Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Aaaand here we go:

I've already started moving in... I need to build some kind of combination bench/mitre saw/router table combination next. Can't wait!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Progress Around the Yard

No pictures this time, but this turned out to be quite a productive weekend.

After much discussion, we're leaning toward a 10x10 shed, rather than the 10x12. Why? Well, because the existing cement pad is 10 feed wide. If we go over that width, I have to move twice as much of the existing irrigation/sprinkler system. Keeping it to 10x10 means that I'm done with the lawn removal AND the irrigation changes. In other words, all I need to do now is put in the (much smaller) gravel pad and we're all set.

That means I'll go order the shed this week, if everything works out.

We also planted a ton of stuff. We had a large supply of expired partial packets of seeds, so we threw in lots and lots of seeds, hoping at least some would sprout. In addition, we bought a couple small plants (mostly peppers/etc.) and planted them as well.

We pulled about 25 pounds (no, really!) of weeds and now the front yard looks somewhat respectable again.

We have a "major" issue with the pavers on the side of our house, and fixing that will take a full weekend. We'll need to remove them all, then the sand below them. Then we'll need to fill in the voids below caused when the ground cracked due to the extreme drought. Then we'll put down some good landscape fabric (which should keep the weeds down and hopefully keep the sand in place) before putting it all back in again.

Oh, and while the pavers are out, we'll remove the jungle of weeds that managed to sprout up in all the new spaces between the pavers. It's in the hottest part of the yard, so I've been coming up with some ways to beat the heat and hopefully get the rest of the family to help. It would take me way too long to do it by myself.

And... that's it! Ordering the shed this week if I can swing by the place. Can't wait!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Goodbye Old Compost Bins

Ok, moving right along to the next project! I moved the old compost to its new home and then dismantled what was left of the old bins. That area had become infested with tree roots and the scrap lumber I used to put it all together had finally begun to rot.

I had these two old plastic/rubber compost sleeves that we bought at Home Depot about 10 years ago. I tried to give them away on Freecycle, but folks weren't biting. Not sure what I'll do with them.

I've scraped out a bit more lawn since then. Unfortunately, we have a lot of rain on the way, so I may not get any of the irrigation moved for a while (I really dislike digging in the mud).

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Also, Tree

Even though I was really beat near the end of the day after building the compost bins, I had one more chore to work on: the neighbor's tree.

The tree has long been a pain in our... gardening. Its roots found the compost bins and the raised garden and the tree itself blocks much of the morning sun.

I had trimmed as much of it as I could (safely) reach, but there was still a lot I couldn't get to. Plus the neighbors have a creeping vine that has climbed up into the tree and is wreaking havoc on the fence as well.

Then, after 4 years of serious drought, one of the larger branches shading our garden partially broke. It kind of cracked and sagged down until it was resting on the fence.

I spent a while out there with the loppers cutting off as much of the branch as I could. The area's better now, but there's still quite a bit of tree in the way.

The shed will go where we used to have our raised beds, so the shade won't be as much of an issue, as long as the roof fits under there and doesn't get damaged.

Monday, February 22, 2016

New Compost Bins

This weekend was an interesting study in motivation. Or, to be more specific, my motivation vs my laziness. 

I really do want this shed/shop, and I think it will be very good for me. But sometimes I get up in the morning and just don't feel like doing the stuff I should do. As a teenage/early 20's guy, I let this kind of thinking kind of run my life. Luckily I (mostly) grew out of it and became a (mostly) responsible adult.

But Saturday AM I just was not motivated to work in the yard. 

Alas, the old compost bins/area would be in the way of a new shed.

I rationalized my laziness by saying that it was still a bit muddy outside from Friday's drizzle. Also, I had a lot of other things to do and blah blah blah. I told my wife I wanted to move the compost next, and to do that I would need to build a new set of compost bins. Our old ones are 15 years old, and consist of some black plastic-y stuff hidden behind an ancient and decaying Home Depot picket fence. 

You can see how bad it is in the picture below.

So I had a plan to build the new bins. It was all just a matter of doing the work. Well, on Saturday, my laziness won! I did go outside to measure all of our old scrap lumber though. I used that as my "get something done" act of the day. Laziness...

But Saturday evening I felt terrible about wasting the day. I sketched up some plans for what the new bins would look like, then redrew them and reworked them until I only needed tp buy a few (3) boards and the wire. 

I got up in the morning, took a quick walk, and then drove off to the store for materials. Then I lugged out my saw and the rest of my standard "building rough structures in/for the yard" tools and got to work. 

I built three 3' x 3' frames and then held them all together with 4 6'3" stringers. I had some old redwood 2x4s so I used them for the parts that would be touching the ground. The rest were cheap 2x3s that cost <$2 each. The wire was $45... Ouch. At least we have some left over for use on other various chicken-related projects.

My hands are a mess today, lots of sore muscles and cuts/scrapes. Working with that wire is tough, even with gloves.

Next, we'll move the old/in progress compost to the new bins, much out the chicken run, and disassemble/scrap the old compost setup. 

After that, rerouting plumbing (see that water line standing up there in the middle of the picture?) and then building the gravel pad.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Next Few Steps

As you can tell from this photo, I have a few things to take care of before we can get a shed in there.

I'll have to build a gravel pad in front of that (very) old cement. Then I'll have to move our compost piles, herb tower, and blueberry.

The compost pile is in a terrible spot, feeding the roots of the tree on the other side of the fence. I need to move to to someplace where tree roots won't get to it. Likely on top of a small, unused cement pad off to the left. The "herb tower" is silly, but it was fun to make and we can find a place to put it, likely up against the shed. 

The blueberry is in a large plastic planter at the moment, and it does just fine over there in that corner. Unfortunately, while it won't be in the way of the shed, it will be in its shadow. So we'll likely move it to the front of the shed once it's in place.

Digging out that section of lawn won't be too hard, but the lawn is actually higher than the concrete pad so I'll have to remove a lot of dirt if I want a gravel pad there.