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Beth's almost scary forest retreat

Posted by Nad on 10 de janeiro de 2017 at 08h31min
This post has the following tags: Our fifth year on the land
Beth wants to do a ten day forest retreat soon, but because it can flood we decided to make a platform that she can put her tent on safely. Later I'll make the platform into a small A-frame house so retreats can be done more easily without a tent.

We found a nice spot that didn't have any dangerous looking branches overhead. I cleared the area and made some poles to put the platform on, but then got I delayed with finishing the new wood storage.

Beth's forest retreat started.jpg

It turned out it was very lucky I got delayed because right in the middle of the time Beth would have been doing her retreat there, a large tree fell straight over the area right on top of the front two poles!!!

Fallen tree in retreat area 1.jpg

After I started clearing it all away I found that actually if Beth had been there she wouldn't have been harmed because the small tree that we'd left in front of the area had diverted the main heavy falling wood away from the where the platform wood have been! It would have been a real scare but it looks like no damage would have been done. None of the poles had been damaged by the incident.

Fallen tree in retreat area 2.jpg

Finally I got all of the fallen tree cleared away and got back to work - you can see the small protecting tree to the left in the picture below :-)

Retreat area cleared and work continuing.jpg

New wood storage usable

Posted by Nad on 10 de janeiro de 2017 at 08h16min
This post has the following tags: Our fifth year on the land
A few weeks ago our firewood storage collapsed and we decided to design and build something more permanent. A few days ago, it was complete enough that we could dismantle the collapsed one and move all the wood into the new one.
New wood store.jpg
New wood storage usable.jpg

It's not complete yet though, I'm going to put vertical supports on the front as well so the wood can be piled up higher, and also put shelves over so that a second pile can be made above the existing ones while still allowing for good air flow.

Feliz anniversário Beth!

Posted by Nad on 29 de dezembro de 2016 at 06h05min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
Ontem foi aniversário da Beth! Nós tivemos um dia simples sem viajar para qualquer lugar, foi perfeito :-)

Beth cozinhou um bolo com coco, chocolate e framboesa em cima.


The Araucária tree

Posted by Nad on 27 de dezembro de 2016 at 08h56min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
Um documentário lindo sobre o árvore Araucária.

Raspberries for christmas

Posted by Nad on 24 de dezembro de 2016 at 06h02min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We're really pleased that we took the time to save a couple of the raspberries from the ant attacks because they've been amazingly productive. It turned out the cotton wool wasn't very effective (and neither was tin foil which was another method we'd been told stopped them), but the PVC pipes reduced the majority of them, and putting habanero sauce at the top of the pipes when they get particularly crazy works very well. In the last week or so these two plants have been giving us a whole punnet of raspberries every day!
Pipes and wool on raspberries.jpg
Christmas raspberries.jpg

We've found that putting a mixture of yeast and sugar in the path of the ants seems to work very well too, they take some of it back to the nest and the yeast bacteria competes with the fungus that they use all the leaves to produce for food. They have no way to get rid of the bacteria once it starts to grow and have no choice but to close down the whole nest and start another one somewhere else. One big nest about a cubic metre in size has recently been abandoned, but it's important to keep putting the mixture around otherwise the new nest will go through a very productive phase as it grows in size.

It's not a very harmonious solution, but until we figure out a better way it's going to have to do. We've been told that they only go crazy and completely destroy plants like this when there's something out of balance in the environment, so maybe as we make the land more fertile and productive it will help fix the balance and we can co-exist with the ants in harmony - but for now the yeast-nuke stays.

Leelee getting a bit too friendly

Posted by Nad on 5 de dezembro de 2016 at 12h27min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
The other day I was in the hammock eating a hamburger when I noticed some movement on the ground under me. It was Leelee eating the bits of bread that were falling on the ground. This all seemed ok, but then he suddenly jumped up onto the hammock and tried to eat my leg!!! I managed to move the side of the hammock so he fell off onto the ground - he wasn't behaving aggressively, it was more like he just didn't understand which things could be considered as food and which couldn't. Today he's visiting again and hanging around on the door mat - here he is trying to get inside through the mosquito net :-/

Leelee trying to come inside.jpg

The new mulcher

Posted by Nad on 2 de dezembro de 2016 at 12h38min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We collected our new mulcher today from a small town just out of Caxias do Sul called Farroupilha which turned out not to be so small - it looks like it's almost as big as Caxias! But Wikipedia reckons its population is only about 70 thousand, whereas Caxias is about half a million - still, a lot bigger than we were expecting. We chose the store in Farroupilha because they were R$400 cheaper than the next best offer in Caxias.

