So, with Manuel helping with Phase II which was removing the old fence posts and the wire deer fence, we quickly were ready to move to Phase III – removing sod, followed by a quick grade with Bob’s boxblade. You can see the results below; Bob actually outdid himself with the fence posts and wire. Next phase – fence posts!
With the side gate complete, it was time to move on to the main garden area. The idea with a new fence (besides being nicer to look at than a wire fence) was to keep deer out of the veggies and provide a safe, secure area for the pets to reside when we’re at work while maintaining a semblance of the view of the back of the property. The last thing I wanted to do is create a prison in the back yard. I think we’ve got a decent design but who knows – by the time I’m done we may be looking at the Federal SuperMax. Old fence down – on to Phase III: sod removal and grading, courtesy of Bob.
Corn! Nothing better than some sweet fresh corn slathered with butter and pepper. Well my last attempt at a corn field didn’t work too well – we got a few dozen cobs but I think the land didn’t drain properly.
So, last week my faithful helpers Bob and Manuel joined me for Project Big Corn Field day and we put in a new corn field. Once I cleaned up the massive pile of firewood and scraped the sod off with the boxblade, I turned the dirt with the plow then we put up a mesh fence to keep the beasts out. Hopefully come late August we’ll have a massive corn boil! Yee-haw…
I’ve had a weird few weeks. I was in the hospital for a few days with an infection – all better now. Previously, I had an adventure in the north 40. Bob and I were out doing firewood. I took down half a dozen trees, skidding them over to the firewood pile. On the second trip, a sinkhole mysteriously opened in the ground and Bob sank. Col stopped by and I enlisted his aide but to no avail; it took Josée and me a good hour to get Bob extricated. Last weekend, I worked on re-finishing some old benches. They were in rough shape but I stripped them down, repainted the iron legs and re-did the slats. I haven’t finished the yellow one yet but the blue one is up in the pet cemetery so I can sit in comfort as I remember Monty and Jack. Maybe one day I’ll join them there!
Last Thursday, I came home and heard a strange noise. It didn’t sound like Tegan. I looked outside and there was a pink pot-bellied pig, playing with Tegan and eating some grass!! A long story short, her name is Petal and she is about five months old. She belonged to someone who lives just down the road but for a variety of reasons is no longer able to care for her. Josée and I decided to adopt her so now we are the new owners of a pink pot-belly! She is really cute, very fun and has a different personality from Monty.
Finally, I had a great breakfast at Atlas and decided to take a close of my delicious breakfast! This weekend, more benches, welding some bucket hooks on the tractor, another bonfire and maybe a meal out. Oh, I have to remember to pay my taxes too!
This weekend, I finally got around to cleaning up some deadfall in our forest, removing some hazardous trees while at the same time prepping some firewood for this coming winter. Bob and I have this down to a science; fall the trees, limb them then tow them to our bucking, splitting and stacking area. I’m trying to only take down damaged or dangerous trees and we’re going to replant with a variety of mountain ash which grows quick and burns hot. Last year I gathered enough firewood to heat our house through the whole winter with about 1/2 a cord left over. With hydro rates set to increase by 50%, I’m glad we don’t have to rely on electricity for our heat.
A post with no theme, organization or message – let’s call it miscellaneous ramblings. Hmm…well, it was an interesting week. Early in the week, I was in Gold River for a couple of reasons. I stopped to take a photo of the magnificent view over the spine of the Island and was caught in a snowstorm for about five kilometres! I spent some time helping neighbour G with his driveway, taking out the organic ready for gravel to be added and grading the area. We moved a huge pile of detritus out the back of his place. The next day his gravel arrived so Bob and I went over and graded it all out flat and level plus re-worked his existing driveway, filling in holes and smoothing the whole area. It turned out nicely. It was my birthday this week and I got a great treat in the form of a Lucky cake. One of Dad’s students from years ago is a talented cake maker and she crafted the masterpiece. Thursday night we had a big burn, torching an absolutely massive pile of debris, an old doghouse, rotten boards and branches. Bob helped accelerate the process as we piled up the material into a towering inferno of flame reaching at least ten feet into the night sky! The fire was so hot that when I cleaned up the pile on Saturday morning, the bricks in the firepit were still too hot to grab without gloves. Bob helped me clean up the burn pile area and I’ll seed this to grass in a couple weeks. Oh, I started the other section of retaining wall as well – got to get that ready for planting in a short while.
