Monday, April 26, 2010

Moving On

We've had a week of construction type activity around the place.

The "Blue" Shed consisted( Fortunately ) of two buildings that looked like they were one unit but were actually two separate buildings.

The front part has evolved into the Chicken Spa and soon to be Pig roost.
The back of the building had a collapsed roof and only the walls were holding the sagging roof up.

We decided to remove the roof to prevent a total collapse at the next snow load, but leave the walls up to provide some shelter to the pen. Tom's excavator has a thumb on it that made crunching up the roof and burying it in a hole for burning when the first snows come. We don't want to set the pastures on fire! The wide scraping bucket also makes a reasonable aerial platform for the inevitable chainsaw work.

The Chicken spa got some nice ceder trim we were gifted from my contractor Nephew.

The "Red" shed is gong to transmogrify into a one wall green house. It made the march over to the North end of the re-tired garden.

We put newly cut skids under it cross braced it like crazy and the move went with out a hitch. The South side will be transparent and will make use of the double glazed windows I have been accumulating. Some might call it hoarding but that's a little harsh. The other five sides will be insulated to r4o - that's about 11 inches thick and I will heat it with a wood furnace to make it a 12 month green house. I have to dream up some method of "shuttering" the large South facing side to stop heat loss when it gets dark.

Now that the Red shed is moved it left room to get at the building I am converting to an equipment shed.

The first order of business was doing some landscaping. There was a Gooseberry bush and a couple of lilac bushes that needed to be transplanted. Digging holes is what an excavator was invented for - moving shrubbery a handy addition to it's repertoire.

We cut a ten foot by nine foot hole in the side after bracing the inside and installing a track for the sliding door. Hopefully by winter all the equipment should find a place inside out of the snow.
Some of the Zucchini plantings have started to flower. I don't get that part. It sure seems to be a bit early..
Now what would these denizens be focusing on so intently.

Jeez guys have a look at these yummy Mozzarella Meatballs that Dad just made! Do you think he would notice one or two missing?

Its overcast, cold and starting to rain. And time to start work on the Green House. More to follow. Hope your having a great week.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Dogs Who Ate A House

Well Garden shed actually. And fortunatly, so far, just parts of it.

Something smelly passed under the garden shed and the "Gurls" won't leave it alone.

Despite me moving everything so they could have a look underneath and inside, Cleo chomped right through the 1 by six trim work and started shredding the asphalt siding. I told her enough was enough when she asked to borrow the sawzall.

"I don't care how many kisses you give me you girls are not borrowing the power tools.."

They are totally obsessed with it. It was like the weasel they smelled in the chicken house. Must be some good smelling stuff." Ladies, attract the man of your dreams with Au de Weasel.." The good news is that the trim was't all finished as I have been waiting for warmer weather.
We've added some more asphalt siding to the chicken spa (formerly the blue shed) We didn't have enough of one colour to do the entire side nor enough forsight to balance it out. But it all works the same to keep the weather out.

We also put some protective sheet metal on the outside where the chimney stack comes out. As its just ordinary single wall chimney so I don't want to take any chances with it's proximity to inflamable asphalt siding.

I still have some work to do with the structure of the chicken house. The metal roofing was simply bent over at the sides and not left long enough at the front- so water just drips onto the barge board, over the years, totally rotting them away. One side I can pry out as its about six inches long but the other side has only an inch or so to work with. Worse, on the down slope side the water has started to rot out the planks that were placed to act as roofing joists due to the fact that the metal roofing had no overhang. It's going to take some head scratching to see if there is an easy way to fix it. I can remove the outside edges and slip some roofing underneath to give an overhang. But repairing the joists underneath is problematical. The rear of the shed has collapsed inward and were going to cut it away and just leave the walls up so we have a pig corral.
Yesterday we built a sawbuck as the last one didn't survive last winters inadvertent skid steer torture test. Another good reminder to pick up all the stuff you don't want run over before the snow falls!

The day was a true Bubba day, unfortunatly without the Bubba. That is , it was warm enough to have the shop open and Country and Western blasting on the stereo. Perfect for project construction.

Here's a guy "bucking" the trend and getting up in the world. Well, his tiny world..

It was a simple design that I picked off the WWW. Makes cutting up firewood from the small logs around the place a lot easier. The buck folds up for easy transportation and storage.

We're starting to see the first of enormous "V" shaped wings of geese flying overhead down the valley towards Burns Lake. One of the signs that spring is progressing.

The plants are growing like mad. Just waiting for the re-tired garden to warm up. Perhaps next week. In the mean time were taking some of the grow light ones out for an afternoon in the sun. A taste of the real world.

The other being it's time to get the bird feeders stocked up. We'll be making some adjustments to the feeders today. Adding platforms for the birdies to land on.

We are going to plant a whole bunch more lettuce and spinach. It can go in the rich soil next to the chicken pen. It gets morning to noon light so it should work out well. Can't hurt to try. The chickens just love fresh spinach.
"Come on Myrtle, lets try the new patio!"

