Long term readers will recall that a few months back we began dismantling a three seat 'leather' couch and re-purposing the underlying materials. At the time I described the 'leather' couch as a 'manufacturing abomination' because it is my belief that it should never have been made. Despite purchasing the couch from new, and paying a hefty sum of money for the thing, we discovered to our horror that the 'leather' appeared to be manufactured from some sort of welded chunks of leather which were glued to a synthetic backing. Technically the product is leather, but the welds crack after a short period of time and then chunks of leather fall off the backing which leaves the synthetic backing clearly visible. All up, after a few short years of use the couch looked like a bucket of poo. Nothing was left for us to do but burn the remains of that spawn of a demon!
The couch was replaced a while back with a locally made couch that the previous owners no longer wanted. It cost us about a tenth of the price of the 'leather' abomination, and the fabric covering on the replacement is so high quality that it is amazing.
Anyway, with the remains of the 'leather' abomination soon to be retired to the nearest bonfire, I thought that this would be a good photo opportunity! Here goes...
|Welcome to Hillbilly Heights!|
Despite wearing a Billy Joel tour t-shirt and the denim jacket that the cool kids gave me heaps of rubbish for wearing, I still look as though I'm enjoying a good sulk:
|The author mucking around the high country when perhaps he should have been studying for his final exams|
The few days of adventure were so peaceful and quiet and there was even a bit of snow around the alpine areas. Even today, outside of public and school holidays the forests up in that part of the country are very quiet. My grandfather and his WWII drinking buddies used to take me up there with them camping from the time I was a young kid, and I knew the area tolerably well enough to get around.
Anyway, whilst my mate and I were skylarking up in the forests, my fellow school mates were apparently busy at home studying up for the final examinations.
Now very long term readers will recall that after a couple of years in a very hippy dippy High School, I was unceremoniously packed off to the other end of the educational spectrum and ended up at a more English than the English, High School. The contrast between the two schools was not lost on me.
The latter school was very good at teaching to the exams. As a contrast, the hippy dippy school was all about the 'experience' and they simply ignored exams. I can't but help think to myself that there must be some sort of middle ground between the two extremes. Maybe?
To cut a long story short, I felt entirely comfortable taking a week off to go camping and relax before the exams despite this being considered an unconventional approach to study. As I remarked above, it was clear to me at the time that the school taught to the exams. The exams were clearly an unknown, but the key objectives of each subject were made public knowledge and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the exams were consistent with the key objectives - which is only fair.
To that end, the school relentlessly drilled us students as to how to answer possible exam questions. We were also taught how to manage our time in the exams because we were often made to write essays or perform other work under time constraints. I distinctly recall having written over fifty essays for the subject of Australian history over the course of the school year.
The homework was not quite endless, but it sure did take up a considerable number of hours each evening, as well as one of the days on the weekend. Homework was generally enforced by threat of detention for non-compliance. The other day on those weekends where I wasn't studying was consumed by competing in inter school sports. You could say that the experience was rather competitive, but it was also all consuming. And thinking back on the experience, I'd have to suggest that it would have prepared someone well for a career in the Army!
As a bit of a criticism of that educational approach, I'd have to suggest that such practices do not train a mind to think clearly - or even be creative. But then, those two outcomes aren't the ones that are examined...
Winter is gathering momentum and most days over the past week have been incredibly cloudy.
|Winter is gathering momentum and thick clouds are a constant companion over the central highlands|
A couple of days ago I began the process of rewiring all of the cables between the 12 PV panels and the batteries. I suspected that something had gone wrong somewhere in the cables. I installed new fuses and linkages so that each PV panel is now individually fused. The other 18 panels in the system are wired with individual fuses, but these 12 faulty panels are the oldest part of the system. To begin that wiring process, I had to work on the apex of the roof for many long hours.
|The author works on the very apex of the roof wiring the solar panels|
|The author avoids the worst of the super atomic roof wedgie by using a 'sponge wub' to sit on|
|It has rained on and off again over the past week|
|The new fuse arrangement for the rear four PV panels|
|The cables for the 12 faulty solar panels had to be removed from the roof and inspected in daylight|
A roll of duct tape sorted that problem out and I have taped together the cables for the entire 30m / 100ft length at about every foot or so.
|A roll of duct tape and the induction problem is resolved|
Before beginning the repairs, I went with my gut feeling and purchased a replacement regulator (the fancy name for the brains behind the solar power to battery charging process). It was a good thing that I did that too, because the old regulator had ceased to function, although it appeared as if it was still working. The regulators are manufactured in Melbourne so I can take it in to them to repair over the next week or so. Units sourced from overseas suppliers would not be so easy to repair.
|I connected up the replacement regulator to the new wiring and it is all good!|
|The editor caught me napping whilst I was meant to be supervising the chickens|
|The new second hand mower/slasher does an awesome job|
|The birds have been delighted with the piles of cut mulch left for them to rummage through|
The potatoes have revelled in the recent heavy rain:
|The potatoes have revelled in the recent heavy rain|
|The smoke bush is almost the last splash of colour in the orchard|
|How good are the Japanese maples?|
Onto the flower photos:
|Feverfew growing among Rosemary|
|Chrysanthemum's still going strong|
|Aromatic geraniums are superb looking|
I thought I might chuck in a blooper shot. Ollie is clearly camera shy or doesn't consider himself to be a hillbilly...
|Ollie is clearly camera shy and refuses to participate|
The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 8’C (46’F). So far this year there has been 311.4mm (12.3 inches) which is higher than last week's total of 304.0mm (12.0 inches).