Fatal Error #18

Doing the evening water checks and filling up the stock and garden tanks, I went and had a look at our drinking water tanks. I noticed that there was a little bit of wet ground so I had a closer look…

I found that there was a little weep on one of the poly joins….

I had a closer look by lifting the join up to check underneath… big mistake!!! As soon as I touched it, the weep turned into a gush! Water started spurting out everywhere!!!! Evidently the join was not tight enough and all it needed was a tiny touch and whoosh out came the water! At this point, I may have cursed a little… Now keep in mind that there is approximately 180,000 lt of water pressure pushing out of this pipe and although not fully out, I am guessing that a couple of hundred litres of water came out while I levered and pushed the pipe back in and tightened by hand the join. Soaking wet, I ran up to get my tools and came back down again to repair the leak. Mind you light was fading (I have literally just got in and got dry) and I was starting to panic a little. This was all of our drinking water and if that pipe popped, I could not see how I could get it back on… 180,000 litres of water pressure is just a little too much for even my 53kgs of pure muscle to hold back…

I found all of the valves and shut them off, but there was 1 tank I could not get too (a job for tomorrow) as the valve had been buried… Next I jiggled and levered, loosened and tightened and finally got the pipe back in parallel with the join and tightened again. Using some multi-grips, this join is not undoing any time soon. It was dark by this stage, but I am pretty sure the leak is no longer but will check tomorrow morning.

At worst it will just be a little weep on one of the poly joins…


Fatal Error # 21 – Putting up a greenhouse by yourself in the rain and wind.

Hmmm, well fatal error #21 is – Putting up a greenhouse by yourself in the rain and wind…. won’t be doing that again in a hurry.

Yes I followed the instructions to the letter and I have to say, they suck! Putting the frame up was fiddly enough, but try doing it in the rain and wind! I got the frame up and started on the back end, got all the panels in and as per instructions, started on the front entrance. Well that was my mistake! I should have used my brain and not follow the instructions. Rather than the front opening, I should have completed the sides and corner bracing. That to me makes sense, but alas, I truly thought the engineers and designers knew better, and they designed the instruction manual… Anyway, after a lot of cursing and inventing new phrases, I called it quits in the dark and went inside, just as it started pelting down and the wind picked up a little. Later in the night I went out with the torch to see what had survived…. the greenhouse was flattened! “Crap” I thought – well I actually thought something else, but best not say that here – nothing I could do about it in the dark, so I waited until morning to assess the damage. In the morning I had a good look at the frame and corners, they were in pretty bad shape, but a little bending here and tap tap tap there, are they were as good as new, kinda…

Was going to take a photo of the flattened greenhouse but it was too traumatic for me… here is one of the frame and bracing as well as the front and rear completed.

It poured down rain again and the ground was as muddy as anything, perfect for slipping and sliding! I cursed a little bit more and then got to work. I re-put the frame up and this time put up the bracing as well, solid as a rock! After a long day, I almost finished the greenhouse. I just have the doors, the auto vents as well as boarding up the opening at the bottom and all done!

Most of it is now finished, with the doors and auto vents still to go. Also need to board up the openings on the bottom, may even put in a trap door to allow for some passive cooling and ventilation in summer.

PS – Had a mini heart attack too, Hayley saw the door opening and said “Are the IBC tanks going to fit through there?” #%$*! After a quick  couple of measures, they should fit with at least 100mm to spare!

Hint: When moving cows, shut the gate!

Well I guess the title says it all! It was cow moving time again and this time I thought to myself, “I’ll let the cows into the winter paddock to have a good old run around while I set the next two cells up ready for grazing.” And a good ol’ run they had! They wandered down to the front fence and ate mouthfuls of lush green grass and kept wandering the fence line. Mean while, I was up setting the electric fence and knew that Lightning would easily and eagerly help me move the girls and boy back to the cells. Busy as I was, I forgot to shut the double gates to the winter paddock and the cows made their way to the orchard! As soon as I saw them I dumped my stuff and bolted up there to get them back in. Lightning made short work of them, but they got damn close to having a nibble on the apple trees!

So the moral of this story… shut the bloody gate!

