Mystery tree identified!

I’m very stoked about this. On the way back from the rave stopped at a garden centre which was for some reason open on kingsday and bought a blackcurrant bush, two types of mint and some berries.

Then I noticed the trees outside the centre were the same sort as the mysterytree so i asked the guy what it was, but he wasn’t sure! He told me it was Mischa de Kooien and i couldn’t find shit on the internets. He said he was bad at writing and couldn’t write it down… he looked for a book but couldn’t find it. Then B cracked it in the car. Woop!

By the way, bomengids is a great tree guide in Dutch and English.

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April23

The bulbs I bought yesterday were 240v so of course they didn’t work! I realised that today after faffing around checking the cabling. I feel a bit stupid, but no harm done and I should be able to swop them. I guess the fact they were LED made me forget they were not necessarily gonna be 12v.

Today I got up late with a sore jaw, dunno what that is about. Maybe I’m clenching my jaw in my sleep? Had it every day this week.

B and I went for a bike ride, which was great. Sunny weather, went for a nice meal. Also picked up my inverter, in the end I didn’t hook it up since I was too busy playing around with light. We now have light in the main room (with the new lamp!), my bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. So that’s progress. Next acquisition is definitely gonna be some sort of board to hook all the cables into hopefully with on/off switches although I guess that could be separate. Then the cable spaghetti will be resolved.

April22

Yesterday A said he was going to leave. This wasn’t exactly a surprise, he’s been looking to rent somewhere for months, but it still feels a bit strange, especially when I’m planning to scrap my car next week as well. I don’t want to live here alone because it’s a bit isolated. And with more people things would go faster with the various projects like the 12volt system and the gardening. A will take the new place May1, so pretty soon now. In brighter news, I’m thinking about having a party soon. Not so much a “housewarming” as a “now the house is warm” party.

Tonight we ate dinner with B and C, C was talking about wanting to live here a while ago, but now he is planning to squat something more central with his girlfriend instead. It could well have been the A farewell dinner. And A did the washing up! For possibly the first time in 7 months, so you can imagine my shock. Previously he pioneered the plastic cutlery and plate system, when it gets too dirty it goes to the bin. Twently litres of water later, the dishes were piled up to dry.

Having a car is useful for:
1/ Getting water
2/ Getting pallettes
3/ Cat emergency
4/ Escape plan
5/ Day trips
6/ Going to tekno parties

Otherwise, I’ll be fine.

Well actually the pallette situation right now is good, D came by and we picked up a shitload of wood and also two big (IBC) containers which are set up to collect water from the roof if it ever rains again.

After my victory yesterday getting light to my bedroom, today I had high hopes to get light to the bathroom and also to set up a lamp. I bought some 12volt LED bulbs at the hardware store in the next village (and also some cool shit at the second hand shop, a 12 volt ceiling lamp, 4×50 cent wine e glasses, a jolly striped teapot and a funky owl clip for B). Unfortunately the bulbs didn’t work in the both the bathroom and the lamp. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s not possible to get a 12volt connection through 240volt sockets, but to be honest I’m not sure why that would be, since surely the electricity would flow through regardless. I was in a bit of a rush before C came round, so maybe when I have another look in the light it will work out.

The lights in the kitchen and bedroom work fine, but they are hooked up via the already installed switches directly to 12v lamps I found installed in my bedroom wardrobe and repurposed, so it’s a different system. The house has a crazy amount of cabling back from when it was a bank I suppose, so I’m just reusing that. At certain points I wondered if I should just hook up the battery to a plug and see what turns on, there’s not so much of an electrical shock risk but then there could still be lights or whatever (airconditioning fans?) hooked up which might drain the battery.

