Pumphouse PV Control Panel September 2014
  It took three long evenings of work in my home workshop during the week to put together the control panel for the pumphouse solar panels. I made a plywood face plate, sealed it with a varnish, sprayed it black and then drilled it full of holes for all the stuff I needed to mount onto it.

The purpose of the control panel is to be able to use the solar panels for both powering the borehole pump and charging batteries. The plan is to use the solar panels to run the borehole pump for two hours every morning and then switch the panel outputs over (manual switchover, unfortunately) to a charge controller which will manage the charging of a battery and provide us 220 volt AC and 12 volt DC power in the pumphouse.

  The basic circuit is to feed the output of the solar panels through a 0-10 amp meter, across a 0-100 volt meter and then to the 20A LMG Rotary Cam Switch (the solar panels are two 130 watt, 18 volt panels in series to produce 260 watts at 36 volts. My calculations make the panels able to produce just over 7 amps).

The number 1 switch position will route the PV power through a timer on the DB board and then to the MPPT controller for the borehole pump. The number 2 switch position will route the PV power to the 10A PWM charge controller which will provide charge to the battery and provide (through a fuse box) a 12V "load" output to which I have wired a USB adaptor (reduced to 5 volt, 1 amp only), two banana plug power sockets and a car cigarette lighter type power socket.

But the neatest gadget on the panel by far the little charge controller monitor. This allows programming of the controller parameters such as overcharge
The front of the control panel . . .

. . . and wiring detail behind the panel
  and low voltage level shut-offs for the battery, displays the voltage and amperage coming in from the solar panels, displays the voltage and amperage going in and coming out of the battery, and displays the voltage and amperage going out of the "load" terminals.

So if the controller monitor shows all this information, you may well ask why the analog meters? Well, other than being a double check on the charge controller monitor, being in the circuit before the switch, they will display the voltage and amperage while the borehole pump is in operation. And I'm very interested to see how that MPPT controller manages the voltage and amperage from the solar panels to produce optimum power for the pump.

The 220 volt supply will be obtained from a 300 watt inverter connected directly to the battery. That does not get monitored by the charge controller and has it's own low battery voltage cut-off. The output will be fed into the DB board for the plug points and lights.

Now just got to mount the panel and controllers onto the pumphouse control room wall and connect all the inputs and outputs this weekend and hopefully the whole system works.

  Bakkie Going Again
  It was a Friday evening three weeks ago that we were loaded up with the new aviary, twenty 400x400x50 paving blocks, two dogs, two tortoises and all our weekend stay over luggage when a few kilometers from home on the way to the farm the bakkie front left wheel bearing seized up.

We managed to drive it back home very slowly with nasty scraping sounds coming from the wheel and after three weeks of dealing with unreliable tow truck operators, locating spare parts and long stories from the motor mechanic, we now have our bakkie back.

It has now had every what what connected to that front left wheel that could possibly cause problems to the wheel bearing replaced. We even replaced the brake pad that was damaged (that
scraping noise while trying to get it back home). It should be good as new, but it's going to take a while for it to earn our trust again.

So, Saturday morning on the first weekend of September, we loaded up the aviary again, filled it with garden refuse from home (for our composting program on the farm), our two dogs, the two tortoises and our weekend luggage and headed out to the farm.

  Putting It All Together
  I spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening mounting the new control panel and controllers onto the wall and connecting them all up together.

Everything connected together without any problems and tested ok. In the picture on the right, The main controller panel with the 10 Amp charge controller above it and borehole pump controller below. The wires running out of the left of the picture is the main power to the pump controller going out to and returning from the timer on the DB board.

I couldn't get the 220 volt system up and running as I thought the inverter used a standard SA 15A plug, but on closer inspection it only takes the British flat pin type. I'll have to get one of those during the next week and fit it to the DB board main input cable.

