Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tribulations....

We recently got back from a little trip to Ontario to see our sons and grand kids, before they each departed for some of their own vacations.

My car AC was not very cold so I had it serviced before the trip. Found a leak, replaced a part & recharged, good to go.

After a few days in Ontario in high temperature it quickly became obvious that the car AC was not working very good... Until it just started to blew hot air...

Could not get a Lincoln or Ford dealership to look at my car until about a week, not an option, will need it for sure for the way back. Rudy is with us, and beside it is bloody hot...!!

Found a small shop who specialised in AC work, spend the day there from 0900 until 1600. Guess what they found??
Another @#&?* Squirrel!! That's right a squirrel...

Car front all apart to investigate and replace rad, AC cooler etc...
See it on the radiator?

Brought that little guy from Nova Scotia.

It tried to claw its way out and damaged my radiator, 
and AC cooler causing leaks...

$1600 later I was back on the road, except that on my way home in New Brunswick I started to get some knocking from the transmission. 
Back home the next day, I brought the car in for its Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Inspection (MVI) it was due on the last day of Aug, and investigate transmission slipping, knocking.

Turns out there is a bad leak near the radiator, and this garage wont touch it. They are not equipped for specialized transmission repairs, it is a tire dealer.
Called CAA to tow the car to my local Ford dealer in the next town...

First time my car got towed...
If you drive a GM or a Chrysler, I would not laugh too hard if I was you :-)

Turns out the two transmission lines going to the cooler on the radiator were not tighten and were leaking. Leak more than 2 quarts of transmission fluid on my way back...Did not even register on the dip stick, not good. Hopefully nothing got seriously damaged. seems OK for now...

Needed brakes works on all wheels, plus two new tires for the back in order to pass my MVI, so $1900 later...

Ask me what I think of those fluffy critters...Grrrrrrr
I am not ruling out any actions against them little fluffy bastards,  including a full thermonuclear war on them!! :-)

Funny thing is that Rudy knew about that critter in the rad, he had been quite attracted to the front of the car during his routine rat patrols. I should pay more attention to him.

In other news, picked up a few more tools in my travels, of course :-)
With the Fall weather starting, we started to cover the raised gardens at nite, and are currently getting tomatoes up to our proverbial ears... Must remember next year, I do not need so many plants...

Start to put covers back on at nite.
Rudy is now wearing his Fleece jammy :-)

Put in the remote thermometer to monitor the difference it makes

Before leaving for more than two weeks on vacation, we set up various watering systems.

Installed my solar watering system on the rain barrel. 
Of course having no gutter around it,  I have to fill it by hand.

Filling up the barrel.
I did not quite fully filled it before leaving.

My solar powered drip irrigation pump set up 
on the barrel base's post

Drippers, one of 12 installed in the Veg-Trug 

Upon our return, I was curious to see how much water it did used. It is configured to watered twice a day. It contains 55 US Gallons max.

There was about 2-1/4 in of rain during our absence, 
no were near enough to top up the barrel...
But there was still about half a barrel full

Today, Sep the 5th, as I was taking pictures around, I noticed a constant beeping coming from my solar pump, sure enough, it ran out of water and stopped.

Head filter in water and water sensor dry 

Since I did not quite filled the barrel last time, I thought I could fill that one to the plate....

...but Oups, it is draining on the inter barrel connectors...

Will call that filled and watch for the dripper to work 
after resetting the pump...

 The other raised beds on the ground were watered by an electronic timer, once a day for 10 minutes. It is supposed to be a drip irrigation but there is a lot of pressure coming out of the water valve, should be reduced. It is almost more of a sprinkler than a dripper but it sure does watered :-)
Yes, I do have a meter to measure the water pressure, never got around to used it yet... But I suspect that timer connection could us a pressure reducer...


Select how often and how long to water
The capped off line was to the currently out of service sink.

I also tried some watering ceramic cones with various sizes bottle attached, to see how long they would last.

500-750 Ml were emptied and potted plants looked like dried
2 Ltr, a few were nearly emptied, two had about 1/4 left in them. Plants looked good
4 ltr (was a very hard size containers to find that matched threads on it...) 
A good few inches left in container, would have last longer but water started to turn green (algae)

Obviously various plants and flowers drew different amount of water in the many potted plants trialed.