Hope your having a restful weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Our truck died. Completely lost compression in a cylinder. Our truck was a 1993 Toyota Four Wheel Drive Truck - that's what it was called, with a 3.0 litre EFI V6 engine. It was replaced once by Toyota because of a well documented problem with a defective head gasket. Several years later it developed the same problem we have now and we replaced the engine. $6000. Four years later we have the same problem. Vehicles. Like boats- just throw money at them. I am adverse to buying anything new - well I can't afford that anyway, but just don't know how much to put into keeping a 17 year old vehicle running. The problem is as a mechanic I make a better electrician.

Well it's only 21 klicks to town. Maybe it's time for a mountain bike. Seriously.

In the mean time while I am trying to figure out what to do we're trying to get an old Astro Van running that was dropped off here. It's got AWD and two sets of tires, one studded winter and one summer on rims. Keep your fingers crossed.

Managed to get the door fixture installed. I have an L.E.D. outdoor flood light in the fixture. It takes 3.5 watts!

That's half of a seven watt Christmas tree light. Mind you the thing was hugely expensive, but over the life of the lamp it is very inexpensive. The wave of the future. We are gradually converting all the lamps in the place to L.E.D's- even the compact fluorescents when they go bad. Mind you that can be quite a while too. Basically they will reduce the lighting load of the plant over 90%.

Which means, besides the dollar savings in energy costs, our new diesel generator can handle practically the whole electrical load. It is an electrical start 5000 watt model that I got in trade for doing some electrical work for a local internet provider's transmission sites. Sweet deal and another project to get going..

But the electrician is getting a call back today because he hooked the light up to a switched circuit instead of the proper powered one. The chickens seem adverse to having the coop lighting on all night just so the outside lamp works.

One of those days..

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Landscaping the Chiken spa

Yesterday we put down chain link fencing around the bottom of the permanent run. The idea is that it will keep any burrowing criters like foxes and even coyotes from digging under the fencing.

Jo-Ann humped a ton or so of rock and placed it against the bottom rail and then I used the skidsteer to cover it with soil from the horse corral.

Between the run and the barns was a wooden railed fence area that has long ago returned to Mother Earth. I was told that horses were kept inside with access to the stalled barn. Now it's a major source of rich brown soil that is making it's way to the retired garden and yard planters sprouting up around the place.

Looks like a great spot for some truck tires filled with that nutritious soil and flowers that are amenable to East and some South light..

The next part of the project is to install an L.E.D. door light made from a salvaged light fixture at the West door so we can find the place in the dark without using a flashlight
I am an inveterate list maker. I find that if I don't keep track of the tasks at the end of the day, or week, I end up scratching my head wondering what I've got accomplished.

In no particular order here's the check list for the Chiken spa's remaining tasks The ☑ are completed:

☑ Move Coup Door to allow Chicken Run attachement
☑ Add Fox Thwarting
☑ Add roofing overhang at South side of run
☑ Install salvaged, beefed up, screen door to run
☐ Add Re-Tired Planters
☐ Screen in South Window
☐ Replace Tattered Siding
☑ Replace East Window that was covered in tin
☐ Repair bent over roofing over Run
☐ Install roofing to make a proper drip line on the South Side
☐ Install Door L.E.D. fixture
☐ Trench for Water
☐ Install automatic waterers
☐ Make runs to Chicken tractor(s)

Maybe installing the salvaged Persian rug languishing in the basement pile would be too much...

It's still sunny but cold. According to the WWW the weather is starting to warm up. Still it's going below zero at night - just a little early for the retired garden to start up.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fiddlers on the Roof

Our friends Mike & Bubba were up for a visit and helped with the next stage of the "get the chikin spa ready and prepare for the Green house" project. There was a pole lean too shed attached to the high side of the red shed. The red shed is destined for the head of the re-tired garden to form a South facing, single walled green house.

The trick was to cut the lean two away from the shed shorten it by four feet and transport it a hundred yards or so to form the basis of the outside runs for the Chikin Spa.
The part of the Red Shed were looking at here will all be salvaged glass. The other surfaces will be super insulated. More on that later..

It was a neat feeling seeing the shed moving on down the road.. Jo-Ann and Bubba said it was too cold to don skimpy outfits and spread grease over the rollers, ala, the pyramid builders.. I thought they just weren't into the spirit of the thing..

The hardest part was inching it up to the side of the Blue Shed, which contains the Chikin Coup. ( misspelling intentional..)

When we got up this morning it was -14c. Yikes. Yesterday Jo-Ann myself and a few helpers transplanted the seedlings into bigger pots. Can you spot Boose peeking over the rim of the gold pan she's hunkered down in?

and brought half of them into the house to reside in the internal green house, awaiting warmer climes and a move to the re-tired garden.

It is a neat o smallish plastic covered green house that was on sale at a Prince George big box.

Now that I see how it was put together I am pretty sure I can whip one up with two by material and some electrical conduit. Anyway it's big enough for now. But something tells me it will get a lot of use before I get the Green House going.

Mike showed me a neat way to use a window as a see-through white board. A clear board as it were. The dry erase comes off clean as a whistle. Ah the things that go through my head.. Here's todays 2do list:

Hope your having a wonderful weekend.