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September 2009

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1st September 2009

Well, the day didn't start out too well. I knew it wouldn't yesterday when I got home from the pub and thought "Oh bollox, I have no firewood for the morning". So the day's very first job was to rustle up some kindling and firewood for toast, coffee and washing up water. I could have made do with dry bread and water, and not done the washing up, but it's not the same really.

With a small cheat of using the electric kettle for the boiling water to skin tomatoes I managed to get the next batch cooking down as well. By that the village handiman was out with his strimmer doing the verges. Oh, bugger! Another unscheduled, and, with the state of the knee, unwelcome job. Once again he seemed to be a long while doing my bit, and I made a discovery. He works along the roadside and the road side of the drainage ditch first and then he works back to where he started on the houses side of the ditch. I think he times it according to how much fuel he has in the strimmer so that he gets back to where he left his can. My driveway (Ha!) is one of his turning points, so he does half of mine then goes back the other way. I haven't mentioned it before but I have previously noticed that he leaves his fuel can in a certain spot by my fence. Small but significant details. Anyway, having came and went, after an interval he reappeared and went and came back. And that was the two halves of my frontage done. I hobbled and got the barrow, hobbled and got the grass rake and hobbled and raked up all the strimmings from the two halves. I had to take a break after raking up the first half!

By dint of considerable personal pain I got the second half raked up, both halves piled into the barrow and the whole lot onto this year's one compost heap. After that I had to have a serious sit down, so I got the knitting out and finally managed to finish the back of the sweater. By the way, I have searched and searched on the Internerd and cannot locate what I am looking for. I want a knitting pattern for a man's entrelac sweater/jumper/pullover - call it what you will. If any of you readers happens upon one buy it and post it on to me. I will happily reimburse via PayPal or BACS.

I did a bit of woodworking. Well, wood/metal working:
Tool I knocked up this tool. The metal bits are nails, but the points have been ground round and sharp. The nails are three millimetres in diameter, so you can guess the scale. The only clue I'll give you is that it is something to do with something I have in the garden. Any ideas? You'll have to get in a bit sharpish as I will reveal all in my next update.

With the onset of damp mornings and damp evenings I decided that the workbench needed clearing and all the tools, which have rather accumulated on the workbench, should be returned to the relative dryness of the house. So that's what I did, including sweeping up a mountain of sawdust and wood shavings. The shavings are wonderful kindling. The sawdust I am saving for something else.

I popped across to the shop when she opened early evening to be greeted with a bit of a second degree. "Where were you this morning? The neighbours hadn't seen you and everyone was worried." Odd, I thought, seeing as I had made my normal daily trip to the shop that very morning. I reeled off what I had bought that very morning to the shop lady. The penny dropped, and she apologised for not telling the neighbours that I had in fact been to the shop and was alive and (relatively) well. Still odd, but somewhat reassuring that my assumed absence should trigger alarms. It's that sort of a place.

Finally for today, apologies from me for the tardiness of blog updates. I wish it would rain solidly for a day so that I could use that as an excuse to get properly up to date!

2nd September 2009

Here is a tiny bit of good news - not. From the Norwegians, who at least looked after their bit of the North Sea a bit better than the UK.

What do you know - I got a Best Answer in Yahoo! answers. Yep - by a whopping one vote :) Still, made my morning!

After breakfast I kept the stove lit for a while and finished off cooking down the tomatoes, then jarred them up. I'm getting quite a little stock now, but it is nowhere near enough. It will also be good when the food drier is finished and come next summer it can be in its proper place and should dry the foods several times faster than it does at the moment. Never mind - at least it is doing some drying even if it takes a couple of days.

I tidied up the yard and finished off clearing the workbench. I was just doing that when fa szakember arrived to collect more pears. He was telling me that he now has over a thousand litres of pear Pálinka on the go. I suppose that is what he has on the pulp, as it were. It's still a lot! No idea what the yield would be once pressed and distilled.

Later in the morning, during a beer break, I got to thinking about all the sunflowers I have and what to do with the seed. By that I mean how to extract the kernel from the husk. I really don't fancy doing that job by hand! I went on the Internet and was rewarded by finding this absolutely fascinating page. I won't spoil it in any way by telling you what it is about, but it really is worth the read. After that I set about the initial processing of the Linum Usitatissimum crop:
I collected the crop from the garden in the barrow. Not because of the weight - it was just a convenient way to transport it. Linum Usitatissimum Crop
Rippling Linum Usitatissimum Here I am using the tool I showed yesterday. It is (of course) a rippler and is used to separate the seeds of the Linum Usitatissimum from the plants. Now that I have used it I can understand why they call it a rippler. Each seed pod parts from the plant with a little click, and if you have a plant with many seed pods on it it really does feel like it is rippling as you pull it through the tool.
Next I bundled them loosely into three lots in accordance with how long they have been out of the ground. It is, after all, by way of being an experiment and a learning curve. Bundling Linum Usitatissimum
Retting Linum Usitatissimum The next step was into the water butt for retting. The idea is that bacterial action in the water dissolves the pectin that binds the fibrous part of the plant together. It should take ten days to a fortnight.

After that I made bricks and collected paprika, peas and tomatoes from the garden.

3rd September 2009

The Daily Telegraph on Britain facing blackouts. That's nice then.

I stripped yesterday bricks out of the mould. It seems that I have not forgotten how to make them. All the ones that I have made so far this year have turned out good. To recap, a ten to one mix of soil and mezhidrat mixed well up, then just enough water to make it damp throughout. If I was baking I would say that I was aiming for that breadcrumb texture that you get when you have thoroughly rubbed the fat into the flour. A little chopped straw mixed in and ram it down hard into the mould. Leave it overnight and they are firm enough the next day to remove from the mould and I can use them immediately with a bit of careful handling. All last years have stood up to a Hungarian winter and Hungarian summer and a number of Hungarian thunderstorms. I made another mix and banged that into the mould. There was a bit left over so I scraped out a bad bit of wall and gave it a good wet down, then pounded the leftover mix into it. If you get the wall to the right degree of wetness you can actually amalgamate the new mix into the wall. With a lot of work for the thumbs.

After that, back into the kitchen. I really can't remember why, but I suspect tomatoes (again). Whatever it was I was beavering away when someone came round (no names no pack drill) to offer me a half share of some food. It was stressed that it had meat in it. Takes me back again to the fact that for many in the village even cheaper cuts of meat are regarded as a luxury. The meat turned out to be lumps of turkey backbone. Not a lot of meat and plenty of bone. Never mind! The meat went into me and the bone went into Pickle.

