Welcome to the June and July, 2020, Activity Report.
Updates for this period:
- Director & Founding Member Activities
- Environment Branch
- Plant & Machinery Branch
- Construction Branch
- Water Management Systems
- Final Thoughts
Thank you to everyone who has donated to God’s Way organisation this year.
The end of the financial year (30th June) is upon us and we are grateful to those of you who choose to donate time, energy, effort and or funds whether large, small, regular or irregular to the organisation. All contributions are deeply appreciated and enable God’s Way Ltd to work towards meeting the company Vision, Fundamentals and constitutional objectives.
God’s Way Ltd is grateful to:
- Founding member Jesus (AJ Miller) who continues to lead the organisation and advise the board in all areas including: upholding the constitutional objectives in daily interactions; designing, planning and managing projects, thinking ahead in regards to resources and project needs. In addition, as systems administrator for God’s Way Ltd he donates his extensive expertise in information technology. He draws on knowledge and experience in all areas of running the organisation to assist the board, as well as being a living example of the company vision.
- Jesus & Mary, who regularly gift their time to share God’s Truth and gift feedback to members and volunteers in the organisation in order that members and volunteers may bring their lives into harmony with God’s Way. They also gift time to mentor and educate members in all manner of skills and subjects within the organisation.
- Jesus & Mary and Divine Truth organisation generously donate time, expertise, finances, resources and vehicle use (tip trucks and ute) to God’s Way Ltd.
- Catherine Spence who continues to fund ongoing improvements and the renovation at the Function Centre Caretakers property; gifts to use of large machinery (dozer, excavator & tractor); extensive infrastructure necessary for water collection and management on all learning centres. Without Catherine’s generosity this year and in previous years God’s Way Ltd would only be able to implement a tiny fraction of its current projects.
- Eloisa Lytton-Hitchins for her contribution of time, effort, resources and funds, and for the time spent being educated and growing in competency of organisation and project management.
- David Walsh (Cornelius) for his contribution of time, effort and expertise to the construction branch and learning to manage the terrace project this year.
Special thanks to those who have contributed large donations in the form of time, effort, money, fuel for heavy machinery, the use of facilities for God’s Way Ltd video and audio production, housing for volunteers and/or the use of various vehicles to assist God’s Way Ltd in its current projects:
- Catherine Spence
- Divine Truth Pty Ltd
- Jesus & Mary
- Pam Newman
- Eloisa Lytton-Hitchins
In addition, God’s Way Ltd is grateful towards other unlisted individuals who make regular donations or smaller contributions which assist the organisation to meet administrative costs.
This year funds from donors have contributed to:
- The general running expenses of the organisation
- The purchase of seed & mulch for the terrace project
- A small contribution of funds to heavy machinery maintenance, repairs & fuel
- Purchase of landscaping materials e.g. geohex a plastic grid system that is being used for paths and roadways around the hostel and Function Learning Centre Caretakers residence
- Materials for flooring finish experiments and plumbing fittings for water system experiments
Lastly the board acknowledges the efforts of the members, volunteers & contractors who have assisted in the implementation of projects throughout the year.
During June and July, Jesus & Eloisa had some physical illness that impacted the productivity of the organisation. They took some weeks to recover and projects were reduced, with only the Construction Branch activities and a portion of Environmental work being completed during June & July.
Earthworks on the Terrace Project were paused during June while Eloisa was ill and Jesus was out of action with a back injury. As there was no one else trained to manage the terrace project at that time it could not go ahead.
Having the usual managers (Jesus and Eloisa) unwell at once highlighted how essential it is for everyone in the organisation to understand every project so that other volunteers can swap in when required and the project/s can continue. The terrace project management issue was remedied in early July with David Walsh (Cornelius) being trained to manage the project & machinery maintenance.
Bird & insect life is increasing at the terraces
In addition, during July three volunteers were trained in heavy machinery maintenance. These people can provide valuable support to a project manager during days that the machinery is running. And it is now possible for two managers to split their workload with one dealing with earthworks management and the other completing the daily machinery refuelling and maintenance required on project days.
As part of the Seed Project Jesus suggested that the directors conduct some seed germination experiments. As mentioned in a previous Activity Report, the purpose of the germination experiments are to discover if current seed stocks are viable and to find the best, repeatable methods for seed germination. Volunteers are observing the experiments, noting the results and changes and refining the experiments as new data is produced.
Experiments, in general, are a good way to iron out issues in the methodology of an activity, task or project, before they are implemented on a large scale. Experiments enable the Founding Members and Directors to make better informed decisions about how to proceed with projects.
Seed Project: Germination Experiment 1
Seed Project: Germination Experiment 2
The Introduced Species Programme has an ongoing experiment with the introduced species called mother of millions. God’s Way Ltd volunteers are conducting an observational study on a test site in Wilkesdale, Queensland, as and when member and volunteer schedules allow. Use of privately owned land is being donated to God’s Way Ltd to trial methods and generate intellectual property regarding the natural purpose and effective management of the mother of millions plant.
Jesus & Mary have designed an experiment with the aim to suppress the regrowth of mother of millions. The experiment consists of removing the plants by hand. This step is repeated a number of times to eliminate any regrowth after initial removals.