The front flower's beds along the front of the house was irrigated by about 150 ft of soaking hoses attached to a Bluetooth enabled water timer.  It worked OK but the Apps interface is rather clunky and annoying in use. Phone must stay within range of valve and it goes off erratically, trying to connect. Not the most robust bluetooth interface I've seen...

Bluetooth enabled version of Galcon water timer

But other than that... Yeah, it works...
I currently took it off, was a pain to manually set up the valve for watering the front beds by hands.

The remainders were left to fend for themselves while we were away... They survived but sure appreciated the water upon our return :-)

I currently have about 8 or 10,  5/8, 50ft and 100ft  water hoses arranged around the house to reach all the gardens, flower gardens and trees planted. Via a few 3 way valves I only switched on what I need to conserve pressure. I just flip the switches has I go along to water everything front and back.  There are a few garden hose holders strategically located around the yard to hang the hose off the ground.
And in case you wondered, yes, it is a small pain to work around while mowing the grass. Only the line to the back gardens is currently buried underground.

Whenever I finalize (as if there was such a thing in my life ??) our landscaping layout, I will install an underground system... and of course "enabled it " 

Both of us on some warm beach in the future.
Jean: Oh dear did you remembered to water the plants today? 
Me: But of course, reaching for my phone and launching the apps ... on the beach... :-)

OK, so I like "some" gadgets...
I just strongly dislike stupid predictive (my ass) technology, like autocorrect, or flash me up Ads about prostate, because I once look at prostate cancer ...   
or try to launch something I did not call for or requested, never mind want, on my stupid "smart" phone!!??

Just make a better Bluetooth interface people, its really not that complicated.... once you understand what the end user required... Sigh,
Bob, getting off his soap box

We now return to normal blogging in progress...


Got a few projects on the go, but real woodworking wise, I must first go back into my shop and own it back. I have yet to find the want to go back since losing Heather. It's about time I go back and make peace with myself and carry on...

Besides the odd tool I had to fetch, the shop has sat unused 
and attracted some Crapola (Ralph Tm)

Bob, slowly getting back up.... Now if only my back would cooperate...
I am not aging gracefully... damn you Sciatic nerve





Friday, August 11, 2017

And so it was,...

...That on this glorious 72nd day of June, I finished my chair in the month of June build extravaganza hosted on line by Brian Eve, currently in Spain.

 72nd  of June??? Well yes, let see...

June 10th (day one) I realized that I had something suitable for such an entry!

Translation:
 I banged my toes one too many times 
on this pile of @@#$#&%*%chair...

By June 12th (second day of work on it), I started to wonder how much fun I was going to have at glue time...

That is one complete split.
A previous one was glued slightly offset in thickness.

There is a lot of tension in that chair, and it is obviously a manufactured one, done mostly with machines, no attention given to swelling and compression, like a good chair maker would had.

After a few years with the heat of a wood fireplace, in the winters, it shrank and fall apart every Spring literally.  That would be normal with lots of antique chairs BTW.
The devil is in the details, which were mostly ignored in the days of mass productions. Only time can truly judge the effectiveness of a design...
There are no shortcuts.

Self explanatory ... :-)

So my first bright plan was to disassemble it (just because I can) and rebuilt it, turning the two spindles that were missing. Turns out, there was only one missing (on the arm rest) and it was long missing, and was told not to fixed it, but rather solidify it for display.  Keeping the old weathered look.

So plan B, on June the 56th, (3rd day of work) I started by gluing up the lower assembly to each parts of the seat.

That was not too complicated, but I keep making sure 
both halves would still come together.

It basically laid there ever since, until, yet again it became in our way and had to move again...

On June the 71st (fourth day of work) I glued both halves together. That turned out to be a very &??%$#@*)?!@ exceptionally smooth operation, hence no pics! :-) In the end, I ended up with a small step just like the other previously glued half. Best I could do without pulling all my hairs out (I don't have that much left, so I don't like doing that...)

There was an amazing amount of tension building up when trying to mary both halves with the undercarriage already glued, hence fix... Lesson learn, should had take the whole seat out, all spindles out, then glue the seat blank properly.  But instead, to expedite and keep it weathered, I did partial subassemblies, trying to guess the best sequence and easiest way (yeah right :-)

Today (5th day of work on it) after the glued was fully cured, and did some light scraping, glued up the rest of the back splat, arms spindles etc.

