Organic Design (blog)

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Mechanics come to visit Nivinha!

Posted by Nad on 26 June 2016 at 16:47
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We've always noticed another Lada Niva whenever we visit Canela, and last time we went there for supplies a couple of weeks ago we decided to stop and ask the owner if he'd be interested in, or knew of anybody who'd be interested in buying ours since it's just been sitting there for two years now.

It turns out that the owner of this other Niva, Riccardo, is a mechanic and he knows our neighbour Juca and said he'd be visiting him in a couple of weeks and could pop in and look at our Niva :-)

Well today was that day, and in late afternoon a whole bunch of them turned up, not only in the Niva, but another jeep and a "Gaiola" which is a car made up of all sorts of pieces of other cars and are not generally legal to drive on the roads.

Mechanics Niva.jpg

The instructions Juca gave them to find us was to carry on until they were sure they had gone further than anyone could possibly live and then keep going!

We heard all their loud engines stop in the field when they arrived, so I went out to tell them they should carry on through the forest. They thought I was kidding and I had to run ahead and wave for them to follow me!

A bunch of them adjusted various bits and replaced the coil for about twenty minutes, and then vrooom! she started! A bit smoky at first, but it cleared up after a while. Unfortunately they couldn't get it to actually drive, as they said they'd need to return with a few more parts, but apart from having a very old engine it's actually in pretty good shape :-)

Mechanics looking at Nivinha.jpg
Nivinha starts after two years.jpg

They're going to come back in a few weeks for lunch and more repairs, and then I think we may have to let them take Nivinha away to a better home with someone who takes proper care of her, but we'll be very sad to see her go :-(

The tiny garage

Posted by Nad on 24 June 2016 at 15:14
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We've all heard of tiny houses, but how about a tiny garage? Over the last couple of days I've been upgrading the trailer in it's capacity as a tool shed so that we could move them out of their temporary location in the house - after being there for over three years there was an extreme rolling pin risk associated with leaving them there!

Here's what the tools were like before and now:

Tools organised 2.jpg

And here's their new location:



Posted by Nad on 19 June 2016 at 15:21
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
You may remember our simple gambiarra washing machine from our first year on the land,
DIY manual clothes washer.jpg
Washing with DIY manual clothes washer.jpg

This idea has worked well for us, but we were starting to wonder if it may have something to do with the slightly sub-standard washing results get regularly, such as the following example...


So Beth thought it would be a good idea to get a "tanquinho" which is a very simple kind of washing machine that's basically just a tub with a motor to shake the clothes about and a timer. You just fill it up with soapy water manually, and it only needs to run for about five minutes, so it's no problem to use with the generator. It's a lot less work and is a perfect compliment for the spinner dryer we got last year.


Back to the land from NZ

Posted by Nad on 14 June 2016 at 15:19
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We finally arrived back at the land after our three month holiday in New Zealand! We stayed at Mum and Dad's place in Devonport and just spent time there to catch up with friends, family and spinach pies! We left a few days ago and after three planes, a bus and a hire car we've finally made it back!

We're always very nervous coming back to the land after a long while away as we never know what will be in store for us out here in the wilderness! Things weren't perfect when we arrived back, but not as bad as arriving back to a house burned down by lightning or sent off down the river by a flash flood!

The first thing we noticed when we got to the gate was that all the grass was still nice and short - that can only mean cows! There's no sign of any now, but there were cow pats all over the place, and when we got to the house everything was knocked over and the vege patch destroyed! They had snapped one of the corner fence posts and eaten everything except the lemon tree :-(


It probably looks worse than it actually is though since this is the first time we've arrived back in winter after a long time away, so all the bracken is dead and many other plants are without any leaves.

But anyway it's really nice to be back home again :-)

Oh and one more thing before I sign off....

Party.gif Party.gif Party.gif Happy birthday Itamar from Beth and Aran!!! Party.gif Party.gif Party.gif

Cute well lid

Posted by Nad on 5 March 2016 at 05:53
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We made this cute lid for the well out of the off-cuts from the wall boards :-)


Main work on second house done

Posted by Nad on 29 February 2016 at 17:54
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We've been taking it a bit easier over the last few days since we got to the most important milestone of being able to take a photo for the power company :-) In the last few days we've just slowly put all the walls on, and now all the left over wood is stored safely in the house so it will stay in good condition while we're away.

We'll probably hire a car before we leave so we can pick up a bunch of nails and bolts since we've had to ration nails a bit and couldn't put the roof over the extension without it being firmly bolted in place.

We also have to put on the "matajuntas" which cover the gaps between the wall boards, but we're going to let the wood dry out a lot first since it had gotten quite mouldy sitting out in the rain for a couple of weeks.


First wall done

Posted by Nad on 25 February 2016 at 17:09
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
Today we got the first wall done! This is an important milestone because it allows us to get a photo of the house looking complete as seen from the power pole. The company that will connect the power to our pole requires a house to be within forty metres of the pole and they need to see a photo of the pole and house before they'll book the job. So now using the second photo below, we can go to São Francisco de Paula and book them to come out and connect us! We'll also buy a whole bunch of nails and bolts so we can finish everything off properly. The last photo shows the power pole viewed through the window.

Roof almost done

Posted by Nad on 24 February 2016 at 15:01
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
Today we only worked on the house in the morning and took the afternoon off because we had a meeting online to attend. But during the morning session we got most of the roof put on - we're leaving the roofing panels off of the extensions for now because we ran out of bolts, so we don't want to put too much weight on them while they're only nailed in place.

We installed the capping after the two sides were done by having me on top of the roof in the middle and Beth passing the capping pieces up in a bag on some string. Unfortunately the capping was a bit of a disaster :-( we decided to use the only type that the store had so that it could all be delivered in their truck, but this kind is a real pain and not very effective either! It's made of the same material as the panels and corrugated to fit it, and it comes in two separate parts that join in the middle, but the join isn't very good. We'll have to put silver tape over all the joins when we get back from New Zealand - or maybe we'll just rip them all off and use aluminium capping which works really well!


Still, the main reason for getting this little place built now is so we can get our power put on, so a few leaks isn't going to be a problem for that purpose. Here's what it looks like now:


Frame completed!

Posted by Nad on 23 February 2016 at 17:00
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
Today is day 8, the first day of the second week. In the morning I put the second two windows in while Beth measured and cut the surrounding frame pieces. Then in the afternoon we finally got the last three perlins in place which means the frame is totally completed now and tomorrow we move on to the final phase - roofing panels and walls! As you can see by the dim light and the state of Beth collapsed in the corner, it was a long day and motivation's wearing thin - hopefully moving on to walls and roof tomorrow will get us fired up for the last little bit!

The first window!

Posted by Nad on 22 February 2016 at 17:54
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
Today we finished off the extensions, and finished all the not-scassors then got the first two perlins on. We then did the door frame and window frames and got one window in place! The window might be slightly premature, but we saw some bugs had started eating them and decided they would be safer getting rained on than staying with all the bugs! We'll put some termite poison on them tomorrow.