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My Escape To Reality.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last weeks's adventure in paradise...


Dry and hot but as always, great to get out of the cesspool of Sydney.


Had some company this time, the wife, both my sons and they brought a mate each.


I was glad to see my new meters I installed on the power distribution board were still working, hadn't caught fire and burnt the place to the ground.




The solar panels were making good power as you can see. 1st panel bank making 13.7volt @11.6amp and the 2nd panel bank making 13.4volts @8.8amps.


The solar regulators above them are good for 30amps a piece but I doubt I'll ever put that many solar panels up to get to that.




Power from the regs goes into this fuse panel. I'm yet to see anyone make a power board like this as every battery is individually fused protected by a 10amp fuse instead of the normal all batteries linked by a big buss bar.


I did it this way so if one battery in the bank drops a cell and shorts, it blows it's own fuse and takes it out of the circuit rather than shorting out the whole 1100 amp battery bank.


Just something a bit different but I think a lot safer.


The lower left meter is amps being generated and going into the batteries, As you can see maxed out as it is just a 20amp meter. (the next meter to be changed to the new voltage/amp meters that are rated at 100amps).


The lower right meter is amps pulled from the battery bank the house is consuming. ( just the radio at the time).


Three meters at the top..left is volts from solar panel bank one. (same as the new left meter without amps as well)


Right meter is the same but solar panel bank 2) and the middle meter is volts in the battery bank itself.




This picture shows the wind turbine generator regulator in the top right. It puts it's power into the fuse panel exactly like the solar regs do.


The blue box beside it is the remote control receiver that is worked by the remotes in the cars on our cars keyrings.


It is a 2 channel that drives the two relays beside the receiver. I think this is pretty cool myself, It lets you turn on the outside lights of the farm house from a distance so when you drive up in the middle of the night you can light up the area around the whole house so it isn't pitch black in the middle of the bush.


Not only is it safer but makes for opening the house up on arrival much easier. ( I've put a few of these in for some of the locals and the women especially love it.


Right of the receiver is another couple of fuse banks. ( more fuses than a WPC pinball aye).


These fuses are on every circuit going off into the farm house. Everything is fused.


And this is the lighting inverters....




6 individual house lighting lighting circuits plus one for the outside house lighting above.


Battery voltage, (12vDC), in each inverter and 220vAC @ 75watt except the inverters with the small fan mounted on them, they are 150watt units.


The outputs from these go to normal light switches throughout the house for the lights used in and around the house.


So they you have it. How I create my own power and run the farm house from it. A bit different than normal but a couple of mods to make it as safe as possible and user friendly.


The first day I mowed the front paddock using the ride-on around the house and it looks like the locals liked it nicely mowed as well.






Not only the roos but a couple of ducks as well...




Taken a lot of effort to encourage the wildlife back around the house after the previous owner shot absolutely everything but finally they are coming back.


We started putting wildbird seed down that brought in the birds again and the rest of the wildlife seems to see the birds and believe it is safe I guess. Who knows but it is working what ever we are doing.


Now the jobs I had lined up to do...


Generator exhaust pipe now finished...






Works perfect with no leaks allowing me to fire it up but leave the shed doors shut.


Genny only gets used for the micro wave and pinball ATM but that will increase now I guess.


Now the major job I have been chipping away at over the last couple of visits, the big water tanks...




Two 22.500 liter water tanks to go up near the workshop. Only one here because we had already moved one.


One in place...






And finally both in place...










Still needed a bit of leveling that was done later and next visit all the plumbing but I can do that all myself. This was the big job I needed others to help me do.


Now the fun. 3 quads and the two seater buggy all the way to the very back of the property to the creek, (a 3.5km ride that takes 20 minutes at high speed in the day), but we did it at night.:blink:


Sorry about some of the pics not being perfectly sharp but it is night and I really didn't like the idea of taking to long as I could hear pigs in the scrub behind me and I stupidly didn't take my shotgun.


This is the very end of the main track that ends at the creek and this is the turnaround point for the machines...








Well that's it for this installment. Until next time. Hope you enjoyed.;)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well I haven't been down the farm since the last post but just a bit of an update on what I have been doing in Sydney for the farm.


One thing I didn't mention last post was when we went down the back river that night my eldest son's quad broke at the river and in a big way. Jammed in neutral so unable to select any drive.


