Pumphouse Tiling July 2014
  Keen to do some tiling again in the pumphouse we took the first Tuesday afternoon off and slept over at the farm, coming back home to work on Wednesday mid-morning. Now that the pumphouse fireplace base was built, we could start tiling on and around it so we layed down the first row of tiles next to the bathroom cupboard as well.

But that fireplace still doesn't look right. I think we need another course of face bricks just under it and then we can build up around the sides.


  Cleaning Up Under the Eaves
  As we were leaving the wood hoepoe gang arrived and gave our upstairs roof a good cleaning under the eaves. They are insect eaters and dig around under the bark of the trees and between the roof sheeting and beams for insects. Great to have them around, although they can sometimes be a rather noisy bunch.

  House Retainer Wall Foundations
  With there not much to do other than moving sand and cleaning up before starting on some bigger projects, we were planning a bit of a laid back and relaxing first weekend of July.

Leno's bakkie was going again (after an engine rebuild, I think) so we arrived at the farm early, unpacked for a stay-over and had breakfast while waiting for the builders to arrive. They arrived after 09h00 as Leno had to wait for one of his friends to bring back his battery before they could get the bakkie going.

They got going on moving sand and after two loads of sand were moved from the top corner to the forest shelter, Leno felt he had enough space to throw the retainer wall foundation concrete. And that was the end of our laid back weekend.

  Martie headed off to fetch water and I ordered the materials which arrived a little more than an hour later. By that time they had brought sand and stone from around the building site and were ready to add the cement and water. The enormous concrete mix was prepared on the lounge floor.

While the concrete was being prepared, the last section of foundation in the top corner and a new section in the driveway corner to join the retaining wall to the house was dug, the entire trench cleaned and the steel layed in and wired up. Before lunch we were throwing concrete.

Cleaning out the trenches
Laying in the steel
  The rest of the day was mixing, pouring and spreading concrete and when the concrete was finished, we had done about half the total length of the trench. That got the whole top section done and about a quarter of the way down the long stretch in front of the house.

Leno was planning to start building the wall from the top corner the next day. There's just no stopping these guys - just have to enforce the quality controls and make sure they clean up properly all the time.

Big mix on the lounge floor
Concrete poured

  What a Perfect Day!
  After a rather windy Saturday, we woke up on Sunday morning to the most amazing sunrise. There was some pre-cold front cloud about and the rising sun over the mountain filtered through them to create the most beautiful crepuscular rays. The weather for the rest of the day was just perfect, but not looking forward to the cold weekdays ahead. Although this would only be the second really cold spell for the season and we are just over halfway through our winter.

  House Retainer Wall Brickwork
  Sunday morning the builders were out early and started by mixing the mortar for building our retainer wall. Bricks were carried in and in no time Leno was laying them down on the new foundation.

We started on the driveway top corner of the house and planned to lay the entire top section to the house top corner. The plan was that this wall would create a small "courtyard" outside the kitchen door area, stepping down onto the driveway on the one side and running into the top corner of the house to become the veranda in front of the kitchen and lounge on the front of the house.

We don't want the wall to be too high, it's main purpose being to prevent the sheet of water that runs down the hill during summer rainstorms from running up against the house.
First bricks go down in driveway corner of house

End of day progress: above, from the driveway and right, 
I'll have to work very carefully with Leno to lay in plastic and get the stepping of the top of the wall looking right. The lowest it can be is three courses above the outer ground level and the highest probably around five or six courses.

from the top corner

  Pumphouse Bathroom Fireplace
  During the weekend in between helping spread the concrete, supervising brickwork (where to put face bricks and where to use stock) and generally checking on things down on the building site, I managed to get the pumphouse bathroom fireplace built.

Although this job would probably have taken Leno less than an hour to build, I did it myself (his helpers just mixed the mortar for me) because we just didn't want the normal building mess on the tiles we had already laid and all around the bathroom.

And I'm glad I put that extra course of bricks below the fireplace unit - it now looks right. Now just got to get the mantel on and build the rock wall above it and fit the chimney with the necessary hole in the roof.

