Tuesday 22 May 2012

A new handle

While Bob was operating the mill on Sunday, the handle of the shutter next to the gate valve came off in his hand. Inspection showed that there had been a knot in the wood at just the point of maximum stress. Today Ray and Bob made a new, overengineered, handle. The design was mainly to avoid having to dismantle the whole assembly to remove the shutter. They can be seen above putting the screws in.

Meanwhile George was getting on with the pointing.
Note that, entirely by accident, none of today's pictures shows anyone's face.

Monday 14 May 2012

National Mills weekend 2012

We were open and milling all day Saturday and Sunday for Mills Weekend. The weather was very favourable on Saturday, Sunday was gloomier but at least it didn't rain.

There were children's activities in the information room, including making decorative cup-cakes from playdough, K-nex and other construction toys and pizza making.  Chris had the cob oven nicely warmed up for cooking the pizzas.

Garden volunteer Janice's husband, a professional baker, had taken away some of our flour and baked some superb bread both for tasting and for people to buy.  Some of the (100% wholemeal) flour was mixed with Little Salkeld unbleached white flour, some was used on its own.  It was a roaring success, and sold out completely.
Meanwhile we kept the stones turning and bagged and boxed lots of flour.  The 500g bags were offered to visitors for a donation.  Overall I estimate almost a hundred of them went.  Since last Tuesday we have milled 150kg of wheat - not sure how much we wore on our clothes!

The tea room had made some pastry and cake with our flour, and that was also very succesful.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

At last it can be told!

At the end of last year, we submitted an entry for the Marsh Heritage Award.  This Award, run by the Marsh Christian Trust in partnership with the National Trust, "recognises the contribution of groups of volunteers who work tirelessly for the nation's heritage".

 We are delighted to be able to reveal that we won the award, coming first of the nineteen entries from Trust properties all over the country. 

 We have known about this for a while, but we were asked to maintain a diplomatic silence until all the other entrants had been informed.

We were congratulated at the mill on April 1st by a volunteer member of the National Trust Council, Roseanne Williams, who sent us this photo of her with Bob.  There will be a formal presentation later in the year.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Milling again

Two of the curved wedges
for the axletree bearing...
... and one of them in situ
The loose bearing at the indoor end of the axletree has now been fixed. Richard has made some curved wedges from a length of 4 inch pipe. They have nuts welded on so that they can (perhaps) be jacked out of the timber by a screw if necessary.

 Meanwhile, Ray was putting the finishing touches to the grain storage bin. It has three separate lids, each of which is just lifted off the box (no hinges!)  There is also a ventilator, with internal insect screen; another one is to be added when we have obtained another ventilator grille.

George was usefully employed applying some lime mortar to the joint pointing in the launder support piers.  This morning, Bob went to Little Salkeld watermill and obtained 100kg of wheat and a few hundred flour bags - thanks again, Nick.

In the afternoon we started the mill and eventually got the water flow, grain feed and stone separation set correctly so that we were producing decent flour. There are still some whole grains bouncing off the damsel and missing the milling process, but we made a sieve of suitable grade to remove them from the meal. At the quantities we are producing it isn't a problem to sieve all the product.

We then made up the meal into 500g sample bags, about 16 in all by the end of the day.

Richard tests the
Our very first bagged flour!

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Good to be back

Well, I've been away on family business / holiday for the last 3 Tuesdays - sorry to have disappointed our regular readers. To make things worse, I forgot the camera today, so this is the grown-up version without pictures!

While I've been away the others have almost completed the grain bin, the trash strainer is in place on the sluice, and the slack bearing on the end of the axletree has been wedged and now runs silently.

Today more work on the lid of the grain bin - aluminium lined like the rest of it. We also cut a hole in the lid of one of our "Really Useful Boxes" so that it fitted round the flour chute, and made a small stand so the box in question would sit at the right height to collect flour.

Later, we dismantled the tun, lifted the runner stone by 6 inches or so, and had a good hoover round in preparation for milling flour again. Then we put it all back together.