Monday 28 January 2013

Shredded, Sprouted, Serviced.

The recent wind proved more than a match for my poor, prototype mini poly-tunnel cloche and today's picture shows the shredded cover. Not a bother. That cover was only ever some free, left over plastic sheet which came as a cover for something or other (possibly the shower enclosure) during our build and I guessed it would be too flimsy. Mentor Anne has been able to obtain the proper, tough, poly-tunnel sheeting by the yard from a supplier over by Carrick, so we will nip over there soon and create the Mk II version a bit more able to stand up to the local weather. Tonight Met Eireann are predicting 125 kph winds down on the coast and a friend of Liz is saying that their coastal house has views of the sea to the South, to the West and "possibly, tonight, OVERHEAD also!"

Also from Anne comes advice that for the geese and hens, if you sprout your feed wheat prior to feeding, they prefer it and it is better for them. The sprouting process can increase the available protein and the available fibre by a good margin. The scientists tell us that "Very complex qualitative changes are reported to occur during soaking and sprouting of seeds. The conversion of storage proteins of cereal grains into albumins and globulins during sprouting may improve the quality of cereal proteins. Many studies have shown an increase in the content of the amino acid Lysine with sprouting.”
“An increase in proteolytic activity during sprouting is desirable for nutritional improvement of cereals because it leads to hydrolysis of prolamins and the liberated amino acids such as glutamic and proline are converted to limiting amino acids such as lysine.” So now you know. By day 5 the protein will have gone up from 12% in the raw seed to 14%, and fibre from 5% to 10% (of dry matter). The food also warms up and can be more palatable to the birds for that reason on a cold day. 

We are having our own little play with this using the feed wheat I now buy for the rabbits instead of the expensive "Bunny Munch" muesli. Each day I set a half 'bucket' of wheat to soak overnight in a yogurt tub. The next day this batch is drained of excess water and returned to its 'bucket'. They then sit for the next 4 days with me occasionally shaking them a bit to see how they are getting on and you can see the 4-days sample in the bottom picture has plenty of fine white roots sprouting from the grains. Tomorrow this first batch will reach its Day 5 so we will try it out on the hens and geese to see if they believe this 'more palatable' theory.

Meanwhile, we get a phone call from Felix, our bearded backwoodsman who was fixing and servicing the chainsaw. He phoned while I was out walking the dogs, so Liz took the call. We had not known his name and I have been unable to place his accent (Dutch? German?) but he introduced himself as Felix to Liz and she thought he might be German too. We nipped down to collect the saw and got talking to the guy. He turns out to be Swiss but from the German-speaking side 'up in the Alps'. Charging me only €22 for the job he'd cleaned air filters, changed spark plug, cleaned the carburettor and changed both the chain oil and the 2-stroke mix and the machine is now running and idling sweetly again. Nice one, Felix. 

Talking some more, I wondered would he be able to do anything with my 1960's Briggs and Stratton powered rotovator. He knew the type and the engine well, and is more than happy. Unfortunately the rotovator died back last summer and has, since then, been languishing with the formerly 'helpful' plant hire firm, Domac. Worse, they actually farmed out the repair to a little workshop guy in Ballinasloe, an hours drive away and no amount of chasing and harrying has made them produce the machine, fixed (or otherwise). Worse still, our local branch of Domac has closed "for the winter', their yard cleared of mini-diggers, shredders and other gear. The official version is that they will re-open in April, but other contacts in the trade are not so sure. My mission is to renew my harrying and get the machine back, fixed or not, even if I have to drive to Ballinasloe to collect it, and to pass it to our new friend, Felix the Bearded Backwoodsman. Watch this space.


Renovation in Galicia said...

Languishing somewhere in Co Roscommon is a Video recorder which was taken in for repair some twenty years ago after many visits to the shop where they failed to produce it, they eventually lent us a machine while they fixed ours, they were to 'phone us, the call never came. We also have part of a video machine somewhere on Anglesea, when we returned to pick up the machine we found that they had borrowed some parts from it to repair another machine!

Matt Care said...

Ha ha! I know what you mean.During our build phase we started to accumulate local tradesmen and service providers who would show up as keen as mustard to look at the job but then vanish without giving us a price, dates, times or even any indication that they were OK doing the task. We called this our "Choir Invisible". Eventually they all reported back in all except for 3; a man who was going to do some outbuilding doors for us, a mini-digger driver and this rotovator repair place. We worked around the doors and the mini digger, but they are holding my rotovator to ransom!