4th September 2009

Rain overnight. Quite a lot of rain actually when I looked at my various containers around the yard. It wasn't raining when I got up though. Just thoroughly wet everywhere. I took the opportunity to scrape up some of the heap that still remains from digging the trench across the yard and transferring it to the "to be made into bricks" heap. It goes to show the state of the walls, as found. I am just about keeping my head above water with the earth supply I have and what I scrape out to do the next bit of restoration. Earth from the garden is just not the same. If I have to get it from the garden I will have to have a serious dig down to proper subsoil. I know from the experience of trying to dig it that it is a bit like digging sandstone!

Yesterdays bricks went into the wall. I was going to make some more, but it rained again. I looked at the wall in despair. I still have a huge amount of chipping out, saving the earth and making good to do. And this bit of wall is about one sixth of the exterior area of the earth walls. I consoled myself with the thought that the front wall is not too bad, and, although I haven't really explored it, I think that the Eastern side that I will need to access by going into the yard of No. 68 is not too bad either. Oh well, I have another two and a half years of the plan left before I retire. The Hungarians have an answer for my sort of house. They bulldoze them!! Over my dead body! Well, save the cost of an interment anyway :)

I finished off yesterday's food by padding it out a bit with this and that. I had saved two lumps of the turkey backbone so once again the meat went into me and the bones went into the dog.

5th September 2009

It rained. Again! So I did some long overdue housework. It stopped raining, so I managed a bit more preparation of wall repairs. If you look back along you can see that where they extended the house and built on the bathroom/loo, they made no attempt to bond it into the earth wall of the house. I'll sort that one out then!

I banged in the earth bricks that I had and moved on to the ever more urgent woodworking job. Perforce it is a bottom up design. Without the first two (identical) components the whole thing collapses like a house of cards. At the moment I have nothing to show. Well nothing to show on the blog anyway. I have the wood for the components and I have a lot of scribblings on paper and calculations. That's about it for now.

I took the scraper and the hammer to the outside of the kitchen wall in preparation for the next lot of repairs. I think it piques their interest the lengths I am prepared to go to to preserve this earth house. My attitude is that a bit of a house, no matter how precarious, is better than no house at all. Somewhat depressing is the fact that the bit that I am tackling is still only one sixth of the exterior of the earth part of the house. Mind you, to offset that is the fact that the front is nowhere near as bad, never having been rendered with cement, and as far as I can tell from a cursory inspection when I was next door at No. 68 one day I think that wall is also not too bad.

I had tentatively arranged a photo shoot. Helper wanted some pictures of him preparing the village football field. I stopped off in the pub to see if he was there. He wasn't. I had a beer and waited for him to appear. Which he didn't. So about ten minutes late I cycled up to the football field. Helper was there but for political reasons the photo shoot was off. Ah well! At least I got a guided tour of the inside of the clubhouse. The only bit of the inside that I had seen from inside was the Gents! Speaking of which, there are obviously no rules about "line of sight" here. Indeed, in the local if both doors are open (and the inner one always is) you can see straight through to the back of the bloke that is standing at trap three having a pee. Similarly at the football club, the Gents has a plain glass window to the exterior so anyone walking along the back of the building can look straight in and make comparisons!

Helper finished off his tasks, locked up, and we cycled off. He stopped at the first house on the right on the way into the village to return the set of keys he was using. I got dragged into the yard with him. The lady of the house was sitting on a chair on what I can only describe as the veranda. Beautiful house. And a great daft old dog to go with it. I reckon a Rottweiller cross. It had that great big broad head and powerful jaws of the Rottweiller but was just a bit less in stature. Daft as a brush, as they would say Ooop Norf. Kept coming back and coming back and all he wanted was a bit of fuss.

Eventually we left. They do like a chat, the Hungarians. I counted at least three false starts before we finally got away. Quite unexpectedly I got dragged into helper's house and fed. Which was nice. And equally unexpectedly I got dragged out again as helper declared that it was time to go to the pub. Well, no surprise there then.

I was sufficiently well oiled by the time I left the pub, but I noticed on the way home that there was quite a chill in the air. Once home I used the on-line dictionary to look up "cool". Hmmmm - thirty one different words in Hungarian. Reminds me of snow and Eskimos.

6th September 2009

Today was Bucsu, with all that involves. To remind you, bucsu means farewell, which is still a bit strange to me, as it is when everybody returns to the village to greet and meet family. In the morning whilst I was pottering about I had the call from the fence of No. 72 and the lady who is, I think, a granddaughter of the old girl presented me with a container of goodies. Very nice! I noticed later that they had at least five biggish tables set up on the grass part of her yard, and they were fully occupied.

Apropos absolutely nothing, did you know that the Hungarian for jeans is "farmer"? Thought you would like to know that!

After that it was on to the pub to meet helper, then up to his for lunch. The lunch turned out to be pork liver in a sauce, served with pickled cucumber and the obligatory bread and hot paprika a goût. Very much to my taste anyway. Helper disappeared to make a serious change to his appearance for going out to the football match and on to the pub afterward. I had a really good old chat to his mother about issues gardening. I told her of some of my gardening experiments. I suppose that I should not have been at all surprised, but she knew pretty well all about everything I talked about. We ranged through onions (hers have been a disaster), Suzy's English Herb - she knew all about that and wants some seeds, and Linum Usitatissimum - "Little blue flowers" quoth she! She also told me a local folk remedy for the Colorado Beetle which apparently at least keeps them under control. Spray the plants with a dilute solution of vinegar and give them a dusting with meszhidrat. Apparently the little buggers don't like it. How simple, and with cheap, freely available materials. Same old, same old - it's not what you know, it's who you know. I would never have drempt up that one in a million years. Thinking about it, I never had to refer to the dictionary once. I berate myself for the lack of knowledge of Hungarian, but in my sphere of everyday type stuff I guess that I have actually come a long way without realising it.

On to the football. I took the camera, but the muse was somewhat lacking. The home team scored four goals and I did not manage to capture a single one of them. I don't know, but maybe the three or four glasses of white wine over lunch preceeded by the beer in the pub, plus a couple of beers at the match had something to do with it.