Lots of banging on and off a few times, light sanding and scraping on some tight tenons and...&*@#$%?** TADA! Done

And to perhaps my ultimate surprise, after all that banging on it, it still is together, only split a small part by a screw for the arm. Fixed.







So there you go, it only took 5 days in June to accomplished that, well into the month allowed :-)

After a quick spray coat of weatherproofing, it will go on take it place back into our latest resting spot, which is in the shade from about 0900 to mid afternoon, right now. The sun start to be in your eyes through the foliage around 1530

Its resting place once finished. 
That was just to get a feel of the look


The rocking chair will go on the front piece of landscape fabric.
pic taken at 1540

Behind the chair, I am calculating the amount of light this area get

Once I know what it is, it is just a matter of choosing like plants...
I also know the PH of the soil. Too easy :-)
Knowing these two things make for easier gardening/landscaping.

The candle lamp fixture got an electronic LED candle. It has a timer, so whatever time I start it, it shuts off 4 hours later and start next day at same time I initially started it.




I saw a small Solar LED projector I wanted in a recent flyer, must look for it.
It would suit the decor just right... :-)
Need a small table for our morning coffees and we are all set.

And,  YES, at each station, there is a ground post for Rudy leash and we move his ground pillow around. NO he is not spoiled :-)

Bob, ready for a siesta...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Happenings and more progress on the Honey Do list(s)

Its been a while since I updated, but lots have been happening slowly but surely...
Life is too short, so no point rushing it... :-)

So far we have transplanted 32 trees and bushes around my property. These includes all the existing trees that we moved and the new ones we bought.
End of July we stopped transplanting, and we only worked in the morning after breakfast or in the evening after supper to avoid the heat stress, both on the plants and ourselves :-)

Part of these was to establish a fruit orchard:

Some we bought

Some we moved... from my land...

Some from her land.

Cleared some of the vegetation...


and established a small fruit orchard.
3 kinds of Apples, 2 kind of Plums and 2 kind of Pears.
To come next year Peach trees...

Some tree saplings growing on my land were moved 
to establish more privacy down the road.
These are Silver Birch.

Talking of Silver Birch, we have one growing in the back of the house, near the deck giving us shade, privacy and a place to hang bird feeders to watch them.
Heather was very attached to this tree, no matter its sad shape. She was always the defender of the underdogs. As much as we both wanted a newer bigger deck, I was not allow to cut it down, build around it she said!

The tree in question, has a severe lean to the left...

I was never too sold on the idea and would prefer getting it out of the way. It may have straightened up at the tip, seeking the sun, but it is only a matter of time before it will fall over. Some winter it really bow down from the icy loads.

So what now? Well, a good friend of us, David, told me to transplant a part of the tree somewhere else on my property, in Heather's memory, then cut down the tree. Problem solved and I get to sleep not feeling guilty :-)

Her little Silver Birch sapling is doing fine.

The angel statue holding a small dog is...
Heather holding Rudy

 Our gardens in the back are well established by now and we have a bounty of vegetables for us and flowers for the various beds up front.


This garden protected by Rudy :-)

The Canna in the back are almost 10 feet high. 
The potatoes plants up front have flowered and are taking over, 
time to harvest...

Some of the flowers from our gardens are used to 
decorate Heather's resting place...

Green Bell peppers

Two kinds of red Radishes

Typical daily pick:
Cucumber, potatoes, radish

The tomatoes and cucumbers are about to invade us, they are seemingly everywhere...  (Note to myself, put in less plants and seeds next year :-)
The potatoes have all been harvested, we have about 10 pounds of potatoes.
The Zucchini are starting to be harvested, some leaf salads remains, but the red, the Romaine and the Swiss chards have all been harvested and eaten :-)
The poor carrots were found under the big leafy salads. Oups, way too close, the poor things are starved for sun. With the salads mostly gone, they now have full sun, but I don't expect to see much carrots in my near future... :-)

The fruit gardens meanwhile have been producing red Raspberries, Strawberries and a still unknown grape vine varieties. The three kinds of cultivated variety of Blueberries are coming along nicely (if Rudy would just stop eating them :-) and we already harvested wild blueberries from the fields around us. There are some patches of wild blueberries, black berries and a few other here and there to discover on my land.

