Hello all,

Today I had a request for a batch of meal for a forthcoming Beaumont wine-tasting Dinner. In the menu the whole-wheat meal is generally cooked in several different ways. I did two batches, and also did some sums to calculate the losses between dry grain and meal.

The scale is quite rickety, but a bucket and its contents weighed in at 18lbs. The empty bucket was 2.2 lbs, leaving 15.8 lbs. I milled two of these: 31.6 lb which is 14.36 kg. In the end I had 13 kg of sifted meal and about ½ kg of bran that wouldn't go through the sieve. What I haven't added in is the water, which I spray on to the grain to bring it up from 10 or 13 % moisture content to about 18%. The rest? Into the air as fine cake flour. I'd like to think of a way of catching it! If we make the weave of the meal bag tighter, then the cake flour escapes at every crack or gap in the mill.

I had some visitors, a couple while I was milling, who were very interested. The day was beautiful, yet there was still a reminder of the cold weather we've had recently:


Otherwise, I made some progress on the launder. This is how I found it:


Showing that I'm working on the second rail, away from the water wheel, and I had got to the stone-built pillar support. The spreaders, spaced at about 1.5 metre apart have the effect of stiffening up the trough to the extent that I tested it by standing in the launder mid-way between the pillar and the railway line supports under the camera in this picture. It didn't even deflect! When I spoke to oom Manie Muller at the Heidelberg show the other day (he has been advising me on the launder as he remembered it from his childhood, his poet sister Petra was at the show too), he said we would need more supports. I'm willing to test it like it is.

I gave the rest of the planks another coat of Iscor Black on the side I won't be able to reach again once they're assembled. I bolted on two more planks, after rolling out some more of the corrugations with my 'patent' roller. That is hard work!


I also had to cut back on the shrubs a bit to get in. I think they will fill out with their new growth and we can train them to grow under and over the trough without actually touching it. I did some painting and more folding over and bolting, and put a couple of spreaders in, but the progress here isn't too impressive.

Last night, I welded up the frame for the weir at the outlet of the dam:


There is enough height for five of these 3" channels, the plan is to remove them one at a time as the milling progresses. The area of the surface of the dam is about an acre, and an acre-inch is a lot of water. After a coat of the trusty Iscor Black, I slid it part-way into position, it will need a bit of chiselling to drop all the way in:


When the cement is dry, the strip across the top can be broken off, and the outlet of the dam will be no more restricted than it is now. We might have to look at reinforcing the downstream side of these walls. That wooden framework is part bridge, part sluice-gate, but it doesn't seal off well enough to hold any water back!

Next month, it will be two years..... :-)