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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Busy Sunday

There was a monthly amateur bee keepers club meeting at 10am. Having decided overnight that if I was going to overhaul the box trailer's suspension it may as well include new wheel bearings. As a result I was up early to take out one set of bearings as samples to see if any automotive parts places who may be open on a Sunday could supply.

Luck was partially with me. One of the three parts places in Raymond Terrace supplied two sets of bearings, new U bolts and fish plates. What they didn't have was bushes for the bolts and the bolts themselves. At least there would be a start on the task.

The bee club meeting was well attended as usual. The training course run by the club has been going well with 19 participants and the open day at Tocal on Saturday also went well. There is a lot of interest in bees and bee keeping in the community. There were varying responses from members as to nectar and pollen availability. In some areas now pollen is in short supply but not in others. As well as looking at bees arriving to gauge pollen availability there is also pollen storage in the hive and thirdly a low drone count also indicates pollen shortage. Hives toss out their drones to fend for themselves when pollen is in short supply. Pollen is a prerequisite for good brood formation. Bees will take the rust on the back of Frangipani leaves and castor oil plants as a pollen substitute. The club has decided to hold a honey competition at the January meeting. Club members are all keen to see which of them produces the best honey.

I'd had some correspondence with another amateur wine maker over the last few weeks and today was an opportunity to visit and inspect his facilities. What a great little setup in the middle of suburbia 150 grape vines spread around the largish block in small rows and all overlooking Lake Macquarie. Quite a few wines in progress. It's always good to see how others handle different aspects and I came away with many new ideas and a few samples of wines and beers. I just hope the samples I left behind are up to scratch.

More luck on the way home. Another auto parts store open and just as well I asked about the bolts, bushes and plates needed as they were not on the display shelf but in a back room. All the parts now accumulated.

The shackle plates just a bit worn and the bolts on the point of failure

Back home the axle and suspension was removed from the trailer in one heavy piece after snapping a few more bolts for which I now had replacements.

The trailer minus its axle and suspension

Lugged the assembly down to the workshop. The U bolts were so badly rusted they had to be cut off with an angle grinder.

Fish plate and remains of one of the bushes

Cleaned everything with an electric wire brush and gave it a generous coating of rust converter. The sleeves were just a little too fat to fit but burnishing them on the belt sander solved that problem.

Axle, suspension leaves and stub axles cleaned and covered in rust converter, new bushes ready for insertion

My only failure was to find I was two bushes short. The bearings were removed from the stub axles and everything given a good clean. 6 pm again and time for a beer, dinner and try one of the wine samples I had been given. It was a 2011 Shiraz and bloody beautiful. Good nose, excellent Shiraz flavour great tannins. A wine that will also age well.

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