We left it there and I doubled him back home and we went back the following day and I towed him and his busted quad back home, it went on my truck and it come back to Sydney for repairs.


I went and saw the quad supplier and being such a new quad he insisted on doing the repairs under warranty and it turned out the shift selector bolt inside the gearbox was never tightened and fell off inside the gearbox.


Seeing as I had his quad here I decided to do what I have found necessary on all our quads. Change the way the back wheels are held on the back hubs from bolts to studs.


Yes they have bolts holding the back wheels on. Simple mod, take the back wheels off and put in and loktite longer high tensile bolts from inside the hub so now you have studs sticking out to place the wheel on and fit high tensile flange nuts to suit.


Simple job but now you don't have bolts that come loose by themselves and studs to align the wheel on when changing wheels. $2.40 a bolt and $2.00 a nut is the ridiculous price you pay because they are 10mm fine thread metric high tensile.





I ordered 6 of these lights some time ago to go on the quads specifically for night use as stock quad lights are shit. The stock quad lights are 17watts a piece and put out the light of a bright candle.


These lights are 9watts of LED light and are bright like real bright, problem was the mounts on these lights were useless. I still to this day have no idea what you could clamp them to so the mounts were redrilled and larger bolts used so now they can go on the quad handbars.


Handbars because a lot of the corners on the farm are near hairpin and now at least the light will light the direction the handlebars face rather than straight ahead of the body of the quad...




The last post you saw we moved the two water tanks in place so now with an abundance of stored water, I need to be able to power the water pump to run enough pressure for the showers.


There was enough pressure for the taps and toilets but not enough for the shower heads so a pump is used to boost the water pressure for when using the shower.


This added other problems so I made another power board for the workshop right next to the shower water heater and the water tanks where the water pump needs to be and saved running power from the main distribution board in the house. Remember, the pump is 12vDC so the shorter the cables the better unlike mains AC power.




Pretty cool power board I think.. Starting from.... the left solar regulator that gets power from this its own solar panels mounted on the workshop roof.....

Voltage and ammeter for displaying voltage generated at the panels and current ( amps) going into this units own battery bank.( 510amps@ 12vDC).....


Fuse panel, one fuse for each battery that makes up the battery bank ( up to 6 batteries)...,


Another fuse panel that has two switches mounted to it. ( top switch for top 3 fuses, Bottom switch for bottom 3 fuses)


Middle two fuses are hot all the time.


Buss bar beside is the ground point of all the fuses circuits....


Voltage and Ammeter is voltage on battery bank and current ( amps) coming out of the battery bank being consumed by the house.


White box is a weekly timer that can drive a 12vDC load at 16amps total anything from a minute to 10 hours several time a day to once a week.


This I will use to power the pump to the greenhouse water tank that feds the plants drip feeders in the future.


And the two pieces of electronics at the bottom, 12volt to 220 volt invertors for the workshop lights and other low power 220 volt devices.


Looking pretty bare at the moment but a lot of wires in the workshop wire to this board. It certainly won't look this bare when wired in and working.


And lastly this thing....


This is more a "proof of concept" rather than a finished, ready to use part.


When the water pump starts that is connected to the water tank it needs water and seeing as it is the whole farm's water supply you don't want the water tanks connected when you are not at the farm meaning you put a tap on the tank or at least the pipe leaving the tank so if something goes wrong, and things do go wrong especially when temperatures get below -7c which this place does in winter.


Sooooo, I put in an automatic tap powered by a 12vDC pulse to turn the tap on and a reverse polarity pulse to turn the tap off without needing to go outside to the tank.


This is the "proof of concept" I am testing....




It is a car power door lock actuator driving an in line water cock....Yes it is called a cock, a 90 degree tap that turns a ball inside.


You use water cocks and not taps in sub zero climates because taps freeze in place when the water inside freezes where as a cock has no water inside the ball when they are closed so even if the water is frozen in the pipe each side of the cock, you can always turn the cock on allowing the water to pass through when it thaws.


Anyway just a bit of an update even though i haven't been down for a couple of weeks.


Thoughts on THE COCK?

Edited by Autosteve
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Shit, didn't realize I left a picture of the distro board out. My bad all fixed now.


