Sunday, 30 March 2014

Rain glorious rain - shall we rename to Colliwat Cascades?

After a protracted dry spell which saw our tanks empty and our dam shrinking so low we had decided to stop watering the vegie patch for fear of desiccating our native fingerlings, we were blessed with two days of solid rainfall.  Unfortunately our rain gauge is still attached to the roof of our old place so we don't have an accurate measurement of the amount or rain.  According to the weather maps we had between 100 and 150mm of rain over the two days.  

It's certainly been a long time (and only the second) since we saw the dam overflowing.  This was the most spectacular overflow yet and we were also able to witness the neighbours' dams cascading over and into our dam for the first time.  Even when flooding is in the back of your mind, the sound of rushing water is so fulfilling.

Overflow from our dam
The spillways for our neighbours' dams

It was also a good opportunity to find out how our place would flood.  We were told by the neighbours that the previous owner had renovated the driveway and put in a stormwater drain for overflow as the driveway was flooded and washed away in previous heavy rainfall and flooding.  They'd had to make do by parking at the front of the property to ensure they could get out and the driveway had been patched up with a couple of planks so as not to get bogged in the mire.  We're certainly grateful for the improvements.

Here are some afternoon before and morning after shots of the dam showing the near instant filling:

As you can see even where I was standing for the first photos is now covered in water.

We were fortunate to have a couple of sunny days after the rain to allow things to green up, shoot off and soak in the rain.  Today the rain has come back but is falling gently at the moment.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The bee's knees of candles please

We were buying honey at our local markets quite some time ago and noticed they had blocks of beeswax too.  Putting on my best butterfly lashes at my less-inclined-to-impulsively-buy-a-lump-of-wax other half, we left with our kilo of honey and an almost equivalent weight of beeswax.

Many months and a different house later I finally donned those fluttering lashes again and made my case for some wick and a mould.  You see it would be cheaper than buying a premade beeswax candle. (Luckily the counter argument: we never buy candles anyway, didn't come into play.)

Eventually a weekend came around that was clearly meant for candle making.  Out came the gathered supplies.  A quick search on the methods from the mould supplier and hunt around for makeshift clamps to hold everything together and we were on our way to the finished product.  To be honest the hardest part about the whole project was cutting the block of beeswax.  We ended up heating a knife repeatedly, although perhaps a wire would have been better.

Melt the wax in a double boiler or bain marie.  For the amount of wax refer to your mould supplier.
Fingers crossed the clamps would prevent leakage. 
You can see that top up was needed during the curing process but
we'd exhausted our wax-slicing energies at this point. 
Patience was needed over the next couple of days while the wax set.

Next time we need to make sure the seams line up a little better.  In the final photo you can see how the two edges of the mould were offset.  A full silicone mould wouldn't have this problem either.  The only other mistake was not topping up the mould while the candle was setting.  It sank a little in the base and a small crack opened up as well.  After our efforts at cutting the block for the first lot of wax we weren't about to tackle it again to top up.  Fortunately the crack is on the bottom where it doesn't spoil the final finish.  

The final candle.

In any case the candle sat on the table for a couple of months smelling divine without even being lit.