Office is as good as done!

This was a very productive weekend! The office took up half of the weekend, not the exciting half but definitively the productive half. I spent a couple of hours on Friday pouring over the instructions on where to attach the door hangars. They only needed to give one measurement, the distance from the top of the door to the bottom of the wheel. No where in the entire instructions, which I kept from last time, did they bother to give that distance. They gave some other random distances and spots on the door that were wrong but not the one I needed. I ended up getting a couple of clamps, cutting two small pieces of wood to the hanger and trying to get it to fit onto the track. I managed to find the correct height, then I measured the door from the floor, subtracted the gap at the bottom and the gap at the top and came up with a door build height. I rough cut the 16 foot board at 82” on one side so I could get them out of the old house alone. It took two of us to thread those 16’ boards into the cramped space. I stacked the boards in bunches of five then cut off both ends at the same time so the boards all matched. Mr Professional came out and we set up a workspace out in the yard. I was initially opposed but after assembling two doors next to the saw in the sunshine, it was nice.

I had come up with the design of using the 2” wood for the X but I had a star pattern drawn out on a piece of cardboard and before I could stop him Mr Professional had ignored my pattern and we went with the hollow X. The next day we tried my pattern but I realized that I would have to cut every single piece in half and I was afraid it would cut down the structural strength of the door. We made it out of tongue and groove that we also used on the walls. We glued them then used pipe clamps to squeeze them together and then screwed on the cross pieces and hung them up on the wall to dry. I think I could have perfected my X cross pattern if we had made a third door. They are not exact but you have to pay attention to notice the difference. This was done on purpose. The direction of the long X pieces on both doors was deliberate. Ideally the screws would all line up but we had to miss knots in the wood and this is not a factory thing, it’s supposed to mimic a barn door and most people don’t measure out placement for screws on a barn door. I just need to rub on the finish for both doors. It will only take an hour but today there was no time.

We needed to get the Glowforge laser engraver all set up. I had purchased duct work to vent it out the side of the room but I failed to account for the actual width of the laser. I ended up running to town and getting metal dryer vent solid ducting and a clamp on connector. We then just drilled a hole right out the back of the laser through the wall and mounted the actual fan outside the building. This means we had to make a shelf outside and we will have to build an enclosure around it and put on a slanted roof over it to shed water from the corner drain off the roof. To get the fan controller through the wall I unwired the controller from the fan allowing us to drill a small hole and use a piece of copper wire to pull it through. This then meant there was no power for the fan outside the house. So I had to kill the power, get into an outlet box and drill out the back of the box to outside and wire in jumper power to a new outside box. This was done and we were able to verify that the fan does work. We added a screen to the inside of the vent so that birds could not fly up the vent. I need to get a waterproof cover that allows the plug to stay plugged in.

We had purchased a sheet of cork 2×3’ long to put behind the Victrola wooden screen we removed from the front of the Victrola. It turned out pretty nice other than I mounted it on the wrong side of the desk. I hung up the office clock after I ensured it was going in the desired spot. The only thing left now is to finish the insulation in the attic, install the attic vent fan, getting freezer room floor installed and then completing the wiring in the second room. Luckily, the only thing left that the wife can see is rubbing on the oil finish on the door, a mere 1.5 hours of labor.

Office finish work closing in on done

This is the part of the project that I don’t really enjoy, I don’t really care for the finish work. I realize that the product needs to get finished to look great but I still think it takes too long. Mr Professional came out on Saturday and Sunday and we worked on the office. Both windows got the router treatment courtesy of a new portable DeWalt router. Mr Professional got the casing and trim installed after a couple more tubes of caulk were applied. We are really attempting to seal the room up so that there are no bugs! The sound is already pretty blunted. It is amazing how quite the room is when you are inside with the doors shut. I spent most of Saturday working on getting the backlit inset frame sealed up and the trim installed so that it would hold the stained glass window we got from a thrift store. I used hinges and parts left over from various projects.

We got the router shelf installed. The fiber optic company came out during the week and installed new cable to the office. I ordered new cables for inside the house that will keep the cable near the wall. We will get the finish trim for that corner installed after the new cable arrives.

I spent Sunday cleaning the office floor as the front door blew open and the muddy puppy went into the room and enjoyed her self immensely. There was quite a bit of mud to get up off of the floor and couch. I do need to get two more door bumper plates to use as a shim.

We have the double barn door hardware installed on the wall. It still needs to be tightened up but it is in place. This did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. We only had to redrill one hole. Our mistake was covered up by one of the pieces.

Annmarie’s new desk was assembled along with her new chair. I spent most of Sunday wiping Tried and True on the molding and then wiping it off. It is just not a fast process. We got the two tables leveled and ready for the laser cutter and 3D plastic extruder printer. The real gem was getting the inset stained glass window completed. I am now really happy that I took the time to build this into the wall, no matter how much extra time it cost me.