Yep cock and one ball. Noob mistake using a normal tap. Incredible what goes wrong in sub zero temperatures.


My neighbour told me of one of his mishaps. He had copper pipe in his roof going over the lounge room in his house and went away for a week.


The water froze in the pipe and split the copper pipe which intern allowed his 38,000 liter tank to empty in his lounge room though the plaster roof into the lounge room explaining the reason to always turn off the tap on the water tanks.


Even though I use plastic pipe for our plumbing rated to -60c, the inter connecting pieces are copper and brass.


The plastic pipe handles it because it can swell without splitting. You also need to drain the radiators in things like the tractor for obvious reasons as well or run basically straight antifreeze in winter.


Also you never leave a lead acid battery out over night well not if you want it anyway because when they freeze, they don't hold water and acid again.

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Would an AGM battery be better in these sub zero conditions.


Sent from my MYA-L02 using Aussie Arcade mobile app


Thanks for the input @kingsarcades


I have used a number of different battery types. Deep cycle wet, dry cells and normal wet either vented or non vented.


The last batteries I was using before the last change over were out of Jeeps I'm pretty sure the guy said.


Because Jeeps are sold worldwide they fit waterless wet cells but as soon as they come to Australia the batteries are swapped for cheaper water type cells and the more expensive waterless are sold off separately.


They lasted 4 years by I did run rejuvenater through them twice in that time.


Now I'm using mainly these...




The wets are fine inside the house but in winter outside no.

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  • 1 month later...

The wife and I did a quick one day down and back 500kms round trip today to take stuff down for the Easter weekend, grab some sizes of stuff I need to make, grab my son's old auto quad, ( it needs a lot of welding work and a few other things), and get some sizes of steel I need to order for the carport she wants.


There was also checking to see the pipe I bought suited the gas hotwater flue, it does.


What parts I need to get the roof water across to the two new water tanks.


Checked out the part of the concrete slab I need to cut to get an assess hole to the sewer pipe. I've got to get an inspection cap in for ease of clearing blockages.


She who must be obeyed had great delight in pointing out a heap of trees she wants gone this year as part of our yearly fire fighting program.


This is good, I will cut them down and pile them up so when I go down for out yearly burn off week, they will be good to go.


I like to leave the piling of trees till after snake season as they become snake havens if I do the stacking in summer.


Speaking of our yearly burn off week, I'm thinking this year I may open this to some of you guys should you be interested in August some time.


Not exactly a pinball party, I only have a Bally Black Pyramid, a pool table, table tennis and a Dynamo air hockey at the farm, but anyone that loves chainsaws, tractors, quads a lot of hard work and big arsed fires who knows, you may love this shit.


This year I'm also looking at building a bridge over a creek so I can access the back of the property with the tractor and vehicles other than quads so a lot of trees going into that job.


Temperatures are usually around zero but three wood fires in the house keeps that around 25c overnight.


Anyway, more seeing if there would be any interest rather than anything set in stone ATM.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Farm tonight for a week of hard labor.


Couple of grand of steel arriving tomorrow morning that is going to be a 3 car carport if I get it right.


Nothing to technical, just needs to withstand the 100km/h winds we get there regularly.


All the lengths of steel are oversized that I cut to size so no joining on this one.


Wife and son will be down tomorrow so we should be right at getting up the two 9 meter long "C" channels.


All the frame will be 10mm bolted and I think I may triangulate the uprights to help with the wind.


Legs will have 12mm Chemsets holding it all to the slab.


The overall roof size is 9000 X 6000 and it has a 5800 X 2800 patio roof attaching it to the house.


Carport roof is made using 4700mm corrugated sheet and the patio roof is made of 3000mm clear corrugated suntuf sheets.


I'm hoping to knock this job over in a day or two because I have a heap of other jobs I want to get done.


I have two new modified flipper sets to go in the Black Pyramid pinball. Should be good to try out how good they go.


Gotta jack hammer a square in the concrete slab to access the sewer junction. Idea is to put in an inspection cap with a breather pipe going up above the roof height.


Looking at putting a 7amp hour battery in line to the house radio amp. It is cutting out on the bass when the volume is high so hoping the battery works like a big arse cap to maintain the current when the bass hits. Radio is actually feed by 25amp cable but it is about 20 meters from the battery bank so i hope a battery will be a quick fix.


