Organic Design (blog)

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Fixing Nivinha's ignition barrel

Posted by Nad on 25 de janeiro de 2014 at 09h37min
This post has the following tags: Our second year on the land
Niva coil gambiarra.jpg
Poor Nivinha was stuck in the forest again for over a month at the start of the year when we were carrying some wood from the field to the house and she suddenly stopped. We couldn't start her again, the starter motor would go and the engine would turn while the key was in the start position, but when the key was released to let the starter motor stop, the engine would also stop.

We talked to one of the neighbours who said that it was the ignition barrel needing to be replaced and that a Fiat one should would ok. Beth sent me to get the replacement from a shop on the main road when we were in Canela with her parents, but I miss-heard the instructions and went to our 4x4 mechanic Fernando instead. Luckily he was really helpful and even though he didn't have the right part, he explained that I could temporarily fix the problem by attaching a wire from the positive of the battery to the positive of the coil and remove it when we want the engine to stop. This worked very well and we were able to get Nivinha out of the forest back home :-) This was a real breakthrough for me with my Portuguese learning too because this was quite a complicated conversation and I was able to successfully explain the problem in detail and answer questions about the symptoms and then understand what he said I should do.

Since I have all the manuals with the wiring diagram for the car I was able to then work out what exact connections were failing in the ignition barrel. To fix the problem properly, I first removed the ignition barrel (this short video shows how to do that). The main catch is that the key must be in the ignition and turned to the first clockwise position before it can be removed, also there's a small catch that has to be depressed by poking a screwdriver into the hole (a little above the left hand mounting screw on the barrel). I then opened the barrel by removing the metal ring from the end with the contacts. I found that there was some bad corrosion on one of the copper plates causing it to lift off from the contact. I filed off the corrosion and also added some solder to the contact and the plate since the copper was also very thin and cracked. I then tested the connection with a multimeter and saw that the problem had been solved, so I put it all back together and reinstalled it into the car!

Niva removing ignition barrel.jpg Niva fixed ignition.jpg

Beth's parents come to visit the land

Posted by Nad on 25 de janeiro de 2014 at 08h54min
This post has the following tags: Our second year on the land
Beth's parents arrived on January the 9th and stayed for nine days. They came all the way here from Brasilia by car which is over 2000km! It went really well and they really loved it here! we were a bit nervous before hand because we thought they wouldn't like our basic facilities and having to wash in the river, but they were really happy with everything :-) they brought a huge load of vegetables and fruit trees for us to plant, we have chillis, lemons, pineapples, bananas, mangos, papayas and more! many of them may not be able to handle the climate down here, but we've tried planting them at the border of the forest and the garden where there's no frost but hopefully enough sun.
Beth planting with her parents.jpg Aran, Beth and her Mum planting.jpg

We all went to Canela a few times to go overboard on cakes and coffee! in Portuguese they say "pé na jaca" which translates literally as putting your foot in the durian and it means to go overboard and have too much of a good thing :-) We also had many good meals at home including an indoor vegetarian "Churrasco" on our wood stove which is the cultural style of Brazilian barbecue cooking.

Churrasco de legumes em casa.jpg

It was really nice having them here, and I think it was really good for them to see first hand what it's like here and how we live. The pictures really don't tell the whole story and they were a bit worried about us and thinking it wasn't good for our health and well being. But now they see that this is an extremely healthy and fulfilling way of living and completely understand why we're doing it :-)

The new bathroom

Posted by Nad on 25 de janeiro de 2014 at 08h00min
This post has the following tags: Our second year on the land
For some reason our awesome natural forest toilet isn't very popular with the guests and Beth's parents are coming to stay next week! so we've decided it's time to make a small bathroom addon under the south extension.
Making a bathroom.jpg Making a bathroom 2.jpg Bathroom almost finished.jpg Bathroom finishing touch.jpg

The bathroom needed to be able to be closed and latched from the both outside (to keep the door closed when nobody's in it) and inside while in use. We didn't have any spare latches so I made a cute natural looking one from some spare wood. The latch is on the inside, but has a slit in the door with a large nail attached to the latch so it can be slid open or closed from the outside too - I knew those cool-looking eight inch nails would come in handy some day :-)

Bathroom latch inside.jpg      Bathroom latch outside.jpg