We’ve changed our minds…!

You might be wondering what we’ve changed our minds about.

Well back in June last year I wrote a story entitled Reimann Ridge.

Here I shared about the name we had decided on for our farm.

Well in the last month we’ve decided to change the name, but not by much, just added one more letter!

So we are now calling our ‘piece of heaven’ Re-Imagnn Ridge. Which is just Reimann with a “G” which stands for Green, or our goal to create a more sustainable lifestyle.

So we’ve changed the name of our blog to reflect this as well.

There. It’s all explained.

Futurising our Farm

 

For my 40th birthday party back in September, we put on the invite if you want to give a gift (which you don’t need to at all) then please chip in some cash towards my (Brenton’s) plans to ‘Futurise’ our farm.

Now what on earth does that actually mean?

Well it goes way back to when i was a boy….

Back then growing up on the family farm (14kms away from our farm as the crow flies) my dad was both a farmer, a telecom/telstra technician, amateur radio ham, and electronics repair person.

So i got into electronics. I made ‘bugs’ (electronic eavesdropping devices), things that flashed, and then along the way got quite interested in control and automation including trying to create my own robots and such like thingys.

Well that passion for using technology to control and automate the world around me hasn’t ever left me, even though it might have gone ‘dormant’ for a little while.

Interestingly in the last few years while still in Canberra, a mate of mine, Rick, mentioned in passing something called a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. I thought he had lost a couple marbles initially, but as i listened, and then did some research I came to the “slightly shocking but in a good way” conclusion that while I had been focusing on growing and learning as a leader with Fusion, finding and marrying the most beautiful women in the world, and making babies, I had missed a good decade or two of development in terms of open source electronics devices and the Internet of Things (IoT).

So with the move to SA I sensed it was a good moment to dust off the skills, the soldering technique (along with all the other ones like welding, plumbing, building etc etc etc!) and the electronics theory and reawaken those dreams and passions i had as a boy to control and make life easier using technology – and it’s gotten a whole lot more interesting and fun while i was focusing on learning many other lessons!

So in essence what i’m hoping to do is use technology to do things like:

  • control our lights
  • monitor and control our security system
  • sense things like temperature, humidity, smoke, gas, doors being open etc
  • monitor our off grid power system
  • automate our irrigation system
  • automate our chook yard (so no more forgetting to put the chooks in)
  • monitor our soil moisture
  • open and close our gates
  • and do all this remotely from my smartphone!

To what end you may well ask?

Well firstly f20161109_093831or the fun of it. But secondly and as importantly, to demonstrate to others a little of what is possible, and if it gets to the point, setup a business down the track helping others do the same. And thirdly, to save one of our most valuable things – time – so we can invest it in other areas.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

On the left is a photo of an old box I pulled apart, using some of the existing electronics like the power supply and plugs, and then installing a MySensors relay actuator node with a temperature and humidity sensor.20161203_152848

This pmysensors-logo-croppedroject took me about a month from start to finish working at nights and when i could during the day, to complete it. It’s now installed up in our Loft where the kids sleep, controlling their LED strip lights, and telling me the temperature and humidity of the Loft!

I’ve started working on my next project which is automating our newly installed chook house (an old cubby from our Pastor’s place i picked up for free) with two automatic doors, internal lights, temp and humidity sensor, camera and fox deterrents.

 

So until the next episode in this new category “Futurising our Farm”.

 

Our tank overfloweth…

Yes it’s true. Our rain water tank overflowed around dinner time tonight. 


One positive is that a couple weeks ago we installed a pump and the ability to feed rain water into our shed so i switched it over tonight so we can try and get the level down by using the water ourselves rather than it going on the ground. 

I managed to rig up a temporary overflow diversion into our River water settling tank with isn’t quite full. So we’ll see how we go!

That’s 30.9mm since yesterday and still counting!

Our Two New Additions

We’ve recently added two new lean-tos to our shed/house (“shouse”) to aid our ability to cover our vehicles and store building materials more effectively. 

It’s also made a huge difference being able to drive home and unload the car under cover while it’s raining. 

We purchased the steel for these lean-tos thanks to generous supporters responding to our Winter Appeal back in June and July. 

Thank-you! You know who you are. 

If you’d like to donate to support our family continue to serve with Fusion and build our dream of creating a more sustainable future for our family please make a secure donation today 

Donate Now

Bonza bonfires

2016-05-13 17.43.34 One thing that has fast become a tradition here at Reimann Ridge is having bonfires now that the fire ban has been lifted. Claire has been leading the charge with weeding our 1 metre high thistles and huge rollie polie round prickle bushes and heaping them ready for lighting.

One of the added benefits of bonfires is that the kids run around pulling up and collecting weeds and putting them on the bonfire for us!2016-05-13 17.44.34

There is so many more weeds to pull up…. we could have 5 working bees and there would still be more to go!

It’s also a great way to tire them out so they sleep well (and us adults too!).

2016-05-13 17.44.39So bonfires are definitely a tradition already here at the Ridge. Who knows, if you drop in and stay for a bbq at the right time of year, you might get to experience one too. 2016-05-13 17.44.30

Wouldn’t that be a treat?

 

Wicked woodfire

IMG_0073Our Big Bakers Oven from Nectre (A South Australian made wood heater range www.nectre.com) has been fantastic as the temperature has been dropping. The other great thing is it heats up our hot water, and we can use it as an oven!

We got it installed by Mike and Matt from Waikerie Mitre 10 who are also a local supplier of Nectre heaters and Brenton was able to watch how they did it. The idea with that was so he has a better start for when we move it over to the house once it’s built!

It was a bit disappointing discovering on installation day that we couldn’t light it up until we had the wet back (water booster) connected to water… which meant we had to wait until we had our solar hot water system delivered and installed!2016-05-21 13.23.31

So about 3 weeks later it was an amazing day one Saturday afternoon after the hot water system was all plumbed up and connected to the wood heater when we could light the fire and feel it warm the room for the first time!

It was just in time too, as we have started to drop in temperature at night lately (although
2016-05-24 19.13.02nothing below zero degrees yet so no frosts so far!). The wood heater is the main focus of our open plan living area, and Claire has already been experimenting with the oven and so far has cooked biscuits, a chocolate self saucing pudding, a beef roast and scones.

The only challenge is that we’re going through our wood pretty quickly, so another wood cutting day will need to be scheduled with my dad and mum sometime 2016-05-09 18.03.50soon.

Another thing my dad, Adrian, has done is build us a wood box for storing our wood out of the rain, ready for putting into the fire. Here’s a photo of it which doesn’t do it justice at all – it’s been fantastic!