Heaps of tractor work to do as always. Trees to be dragged, dirt and rocks to be moved.


Trees to be cut down and processed. Want to drag some cut trees down to use for the bridge over the creek.


The roof water needs to be connected from the roof to the two new water tanks. Bit of gutter work and piping,


Hotwater system needs the heater flue put through the roof, pump attached to the water lines that feed the heater and I should have two fully working showers...Yeee haarr. Only taken 7 years for unnecessary hotwater shower to be done.


Other assorted jobs to make the place better as time allows but lets see what I can get done in this 6 day stint.


I'll bring back some pictures with a bit of a story when I come back maybe even some trail cam footage.


I suppose the biggest regret is not being able to meet some of you guys at Tony's party as a result of this.


Again, thanks for the opportunity Tony and you know what I said on the PM I sent a couple of weeks ago.


I hope all goes well to all those that do attend. I'm sure the party will go well and all do enjoy. Have a good Easter all.



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Six days in paradise or hard labor as I refer to it at times.


Tuesday night I go down to meet the steel truck Wednesday morning at 9AM.


Steel truck with the steel...




Such a big truck for my steel...




16 pieces of corrugated roofing sheet, 2 X 9 meter lengths of C channel, 8 lengths of 6.5 meter C channel, a top capping and 8 X 6.5 meter lengths if top hat.


The wife, youngest son and I built this up on Wednesday. Arse of a day in bright sun but it has started...






After no relieve from the sun, I went on with other jobs. Jack hammered the concrete slab so I could access the sewage and clear a blockage. There was an inspection cap but it was under a secondary slab we had laid.


Lucky I have taken pictures and looked back to see exactly were it was and where I jack hammered, found the cap pretty easy, cleared the blockage and extended the inspection cap above the new slab height finishing by re concreting around the new cap.


Another job, connect the roof's water to fill the new water tanks. I made up the gutters by fitting the downpipes in the right locations that lined up with the tank inlets and connected with 90mm storm water piping...




My mate arrived Saturday night and after a night of pinball and a few indoor jobs we had Sunday. As always looked like it may be cool with a early fog but that didn't last before the baking sun again...




I wanted a tree down near the house because it was a "widow maker" just waiting to kill being half dead...






And now it is down unable to kill anyone. Bit upset it was the home of a pair of Sugar Gliders that quickly came out and ran up the other tree beside it.




Back to the carport Monday morning 1/2 the roof on...






A couple of hours later all the roofing on...






Didn't get out on the quads so I set the trail cam up near the house at the top of the hill to get some bird pictures.


Some rather good ones I thought...


















Anyway, that's it for this installment of "My Escape To Reality". I hope you enjoyed.;)

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I was going to buy a Lucas Mill for the farm to start turning out some timber slabs so the farm starts to earn it's keep but they are $10,000 and that kind of money is miles off.


I've come up with one of these as a much cheaper alternative. Sure the wood isn't polished like the Lucas can turn out but, it is still very good sellable lumber.






I've seen them use these on one of my favorite farm shows, "Alaska, The Last Frontier" and am surprised to see these "Alaskan Mills" are available here in Australia.


You clamp on your chainsaw, put the guide rails on the log and start slicing turning out perfect slabs of lumber that just so happen to be worth a fortune especially when it is some of the gums and pines we have.


It really sickens me to see some gum trees being blown over a meter and above in diameter simply rotting away when each tree slabbed up could be returning close to a grand a tree of I can process it.


I figure if I process a couple of these "fallen" trees I could then proceed on to a Lucas Mill anyway.


Anyone have any thoughts on these "Alaskan Mills". Has anyone used one before or am going to be a virgin on this highly dangerous, big arsed chainsaw powered machine?.


Here is some clown using one...





Anyway, open to thoughts on this.

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I've seen a few people using them on youtube, looks pretty straight forward.


Do you have a 60 inch chainsaw though :o


No, not a 60". I think I can upsize my biggest to a 54" bar but you don't have to use a 60" unless you want to cut that bigger tree.


I do have trees that big so maybe a 60" or larger will be on the birthday list this year or maybe the first buy from the lumber sales.


I do agree it does look pretty straight forward and it is easier using one of these at the tree rather than dragging the logs back and cutting up later. A Lucas Mill is not the sort of thing you want to move around to much.