Although there is steady progress, the pumphouse bathroom is going a bit slow at the moment. There's still just so much to do, including borehole fitment and solar panels. But the next big job there before we can paint and do more tiling inside is to sand and seal the roof beams. Just not looking forward to that!

  More House Retainer Wall Brickwork
As far as we got with the retainer wall outside the kitchen
Second weekend of July and we nearly didn't have any builders out on the farm. My bakkie's wheel bearing wasn't sounding too good so we didn't want to chance taking it out to Heidelberg and Leno didn't have any diesel (or money to buy any) for his bakkie. We drove out through the township to take him some money and by 09h30 we were building.

Until the building supplies arrived for the concrete, we just continued working on the retainer wall. Our little courtyard outside the kitchen is now coming along nicely.

  More House Retainer Wall Foundations
  Once we had our cement delivered, the building team got to work on mixing concrete for the foundations for the long side of the retainer wall.

That trench is all of 45 meters on the long side across the entire front of the house and garage block and another 15 meters along the top kitchen side. Although we are not making the foundations as thick as we did on the house, that's still a lot of concrete and steel going in under the ground.

We've put a lot of money underground so far on this project. The farm soil is very stable but a little on the soft side and we don't want things cracking up and moving around, so we have to have good strong foundations for everything.

The mixes we use are 3 wheelbarrows of sand to 1 bag of cement for just about everything. For concrete we split the 3 wheelbarrows into 2 river sand to 1 stone. The mix in the picture below was twenty four wheelbarrows of river sand, twelve wheelbarrows if stone and twelve bags of cement. That's a lot of mixing. We normally can only do one of these mixes a day and at the end of the day the team are noticeably tired!

Martie helping wet the concrete while the team mix and pour

Mixing concrete - plastic bags on feet to protect shoes    
Leno Jr wiring the rebar

Leno pouring concrete while I
spread and level it

Second mix - about 20m to go

  Campfire Dinner
  We chose a great weekend to stay over on the farm. It was cold but quite bearable and very comfortable next to our campfire.

It was also full moon and after about an hour of pitch darkness where every star in the sky seemed to be visible and the milky way showed it's magic, we watched a fantastic full moon rising over the hill on the perfect evening.

  Concrete Miscalculation
  Nothing like a concrete mix to start off the day. Sunday morning the building team arrived early and got straight into mixing concrete to finish the retainer wall foundation.

I really thought another medium concrete mix would get the foundation finished. Eight wheelbarrows of river sand, four wheelbarrows of stone and four bags of cement got us about nine meters further down the trench. Another 9 meters to go but we were out of cement - had to keep a few bags for building for the rest of the day. Just have to do the last stretch next weekend. After that Leno will be taking a few weeks off from building on the farm to go down to finish that building job he started down in Kwazulu Natal. Seems as though he's sorted out his finances with the owner, who has also now paid him for enough diesel to get his bakkie down there. Problem is Leno has now spent all the diesel money on getting his bakkie going again. Sticky situation. Guess who has to help out again?

Anyway, we could do with a building break so that we can do some finishing off and get all those materials ready for the first floor slab.

  House Retainer Wall Brickwork Progress
Starting on the long wall
Top wall completed - stepped with roller course on top

The rest of Sunday we managed to finish off the top wall across the kitchen area.

Then we set up the profiles and got the levels correct for the top section of the long wall from the top corner down to the end of the lounge.

A last mortar mix was squeezed in rather late in the afternoon and we had to get the headlights out for the team to finish it off on the first few courses of brickwork and jointing of the face bricks before heading off home.

Using headlights for light - building 
continuing well into the night

  Pumphouse Bathroom Fireplace Rock Wall
  I again managed to get some work done in the pumphouse bathroom in between helping spread the concrete, supervising brickwork and checking on things down on the building site.

This week I made a start on the rock feature wall above the fireplace. A few trips up to the rock ditch to bring down a few armfulls of rocks selected with just the right thickness for the wall, a bit of mortar from the building site and I got the first few rocks in place.

