Bridge plans

Annmarie tells me that drawing plans for a bridge after you have purchased all the materials is a bad thing.  I kinda sketched it out on a couple of stickies before ordering.  I drew it out and got authorization for the design today from the boss.

  I also measured the bridge opening with a 50 foot steel tape today, the bridge is not 38 feet, it is 42 feet 2.5 inches long.  Not quite the same.  Now the nice part was it was that distance on both edges and the middle!!  All said and done, I need to order another 12 cedar 2x6s and I was informed that I would have to face the pressure treated wood so that it is not visible.  I will use cedar fencing slats and cut them to size.  It will look pretty when all is said and done.

For future reference, very detailed plans need to be done in advance…

Old house/shop is done and organized! (1 of 3 rooms)

Looking in from the second room doorway.  

I had a great day today.  I finished cleaning and organizing the old house!  All my tools are in one place and organized.  I ended up with one pencil, two rotozips, three step ladders, four palm sanders, five plumbing wrenches, six bottles of citrus finish remover, seven pair of gloves, eight functioning extension cords, nine crowbars of various sizes, ten rolls of sand paper for the belt sander, eleven tape measures and thirty screwdrivers.  There was no question that this should have been done sooner.  Now that it is done I just need to keep everything going back to its place after getting used it should be easier now that it actually has a home.  I even have some left over empty shelf space and empty storage containers.  I did not pull some of the nuts and bolts from the other rooms into this room.  I will save that for when I clean out those rooms in preparation for setting up the wood shop.  This may even happen this year. 
Looking from the window back in to the room.  A lot more
light after I moved all the boxes out of the side window. 

As an added bonus to cleaning and setting up the old house, I had to remove all my tools from other various locations.  Sarah and I took all the giveaway items out to the local fruit/antique shop.  She has a very large yard sale yearly and we always contribute to it.  The stuff gets used by people that need it.  Plus, she takes everything.  We ended up cleaning out the upstairs bathroom.  It has some wood in it but that is about one hour of work to remove it.  I had an incredible brainstorm today also.  We have a huge bowl shaped light over the landing of the stairs.  It is three feet in diameter and five feet tall.  It is mounted on an eighteen foot ceiling.  I want to get it working but I have been trying to figure out how I would vacuum out the bugs and dust every year, not to mention changing out a light bulb.  I am going to put an access panel in our upstairs bathroom!  You would just open a cupboard upstairs and it would open a panel in the stair upper wall that would allow you to reach over and change the light bulbs and vacuum out the light.  There will be a white frame box showing on the wall, but it is the closest wall and not as noticeable it will also be the same color as the walls.  I love this idea. 
Looking toward our house from the corner of the room.  Eventually,
we are going to add a deep freeze to this space.

Sarah and I also emptied off the breeze porch.  It still has some lumber on it but another hour and it will be emptied.  I obviously need to make a spot out in the old wood shed for some lumber.  The biggest obstacle to cleaning out one side of the old house is all the 2x6s for the attic are stashed there.  So add in completing the attic floor to the needs to be done list.  I need to wire the attic so I can have a light up there this fall.  No power up there now but one outlet I slaved in to Sarah’s bedroom light.  We were trying different antennas and one of them had a booster that needed power so I improvised. 
Wall of tools, destructive and constructive.

I set up some more help for the bridge weekend, 11 days and counting.  That Friday I have a young man coming to help me set up all the equipment, saw, power cords and sort the lumber so we can hit the ground running on Saturday morning.  I think we are going to install the pressure treated beams that attach both concrete pillars.  We will also run the string markers for the edges of the bridge.  Then on B-day we build!!  Looking forward to finishing this project.   

I found it!  I have been searching off and on for over two years for this
stained glass window.  I had it commissioned for Annmarie many years
ago and literally could not find it.  I knew I had put it some where
safe!!  It was in the upstairs bathroom hidden in a back corner.
It took three hours to dig our way into the bathroom.    I hung it
up today for Annmarie. 

Sanity found at home

Farm in the Summer

It kinda rained.

It is amazing how much more normal our home lives can be.  I can truly say that I love my family, home and life.  Sometimes the career I have chosen drains me and I am always revitalized by the ones I love.  Thanks to all for refilling the cup.

More open space to fill at a later date

Before I went back to work I did sneak out and move some more shelves out in the old house.  I just couldn’t help myself.  I was on a role and didn’t want to lose the momentum.  I still have plans on making it out there this weekend.  But today I did not make it.