After the match it was back to the pub for another beer, then I did drag myself home to the mundaneness of sawing and chopping firewood so that I could have my coffee and toast in the morning, and a light bite after a good lunch to see me through the evening. Knowing that the pub would be open until the wee small hours I was in no rush to get back. I wandered back to the pub at about half past eight. It may have been the weather - this year was nowhere near as hot as last, pleasant but cooler - but it was a very different sort of evening at the pub. Last year I sat in the pub pretty well much on my own. This year it was packed. I reckon bucsu is probably the pub's busiest day of the year. There was still the music and the locals dancing in the yard, but many more people in and out of the pub itself. Last year they just mostly stayed in the yard. My new neighbour John turned up to see what bucsu was all about. A degree of exercise of the right elbow followed. John bit the dust at about half past eleven. I was not that far behind him! And helper fancied himself with my camera as David Bailey:
There was a turn... Entertainer
Bucsu Dancing ...and dancing...
...whilst some struggled to make it through the evening! Inebriate

7th September 2009

I can't imagine why but I woke up with a fairly horrendous hangover. You know, one of the translations of hangover from magyarul means literally "cat lament". I can understand. A hair of the dog late in the morning didn't help. The end result was that I achieved, basically, nothing all day. Nothing more to say.

Late in the day I found An interview with Bob Hirsch he of the Hirsch report, so called.

8th September 2009

For various reasons, not the least of which being Bucsu on Sunday, the housework never got done. So I set about it in the morning. Fa szakember arrived, collected another couple of sacks of pears, and departed. I emptied and refilled the brick mould. It remains hard work. Then I did a mixing and laid the bricks I had just taken out of the mould. That pretty well filled the morning.

After lunch I put a little dressing on the leg and had a much-needed bash around the yard with the strimmer. Then some light garden work. Well, I say light, but getting the sunflower roots out of the ground in the outhouse garden took a little effort. I took the axe to the stems! They are pithy rather than woody so this year they have gone on the compost heap. If they don't rot down I will know not to put them on there again.

Later, back in the yard, catastrophy struck. Pickle managed to get herself in a tanglement around the food drier. I patiently led her round, untangling her. As soon as she realised she was free she shot off at the speed of light. Dragging her chain at the speed of light right across the lesion on the leg. In a fraction of a second all the patient work of iodine and ointment was undone. The pain was excruciating. I cried out with it. Poor Pickle knew something was wrong but didn't know what she had done. She was very cowed. Her tail went down and her ears went down and she cowered at my feet. Not her fault, she just did what she has done many, many times before. My fault for being careless enough to have the chain on that side of me. I went in the house and washed it out thoroughly, reapplied the iodine, then the ointment. But it was a mess. I could see that.

9th September 2009

I did not sleep well, and in the morning I was distracted and worried by the state of the lesion on the leg. Nonetheless I went through the daily ritual. Light the stove, shop, coffee, toast, do the washing up - which ensures the hands are clean - iodine the lesion, dry and put away the washing up, bathe off the iodine and apply the ointment. After that I distracted myself from the distraction by doing a hundred and one little jobs that needed doing. (I have told myself a million times not to exaggerate!)

A picture (no, not of the leg - I'll spare you that):
Sun Drying Paprika Various shapes, sizes and varieties. The little round ones are hot. The smaller pointy ones are Cayenne pepper (obviously also hot), and the bigger ones are sweet peppers in various guises. The bigger pointy ones are the ones used to make the culinary ubiquitous Hungarian paprika - the sort that you can use by the tablespoonful.

Back to the wall repairs and a little while devoted to knocking out earth in preparation for the next set of bricks. Then it was back to the woodwork project. I have about a month to get it finished. As usual I'll do a series of photos and publish when it's done. Helper came round whilst I was doing that. Not for any reason, just for a chat. Which was nice.

A couple of coolish evenings have made me realise that I need to get a bit of a scoot on with the knitting of the jumper. It won't be that long until I will be needing to wear it! So, I now pick it up from time to time during the day and do an odd row. I'm trying to make sure and do at least eight rows a day. I like to keep the knitting as pub work, ideally, but now need to get it finished.

Later, in the pub, Hungary vs. Sweden football was on the telly. For once, the rules got bent and we managed to see the whole match with the result that he didn't shut until gone half past ten. Disappointingly, Hungary were beaten, the winning goal being scored in the absolute dying seconds of injury time, so the evening ended on a bit of a downer.

10th September 2009

It was raining in the morning so I took the opportunity to do a little cooking. I decided to try my hand at making some chilli powder. Out came one of last years wizzened little hot peppers, and, roughly chopped, into the pestle and mortar it went. My little marble one is just the right size for that sort of a job but it is on the small side. I could do with a much bigger one but one of the problems is that I have been absolutely unable to get a translation into Hungarian of pestle and mortar. I asked helper a while back, and he just shrugged. I have to say that grinding it up into a powder, seeds and all, was a bit of a task. Here's the result:
I hoped that the vividness of its colour was going to be matched by the ferocity of its taste. It was! It even stained the marble of the pestle and mortar and I ended up having to bleach it out. Home Made Chilli Powder

Still preoccupied with the leg, not a lot of work got done. After lunch I had a wander down to the Faluhaz where there was a bit of a market on. I treated myself to a cheap pair of trainers - about a fiver. My Merrell trainers are starting to show the effects of may months of use and abuse. Although uppers and lowers are still in good condition they are, sadly, beginning to part company.

11th September 2009

I made bricks and prepared the next stretch of wall to receive them. Fortunately I had just managed to finish that when it came on to rain quite heavily. I'm sure we are not supposed to have that much rain at this time of the year. It remains quite mild so the weeds are taking full advantage. I chafe inwardly at the limitations that the leg problem is placing on my ability to get on with stuff in the garden. Not to put too fine a point on it my plans in that department have all gone to rat shit!

The village guy that continues to say he will do some work turned up, cried off because of the heavy rain and promised "Wednesday". We'll see.

My initial design for the first components of the current woodworking project was not up to scratch so I had to rethink it. That meant that all my markings out of the work had to be erased and started over. It was quite time consuming.

Pickle decided that in the absence of me doing any gardening work she would help me. So she dug. All over the yard! Now I know that one of my plans is to do a bit of landscaping - well flattening out and removing tree stumps! - but an extra seven or eight doggy holes are not called for.

12th September 2009

Satisfied with my redesign of the woodwork I set to and with angle grinder, file and scriber knocked up a pretty thing to assist with the next stage out of one of the smaller pieces of my ever-dwindling stock of stainless steel:
Tool Here it is - any guesses? It is about thirty millimetres long and twelve or so across the blunt end. Don't bother answering - answer is below!

