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Thursday, 20 December 2007

If at first you don't succeed...

...dry, dry and dry again. biggrin

Got surplus fruit, veg or herbs?

Make this dryer and dry your excess.

To make this you need:

4 small buckets or similar containers full of water
4 pieces of polypipe to stand proud of the buckets of water
As many bread trays as you can get your hands on
Net curtains
Surplus fruit, veg and/or herbs

Step 1
Place a tray on the polypipe tubes in the water.

Step 2
Take a tray and line it with a piece of curtain.

You could use shadecloth but I find the curtain allows for better airflow.

Step 3
Choose your fruit, veg and herbs for drying.

Prepare by chopping or halving.

You can dip apples, bananas, pears and apricots in pineapple juice to prevent discolouring.

I don't usually bother since it is only a cosmetic thing and I do not believe my fruit is that vain.
confused wink

Step 4
Repeat steps 2 and 3 as required. We (me and Scarecrow) have around 15 trays but that number keeps rising.

A safe number stacked seems to be about 6. eek

Step 5
When stacked as needed, cover the whole dryer with net curtain.

This allows air flow but keeps out the flies, ants, birds and antelopes.

It must work because since putting the curtaining on I have never seen an antelope.

Place in sunlight and check on it a couple of times a day to get your fruit just how you like it.

I like my bananas halved and soft (leathery) or sliced and dried to make banana chips.

I like the sun-dried tomatoes leathery as well to put in jars of olive oil.

I like my apples soft and leathery but the kids used to love them as chips.

Remember to allow a few days to achieve your outcome.

Experiment, you have nothing to lose but your fruit. biggrin

Where do you get your trays from, I hear you ask. mrgreen

They may be available from your friendly baker (especially around 2.00am when nobody is around!!!). cool

They may be available from your local school who usually have to arrange for the bakeries to pick them up. rolleyes

They may also be available from your local-government-project-in-waiting-department (sometimes called a tip). lol

I have a good relationship with the local Guardian Of The Tip (his computer often has problems!!!) so have no problems obtaining the trays for free. cool


Doc wink

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

More shady deals...

Well, she's done it again rolleyes

Scarecrow asked me to build more shade for the garden.

No hurry, but it had to be done today since the temp was to be over 40*C!!! eek

So, to work.

The beds were beds 1, 2 and 3 (see here) and later 4.

The whole vegetable area is now protected from severe heat damage in time for the summer about to hit us.

Bed 1,2 and 4 were basically just the old star piquet with polypipe attached and covered over with shadecloth.

For bed 3 I used an old trampoline frame upturned and covered in shadecloth.

Doesn't everyone have one of these left over from when the kids were home? razz cry

Attach the shadecloth to the frame using the same method that I used to attach to the hothouse here.

It only took about 4 hours from start to finish cool

This included having Scarecrow hem the edges of the shadecloth so we could slip it onto the pipes.

Following that, I started up a fan club for Scarecrow!!! lollollol

Regards, Doc wink

Monday, 12 November 2007

Wooden it be nice... quickly find middles?

Another quick trip around the workshop to pick out a couple of widgets I keep handy.

These are easy to make and very useful.

First, the centre finder.

Ideal if you do wood lathe work, like I do

Using an old bandsaw blade, make a groove in a square of wood and stick the blade in with the teeth showing, thus:

Place your wood up against the two sides and it will provide teeth marks along the midline. Rotate the wood 90 degrees and voila!

Instant centre.

Of course it would probably make more sense if I found the centre of a square piece but didn't have any any since all the blanks have been turned into rounds redface

Now the midline finder!

How about finding the midline of a piece of plank?

Always did see myself as middle-of-the-road

Anyhoo, simply predrill a piece of wood and wack in 2 nails with nice sharp points.

At the exact centre, wack in a smaller nail.

Click on the piccy to see it close up.

To use, simply drag along the top edge of your wood with both of the end nails touching the side of the wood and it will leave a small groove along the edge.

This is a useful gadget for making accurate halving joints for those people without power tools cry

Finally, what to do with all those large lidded cans from the copious amounts of coffee consumed eekidea

If only coffee came intravenously lol

Well, how about making some simple wooden handles.

Can be used out in the workshop to store all sorts of stuff or in the kitchen to store pasta, rice or erm, coffee eekrolleyeslol

Regards, Doc wink