Monday, 8 September 2008

Projects Update

First off, the project for turning the small metal drums into an ash processing facility was something of a failure. The glorified seive was way too small to process enough ash rapidly, and there were a few technical issues with the way it was set up.

All is not lost though. I found a nice solid fine sieve at the rubbish dump a few years back, that I stuck on legs and put a funnel under. I used it for sieving sand and earthy materials for making seed raising and cutting mixes. The DW was threatening to dump another load of ashes up the back, along with the valuable cargo of charcoal, so I quickly knocked up a second sieve to sit on top of the first, with a coarser mesh. The coarse sieve captures the large chunks of charcoal suitable for the forge. The lower one gets all the smaller bits that can go into potting mixes and into the ground as an agri-char or bio-char, and the ash goes into the funnel and then into a bucket. For now the ashes are being stored in a feed bag in the shed. I'll be taking a pH reading of the soil around the place and over at the new block to see where it might be most profitably applied.

Over the weekend before last I also constructed a new set of front steps for the house. The old ones were rusty red-painted steel steps, rather steep (yes, all two steps of them :-) ) with a big size difference between the different treads. The new ones are solid hardwood. I dipped into the bounty from the cattle yards I salvaged a few months ago and put them together. They've had their final coats of linseed oil applied and have been installed.

We've also discovered the joy of limestone toppings. Extremely cheap at about $28/cubic metre, they set like concrete (almost) and look good enough to walk on. We're going to turn all the muddy walking tracks into a decent surface. If only we'd tackled it before we started planning on selling the place!

Things are looking really good in the glasshouse, many of the cuttings have taken, even a few of the plum tree cuttings are looking like they might make it through. Still not sure about the apples though. They're normally a few weeks behind the plums, so I won't get an idea of whether they're going to make it for a bit. It's not all rosy though, the tallow tree cuttings have browned off, I'm thinking due to the extra heat and the fact that they had not yet formed sufficient roots. I've got my fingers crossed, as the tree up the back often gets hit by frost and loses it's leaves, and then comes back a few weeks later, so the cuttings may be as resilient.

Out at the new block, I've got a couple of posts in for a new bit of boundary fence. The previous owner's sheep are making free with the land we've bought that falls outside the fences, so it's high time these commons were enclosed. More seriously, stage one is a small section that will create a sectioned off area for storing my resource (junk) pile, where the goats agisted on our land cannot get to it. We'd hate for them to get injured climbing over piles of steel with all sorts of sharp protrusions, so we need an area they cannot get to.

I was also looking at putting the sheds etc in this general area as well, though I've still got doubts about it being the ideal spot. It is close to the house, but it is also crammed into a corner against the boundary, limiting the options for future expansion. The trouble is that other areas close to the house are all down on the worst of the slope, making access tricky at best, or too far away from the house. A shed or three is not an easy or cheap thing to move, so a bit more thought is in order before we start setting plans in stone.

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