Archive for the ‘Caravan’ Category

Conglomeration of Car Complaints

July 28, 2017

Well, July has been (and continues to be) a difficult month!  Kim’s health has been very poor and his Chronic Fatigue has been greatly exacerbated by various wogs and also kidney stones. What he needed to recover properly was rest and a lack of stress, but that has not been easy to come by.

Firstly our brand new and very expensive fridge has been playing up – it just stops cooling every now and then despite the fan going and the lights being on.  Kim thinks it is a computer fault as if you turn it off for 10 minutes and then turn it back on it starts to work again.  It has had one part replaced but the fault continues!
Then we had our steer, Stu – the big brown and white boy, butchered at home which is a full hands on event for everyone, and of course half of us were sick and miserable at the time.  We managed to get the job done though with the help of extended family and friends – who were paid for their efforts in delicious fresh beef!  It is lovely to have such a variety of cuts of meat to use again, and it tastes wonderful.

Smokey, Twindles and Straight-Line-Stu

Lydia booked her cat in for sterilising the other week, only to have her come on heat before we could take her in.  Now we have to put up with yowling and crazy cat antics for a week or so until she can get taken safely to the vets.  We are very glad that Lydia bought a huge cage for her as it means we do not have to have her loose in our sleeping quarters – instead she gets evicted into the cage on the veranda each evening.

The main issue of the month has been cars!  You would think that with 6 cars we should be able to keep on the road quite easily, but we do a huge number of kilometres each week and it has been a constant challenge to keep the cars going for the last couple of weeks.  Poor Kim has already been struggling to just get by with his shocking health, and he really isn’t helped by all this urgent mechanical work which often only he can deal with.  Firstly the two Citroens had their alternators fail within 2 days of each other.  The Xantia stopped when it’s battery went flat in the dark in the mountain range near home and Lyd had to walk up to the top of the pass to get enough phone service to call for help.  Kim took a battery out of another car which managed to give it enough power to drive it home that night.  We took the Xantia to an auto electrician a couple of days later and he fixed the alternator but reported that the cause of the problem was a leaking pump situated directly above the alternator and which had filled it with oil and gunk!  The leaking pump is still awaiting fixing as it requires various parts to come from an online order.

Kim had a spare alternator for the C5 and he managed to put new bushes into that and installed it himself.  That got the C5 going for a week or two until Muggins here (yes, me), thick headed and in recovery from 2 nights of toothache agony without sleep followed shortly after by a tooth extraction, filled the car up with unleaded instead of diesel!!  It got towed home by the RACT the night before last and is awaiting repair.  That means pumping out 60L of mixed fuel and then flushing diesel through it all and hoping no permanent damage was done to the injection pump.  At least we do have access to second hand parts if needed.

Sam’s lovely new little convertible was going well until it’s accelerator cable broke.  Kim, our hero, managed to drive it home through the mountain pass just by adjusting the idle speed.  Our mechanic advised that we should just remove a cable from one of our spare parts cars – but two cable removals later we find that they don’t fit, so now we have to order a part online and wait for delivery.  Kim attempted to get creative this morning by joining two separate cables, but the attempt failed as the join interfered with the proper working of the cable.
Our lovely old Caravelle got pressed into action, but shortly afterwards it started to fill with steam.  Looking at it this morning we discovered a coolant leak dripping onto the heater core.  It looks like we need to source a new O ring  to stop the leak – hopefully that is all!
The good old reliable Peugeot 206 GTI has been the mainstay of our fleet, however even it has not been trouble free.  One morning when Kim had taken Lydia to work the exhaust fell down.  Thankfully Kim heard it hit the ground and stopped immediately.  With the help of a friendly passer by he managed to jury rig it back up and drove straight to a workshop to get fresh mounts put on.  After that I sadly hit a wallaby one morning on the way to Lydia’s work, that broke one of the fog lights and/or its mount.  Then yesterday Kim thought the power steering was not working as well as it should and when he went to check the power steering level this morning he found that it was just fine – but the alternator belt was only half the width it should be.  We assume something got tangled in it and caused it to fray and it must have been slipping sometimes.  He is worried that if we use the car then the belt will break, so it is best if we do not use that either.  He picked up a new belt this afternoon when he collected Lydia from work.

So, to pick up Lydia from work today – out came the old VW beetle!  Even it is not without issues as it has been waiting for it’s brakes to be done up for months, Kim tells me they are worn down but still working.  Perhaps fixing it will become more of a priority now!  Of course tomorrow is forecast for pouring rain, so I don’t see us fixing anything then.  Good grief!  It has got to the point where the multiple car problems have actually started to become a cause of amusement in the family now.  🙂

The good news for the month is that we did manage to find, purchase and get delivered (just yesterday) a bunch of 9m long 5” aluminium irrigation pipe, 57 of them in fact.  $5,200 worth!  This will be the piping for the micro hydro system.  We will need to get a couple of fittings and a few replacement seals but then should be able to start running the pipe down in the pre dug ditch.  It is very exciting, but I am sure is going to take us many months to do.  🙂
At the end of June we fitted more solar panels to the roof of the caravan’s annexe.  The fork lift on the tractor was a wonderful help!