Although I enjoy building with rocks, building with the rocks we have on the farm can drive you a bit crazy - it's like building a jigsaw puzzle where you have to go out and find all the pieces! You're always on the lookout for that one rock with the perfect shape to fit into the next space. And the idea is to not have the gaps between the rocks too big because if you're not careful you can use up an awful lot of mortar filling in those gaps, and spoil the looks of the wall.

It's slow going allowing each row to set hard enough to support the next, but looks great when finished.

  Borehole Theory and Pump Selection
  It was finally time to get that pumphouse borehole operational, so I spent an hour or so on Sunday afternoon on some preparation work. This will be an expensive exercise so we can't afford any mistakes.

So, where do we start? We know from the guys who did the drilling that the borehole is 95 meters deep and can give us 110 liters of water an hour. Doesn't sound like much - but if we can pump 110 liters an hour for five hours every day, that would fill both tanks in ten days and should provide enough ongoing water for the bathroom and for some small scale irrigation around the pumphouse area.

With this in mind we opted for a small solar pumping system with no battery storage which will produce the required low yield with minimum to zero management and maintenance. We've just got to be careful that we don't pump too much water out of the borehole too quickly or it could run dry and we could damage the pump.

Rough sketch of our borehole.    
Check all that quartzite we drilled    
down into at ludicrous costs.    
I'm determined to make it work.    
The trick was to find at what level the water was in the borehole pipe. The drilling guys specified about 26 meters but I needed to make sure. The only way I could think of to do this was to drop a string "dipstick" down with a weight on it and pull it up continually to check how far up the string was wet.

Simple string knotted every five meters
with weights on the end to check water depth in the pipe

This exercise took a few minutes - no need to check for wet string - I could hear the weights "plop" into the water. The water level was sitting at only 13.5 meters below ground! The pipe is a 7" steel diameter pipe with 4mm wall which gives us an inner diameter of 170mm. So a quick volume πr2h (pi times radius squared times height) calculation - my high school maths teacher would be so proud now - he told me I would need that formula one day. Now if I could just remember the value for pi ... Aaah yes, I remember that to be round about 3.14. So, that gives us around 23 litres of water per meter in that pipe. Then, the pipe was holding about 80 meters of water and that equates to a total volume of 1840 liters in the pipe. Now that's a lot of water!

Next, where do we sit the pump? From what I've been reading, there's no hard and fast rules but I think if we start by sitting ours at 40 meters down from ground it will sit in 27 meters of water (around the limits of most solar pump specs) which will mean it would have to pump 620 liters of water before it could possibly run dry. Hopefully the borehole will also be replenishing at 110 liters an hour so we should be fairly safe. Another factor to take into account is that the pumphouse is facing north-east so we can only expect at best five hours of morning to early afternoon sunlight for solar power.

With all the necessary figures at hand we made the decision on which pump we were going to use. The options were the Shurflo 24v system which could pump from 70 meters and could safely run dry with it's brushed motor, or the Jintai 36v system which could only pump from 60 meters and is a lot more sensitive in setup (15 minutes soaking before use, must run vertical, cannot
  run dry, etc) but has a fully stainless steel casing with oil filled brushless motor and comes with a dedicated custom designed controller with low water level and tank full cut-off sensors.

Although a bit more expensive, the Jintai system was the clear winner for our application.

So we'll start at sitting the pump at 40 meters and if that works fine, a few weeks later we will lift it to 35 or maybe even 30 meters to make it easier on the pump. As you can see in the specification graph on the left (we're using the JS3-1.8-60 - third down on the list and the turquoise line on the graph), as you lift the pump higher in the borehole, the pump output will also increase.

  Veldfire #2 - Very Close Call
Our view of the fire in Che's open horse paddocks
as we arrived at the back of our farm to fetch our fire beaters
Monday early afternoon we were back out at the farm to help put out the second veldfire to sweep through the area. On our way there, the smoke was again visible from far north of Heidelberg.

The firefighters on hand there had managed to prevent it jumping the Rensburg road into our property but further along, because of the longer grass on both sides of the road, they couldn't stop it jumping the road onto Che's property.

