Organic Design (blog)
|Posted by Nad on 11 March 2018 at 08:23|
This post has the following tags: 2018 Holiday in Brazil
|Mum & Dad arrived in Brazil the day before yesterday! I forgot to take the camera when we left the land and I've also been changing over to a new Purism laptop that they brought over from New Zealand with them, so the blog has started a couple of days late sorry!
They flew from Auckland to Santiago (Chile), spent a day there, and then flew another six hours across the continent to São Paulo, and then took another couple of hours on a connecting flight to Porto Alegre. Meanwhile, Beth and I drove from the land to Canela where we unpacked all our luggage into the apartment we've rented for the week, and then I caught the bus to Porto Alegre about three hours away to meet Mum & Dad at the airport. Their plane arrived right on time and we were on our way to a hotel about half an hour after I got to the airport. The next morning we had breakfast at about 9:30 and then got a taxi to the bus station to get a bus back to Canela. We all arrived in the apartment at about midday :-)
|Posted by Nad on 5 March 2018 at 18:28|
|Oops! I should have posted this a month ago! The bad feng shui in our house has been driving Beth crazy12345 so after getting some emergency interior design advice from our friend Irena, we bought some new furniture in Canela and made some long overdue changes!
|Posted by Nad on 4 March 2018 at 17:48|
|We've been so flat out with so many different things that we haven't made enough progress on the guest house and Mum and Dad are arriving in less than a week! So when the neighbour Vladimir and his friend Bento offered to get the bathroom started we were very happy to accept :-)
They got the main structure and roof done, and half the walls (that was all the wall boards we had), and they got all this done in just one day! The structure is positioned facing north so that I could put the old solar panels on it, but unfortunately only one of them is working now - still a single 150W panel is fine for lights which is the main thing.
|Posted by Nad on 9 February 2018 at 08:35|
|We were in a few days ago for a few bits and bobs when we noticed shop which did satellite internet connections. We'd tried to get satellite a few months ago, but found that we really needed to have our solar system upgraded first, and also the guys didn't want to install it on our house as they said it was too weak :-( they said we needed a strong pole supported by a concrete slab installed before they could come back. Well we told this to these guys in the shop and they thought it sounded a bit suss, so we showed them photos of our house and they said it would be no worries to attach the dish support to the wall like normal :-)
They came and did the installation yesterday, it all went very well except for the fact that the bandwidth provider's system was down and they had to stay here for almost six hours talking to various companies on the phone and waiting for them to return calls!
Finally at 9pm we had a connection! It's working at about 20mbps which is about 15 times faster than we were getting over 3G from VIVO - actually we were getting 3-4mbps from VIVO, but their service has been steadily declining over the past year or so.
|Posted by Nad on 4 February 2018 at 06:54|
|We really love our 'Coski, but we decided that a much smaller one would be better for our tiny house, and also one that's optimised more for heating the place up. So last week when we were in Canela we picked up a small cast iron one with a glass door.
At first we couldn't understand how it could work since we couldn't see any place for the air to enter, and the store owners had no idea that fires even needed air! Eventually we noticed that there was some open space around the ash box underneath.
But then we we got it home and gave it a test run, the fire would only stay alight with the door open! A few second after the door was closed and it would go out and smoke would pour out everywhere!
We were almost ready to take the thing back saying that it was a total design failure, but then I thought it may be best to try it with a chimney first. Well it turns out the chimney's essential, it worked perfectly after we stuck one on the back! It seems that the design relies on the chimney to create a constant airflow outwards so that new air is sucked in through the bottom :-)
|Posted by Nad on 3 January 2018 at 07:41|
|We just arrived back at the land after spending Christmas and new years in Brasília. We were only gone for two weeks but everything's extremely overgrown, so there's a lot of weed-whacking to do over the next few days.
We missed out on some of the first blueberries, but there are still hundreds of new ones growing. The potatoes that we planted directly in the mulch in Bed E were ready too and were almost a success - they were really easy to find and remove and didn't need to be washed, but for some reason, only one of them was a reasonable size, they hadn't developed and were only tiny, so there's still something missing in our process there.
|Posted by Nad on 9 December 2017 at 08:44|
|Our beautiful dog Fluffinha passed away on December the 7th 2017 :-(
Fluffinha (pronounced flu-feen-yar) was only seven months old and came down with a sudden illness. Maybe she ate a poisoned rat at the neighbours or a dangerous mushroom, we'll never know. She was so healthy and active one minute, and then suddenly felt very sick and vomited. We thought she must have eaten something too rotten and would recover after she got it all out, but the next morning she looked really bad, and she went off into the swamp to die! A thunderstorm came in and we tried to find her searching through the thick bush in the swamp in the pouring rain. We thought that if we could find her in time we could take her to the vet, but it was impossible to find a hidden little dog in such a big swamp full of dense bush.