Well, I’ve finally finished Bob’s new abode and got around to updating the blog with the final pictures. Overall, it was a pretty good project and turned out as planned with a few minor
glitches design modifications. The only thing I really have left to do is find a way to store the augur and plow – perhaps a pulley system might be in order. I managed to make use of the vertical space in the trailer bay, creating a couple platforms on which to store lumber and fenceposts; at least they will be dry. Thanks again to the Magnifico Construction Co. for guidance and encouragement. Here are some photos of the final stage.
Over the weekend, Magnifico Construction and I managed to put together the first bay of Bob’s new abode. After some mental acrobatics regarding post levels, spacing and anchors, we managed to get the first three uprights set, square and level in three dimensions! We tied them into the ledger board with some strapping before figuring out the rafters which went up quickly. Adding some cross supports tightened up the whole structure. We had a little challenge trying to get the north end of the shed up and over the slope of the existing building but with the aid of three cantilevered braces cut at rough 45s we managed to get it supported. Next step, adding the second bay. Stay tuned!
As the Raider’s anthem so aptly states, the “autumn wind is a pirate, blustering in from the sea. With a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously.” The autumn wind is upon us and in the Comox Valley that means one thing: rain. Now before I get too carried away, let me remind my readers from parts elsewhere that contrary to popular belief, we don’t get six months of rain here. In fact, we don’t get three months or two months. We get a lot of grey, overcast days which sometimes make it feel like it is raining! Compared to a few other cities, the Comox Valley’s seasonal rainfall is quite reasonable. Of course, we all know the axiom regarding statistics!
That said, poor ol’ Bob has a house with a leaky roof and I need to solve this problem. In addition, the trailer Tim, Dad and I just built needs a shelter from the monsoon. After some careful consideration, I determined that the existing lean-to shelter is pretty much done and needs to be dismantled. I will salvage all the wood and the metal sheeting and use it in another project in some fashion or another. I’ve sourced my new lumber locally, from a responsible supplier. I just have to pick it up, finish the dismantling process and start construction. It sounds so simple.
My normal M.O. when doing these bigger projects is to think about the end result whilst omitting some of the specifics regarding measurements, calculations or design features. My childhood dreams of being an architect were probably best left as dreams!! That said, I’m hoping that I nail this project. I’ve measured three times not twice and even have my laser level out! This weekend past, I dismantled the existing framework. This weekend coming I hope to start the construction phase.
Over a recent weekend, Tim, Dad and I opened our version of Monster Garage as we worked on converting Tim’s old tent trailer into a utility trailer. Our first step was to strip down the old tent trailer structure, right down to the rusted metal frame. Next, we bolted the deck, made of 2x6s, to the frame. Despite my best efforts, I managed to screw up the initial bolting stage by using 3″ carriage bolts instead of 2″ – I didn’t have a socket set to tighten the nuts on a 3″ long bolt! After removing the old bolts, we replaced them with the 2″ version which worked great. In addition, we used self-drilling screws to attach the uprights to the frame. The mid-span screws went in like butter but the frame corners, perhaps due to extra thick plates of metal were like, er, iron. We had to use a metal bit to screw through these sections and went back to the bolts instead of the metal screws.
Once the deck and the vertical stanchions were in place, we added the rail, three courses, and tailgate. The finished result was solid and square but it wasn’t known how much we could actually load into it; only one way to find out – load it! We hooked Bob up and towed the trailer to the North 40 where we loaded it about half full of dry firewood which it held just fine. Bob towed the loaded trailer with no problem, over grass and ruts, all the way back to the woodshed. We’re probably going to need to make couple more trips to clear up the firewood cut thus far.
This Monster Garage production was a challenge but we ended up with a utility trailer that will serve our three families for years to come!