  When we got there the fire was already in Che's horse paddock areas and heading for the hills. Although all the horses were safely moved off into other enclosures in time, the ground was covered in horse manure which burns and smoulders with lots of smoke. We immediately jumped into action to prevent it spreading sideways towards our farm. The big ditch between Che's dams prevented it getting much further towards the hill.
The entire field across the road burned away. Firefighters managed to save Che's last few bales of grass
The aftemath in the horse paddock areas. Manure still smouldering in places
Old tree trunks across the road still smouldering. We're very grateful to the sharp firefighter who spotted this little flare-up on our pavement. That could have been disastrous for our forest.
  We hung around till late afternoon to check that there was no possibility of the smouldering logs getting the fire going again. Smouldering logs surrounded by burned grass areas were ok.

On the left, an old dead tree smoulders in the field on the farm across the road and below, a big log across the road from when Eskom sub-contractors half cut-down the tree still smouldering in the warm late afternoon light.


  Broken Gate
  With veldfires we always have all the weird and wonderful firefighting vehicles come from near and far to help. I wish I could just go around and take photos of them all - but I'm always too busy frantically putting out the fire.

Unfortunately one of them had an altercation with our gate. We fixed it temporarily but will have to rebuild it when we get some time.


  Who's Been There
  The thing about having lots of loose sand about the building site (other than it producing great dust when the wind blows) is that we can see who or what has been visiting during the week while we're away.

Spotted in the driveway next to my boot print are the dainty tracks of a small animal. Unless it's a cat, it could only be our local little yellow mongoose. We often see him around the rock ditch in the top corner of our farm but maybe he comes in a lot closer when we're not there.

I wonder if he popped in to our kitchen to check if there was anything left laying around to eat?

  And on the left some sharp little claws on this teeny weeny animal's track just behind the boot heel print. Probably a rat but we've also got moles - but not sure if they ever come out of the ground. Then there's all those burrows we see all over the place - could be Highveld or Bushveld Gerbils.

  Eland Attack
  During the week our driveway garden, which was looking so great - a beautiful little patch of green and a bit of colour in the winter drab - was viciously attacked by the eland. We're not sure how many were involved in the attack but just about every plant in the garden within reach from the front fence was chomped down to almost the last leaf!

We thought our garden was quite safe with it's chicken wire fence around the bottom and barbed wire strands above that, all attached securely to some longish droppers.

But that greenery must have just been too tempting for the eland and they pushed into the wire and bent the droppers to reach over and devastate our little garden.

So it's game over with them now. We're now going to plant Y-standard poles around the garden and attach 1.8 meter high square mesh wire to them. It's just so demoralising losing six months of plant nurturing to one sitting. And if the new fence doesn't work, I've heard that eland steak tastes great!

  More House Retainer Wall
Last section of foundation done    

Senele jointing facebricks    
Leno continues with brickwork    

Martie & Leno Jr in the dust    
The third weekend of July and the builders were out early Saturday morning to get that house retainer wall done before they headed off to KwaZulu Natal for a few weeks.

Leno started on the brickwork while we went into town to fetch a bakkie load of cement. As soon as they had cement, they mixed the last batch of concrete and finished off casting the last section of foundation.

Leno then continued with the brickwork along the long wall for the rest of the day, working from the top corner downwards.

Senele was relegated to jointing the facebricks as soon as the mortar was hard enough to scrape away cleanly and Martie got stuck in with Leno Jr and the extra helper to move sand out from the kitchen courtyard and veranda areas. They moved the sand wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow down the driveway to the forest shelter for fill as they levelled the courtyard neatly.

Everybody was extremely busy through the day and there was noticable progress every hour. The whole house surround was really taking shape nicely.

  Borehole Pump Preparation
  Late Friday afternoon I managed to squeeze in the trip out to Midrand to fetch the borehole pump kit and while everyone was busy on the building site I started putting it all together.

