Organic Design (blog)

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This girl chop wood good

Posted by Nad on 3 June 2018 at 15:12
This post has the following tags: Our sixth year on the land
Beth's been getting really efficient at chopping firewood! Not only that, but she's the only girl I've seen who actually uses the axe with proper technique - there are many videos on Youtube showing women doing a good job chopping their wood, such as barefoot girl, tiny girl or no-pants girl, but their technique is awful! Here's a description of proper technique, and as you see from the video on the right, Beth's really got the knack down pat :-)

Beth loves chopping firewood for dissipating agitation, and especially on cold days to warm up - like Henry Ford said, "chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice!"

Server move complete (again)

Posted by Nad on 30 May 2018 at 19:56
This post has the following tags: Server
It was only a month and a half ago that we completed the move of our server from Codero in the US to AbeloHost in the Netherlands, but unfortunately that just wasn't working out. They're really nice guys, prices are good and support is responsive, but a lot of dodgy spammers, botnet controllers and phishing sites have been using their service and their IP address range has gained a very bad reputation as a dirty host full of crime & abuse! This meant that a lot of the emails sent from our server were being rejected by other mail servers, so we've now just completed yet another move - we're still in the Netherlands covered by Dutch privacy law, but now we're with AltusHost on a clean IP address :-)

We've also just moved all our .nz domain names from to for the same reason that initiated the server move - our financial situation is in limbo at the moment and we've become part of the infamous "unbanked" so we need to move to services that accept crpyto as a payment option. As it turned out Gandi not only accepts crypto, but is also 30% cheaper than Webdrive :-)

Antonio trabalhando na terra

Posted by Nad on 25 May 2018 at 19:22
This post has the following tags: Our sixth year on the land
We now have a guy called Antonio living with us for a few months to help us get things moving on the land. He's been working for Beth's parents for a few years and they highly recommended him to us since he's been wanting to earn some extra money and also have some peace and quiet :-)

He's unbelievably fast and strong! The first job was to rebuild the south fence which was in a terrible condition. But it goes through about 250 meters of dense bush, some of in is thigh-deep in mud and water. I thought this would be the first week's job, but he had cleared the entire 250 metres of bush with just a machete on the first morning, and the fence was completed before the end of the second day!!! He's made and repaired many more fences since then, including about a dozen counter-masters which are used to make a firm ending that has wires pulling on only one side. In his first week, he's also cleared huge amounts of overgrown grass and made many holes filled with manure and lime ready for planting fruit trees!

South fence.jpg
Antonio counter master.jpg
Antonio working.jpg

But he works so fast that we've been unable to get the materials he needs fast enough! Although we have been having extremely bad luck as well, there's been too much rain for a truck to come, and half our trips we've made in the car to Lageado Grande and Canela have been almost a complete waste of time because the things we've needed have been out of stock - in all the stores at the same time! When we finally managed to successfully get an order of fence posts and buy a trailer to carry them it turned out we don't have a tow bar attachment, we got one made, but they took so long that it was too late to pick up the wood so we had to stay in a hotel for the night. Then on the way back, one of the bridges was broken! It looks like truck carrying a load of pine had snapped one side of the bridge and a trailer full of pine logs had fallen into the river! Much of the remaining wood on the bridge was cracked, but we decided to risk it - our load was only half a ton and the bridge still looked pretty solid. Later a neighbour told us that you can actually drive across the river to the side of the bridge, we went back to check it out, and indeed we could get across quite easily, but the river bed is too rocky to try it with a trailer I think.

Just when we thought things were starting to move smoothly with a week of fine days and we were ready to place a big order of materials to be delivered by a truck, all the trucks in Brazil have gone on strike!!! Petrobras wants to raise the price of oil even though the rest of the world is lowering oil prices. It was the last straw for the truckies and they took action, now all the cities throughout Brazil are in a major crisis, there's no petrol in the gas stations and many supermarkets are out of common items! Luckily one of our regular truck guys said he had enough gas that he could still do a delivery, but after he called in the morning to confirm the damn cell phone tower went down and we couldn't answer him!!!

Broken bridge 3.jpg
Driving around broken bridge.jpg
Petrobras truck strike.jpg

The only issue is that it seems like the cold may be a problem, he comes from much further north where it never really gets below about 15 degrees, but down here the early mornings have been well below zero. We're getting the feeling that the isolation, the freezing cold weather and the lack of modern comforts are too much for him and he may cut his time here down a lot :-(

Server move to Netherlands complete

Posted by Nad on 16 April 2018 at 12:49
This post has the following tags: Server
Over the weekend we've moved the server from Codero in the US to the Dutch hosting company Abelohost. Apart from a few small email glitches, the move went very smoothly. The US has been stamping out liberties like there's no tomorrow, and Internet privacy is one of the worst hit areas with abominations like the CLOUD act being signed in. This along with the fact that Codero have never responded to requests I've been making to them for over three years to accept crypto-currencies as a payment option has finally prompted OD to leave and head for greener pastures. We chose the Netherlands as our new digital home because Dutch law takes privacy much more seriously than most other countries in the world, especially the US where the very concept of privacy has been rendered virtually non-existent now. Abelohost use the 100% Dutch Serverius data-center and they accept over fifty different Crypto currenies for payment :-)

We're now running Debian 9, Nginx 1.10, PHP 7 and NodeJS 8.11. All the wikis are running MediaWiki 1.30 which is the first time ever that everything's completely up to date!