It took me a week to get the old wheat truck licensed.  Three trips later and one phone call and I ended up with a 10 day permit.  The truck cannot be re-certified as a farm truck unless the farm is “exporting” enough farm product to warrant the need for the truck.  As the farm is in CRP and is not producing it cannot be licensed. If we had a hundred sheep the DMV farm guy said it would warrant a farm designation.  Now here is the weird thing.  A 10 day permit, by law, does not allow the vehicle to carry a load.  But there is nothing that does, so I was told the 10 day permit would have to do.

Today after filling up the truck and grinding a few gears, Sarah and I went to town.  We of course went via the back roads.  This way I didn’t have to have a stream of cars passing us as I went 45 mph.

I need another overhead light.  Starting
to look like someplace I could actually
work in.
I had forgotten that direct linkage steering in an old wheat truck takes a lot of muscle and some serious attention to the road.  Potholes attain a whole new level of respect when the entire steering wheel tries to wrench your arms off at the shoulders.  The whole time we are going to town I made Sarah clean all the surfaces inside the truck.  It was full of dirt, probably had not been cleaned in 30 years at least.  Once we had our load we drove to the car wash place and used the pay vacuum cleaner.  We filled the trash can and our $3 in vacuum fees sucked up about 3# of mice turds and 5# of dirt from inside the cab.  Luckily for us there is a oil changing business right there so I sauntered over and asked how much to have the oil changed.  Someone had to come over and pop the hood to see what size the engine was and we went back over to the boss who told me $45.  Sounded reasonable so after the truck was clean we drove into the bay.  Thirty minutes later it was not so easy.  The old wheat truck takes an old canister oil filter, no one in a 60 mile radius has one.  There is a conversion that can be placed on the truck to use a newer style filter but no one ever bothered to do that.  Luckily, the filter is still manufactured so the gentleman ordered two.  He then showed me the air filter which of course looked awful (even after the guy had beat it out and then blown it clean with a air hose), so I said go ahead and change that also.  No go, another special order item.  So they put clean oil in the truck, old oil filter back on and told me to come back after Tuesday.  No charge, he said we could square up the bill on Wednesday when I bring the truck back.  There are times I do enjoy smaller towns.  Plus driving an old green Chevy 1968 wheat truck does add a certain amount of memorable customer to it.  
Bridge on a truck!

 Sarah and I had to make a second trip to town to pickup some used lumber and a 12×20 dog run (all free, best price).  It was hot!!  95 degrees and we were parked on the railroad tracks on hot pavement loading up the pickup.  She did ask what would happen if a train came.  I told her they would honk (it is a private freight spur for the flour mill).  I figured we were pretty safe on a Saturday.  We came home and had to unload everything in three separate spots so it was all in the correct location.

In two weeks it will be bridge time.  I have a couple of people coming to help and it should go quickly.  I am going to spend that Friday before setting all the tools up and getting ready so we can hit the ground running on Saturday morning.  I need to do some calculations so we are cutting everything at the correct lengths before then also.  I am getting excited to get this project done.  After that it is onto the barn and fixing the doors and adding a window so the hay does not get wet!!

Future bridge, these wood piles are 20 feet end to end, the bridge will be 38 feet long once completed. 

Worked on old house reorganization

Both Sarah and Annmarie rode the horses this morning.
They weren’t on long, but it was with bareback pads and
no reins and the horses tolerated it with no problems. 

I had to go to the DMV today to get that 10 day permit for the wheat truck.  Big surprise that they did not want to do that.  She told me that I could not put a load in the truck if I used a 10 day permit.  So I was handed some more paperwork and told to have it filled out.  My mother-in-law, Donna, filled it out and now I will go back and try again.  Does anyone want to place bets on the number of visits it takes me to get something authorized by the DMV so I can use the truck?

I came home after picking the child up from the dentist’s office.  She didn’t want to come home as her mother had “promised her” they would go bra shopping.  Now mind you she is going to spend the next two days in town and could go then, but no she wanted to go today.  I won, and she came home (I just went out to the car and waited).  Once home the child started complaining of not feeling well.  We ate lunch and then she curled up in the chair while I cancelled our weekend event plans.  She fell asleep in the chair and slept for the next four hours!  I guess she really was not feeling well. I planted some more starts but there are still two whole flats to go.  We  are going to run out of containers with holes so I am going to have to create some more with the gun.

