Jaak’s Cabin – The Valleys
Altai, Jaak and his new friend Tag arrived back at the cabin, and the two boys eagerly unloaded the haul of batteries onto a sled along with Gazza’s various electrical items and lugged them over to Lizzie the donkey engine.
Jaak lit the fire, so that Lizzie would be well up to steam by the time they needed it.
Under Altai’s supervision and guidance, but doing his best to be paws off as much as possible, they bolted the alternator firmly in place. They set about connecting the alternator to a large spoke pulley-wheel with one of the drive belts. Heavy duty red and black cables snaked their way down to the bank of four batteries which were then in turn all connected together in parallel. With this now completed, they needed to test the battery charging system.
Lizzie’s pressure gauge was now reading 60 PSI and her boiler was hissing contentedly. The moment of truth had arrived.
Altai: Stand by to answer bells! Open the steam valve – slow ahead!
Jaak: Open steam – slow ahead – aye!
Jaak carefully opened the steam valve, about a third of the way – again there was a hiss of steam to the piston, but it did not immediately start.
Jaak: Tag! Give the flywheel a gentle turn!
Tag: Turn the flywheel – aye!
The piston arm began to move back and forth, the flywheel and the main pulley wheel began to turn, and the drive belt started to turn the smaller pulley on the alternator. Lizzie settled into her regular chuff-chuffity-chuff rhythm.
Altai, took an amp-meter and touched the probes onto each battery.
Altai: 5 amps to each battery – we have 20 amps output! Increase steam – half ahead!
Jaak: Increasing steam – half ahead – aye!
Jaak opened the steam valve a little more, and Lizzie eagerly chuffed faster.
Altai: 10 amps to each battery – we have 40 amps output!
By slowing increasing the steam, and repeating the testing process, they found the ideal valve setting to provide a steady 12.5 amps to each battery with a total charging output of 50 amps.
Similar to the day before – all three steam engineers grinned at each other – the boys hardly able to contain their excitement. One was completely unable.
Without warning Tag suddenly leapt straight up in the air and somersaulted himself over the pile of firewood, landing on all fours. He then launched himself back over the wood pile and landed in front of Altai and Jaak – laughing maniacally taking off again to do a running circuit around Lizzie, the wood pile and several trees.
Tag: Whoo-hoo! Yippee! It really is working! We are producing energy! Neato!
Altai: …and so are you it would seem – hmm, I wonder if we could hook you up to the alternator – we could use a giant hamster wheel!
Tag: Aww! I’m no rodent!
Everyone laughed – especially Jaak. He felt the happiest he had been since coming to the valleys, he now had a friend in the valleys similar to his own age – albeit a very excitable and bouncy one.
While Lizzie chuffed away, and continued to charge the batteries, they ran another cable across to one of the trees, and strung it across to the gable end of the cabin and then on inside. They spent some time making various wiring connections through fuses and switches, finally attaching some old automotive lights up into the rafters. All this was overseen by Altai, taking fastidious care to ensure that everything was connected correctly and safely. Finally they were ready to try out the new lighting rig.
Jaak: Tag – you wanna to do the honours? Wanna flip the switches?
Tag grinned in delight – and with great alacrity he flipped the main switch and then the individual switches to the lights. One by one the lights blinked on.
Altai smiled to himself – satisfied to see Jaak happy at long last, certainly since he had first arrived.
Soon the sound of a pick up coming up the road announced the arrival of Gazza to collect Tag. He took great interest in examining the still chuffing Lizzie, the alternator charging the bank of batteries, the cable to the cabin and then finally the lighting rig that had been installed.
Gazza: Bonza mate, she’s a right little ripper! Best off the grid system I’ve seen in the valley!
Jaak couldn’t help thinking to himself that Gazza can’t of seen the set up at Layan’s place.
Altai: Well thank you for your help in finding all the parts we needed.
Gazza: No worries! Happy to help any time with any gear you need. Now – I better git that nipper of mine home and cleaned up before supper.
Tag: Aw Pap! I’m not that dirty!
This was not entirely true. Both boys were looking a little sooty and greasy after working on the steam engine all afternoon.
Altai: Tell you what, now the batteries have charged, we can drain the rest of the hot water from the boiler into the tub over there and get both these sweeps cleaned up – its big enough for two.
That’s if you would like to join me Gazza in a couple of coldies on the deck while the boys hit the tub.
Gazza: Mate! I thought you’d never ask!
Without further ado or objection, Lizzie was shut down and the remaining hot water from the boiler drained into the huge bathtub next to the outhouse. Jaak tipped in a generous amount of bubble bath and soon the tub was a fomenting cauldron of hot steamy foam. Completely unabashed, Tag stripped off his shorts and undies right there and then in front of everyone and leapt into the tub.
Tag: C’mon Jaak – last one in is a rotten egg!
The two Dad’s then retired to the deck for a couple of coldies, leaving the two boys to work on removing the day’s soot and grime.