About Me

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Fifty six year old empty-nester. Wife to one, mum to four and nan to three precious grandies. Living simply is my passion, I enjoy growing food, living healthy and playing with a variety of crafts. I am always up for a bargain and love to op shop for vintage treasures.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The garden,the rain and making bio diesel

We have decided to give the wicking garden beds a go this year. Our soil here is so sandy that the moisture does not hold. We are just wasting our water as it is not enough to get the vegies growing properly. It is a struggle.

After visiting Gavin's blog where he was making a garden bed and following the link he had there, we now have a fair idea as to what to do and how they work. A big thank you to Scarecrow for this easy to understand way of gardening.

We have purchased the black plastic to line the bottom of the beds that hubby has made. And we have bought some soaker hose, hubby reckons that should work better than the hose shown in the description, especially if we go away in the heat.

We plan to set up a timer up on the tap so the garden will still get watered.

The beds that hubby put together...
The soil is saturated from all the rain we have had yesterday and today. Total received from the heavens to date is 43mm (172pts) or 1 inch, 72pts. It is still raining on and off today and blowing a screaming gale along with it. Not much fun outside at the moment.

Here are some pictures of the storm yesterday,

Lightening and thunder all day with wind and eventually a deluge of rain that flooded areas around our town.

My parents live at Kimba, about 150kms away from here and they had 63mm (252pts) in 1.5hours. The hardest hit town from the storm in South Australia. Dad's workshop shed became flooded, so he had to put a hole in the back wall to release the water.

The black clouds building up...
Leigh Creek, north of here has had over 100mm (400pts)

The rain storm has been widespread across South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria and probably else where, with many places experiencing flooding.
Hubby took an ore train to Broken Hill at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, but had to pull up at Yunta because of the water over the track. A taxi from Broken Hill came out to pick up hubby and his mate, and take them to Broken Hill, they didn't arrive there until 4 o'clock this morning.
wet, wet, wet

The rain water tanks are overflowing...
The gutters couldn't hold the water...

The plants are loving it...

Hubby has shown a keen interest in making our own bio diesel, since a friend showed him how he made it. He is collecting information, resourcing, and making the equipment to use to make this possible.

Hopefully soon we will be using bio diesel in our Land Cruiser, and that should save us a lot of money.

This is what hubby has done so far:

Cut a gas bottle down, welded some legs on, and added 2 3/4 gate valves.
This will be used to heat the resourced oil, methanol and caustic soda in. The tap on the bottom is used to drain the thick solid oil particles out and the one on the side is to drain the bio diesel, ready to be strained.

It then will go into the storage drum (next to the ex gas bottle) for two weeks to let the particles settle, then it should be ready to put in the car.

I will keep you posted on how it goes.
This book has been an excellent source of information.

I hope you are all having a great weekend,



  1. Wow Tania !! Ive been watching the news and you have definately had a fair amount of rain there !! We had about 27 spits early this morning...the weather man is still predicting rains for tomorrow...we will see :0)
    We will never curse the rain...right,lol.
    The wicking beds look great! Not sure we need them here..our Summers are usually wet and Winter is dry.I hope the bio diesel project goes well,Ill be watching with great interset.

  2. Not wrong about the rain ! I see you guys are coping it too. Supposed to be clear here tomorrow as well.
    Your new garden idea is very intriguing - it will interesting to see how it works. Be careful with those soaker hoses, if you don't run them for long enough they won't water deep enough. And if they are subterrain, then you still need to establish seedlings until the y get their roots into the wetter soil - hope I'm not telling you how to suck eggs :)
    My hubbie has drums of vege ooil sitting about for biodiesel - we have no still yet so it is slowly being used in the chainsaws !

  3. Wow you are keeping your man busy for sure, hugs my down under friend, Barbara

  4. Wow... you've sure gotten a lot of rain too - and I'll bet you're smiling with those tanks being full!

    We went out yesterday and took some pics of the local area, and we're talking about doing the same again today. Here, we had our wettest August in 38 years, and we also got the entire Sept rainfall totals (usually our wettest time) in less than 12 hours - and that was yesterday!

  5. You have a lot of rain down your way hope it stops soon for you.
    We used to run our old HiLux on cooking oil and it was far easier than biodiesel. We started out getting an additive from the states and you just add a little kero and unleaded to the oil. It was so easy and we used it for 12 months with no problems. In the beginning we went through a few fuel filters as it was getting all the gunk out of the fuel tank and lines but after that it was no problem at all. When I think of the additive and website I will send it to you.

  6. That is lots of rain. Hope it has settled down and is now more gentle and prolonged. If its not a drought its a flood - good old Oz ☺

  7. So much rain...too much? It's a shame that it doesn't come more often but not as much.
    We're not getting it over here in WA.

    I have a friend that ran/runs his Merc on old oil fom the take-away shops.
    It smelled like fish and chips if you were travelling behind but he could drive 6 hours and it would cost him $1 for the diesol that started the car.


  8. Good to see your pics and understand a little how it is at your place.
    Interested to see how you go with your projects.
    Hope hubby home soon.
    Love and Blessings - Jan

  9. Glad you guys are OK! I saw a picture of the horrible flooding in Victoria but didn't know you were affected by the storm. I think you'll like growing in garden beds. I think they are a lot easier to maintain than field plantings. Have Hubby check out Knowledge Publications (http://www.knowledgepublications.com/). I've bought lots of books on DIY home energy/fuel from them. They sell very hands-on type info.

  10. Hi, Tania's Blog Friends.
    Thank you all for your comments about Tania's blog, Tania really appreciates your friend ship. Tania does an excellent job of her blog. thats cos she's got me...LOL.
    Tania also works me like a coal miner...LOL. Any way well done dear, keep up the good work.

    Love Your better half ME......Phil

  11. Interesting post! I also have soaker hose in my garden but making bio diesel makes me really curious about it.


  12. Been away for a while, I just popped in for a short visit. Enjoyed your recent posts and what a blessing to have your rainwater barrels over-flowing.

  13. Hello Tania,
    I stopped by your blog after noticing that people were linking to my blog from yours--thanks so much for adding me to your blog roll! :)

    I love seeing how people in other types of climates manage to achieve a sustainable lifestyle. And I look forward to seeing how your husband's experiments with bio diesel go!

  14. The wicking beds look great. Ive seen them at Gavins blog and Ive been thinking about making one. Might just give it a go after reading your post...


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