It is starting to look like a shop/shed and you might even be able to find
some tools when you look for them.  I have found three palm sanders
and two roto zip tools so far.  Still missing some T-squares…

Instead I went out and worked on the old house organizing and cleaning up.  I threw out another three boxes of trash.   I even had to take one of the racks out to use it for the plant starts.  I think I may keep it out or move it to a different section.  I might even put it in the root cellar as it is all metal and can stand the humidity a little better than the press board shelving on the others.  I made a top shelf and spot for some wood working tools.  I made it out of 2×4 and one inch plywood.  I figured it should be plenty strong.  So now I just need to attach my scrollsaw, table sander, and drill press to the table top.  I also need to get my shopvac, radial arm saw and compressor off the breeze porch and out to the old house.  I may move some more shelves around and create another work top out there.  Still figuring out where the new freezer is going to go that we are buying next year.

This weekend we are going to build fence but I think we may spend one whole day emptying out one side of the old house.  I really want to get the shop setup now.  Got the woodworking blues.  If I get it all cleaned out then I can start planning on laying in the wiring for the three 220 V plugins and I can rip out the central adjoining wall.  The wall is not load bearing so I am just going to rip it out.  I looked when I was crawling around in the attic and this will save me much labor not having to install a beam.  If nothing else I am going to make some puzzles.  I really enjoyed the one I made previously so I will give it another shot.

My non-progress on the bridge.  Still shooting for first full weekend in
August.  I need to get this thing done!

House is clean back outside

I spent the day playing catch up today.  I have had to deal with the creeping thyme starts we have been growing from seed.  We started almost 1000 plugs with seeds.  They have been dying in droves lately.  Annmarie thinks they need more soil.  I think they are getting too wet.  So Sarah and I are replanting them so they have more soil.  Unfortunately, even with lots of them dying that leaves about 600 plugs to plant.  That is a whole lot of plants to transplant.  Luckily, we have been saving yogurt containers for just this reason and my father had an entire trash bag full of small plastic containers also. The next problem is how do you put drain holes in 600 plastic containers?  During this Winter I used my drill to put holes in the bottom of the containers, but this was going to take me a single day just to drill holes.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to take credit for this brainstorm of an idea.  The credit lies solely with Paul a friend at work.  He told me to shoot a hole through the containers with my 22 pistol!!  I should have thought of it myself.  I trimmed one of the branches out of the large tree out front that way.

So for all those inquiring minds, Dannon yogurt containers work the best.  They are very flexible and this allows the bullet to go through without cracking the plastic, just leaves a nice round hole.  You can only shoot through about 10 containers at once as they don’t stack well and if you don’t stack nice and straight or shoot straight the bullet ends up coming out the side of the distant containers instead of continuing down through the bottom.  The hard plastic yogurt containers are nice containers but they break from the bullet impact.  They still work but the entire bottom of the container has cracks all the way to the edges.  Yoplait containers are a no go, they are shaped incorrectly so I won’t use them.  The container has to go wide to shallow or how else are you going to get the dirt out in one piece?  I sat on the edge of the porch and shot up a few hundred containers.  One more word of wisdom, muzzle blast.  Keep the pistol muzzle back away from the containers or the muzzle blast will break or move the containers.

Sarah and I have 6.5 flats of starts to re-pot.  We did four tonight.  It is a fairly laborious process.  Near dark we went out to see if the old wheat truck would start.  I wanted it to be as cool as possible as last year the yellow jackets were living in the truck and under the hood.  I was hoping they would be dormant.  I brought the jumper cables to give the truck a little extra juice.  Of course, I had to knock down two different yellow jacket nests and dodge them for five minutes.  Sarah and I had a discussion on how to use jumper cables.  She knew the colors and what terminal to hook them up at (thanks to phinnius and pherb cartoon, for which I was informed she should be allowed to watch more educational TV).  I told her how to do it, what to look for and as I attempted to hook the positive terminal up sparks flew everywhere.  Then I had to tell her that that was what happened when you attempted to hook the positive terminal to the ground and don’t do it, it is dangerous.  After correcting the polarity, I hooked the jumper cables up correctly and attempted to get into the truck.  I had to scrape out one more yellow jacket nest and then wait a couple of minutes.  Amazingly, the truck started with some gently persuasion.  I could not believe it.  I had not started it for almost one year.

Tomorrow I will get a 10 day trip permit at the DMV and pick up some scrap 2×6 boards and a dog kennel. Got them from a friend for the price of removal from the scrap pile outside his shop.  While I was talking to him we got on the topic of my greenhouse.  I said I was looking for free windows and he was removing 10 from a house he is working on.  So I scored some more windows.  I want to put some in the barn also to increase the light inside the building.  Once I have gotten the scrap home and unloaded it I will go into the hardware store and get everything for the bridge.  I still have to have a load of gravel delivered, but I will call for that tomorrow.  Everything will be in place except for some help.  Still working on that.