Did a lot of testing (and playing) and managed to damage the monitor port on the charge controller. An odd problem that may actually have been a factory defect: after unplugging and reconnecting the connection cable between the controller and the monitor, the monitor would not initialise unless the controller was
  powered down and then up again. I replaced the controller with my 30 Amp unit to determine whether the problem was with the controller or the monitor. Thank goodness it was the controller - I'd hate to have to dismantle that control panel to get the monitor module out!

  Pest Control
  Our speckled pigeons (commonly known as rock pigeons) seem to have given up on trying to make their nest in our garage rafters. At one point every weekend when we arrived at the farm our first
task was to get up on the ladder and remove their "collection of sticks" nest from the rafters. They are extremely persistent and would spend the whole week rebuilding it in exactly the same place!

But now they've started their nest building on the pumphouse roof - nicely sheltered under one of the solar panels. The nest has been removed and the roof cleaned up. Let's see how we go next weekend.

  We are always aware of our decision to share the environment 50/50 with nature, but these guys are just being lazy and taking advantage of our structures.

They are supposed to build their nests on rock ledges, of which there are plenty for nesting sites for them on the hills. But human structures seem to be much easier to lay all those sticks onto and probably a lot safer from predators. But besides that, these are such messy birds. They poop continually and on everything that they perch on around the nest. In this case it's on top of our JoJo tanks. They will just have to go.

  In preparation for our rainy season and the resulting mosquito infestations, we took down the JoJo tank covers, which do not have a very good fit, and ran some stick-on foam sealing strip around the edge to make a better seal.

It's bad enough they breed in every water puddle around. The last thing we want is to have the mozzies getting into our water tanks.

  Sunday Early Morning Walk
  The weather was warming up nicely after two cold fronts came through one after the other earlier in the week. In fact, by 07h30 on Sunday morning it was already hot and we took the dogs on a quick walk across to the dam before breakfast.

  The dogs just love it in the big world out there beyond our log fence. They very seldom get their noses off the ground - all those scent trails must tell some amazing stories of the previous nights activities out there.


  Above left: the fence line - just shows what about 100 cows passing through daily can do to natural grassland vegetation.

Above right: Charlie charging full speed along the tree lined dam wall road.

Right: We also met up with a small herd of eland on the dam wall road. Here they're giving us their "hey, what are you guys doing here" look.

  More Final Levelling
  Doesn't look much different from last month's photo, but Martie assures us that there's been a lot of work done there.

We're now ready to put some river sand down along the garage building wall and lay some pavers to stop the red sand splashing up against the wall when it rains. The rest of the area will be planted with grass. Can't wait.

Also considering running a plastic gutter along that roof. It'll help with the water run-off and allow us to capture a large roof area of rain water.

  Control Room Workbench
  I used some pieces of the formica tops from our old computer shop shopfittings, cut them to size, joined them together and screwed them down onto the workbench frame I installed the previous weekend.

But the tops were blue formica - not really the colour we wanted. So I got some thin rubber mat and we glued it onto the surface and then trimmed it off to size. Looks great but not sure how it's going to handle the dust! It does seem to wash off with a bit of water quite well.

  More Pumphouse Floor Tiling
  Sunday afternoon we layed more tiles in the pumphouse. The control room is now almost finished and we used up the extra tile glue on laying a few more tiles in the entrance passage.

We stayed over on Sunday night so we could scrape out any excess tile glue from between the tiles and clean up any messed glue early on Monday morning. Also ran the borehole pump for two hours to fill the tanks, and just great to start off the week with a few hours on the farm.

Above left, looking into the control room from the doorway. Above centre, Martie scraping out tile glue from between the tiles. Above right, passage from main entrance doorway.

  Moving Bees
  The second weekend of September and we were making an early start to the weekend. On Friday evening we planned to work on our bees at home. We needed to take off the early spring crop of honey, split the hive and take the old hive out to the farm during the night so the bees would be ready to go to work there the next morning. We would set up a new hive at home with a few brood frames from the old hive in it to cater for all the bees left behind there.

