Saturday, June 25, 2016

On the road again!

After nearly thirteen years sitting in the woods, my old VW camper is mobile and almost street legal again!

I finished the bodywork and paint a couple-three weeks ago, refitted the engine, newly rebuilt, and a new steering beam, and have been puttering more or less daily on the small stuff like lights, door seals, and interior. It's now insured and registered.

I've taken it for a few test drives. I'd forgotten how much fun these are to drive. The driver sits up high with good visibility, the steering is responsive and has a tight turning circle, and the engine drives from the back, so the vehicle powers around corners.

Our kid seems to like it too, mostly because we sing "The wheels on the bus go round and round" whenever we get in. But it has carpet in back, and a big floor to play on, and will soon have a bench seat that folds into a bed, and a table for eating picnics.

Here she is the other day when I had the seats out for cleaning.

Next stop, a nice family picnic, and when she's old enough, a fishing trip!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The thick of it

Loading the lambs in the Land Rover

Summer is well under way at Womerlippi acres, with the farm and garden work proceeding apace, as are all our projects, and the days are blending into one another nicely in the way they do when you no longer have to go away to work every day. There's something very satisfying about not knowing what day of the week it is, and I certainly don't miss weekends. Nor do I miss the daily commute. I much prefer getting up, walking out of my door, and picking up whatever tools I need to do whatever job I have to do.

Most people lived like this at one time, and I think our bodies and minds are probably built for this more continuous kind of rhythm to our days. I sleep better in the summers, usually, perhaps because I get more exercise, but more likely because there just isn't any stress. If you think about it, one of the reasons work is so stressful for many people is that you have to get there, and on time.

We still get to go places, of course, mostly for farm chores, as well as to shop for food, and for any family outings we plan. Our first farm sale of the year is always that of two lambs to our friend John Mac and his partner Nancy. Pictured above, I take them in the Land Rover because their driveway is very narrow and it's hard to turn the truck around. These two will graze the lawns and other unused spaces around their home for the summer, and then become dinner in the fall.

Roo was investigating the situation for herself. She likes to scramble around in the cars when they're parked for some reason, investigating the controls and of course any cargo. This activity occupies her for hours, another reason why I think having a nice big VW camper bus is going to be a big hit.

Our most recent family outing was to the new kids play room in Belfast. This is a combination of gym and rumpus room for kids to run around in, and the grand opening was Saturday. We went along to see what all the fuss was about. Roo had fun, while we watched carefully from the sidelines. Most of the other kids were much bigger and fast, so we expected her to get knocked over at any point, but she stayed on her feet pretty much the whole time.

We've also discovered that our daughter likes to "cook".

What this really means, of course, is that Roo likes to make a mess in the kitchen while we're cooking.

This is some rice and flour, mixed with food color, that mommy used as a distraction. Roo had a fine time using her hands to mess with the colorful grains.

My VW project is coming along nicely and I will probably finish it later this month. "Finish", in the sense that all the major restoration work is done. I'm not sure if I will sticker and drive it this year. We'll see. I have a mind to do the interior up really nicely, and am looking around for ideas.

I thought that getting the engine over to the lift would be a problem, but then realized that the car itself could be used as a strong point to lift the engine off the trailer. Here's the engine being lifted off the engine stand and onto the trailer, and below you see the bus rear beam used as a strong point to lift the engine off the trailer and get it in position underneath the car.

From this point it was less than twenty minute's work, six bolts and two nuts, to install the engine. The whole process was complete by nine thirty Tuesday morning, having started at eight. This was very satisfying for me.

Here's the rebuilt engine in the car. We'll try for a start late next week sometime. As I was working,I discovered that the distributor was bad and had to order a new one, so we'll have to wait a little while.