Solar Panels being lifted onto the Annexe roof by MB Trac

Cathy fitting solar panels to the annexe roof

Solar panels on annexe roof

Despite taking care to use seals etc, we found that the ceiling was leaking after rain.  It always has leaked to some extent because of the poor design of the annexe which has a flat roof and water often pools on it and finds its way inside instead of running off, but now it was even worse.  The best solutions would all take lots of time and money and were not feasible in the middle of winter with rain forecast in the near future.  However, we have temporarily solved the problem by making a sloping raincoat of greenhouse plastic.  It is great to lie in bed hearing the rain and look up at the dry ceiling.  Amazing how little things can give a lot of pleasure.  🙂
Lydia had her birthday this month.  She organised the day off and spent many hours making sausages!  She made some basic beef ones and also an adjusted recipe of kase krainer sausages which had different spices and chunks of cheese in them – she smoked those ones the following day.  We learnt a lot in the process and will probably do better next time – but it was a VERY time consuming job.
Anyway, I best move on.  I am currently suffering from a mild stomach wog, caught no doubt at the hospital where I went on the weekend in desperation for some pain relief from the toothache.  In the end I found the most effective thing to be keeping my mouth cold by constantly sipping iced water.  Didn’t get much sleep though!  I’m very glad that is over.
*****ADDENDUM Monday 31/7/17******
I am pleased to report that the rain held off the following day (Saturday) until the afternoon and Kim managed to find a new way to join the convertible’s accelerator cable, which worked, and Caleb got the 206 most of the way through changing the frayed belt.  So things were looking up.  Then on Monday Caleb finished repairing the 206 and Kim managed to flush the fuel out of the tank of the C5, started it up and it worked just fine!  Every time one of the cars has an issue now we all start to giggle – somewhat maniacally perhaps – but we find it funny none the less!

May at Milkenunny

May 29, 2009

I just realised that I have not caught up via email yet this month.  One of the things I like to do is to look back on my blog to see what we were doing this month last year and if I don’t write an email soon then in a years time I won’t know what we’ve been doing with ourselves in May 2009.  So, what have we been up to….

 

Well to kick things off we have survived eating our ham!  After the 6 weeks we removed the blackened meat from the pickling liquid and wrapped it up to dry.

 

 HamPickled

 

Genuine Suffolk ham would be smoked for 5 days over oak wood but we don’t have any smoking facilities set up yet so that was not an option so we had to make do with just drying instead.

 

 HamDrying

 

Then the ham was boiled and ready to eat.  And are you wondering what it was like?  Well, in actuality we were not that keen on the pickle flavour and found it a bit chewy for use on sandwiches.  It was interesting though.  In the end we had it as a whole meal and it was good in that way.  It would be better to start with a larger ham than the one our little pig provided I think.  Next time we will try a dry salt cure instead, which will not need cooking, and I’d love to try smoking a ham too.

 

 HamFinished

 

On the subject of home grown produce, I tried whipping some cream the other day which we had skimmed from Isabelle’s milk.  Pretty cool hey?  I didn’t make scones to go with it, but home made apple pie is pretty good too.  🙂  Now I wish I had a butter churn.  I have done some bottling recently too, tomatoes, apples and even some carrots.

 

 Cream

 

We have had a lot of sickness since I last wrote, especially with Sam and Caleb but all of us have been affected.  Firstly we had a nasty gastro run through the family, passed on generously by some friends at church – definitely not related to our ham!  Just in case you were wondering.  🙂  No sooner was everyone recovering from that than we started to come down with a head cold.  However in between the bouts of illness we have continued to progress with projects on the block.  One of our main projects this month has been to do more fencing and we have now finished the western fence line for our paddock extension and have the posts in for the first cross fence of which there are 3 planned.

 

We have also spent quite some time on the caravan and annexe.  Firstly we bolted them together, squaring up the annexe as we did it as it had got a bit askew in it’s travels.  Then we ran flashing between the two on the roof and have sealed up around the edges .  We also redid the support blocks on the annexe, levelling it properly and putting some blocks underneath as well.  We also connected the power to both the van and the annexe.  Most recently we connected up the water, although that still needs further work as only the hot taps work at present and we are not sure why.  Today I hope to collect the carpet that goes in the larger annexe room.  That room has been dubbed “The Music Room” and we have all our instruments available to use in there.