Once it was dark and all the bees were "home" in their hive, we kitted up into our bee suits, fired up the smoker and had a really really stressful evening with our bees. That swarm of bees in the hive at home was a lot stronger than we estimated.

Now it's one thing being in a swarm of angry bees (yes, they get angry when you steal their honey!) with a professional bee-keeper on the training course, but it's a whole nother story doing it on your own. Having done the exercise once on the course and having brushed up on all the theory, this was our first time actually doing it on our own.

We smoked the hive lightly. Maybe too lightly - but didn't want to overdo the smoking. We heard stories from other amateur bee-keepers on the course of them killing off the whole swarm by "hot" smoking them. Getting the smoker "temperature" right and keeping it going nicely is an art on it's own - never mind trying to do it while working in the hive with a swarm of bees around you.

Old hive now relocated to farm      
Then I moved the hive out from under the frangipani tree outside our front door onto a table in the driveway. It was so heavy I could hardly lift it onto the table. But when I lifted the lid off the super, all bee hell broke loose.

A large army of defenders took to the air and gave us a really hard time. While under attack we gently smoked most of the worker bees from the super down into the brood chamber and took out all nine super frames loaded with honey. Then we removed the super box and started working in the brood box.

With the new hive at the ready, we removed three brood frames and put them into the new hive, replacing them with new empty frames. Now the idea is to look for frames containing queen cells and put them into the new hive, where the workers will nurture a new queen.

But by that time things were just too hectic in our quiet suburban front yard and I just took three frames just off centre (assuming the queen would stay in the three centre frames) and took a chance that there would be a queen cell on at least one of the frames I took out. While we were busy in there, most of the workers huddled to protect the queen and new brood but the
  angry army was still out to get us. We realised we really needed more experience at this, but we managed to stay calm at all times and just keep going at what needed to be done.

We moved the new hive into the old one's place under the frangipani tree and left the old hive out in the driveway a few meters away on the table. Once the hive work was done we spent an hour out there in the driveway, brushing bees off of each other until the swarm had calmed down a little. There was just too much activity around the old hive to move it so we decided to leave it there and rather load it up and take it out to the farm before sunrise on Saturday morning.

Up before 05h00 we donned our bee-keeping suits again, wrapped the old hive in a sheet, loaded it into the back of the bakkie, and off we headed to the farm. We didn't bother to change because we knew we would need bee suit protection when we got to the farm and started unwrapping the hive. We did get some odd looks when we stopped for petrol along the way.

We were late out to the farm and it was already light when we unwrapped a very "buzzing" hive. The soldiers were more angry than ever. After setting the hive down we had to walk over 100 meters away from it before the attackers left us alone. Later, once we had changed into normal clothes, we would have to head for cover a few times through the day as the odd soldier bee would do his angry buzz around our heads.

Sunday they got busy repairing their hive and we were actually able to walk past the hive within ten meters. We still need to remove our sheet and secure the hive to the tree. Maybe next weekend.

  Suddenly Spring
  This year our season changeover weather has been a bit extreme - from freezing cold with two cold fronts in succession passing through two weeks ago to our present heat wave conditions. Last
Pride of India
Monkey Plum bush
weekend I had concerns that we were already into the first week of September (officially spring) and our Pride of India tree at the pumphouse didn't make it. Since we had running water up in the pumphouse we've been watering it well whenever possible but all the little twig branches just remained lifeless.

Eucalyptus tree

  It has taken just one week of very warm weather to trigger everything into new growth. In the picture above left, our Pride of India tree is now covered in little new leaves. In the middle, all the monkey plum bushes around the farm all have new shoots and on the right, the eucalyptus trees have their new growth and the whole forest is starting to turn distinctly green. And even the grass is getting new green leaves (you do have to look closely, though).

Although we had 8mm of rain during that odd summery thunderstorm patch of weather in the middle of August, we are still waiting for the official first spring rains.

And until we get good rain, fire season is still with us. On the right, on Sunday afternoon from our front gate we could see a really big veldfire raging in the distance over the hill.