I got the thing assembled with only a couple of minor problems - I had to bash a couple of bolts with a hammer to get them to line up with the holes and then I had three nuts and bolts left over at the end - but I figured they were probably just spares and the manual was all written in Chinese or Portuguese or something...

It was a bit of a drama at first because we got it started no problem, but as soon as we started pushing some serious foliage in there the engine stalled! This thing's supposed to have the strength of seven horses!!! Luckily we realised after a few minutes of cursing dodgy Chinese manufacturing practices, that we'd forgotten to turn the gas inlet valve to open, so it had been operating on the gas already in the mechanism. After adjusting that, starting it again, and giving it a few seconds to get itself together after having its protocols violated, it sounded a lot better and started mashing stuff up really well :-)


Posted by Nad on 17 de novembro de 2016 at 02h51min
This post has the following tags: Server
Nosso nome de domínio "organicdesign" é muito difícil para os Brasileiros, e também muito difícil para explicarmos esse endereço para outras pessoas. Por isso, eu comprei um novo domínio - agora o endereço do nosso blog é muito simples: Oba!

Obs: Os outros domínios ainda funcionam, esse novo endereço é só para explicar para outras pessoas mais fácil.

Simaltaneous failure

Posted by Nad on 15 de novembro de 2016 at 12h30min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
Yesterday when we were meditating there was a sudden crashing collapsing sound nearby. At first we thought it was a tree falling, but then realised that the fire wood storage house had collapsed!


Then after the meditation I went in to start some work, but the net wasn't working - and it wasn't Vivo's fault this time because I couldn't reach the router at the top of the hill. It was working fine from the mid-point in the field, which meant that the segment through the swamp had failed - not unexpected really since it had suffered a lot of damage in the giant swamp rat attack of 2014. I had done a fairly thorough repair job on it, but it had been damaged in so many places that I didn't expect it would last very long. Rather than try and find the problem and fix it again, I decided we should head to Caxias and get new pipe and wires. We picked up a 300m box of LAN cable (R$350), a 100m of power cable (R$114) and a 100m of PVC pipe (R$150) - we got 3/4" this time instead of 1/2" since it had been so difficult to get the cables through last time.


The job went pretty smoothly this time, we had the fishing line through in less than half an hour and the wires pulled through pretty quickly too without any trouble like the fishing line snapping or disconnecting from the cables. I haven't buried the 10 metres closest to the house where the river goes past when it floods yet, I'll probably do that in the next day or so after fixing the wood storage.

I got a photo of the monument when we were in Caxias this time. We were standing at the base of this monument when we took these other two photos (middle and right below), the middle photo was taken the first time we went to Caxias with Candido when we first bought the land, and the right one we took a couple of years ago on the way back from a cycle trip with Eduardo.

Bike ride with Eduardo 14.jpg

Another interesting thing we saw was these recycling rubbish collectors - they usually have a horse or hand drawn cart, but these guys had done some major gambiarra on an old car. They've sawn off the roof and put an extra story on it for a guy to stand in and put the rubbish in below him! That contraption would be soooo illegal in the west! :-D


Five years in Brazil today!

Posted by Nad on 11 de novembro de 2016 at 14h25min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
Today is 11/11/16, exactly five years since we left New Zealand!

We celebrated with a bottle of our Heles beer which you can only get from Fassbier, our favourite bar in Caxias. It's a tiny semi-private bar run by a German guy who never realises that I'm not speaking German when I say "Euzen falazen ze alemaozen" (Izen speakenzen ze Germanzen)! We're drinking the beer out of jars because we've noticed that it's all the fashion now in the west, all the most expensive smoothies are served in jars like this nowadays :-) Beth made some Brazilian Bolinhos to go with the beer which is deep fried rice cakes :-)

Here's a picture from our celebration, and next to it a picture from Java House in Devonport on the day we left five years ago, it's a receipt for my last coffee in New Zealand which is dated at 11:11 on 11/11/11.