 

 MusicRoom

 

Kim picked up a water bed at a clearing sale ages ago for $2 and as we both hate the mattress we have in the loft we decided to give that a go.  Much to our surprise it seemed to be in good condition and so we set it up for ourselves in the bedroom of the annexe last week.  Lydia has been sleeping on a bunk in the van for quite a few weeks, but Kim and myself just started sleeping there last Saturday.  The only downside is that it is a very large bed and a small room so there is not much spare space.

 

 AnnexeBedroom

 

Josiah moved to a bunk in the van as well so currently there is no-one sleeping in the main house, although we all congregate there during the day and gather around the fire on these chilly mornings – it was 1 degree at 7am this morning and is still only 1.8 outside at 9am.  The days are so short too, it is only just starting to get light at 7 and it is dark at 5:30 each day.

 

 JosiahBunks

CaravanBunks

 

We have had some more pig dramas.  We moved all our larger pigs in together, which seems to be going okay although they all give the big black pig Sweetie a wide berth.  However that meant that the middle sized pigs were running alongside the paddock of the little pigs and one morning we heard squeals and found that Mirax (the naughtiest pig) had gotten through the fence and attacked the little fellows.  We moved them to a more distant area but the little runt is now lame, although improving.

 

We are still persevering with the milking of Isabelle although she is not very happy with the whole concept and uses any excuse to kick us.  The  most we have taken from her is 850ml so far, but then she is feeding a growing calf as well.  And boy is Jack growing.  This is what he looked like at 3 weeks of age.

 

 Jack3wks&Izzy

 

And this is what he looks like now at 4 months.

 

 Jack4mths&Izzy

 

All of our hens seem to have stopped laying for winter.  It is hard to blame them when there is so little light during the day.  We have slaughtered 3 more of our turkeys and they weighed in at a more respectable 2.75kg this time.  I would like to do another 5 this coming week if I can.  I am improving my technique and think I can skin and dress a turkey in 15 minutes now.  I gave up the idea of plucking when I failed to find a water container large enough to dip them in.  Skinning works just fine anyway.  If I want to roast one I have to cook it in the microwave as my regular oven is too tiny for them to fit.  I hate killing things though, but I think that is how it should be.  Anyway I am very fond of my turkeys but they can get in the way sometimes.

 

 TurkeyTrouble

 

Our next project is to get the cooking (gas) facilities and the plumbing working properly in the caravan, including the shower.  Then Kim is going to pull apart my kitchen in the house and install a wood stove which will take over the water heating as well.  We will use the caravan to cook and wash during the process.  We also need to get some sort of heating happening in the caravan as it gets pretty nippy over there some nights.

 

We are thrilled to have another family coming along to our little church.  Josh and Jane recently moved to Mole Creek from Queensland and have 3 young children to add to the mix.  That gives us 22 regulars at church now, up from 4 when we first arrived in Mole Creek 18 months ago.  It also means we have 9 youngsters running around making lots of noise!  How cool is that.  It is wonderful to see God working, moulding our church family in stages.  Firstly we started to attend the church with our family, partly because our cars all broke down except for the rusty old ute that we didn’t want to take any further than we had to.  We decided to commit ourselves to going there and that must have caused quite a bit of adjusting for the old folks, though they didn’t seem to mind.  Over time they gradually began to let us help out with the chores, which was not easy for them as they had been doing it all themselves for many years.  Then Simon and Helen and their 5 children began to come to church as well.  Kim and I could relate to them very well as we have similar ideas about ethical Christian lifestyles and homeschooling.  Their children are just delightful, very calm and well behaved, but still children.  The youngest loves to sing to herself in church – whether anyone else is singing or not.  More adjustments needed to be made by our older folk, but it seemed to come easier this time.  And now we have a new family coming along.  They tried our church because they heard that Kim and I did not approve of women preachers!  Their background is the non denominational church of Christ, and funnily enough Simon and Helen used to go to that denomination which gives them a good basis of understanding where these guys are coming from and is helping them to adjust to our church.  We had a good time on Tuesday at our bible reading and prayer night.  Lots of questions and discussion was had afterwards as we worked out what we all believe, the differences and the similarities.  There are plenty of both but the good thing is that everyone wants to base what they believe on the scriptures which gives us a good foundation to work upon.  We should have some interesting times ahead.

 

On the subject of Christianity we listened to a great sermon last Sunday, downloaded from the internet of course.  It was by Fred from the Branch in Launceston and was on the law and we thought it was very good.  If any of you are interested in listening to sermons sometimes then I would heartily recommend it.  It is titled “Perfect Righteousness Required” and can be downloaded at http://www.thebranch.org.au/?q=sermons

 

Caravan part 2

March 3, 2009

Well, the caravan annexe arrived yesterday.  It arrived on the back of a trailer and we fell in love with the tractor that unloaded it.  We had to remind ourselves not to covet our neighbours ox.  🙂

It still needs more levelling and sealing up but it is actually here and in place.  What a blessing!

annexe1

annexeinsidea