  220 Volts

Since setting up the control panel in the pumphouse we've been able to charge our 105A deep cycle battery but haven't had much opportunity to use the power as I didn't really have anything that I needed 12 volts for and I didn't have the correct plug for the inverter output to the DB board.

The inverter was a 300W modified sine wave inverter and I've since researched that it's not going to do the job for us anyway. It has more than enough power but the modified sine wave will cause problems with our timers, light dimmers and power tool battery chargers we plan to use in the pumphouse. So during the week I exchanged it for a pure sine wave unit, but unfortunately the supplier only had 600W units in stock. Total overkill on power but we'll use it until we can get a smaller unit and then eventually use the big one in the house somewhere.

I spent most of Saturday connecting wires in the pumphouse and by evening we had 220 volts on the DB board. I hooked up a flourescent light tube in the control room, connected an old car radio into the 12 volt circuit and now we have lights and music in the pumphouse control room!

  Very Neat Gadgets
  I've been looking for a flow meter to check the borehole pump output calculations for a while now. The professional instruments are just too complicated, not to mention rather expensive.

Then I came across this neat little device developed by Gardena. It has a little plastic turbine which is driven by the water passing through the pipe. A sensor picks up pulses from the turbine and the signal is processed by the well waterproofed button battery powered electronic circuitry to give the display.

The logic and design of the device is so well thought out, the build quality is excellent and it's not too expensive. And there are threaded connectors top and bottom of the unit so I was able to easily replace the Gardena connectors with standard 20mm HDPE pipe fittings.

Pressing the single orange button changes the display between 4 modes: 2 Totals (you can use one for total water usage per hour/day and the other for total water usage per week/month/season) which can be individually reset by holding the button in for 2 seconds while on that mode; Auto for displaying water flow up to an interruption of 2 seconds, then it
  automatically resets itself to zero for the next flow session; and Flow (the one I'm really interested in). This shows water flow in real time in liters/minute or gallons/minute. The device also just shuts itself off automatically after 1 minute of inactivity to save battery. What more could you want?!

I connected it in line from the borehole pump to the tank during our early morning pumping session and it gave a steady 11.8 liters a minute for the first half an hour. That's around 700 liters an hour which I have seen once or twice in my calculations. After the first half an hour the flow rate fluctuated continually between 8 and 12 liters a minute. Not sure what causes that but still a reasonable flow rate for topping up the water tanks.

  The second magic gadget that I have come across in setting up the pumphouse is the Major Tech MTD8 programmable digital timer. It can switch up to 20A (220V) loads which should handle our little 4A (36V) borehole pump with ease.

Unfortunately it didn't come with any documentation but I was able to quite easily figure out how to set up the day and time and program it to switch the borehole pump on at 07h30 and off at 08h30 every day.

  I later downloaded the instruction manual from the internet and found it even has a summer/winter function (moves the programming times back and forward an hour) and using it's 16 preset day programs, can be used as a daily, weekly or combination timer. You can also switch it to OFF, AUTO or MANUAL override on. And you can set 8 switch ons and 8 switch offs on the selective day programs. A truly amazing easy to use little device.

  Watering Grass
  So now we had 220 volts in the control room which allowed us to program and run the timer and energise the switch so that we could have the borehole pump switch on and off automatically. But the storage tanks were full, so we decided to use at least some of our daily borehole water yield to get the grass next to the garage block going.

Martie had cleaned and levelled the area and had so far been watering it from the water trailer. I joined a long length of 20mm HDPE pipe to the pump output pipe and laid the pipe out between the pumphouse down to the garage block and we set up a little garden sprinkler system. We tested the system on Saturday to water the area between the retainer wall and the garage block.

Then Martie levelled the other side of the retainer wall, sowed some of Mayford's Biomosome Grassveld Grass Mixture seeds into the sand, stamped them in nicely so hopefully the birds wouldn't be able to feast on them and we moved the sprinkler system over the wall to water the seeded area. We are hoping to have grass fairly well established on both sides of the retainer wall by the time the rains come so that the soil is reasonably stabilised and the rainwater won't be able to wash it all away.