After familiarising myself with all the components I started off by joining the three meter cable supplied with the pump to a 50 meter length of three core cable for power down to the pump. I used the amazing MetaPlast cable jointing system which comprises injection
  moulded plastic shells into which the jointed cables are enclosed and then the shell filled with epoxy resin to make the joint completely waterproof.

The epoxy takes a few hours to dry so while waiting I fitted the plugs to the solar panels to connect the two of them in serial and unrolled the 100 meters of 20mm water pipe in readyness to tie everything that will be going down into the borehole together with wire ties.

I also attached the water depth sensors, one to the pump body and the other about a meter up the pipe above the pump and started tying the main power cable and two sensor wires to the 200mm water pipe with the wire ties. I also wrapped a piece of white electrical tape around the water pipe every 5 meters.

    The MetaPlast joint for the main power cable

    My Pratley Epoxy enclosed joint for the sensor wires

  Maybe we've just been lucky so far and timed our stay-over weekends between the cold fronts. This Friday a cold front had moved over the south of the country and on our Saturday night stay-over, we sure felt it's effect.

We spent a lot more time in front of (and a lot closer to) the fire through the evening and Martie had to get up in the wee hours to remake her hot water bottle. Just before sunrise our max/min thermometer showed it was -3 degrees and it had dropped to -8 during the night.

And on our early morning walk around the farm, the frost was still on the edges of the leaves of the bushes and the grass where the sun hadn't got to yet in the bottom corner of the farm.

  House Retainer Wall - Building Continues
  On Sunday we again had an extra helper so a small team was relegated to moving sand in the top corner.

Moving sand makes a lot of dust and Leno had to work in it in the top corner all of Saturday afternoon. So he decided to leave the brickwork there for a while and start working from the bottom where we had layed the foundation concrete the previous day.

Profiles were set up, levels were checked and the courses marked on the profiles while the mortar was beig mixed, heaps of bricks were brought down and he got going working
Leno tirelessly laying down the bricks, Senele continues jointing
  from the lowest point upwards, stepping up from foundation level a course every few meters.

At the end of the day we had the first few courses layed for a continuous 45 meter long wall.

I spent some time calculating where the top of wall stepping point should be but things were just not working out well getting the stepping points where I wanted them with the uneven slope of the ground, so we're not laying on the roller course on the bottom section until we have the wall a few courses above the ground.

From the top corner . . .
. . . and from the bottom corner

  Lunch Time
  The team were working hard and there was still a lot of bricks to lay and sand to move in the afternoon, so Martie made the guys a really big lunch.

It was monster boerewors rolls with pap topped with baked beans. That should keep them going for the rest of the day.

They normally also get a bag of ice and a 2 liter fizzy drink to share to keep those sugar levels up and Martie sneaks in some extra cooldrinks through the day for the really hard workers (those sand movers).

  Moving Sand
  Then it was back to work for the afternoon. Leno continued on the retainer wall and the rest of the team just moved sand.

We used Leno's bakkie for the weekend as they said it could take more sand per load. It was hard and dusty work but they were determined to get that job done.

They moved nine bakkie loads of sand through the day and we estimate we're only about half way there!
Little Leno and helper shovelling sand into the bakkie
Offloading into the forest shelter area
That's a lot of sand moved
Sand going - left, veranda from inside the lounge 
and right, the kitchen courtyard from the driveway

  Fitting the Borehole Pump
  During the afternoon I got all the cabling done for the borehole pump, layed it all out in the "back yard" (great to have all that space) and with a bit of help from the building team, we dropped the pump slowly and carefully into the borehole pipe.

Then I connected the output pipe from the pump to the top of the tank, connected the main power and water level sensor wiring from the pump to the controller, layed the solar panels out on the roof and connected them in series to the controller.

The builders helping feed the cable down

One of the pair of solar panels to power the pump

Solar panels temporarily placed on roof
All very temporary with lots of spare pipe and cable lengths. I'll neaten up when everything's working and in it's permanent placement. When everything was in place and all the connections checked, I switched the controller on and got a low amperage error light on the front panel. Probably not enough sunlight on the solar panels to power the pump. We'll just have to test in the morning.