The big things left are to finish the insulation install in the attic, to seal up the door going into the next room, installing the laser ventilation fan and to get the barn doors made and installed. I also need to pour epoxy into two cracks in the floor to fill them up. I am hoping I can get it all done in three more days!

Lambs have begun!

I am unsure what I did this last Friday. I know I was outside quite a bit, I did clean off the front porch like the wife wanted. I picked up trash around the farm and ended up working on the front gate latch. A board had to be added to the gate to get the latch in the right spot. It is still not quite in the right spot but it is working better than the piece of rope. So we are going to see how it does. It does look better than the piece of striped rope! We also cleaned out the old house, two more huge bags of trash out to the trash can full of construction debris. I managed to even do some cleanup around the machine shed. I remembered, we had to change a tire on the flat trailer and go pickup more wood for the office. We got the boards to build two slider doors and the wood for all of the trim work around the inside of the office. We had to unload it back into the old house as it was supposed to snow the next day. I did change the supplemental feed for the ewes from a molasses mix to alfalfa pellets. The pellets have a couple of percentage points more protein. The trouble with this is the sheep LOVE their molasses crack. They are not very impressed with the alfalfa. So I have had to mix in some crack in with the alfalfa pellets to get them interested in them. It is working. I had to take a dead ewe out to the bone yard.

Saturday was better organized as I wanted to really get the office floor done. I did not expect to finish it but if it is going to get done I need to make progress on it every day. I have PTO coming up next week and want to get the floor done. I would even like to get the walls done but with dry times for the floor I don’t see that really happening. Unless I can get the floor sanded and cleaned up in the first three to four days I have to wait 24 hours between coats of stain and polyurethane. I really need three coats of polyurethane so that eats up all the time needed to rub walls down with the wax/oil sealant I have purchased for them. It will take me a couple of days to get the walls rubbed down and then after the walls are done I can cut trim, rub it down and then install it. Once all of that is done I can get the office set up then I can work on making the two sliding doors. They will be the very last thing I do.

It did not take long to use up all the sand paper I had on hand. So I went to town to buy more and Mr Professional cut insulation for the attic. He had brought out a 21” sander and I had a 18” sander so I decided to buy sandpaper for both sizes. I went to two different stores and bought all of the course paper they had in both sizes and ended up picking up some kind of paint wheel that attaches to a drill. I was sure we would run out of paper and would not be able to remove any paint. The little device did work but the 21” sandpaper on a higher horse power rotary belt sander did a much better job of tearing up the old paint. We made great progress and I think we can get the last of the paint off in one day.

Sunday was not going to be another office day. I went out to open the barn doors and discovered that there was a screamer lamb in the midst of all the ewes. This always makes it hard to figure out who is going to claim said loud mouth. I got the ewes to leave the barn fairly slow and then there was only a lamb standing there hollering and a ewe at the far end of the barn. I walked down there and sure enough she had a twin all curled up sleeping in the straw quietly. So this meant putting up panels at the far end of the barn to create five creches. We then hung feeders, filled up buckets with water and alfalfa pellets. Now the barn is ready for Monday morning when Annmarie comes out to let the sheep out of the barn.

We needed to sort off nine sheep to get five loaded up for transport to the butcher on Sunday evening. The other four will go on Friday. Of course the animal trailer has a flat tire also. I cannot seem to find my cheap little 12V tire pump. So that meant getting the back of the pickup cleaned out so we can slip in the animal pen. Of course we used the tractor, it was easier but the animal pen needs some welding repairs and we had to keep it together with strategically placed straps. We did get it in and strapped down after cleaning out the pickup and tossing the stuff in trash, a little in machine shop and the rest on the burn pile. The next problem is to get the sheep to run up into the back of the pickup so we do not have to lift them up into the pickup like last time. There is a very old ramp on wheels that is bent and beaten up. We tried to straighten it out but got stopped by a very thick piece of angle iron. It was going to take way more time to straighten it out and fix it then I was was willing to invest. So after looking at the corral I decided that we could make a ramp! So three 2×4 and a bunch of scrap wood and screws later we had a 8.5’ ramp. We used a iron T-post to rest the ramp on and had to use a couple of pallets to keep the sheep from squirting out the sides. Next time we are just going to remove the tailgate from the pickup and we will be able to just back right up to the ramp. The only thing I need to do is to add a few more boards up the sides to block the view over the sides from the sheep. They could have just jumped off the ramp right over the sides of the corral while loading up if they had so desired.

I used the puppy on a 30’ lead line to herd the sheep. This was fairly productive, but there is no way the puppy can be let off lead and in with the sheep. Once we had the sheep in the corral I left the puppy in the yard. She kept sticking her head into the corral and trying to crawl into it with the sheep. I finally had to lock her in the back yard. She ran back and forth along the fence caterwauling because I would not let her at the sheep. She seemed quite determined, this is a good quality in a sheep dog!

I have been scraping the honeycomb and honey into a sieve trying to get the honey out. I did not want to set up the frame extractor for one frame only. This way is slow but I am getting honey!