The solar panel / battery is going great guns, totally topped up by the sunlight, since we have had in the main very sunny days lately. Unfortuantely the old inverter burnt out, I’m not 100% sure why so I might have screwed it up, but then it was also very old. The car amp still works find and is really loud. I’ve ordered a new inverter, in fact it was delivered today (fast service, nice!) but I was out, so I need to go down to the next village tomorrow to pick it up. Looking forward to having that, and treating it with respect. It’s double the wattage of the old one, so if the problem was simply that my laptop was drawing too much power (possible, it was 150W) then that will be resolved. I do remember the amp and the inverter not going well together when I used them before so I won’t do that again. In any case the new inverter should be tougher. It will be great to have it working to carge the laptop and also to run my Macbook, which doesn’t have a battery so needs to run off mains. I really like the little Asus EEE Seashell I’m writing now for travellign and library work, but it is at root a bit too small to type on happily when writing.

B is happily tucked up in bed and hopefully sleeping like a baby. She walked here from Rhoon today, quite a long stretch and she thought she would miss the ferry so she ran for a while. She was very pleased with the kodama footbath and rub special spa treatment.

The garden update – well so far in the ground we have potatoes (seed and some sprouted organic ones) / B’s radish / beans from E’s dad / rocket / B peas / strawberries. In pots we have pumpkin, courgette, artichoke. I found a hop plant in the garden centre! I need to train it up the wall and I put it in a big pot since if I move, that’s coming too. There’s also chocomint, basil (organic from the supermarket, not looking at all happy lately, but now it’s in the sun) and in trays: cabbage, rucola, perpetual spinach, I think some more also. I need to water the garden tomorrow, I was idly looking at some cracked mud today by the beans as H sunned herself, didn’t think to water them (whaaaat).

H update. Aw she is so amazing, a ball of energy for a 15 year old cat. She is either asleep, eating, or hassling me to throw her balls for her. I’m trying to get her to pat the balls back, sometimes it works out, most of the time it goes in the other direction. She also likes to sit and watch the balls go by, then watch me gather them up again. What can I say, she is a cat. I love her so much.
I hope she likes it here, seems like it’s a cat paradise. Lots of sun and outside. Interesting creatures, although I wouldn’t say it’s teeming with wildlife here, she has only caught three mice that I’ve seen in all the time, and a frog which I was able to help escape, luckily.

There’s still ducks about and occasionally a swan. Recently there’s been a great crested glebe, what a beautiful diving bird that is. I see blue tits, a robin, blackbirds, ravens, a heron on a daily basis. A stork last week. Two moorhens have a nest in the pond, it was awesome watching them build it, they were so pleased with themselves splashing around adding the final touches.

Kefir!

A few years ago I had kombucha, it’s a very strange plasticky disc fungus which you feed tea. At the time I was researching it and enjoyed the fact that no-one knew where it originated from. I also stumbled across kefir, but was not so interested since you had to feed it milk. But now J has given us water kefir!!

It’s also quite odd, these translucent white cubes which you feed with sugary water and fruit.

making-water-kefir-3

Over to wikipedia:

Tibicos are a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts held in a polysaccharide biofilm matrix created by the bacteria. As with kefir grains, the microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide gas, which carbonates the drink. Tibicos is also known as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California bees, and in older literature as bébées, African bees, ale nuts, Australian bees, balm of Gilead, beer seeds, beer plant, bees, ginger bees, Japanese beer seeds and vinegar bees.

People who do not wish to consume dairy products may find that water kefir provides probiotics without the need for dairy or tea cultured products, such as kombucha.

FAQ

12 volt hoover update

Just wanted to give an update on the hoover. Now the solar is up and running and I’m using the inverter to charge the laptop, I tend to have the hoover charging at the same time. Previously I was lugging it back and forth to B’s house, now I can use it everyday!! The house is definitely a bit cleaner. I guess I’ll be sad in winter when there is less juice available. The hoover is still cleaning well. It goes great emptying out the sucked up dust into newspaper and then burning it in the stove. It is a bit annoying the hoover doesn’t stand up on its own, but it doesn’t matter that much, it leans and can stand in its charging stand.