"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

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Green power

As you can see I have a new photo header at the top of my blog - what a stunning sunrise it was last Thursday morning!  Cold (3oC / 37.4oF), frosty and misty, and with the sun trying to worm it's way through that flimsy curtain in order to warm up the day...  And my favourite valleys showing off their curves with the mist draping it's way along and through them.  I love the rays of sun that are breaking through the trees - reminding me that there is a higher power / someone watching over me... :)

We've just had four wonderful, and productive, days on the farm!  We finally left on Saturday lunchtime.  Given the 3-odd hours travelling time we arrived late afternoon - about an hour before sunset.

That  gave us just enough time to take a wander round and check that everything is OK.  Thankfully, the house was as we left it...  And the plants are all doing well - everything is so green after all the rain we had!  That in itself is a perfect rest for the eyes, if nothing else.

I even found a ripe lemon on one of our trees :)
1st lemon - 1st of many...?
The dam was still 3/4 full - but I reckon that we really are going to have to add some bentonite to the walls and floor - well, it is three years since we dug it, and they say that it takes three years for a dam to hold water, and ours is still leaking away.  Ducks wont like waddling in a muddy bit of ground, and RMan wants ducks!  (Personally, we're not going to eat the eggs (too high in cholesterol), and I know RMan won't be slaughtering anything in order to eat it - he's such a softie LOL - so in my book - ducks - don't need them!)

Sunday morning I woke up with a tummy bug - I had just enough time to make RMan his (day early) birthday brekkies, before I had to dash to the bathroom.  Early brekkies, I hear you wonder?  Well, Monday we were expecting the builder to arrive at 7.30 a.m. to start on the ceiling panels, so birthday brekkies would be out of the question then.  Whatever affected me had passed by lunchtime, and we got busy on the strong room door - the Green Power Room :)
The 4mm steel plate was cut and measured, the handle opening cut away and it was then fixed it to the second-hand / recycled door with one way screws, overlapping the frame to prevent the possibility of anyone "levering" it off, as well as protecting the lock area.
We had been invited to neighbours, Mad Dog and Teach, for a barebecue on Sunday evening - and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all.  Not too late (given the hectic day ahead of us) gemütlich, with delicious food all round :)  Conversation turned to living on the farm (which is all we think about) and it was very gratifying to hear everyone agree that bartering is the way forward.  That way everyone isn't growing the same crops / rearing the same animals - whatever is needed will be bartered for something someone else has grown / reared :)  That should provide a balanced meal LOL

During the conversation I had mentioned that we needed to get more wood in - to give it time to dry before putting it in our Dover stove (damp wood causes the chimney to be coated with resin, which in turn can cause a fire in the chimney at some future date).  Blow me down if Teach doesn't phone me the next morning and offer Mad Dog and his "bakkie" (single cab) - it seems the guy who cuts the alien vegetation took that moment to visit them, and she remembered that I wanted to get wood in to dry.  Neighbours!  What happens in a town?  Everyone is so involved in their own lives, that neighbourliness doesn't even seem to come in a window, never mind fly out of it...

So we scored 1000 pieces for ZAR200.00 (US$29.50 / 20.50)  In town we get roughly 20 pieces for ZAR35.00!

On Monday, whilst the builders were busy with their preparation for installing the ceiling, RMan and I had enough time to adjust the Green Power Room lock (with a dash of verbally expressed irritation from the birthday boy) but it finally got sorted.  Then I took some green coloured metal paint and slathered that all over the door - even though the steel is galvanized, hopefully the paint will help prevent it rusting.  Now it really is a Green Power Room in all senses of the word :)

Then, with the security in place, it was time to move all the solar power equipment from the roof area into the Green Power Room.  S'funny how even with a "fish tape" / wire puller, cables can still give you all sorts of hassle when you try and thread them through conduit!  Nothing that a brute bit of force couldn't sort out though LOL  By the end of the day I had 220 volts in the house.  So RMan celebrated by using his drill and angle grinder on the front porch supports using the power from the house instead of starting up the generator.

And I now have 4 strips of 6 (24 bulbs) 12 volt LED lights installed over my sink.
Although it's very romantic to use parrafin (kerosene) lamps at night, it's been a hassle to wash up in that lamp light at night - it just wasn't bright enough to see all the food in the pots, which then entailed cleaning them a second time the next day.
Photo source: articles.dashzracing.com
But, thanks to a combined birthday gift, to RMan and I, from CGuy, our (farm) neighbour, I now have better lights than an Audi in my kitchen...

Kitchen LED lights
Next posting I'll tell you about the ceiling... :)


Abby said...

Dani, that sunrise shot is amazing. Glad you thought to get the camera instead of standing there staring with your jaw hanging open :) Beautiful!

I bet you're real glad to get the Green Power Room done and have that wiring in place. If you miss any dirt around the sink now, it won't be for lack of lighting. Very nice!

Mr. H. said...

Wow, that's some door he is installing, you have a regular Fort Knox there. Love your new header picture and lucky you with that nice looking lemon. Sounds lik eyou have some very fine neighbors.

frann said...

Bartering is fun. In our area you just tell a few people what your wanting and word of mouth gets it around. In a few days somebody will say ol' so-and-so has one of those things your looking for and he's not using it. I just helped clean some dog kennels to wave the fee of a dog adoption and ended up with free puppy shots and neuter!

tffnguy said...

Good looking header Dani. Reminds me of some of the sun rises around here (Without the trees of course.) ;) Guess I can't have everything though. :(

Yeah it sounds like that door should keep a gorilla out. I have a heavy metal door that came with the tank, but it was so heavy it would have taken 4 people to hang it. I said to heck with that.

Dani said...

Abby - Yes, I'm also glad I thought of the camera - would've hated to only have the memory and not the photo too :)

Mr H - After our break-in in January, we are taking nothing for granted. Rather safe than sorry...

Frann - Sounds like you have the same kind of neighbours. Puppy shots and neutering - that can costa plenty!

tffn - Reckon if you had the itchy finger syndrome we have here, you would've had that door hung LOL

Anonymous said...

wonderful header photo. Lovely lemon you have there too. And what a great door! Happy Birthday RMan. Emily

Dani said...

Emily - RMan says thanks for the wishes :)

Jane said...

Happy Birthday to the R man and I love the header photo. You do seem to have a very good community at the farm. That is such an important aspect of living that is sorely lacking where I live. Glad to hear your bug cleared up quickly.

wickets said...

between the new header and a few pieces of biltong i almost felt at home hahaha,,,,,the joys of the www!!


Dani said...

wickets - Had a feeling you were from SA - but where are you now in the world?

Dani said...

Jane = RMan says thanks :-)

Yes, I am very grateful for the fantastic neighbours that we have - don't think the place would be the same without them LOL