Another unscheduled job that has been quietly waiting in the wings for some while finally got done today, and as it turned out none too soon. You may recall me making a new door for the inspection hatch at the bottom of the kitchen chimney out of fire cement. I cannot remember now whether I said, but it turned into an abject failure. The cement didn't set properly and it just continued to sag and sag so it was committed to the hole in the pantry floor. I made another new one out of cement. It should be OK. It is only the outer door and is at the bottom of the chimney so I can't see it getting so hot as to come to harm. It finally got extracted from the mould today, so I alo removed the old one - in innumerable pieces - it was held in place by dust I think. Out it came and it got committed to the hole in the floor too. I checked the new one and it went nicely into place. No dramas. The inner door proved to be in reasonable condition. At least it was all in one piece and held itself in place. I removed it, to be confronted with a solid wall of soot. In anticipation of what was to follow I had a walk up the garden and emptied the ash bucket (which is an ex-twenty five litre emulsion tub) onto the compost heap. Back at the house I started digging. The chimney was absolutely solid with soot, particles of cement and bits of brick ends. The brick ends went in the hole, the soot went into the bucket and a fair amount ended on the floor. Absolutely obvious that this job had never been done for many, many years. I ended up having to reach up inside the chimney with my little coal shovel-type thing and dislodge soot probably about two feet up inside the chimney. I am fairly convinced that it reached as far as where the chimney connection for the old furnace was. That being the case, I would never have got it lit!. I filled the bucket and still had not removed all the soot. Now, this was not new soot. This was old soot that had been damped and compressed by rain falling down the chimney. So up the garden I went again, this time with a bucket of soot, which was not light. It joined its companion ash on the compost heap. Back to the house again and I finally completed the clearing out of the chimney. Another quarter of a bucketful. A quick brush down and inner door and new outer door went back into place:
The new, cement, chimney door. What was descibed above was neglect - pure neglect. I know that at the end of the winter I had removed what had accumulated from the big stove (I had previously had to carry out a similar operation there, too) and a winter's worth of soot was two or three of the little shovel full of soot. A matter of minutes work, instead of the detestable task that I had now faced twice. New Chimney Door

I tried an experiment after lunch. A piece of sponge came into play with a biggish hole cut out of the centre of it. I taped it over the lesion on the leg and put the wellies on, in the hope that the sponge would keep the lesion from being chafed by the movements of wellies. I had a bash round the camping lawn and around the big walnut tree with the strimmer. I was hoping to get much more done, but by the time I had done that it was obvious that my little experiment had not worked. The sponge had kept the socks and wellies off the lesion OK, but the associated movement of wellies, socks and sponge had continually pulled at the surrounding skin such as to set up a great irritation at the edges of the lesion. Well, it had to be tried. One of the reasons for doing what I did is the onset of a new walnut collecting season and I particularly wanted to clear that area so as to be able to see and collect the new walnuts. Fa szakember had mentioned, off-hand, that there is someone in Körmend that will pay good money for them. I might just have to follow that one up (I still have half a basket of last year's), but on present showing it does not look like quite such a bumper harvest this year.

I had managed, in the cold, sober light of day, to cock up the knitting - again! A had knit a third row of cabling pattern instead of a seventh row. Fortunately I realised when I went to mark up the fourth row and realise that it was in fact an eighth row. So I sat and sorted that out. Rather than simply pull it down I patiently "un-knitted" about a row and seven eighths and corrected the problem. Ah well, at least it wasn't forty rows!

13th September 2009

Over the last week or two I have noticed a bit of a change. I have no idea why, there are now those in the village that address me by the various diminutives of "Istvan". I now get called "Pitu" or "Pisti" (pron. "Pishty"). I can only say that it heralds a degree of informality in my dealings in the village. An acceptance, if you will. I suppose that it is mainly certain of the pub regulars who I also see elsewhere in the village, but, as always, pretty well everybody greats me in a friendly though still formal manner. It is rare exceptions from whom I get no greating at all. As previously, what I might call the older generation, say people of over fifty five, or so, usually append the word "kívánok" to their response. It means "I wish (you)". It extends to the shop lady as well. She has started using the informal catch-all greeting for both meeting and parting of "Szervusz!". It continues to brighten my day when I visit the shop. Even if she is busy, with a queue of customers there is always some sort of banter, and she is a cheery soul. I often come out of the shop smiling for absolutely no reason. If there is no one else in there we quite often have some sort of little chat, often with a joke on one side or the other.

Sunday. Housework! Had a good mop through. That's that. It took longer than normal. I think with all the wet weather the muck from the yard was trampled about more than usual. There was also a dusting of soot in the hallway from yesterday's operations that would not brush up so had to be mopped up. I have to say that the kitchen and hallway floor tiles are - errr, shall we say - well used. What's the saying? "You can't polish a turd"!

I fancied a beer after that, and with supplies at home short popped up the pub for one. Most unusually I was the only one in there. I had my one beer and was making moves to leave when another beer got plonked in front of me - on the house - no idea what that was about but I wasn't about to turn it down.

Happened again in the evening, but this time a fröccs. Not on the house, but from an unexpected source. No idea what that was about either.

14th September 2009

Again lots of bitty work - housework, yard - nothing worth commenting on. Then it was back to the woodwork. I will tell you that the project is to build a grape crushing machine. Out of firewood! The little tool that I featured the day before yesterday is in fact a template for marking out wooden gears. I have to make a pair of (near enough) identical gears. Well, they at least have to have the same number of teeth and be a reasonable approximation of the same diameter. My original design was teeth spaced at twenty degree intervals, giving eighteen teeth around the circumference. When I actually plotted it out using my template and paper I realised that there was nowhere near enough "meat" on the teeth. My redesign took the angular displacement from twenty degrees up to twenty four degrees, which doesn't sound much, but brought the number of teeth down to fifteen. I plotted that out on paper and it seemed to work well enough. I marked the workpieces up and drew in the radial lines for the centres of the teeth either side of the workpieces. It took a while.

Did my run around the garden - well limp, actually - and collected a load more paprika and the odd remaining tomato. Nothing further worthy of report, in view of still trying to get at least a bit caught up.

15th September 2009

I went back to the village doctor with the leg. Well, obviously - it is still attached. He took one look at it and said "Hospital. Dermatology." He wrote me down their opening times and days, and that was that. As always his parting shot in his very limited English was "It will be alright". I wonder if they teach them that in medical school.

Back home I did the washing out, tincturing and anointing of the leg as I had left it in its raw state for the doctor to see. After that it was back to the woodwork. Which involved marking out sixty right angles. As you can imagine that was just a little bit fairly tedious. Had to be done though. That gives me a reasonably true profile of the wooden gear teeth from one side to the tuther.

Having, at great cost in personal pain and discomfort, managed to strim around the walnut tree I collected the walnuts. Two hundred and twenty six today. Here we go with the compulsive counting thing!

Nothing else really to report apart from the fact that they are showing "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard" on the telly. Pretty well everything here is dubbed, of course, apart from some simultaneous translation-type stuff. And very good at it they are too. They even match the timbre and character of the actual speaker.

