Organic Design (blog)

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The weekend of cars

Posted by Nad on 31 de julho de 2016 at 14h19min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
This weekend was all about cars. First very early on Saturday morning at 6:40am we set off on the two and a half hour walk along the Vaca Velha track to catch the 9am bus to Gramado, and then from there the 10:30am bus to Porto Alegre to pick up the car that Beth's parents kindly sent down for us from Brasília! After the scare a few weeks back getting my finger smashed and realising how bad it could have been if there was nobody around to take me to the hospital, we started thinking that it was pretty risky here without a working car.

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Then on Sunday, I decided it would be a good idea to give Nivinha a good clean since she had a few spots of dirt on her, and our new mechanic friends were due to arrive for lunch and I wasn't sure if they might want to take her back with them. Here's a photo of the cleaning job half way through, if you look carefully you can see one side is clean and the other dirty.

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Sure enough we heard the rumble of their 4x4's arriving soon after, and they promptly set up a Churrasco (Brazilian barbeque), cracked open some beers and got to work. They really liked the new pimenta sauce I found in Nova Petropolis on the way back from Porto Alegre :-)

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It wasn't long before the smell of the meat on the fire attracted an uninvited guest! It was probably a dog that belonged to someone hunting nearby as we didn't recognise him and could hear the occasional gunshot in the forest nearby.

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After half an hour or so we heard the engine going and soon after that Nivinha was on the move for the first time in two years! A couple of the mechanics took her for a drive through the forest and along some nearby trails to get a feel for her condition, and seemed quite happy with things when they returned.

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And then suddenly it was all over, they packed up all the churrasco, got in their cars, said their goodbyes and dissappeared into the sunset with our Nivinha, leaving nothing but half a bag of charcoal and a roll of toilet paper :-(

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The light side of the finger

Posted by Nad on 24 de julho de 2016 at 13h13min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We went to the hospital in Canela a few days ago to get the stitches taken out, and the doc said it's healing very well. After the stitches were removed he gave me a piece metal with foam on one side which is used to stop the finger from bending so the bone can start to heal.
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The bright side of being out of commission is that I've had lots of time to make a good start on my book and I'm really getting in to the flow now. Also it's led to our neighbour Vladimir having to take over the fence repair and he's completely remade it instead of just fixing what was there, so we have a really nice solid fence all the way along that side now!

Beth's had to take over a lot of my jobs now, but there's a bright side to that as well which is that she's learning to use a lot of tools that she was a bit timid of before even though she wanted to be more independent. She's been using the post-hole borer in the field and chopping up fire wood with the chainsaw and axe :-)

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Some more photos of the house improvements

Posted by Nad on 19 de julho de 2016 at 09h21min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
I think we've finished our new feng shui improvements which we've been chipping away at since we got back to the land. Here's a few photos so you can see things from all the angles.

I've made a stand for my tablet to make the desk tidier and to prevent me from having to be hunched over to see the screen when I work, and Beth's varnished some old wooden crates to use for the vegetables under the kitchen bench and the shoes next to her desk. We've also finally felt like the place is in a tidy enough state that we deserve to have our nice cosy rug in the lounge area :-)

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I've added these latest photos the our house article to bring it up to date with the current state.

Winter interior decoration

Posted by Nad on 11 de julho de 2016 at 13h41min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
It was a horrible stormy day today with torrential rain and lots of thunder and lightning all day and last night. We were pleased to see that there were no leaks even after hours of very heavy rain and a friendly visit from the river :-)

Beth decided that since she couldn't do any work on the new vege patch that we'd do some interior decorating instead. So the first job was to connect up our new sink with a pipe so we could actually use it instead of just looking at it! We have a plug that only allows liquid to pass through and that goes through a PVC pipe straight across the lawn into the swamp - we'll bury the pipe soon so it's tidier.

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The next job was to put up a curtain to hide the messy content in the loft shelf. We've also put the bed the other way round and put a book shelf up along the edge of the loft with some material over it as a divider so nobody accidentally rolls out of bed onto the floor below!

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Don't call us, we'll call you

Posted by Nad on 10 de julho de 2016 at 12h02min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We've been noticing ever since the recent tower upgrade that we'd occasionally receive TXT messages on our cell phone in the house, so we decided to stop being so antisocial and get a phone! Here in Brazil you can get cell phones that look like ordinary land-line phones, but they can run off mains or an internal battery and they have better reception than a normal cell phone. These phones also allow connection of an external antenna, so we installed our old net antenna on top of the house so we should have a reasonably consistent phone connection!
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Due to our power constraints, the phone won't be permanently running though, so we'll only be calling out on it usually and not receiving calls unless it's a nice clear day :-)

Never let a good crisis go to waste

Posted by Nad on 7 de julho de 2016 at 16h31min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
We adopted Winston Churchill's policy, "never let a good crisis go to waste", by taking advantage of the need to hire a car and visit the doctor over the last few days, to buy some more supplies. Most importantly was a huge bottle of gherkins, and a few other bits and bobs such as a new solar battery :-)
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Ouch!

Posted by Nad on 3 de julho de 2016 at 06h48min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
Yesterday I was putting in a new fence post when my finer got pulverised with the sledge hammer somehow!

I knew it was going to hurt so I clasped by damaged hand with the other one and was horrified to feel the end of the finger moving about loosely in the end of the glove!

I ran back to the house, and on the way I was imagining the damage, it felt like half my finger was hanging off and I didn't know what state the other fingers were in either. And worst of all if no neighbours were home I may have had to suffer here in pain and loose the fingers completely. For the first time I was really scared of how isolated we are :-(

When I got back to the house I took the glove off carefully and found that it wasn't as bad as I had imagined, it was only one finger seriously damaged, and only at the very end. The ring finger on my right hand was a real mess at the end and snapped about where the nail starts.

Fortunately Vladimir, our closest neighbour, was home and drove us to the hospital in São Francisco about an hour's drive away. They didn't have a bone specialist there though so they just bandaged it up better and put anaesthetic in it since it was really painful by then, and sent us on our way to Canela about half an hour away.

The bone guy at Canela hospital took the nail off and stitched it up and reckons I won't have to lose the end of the finger. He said a new nail should grow back too, but I have to see him again Monday to know for sure what the situation is.

I'm Not really sure how my finger was in the way, but it's a powerful lesson about how we have to be much more careful, and account for the fact that the brain's not working properly after doing a lot of hard physical work! It's also a lesson about how we really do need a working car out here, because a real emergency could happen at any time, and it may well be the difference between life and death :-/

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Click to see the gory details

Upgrading the kitchen area

Posted by Nad on 29 de junho de 2016 at 14h22min
This post has the following tags: Our forth year on the land
The job we've been doing over the last couple of days is to put a proper sink in the kitchen bench and add some shelves under it to the right and then make some sliding doors to cover the shelves on the right hand wall. Everything was just too disorganised and noisy, and although it's still pretty rough by city standards, it's definitely improved things a lot. Here's a photo of how it was and how it is now.
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Mechanics come to visit Nivinha!

Posted by Nad on 26 de junho de 2016 at 14h47min
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.

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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 :-)

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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 de junho de 2016 at 13h14min
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:

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And here's their new location:

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