Office floor closing in kinda

Well, there is hope and maybe even a light at the end of the tunnel. I am now working on the office floor. Mr Professional came out and I finished wiring all of the outlets in the office while he started cleaning up. We took out two huge 50 gallon trash bags full of trash that had accumulated while doing this job. I started wiring the outlets in the other part of the house also. The freezer room needs to get done next so we can move the freezers which will create a space for the tool box and cabinets that are currently in my future room. Once we empty out my room then we can tear off two walls and get the walls insulated. I need to lift the outer wall up by one inch before we can install the inner door, and I need to widen the door opening both ways by two inches, all minor things! I was not able to get to the main light. I maybe could have fixed it but Annmarie already ordered a new one so I will wait until it shows up and then get some help installing it so there is no using the wires as hangers while installing it. We still have to finish the insulation in the attic. I did get the trim boards ordered and will need to pick those up in the next week or so. We got the entire office emptied so I could start in on the floor.

I was hoping the floor would go smoother than I remembered the upstairs floor in our house that I did twelve years ago. Nope, it was just as miserable as I remembered. I tried the palm sander first with 40 grit paper. The first picture is two hours with the palm sander. The second picture is two more hours with the belt sander. The best luck I had was the combination of the two. I could tear into it with the belt sander and then when it was about 75% done use the palm sander. This combination seemed to be the fastest with getting the old paint off. I had to use a mask and eye protection and the dang eye protection kept fogging up! The area in front of the main entrance is the worst, it has multiple coats of paint and they do not want to come off. I wait until the sandpaper is just about used up then I hit this area and clog up the sand paper with paint. I suspect just getting the floor sanded is going to take me at least 40-60 hours. The boards appear to be tilted slightly. The sanders are peeling off the left edge of every board first. I am unsure how this happened but the sanders will solve this problem. I will use the stain we already have and just wipe it on and quickly off. We want the color to stay lighter than we have inside the house. After it is stained I will use some polyurethane over the top to seal everything.

I almost threw out my chicken scratch drawing with all the stud measurements on the equipment room. I need to drill a 6” hole through the wall to vent the laser cutter but I wanted to miss all of the studs so I made a diagram before I sheeted the wall. Mr Professional tossed it in the trash after I said it all goes. Luckily, by the end of the day I remembered and we were able to dig it out of the trash. It is now in a window sill safe until the next cleanup.

Our back creek is running. We have had enough moisture that it is up and going. The chickens appreciate this as their coop is near it and they don’t have to go to the front spring to get a drink. Speaking of chickens I am still getting my one egg a day. Today I was able to collect two eggs! This does not let us sale any eggs, we are consuming what we produce. We were going to get three new heifers delivered but there is a wind advisory in place so they will be delivered at a separate time. We are going to thin out our oldest cows, they are 13 years old. I am loving the large bales when it comes to feeding the cows. I just grab a bale with the tractor, feed it and I am done. I don’t have to feed 16 small bales every day. I think I am going to bale our grass hay and sell it so I can get big bales for the cows. Still looking into this whole process.


Crazy winters seem to be the new normal. We had the temperature in single digits and this week we got a warm chinook wind that hurdled in and pounded us. The wind gusts got over 50 mph and ended up blowing branches out of trees, blowing the she shed over and the bee hive got blown over! The stuff on the front porch also piled up in front of the door and I could not get out one morning.

Annmarie went out to see if the bees survived. They were all still alive but very mad. She had to put the two halves on separate boards and let them sit for 24 hours then went back out to put the hive back together. The sugar water we had given them had crystallized so she diluted it out a bit and put the feeder back on top. I strapped them all together and added a second strap. So now the hive is attached to the fence at three spots and should not blow over again. I think I can fix this in the spring by pounding in three pecker poles around the hive so it cannot blow over. I need to leave about two inches clearance on each side and make space for a second hive to be installed. She ended up getting stung three times over the course of 24 hours getting them upright and fed even with bee suit on.

The she shed will need to be moved and attached to the old clothesline pole. I need to bring over some more gravel and then attach it to the crossbar.

We have been getting virtually no eggs, I collect one egg a day if we are lucky. There are no more raccoons but there is a possum wandering around. The light keeps going out in their coop and that will make a difference. I have fixed the light twice this winter already and on Friday I spotted what I think is the main culprit for stealing the eggs. One of our outside cats was coming out of the nest box when I went in to put away the new feed bags. I think she is the egg thief! So I will go back to collecting eggs every day and I will get rid of the old rooster and let the young one take over. This will hopefully bring the two different groups together.

Friday I managed to get out to the new office and got Mr Professional came out. We crawled up into the attic and started to install insulation. We used all that I had and we still need a single bat to finish it up. It’s about 3/4 complete now. He worked on finishing the wall while I worked on getting the door secured some more and getting the door handle and deadbolt installed. Once I had the handle on the door I moved on to wiring in the overhead lights. I am still on the first light and have never installed trac lighting before. I recognize the need for the trac to be parallel to the wall. We will see how it turns out but some light would be nice.