Looking back on the blog I find that I had had to light the big stove a couple of times already this time last year. As I type this (2009-09-23) I am nowhere near having to even think about lighting the big stove. I'm typing this up in just a tee shirt and shorts. I think I put it down to the bloody polystyrene insulation on the inside walls of this room. The huge heat sink of the earth walls was probably just as warm, but insulation cuts two ways. The polystyrene was obviously a barrier for the heat of the earth walls getting into the house, so inside it always simply reflected the temperature of the outside air. In other words - cold!

16th September 2009

Yes, yes! I know I am still a week behind!

I was busy making bricks when fa szakember turned up unexpectedly. With a litre of Pálinka. He stuck it in my hand and went away again. Hopefully I can con him out of another litre, but I really don't know why, I still have about a third of the litre that I bought from another of the locals way back. I suspect most of the two thirds that are gone were drank by other people. Well - at least a fifty fifty share.

He went, and I finished off making the bricks. In anticipation of an excess I had wet down a couple of small areas of the wall into which to pound any left over earth mix. So I did.

As you might have noticed I did manage a bit (!) of a blog update.

I managed a bit of garden work before the mosquitoes came out to play. They are still an ever present plague. At least they don't like the sunshine! The remainder of the sunflowers came out and off came their heads. Pulling some of the roots out was a bit of a task. Those I just chopped off a couple of feet off the ground then used the stump as a lever to get them out. They all got bashed into two foot lengths and piled on the camping lawn where they remain even as I write. Must get them shifted onto the compost heap. I collected the paprika that was ready (quite a bit) and dug three potatoes for a meal later in the week. A fourth one popped out but that was surplus to requirements so I stuck it back in the ground. I collected ninety eight walnuts as well. The mosquitoes were begining to come out to play by then so I fu.... - errrr - beat a hasty retreat back to the yard.

17th September 2009

Not a good day. The leg continues to not improve. It is causing me to lose sleep - through discomfort, not worry. I am worried though. More worried about the impediment to getting on and doing what I need to do than about the leg itself. I flitted about from job to job not achieving very much. About the only significant achievements of the day were cycling up the village to get eggs from Pickle's breeders and laying a few earth bricks. Pickle's mum is pregnant again by the way.

Later, chatting to an offspring, the leg was referred to and in jest taking the piss out of my Ooop Norf accent the offspring said something to the effect of if they cut it off I will have to make myself a wooden leg out of firewood. Have to say it cheered me up somewhat.

Late in the day, from Alternet. Got to keep up with the doom and gloom.

18th September 2009

I had a good old sort out of the workshop. Not the workbench - I did that fairly recently - the rest of it. All the stuff that came out of the outhouse loft when it was time for the free collection of stuff other than the normal bin run was still lying where I put it then. I have the occasional moan to helper. If you recall he is apparently waiting for the price of scrap metal to be "right". Must be about time I had another little moan about it. It all got carted across the yard and put in the back of the potting shed out of the way where there was already a similar collection of items awaiting helper's attention. Similarly, various bits of wood from the same source got dealt with by either categorising as "save" or "burn". About two bits were saved and about twenty two bits went into the kitchen woodstore.

I started into mowing the yard with the toy mower and got rained off. We seem to be stuck under this little low pressure area which is wallowing about between the north of the Adriatic and the south of Austria. The result is that we have had a series of weak cold and warm fronts. Sometimes they bring rain. More often not, just a clouding of the skies and an unspectacular day. I went back to the woodwork.

Village life continues. Activities are quietening down into late autumn, but there will be another couple of husstles and bustles. Grapes and maize. If last year is anything to go by then once the maize harvest starts the huge machinery will be rumbling about from five in the morning until about eleven at night. The grape harvest on the other hand is altogether more tranquil, being human powered. No less frenetic though. Everyone in the village will be out with their secuteurs. But all you see and hear is the gentle movement of humans amost the vines, and the gentle murmer of conversation. Now, I wonder which is the better for the human psyche? Sorry - went off on one. Waxed lyrical there for a moment.

Back to the more mundane, I sawed and chopped a load of kitchen firewood. My bowsaw blade is - errr - buggered. Must get a new one. Result was that I was sawing five inch diameter hardwood with the panel saw. Three minutes a cut, which I don't think is too bad.

That done, it was haul it back indoors and light the fire to cook up one of my stews. A fair bit of ot came from the garden but by no means enough yet. I was busy cooking away when there was a semi-commotion in the yard. I heard a familiar voice say "Nem, nem. Nincs ugli bugli." Helper appeared for no reason at all. As soon as he came in the house he wanted to see what was going on on the stove. I gave it a stir and he declared it certainly good. I left it to simmer and we sat and had a chat (over a beer, of course). He left. I added the final vital ingredient to the stew and then ate.

Later, in the pub, the conversation got round to where to buy barley. You can see where this is going, can't you? I asked about buying ten or twenty kilogrammes of barley. Not possible. It turned out that ten or twenty tonnes would be no problem at all. A typical Hungarian conversation took place across the pub and I was assured that I could have twenty kilogrammes of barley in exchange for a couple of beers.

It was a cool evening again as I cycled home, but once again, having cooked this evening the heat met me like a wave when I stepped into the house. Somehow I am not dreading the Hungarian winter quite so much this year!

19th September 2009

Chris Nelder. I find that he writes so well and understandably on Peak Oil. Straightforward language without getting bogged down in too many technicalities.

A bit of knitting, followed by the resumption of mowing the yard which was interrupted by yesterday's rain. Woodwork followed:
Rough Hand Carved Wooden Gears Still very rough and needing fine work, but here are my pair of gears that will go into the grape crusher.

Another urgent woodworking job reared its head. I needed to make a press for the final curing and casing of Suzy's English herb. I managed to get as far as chosing the wood for the sides and bottom and roughing it out for size. Oh, it is all so time consuming.

20th September 2009

A Canadian interview with Jeff Rubin (author of "Why Your World Is About To Get a Whole Lot Smaller".)

Bugger - no idea! Forgot to make my "aide-memoire" comments.

21st September 2009

Hospital day! I caught the half past eight bus into town and had a leisurely stroll towards where I thought the hospital was. The stroll became a trudge with me looking up each little side street to catch sight of a possible hospital. I arrived by the side of a particulary huge block of what looked like flats. Do I give up now or do I go on? I made the mental determination to go to the end of this one, and if no hospital was is sight to retrace my steps. As soon as I got to the end of the block the hospital was in sight, fortunately. Signage is, well, a bit sparse here. Not a road sign or whatever. Indeed, having identified it as the hospital, I had to seek advice as to which was the way in. It was a bit like an ordinary front door, up a short flight of steps. Reception was a single (as in not plural - I have no idea as to her marital status) old girl in a cubicle, behind a glass window.