On Sunday morning we had a very successful live automated test watering the grass for an hour with water directly pumped from the borehole.

  Control Room Workbench
  I was spending a lot more time than I should on the control room workbench.

The problem was I was using the leftover bits of perlin timber from the garage block roofing and although it looked ok after a good sanding with the belt sander, most of it was a bit twisted and bowed. When bolting it to the wall I was able to pull it more or less straight, but now I needed to build the front of the workbench and nothing would go square.

I needed a big drawer to keep all the documentation and spare bits and pieces for the equipment we have in there and the drawer runners need to be mounted square and straight. After remounting them three times now, I'll probably end up having to put some washers behind some of the runner sides to get the drawer working properly.

I've also decided to put in a cupboard under the right hand side of the workbench - still got lots of melamine veneered chipboard around from when we dismantled the computer shop that I can use for that. You can never have enough storage space!

  More Pumphouse Tiling
  We finished off the weekend with some more tiling. I needed to have the tiling all done and grouted in the control room before I could set up the workbench support legs.

So we laid the last few rows in there and glued the baseboard tiles all around the bottom of the walls.

We stayed over again on Sunday night so that we could clean up early Monday morning (any excuse will do but we also did a final check on our automated sprinkler system) before we headed off home.

  First Honey
  It was our first time we harvested honey and on Monday we got all the equipment together that we needed to do the job. We had nine super frames of honey (total weight about 10kg, which included the wooden frames, the wax and the plastic box to keep everything together) that we needed to extract and bottle.

Tuesday Martie started work on the frames and uncapped two of them. Once the frames were uncapped (the tops of the sealed honeycomb cells are cut off), the comb was cut out from the support wires and sides of the frame into managable squares and then put out in the sun in a bucket and filter system to separate the honey from the comb. She poured three 500ml bottles of lovely fresh honey from those first two frames.

We processed the rest of the frames through the week but found the swarm must have got too big for the brood box and the queen bee had been up in the super and used some of the chambers for brood. So we lost hundreds of grubs in trying to separate the brood chambers from the honey
Martie uncapping a full frame      
storage chambers. In future we need to be more selective in removing frames and only remove those full of honey.

Even though we've been on the course, there's just so much to take in and we're still on a very steep learning curve. We will now have to put a queen excluder between the brood box and super when we add the super for the next crop. This will allow the workers up into the super but won't let the queen (she's a bit bigger than the workers) up there.

10 x 500g bottles of our own bees' honey

  Fully Loaded
  We had a really busy week preparing for the third weekend of September.

The chimney flues for the fireplaces we bought in June were finally ready and needed to be collected from JetMaster in Roodepoort and our new solar geyser DIY kit also arrived. Long pipes and big boxes, we loaded everything onto the bakkie with very little space to spare for our normal weekend luggage and got it all out to the farm safely late Friday afternoon.

Solar geyser kit and pumphouse chimney flues
     House fireplace chimney flues      

  Solar Geyser Frame
  Friday night after dinner we unpacked the box containing the solar panel frame. It reminded me so much of my childhood days playing with a Meccano set, only bigger: lots of metal strips full of holes and a few packets of nuts, bolts and washers.

It took us a while to figure out how all the cross bracing bolted together from the very "rough guide" in the little instruction booklet. To start off with we built it as per the instructions with a view to having to modify it to fit on our low pitch roof and the parapet wall behind the JoJo tanks.


Once it was all built up, we first removed the rear support legs and then rebuilt the cross bracing to keep it all rigid enough to work with.

We also opened up one of the boxes of vacuum tubes and familiarised ourselves with them and the actual tank with it's inlet, outlet and vent fittings.