Here is a recent woodworking project. Got a small load of Brown Pressure Treated lumber, two 2X6X8 and some 5 inch wide decking boards. Stopped at the Woodshop on base to rip the 2X6s and decking boards in half. Bought some hardware on our way from the woodshop to home. Coated the cut surfaces with Brown preservative, let dry overnight. Next time I could get to it, after a few hours, I had a proper treillis installed.

Had to stand up inside my trailer to be able
 to drive down my 8 footer post


That red berry mysteriously disappeared
 after this photo was taken...:-)

I did not forgot my rocking chair rebuilt project in the month of June...
And so it was, on the 56th of June, I started to glued back the undercarriage to the split top...

Today, I am hoping to glue the split top back as one.
Notice how worn out the runners are...

 We have been also busy setting up various places around my property for sitting down and resting.  We used to have only the two Muskoka chairs facing the fire pit. Muskoka chairs are the Canadian equivalent to the American Adirondack chairs. Both named from famous cottage country sites. One big difference are that the Canadian version always had the back curved, while the classic Adirondack have a straight back. 

Heather painted these Muskoka chairs on 22 Jul 2012.
They have weathered very well, and yes 
they spent their winter in the garden shed.

They used to face our fire pit in the backyard

Now they faced the garden, so we can enjoy it.
The plants surrounding the chairs contains some which repels mosquitoes by their smell, you just have to rub them with your hands to activate their protection when you sit down :-)

A few more sitting area have been set up so we can enjoy the various views and find refuge from the sun. Depending on the time of the day, we will be sitting at various ones... chasing the sun as it goes over my property

The first one to be set up was the hamac area.
Complete with bottle and drink holders :-)
We often finished the nite curled up in the hamac...

 The next one was setting up a small bistro table set in front of the house behind the front flower bed. As the plants goes in bloom and grow, we have good privacy and still can enjoy the view...

There is often a nice breeze in the afternoon, 
perfect spot to relax after supper.

We are currently setting up a new spot for the infamous "June rocking chair"


This lamp will receive a LED candle

We put down heavy duty weed suppression fabric
under the features.

View from the sofa.

June chair in progress temporarily in place...

... to get a feel for the effect we are after.

After emptying the rain barrel, took it down to put some weed suppression fabric under, it was difficult to keep clean otherwise.





Found out that hose to empty the barrel is cracked, 
I need to replace it before I refill the barrel

Woodworking wise, I have a few more projects on the go, juggling between others priorities...

Got two old treillis to fix, scrape and paint, 
then set them up somewhere. Probably for the rose bushes

Then there is the Tool post station which need a new door. The slab of pine door has curved too much. Oh surprise... Would need a laminated door with battens.
And talking of tool station, she likes it so much, I need to build two more for up front gardens and fruit production area.


Came across this lounging chair in my travel to local nurseries, I like it, its also very comfortable. To add to my ever growing to do list :-)

Doubled up 3/4 in plywood construction for the frame and
 solid wood slats on top. Interesting...

I have two pyramid treillis to build above the two tree stumps on front. These would be a mixture of wood and copper pipes, should be a fun project.

These two garden gnomes would be replaced by Pyramid treillis

The Boring till project, which have been stalled for a while, still need completion. And since starting it, I have accumulated a few more braces and hand drills, so... new holders are required :-)

My pile of tool downstairs is growing fast, 
time to sort and store them. More has been added since this pic :-)

No shortage of projects just a shortage of time to do them all...
But they will get done, in between the grand kids visits, which incidentally always resulted in most of the ripe berries disappearing mysteriously :-),  trips and vacations here and there.

Rudy stole a golf ball from the neighbour :-) 
Does not take much to amuse him...

In between all these I am also busy with my various clubs and related projects. My small raised beds garden in my backyard also served as an experiment for one of my Rotary club projects: implementing food production gardens in Elementary schools and keeping the school cafeterias opened. Jean and I also volunteer at our local food bank, I can see tomatoes in their future ... :-)
No one should go hungry, we try to help 

Bob, stopping to smell the flowers. Rudy don't eat all the berries!...