Of course she was somewhat perplexed by the appearance of a strange Englishman looking for "Börgyógyászat", which, by the way, translates in the on-line dictionaries as "Zit doctor". She did have enough nouse to take my EC card and my Hungarian ID card and get me entered on the computer. All the while there was some extremely impatient old female leaning her ample bosom against my arm and trying to get ahead of me. I retained my composure. Booked into the system I was dismissed with a barrage of magyar of which I understood nothing except that I should go upstairs. So I did. And got lost. Fortunately another lady member of staff realised my predicament and guided me and parked me in the right place.

I had been warned by a villager not to go early. Hmmm. There were lots of people waiting, and it was fairly obvious that it was a good old fashioned FIFO (almost) situation. You know, like when you go into a gents hairdressers (blokes) and you look around and mentally note those who were in front of you and those who followed. The only exception was a lady that arrived with a daughter with, as kindly as I can, problems. They short circuited the FIFO.

Eventually, after about an hour and a half, it became my turn. They were obviously looking for some random English bloke who hadn't a clue what was going on because the lady actually came to the doorway and beckoned me in. So in I went. It was a lady "Börgyógyászat" ("Zit doctor"). Fortunately she was reasonably fluent in English. She took one look at the lesion and declared it to be an ulcer, and moreover infected. Lots of instructions and paperwork followed. The only thing that foxed her was cotton wool buds - so she drew a little picture, which we both understood. I was dismissed with a fistful of prescriptions and a printout sheet to go for blood tests downstairs, and the admonishment to return on the first of October, so there will no doubt be another episode.

I went downstairs and went out for a smoke (as we smokers do). The reception lady, obviously concerned that I had not understood the instructions, poked her head out of the door. She saw me contentedly having a puff on the pipe and just nodded and went back in. Nicotine craving satisfied I went back in too. The reception lady looked at my sheet of paper and ushered me into a waiting room. In due course a lady werewolf arrived and drained my blood. Not very successfully - I still have (2009-09-27) a quite splendid bruise to the inside of my right elbow.

I finally left with my fistful of prescriptions. On the way out I noticed that there was a Gyógyszertár on site. That presented me with two problems. Would it be better to get the prescriptions filled there or could I get them in town? And, how much would it all cost, as in my haste to get to the hospital I had neglected to get cash? I bit the bullet and took the prescriptions straight in. Having handed them over there was an exchange that I finally got the gist of, to the effect that I had to return in an hour. That left me with the cash problem. Ah well, bite that bullet too. I wandered back into town. After all I had an hour to kill anyway. I went via the market, which at that time of day was pretty much finished anyway. The temptation, and the need for a sit down, prompted a call into the little pub by the marketplace. Well, it was considerably after beer o'clock. After that I went back to town, got some cash, did some bits of shopping and then manfully limped back to the hospital for the second time that day. As it turned out I could quite easily have stayed in the pub and had another (two or three!). The whole lot of the prescriptions was just a little over two thousand Forints and I came away with a carrier bag full of stuff.

So, for the second time I wandered again back to town. I had just done one item of shopping and was on my way to do the next bit when I bumped into helper's little brother. Well, half brother actually. We had a quick chat and he indicated he was going to the Posta. I told him I was going to the Coop. We arranged to meet back where we met, which we did about ten minutes later. We drifted together round a couple more shops then headed for the cellar pub where he kindly bought me a beer. He even saw me to the bus.

After the hospital there had been a telecommunications problem. Helper had said that if I was not back in the village on the one o'clock bus he would come into Körmend to the hospital to find out what was happening. I had said that if everything was OK, but for whatever reason I would not make the one o'clock bus I would ring him and let him know. So I did. I rang and I rang and I rang. Mostly I just got a ringing tone but no answer. Sometimes a recorded Hungarian geezer spouted off I know not what. The result was that I never did get through to him. I might also say that I had also been given another mobile number, that of an English speaker who I could contact if things got tricky in the linguistics department. Which was a kind thought by someone in the village.

Eventually I abandoned the phone calls and it was finally the half past three bus that I caught back to the village. The first call was? ... Of course, the village pub. There was helper who had had a series of missed calls, but no number displayed on his phone to go with them. No idea what that was all about. He had put two and two together and fortunately had come up with four. Being that it was me, but he no way to get back to me as my number was not on that particular phone, and he had presumed that all was alright. I have to say that, whilst it was not quite a cheer that went up when I walked in the pub, there was a palpable feeling of "Thank goodness for that!". I had a beer and went home to examine the contents of the goody bag and put them into immediate operation.

Having done that it was time to eat and return to the pub. Just because I have a poorly leg is no reason to change the habit of many, many years! Amongst many other (sort of) conversations I asked helper where we (myself and John, the new neighbour) could buy barley (árpa). "How much barley?" "Ten, maybe twenty kilos." He shook his head in disbelief. "No, you can't buy that amount of barley." He called over another young man in the pub and rattled off something. "Tomorrow - twenty kilogrammes of barley!" "How much?" (money). "Nothing - a couple of beers." Such is country living.

22nd September 2009

The new routine with the leg started today. Much more time consuming! At least now I have a dressing on the thing, rather than just relying on a layer of ointment to keep the crap out of it. The stuff that keeps the dressing in place is rather peculiar. Cohesive conforming bandage it says on the box. It's a bit like very open weave elasticated bandage but the peculiarity of it is that it sticks to itself (and stays stuck!) but it doesn't stick to the skin at all. Very good.

I have to say that the concern being shown by the people that I am friendly with in the village is most heart-warming. The pub landlord today gave me a bottle of his wine. His wine that he grows on his ground for himself. The neighbours gave me fruit. An old boy in the village - well, I guess no older than me, but then again I suppose I am rapidly getting to be an old boy - looks at my semi-naked leg daily (I am still in shorts) and declares it "Nem Jó" - (Not Good). Well, I know that!

I collected four hundred and three walnuts today, in spite of the pain. It was short of a bucketful, but not by much. The old lady next door called me to the fence and told me that my outhouse where the firewood for the big stove is stored was falling down. I already knew that. I never wanted the firewood in there in the first place. It is destined to have the salvagable roof tiles salvaged and the wood consigned to the kitchen wood store. Lots more to come. Demolishion and firewood, that is.

