2018-12-15 to 2019-01-05
Robyn, Robert and Simon ‘entered’ via the mail boat on 15 Dec and departed on 5 Jan via water taxi in favour of Kath and Brian.
‘Mixed’ for the first few days and mainly fine for the remainder of our stay – very pleasant.
Lawns / Mower Service Lawns were cut twice – the first ‘run’ with the mower deck ‘floating’, the second with it ‘locked down’. Simon and Robert greased the deck pulleys (necessitating the removal of the deck to gain access to all 5 nipples) and then changed the engine oil. There is enough engine oil in store for an oil change again next year. The oil and fuel filters will need changing at the next service.
Firewood Sounds Air ‘off loaded’ my chainsaw at Wellington Airport which meant that our original plans for gathering wood were ‘thwarted’. However, in return for some ‘favours’, Tony and Deb generously gave us 3.5 trailer loads of wood – mainly Macracapa. There is enough wood in store to last a couple of winters. (Sounds Air wasn’t ‘keen’ on carrying the Lithium battery attached to my electric drill either.)
Track to Tony’s ‘place’ The track was close to impassable when we arrived –for the second time in 2 years. Peter Able had made a start to clear the gorse at the far end, but after some 25 metres his digger ‘gave out’ and he abandoned the task. We started with a ‘scorched earth’ approach (cutting near the base of the gorse) from the other end and after several hours on each of 3 days we cleared the rest of the track, except for about 20 metres at the far end whereby, despite a degree of overhang, the section of track is clear enough for now. We suggest that spraying not be undertaken in order to give the native plants the chance to over grow the remaining gorse presence. A big job!
Track to jetty We ‘fired up’ the weed eater and mowed and widened the track to the jetty, including the pruning of several flax plants that were forcing foot traffic to be dangerously close to the cliff edge.
Clearing under the ‘new build’ Simon spent several hours under the building clearing out all the timber and a significant amount of rubbish. The timber was ‘graded’ with long and medium lengths, being re-stacked crosswise under the seaside end of the building where we once stored the new roofing iron. The rest was carted off to the shed and graded into two piles – ‘might come in handy’ and future firewood. Two planters were made from a mussel float (planted with herbs) and placed across the face of the building where the timber protruded previously.
Solar system and energy monitor(s) The solar system is ‘brilliant’ and has completely transformed the lifestyle of the place. Simon has installed a multi-channel monitoring system with the following features:
One topic that we would like clarified is the preferred minimum battery charge level to optimise the life of our batteries. We understand this to be 70% or thereabouts. Views?
Rats and Mice There doesn’t appear to be significant level of infestation right now. We caught nothing this time around. We changed the bait in the Good Earth trap and installed (via a ‘smart’ device in a new cap) a ‘tracking’ system with the following features:
Log fire chimney The original thought of holding the collar in place with a series of screws is unworkable. Instead, I now suggest that we install a band (a bit like an oversize hose clip) that can be tightened around the main flu and upon which the 3 lugs of the collar can rest – at our preferred height above the smoke outlet.
Garden The plants have done well. We suggest allowing them to go to seed and thereby provide re-sowing.
Biolytix Pump Does anyone know if the pump is controlled by a timer? The reason for asking is that ,if so, it would make sense to have the pump switched on during the middle of the day when, weather permitting, there is peak energy harvesting.
Fuel stack Having ‘topped up’ the boat and the quad bike, we had no petrol left on site. We organised re-stocking via the Mail Boat (1 gas, 1 diesel, 2 petrol). I suggest that for this time of the year we should have a reserve container for both the petrol and the diesel components.
Water system At times the pressure was too low, to the extent that it was a ‘struggle’ to even operate the washing machine efficiently. Thankfully, Brian has tracked the problem down.
Hot water It seems that once the gas bottle drops below one-third full, the gas draw off by the heater exceeds the supply – even with the warming collar in place. This suggests that we should prioritise hitching new gas bottles to the water heater and use the part-empty bottles for the stove and the BBQ. I suggest that the next time a plumber is on site, we investigate installing a ‘double bottle’ set up for the water heater.
Charging station Established a charging station in the bookshelf (very high quality power board) which will protect devices from current fluctuations and enable many devices to be charged concurrently.
Organiser in container Attached a storage organiser to the wall of the container - stores small tools and other bits & pieces.
R & R