Showing posts from April, 2009

How to Build a Tire Cover

I have been making hexagon tire covers for our re-tired garden which we are expanding upwards from fifty tires. Well that's fifty tire planters as each planter uses three tires, two for soil and one as a spacer between the growing plants and the plastic. I use logging truck tires as they are a plentiful resource around here.

I make it with 1 X 2 pine, and the plastic is 8 mil vapour barrier left over from the shop reconstruction project. I suppose green house plastic would last longer. I decided to use octagons as they will fit the truck tires better than a hexagon. Future experiments will involve plastic conduit - like hula hoops. Theres a formula you can google to decide how big the sides need to be but I opted for a simpler method and just layed it out on a big piece of cardboard which works great as a turntable when assembling the parts. I use a simple jig on a miter saw to make a bunch of pieces that are all consistently the same size.
I just lay a piece of the puzzle do…

Pussy Willows, Cat Tails...

With apologies to Gordon Lightfoot. I was nailing together octagon covers for the garden when I noticed that my shop foreman, Boose the cat, was not at her usual station. Unusual as she sticks pretty close to me when I am in the shop. It's an art to glue up octagons with a cat sitting on your lap. A check of the yard soon revealed her whereabouts. Cleo had chased her up the side of one of the sheds. Lacking a fire department in this part of the woods we had to call a local ladder company.

"Oh thanks Dad , I could have come down anytime I wanted to but that dogggggg was in here and I thought you needed the excercise."

As this seems to be one of her favorite refuges I think I will just leave the ladder up for now.

I had a serious talk with Cleo about chasing the cats, here's what she had to say:

Battle of the Octagon

Using tire sidewalls, the part left over from cutting the tires to use them as planters, had the downside of being heavy. They also cut back quite a bit of the light. Not that they didn't work. So we were looking at an alternative when I came up with this idea.
On the left about knee height is the old method using the tire sidewall to make the cover. The white material is ripped up garden wrap that has been stapled and glued down.

What I am placing is an "OctoCover" with the plastic wrapped around a circumference of 1 X 2 inch lumber. They are extremely light and need to be tied to the tire with three wire ties ( might use rubber cut from old bike tubes). This greatly increase the amount of sunlight entering the tire cold frames. The soil is still pretty wet and cold but yesterday the temperature two inches down was 18c. A couple of days of beautiful sunshine like were having and things should be drying up.
The reflective top tire ( the riser ) is achieved by glu…

Fee Fi Fro

We go through a lot of kindling as we heat the main house with wood. I tried a new method for me which utilizes a block of wood at the right height, a rubber tire to contain the cut blanks and a Fro to make them. From there the blanks are cut into kindling and stored in 20 liter ( five gallon) plastic pails. Just throw the kindling in, give it a good shake and it all gets standing up nice..

It really speeds up the process. Any parts that have larger knots in them get cut into small sticks about 1-2 inches in diameter. One thing that has made the process of heating with wood a lot easier is learning to make an upside down fire. Forget the teepee fire they taught you in boy scouts. An upside down fire is just that: start by laying down the big wood, then some smaller, then some kindling, twisted newspaper and some more kindling and set a match to it. Voila, no problem with drafts, the fire is loaded and away we go. Hours before it will need more wood, a great bed of coals. The e…

Garden Dreams or Lettuce Begin...

Snow melt water is gurgling in the bottom creek near the lower cattle guard. I have been waiting a week for it to happen. This temporary brook was the one we got water from to fight the fire a neighbor had set last year. It carries quite a bit of water, draining the whole top side of the bottom eighty acres. It will continue until early summer, passing through a culvert across Savory road and down a steep grass and Poplar lined gully eventually ending up in the Pacific ocean via the Nechako and Fraser rivers.

The snow is rapidly disappearing around the yard revealing all the winter lost toys, bottles and other doggie strewn play paraphernalia. When It dries a little more we can get into the spring ritual. Cleaning up the yard.

I suspect Jo-Ann's Marmot is rising from it's winter bed to greet the Spring . Cleo was very interested in the burned out pile of fallen Poplar that was the Marmot's domicile. Much more attention than she would give a paltry vole.

The small upst…

Weather or Not

RT & Family are going back to Prince Rupert Today. They picked a not so especially nice day to do it. There was a couple of inches of snow on the road when they left.

An hour later of course, the wind came up, the clouds lifted and everything was gone.

Oh well I am sure it will eventually stop and I still haven't taken the plow off of the skid steer so I am sure it isn't anything serious. A check of the web cams on Highway 16 shows that the snow is pretty localized.

Later in the day we loaded up the dogs into the van and started to make our way to Fraser Lake. I haven't been to the hardware for two days and they miss me. I said tried because the van had been parked between the house and the shop - right where all the run off from the garage roof goes.

Oh well, fire up the skid steer attach a 20 foot chain to the rear trailer hitch of the van and secure it to the skid steer:

And slick as mud were out and on our way. The snow blade is staying on for a few more days..

One m…

To the Birds

RT Rhoda and the Pack heading North on the hill.

