to paint - therefore to give the walls two coats of low VOC paint will take us roughly 10 days - allowing two days for the bathroom and small passage as well.

All in all a very constructive "long" weekend's work.  We extended the weekend by three days, only arriving back in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon - now why does that always make me feel guilty... we are allowed to take time off.


Mrs. Mac said...

now, that's a beautiful cook stove !

katlupe said...

I like that stove! Tried to find them online but the ones I saw were not the kind you have. Are you going to live in this house permanently in the future? I will go read your older posts to find out.

Dani said...

Mrs Mac - oh yes it is, indeed and it works a treat! :-)

Kathleen - Our plan is to retire there (shortly) and then do what we want - as opposed to working for our living :-) In other words - work at what we enjoy, not at what we have to... Self-sufficiency is the key.

But, as we have the time, although finances are a tad tight, we are currently getting it all sorted for when we make the move.

doogle said...


Dani said...

Doogle - Welcome :)

If you go to the top of my blog - to my Eco-Choices page (http://ecofootprintsa.blogspot.com/p/2009-eco-choices.html) I have also listed Dassiesfontein near Caledon and Ndebele Stoves in Gauteng. But, Negosiegat in Barrydale is cheaper than Dassies :)