Mowing success

Mowed orchard.  I decided to selectively mow just the weeds
and hope the tall grass will go to seed and start
squeezing out more weeds.  The whole orchard has
bare spots where the weeds were taking over.
I am attempting something new this year.  Instead of mowing everything down in the orchard I saved the tall grass.  I would like the grass to go to seed and multiply therefore squeezing out the weeds.  To aid in that effort I mowed down every patch of weeds I could find.  Now I just need to take the weed eater to the front creek banks.  They are covered in weeds and are stunted from the spray I applied but not out of the picture yet.  Not sure when I am going to find time for that duty.  I would love to send the child out to do it, but she is not very productive unless directly supervised and then it is a constant effort to keep her on track. 
We have been watering the ram pasture in an effort to get it to green up in the next two weeks.  Last year after we mowed it turned green again in no time.  We are hoping the same happens this year.  
We did figure out that it is possible to get a 10 day permit for the wheat truck for $45.  I just need to get it running now so I can go pick up our lumber for the bridge.  The truck will make it easy and I can get it all in one load.  The truck needs an oil change also since I cannot remember the last time it was done, probably at least five years ago.  The other wheat truck no longer works so we want to keep this one running.  
I am on my own for a few days so I think I will spend some time out in the old house organizing.  This will have to be an evening job since I need to clean up the house for company we have coming on Friday.  Hopefully, we can keep it clean for the week after that as we will have more company that weekend.  Sarah was amazed that we could clean all day and still have more to do.  That is what happens when you play catch up.  
Ram pasture after mowing.  Hopefully, in two weeks it will be
a solid patch of green.  

Lots of catching up to do

Early Spring before everything died and it became evident that we have been over run
by cheat grass!

I have been busy and not keeping everyone abreast of the activity at our abode.  We put an add on Craigslist a month ago to get rid of our ram.  We had someone call yesterday and they came today and picked him up!  Not only that they wanted a ewe.  So we sold them the original Crazy ewe.  We had been talking about getting rid of her any way as she was teaching her babies to be just as crazy/scared as she was.  We sold #2 and #3 sheep for the year.  This is very nice.

I spent the day mowing weeds.  We rented a tractor with a mower on the back (last time as our tractor will be here in mid-August) for today.  I hit it early and started mowing at 7:00 am, didn’t finish until 5:30 pm.  I did stop for lunch and I spotted the people when they came to buy Oreo so I helped load the sheep.  I had to pick up both sheep and put them in the horse trailer.  They were not going in on their own.  There is an old sheep ramp over by the loading pen, but it looks like it needs new boards and maybe some welding done on it before it could be used.  Eventually, I am sure that will be put on the list of need to do projects.  Not yet, I have other things first.  The mowing made me realize how much cleaning up is left to do.  It was amazing the amount of things I kept running over!  When I mowed the old ram pasture it was like mowing a park, no stumps, rocks, old fencing stuff, more rocks, equipment or trash laying hidden in the tall weeds.  I will start making each area just as clean as the ram pasture.  I am going to start picking up the rocks and making a new pile.  I want to use some on the back hillside for landscaping so I have a use for them.

Sarah and I went out and got the chicken yard sprinklers working and hooked up.  We have them on a little manual  90 minute timer you just turn and it shuts the water off.  I hooked up their auto outside waterer also.  Just in case they get locked in the yard.  Since my new Chicken Butler is not here yet.

Saturday I finished the orchard fence.  I still have one gate to install but all the fencing is done.  One more check mark for the Summer list.  I will get it all done.  We moved the sheep and horses to the orchard pasture.  They seem to be getting along except occasionally the horses will harass the new babies.  They chase them around the orchard.  Momma does not like this at all.  The horses get tired of it eventually and give up.

Horses in the upper portion of the orchard, basically rocks with a
little dirt over them.  Dry year round, this is a good thing
since the rest of the orchard is self watering. 

I have not made any new progress on organizing the tool shed (old house).  Too much time spent fencing.  I still need to fence in the barn lot and rip out the old head feed panels for the cows (the sheep can just jump through them to get out of the barn lot.).  Annmarie’s father was feeding cows through the fence and I will need to take those out and repair that section.  I have not even started to repair the back half of the orchard fence.  I mowed next to the fence today and could see all the problems that need to be corrected.  I can get away with doing very little for now but by next year I am going to have to rework a large chunk of the existing fence.