The birds are starting to arrive. This morning, on our walk down to Savory, on a dusting of snow, the Girls and I saw several strings of Snow Geese honking their way over the tops of the fir. Another wonderful sound filling the woods was bird song . My visiting naturalist, RT, proclaims them Varied Thrush. It's reassuring to hear their voices. Not the sweetest bird song we'll hear this season but one of the first to fulfill the promise that the snow will, eventually, all melt away. Yesterday we saw a Harrier Hawk undulating six feet over the eastern pastures, ground search radar on, scanning for an early dinner of mouse steaks. A Bald eagle spent a few minutes parked in the large fir not paying the slightest attention to Xena, who was loudly proclaiming who really is mistress of this joint, and the sky over it. Cleo spent ten minutes below the driveway parked at the base of a fir inviting a squirrel to come down and pla…

And Yet Another Tool Holder

Our friends RT and Rhoda, and dogs Molly and Tommy are here for an Easter visit. Were having a great time. I pressed RT into helping me assemble my Brother Tom's Tool Cabinets. He's been hinting that he could use a couple so with any luck I just might get them finished in the next day or two.

It took the two of us ( Well the three of us counting foreman Boose) some whacking with the rubber mallet, some re cutting and planing but they did manage to come together. Now to split them apart on the table saw and add piano hinges and hardware.

More Some Assembly Required..

I am building a couple of tool cabinets. With my experience with the last ones I want to build ones that use dado's and rabbets to fit the peg board. That way I don't have to use molding on the exposed edges and it gives more surface area for the buck. I will have to use birch edge banding and I bought a cheap iron for that. Routing all those little slots requires a router table so the project of the day was:

Always a challenge. The accompanying manual appeared to be for a similar, but not exactly the same unit. Of course it was written in a language that only approximated English. Jo-Ann read the instructions,( several times) I fudged the parts that seem to go here and here, we tightened a lot of 8mm nuts, and voila a cup of tea later:

Getting the thing adjusted took some head scratching but we were able to make a few slots that fit the pegboard perfectly. Construction continues.

It didn't freeze last night. As a matter of fact we were awoken by the sound of rain on …

Spring is just around the Corner

But I just had a look around the corner and it appears it could be a month long.

When we got up this morning there was a dusting of snow and it was just below freezing. We just lit the small upstairs heater and not the big furnace downstairs. Porridge before the morning walk.

This is what I wrote last night at 8:30 P.M.

And it is still +5. Perhaps Spring is a little closer than I expected. We went to Prince George today to resupply and I didn't go on my Morning walk with the girls. So we went around four P.M when we got home. The ditches are running with water. Parts of the road that last year were mud pits are drying out in the sun. I just may try two walks this week, the Morning one, and and after noon one just to patrol the road with a hoe and making sure the water is kept running unobstructed in the ditches. The top road, without last years gravel, is pretty much a sea of mud. But even that with a little hoe work appears to be draining off

I picked up a load handler from…

The Electric Kitchen Table

Our kitchen table often gets used as a lap top base station. It's just nice to sit at the table and peruse the www while having breakfast or a lovely cup of tea. The problem we faced was only one outlet near the table and it was on the floor as they didn't drill the logs for wiring when they installed them. The problem is that using a power bar to make additional outlets just isn't that satisfactory. It sits on the floor getting underfoot, and we've even had one melt a bit after residing for a time on the heat register. The solution was to take the kitchen table into the shop and add a couple of outlet bars to the table itself and then just have one plug from the table to the outlet.

Neat. When our friends RT and Rhoda get here for some Easter celebrations we can all sit at the table and use our laptops with out getting knitted in the power cords.
Xena has a new sister now and were working on integration. It's sure going well. Cleo seems to be adapting to th…

A tale of a Dog with no head and a one legged man

Here's some pics of Xena and me putting up a sign at our gate on Savory Road. It's reflective letters on Plastic. I want to carve one from a tree section but in the mean time..

Xena was so excited she lost her head..

And I apparently misplaced a limb.

In the mean time we'll just keep on Putting stuff away in the shop

And plowing ahead towards spring...

Just another day on the Hill..

When a Snowflake falls in Endako..

Is there a Hawaiian beach with my bum print on it? Not yet. I went for the morning gambol down the driveway to Savory to check out the snow fall.

I've got at least four inches on the ground so I am going to take the bucket off the skid steer and put the snow plow back on and do a run. I want the road as dry as possible so it doesn't turn into a mud track. It will melt off in a day or so - even by the end of today but I don't want the water anywhere but in the ditches.

I was talking to an Old timer this morning. He's never seen weather like this in 40 years of living here. Last year at this time we were getting the garden ready for planting.

I see that the long range forecast is for a high of +16c this Wednesday. This I have to see. Jo-Ann will be stripped down to her shorts and bringing down the industrial fans to cool off.

We're looking forward to a Visit tomorrow with Viki & Ron and Cleo, who is going to check the joint out and see if she wants to join th…

April Fools

No Joke. This morning we woke to another snow fall. It's still pretty light but it's socked in and coming down steady. Yesterday the sun was out and managed to turn most of the driveway to brown. I don't know. I put the snow shoes away yesterday, maybe I angered Old Man Winter. I must admit I am getting a little tired of the snow and cold. I promise when, if, it ever gets to 33c here this year ( like it did for three days last year ) I won't hide in the house in my shorts. I will be out there soaking it up like it has to last for an entire six months of winter.

Not that it is all dreary of course. One of the things I really enjoy about the snow falling is how serene and quiet everything is. Very peaceful. It's a porridge morning.

My Son in law, Kevin, fixed me up with some tunes for the ride back from Vancouver. I mentioned that I didn't have a CD player in the shop. He reminded me that I did have one because he used it during a Christmas visit a few …