Some of the trees are a kilometer or two away from the house and with one of these I could be slabbing the tree up making it far easier to move.


I have a shipping container that I will convert into the wood dryer... A couple of 8" PC fans blowing air in the container and a couple at the other end of the container sucking air out all solar powered.


There is a guy near our farm with a Lucas Mill and this is exactly how he drys his timber. It takes about 2 months but his problem is he can't keep up with demand.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another 5 days in paradise.


Put the capping on the carport roof. Also swapped out a heap of black 10mm bolts with the proper gal ones I ran out of last visit...



Put up the clear roofing on the verandah between the carport and house. We now have somewhere to put chairs that don't get wet from dew in the mornings...



The idea is to continue this clear roofing around the house but I ran out of steel and considering this part of this project come about solely because I accidentally doubled the order of clear roofing, I now need to order more steel to finish off this part of the job I wasn't expecting to do.


Still, the wife managed to put the existing roof to good use even though I haven't finished it...



Just a look at the corners. No brackets used, I just form the steel to have tabs that attach to the other pieces of steel so basically make the brackets part of the steel beams.



What I get is much stronger joints and it looks a lot cooler to I think. It requires a bit of thinking ahead allowing for tabs but using my tool of choose, a Ryobi battery angle grinder with a 1mm cut off wheel with no guard, it is like drawing with an angle grinder.


Cut up a big tree we felled last year. It was laying on the ground and just needed to be cut up for the block splitter where it can dry out for a further 4 months before we need it and this is all that is left now, one of the wood piles to burn this burn off trip in August...



The logs ready for the block splitter. I split a couple before the back didn't like it so the rest can wait till the next visit...



What was left after the back started complaining. I can't bitch, the back let me do a few of them...



This is my hotwater system. Auto light LPG unit it is and this has been a long term project. A hotwater shower but it is nearly done. Chimney went in this time and water pump hooked up to the water tank. (All good things take time)...





Should be good to go next visit. Hot water shower, yeer harr..


I put a couple of down pipes from the upper roof over to the workshop roof so the upper roof can also feed the two new tanks hooked up to the workshop roof...



I made this power board up a couple of weeks ago and now she is wired up. It's a second battery bank that runs off a small 300watt solar panel bank that I still need to move the panels and connect it's wires, again, next visit...



Just a picture of the front dam showing how low she is down about 1 1/2 meters from winter last year. We really need rain not only for the dam but also those new 22,500liter water tanks I recently hooked up. They are still near empty.



That's all I have this visit. Until next time.

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  • 1 month later...

Just a quick day and a half to get a bit done this time. Winter has definitely arrived if not for the cold yet, the much shorter daylight hours have arrived for certain.

5.30pm and it's all but dark.


I arrived with drizzling rain on Saturday afternoon which gave me the chance to check all the downpipes I connected were directing water into the two new water tanks. Everything is working as planned, we just haven't had good rain to really get anything in them yet.


The original 9000 liter tank was overflowing so I connected a hose between it's outlet tap and connected the other end to one of the 22,000 liter tanks outlet taps. It took a while but over a couple of hours I was able to get about 5000 liters of water to transfer over to the near empty 22,000 liter tank so at least water going into the 9,000 liter tank isn't just going on the ground now.


Well not till it gets another 5,000 liters in it anyway.


The major job planned was the outside verandah roof over most of the back verandah. Idea is to get a covered area over the verandah but to look pleasing that suited the house.


This is what I come up with.Lots of angles conflicting making optical illusions parts are not level or square. Belief me, everything is square and level.;) It is an optical illusion in the pictures.










Didn't get it all finished unfortunately. Still need the corner completed and to continue the roofing under the balcony and

up to the workshop.


The plan is to eventually do the front of the house as well so you can walk around the 3 sides of the house under cover but that can wait ATM. Workshop and water tanks take up the 4th side of the house. To many more pressing jobs that need some love.

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I have just spent the last hour going through this thread and half a box of tissues wiping drool from my dropped jaw. Words cannot describe......... If at any stage you are looking for a new best friend please dont hesitate to call......... no really............... when your good and ready.................. how about now?................ what?????
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Perfect!!!!! My formula is simple. Formerly being of Old school management I am awesome at looking at a project and collectively brainstorming ideas. Once we set a devised plan in action I will sit my arse down on a very comfortable chair with a beer and some roo jerky and bark out orders..... That is If Im not chasing that Fallow spikey with the .270!!!! And the "viola" a bridge appears!!!!!! Amazing or what? ............. what? :p
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Just a quick visit to finish off some jobs this long weekend.