We all prayed for her and sent positive energy for her to recover and come back to us, or go in peace if it was already too late. Amazingly she showed up at Beth's meditation cottage the next morning! She was in very bad shape, we took her into the house to dry her up and she vomited and had a seizure. We rushed her to the city to take her to the vet, but she died on the way.
We drove back slowly and buried her in one of her favourite spots in the shade by the vege patch. We buried her in her blanket with her favourite toy - one of our old work gloves which she used to carry around to different places and chew.
Her life here was so short, but it was such a beautiful place for a dog to live and she had a really happy life here, it was like a paradise for her. She was such a light in our lives too and she'll always be in our hearts.
Here's some recent pictures of Fluffinha that were taken when the three of us went to our local waterfall a couple of weeks ago.
Rest in peace Fluffinha, you'll always be with us in our hearts and we're so glad to have had the chance to spend this short time together in this amazing paradise :-)
|Posted by Nad on 2 December 2017 at 10:30|
|Beth thought that now that we have so much power, she may as well get a decent blender! But the first time she used it (to try and blend up my vegetarian burger mix so I don't starve during her retreat!) it smashed the cup when trying to blend the fava beans! So she took it back to the shop when we went to Caxias yesterday and today she tried using our old blender which worked for a short time and then the motor burned out!!!
It could seem that karma was telling me that I shouldn't have my vege-burgers, but I'm not listening to such nonsense, instead I found a suitable sized socket from my socket set and used the drill to turn the blade - easy! :-)
But karma shmarma, all that's needed is a more extreme form of gambiarra!
|Posted by Nad on 30 November 2017 at 13:06|
But this year we've managed to get a lot more done, although it's been a bit of a last minute rush. We decided to make our own doors because we couldn't find anything nice that fitted, and getting them made was going to take more than a month! We bought some nice wood for it and they turned out quite nicely in the end - we've just finished getting them installed :-)
Last year I felt really nervous with Beth sleeping in the tent in the forest by herself, but I think I'll feel a lot better with her safe in the little cottage :-)
|Posted by Nad on 7 November 2017 at 05:40|
|We made out first panels (2x75w) at the end of 2012, and then made another two 150w panels about a year later. These have served us very well, but we've finally decided to replace the whole set up with a completely new and more powerful system.
First I took all the old panels and structure down. The first pair of 75w panels were in pretty bad condition! one of them had stopped working completely, but amazingly the other was still putting out about 75% power even though all the wood was rotten and the cells were all broken! One of them disintegrated and fell when I was lowering it down with a rope, but luckily the glass didn't break. The second pair of 150w panels were still operating pretty well, but the glass in both of them was cracked, the first by super-hail and the second due to the roof and wood slowly bending out of shape.
The new set up involves 6x260w panels with a 1Kw charge-controller/inverter unit and two 240Ah batteries. I had installed the controller and batteries a few days before, and after spending the whole morning removing the old installation from the roof, I only had time in the afternoon to get one pair of the new panels installed. The next session a couple of days later I got the rest of the structure ready for the remaining four panels. I had to raise two of the bottom ends of the vertical metal bars up a bit to compensate for how bent our roof is! Unfortunately this will mean that the right pair will be at a different angle than the others, but it's better to ensure that the panels are sitting nice and flat than to have it looking perfect.
I had to wait a week before I could finish the installation because our panels are 35mm thick, but the clamps only support 40mm panels even though the shop sold them all together. The manual said that the claps work for both sizes of panel but I couldn't figure out how that can be, the only way I could get it to work was by raising the panel up with a stack of washers! I went back to the shop and asked how the clamps can work for our panels, and after trying to figure it out they came to the same conclusion as me - that they need to be raised up - the odd thing is that nobody had ever reported this problem to them! I got a bunch of 5mm steel pieces to raise them up more reliably than the washers.
The final session to get the last four panels up ended up taking all day and I put my foot through the roof twice! I've just covered the holes with some spare roofing panels for now and will have to nail them in properly later :-( I was just using metre long planks of wood to sit on to try and distribute the pressure to protect the roof, but it wasn't enough, I found that putting the aluminium ladder flat on the roof was much safer and worked well.
Here's a couple of photos of all the panels up and running :-) We can now use all our power tools, the spinner dryer, washing machine and even our vacuum cleaner directly from the inverter!