Since I had to work last weekend we didn’t visit the house, but we gained a lot of new ideas in the meantime so we were really excited to get back to work. But this allowed us to meet with some friends during the weekend. We also took multiple trips to construction stores during the week. Last week was also the holiday of Sant Joan, which we missed last time because of the lockdown. They celebrate the solstice that day and do it with a lot of fireworks! We didn’t expect that much, since NYE was so tame. But we enjoyed the night with some friends on top of Park Güell.
Last friday we had to race to the house once again, we only had a few hours after we were done working to receive our solar order. Which was somewhat unexpected because we were expecting it to arrive about a month later. But we appreciated the change of pace. When we were on our way we got a call from the transport company, they were delivering it with a camion and didn’t think it would make it all the way to our house. At the end we convinced him to drive up to the nearest crossing and we’d look together how far we would get. A few hours later we went to meet and had to agree with their concerns, it was quite a big truck. Completely empty except for one bigger than normal pallet, a van would probably have been enough. We guided him to our place and stopped near our furthest neighbours, but he walked with us a bit more to see if he couldn’t make it. I think we gained about 250 more meters from that which was very nice of the driver. We unpacked the pallet and packed everything that fit into the car, which left the solar panels. After considering our options we decided to just lift them the last bit, one problem: it was far above 30 degrees and it was about 500 meters walking. After stopping a hundred times, sore arms and sweat everywhere we pivoted.
We grabbed the wheel barrow and tied the pallet to this, then we packed the panels with cardboard and attached this up there with some elastic sporting bands. Taking turns one of us pulled the barrow and the other one made sure nothing fell off. It wasn’t easy, but a lot better than lifting it and we made it without a hitch.
We were very tired, but Tho put the door of the toilet together and put a lock on it. I started clearing out the shed, we ordered some windows and want to place them next week. But we need to remove the old window frame, and make the hole a little bigger. We’re going to do that with a grinder, which can cut through the concrete and masonry. We can borrow this from the neighbour, which is really nice because he can help us use it too. I’m really happy with the windows we ordered, they’re wooden with shutters (and double glazing!) which really gives it a barn look.
Tonight we actually ate the chili! And we again realized the best spice really is hunger. Not that it wasn’t tasty before, but you really notice yourself recharging while you’re eating it. We went out the day before so we tried to get back some of that sleep. Like I said it was pretty hot, but the walls of the house are pretty thick, but we don’t have electricity yet to run a fan.
But of course, we got woken up early by Luna the next morning who could not wait to play again. She escaped again, but for only 10 minutes this time. Back in time for breakfast, and tired enough to stay calm the rest of the day. We didn’t have any breakfast, so we went to the grocery store and visited the market where we bought some fruit. We got some fruit there and visited one of the construction stores because you never have everything you need.
I thought I could clean the basin, we opened the valve the day before but there was still quite some water in it. So I put on my rainboots and climbed in with the ladder (it’s about 3 meters deep) but the smell was horrible once I got in! It was filled with algae and the mud was way above my ankles. The drain was clogged with the goop so we started cleaning it out. I shoveled the mud into buckets and Tho lifted it out. But this was really cumbersome, especially with all the water in it. I felt for the drain to clear it but no luck. Tho found a tube and with that we were able to drain a little more water. But since it’s such a big basin (filled it contains about 30.000 liter) this was very slow. Added to that the mud attracted a ton of wasps, but I think this cured my fear of them a bit since I had nowhere to go.
At some point Tho put his whole arm through the drain and pulled out a big chunk of bark. That did the trick and even with all the mud in it it started draining! So we were super happy that we didn’t have to completely empty it by hand. We had irrigation that day so we opened the gate to canals and used the water and a broom to clean out all the mud. Meanwhile our neighbour came by and he offered some useful scrapers so we could remove all the algae from the sides. We thought we were done with the heavy stuff, but getting all of this off was a tedious job. Positive side of this is that we don’t need to exercise.
We ended up with a very clean basin which felt really good! We still had quite some fun doing it, but got really really dirty. Since the basin was clean though we were able to take a shower under the pipe that feeds in the water. And get to swim in once it’s filled again!
Luna found the canals at some point as well and lied in it with a little stream of water still running. A little stream of water on top of quite some clay mud, but she was grumbling with pleasure since it was quite hot again. Just like a little piglet.
This night we had noodles soup with bread on the menu. We really enjoyed it, since it completely replenished the salt we lost by sweating. After that we had a drink without neighbours. We got to taste some of their special figs, I think it’s the fourth different variant we tried and each one of them is quite different. They grow a lot of vegetables and fruits so it’s also interesting to learn from them.
Another short night later, so we got busy early. I stained the toilet with line oil, to try and protect it from the elements. Tho started on the structures for the solar panel and a server cabinet that will house the batteries and inverter. This was a puzzle with missing screws and terrible instruction, but it came together in the end.
We also thought it would be a fun idea to count all the fig trees we have on the two terraces. Since we talked to a neighbour who told us he helps out around there with picking and maintaining the fruit trees. He offered to do the picking of the figs for us, bring it to market and sell it. We told him we’re interested, because when we counted the trees we saw heaps and heaps of little figs already. We’d guess at least 30 crates per tree, and we have 26 trees which is not something we’d be able to right now. We will have to learn, since we have another 21 little ones on the rest of our property. Most of those are first or second year so not all of them have fruit, but already enough so we can enjoy them through the summer. In the future we would like to jam it up, put that jam in cakes and dry them. We really have to get them quick though, since they burst from their juices or fall from the tree and squash once they are very ripe. But those reaching that point are scrumptious and juicy. That’s also the reason why figs are somewhat expensive, they need careful picking and transporting, so we’re interested to find out how they do it.