I took a few days off from the office last week. I had planned to use the time to get a whole lot done on the farm. Well, I got some stuff done, but not a whole lot.
I spent a little time setting up new grazing for the cattle. The grass grows really slowly in the winter, but I count my blessings that we are able to graze our animals right through winter in our climate. No snow, no sleet, no frost, no keeping animals in a barn for warmth. I treat, the Port Jackson weed tree, as reserve feeding, and cut a few branches down allowing the cattle to help themselves and add variety to the limited grass that there is to graze.
|Brown Cow – 19 July 2014|
But I also got to do some work in the cottage. The plan now is to get the cottage into a liveable condition. At least liveable enough so that the family can spend weekends there. My hope is that we all love it so much, that we will happily agree to rent out our house in Walmer and live on the farm full time. This will open up a stream of income that will see the Walmer property paying for itself. It will also put us on the farm, where we can more believably begin to get income generating projects running there like:
- Tree nursery
- Plan A: fix up the cottage, make it cosy, furnish it, have a working bathroom and kitchen and lights that switch on an off (All Off the Grid of course) and then call the bank up and say, “listen…..I have changed my mind. I don’t want to build a new house. I would prefer that you send your assessors around to look at the cottage again. I am sure that you will find value”
- Plan B: if my bank says “no” to Plan A, is then to shop around with other banks to take over the finance
- Plan C: Somehow scrape together another R700 000.00 by December and go back to the bank and say “Here’s the cash I owe you. Thanks, it was fun”
|Inside cottage – 20 July 2014|
Specifically though, the work I was doing today, was with a tie beam that needs repair. You can see in the picture, the beam laying in the ground. Well it is completely rotted off at the one end where it went into the wall. I will have to construct a joint. I cant easily replace the beam with another because it is quite unique. It appears from its texture, to be hewn with an axe. It is definitely not a milled beam. I would very much like to keep it and to take the time to repair it as best I can. It could date back as far as 1820 or 1830. I cant really be sure. What I know is that it was a hell of a mission to get it down. It must weigh over 100 kgs and was almost 3 metres up. I quite enjoy the challenge of figuring our the complex manoeuvres required to move heavy and precarious objects when working completely alone. So it was a lot of strapping and a of work with the “come-along” wrench, but it came down and it came down in one piece with out any injury to my good self. Now that its on the ground, I can work on it with saws, chisels and drills to remove the rotten end timber and carefully joint in a new end that will fit into the wall.