Mum & Dad's last week in Brazil

Posted by Nad on 10 April 2018 at 10:38
This post has the following tags: 2018 Holiday in Brazil
After spending a few days in Caxias, we spent the last week of the holiday at our land again, there was a bit of rain, but the view from the guest house is nice especially when there's some mist rolling in over the hill :-)

Mist coming down the hill.jpg

We went for a walk to the other waterfall when the weather cleared up a little bit. We drove most of the way, but stopped the car at the top of the hill at the start of the infamous Vaca Velha trail. I realised later that actually we could have driven all the way to the river as the road only gets really bad a few hundred meters past the other side.

Trilha Vaca Velha.jpg
At the second waterfall.jpg
At the second waterfall 2.jpg

On the way back to the car, we noticed some fallen Pinhão so we collected some to cook for dinner, but then completely forget we had them and had omelette for dinner instead!

Broken pinhào fruit.jpg
Collecting pinhào.jpg

The next day we went back to Caxias where Beth dropped the three of us off at the bus station, and then went to take the car in for some repairs while we set off for Porto Alegre. We spent a couple more days there so that we could go to the public market, and Mum & Dad could get some good photos of some of the historic buildings and go to the museum. And then it was time for them to head back to the airport so they could get their flight to Chile via São Paulo and then a few days after that back to Nova Zelândia.

Returning to NZ.jpg

I got the bus back to Caxias and then we went to Canela in the newly fixed car and spent a few days there for Beth to do her drama course. This time we stayed in the building right across the road from the cathedral which looked right down on the apartment we all stayed in a couple of weeks earlier :-)

Second canela apartment.jpg
Last apartment view from new apartment.jpg

Mum & Dad spending time at the land

Posted by Nad on 30 March 2018 at 17:24
This post has the following tags: 2018 Holiday in Brazil
The holiday hasn't quite gone to plan, first Dad and Beth and now me, have come down with various sicknesses and we've had to cut out all the hot places (which is pretty much everywhere!) and cut the duration down to just one month. We were unable to book anywhere comfortable to stay in Florianópolis due to it being right on Easter, and so we've spent the whole time staying at our land and at a hotel in Caxias!

We have two waterfalls that are a short walk from our land, and we went to the first one last week:

Walking to the waterfall.jpg
Our forest waterfall.jpg
Mum & Dad sleeping at waterfall.jpg

And the rest of the time has been spent reading or doing odd jobs such as chopping and collecting firewood for the winter and putting glass in the guest house windows - while being careful not to disturb the uninvited guests squatting above!

Collecting wood 2.jpg
Guest house windows 1.jpg
Guest house windows 2.jpg

Mum & Dad's 2018 holiday in Brazil begins!

Posted by Nad on 11 March 2018 at 09:23
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 :-)

Chile to Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre.jpg
Mum & Dad at Canela flat 2.jpg
Mum & Dad at Canela flat 1.jpg

We've just been relaxing and going out to nice places for lunch and dinner, but one thing Mum and Dad did do here in Canela was visit the Caracol Falls and go on the gondola which gets some very nice views of the falls.

Caracol waterfall gondolas.jpg
Caracol waterfall.jpg

After that we went to lunch at a nice buffet called Paradouro Rural which is a few km out of Canela to the north, they have good traditional Gaucho food as well as a good vegetarian selection for Beth and I, some nice speciality beers and some free Cachaça ;-) They also have tables overlooking a really nice view of the valley, those eucalyptus in the background are around eighty meters tall! It's amazing that it's only 40km from our land, but yet there's tropical fruit there that's really thriving like papaya and banana.

Paradouro rural 1.jpg
Paradouro rural 2.jpg

Unfortunately, on what was to be our last day here in the apartment in Canela, it was pouring with rain all night with thunder as well. We thought this probably wouldn't be a very good situation to go to the land in, so we've extended our booking until Monday, and then we'll go straight to Caxias from there. We can do a day trip to the land if the weather picks up, and stay there for longer after Caxias. So meanwhile we've set our selves up for some rainy days in the apartment :-)

Computer family.jpg

New house design for 2018

Posted by Nad on 5 March 2018 at 19:28
This post has the following tags: Our sixth year on the land
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!

2018 house interior 1.jpg
2018 house interior 2.jpg
2018 house interior 4.jpg
2018 house interior 3.jpg
2018 house interior 5.jpg
2018 house interior 6.jpg

Guest bathroom started

Posted by Nad on 4 March 2018 at 18:48
This post has the following tags: Our sixth year on the land
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.

Vladimir and Bento building bathroom.jpg
Guest bathroom structure done.jpg
Power to the guest house.jpg

We're on satellite now :-)

Posted by Nad on 9 February 2018 at 09:35
This post has the following tags: Our sixth year on the land
We were in São Francisco a few days ago for a few bits and bobs when we noticed a 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.

Info.svg HughesNet Brazil connects us to the Eutelsat 65 West A Satellite which covers mainly Brazil but also other south and central American countries and the Caribbean. Eutelsat (European Telecommunications Satellite Organisation) is a European satellite operator who have 40 geostationary satellites in orbit, ours was launched in March 2016 by a French Ariane 5.