Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Still fire fighting, a lesson on water saving and a visit from Clyde

Another day over and for the men a real hard days fire fighting.  Today was windy with dust so thick that conditions were nearly beyond working in.  Because the conditions were so harsh  they knocked off at 7pm.  The section of the  fire they are now fighting to contain is in very deep peat and home to a fair amount of Jackass.  Although progress is still being made it is very slow.
Having extra people on the island who need baths every night is also putting a strain on our fresh water supply.  Regular readers will know that our fresh water supply is rain water collected of the house and shearing shed roofs.  This is ample when there is just the 2 of us or even four for short periods of time but having 6 in the house is obviously using substantially more water.  Today Tanya decided that she should instruct Jed on toilet flushing.  The toilet is a little temperamental, it has a plunger that you pull up to flush and sometimes it does not fall right down to the base again.  This means that the toilet will keep letting water run into the bowl.  Overnight the supply tank for the toilet had again emptied meaning the water had been running through.  Tanya instructed on the art of using the welding rod which fits conveniently into a hole in the top of the cistern to push the plunger in and stop water being wasted.  A bit embarrassing really but Tanya didn't mind.  I think she would sooner give an embarrassing toilet demo then give up her baths because of a water shortage.
Yesterday when Christopher, Shaun and Tanya went up to Speedwell to get petrol Tanya found a Xmas box and a letter from HMS Clyde.  The letter said that they had been ashore on Speedwell. They had left a gift box with playing cards, fridge magnets and bits and pieces.  The letter had an e-mail address asking that we contact them when we were back home as they would like to do a visit when we were on the island.


  1. Lindsey, Just as I was getting ready to leave this comment your email came. I am glad you found Fair Island interesting. It is too bad that some local industries have failed to get established in the Falklands. For the future employment of your youth they may be necessary. Certainly another effort at wool processing plant would be a good fit if markets could be developed. Everything I read about Falkland's wood it that it is exceptional quality particularly for knitting. Knitting and weaving could be a cottage industry or even a commercial enterprise. If you could export finished products rather than raw products, it would be to your benefit. Canada has this problem on a larger scale. We are seen as a source of raw products in wood and minerals and grains and livestock.

    I have been meaning to ask you if blueberries have ever been grown on the Falklands. The acidic soil would be perfect for them. In Canada we import Bluberries from Chile in the Winter. These domestic berries are grown on tall bushes. The wild one's are low bushes close to the ground. In Nova Scotia they have encouraged the spread of wild ones on field and harvest them while in Southern Ontario they have planted the higher bush variety. I was also wondering what you do with the hides from the sheep. Do you have a tannery. There is a market for sheep skin garments as you know. Canada exports wild furs as a result of our trapping industry. The large auction house for this is in North Bay near here. Fur buyers from around the world come to it twice a year. A few years ago, the local First Nations community sent members to Italy to learn the proper finishing a furs to make garments. They now have a business here with their own skilled furriers.
    Another question. Do you ever do anything through cooperatives. Canada rural organizations often started as cooperatives. Our farm Coop is still a province wide organization with local control. Also our bank (Caisse Populaire) is a cooperative. There have also been fisherman cooperatives and cheese factories that have been cooperatives.

    I am sorry your fire persists. I did not realize the problem with the peat. Here our top soil has gravel under it and fire does not go down in the soil very deep. The hummus on the forest floor is a problem that requires spot treatment after a large forest fire until it is absolutely out. Sometime it only is 100 out until after the snows of Winter covers the ground. I am thinking of the fire under the town of Centralia, Pa. in the US. For 50 year the coal under it has been burning and the town has been abandoned. It is an interesting story. Hopefully, with persistence you can put the peat fires out. If you need more help would the military send you some manpower, not to mention machinery?? Just a thought. It would be a good learning experience for those lads.

    I did not know your water was limited. I know about cisterns. Some older farms here have them storing water for when their shallow wells dry up in the summer. It is easy and cheap to drill a sand point well and get water at the water table but they can dry up at times. My drilled well is 420 feet deep in the bed rock. No chance of it drying up. Of course I have our beautiful river with its excellent drinking water. I have had years when I hauled water for cattle and other times when I hauled it for myself so I know what it is to ration water. Have you considered composting toilets. So much water is wasted flushing toilets with it. Aren't I just full of idea. I am sorry I have spent a lot of time reading about alternative technologies that homesteader use.

  2. Thanks for sharing such nice information about water services.. keep writing..

    Anne Cole
    Waste Water Services