Once an area is cleared of the introduced species, a thick layer of cardboard is laid on the ground. The cardboard is used to suppress weeds, retain moisture, introduce carbon to the system, encourage insect life and sustain worms who may be in the area as they like eating the matter very much.
The cardboard is then covered with a generous layer of topsoil & deco (decomposed granite) mix, native seeds are then spread on the soil and a layer of woodchip mulch is placed over the top.
The area is then left to be observed and see what happens. It is anticipated that the mother of millions plant will be suppressed and the conditions for other species of seeds to germinate will be created, enabling a variety of new plants to establish themselves in the area.
Experimental method: Cardboard, Topsoil and deco, Seed, Mulch
A layer of cardboard, topsoil and deco mix, sprinkled with a variety of native seed species and covered with a layer of hardwood mulch.
The bales of pre used cardboard used in the experiment go through a sorting process to remove any plastic and non-decomposable material that may have been included. Often cardboard has a plastic or oily/waxy coatings that insects do not enjoy eating and which prevents essential moisture and air from reaching the soil underneath.
Jesus is doing an experiment at his & Mary’s property to suppress re-growth on paths around dwellings.
The experiment consisted of two methods:
- Remove any regrowth
- Lay cardboard over the area where the plants were removed
- Add a thick layer of duboisia mulch over the cardboard
- Add more mulch every 2-3 years to maintain pathways.
So far this has been effective at suppressing plant growth on the pathways and moisture is collected at the edge of the pathways so plants are still encouraged and supported to grow alongside but not on access ways.
Method 1 photos
Remove weeds, lay down a thick layer of cardboard, cover with duboisia mulch.
- Leave regrowth in path area
- Lay the cardboard over the regrowth (the area where the path/access way will be)
- Add a thick layer of duboisia mulch over the cardboard
- Add more mulch every 2-3 years to maintain pathways.
Method two is a newer experiment which has so far also been effective in suppressing plant growth on the pathways. Over time it will become apparent if the weeding in Method 1 was actually necessary or not. If no weeding is required it saves many hours of labour.
Whichever method proves to be most efficient and economical can then be used around other dwellings on God’s Way Ltd properties.
Method 2 photos
A thick layer of cardboard is laid over the top of the weeds then covered with duboisia mulch.
At the end of July a number of volunteers were trained in heavy machinery maintenance and the basics of machinery operation so that more than one volunteer can manage the Terrace Project and any other project involving the heavy machinery.
Volunteers enjoyed learning about the machinery and had the opportunity to effectively continue the terrace project as a team effort.
The renovation at the Function Learning Centre Caretakers property continues. Work inside the house has been on hold while other projects, namely establishing water collection systems have taken priority. During June and July the focus of the renovation project has been on:
- Commence landscaping around the house
- Yard clean up, including removal of fences, rubbish, and items that are no longer needed. These items were given to others or taken to the dump depending on their usefulness, quality and condition
- Preparation for solar hot water system installation
- Preparation for dam water tanks installation
Commenced earthworks (but not finished) for preparation of:
- level pathways
- underground pipe lines
- tank pads
- solar hot water system
- maintenance free access to the washing line
All other areas in the garden will be planned as experimental style gardens.
Parts of the earthwork preparations were completed e.g. trenches dug to lay pipes in, but pathways, laying of pipes and backfilling, solar hot water system have yet to be installed and or finished off properly.
The path areas were created with a base layer of deco (decomposed granite, that was excavated from the dam extension on the same property) which was levelled to provide a flat surface. In time, the paths will be laid with geohex, a grid style locking path system and will finally be topped off with decorative stone. This will create low maintenance access to the house and other buildings.
Solar hotwater site (levelled pad)
Tank pad construction
A tank pad was created to hold 2 x 22,500L dam water tanks. This pad is situated at the highest point closest to the caretakers house in order to provide gravity fed water rather than needing pumps to move the water about. The dam water will be used to water gardens and the tank positions will also allow for a water truck to back up and fill a portable tank via gravity feed. Additionally the dam water tanks will have a quick link up to fill fire-fighting trucks if needed.
Six water tanks (4 that were transported earlier in the year from the Environment Learning Centre and 2 originally from the caretakers property) needed cleaning out before installation. As the tanks were tipped up onto their side and easy to roll, the inside of the tanks received a good pressure clean.
The 4 x green tanks will be used at the new 10m x 10m shed location at the Function Learning Centre while the 2 x blue tanks are to be used at the Caretaker’s property to store dam water.
Jesus designed an overflow system for the water tanks. As one tank is filled overflow water then flows into the next tank and so on. In order for the design to work plumbing fitting are required to be attached to the water tanks. There were some issues with attaching the fittings to ensure the flanges were flush with the tanks so water didn’t leak out.
So, Jesus and the construction branch carried out tests with the plastic that the tanks are made out of, called HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). Experience and understanding of HDPE’s properties were required to see how the product reacts when heated and moulded with the intention to use this to attach the plumbing fittings and possibly carry out repairs on tanks should they break or crack in the future. A volunteer conducted experiments in order to understand the product and determine the scope of work they were capable of carrying out in regards to doing repair work on the tanks if required.
