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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Well Prepared for Winter – A Lot of Wood In-front of the House

In German, ‘A Lot of Wood Stacked In-front of the House’ can have a whole different meaning! But it is also traditionally a sign of being well prepared for winter in the Black Forest.

Old habits die hard – so I have been stacking wood in-front, behind and at the sides of the house. Two cubic metres (loose) worth.

It was a couple of hours of good solid work: I’m pleased with the results. That should keep us nice and toasted over the winter!

 

 

Japanese Wine Berries

These are delightful little berries – heavy cropping and with a sweet sour taste to them. Thoroughly recommended if you want something slightly different from raspberries or blackberries. This is the second batch this summer; the first one at the beginning of July ; this one the beginning of August.

 

Sun Canopy That Converts Into A Drive Away Awning

I have a large heavy drive-away awning that works very well and I use that when we travel with the boys and they sleep in that. But, when there are just the two of us … well, it’s a bit of a palaver. So I looked for something that I could use with our roll-out canopy and without it if I want to leave a standalone awning or if it is just too windy to risk £500 worth of aluminium and pvc canvas!

I looked at the quecha base seconds – but just couldn’t get my head around using it with my existing kit.

This arrangement gives me three configurations (numbers match picture numbers below):

  1. Sun canopy attached to side channel (on rollout awning)
  2. Sun room using sun canopy and attached as above (#1)
  3. Drive away awning using #2 above plus an attached tarp and a candor strip to de-couple the awning from the bus (the attachment clips are clip on grommets).
  4. Attach the sides and front of the sun-room to the roll-out awning using velcro tapes

I think I now have all the canopy combinations and permutations I need for travelling light – and at a price that is half the price of the specific, add-on sides and front for the roll-out awning.  I’ll report back after our next trip!

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!

 

Ramsons, Ramsons Everywhere

We had to pop down to the area around Swansea for a quick visit. The place was carpeted with wild garlic. Walking though the woods it even smelt like you were immersed in a garlic scent bath. The ramson buds were particularly tasty. Here I fried them with our breakfast of ham and eggs – absolutely delicious!

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.

 

 

Tarp for VW Roll-out Canopy

This summer, one of the extras that I noted would make camping life for short stays a lot easier, is a tarp for the roll-out awning. It would provide an additional  degree of privacy, as well as wind and rain protection.

The cost of a 3rd party tarp (e.g. Brandrup) to fit a VW Cali canopy is around £160. The cost of a Quechua tarp around £20. The cost of a Kandor strip to fit canopy (6mm) channel around £15. As we have a good sewing machine already, the cost of sewing was around 30 minutes on the machine.

The result – a great, large, multipurpose canopy/ awning tarp. I’m extremely pleased with the result. And my wife is very impressed with my sewing skills!

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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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