23rd September 2009

Woodwork and washing. Unexpectledly helper turned up. I guess this was about nine o'clock. Bugger! First beer had to be advanced a bit! He had quite literally just turned up to check I was OK and have a chat. Which we did for quite a while. One of the reasons for the chat was that today was the day the village dogs had their rabies injection. I think I neglected to mention, but Pickle is well and truely in season. The prospect of me trailing a bitch in season up to the bus stop by the pub for her injection is simply not to be contemplated. Doggy insurrection all over the village, I reckon. Multiple dog fights, multiple instances of me beating off big male dogs trying to get their end away. (Sorry, girls - bloke-type saying). No. In wisdom I had already decided that I would pay the extra five hundred Forints and have the vet come to the house. Anyway, helper went away with reassurances that the vet would turn up later, but he did not know when.

With nothing worthwhile to report in the interim, sure enough helper turned up at my house to say the vet would be there in five minutes only to have the vet turn up before he had finished telling me. He stayed firmly outside the gates. Pickle tried to terrorise him from within. I was all set to put her on the lead and take her outside to the vet but between him and helper it became clear that he wanted me to just trap her against the gates. I did, and the vet managed the injection through the one inch gap between the wood of the gates in about two hundred milliseconds. Afterwards me and helper were chatting - over a beer, as you do (here) - and I think what he said, or he said what I think was, that the vet actually doesn't like big dogs. Hmmmm - strange!

24th September 2009

Work continued on the woodworking project - the grape crusher. I now had about two weeks before the grape harvest to complete it. There was still a fair amount to be done, but it was reasonably on schedule - probably at the expense of some other equally urgent project. I have to say that in no way do I consider myself a cabinet maker. I'm just not that good. I tend to adopt the Microsoft approach - "It's good enough - if it breaks we'll sort it out later". Ring any bells?

I have to say that the woodworking is, in terms of the leg, one of the worst things that I do. I have a woodworking project planned for the winter to fix that. The problem is that woodworking tends to involve lots of standing about in one place and either smiting mightily at a particularly tough piece of wood or working very gently and delicately to perfect a tiny dovetail joint. But it all involves standing, which is not good. Ex-students of mine will know that when I lectured I always tried to walk about a lot. For that very reason. And apart from that it kept them on their toes - "Where's the old ******d going now?". You know, I absolutely hate seeing lecturers wired up via microphones. Anyone who is lecturing should learn the art of voice projection. It ain't difficult. When you think about Bishops of the CofE in years gone by they spoke ooohhhh soooo sssslllooowwllly, and oh so clearly that without the aid of amplification they could be heard in a building the size of St. Pauls, or whatever. I always knew when I was speaking loudly enough. That was when I could hear the echo of my own voice coming back off the far wall of the lecture theatre. One of the benefits of a public school education was that I was actually taught voice projection at school. Like riding a bike, it is a thing that you never forget. (For the info. of non-UK readers public school == private school i.e. fee paying, but also public school != private school. There are many fee paying schools which are private schools but not public schools. All explained here.) Sorry, went off on one a bit there.

I had a go at the sunflower seed heads. Well, the ones not ravaged and scattered to the four winds by Pickle that is. Getting them out cleanly was more of a problem than I envisaged. Next year they will certainly be a problem. They will be sprouting up like weeds everywhere. Well, all over the yard and the outhouse garden, and most probably all over the camping lawn. Mmmmm - camomile lawn, possibly - sunflower lawn, I think not!

I sawed and chopped a load of kitchen firewood and that was that for the day. Apart from the pub of course where nothing happened.

25th September 2009

I let Pickle out for her morning routine. Part of her morning routine (I won't trouble you with the rest) is that she always takes a tour of inspection all the way around the yard and in and out of any outbuilding that has either an open door or no door at all. She has a good sniff around and it looks like she follows the scent of whatever mammalian nocturnal visitors have had a wander about. For whatever reason she would not leave the little front garden, so I ventured into there to roust her out. It happened that it was a grey and cool morning with a cool gusty wind blowing. It also happened that whilst I was in the little front garden a fairly strong gust passed by. Plop, plop-plop plop. Plums! I gathered as many as I could in both my hands and took them indoors. Later, having secured Pickle, shopped, lit the stove, had toast and coffee I took my nice big stainless steel collander (thanks H!) out there and started collecting. I ended up with a collander full! Back indoors I set to halving and stoning them. The halves went into the scale pan. I don't think I have ever mentioned my scales. In the trade they are known as a sweet scale. What they used to use even before the ones with pointers let alone electronical ones. You know - a scale pan on one side and weights on the other. They look exactly like this except that mine are not green on the beam part and my pans are chrome plated rather than brass. I bought them many, many years ago from a market auction in Spilsby, Lincolnshire. In those days all the local market towns had, well, a market. But one of the features of the markets was that the local auctioneers would set up shop and auction off various items. It always started with "fur and feather", being such things as rabbits, hares, chickens, turkeys (in season), pheasants and so on. Then, if I remember correctly, it was produce - carrots, spuds and the like, then eggs, then general bric-a-brac. I have even seen cars sold "on the stones". Anyway, that is how I came by my scales. As an afterthought I should also add that I was there on my official duties as a Weights and Measures Inspector. We were, of course, well known to the auctioneers. In fact they used to come straight to us if someone wanted to auction off something that needed to be sold by weight and they didn't know the weight of it. Well, the auctioneer knew that it was me bidding and I can only say that he didn't let the bidding go on very long! "Sold to Mr. Welsh!"

Where was I? Ah yes. Plums. It turned out that I had over four pounds Avoirdupois, just shy of two kilogrammes, of plums. Jam time. Bugger - certainly not enough sugar for that lot, so a quick trip back to the shop. Another quick trip out to the yard and grabbed some bought firewood to keep the kitchen stove going - no time to mess about and saw some from the kitchen firewood store, and into jam producing mode I went. Though the mincer and into the big jam saucepan they went. Result - two big jars, one tiny one and a half a tiny one to be used immediately. Well, tomorrow anyway. Good grief - six hundred words-ish on making plum jam. I excell myself.

Computer work followed, and then more work on the current woodworking project - time begins to press.

After lunch I cycled up the village for eggs, to be greeted with the news that Pickle has five more brothers and sisters. They don't seem to have a problem with getting rid of the puppies. I know for a fact that they know where every one of Pickle's litter are, and get progress updates. I called in the pub for a swift one on the way home. Well, it is hot and sweaty work cycling up the hill for the eggs! It turned out to be a freebie. Again, I know not why. Mind you, I am a reasonably good customer! I have to say that I have had far more freebie drinks, food parcels and other general handouts than I ever had from my local in the UK.

Back home and back to sawing/chopping kitchen firewood. It will get more onerous as winter draws on.