The founding members and directors were hoping to be able to melt the plastic to a liquid in order to pour it. Tests were carried out to experiment with the material.
The first test started at HDPE’s known melting point of 180 degrees Celsius and moved up in increments from there.
At this point the plastic begins to smell which means it has gone to its maximum melting point and is at a burn stage. As plastic burns it releases toxic fumes, so the experiment was terminated at this point.
An in-oven thermometer was brought in at a later stage to test the accuracy of the ovens digital dial temperature display. At a display of 240 degrees on the oven, the actual temperature was 225 degrees Celsius on the thermometer.
Volunteers found that the HDPE softens to what looks like liquid but is still far too thick to pour.
The next stage of testing will be with plastic welding equipment. The required equipment will be researched and purchased in the coming months.
During the work period Jesus designed and Cornelius (David Walsh), under direction of Jesus, drew up plans of a proposed new shed extension at the Function Centre Caretaker’s property. These plans will be sent out to a shed company in order to obtain a quote for the works.
The proposed extension will provide a roof area over the space between an existing shed (20m x 10m) and 3 x shipping containers (20m long). This new roof area will provide a covered space allowing for drive-through servicing of heavy machinery which can be used in all weather conditions, and undercover workshop area and access to the containers.
The roof area will also collect fresh rain water to fill up rain water tanks. Rain and ground water is the only source of water in the Cushnie area (rural Queensland), there are no council or local government water services.
The shipping containers were modified into storage spaces when they arrived last year. Two of the shipping containers had the end doors removed and were butted together, making them into one long storage area. One of the containers has a bank of side opening doors and the other has 2 x end opening doors. There were temporary covers over where the containers joined, last work period the join was sealed with made to order metal coverings called flashings in order to weather proof the gap. And a metal ramp was also installed inside the containers to bridge the height difference between the 2 container floors.
A new 10 metre x 10 metre shed was constructed on the Function Learning Centre. The shed site is situated on a hill above the Terrace Project. The roof of the shed will capture fresh rain water, which provides fresh drinking water for the location (which currently has none). This water will be stored in 2 x 22,500 Litre tanks. There are an additional 2 x 22,500 Litre water tanks that will store dam water under the shed. The dam water will be pumped up to the tanks from the dam on the Function Learning Centre Caretakers property. The pumping system is currently being researched and designed.
The 4 tanks are located under the roof of the shed in order to protect them from weathering. The water can be gravity fed covering most watering requirements on both the Function Centre and Caretakers’ property. The water will mainly be used on the terraces which have been or will be planted out with a wide variety of Australian native flora seeds, including trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, vines and many other species.
The shed site on the Function Learning Centre was chosen as it is one of the two highest points on the property. The site was lightly cleared over a year ago in anticipation of the proposed shed.
Earlier in 2020 a shed was selected and engineering plans provided by the shed company. The site was then set-out (prepared, measured and string levels set up) ready to bore the foundation piers.
Once the foundation holes were bored and cleaned out, formwork was constructed to provide the shape and position of the concrete piers.
Thread steel rod cages were then made. The footing design including the cages were designed by Jesus and Corny to ensure strong foundations that can be standardised and used for future building projects.
Metal suspension supports (round metal rings in photo below) were constructed to support the steel rod cages to stay in critical positions during the concrete pour.
The cages hang off these supports before the concrete is then poured around them.
The cages are encased in concrete in the holes except for the top 30mm of thread which sticks out of the concrete when finished for the shed to be bolted to.
Once the concrete had been given time to cure (usually 7 days) the saddle bracket that connects the shed to the concrete piers was installed.
Note: the centre piers will have removable posts, hence no saddle brackets.
The Shed is now ready to be built by contractors.
First stage of shed construction complete, middle steel posts, reinforcement bracing, gutters and tanks still to be installed.
With the shed in place, a large 300mm gutter was installed, ready to catch rain from the roof.
Gutter installation was completed.
Deco (decomposed granite, a stone type of material, excavated during Function Learning Centre Caretakers dam extension), was spread out onto the shed floor area by the tractor. A concreting screed was then used to level out the floor area under the roof of the shed. This created a very level, flat area to position the 2 x rain water and 2 x dam water tanks onto.
The deco is a local product. Crusher dust is another material that could have been used to create pads for underneath water tanks. Both materials are small stones that compact quite well. Usually the product is about 6mm (1/4 inch) in size and less.
Deco is brought in, spread out and compacted to just above level height. A concreting screed, is then used to level the surface out.
With only a small team, God’s Way Ltd members are making slow but sure progress on a number of projects.
Once again the directors thank all those who have supported God’s Way organisation over the financial year. We are grateful and wish you a wonderful second half of the year.
The directors of God’s Way Ltd.
Date of Submission: 15 December 2020
Date of Event: 3 June – 28 June & 1 July – 31 July
Post Contributors: Eloisa Lytton-Hitchins, Mary Luck, David Walsh
Location: Wilkesdale, Queensland, Australia