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Life on two acres of arid dirt, on the edge of the Australian outback.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Progress of a Fruit Dryer

I wasn't expecting such an interest in the outdoor dryer so I didn't take step by step pictures along the way.  Hubby is going to make some more of these soon, so I will be sure to capture each step next time.

This post is more like a progress report on how hubby made the outdoor/solar fruit dryer. He had no instructions just worked it out as he went along. You may need to look closely at the photos as part of the description.

Here we go J

Things you will need:

tape measure 
fly-screen wire 
tenon saw 
mitre box 
staple gun 
small square mesh
a carpenter square 
wood screws 
small bullet nails 
timber glue 
timber beading
stanley knife
Hinges and latches (optional)

The width of the dryer is the standard width of fly-screen wire. *Size 1000 x 1200mm.

Size of timber 20 x 40mm.

Form a square...

To start with Hubby thought he would make just one big dryer with a top and bottom.  This is about 1000 x 1200mm square.

Measure and cut the timber but before joining together with glue and screws, ensure that the frames are square by measuring across diagonals.

Staple the fly mesh on. He required some help from me with this bit. He pulled the wire tight while I stapled. Then trim the excess.

Then the progress came to a halt!

 Hubby started thinking that this big frame was going to be a bit too flimsy, so he changed his plans. 

It might be better to make it into two smaller dryers instead...

So he got some extra 20x40mm timber, found the centre and braced with the extra pieces each side of the centre. Then glued, nailed and screwed them in place. Next he turned the frame over and cut the fly screen wire with a stanley knife.
Then cut the framework into two halves.

It is starting to take shape.

 Once the flyscreen wire was on, for extra strength hubby put some square mesh on the bottoms.

Then added some beading to finish off.

The next step was to add hinges and latches.

The finished product...



We had an old frame that was used for a dog bed.  It is the perfect size to put the dryers on.

I have now placed the dryer on top of a table, but it is still sitting on the bed frame.

I put the legs in tin cans with a little water in to stop ants from getting to the fruit. 

But the smart little critters still managed to find a way so now I have spread vaseline around the legs. This has stopped them for now.

Hopefully you can understand this description, feel free to ask questions.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Weekly Update ~ An interesting week

Hello dear friends,

Another week has been and gone and what a busy week it was here. It was also an interesting week weather wise. Most of Southern Australia had a big storm cell pass over. With it came lots of thunder, lightening, rain, hail, wind, floods and even a couple of tornadoes. WOW!

 The really bad weather missed us, but we received a nice bit of rain, about 31mm or over an inch. On Wednesday we watched the storm cell pass by our place and I took heaps of photos as it was very scary and creepy.

Then we had a downpour...

Hubby had to dig a trench to divert the water down the driveway.

Love the sound of rain on a tin roof  J

As you can guess the gardens loved the rain! Everything has new lease on life, especially the veggies.

The shade cover has been taken down for now, so the plants can enjoy the nice sunshine that is coming.

I planted some new silver beet seedlings.

And dwarf beans.

The flowers are starting to show on the zucchinis.

The plants are getting bigger now. The leaves are hanging out over the barrels.

The cucumber is spreading out and has flowers.


Capsicum flowers.

The rhubarb is doing great in its new home.

We put weld-mesh around the tomatoes and staked the plants.

A spring onion has shot up in between the capsicums.  We used the soil from our spring onion bed to fill some of the barrels.  I expect to see more of these pop up and when they do I will move them to another barrel.

Toadstools growing out of the drainage plug, very strange indeed!

Last post I mentioned the strawberry plant that produced lots of flowers and no fruit. Well now it is getting strawberries, I must have been too impatient!



My sad garlic. 
This is the first time I have attempted garlic, I guess I still have a lot to learn.  They will all be used though so that is the main thing. No wastage!

Another four barrels are nearly ready.

I should get these done later today.

The garden at a glance...

Mulberries from our tree.

Who said we couldn't grow apples?  I counted over thirty on this little tree.  Whether or not they make it far enough for us to eat is yet to be seen, but so far so good!




Remember that flower on my Tayberry bush? Well here it is now...YUM!

Now the sun is back, I have mushrooms out drying. These are on special this week.

Some chopped figs that I dried earlier. I had these in the freezer to make jam but never got around to it, so now they will keep until I am ready to use them.  I think they would make a nicer jam because the flavour is stronger once they are dried.

On Tuesday hubby and I took the day off and went for a drive and spent the day looking at op shops in the surrounding country towns.  It was a truly lovely day...

I didn't buy too much but I did pick up these two large jars to add to my pantry for just a few cents.

I also picked up this pretty rose bush and hydrandea outside on a stand at an antique shop.  I paid $5.00 for the hydrangea, and last night I saw them at Coles priced at $22.00, so I am pleased with my purchase.  The rose cost me $12.00. I am not sure if that was a bit expensive, but I bought it for the smell as most roses you buy these days don't have an aroma. This one smells gorgeous!

I was gifted these two plants.  I think they are a shrub or ground cover, and they have edible fruit, so an added bonus.  I now need to find a place to put them. They are called Muntries, also known as emu apples or native cranberries.  I cant wait to see what they produce.

This is what the fruit will look like. By what I have read they taste like dried apples.
Web image

Gifted pepper toms.  Anyone tried these?  I haven't tasted them yet, but they look to be a cross between a tomato and capsicum? It says on the packet that they are ideal for stuffing.

 Gifted thrifty books. Looks like some great recipes in these two.

Out on my walk, I saw two bunnies in the yard with chickens again.    

I also saw this.  
Could it be a white Bird of Paradise? Does anyone know?

Some bargains I found at Coles last night. This lot cost me $2.50, full price would have been $27.50, so big savings.  I will freeze the corn, and steam the pumpkin for making an American Pumpkin cake.  The lettuce is still  okay to eat, but I will probably give it to our baby chicks for added green.

Here are three old 303 rifles hubby has restored, I think he has done a great job!

We have been cleaning up outside around the house while the weather is cooler and there isn't so much dirt and dust.  I made this cosy area outside the back door.  We will be able to sit here and watch the sun go down.  I must get some brown paint and cover the patch where the hot water system used to be. We have a solar hot water now.

The area near the swimming pool is being tidied and I am going to get the lawn growing again.  I know I said I wanted this gone, but I do miss that little green patch.  We let it die back hoping to do something different with this area, but it never happened.  I am wanting to plant bougainvillea's around the fence to make a pretty screen.  

Hubby has been renewing the gravel around the house. This helps to keep the dirt down during Summer.

After all the rain, the salt lake out back has water in it again.

For those waiting for the outside dryer instructions, it is nearly ready and will be posted within the next few days. Thank you for your patience.

I wish to apologise for not being able to visit my favourite blogs of late.  I know I have a lot of catching up to do and I hope to do some of that soon.

 I will leave you with this Old Irish Blessing 

May the road rise up to meet you. 
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, 
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Wishing you a wonderful week!