Pump going in

Feed pipe into tank

  As the builders had their own transport for the weekend, it was an easy decision to stay over Sunday night so that we could test the borehole pump system on Monday morning. It was only a wee bit warmer than Saturday night and Monday morning we were up at first light huddling round the fire sipping from our mugs of steaming, strong coffee until the sun came up.

Come on, Sun - keeping close to the fire while waiting for it to rise up over the hill

  We waited until the sun was a few degrees above the hill and then I switched the pump contoller on. The solar panel positioning was not ideal with one panel flat on the roof and the other raised onto the wall behind it, but there was enough power to supply the controller as the system light came on. But all the others just flashed on and off continually.

We switched off and waited for a bit more sun power. About half an hour later we switched on again. This time just the Amps and Volts error lights came on. Then after a while the Volts error light went off. We could feel soft shudderring and vibrations on the output pipe from the pump and assumed the motor was trying to get going but there still wasn't enough sunlight. We left it on, put the output pipe into the clearing around our little Pride of India tree and and went down to the workshop for breakfast.

System light on
Errors on Amps and Volts
Pump and MPPT on

  After breakfast we headed back up to the pumphouse. Before we could go in and check the controller lights, to our surprise there was water around the tree and a stream of beautifully clear water was coming out of the pipe. Our first water!

Checking the controller lights, the Amps error light was still on but the pump seemed to be working. A little while later the Amps error light went out and the pump light came on. The MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking - digital electronic circuitry to optimise the output from the panels to the input required for the pump motor) light also started flashed normally. Yipee - full power. I connected the pump output pipe to the tank pipe and we listened for a while to the wonderful sound of the water splashing down onto the bottom of the water tank above us.

We let it run for an hour or so and my very rough calculations (getting up there and peering periodically into the top of the JoJo tank) showed we were pumping a lot more than 100 liters and hour. Not sure how we're going to handle that one. I'll run more accurate and extensive tests next weekend.

With the tank at about 25% full we opened the ball valve to let water into the balancing tube (we left the valve to the second tank closed) to allow the water to run into the plumbing system in the pumphouse. We flushed the system by leaving all the hot and cold water taps full open for a while. The water pressure was acceptable for the tank being only 25% full.

Then we shut off all the bathroom taps and left the water with tank pressure in the system. The plan was to leave it like that for the rest of the week to check for any leaks which would show as wet
First water watering our little Pride of India tree
patches on the plaster walls. Then we shut the pump system down and headed off home for a week of work.

Steady stream from the pipe

  Pumphouse Plumbing Modification
  The last weekend of July and we were again fetching the builders. They should have been down in Kwazulu Natal finishing off that job but Leno had found some work in Arcadia, Pretoria that he needed to finish off. I didn't even ask about their bakkie or his financial situation.

This did mean that there would be no staying over and a lot more travelling for us - but maybe it wasn't a bad thing as we were feeling the effects of another cold front passing through the south of the country.

I started off by checking the pumphouse plumbing for leaks - all clear. But there were two small leaks outside on the t-piece fittings on the balancing pipe. Not too serious - probably just need to run some more glue around the plastic joints.

From the water pressure we saw during our initial testing the previous weekend, we realised we would need a full flow output to fill our trailer tank and to empty the tanks quickly if we needed to. The outside tap had good pressure due to it's 20mm pipe feed from the balancing pipe, but that would still take far too long to feed the 800 liters of water into our trailer tank.

  We emptied the tank and balancing pipe and I spent most of the day rebuilding the output pipe system from the first tank. I replaced the 90 degree elbow from the tank outlet with a t-piece and extended the balancing pipe out and down the wall to a ball valve, and then reduced to it from 50mm to 40mm for the flexi-pipe (50mm flexi-pipe was just too expensive!). By the time I had finished it was too late to pump water from the borehole so we left the testing for the next day when I planned to do some more accurate borehole yield tests as well.

  House Retainer Wall - Getting Higher
  Leno and his team carried on building the house retainer wall.