The system is designed to work with low pressure and is just so simple. The water flows into the top of the geyser from the JoJo tank feeder and the cold water drops down to the bottom of the vacuum tubes where it is heated by the sun. As it heats up it rises to the top of the tank (and gets replaced with colder water) and when you turn on the tap in the bathroom, you get hot water!

I would have liked the tank to sit a bit lower on the parapet wall but that would require some major modifications to the frame. It could still be done if we have to. With the tank so high it means we either have to keep the JoJos full if we want them to feed the geyser (not serious if the geyser runs dry - just no hot water!) or put some kind of little pump in line to feed water into the geyser.

Saturday morning early we got the frame up onto the pumphouse roof, positioned it on the parapet wall and then headed off back home to Joburg for a family wedding.

  Putting the Solar Geyser Together
  Sunday morning early we were back at the farm eager to get the solar geyser installed.

First job was to secure the frame to the roof. I removed two roof bolts and refitted them through the bottom frame feet brackets. Spacing in all directions was almost perfect, thank goodness. Then I drilled two holes down into the top of the parapet wall and screwed the top of the frame down onto the bricks with rawlbolts and that was that!

There are strong warnings in the instructions not to install the tubes in sunlight and then fill them
  with water. Hot tubes + cold water = cracked glass! The manufacturer's solution is to fill the tubes with water before inserting them into the geyser. But the weather was cool and overcast so I was able to safely fit them without filling them. Much easier. The main trick was to smear a little dishwashing liquid and water around the top of the glass tube and then just slide it up into the silicone seals at the bottom of the geyser. Then fit the rubber to the bottom of the frame and seat the bottom of the tube into the holes in the frame. Just that easy.

Bottom frame feet secured to roof purlins through roof sheeting
     Top of frame scured to wall      

     Fitting the geyser onto the frame
Fitting the tubes - halfway there

  Of course halfway through the tube installation the clouds began to clear and the sun started peeking through. We had to quickly lay a light coloured blanket over the installed tubes so they didn't get too hot.

Once all the tubes were in place I connected the geyser output into the pumphouse hot water plumbing, fitted a pipe from the borehole pump output into the input pipe on top of the tank (HDPE fittings and pipes used throughout) and pumped water into the geyser directly from the borehole until it was full (just under 200 liters - 150 liter geyser plus filling all the tubes). By that time it was early afternoon and by late afternoon we already had luke-warm water in the bathroom taps.

Tubes fitted - blanket cover before filling
Geyser filled and warming up nicely

  Pumphouse Control Room Stuff
  Sunday evening I spent working in the control room. With some washers, spacers and a bit of bracket modifications I managed to get that tricky drawer working nicely.

Then after a quick cleanup of the workbench, next job was to fit the flourescent light above it. We used a really nice slim 28 watt undercounter shopfitting unit. I cut a piece of scrap purlin to size, sanded and sealed it with the same sealer I used on the roof beams and then screwed the light fitting along the bottom of it. Then I hung some neat little steel brackets from the purlins and fitted some onto the wood that the fitting was attached to. We used some thin steel cable to hang the fitting from the roof beams and once lined up it hung there nicely at the same level as the electrical conduit coming out of the wall.

Then on to the electrical connections (careful to switch the inverter off) and before long we had 220 volt flourescent light in the control room - running neatly through the wall switch at the door entrance.

And then I got down to the big stuff. We had a problem with the borehole pump timer system and our "automatic" grass
  watering. The timer was wired into the pump circuit, so the main switch had to be set to feed the PV power to the pump controller for the system to work. This meant that the battery would not be able to charge when we weren't there to manually switch over from pump to charge and back again. And with that inverter drawing a fair "idle" current from the battery, when we got out to the farm on Friday afternoon the battery was under it's low voltage limits and everything had shut down. And that's not too good for the battery!

The logical solution would be to take out the control switch and simply connect both the charge controller and pump controller to the PV panels. But after a bit of research, that solution would just not work as each controller needs to control the input voltage and amperage from the PV panels and not sure how they would be able to do that when connected together in parallel.

