Monday, October 5, 2015

Building: the next stage

So after the hiccup was temporarily ironed out, we had the steel manufactured in Riversdale. So bizarre that it was cheaper to manufacture and ship to us that to produce locally. By a large amount. And ironic that it came from the area where we used to live.

First 1 up. Such cheesy grins. And Max taking the pictures.
The first row took Jan and I a few hours since these were the smallest beams and easy enough to lift. They got heavier.

We had 2 German volunteers join us- Lena and Martin. They were great. They were game to do anything and even though it was dangerous work, they jumped in to the building as well.
We hired a gunda gunda to help lift the very heavy beams into place. Its dangerous because they are swinging around, you're walking over humps and pits and there's noise to interfere with warning shouts.

We got the uprights in and then put a mezzanine beam in thinking it would be easier to put purlins between 2 mezzanine beams to make a platform to stand on and raise the roof girders. Here comes the first roof piece. it came in 2 pieces and we bolted them together. Meccano on steroids!
Another hiccup. The gunda could not raise the girders above the beams.
oh bother.
So then we thought we'd put the rest of the mezzanine floor in so we'd have that platform, then use winches and pulleys to get the girders on.

There you go. As much as we could do. We were rushing too as you pay for the gunda by the hour. BTW, on the left is the house side. we got those roof joists up by standing on ladders and scaffolding. Not too difficult. Thank you so much to Lena and Martin for the help on this. You'll see them again on planting posts.

Wait wait wait. think think think. plot plan scheme and try lots of things. As it happened, putting the mezzanine beams in was not a good thing to do. They were in the way to use almost all other equipment. And then we managed to find a local guy with a crane truck for hire by the hour. Save save save and call him in. And then Ali and Dave joined us as volunteers. Hooray! Between Dave and Jan who are not good with heights, the crane truck, driver and helper, we got those puppies up.

That's the last 1. Phew. Now how the hell will we get the roof sheets up??

Friday, October 2, 2015

Roasting coffee

For the last few years we have been roasting our own coffee. Yes you are right,  we are coffee snobs. There is logic in it though. Since I can't drink a lot of coffee for health reasons,  we only have 2 cups a day.  They had better be good cups!
We buy green beans which store indefinitely. This is a good thing on a farm where storage without bug infiltration can be an issue. Even bugs know coffee is better roasted.
I roast the beans in a big pot on the braai.  It's a very smoky business so is best done outside anyway. It requires a hot fire so I feed it constantly with small logs. It also requires constant stirring or the beans will burn on 1 side and not roast.
The beans go through 2 "cracks " where you can hear the beans popping.  We like our coffee full roasted and nice and dark. Lots of smoke as it comes to the end.
Then the beans must be cooled quickly - rather like pasta. I allow them to cool completely before grinding. And I only grind enough for a day. It makes a huge difference to the taste. So much is lost in flavour over days.
So you can do it too. It's worth it for those lovely cups of coffee.
Btw, roasting leaves black oil inside your pot. I clean mine with dish soap and lemon and sand or coarse salt. Works like a bomb.