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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

By All That's Holey

Last year when we had the solar panels put in, we also had to have a new meter put in on the side of the house.  But they couldn't take down the old one and just use the same hole- oh no- they had to install the new meter to the left of the old meter.

Which left a hold where the original feeder wire went into the garage. 

That's thirty-six year old fiberglass insulation, not the backside of an opossum

 I say feeder wire now because I work for a big fancy electrical contractor and we use terms like feeder, only if I told you feeder and didn't put wire you wouldn't know what I was talking about. Unless you were an electrician, of course.  But I digress.

Steve let me know in no uncertain terms a couple of weekends ago that he wasn't particularly interested in how fast I got the hen yard done, but was more interested in when I was finally going to fix the hole in the siding.  This is what happens when you have a role reversal of talents and inclinations, leading to a reversed set of household duties.  I leave chores undone long overdue (like a year overdue) and  my husband turns into a nag.  But I digress.  The hen yard was getting done because that's what I wanted to get done in the few remaining days of decent weather we had left.  The hole in the siding, which is under the eaves, could wait until a rainy day for me to fix it.  Well, last weekend I finally got around to fixing it.

We have that crappy T-11 siding so popular in the seventies, so I fixed it with a fence board, which has a fairly rough surface on it.  This is only one way to fix a hole in your siding, but if you haven't done it before, this will give you one idea how to do it. It also works with drywall, by the way.

With a piece of paper and the side of a pencil lead figure out where the edges of the hole are kind of like doing a rubbing.  Cut out the pattern and trace it on to heavier card stock, in this case a piece of manila folder.

Check your card stock pattern in the hole to make sure it fits.

Trace out two plugs on the replacement board.  Label the same side so that they are exactly the same.

Cut them out.  

You can cut curves easier if you make multiple cuts along the side to the edge of the plug and then cut the board from side cut to side cut.

Stack the plug pieces (make sure they're in the same direction) and drill a hole the size of the shaft of a deck screw. To check that size (for those of you who don't know how), hold a drill bit up to the shaft of the screw, and see if you can still see threads.  Check it with the screw on top of the drill bit, and check it with the drill bit on top of the screw.  If you can't see the screw's threads, you'll drill a hole too big.  If the drill bit is too much smaller that the shaft of the screw, it'll make screwing it in more difficult.  And you want to use a deck screw because they're fairly easy to reverse out of the plug when you're done.  Don't sweat it you don't have a deck screw, though, but do make sure it's around two and a half inches long.

Screw the two matching pieces together with the deck screw.

Back off the top piece by turning it counterclockwise on the screw, making sure the screw stays in the bottom piece.

Apply wood glue or a silicone glue'n'seal product to the front side of the back piece.

Shove the plug into the hole, and turn the hole plug so that your plug corners come into contact with the siding and taking care to keep the plug at the same level as when it went in- you don't want it to shift down or anything.  Take a stick and brace it behind the top piece, and now start screwing the screw to bring the two pieces together. This is kind of tricky to keep the two pieces just so, so take your time. And don't screw it so tight that you break the stick.   Let it dry for the prescribed amount of time.

The next day, back off the top piece again by turn it counterclockwise (gently- you don't  want to break the seal) so that you can remove the stick.  Turn the plug right side up and apply glue all around its edges. Draw it into the siding by tightening the screw until the plug is flush with the siding.  In this instance I had a thin gap around the edge of the plug, so I squeezed in more wood glue, and then rubbed sawdust into the glue.  Keeps it from dripping out all over the siding and fills the gap fairly well.  Let that dry overnight.

The next day you can take the screw out.  Now all this needs is a little more conventional wood filler, a little light sanding, and then paint.

Steve gets to paint.  He's way better at it than I am.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What You Get Done When Rain is Forecast

Last weekend I got part of the roof pieces of the run up before the rains started.  Yesterday I had to saw part of the side of the door so that I could get it open because it had swelled shut in the damp.  The roof is not designed to hold up a roof per se, just more welded wire, and then on the side nearest the coop, a tarp to keep half the run dry.

This picture shows more of the roof, such as it is.  It also shows what I did today.  I didn't have a lot of rain-free time today, so I installed the 2x4's along the fence sides so that I can staple the roof wire to them.  The fence across the back of the yard is in decent shape but the one along the side is in terrible shape. However, it's not ours to replace, so I attached new 2x4's with deck screws to the posts which will help hold it together.  The posts were replaced not too long before we moved in, but the rest of the fence was not and it's in really deplorable shape.  If I try nailing to it I run the risk of knocking it down.

This is the back of the run, and where I'll attach the feeders which I've made from four inch ABS pipe.  I've a little more work to do on them, and then I can install them.  I also purchased parts for watering the birds, which I can work on the garage if it rains next weekend. It's coming along slowly, but it's coming along.

So once work was done, I could turn my thoughts to dinner, most of which came from the garden. I love growing turnips because you can eat the whole plant.  (They are also really easy to grow- even easier than radishes.)

This is a great carrot variety: short and stout and easy to peel, and very sweet and juicy.  I wish I could remember what the hell its name is.

Dinner was was roasted root vegetables (I managed to pull out one parsnip in addition to the carrots and turnips) and eggs florentine on kale and turnips greens.

If we had chickens, the whole meal would have come from the garden.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Not So A-Maizing

This is the entirety of my corn harvest for 2012.  I had to pick them early because the rains have started, and I don't need the corn rotting where it is.  So I picked it even though it's not quite ready.

Some the ears are more ripe than others, but they are all in the oven on the dehydrating cycle.  I don't know if it'll actually make grain that I can grind, but I'm willing to keep trying.

Supposedly, this variety is takes only eighty-eight days to maturity and handles cool temperatures well.  I guess I planted it too late.

Am I done with corn?  

Not at all.  This harvest was paltry, but it was way better than my potato harvest.

I guess what I should be growing is soil.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Just In Time: Cheap and Effective Greenhouse

Need a greenhouse but can't afford one?  Take a look at this link from the good ol' Oregon State University Extension Service.

I'm thinking I should have one or two of these in place by next spring.  Maybe even this fall for lettuces.

Not that I have a dearth of other projects to get done or anything....