He started building from the lowest point up to a high point with no problems. But now that we had the starting level at the top correct, he now had to build back down from the top to the bottom. He was having trouble working out the stepping so I had to often work with him to get it all worked out nice and neatly.

  Cold, Ice and Water
  We arrived on the farm on Sunday morning to find any water above ground frozen solid. We had to dismantle the nozzle on the trailer water pipe to pump water to mix mortar and I had to lay the pipe from the borehole out in the sun for an hour or so before I could think of running tests there. I could feel the ice cracking in the pipe as I moved it.

Once all thawed out and with the sun high enough to provide the power we needed for the pump system, I switched the controller on and we started pumping water.

I noted the water level in the tank at hourly intervals, and hoped to check the water level in the borehole every hour as well but my string with the weights on it got stuck on one of the wire ties about thirty meters down, so it just had to stay there. Also, that system wasn't working as I could hear it plop into the water when we started testing at 14 meters, but I couldn't hear it plop into the water at around thirty meters down. Without that information, the test figures would be a bit hit and miss but I went through the exercise anyway.

  So, here's the logic: The tank holds 2500 liters and is 1500mm high. Thus every 300mm is 500 liters. I measured the water level from the bottom of the tank by dipping the tape measure into the water through the big hole on top of the JoJo tank and taking a depth reading on the tape. And in a simple table on the right, the results:

My conclusion: The pump system is giving us at least 600 liters an hour. After the first hour,
Tank Level
Borehole Level
0 l/hr
600 l/hr
250 l/hr
250 l/hr
100 l/hr
  although the pump is not running dry (the sensor isn't switching it off), the borehole is definitely not replenishing fast enough to continue with the 600 l/hr yield and drops to less than half the yield. Pumping for more than three hours is pointless. In fact, it's really pointless running the pump for more than an hour a day. We'll get our 600 liters in the first hour and if the borehole is replenishing at 110 l/hr, we will only pump one hour every day. It will take about 8 days to fill both tanks but we should still be sustainable for the bathroom and a bit of small scale irrigation.

So now we have solar power to spare for at least three hours a day. I think I'll just have to set up a small battery charging system in the pumphouse to keep those panels busy when they're not feeding the pump controller.

  Fixing Tools
  While monitoring the borehole performance through the morning and with the generator and welder already up at the pumphouse, I set up a little work area and got down to some tool maintenance.

A few weeks ago I spent a morning replacing all the broken shovel handles by welding round tube onto the side brackets and they now seem to be holding out well. But now the wooden trowel
  handles were slipping off so I welded the steel stub coming off of the blade to a round tube. Hopefully the builders won't be able to break those off in a hurry. And I'm still contemplating that cheapie wheelbarrow repair.

  House Retainer Wall - Nearly There . . .
  We had the same team in on Sunday but today they split up into building and sand moving teams. Leno spent the whole day
  building on the retainer wall. He managed to get right down to the last stepped section when the mortar and daylight ran out on him.

  Sand and Dust
  The sand moving team did a great job on Sunday. They worked tirelessly loading sand into our little bakkie and then offloading it into the forest shelter.
Sand gone - left, into the corner from the veranda 
and right, the kitchen courtyard from the driveway
  And so we again finish off the month with the bakkie (not to mention everything else) full of dust and still moving sand - but I think we're done now. Just got to do final levelling off of the courtyard and veranda areas. Any excess sand there now can be used to fill in the foundation trenches around the retainer wall. Then we'll need to lay down a layer of river sand before the rains come so that the red sand doesn't make mud and splash up and stain all the face bricks.

  Eye In The Sky
  Just noticed Google Earth has updated it's imagery of the Heidelberg South area.

The image is dated 13th May - unfortunately that was a Tuesday so we couldn't be there to be in the picture.

The Google Earth pictures are great for us as we get an accurate view of the layout of the farm from above and we use it to plan where we are going to positioning things like our fruit tree orchard, larger crop growing areas and maybe later our livestock pens.

It also gives us good size perspectives of the grass areas and the black wattle and eucalyptus forest areas. The pumphouse, garage block and house are now clearly visible.