So after some careful thought I took the control panel down for some wiring modifications. Simple, really. I just moved the timer from the pump controller circuit into the charge controller circuit. I still used the main switch as the master pump/charge control switch, but now when the switch was in the charge controller position, the PV power will be routed through the timer switch. Again, that magic little timer just had it all. So now, with the main switch in the charge controller position, when the timer is off, the battery will charge. When the timer switches on, the PV power will route to the pump controller for the time that it is on and powers the borehole pump - and stops charging the battery. Then, when the timer switches off again, the borehole pump switches off and the charge controller kicks back in to continue charging the battery. Elegantly sorted.

I'm confident we now have our automated watering system working 100%. But for now there's a few
water pipes laying around. The plan is to leave the pump output pipe connected to the sprinklers during the week and when we're there on weekends we can manually connect it to the JoJos to top them up when necessary. Controlling and automating the water output from the pump between the sprinklers and JoJo refilling - now there's a challenge!

  Hot Water
  Wednesday was our Heritage Day Public Holiday. We went out to the farm on Tuesday afternoon and we were able to bath that evening in hot water in the pumphouse bathroom!

The hot water system was working better than we could ever have expected - there was still steaming hot water in the taps on Wednesday morning. We also observed through the day that the water in the solar geyser actually boiled!

I fitted the little overflow/vent pipe and connected the geyser
  input to the JoJo tanks so that the geyser would top up when the JoJo tanks were filled.

Above, Martie's granddaughter, Amber taking a late afternoon bath in her "dream bath with a view". Now just got to stop "messing around in the control room" and get those rock walls finished and the tiling done in that pumphouse bathroom.

  Heritage Day Midweek Break

Early Wednesday morning a herd of eland passed through. Lots of rib bones showing - I bet they just can't wait for those first rains and some new green grass. In the picture above, a bit of everything
out on the farm. Martie putting some food out in the old dead tree for the birds, a bit of construction stuff in the foreground and some wildlife in the background.

We spent the day working in the pumphouse control room.

First job there was to grout the tiles so that I could get on with the cupboard. We managed to get the section that needed to be done finished but ran out of grout to finish off the whole room.

Then I built the front of the cupboard with the workbench support legs and the battery shelf. The battery shelf would be slats cut up from scrap perlin timber, each slat cut to size and painted with wood sealer. We painted sealer onto all the woodwork as it went in.

On the left, Martie giving the grouted section of the floor a final wipe down before we left the farm on Thursday morning. The battery shelf slats all screwed down and looking very neat.

  Control Room Workbench Complete
  The last weekend of September we headed out to the farm early on Saturday morning. I took some time to select the best of the twisted and bent old perlin timber available in the garage and together with some scraps of laminated melamine chipboard, managed to make good headway on the control room workbench.

In the picture below left, from the inside corner towards the doorway, that slatted battery shelf down on the left and the new cupboard on the right. In the picture on the right, the completed workbench from the doorway corner. Must just get some handles for those cupboard doors.


  More Pumphouse Bathroom Tiling
  Now that the bath was "operational" the next logical place to tile in the pumphouse bathroom was around the bath area.

Sunday night we mixed up a batch of tile glue and layed some tiles around the bath. Lots of tile cutting involved in the corner between the fireplace and the bath and then some 45 degree cuts for floor tiles along the front of the bath. We needed to get those baseboard tiles in place around the bath before we could start tiling the walls there.

  Strange Weather
  The end of September and we're still having change of season extremes with our weather.

Saturday was a little windy through the day with a most amazing calm evening. One of those evenings to just sit outside quietly and listen to the sounds of nature.

Saturday Evening - Lovely Calm Sunset

Sunday was windy. So windy that it was actually unpleasant to be outside doing anything. Luckily we had lots of work to do inside the pumphouse for the day. And all that wind was blowing in a storm. Unfortunately we only had 0.5mm rain through the night, although the tin roof on the garage block did make it sound like a lot more.

Sunday Evening - Storm Front