Verandah roof now finished well until I start the other side of the balcony and the complete other side of the house I suppose.




This picture shows the other side of the balcony that I'll do next if for nothing else to cover the firewood supply...




I put a few triangulations in the carport design to stiffen it up a bit. We do regularly get 100km/h winds here...




Last visit to the local tip I picked up a 44 gallon drum so I could turn it into a rubbish processing unit. Don't know about you guys but my folks when I was a kid always had a rubbish processing unit in the backyard...




Look at that, a perfect example of a rubbish processing unit. Only cost me some good quality rubbish I left at the tip in exchange for it and a $2 5" steel cutoff wheel for the grinder...




Must of been Chinese paint. :lol ...




Next project to build here in suburbia for the farm is a mains powered generator for the battery bank. This is what I've come up with.


A 3 phase AC wind turbine generator. Good for 300watts...






The 3 phases go into this 3 phase AC to DC converter board I re-purposed some time ago...




And a 240vAC motor that I"ll find a vee-belt pulley for it and the wind generator...




The idea is the mains powered motor, which is powered every time the petrol generator is running, spins the wind turbine generator via a vee belt.


The AC power the wind turbine creates is fed into the AC to DC converter board and this now DC voltage it outputs is fed into the solar regulator that drops the incoming DC down to 14.5vDC to charge the battery bank.


Pretty much what the solar panels do except because it is AC, it needs to be converted to DC prior to going into the solar regulator and most importantly when this is running it is feeding in around 30 amps into the battery bank no matter what the weather or sun conditions day or night.


Also 30 amps is about the most power I have seen ever come from the solar panels on the best days in summer only.


Seeing as I run the petrol generator to power things like the pinball, micro wave oven etc and it can output 7000watts, it seems logical to get some of that power to charge the battery bank rather than being totally reliant on the sun that this last week has been non existent with all the rain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Paradise has become very cold. The cold and frost has made life a bit on the harsh side to say the least but such adversity is set to try us I suppose.


Two nights of below zero, a -3c and a -6c results in things getting frozen.


The dam in the front pine forest. About 25mm of ice on the top. No yabbies at this time of year I'm afraid...




Hoses for connecting the pumps and tanks, all frozen laying out in the sun to de-frost.




My trusty water pump 7 years old and still going strong except when the impeller is locked solid in ice during winter. Two kettles of boiling water and it was still frozen solid. An hour later and it finally freed up...




And a bucket of water I left out over night had an inch of ice over the top of it in the morning....




Still, I love the struggle or else I would stay in suburbia with the comforts of a suburban house aye.


I have been letting the upstairs internal roof stay unfinshed mainly because my kids don't usually come down in winter and visitors tend to stay in the downstairs guest room but times are changing and the 3 beds upstairs are now being used so I thought it about time to get that job done.


I had a couple of packs of foam insulation but not a great deal so it went in first. There was enough o do one segment of the roof...




The rest got done in a second layer of Sarking and 3 ply plywood. Two layers of Sarking @R2.5 each means R5 insulation rating plus the timber should make for some serious insulation.




Still need to add in the skylight but all the rest of the paneling is just about done waiting on a paint job, framing around the windows and walls need painting but fortunately I have two mates that love to come down but always feel they can't help with most of the jobs I do BUT, they just so happen to love painting which is cool.


They can paint all they like while I can go do shit like cut up trees and clear scrub.


Funny, I have people come down to help and they do enormously but often feel as they just watched and something as simple as giving them a job like painting and there whole attitude changes and they feel useful.


Personally it makes little difference to me, I just like the company and no one ever doesn't help it's just that they don't see it themselves as being particularly useful and therefore see themselves as useless.


One thing I will say is most I have had help on the farm have suddenly decided to take on jobs at home much to there wifes' surprise.


Amazing what a bit of encouragement and told they aren't useless can do aye as well as seeing actually how to do shit they haven't seen or attempted before.


Back down in another week for a couple of days but until then, thanks for following my dream.

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