Tuesday, June 18, 2013

5-15 June, 2013 - Greenhouses, car repairs, pruning raspberries, solar power, and more.

It's been an expensive month.

Susan is painting the porch in preparation of putting the screen on it.  I have most of the framing done but still have some minor things to finish up (like trim).  The mosquitoes have been out in force the last week so we need to finish this project up.

The garden is a never-ending project.  Susan is pruning some of the raspberry bushed we have.  She cuts out the old, dead stalks to make way for the new (and productive) growth. 
The chickens must have heard us talking because they've boosted egg production this week.  We mentioned to them that one egg per day from five hens wasn't going to be tolerated.  We've been a little concerned about them since some of the hens are approaching eight-years-old.  Anyway, they've boosted production a bit so we're now getting three or four per day.  Some of the slack may have been due to moving them.
In any case, we splurged and bought some real "layer" food for the hens so they'd best keep production up!

We've been working on the greenhouse.  This one will be a small one (6 X 8 feet) in practice for the larger one we plan on building next.  I can adjust the radial arm saw to make angle cuts but then I have to replace the back-stop more often.
What I prefer to do is clamp a guide board to the table at the proper angle for the cut.  It's easier than replacing the back-stop and easier to get the precise angle I want.
The argument goes on forever whether a radial arm saw or table saw is best.  As usual it depends on what you're going to do with them.  When I bought my RAS it was a choice between a radial arm saw, miter saw or table saw.  I chose the RAS because it was the most versatile and easier to work with on construction projects.  I now have a table saw too which is nice but on construction jobs it can be difficult to cut the rafters and other long pieces of wood.  The table saw is really nice for finer work such as making furniture.   My next purchase will be a miter saw.
Here I'm ripping down a 2X4 into two - 2X2's.  I can buy the smaller lumber but a 2X2 costs more than a 2X4 so I make my own 2X2's for about half the price.  The table saw does a better job ripping but it's in another building.  I was only doing a couple of them so it was faster to just use the RAS.
I had to replace the blade on this one. That was another $20.00 expense.

We are just going to put the roof and end walls up for now.  The clear roofing was left over from a project two years ago but we forked over real cash (around $30.00) for the rafter boards.  The rest of the lumber was scrounged or left over from other projects.  It's still been a pretty cheap project though.  We're going to replace the roof on the cabin in July or August and I'll have some more clear plastic panels from the old roof.  We'll use them for the sides.

One thing saving us money is our solar power.  I run an extension cord from the cabin's electric system (solar powered) to the greenhouse project in the garden.  The extension cord was expensive ($1.50 per foot - it's a heavy gauge cord) but we've had it for several years.

Scott loves playing with my stuff.  He grabbed the cordless drill from another project and ran (to escape with his contraband goods) out to the greenhouse and began "drilling" into this stump.  I have the screwdriver bit on the drill but he managed to drill into the stump (it's old and partially rotted out) using it.  The grimace is from how hard he has to work to hold the trigger and make the drill run.  His hands aren't big enough to go completely around the grip.  He told me to "go away" (he didn't want to give up the drill yet!), so I snapped the picture and did some other projects until he tired of the drill. 
More parts for the car and lawn mowers.  I hit a rock and destroyed the blade mount on one of our power mowers so I had to buy another one.  I also bought a blade for the other power mower we have along with an oil filter for the Cherokee and another for the small generator. 
I did some judicious blade straightening on the rock casualty then re-sharpened and balanced it.  I was afraid I'd bent the crankshaft but then saw that the blade was bent rather than the CS.
I installed the new blade in the spare mower.  We normally use our reel mowers but we've had so much to do that we got out the power mowers to keep up with the grass.  (We've had lots of rain this month.)
More flat tires.  I finally took this one to the water tank and submerged it to find the leak.  It took  about three weeks to deflate so it was a very small hole.  It was punctured in the sidewall by something very small (probably wire).  I tried patching it but the patch didn't hold (didn't think it would but it was a Sunday and the parts store was closed so it was worth a try).  We bought a radial tube for it on Monday and that did the job.  The tube was about $13.00. 
It's also been making some growling sounds so I ordered a wheel bearing assembly while we were in town.  That was another $80.00 and another trip to town.  They had one of the more expensive bearing sets in stock but they wanted $130.00 my cost for it.  We decide to wait the extra day for the $50.00 savings.
We also put air shocks on the rear.  The springs on Cherokees are designed for ride rather than work and ours is often heavily loaded.  We got tired of hitting the axle stops and decided to install air shocks.  Those were another $75.00.  When I went to put them on the top mount bolts for the shocks were rusted in and broke off when I tried to remove them, so ... I had to drill them out (all four) and cut new threads.  I've always enjoyed having hot bits of metal falling onto my face while drilling out the broken bolts (NOT!) so it took a lot longer than planned.
I'm going to change the oil and filter on it today.  When I bought the filters, the parts store tried to sell me the top-line they have.  It would have been $17.00. I asked for the "econo-line"  (AKA - cheap), which brought the price down to $7.00 for the pair.

Our daughter loves her old Land Cruiser but the radiator's core is rotten.  I've tried fixing it but to no avail so we ordered a new one online for abut half the price the local part store wanted (we paid $230.00).  I put it in during the week so she is back on the road ... sort of.  She wanted me to check the tail pipe which was rattling on the rear axle.  I checked it out and found out that the top leaf of the driver's side rear spring was broken and letting that corner sag.  They're looking for some used springs.
Another of our kids hit a deer with his car so we had some minor repair work for it as well.  It wasn't a lot of damage but it will still need a grill and radiator.  We took it apart and the parts should be here next week.
Susan took Scott on a bike ride outside of Eureka.  It's an old railroad right-of-way that follows the river and ends at Lake Koocanusa that's been opened to walking and bicycling.  This is just one of the photos she took.  Last year they had a grizzly bear hanging out on this trail so she took her bear spray along just-in-case.  It's about 14 miles round trip.

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