2018-05-26 to 2018-06-06
Robert, Robyn and Simon arrived by mail boat on the 26th and departed by water taxi on the 6th June.
A mixture of sunshine, (infrequent) showers and overcast conditions and moderate winds. Significantly, we didn’t need to use our raincoats at all during the visit. As an aside, there must have been some heavy winds since our last visit in that Trevor’s boat was capsized by a blast and our fish filleting table was blown into the gully at the back.
Solar system. Seems to be working well but still some teething problems. For the majority of our stay we were without a battery monitor which meant that we made conservative use of the power supply (no electric jug, toaster, etc – just occasional use of the washing machine). Simon has procured a device that monitors (wirelessly) the system performance 24/7 (if we had internet coverage we could monitor from our lounges) but not the battery charge %. Mark swung by 2 days before we left, and installed the new monitor and undertook a system check. We paid Mark $100 in cash for his efforts. HOWEVER, next day two ‘shut downs’ occurred, the first being in connection with a few minutes use of the fan heater to heat the hot water gas bottle (see below), the second when using the vacuum cleaner. Mark is unsure why this happened and is giving the matter some thought. I must say that we ‘lucked out’ the day that Dave and Sarah Jane ‘put us onto Mark’.
Firewood. We have enough wood for the remainder of the year. Bruce has spotted a dead Manuka tree for us to harvest. There are some Manuka trees on the bank of the stream just above Peter Abel’s ‘overbridge’ that I suggest we harvest (cut this year for use the year after next). We will also need to find another dead pine tree.
Lawns. The mower is working well. Definitely no need to ‘lock the deck down’ when in use. Trevor had recently mown the ‘Treaty settlement patch’ which was helpful.
Hot Water system. The new hot water works well, however there is a ‘BUT’. On cold mornings / days, the heater cuts out because the volatilisation can’t keep pace with the gas demand. About 1 hour with the bottle sitting in the sun usually ‘fixes’ the problem. Amongst the various suggestions (manufacturer, plumber) – bigger gas bottle, etc., the one that appeals is to configure the system so that we have two bottles supplying gas at the same time. We will need to build an insulated box to help with the temperature control.
Rats, etc. We caught 4 big rats (1 in the new device, 3 in the wooden box) and between 6 – 8 mice. There was a dead stoat in the wooden trap when we arrived. I replenished the gas cylinder and the bait in the new device. We used around 10 baits in the new trap boxes that Robyn procured.
Compost Bin. When Robyn emptied the bin during our previous visit she came across a sizeable rat nest (which was ‘dealt to’). We have replaced the bin with a ‘sealed’ version. Simon dug an egg-cup shaped pit into which we ‘sunk’ one end of a mussel farm float (with multiple small holes for drainage). We then made a lid from the other end. Now impossible for vermin to enter. We think the compost bin was feeding the rats.
Fruit trees. We planted 3 Feijoa trees along the fence where we store the mussel farm floats and an orange and mandarin tree on the edge of the gully directly opposite the filleting table.
Jetty. As agreed with Bruce we checked the situation re the wobbly bollard and jetty apron. I managed to tighten the upper bolt on the front bollard. The lower bolt on that same bollard needs replacing, The washer has rusted away and I doubt that the bolt is adjustable anymore because of the salt water rusting. May need to be cut off with any oxy-acetylene torch. As to the apron, it might be easiest to lash it to the rails of the jetty using stainless steel cabling. (I have all of the measurements.)
Battery cover. I am wondering whether we might build a surround for the solar batteries out of perspex. I have the measurements and design for a surround that would ‘sit on’ the wooden base that Brian installed. Welcome any thoughts.
Communal pantry. Will send an updated list under separate cover.
All in all, a great stay, yet again.
R & R