26th September 2009

Blast! I was up just a little bit late. Not very late you understand, but nonetheless the shop had sold out of small loaves by the time I got there. I had to make do with a big one. That's a difference of almost a bottle of beer. Catastrophy!

After breakfast I settled to do some promised web-type stuff. I was hoping that it wouldn't take long but the JavaScript proved an absolute pain. In the end I went back to the drawing board, found another built-in JavaScript function and after that it worked like a good 'un. I had to use Windows for that. As you may know, not my favourite.

I had a quick break after that to sort out the knitting - again. I remained booted into Windows as I was expecting a video chat. I do have to admit that Skype and my webcam do not play well together in Linux. The webcam works fine on its own and Skype works fine with just the microphone plugged in, but if I plug in the webcam and click the "Start My Video" button Skype crashes immediately. I'm afraid it is a long, long way down my list of priorities for sorting out. The call came through and turned into a catastrophy anyway. I could only just make out what they were saying through the fuzz and interference, the picture kept breaking up and pixcellating, and they couldn't hear me at all. I even took a quick trip into Windose sound recorder, and my mike was working fine. I ended up typing what I wanted to say into the chat panel then they would have to read it and respond. We didn't keep it up for long - just too frustrating.

Back to the woodworking:
These are the oak spindles for the actual crushing of grapes part of my project. Without a lathe the work of making the round bits round was - errrr - a bit tedious as you can imagine. You are looking at a whole afternoons work. Oak Spindles

Seeing me walking back and forth across the yard the old lady at No. 72 called me over to tell me that my firewood shed was falling down. I already knew anyway - I had noticed it a couple of days ago when walking home from the shop. I can't say that I am surprised. It was used as a firewood shed before, but the firewood was neatly stacked in graded sizes here and there throughout the inside. My firewood (the second lot now) is certainly not capable of being neatly stacked in graded sizes and was simply hurled in there. There has to be a couple of metres worth of depth of firewood bearing upon the bit that separates her property from mine. That has to be a lot of weight. Ah well, I'll just have to get to it before the lot falls in her garden. Just another unwelcome and unscheduled job.

Late in the day I happened upon this from the Beeb. Rather the opposite of doom and gloom. Quite cheered me up.

27th September 2009

In deference to the lighting level in the pub I spent the morning knitting up the second side of the neck of the sweater and joining raglan seams. I have to say that the pattern is absolute crap. The bit of the pattern that I was working on was blackberry stitch, a.k.a. Trinity stitch (a religious reference). It's quite simple. The right side rows are all purl stitches. The wrong side rows alternate between knit one, purl one, knit one into the next stitch purl three together, and purl three together, knit one, purl one, knit one into the next stitch - you get the idea. Unfortunately the pattern simply refered to "work X number of stitches. OK, so what happens with the purl three together? If you get to the bit where you are left with two stitches to work and it is a purl three together what the hell do you do. Anyway I guessed it - made it up as I went along. Seemed to come out OK. I'll let you know later.

It being Sunday, housework followed - somewhat later than usual, but I did give it a good mop through. One of the jobs for this winter is to at least start to tackle the parquet in the big room. There are big gaps all over the place. I know not whether they are caused by shrinkage or crap workmanship in the first place. I suspect the latter as it was like it when I moved in and so had been damp and unwarmed and unloved for some years. There are some areas of dry rot too. That will take more sorting but is not worth the effort until the outside walls are completely sorted. A job for about 2012 then at the present rate of progress. As always, too many balls in the air.

I got dragged up to the local football, catching the tail-end of the F1 on the way. I think maybe the match officials had been caught out the same way. I had to cycle home to sort out a personal catastrophy of the highest order (the pipe, tobacco and lighter were still at home) then cycle all the way back up the hill, only to find that the match which was supposed to start at four had only just started and it was a quarter past by the time I got there. It was another splendid typical Hungarian autumn day. Sunny, with a balmy warmth - I would guess upper twenties in new money.

Once I got home I had a quick dash round the garden collecting paprika and gathering a few tobacco (Oooops - sorry - Suzy's English herb) seed heads. By the time I got back to the house there was a fine layer of seeds in the bottom of the bucket. Well, if I can't do better than seven plants next year I will, as the saying goes, do something seriously unpleasant on the masticating of underwear front.

I retrieved the Linum Usitatissimum from the retting tub. I can vouch for the fact that they say it is pretty foul. It absolutely stank! The first (oldest) lot does not look good, I have to say. I have yet to investigate the rest. Whatever. It is a learning curve.

28th September 2009

Richard Heinberg on the recent spate of oil discoveries.

I dealt with the leg and the did the next stint at the woodwork:
The oak spindles now have the ends squared off to receive the handmade gears. A lot more work than you would think, just keeping the squares square and central without taking off too much wood. Oak Spindles

I finished the sweater. Well, the knitting bit anyway. The remaining seams remain to be sewn up.

29th September 2009

Michael Klare on AlterNet. Gotta keep up with the gloom and doom!

I went to start making the bits that go on the spindles that do the actual crushing of the grapes. I had them all prepped up and marked to size. As I thought. I planed up the first one and it did not look right at all. I put the square on it and it was miles out. I went back to my drawings to discover that it was a mistake of the "measure twice, cut once" variety. The measurement was clearly thirty four millimetres, and in a state of mental aberration I had marked the workpieces all up at thirty eight millimetres. Ah well, another hour planing the extra four millimetres off them, and another box of walnut wood shavings to use as kindling. Very good kindling it is too. At least I hadn't trashed the workpieces, so the mistake was recoverable.

A quick trip round the garden. A load more ripe paprika - especially the little round hot ones, and another three hundred and fifty four walnuts.

Keeping it short - trying to catch up a bit.

30th September 2009

All the morning and a fair bit of the afternoon was taken up with planing up and glueing the first set of workpieces onto the crushers. Progress:
Oak and Walnut Grape Crushers The walnut bits are now (correctly) planed off so as to at least be an approximation of a right angle. They are not overly critical anyway. I have designed it so that there is about a five millimetre gap between the teeth on one set and the corresponding notch on the other to allow for bits of stalk and such to pass through. If there are any grapes less than five millimetres then they just won't get crushed, is all.

Afterwards, a few more barrow loads of firewood were moved to their new home, and a quick stock up of kitchen firewood.

To round off September, we are now in what I would think is a pretty normal Hungarian mid-autumn. Sometimes cool in the late evening, mostly cool and damp - dew or mist, or both - in the mornings, but a succession of balmy days with afternoon temperatures into the mid twenties in the sun. Much stuff is still growing. Including the weeds!


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