Tuesday 22 April 2014

A good start to the milling season

Having only started milling for the year on April 12th, we were keen to try out the new power of the wheel.  We started with eight 25 kg bags (200kg) of wheat, and Richard and I milled 75kg in that first weekend, roughly shared between his Saturday session and my Sunday one.

That left just 5 bags to last the 4 day Easter weekend.  We divided it quite fairly, so we each had 1¼ bags per day.  With the new, improved wheel that was NOT ENOUGH! On Monday I ended up milling talcum-powder fine just to try to slow the machine down so we could last until 4 o'clock.

We had hundreds of visitors over the weekend (230 Sunday, 255 Monday) and sold most of the flour we produced, though we did eventually run out of labels.  We need to pay more attention to stock control at the start of future seasons.

During the first two weeks in April Richard and I gave our talk on the restoration of the mill (wittily titled "Flour Power") to two more local history groups, in Bampton and Low Hesketh.

Some Dutch windmills

 During a short holiday in Holland, we visited the Zaanse Schaans museum, where there is an amazing number of working windmills.

 Some are sawmills, one crushes peanuts for oil, one grinds spices and the one whose works are shown below grinds pigment.  We didn't see or hear of any grain mills.

 Very impressed with the wooden gearing and the general ambiance of having so much machinery turning in the breeze.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Finishing off and Spring Cleaning

The last board is hammered in
 Over the last 3 weeks we have finished the wheel boarding.  Ray cut and finished the final section of larch liner board at home, and we hammered it into place.  There were then just the bolts holding the paddles in place; these were fitted, trimmed to length and given a dab of black paint so they don't shine too brightly!

The cobbling complete
The cobbling team have finished the area behind the wheel house and are looking for fresh challenges.

Finally, today, we tried letting some water into the wheel for the first time.  It was a great success - see the video below.

Today's main other job was starting to clean and tidy the mill, sweeping, hoovering and mopping the floor ready for reassembling the stone and its furniture and starting to mill in about 10 days time.   The wheat is already on order.