Archive for the ‘Milkenunny’ 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!

Family Visit and other updates

May 29, 2017

We just had a terrific time with my folks who came to visit for 2 weeks.  They stayed at the Mole Creek Guest House, which we thought would be rather more comfortable for them than it would have been here – with an ensuite and level floors and other such luxuries.  🙂  They had a lovely view of the creek and gardens from their rooms.

Autumn Leaves at the Mole Creek Guest House

We decided to all have some time off ourselves, to make the most of the short time we had together.  Given that the folks are not quite as spry as they used to be, we did less long days out and hiking and more short day trips, and we went to a few places that none of us had ever been to before.  To begin with we visited the Deloraine Museum.
Cathy at the Deloraine Musum
and saw the Yarns display there, which was quite fascinating and very well presented.

Deloraine Yarns Display

 We saw water birds and platypus in the wild at the Tasmanian Arboretum too, which was a more interesting place than I had expected.
Tasmanian Native Hen (Tribonyx mortierii)
One of the longer day trips was to the Wadamanna Hydro Power Museum, via the Great Lakes up on the Central Highlands.
Turbines at at Waddamanna
We had a lovely $5 fish and chips lunch at the Breona Pub on the way.
Cathy, Vern and Judy at the hotel in Mienna having lunch.
It was also interesting to visit Home Hill, the home of Tasmania’s only prime minister Joseph Lyons and his family (thanks for the idea Auntie Judy!).
Sam, Lydia, Cathy, Judy and Vern in the dining room at Home Hill
The other long trip we did was to go up the Tamar Valley where we stopped at Platypus House, Seahorse World and the old Beaconsfield Mine.  This was a rather special trip as all of the family managed to come along for once – it did make it a bit expensive though!  We managed to time it well so that we had the platypus tour to ourselves and all the critters were out and about for us to see.  They have some echidna there too.
PlatypusHouse1
It was nice to be able to see the platypus from under the water for once.  Kim got a lovely bit of video which I hope to put up on my blog soon.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus Anatinus)

Platypus2

Then next door there were lots and lots and LOTS of seahorses!
Seahorses
After that we went down the road to the Beaconsfield Gold Mine museum.
BeaconsfieldMine4
There were plenty of hands-on activities at the mine, which made it fun and interesting.  We ran out of time there in the end, and would enjoy going back again one day.
BeaconsfieldMine3
Grandma at the Beaconsfield Mine Museum
BeaconsfieldMine5
Vern, Kim, Caleb, Josiah, Lydia, Sam and Judy at Beaconsfield Mine Museum
The photographer kept busy as always!
BeaconsfieldMine2
Mum and Dad were also dragged along to various church related events, of course, and did lots of talking!
Judy Pascoe
Dad’s new hearing aids get the thumbs up.  🙂
Vern Pascoe
They also got to watch us doing some odds and ends around the block – including re-running the water pipe from the new pickup area down to the house,
The 1 1/2
and hooking it all up.  The water pressure is much better, and should not slow down and need pumping anymore as it self primes with this new system.
HookingPipe
RunningPipe3
Turning the pipe back into the pickup area was a bit of a difficult job.  The pipe didn’t want to turn, the banks were slippery and the water was freezing – so we had to come up with an innovative solution.  🙂
RunningPipe4
Sadly the time flew past, and all too soon Mum and Dad had to head back home.  I confess to getting just a little bit teary!
Judy Cathy and Vern at Launceston
Qantas did a great job of helping them on and off the planes on their trip though, Mum even got to have a wheelchair ride up the ramp.
FlightHome
We were very sad to see them go and our life has somewhat reluctantly returned to normal again.  Still, we are left with lots of good memories, and Skype is wonderful to catch up on.
I’m not planning on drowning my sorrows, but I did end up with 95 small bottles of apple cider on the weekend.  🙂  I hope it tastes good when it has fizzed up a bit.
AppleCider
In other news our fridge died recently and we had to look around for a replacement.  We decided we should take the effort to find one which suited our new off grid system and used very little power, which reduced the options a lot and pumped the price up a fair bit in exchange.  In the end we bought a fancy Fisher and Paykel and I am left with a bit less freezer space, which I miss, but a lot more fridge area, which I am enjoying.  It also gives us filtered cold water and ice cubes!  It was another big expense (sigh) and was a major job to shift it into the shack, but hopefully it will work well for many years to come.
The new fridge
Lydia and I also went down to Hobart one weekend to go to a dog show.
CorgiShow
Lyd has a bit of a passion to breed corgis, and this seemed a good way to contact some breeders and see what the scene is like.  We saw a lot of corgis, both Cardigans and Pembrokes, and have definitely decided that we would prefer a Pembroke.  Having Okami has made us realise we enjoy having a cheerful dog, and the Pembrokes seem pretty cheerful while the Cardigans come across much more soulful (but don’t you just love that face!).
CardiganCorgi
The result is that we have our name down on one breeder’s list to get a female pup, possibly in about 6 months though it may take longer.  There is a major lack of available corgi puppies in Australia at the moment.  We stayed overnight in Oatlands and watched some dog herding in the morning before heading home.  We even saw a corgi herding, but I have to say the Border Collies were better at it.  🙂
And I think that is all our news for now.  Best wishes

He’s back

April 10, 2017
Our favourite worker is back this week with his little excavator, preparing to improve the pickup point for our water pipe.
That will also mean that we can run a second pipe for the micro hydro system we have planned.
Here he is up the top of the block – this photo is called “Find the Excavator” and it might give you a little idea of why we need an excavator to clear a path to the creek.
Rod working his way through the bush in the excavator
Here is a clearer view of him doing some clearing.  You can see the current water pipe there too.
Rod in the excavator making a path for the micro hydro pipe

We decided it would be really good to clear a track alongside the pipe, so he is following my markers on the trees to see where the track needs to go.

Rod in the excavator making a path for the micro hydro pipe

Having this little track will mean it will be much easier to run the new pipe, as it was a bit hard to find the old pipe under all the bracken, sticks and leaf litter before.

Rod in the excavator making a path for the micro hydro pipe

We are considering burying the pipes this time since we can actually see the ground now.  That will also hopefully mean we can keep the track clear using a brush cutter and/or slasher without risking cutting the pipes.

Rod in the excavator making a path for the micro hydro pipe

And here he is nearing the homestead.  🙂

Rod in the excavator making a path for the micro hydro pipe

It is so exciting to think we may actually have the micro hydro in before winter!!!  If not we will at least be well on the way.