Numb Bum

OK so the topic title this time is a bit dodgey, but tell you what, that is exactly what happened tonight! I got home from work and it was time to move the cows to their next bit of fresh pasture. So I turned off the electric fence, moved the cows into a temporary paddock and setup a new cell for them to graze. I turned the electric fence back on and moved the cows back out and man they were happy! Dang, forgot to move their water trough (an old bathtub). So I dragged the old tub down to the new cell and as I hate double handling, I decided to leave the electric fence on rather than go up the hill, turn it off and then back again to turn it on. I then dragged the tub under the hot wire… yeah well, that was a mistake… I thought I was low enough, but my BUT was sticking up too high and made contact with the hot wire! I have said before in an earlier post that this little solar unit kicks out a bit of juice and has floored me before – literally. Well I can report that feeling is slowly coming back to my rump and next time, I’ll turn that bloody electric fence off!

Hmmm, don’t forget the tap…

Had a bit of a late night at work today and a bit of a rough day, so it was a big relief when I drove down our road and into our driveway. Ahhh home at last I thought. I came inside, all was quiet, the boys (read Number 1 child) needed an “early night”, so they all had an early dinner and were in bed. After finishing off the bedtime routine, I felt like an egg and cheese toasted sandwich. Looked in the cupboard, dang, no eggs, so I went outside in the dark to the Taj to collect a couple of eggs for dinner. On my way past, I did my customary OCD thing of tapping the stock tank to check its level… “Hmm that didnt’t sound right” I thought. I kept tapping all the way from the top, down a foot, down another foot, then right down to the bottom. The tank was empty! How in the world did that happen? I then went and checked all the taps coming off this tank line and sure enough, the tap to the cows water trough was on… in fact, it had been on since the same time last night! SOMEONE (it may or may not have been me) forgot to turn the tap off last night after setting the electric fence up in the cows paddock! So off I went to get the dam pump going to fill the tank back up. While I was waiting, I also cleaned the gutters of the shed collecting water off to the rear double garden tanks. An hour later, stock tank full, gutter cleaned, storm water pipes unblocked and 1 sliced finger courtesy of the roofing iron (cut right through a leather glove!).

Have I forgetten something…. dang it, the eggs!

Lemon Squash

Decided that my tractor needed a name and it really wasn’t long before I came up with Lemon. She is running beautifully now after giving it a tune, distributor overhaul and a carby refurb. From cold, she starts without the choke on the first pop now which is better than before! I still have to adjust the points gap in the distributor which won’t be a major drama, and will also change the spark plugs over. I will clean the old plugs and keep them as spare, but while I am servicing her, I may as well do the rest.

My mate Pete has aptly named his post-hole digger  that I am borrowing, “Squash”. Why you may ask? We were moving it off the trailer yesterday arvo and as we lifted, my fingers were not in the most ideal position. Surfice to say, the auger swung on its pivot point and crushed a couple of fingers. Ring finger on the left hand, where the finger nail had just regrown after a previous crush injury last year, had the nail rip of again! This recieved some stitches and should be ok and the nail shoud regrow again again. But the left index finger is a different story… It got crushed in the pivot point and a chunk of the finger was squashed and removed down to the bone. It was operated on today and the surgeons amputated my finger almost to the first knuckle (according to the surgery notes). I am yet to see the result, so can not confirm how far they went, but am assured they did their best to remove as little as possible.

I would post a picture of the finger, but I think it would traumatise too many people (me included). Anyway, there are worse off people in the world than me. I still have my family and my health 🙂

Lemon Squash anyone?

I know I said I wouldn’t fiddle with the tractor but…

Yes yes, I know I said I wouldn’t fiddle with the tractor but she was leaking petrol. I thought it was the fuel bowl and the petrol was coming through the thread, but on closer inspection, it was the flange weld onto the actual tank. Bugger, going to need a new tank… at $300 there had to be a cheaper way… ah hah! All those 4WD dvds have finally come in handy! I remebered an episode where John Rooth and crew punctured a fuel tank going over some rocks. He used soap – yes that’s right soap – to plug up the hole and then used a 2 part putty to permanently plug the leak. So got the soap, rubbed it in well to seal the leak, cleaned and sanded the area and then applied the putty. 3mins later the putty was hard, 1 hr later it was solid! No more leaks!

Anyway, took her for a workout today, to check that everything with the cooling system was ok. Slashed the front orchard paddock, in ready for the hole digging for our bare root apple and stone friut trees to come in winter. After a good 30mins of work under load, all working perfectly!

Now to source 5 tonnes of lime and 1 tonne dolomite…