Up-cycling from Drier to Washer Tub Wood Burner

I’ve stored an old washing machine at the back of the house for years. Today I decided to have a look at it and see what to do with it. It got damaged in a flood and was full of gravel and mud – so basically a write-off. But thanks to to some inspiration from some surfer buddies I met this year (they had a wash drum burner), I though it would make a nice little wood burner. A couple of crow bars and some socket wrenches were all I needed.

Two hours later said machine was transformed to a pile of useful bits and a pile of junk.

The useful bits included two drums , a glass bowl ( from the front door) and some nice weights – one concrete and one cast iron.

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The inner drum was perfect – it even ended up with it’s own special base (the drive wheel)

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It is significantly smaller than its predecessor (the drier drum) and has significantly more holes in it, making it burn better, give out more heat and look prettier!

The end-effect is superb!

Link to previous burner posts – previous-burner

I’ll post a blog on the tripod separately.

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Yummie, Snails!

snails

Snails were  introduced to the British isles with the Romans, as food source. So along with paternalistic sexism, straight roads and socks we can thank them for snails. The British Isles has lovely climate for snails, wet, not cold with plenty of vegetable gardeners to annoy. They don’t eat as much slugs, and I have found I can tolerate a reasonable population in my garden, without the large loses that slugs can inflict. There is several other species of snail like the banded and sandhill which are smaller and stripy, that although relatives of which like the chocolate snails are eaten in Europe the species found here aren’t edible. We wild food to make up for the knowledge through the industrialisation of people.  I have tried eating banded snails, and they had a seriously unpleasant texture. Slugs aren’t edible either, they cook up into a mucusy goo.

Full Article here:

https://stupidlysimplelife.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/how-to-cook-garden-snails.html

Fructaholics Anonymous – Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Thanks to a reference from Jonathan Gittos (many thanks Jonathan), I have just watched this video. It really is worth watching the whole 1.5 hours – you will NEVER look at sugar the same way again. I had heard of much of this stuff before, but the missing bit for me was just how dangerous fructose is to your health. I, for one, used to drink gallons of orange juice thinking I was doing myself a lot of good – nope  – real damage!

Incredibly enlightening – if you want to do one really meaningful thing today, this week, this month, this year – watch this video!

 

Thermal Topper for T5 Popup Roof

There’s a lot of debate on thermal screens, toppers etc. for your Cali. I chose this one because of price, convenience of fitting and simple logic; I wanted better thermal insulation up top. Works well, simple for me to fit even on my own and rolls up into a neat bag that can be easily stowed. Another big advantage that I have found is that you can put it up when you need it. i.e. if you are getting too cold and decide you want to add the screen in the middle of the night. I have even done so in a storm!

http://darenpucerscreens.co.uk/

And how it is attached at the back. It’s put on starting at the back and working around the sides and front using a long handled broom to push into place. Bungie cord secures the two ends at the back. Green mini tarp is only if it’s very wet – otherwise there is a useful breather space at the back.

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Standing Desk – Giving My Back Half a Chance

Gardening Peril

Spring was in the air and I managed to do my annual trick of pulling my back while gardening. It happens most years and it’s not only annoying but very inconvenient and embarrassing.

On My Knees

I had a trouble-shooting workshop up in London that I had to keep, so had to conduct half the meeting on my knees. Thankfully that was with some lovely clients that I know well.

Need to Change

I have virtually no problems throughout the year – just the first foray into the garden when my body hasn’t got used to extending the way gardening requires. Apart from banging my head on the wall while chanting, “I will exercise first before I do gardening”, I’m putting some other changes into place. I’ll be doing some remedial yoga and I’ve changed my office desk system around.

£600 – No!

There are  plenty of standing desks available online, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with upwards of £600 for one.

My wife had a great idea. Why didn’t I plonk the top of my desk onto a waist high bookshelf?

Standing Desk Come Bookshelf

The result is a lot more than impressive, it’s highly functional, very stable, doesn’t look half bad and cost me the sum-total of about an hour of my time to get in place including clearing off my old desk. See what you think.

 

 

Kyham Portable Cupboard Repair

This summer, we parked the Cali for quite a few days in one spot. As is customary, I like to tinker. My  brainwave, for next year, was to set up an organised area in the awning. I have an old camping cupboard that would be ideal. But the joints have snapped which made it more like a jelly than a cupboard.

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This is a quick, relatively inexpensive solution that is not going to break anytime soon.

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I needed to pack out of couple of the holes for the thinner poles to fit well, so I cut down some old gazebo tubing together with some insulating tape to do the job.

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The cupboard is now rock solid!

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Going Solar

Having researched this subject for quite a while now, I was debating whether it would be worth putting solar panels on the roof of my Vdub, buying a portable array or just using hook-ups whenever I needed to re-charge the leisure battery. In the end, I decided I wanted the ability to spend several days at a time at campsites that would not necessarily have hook-up facilities. So I opted for these panels from Baird:

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Folded up – around 13kg so not so heavy and can be positioned to face the sun easily

They are not too heavy and I can store them easily in the bus when travelling. A couple of minor issues with the cables that were supplied, but otherwise seem to be very good.

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Testing the panels – steady 12.9Volts

I opted for 120W panels as these should easily cover our daily electricity use. Details on how to calculate this here. Fixing then up to the bus was not difficult, but entails getting some solar cable and connectors as well as some battery connectors. Details in pictures below. My California is a 2015 Beach – the wiring layout picture might be a useful reference for other Beach owners.

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Electrics under beach passenger seat
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Solar connectors attached to battery terminals
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Wires all neatly hidden and routed. The blue cable ties hold the routed cable securely Note solar plugs in seat side pocket – ready for attachment to the panel connectors

For security, I will padlock the panels to the bus with some cable, and to prevent any wind damage I’ll peg the units to the ground with some large tent pegs.

 

OK Guys – let’s make a run for it!

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I’m just about at the end of my tether with slugs. They have decimated anything I have grown in the garden. I get a crop like this most nights despite spraying nemaslug around a few weeks ago. Some of these blighters are over 4 inches long – that’s all my radish, beetroot and spinach in there!

A prize for anyone that comes up with the best or most original way to remove these pests. A pity you can’t eat them otherwise we would be feasting every night!