Hard Times

Another chance to try something new this week. I worked on a dry stack sandstone wall which surrounds a pond. The homeowner was a bit particular about the look so we did a lot of rock splitting to get a tighter looking wall.

Splitting rock this way involves drilling a series of holes along the line you want to split the rock in, then tapping pins into the holes. The feathers are metal shims places on either side of the pin. As the pin is driven down between the two feathers the rock eventually fails, hopefully along the line of the holes.

It reminds me of old stereotypes of convicts breaking rocks…

Honey do

With the nicer weather we are finally getting a little work done in the yard. Not that we can’t work in the rain. I just don’t want to.

First was to deal with the goofy soil available here. If you grew up in farming country it is not what you would call dirt. Very light weight with lots of compost in it. Maybe I should call it compostable material, because it has a way to go before I would compare it to the product coming out of my composter. The result is that the soil tends to disappear. Our garden beds probably sunk 8″ over that past two years. So, a couple yards of dirt to top up the beds so we can plant.

I also finally planted the apple trees we purchased a few weeks ago. These will fill up the orchard space and will likely be the last fruit trees we plant. Apples, crab apples, pears, peaches, cherries, sour cherries, haskaps, Saskatoon berry, and hazelnuts. Good list. Hopefully I get some produce this year instead of losing it to the raccoons.

Next up was to finish burying the bricks I bought to line the driveway by the lawn. I laid the first one 18 months ago. That’s embarrassing.

Of course you cannot only remove items from the list, you must also add new items. In this case we added a big one. Last month we scored several 8’x3′ double glazed glass panels and an assortment of single pane safety glass pieces for a ridiculously cheap price. They are currently stored behind the shed waiting to become a greenhouse. I hope to get onto this job in the summer. Seems like a good job to do during the summer shutdown when the fire department says no more using machinery.

Mike makes it to the island

Michael wasn’t able to make it here past time Tami came so they kids did a quick trip out during Easter break. The weather sort of cooperated but it sure could have been warmer.

May seems to be patio month.

With the weather getting nicer people are retiring to the great outdoors. For some the first thing they notice is the uneven ground they walk on as soon as the get out the door.

I finished two projects this week. First, new flag stone patio for Marshall. This is the same place we built the rock wall flower bed last year.

Work in progress

Very interesting stone here. It is chock full of mica and quartz so it is very sparkly in the sun. Does NOT behave though, had to use a saw to cut some pieces as they simply would not break clean.

Second project is re-levelling a patio stone sidewalk. This is an assumed job, as in I assumed it from someone else who disappeared part way through. I can guess why. The patio he laid on the other side of the house looks like a rollercoaster.

Pick’em up, fix the grade, and set’em down. Repeat all day long.

Shade tree fabricating

A buddy of mine just got a new”-ish” truck for his business and wanted to do some mods to it. First he wanted to swap his dump box from the old truck to the new one and refurbish the box. Over the years of dropping rocks into the box the floor was pretty much trashed.

Second, since the new truck is a cab over design the bed frame is quite a bit longer. He decided to use the extra frame to add a toolbox/mini excavator deck.

After a couple days in his yard we got pretty close to done.

Shop time

I managed to get over to the shop a couple times this week. There is a lot of work to do before the space is actually useable. It has not been used for several years except for off season storage and as a location for used items to be placed and forgotten about.

First thing I thought I would do would be to fix up the shelving that was already there. Simple plywood shelves fastened to the wall. Once I removed all the stuff that was on it and was able to get a better look at them, it quickly became apparent that the whole thing would need to be rebuild.

After a second, unplanned trip to the lumber store to get more wood and a couple new driver bits I tore the old shelving down. Once I got to the last shelf I made a discovery. Two discoveries actually.

The first I was expecting; a mouse nest. This is one of the problems I have to address with this space. There are a few places I need to plug up where nature comes to visit. This includes the attic which the landlord says is probably full of squirrels.

The second discovery made me laugh. I’m not sure if they belong to the owner or their kids. The issues are 24 years old, so could easily be either.

Out and About

The local chat group has been talking about the sea lions hanging out at one of the local points for the past few days. There are always sea lions around but not usually at this location. As a bonus this spot is a lot more accessible than some of the usual viewing places.

We also did a quick trip to town to get supplies for planting our starter seeds for the garden. Funny I never noticed the Dr Seuss tree beside the parking lot before

Winter starts on the cusp of spring

Today is the first day we have had any accumulation of snow. Certainly not a lot, we had much more last year. Not a lot by other area’s standards either. But considering that we don’t see any that lasts more than 15 minutes on the ground some years it is always a nice thing to see.

Trading spaces

I started a new project this week. I was asked by a lady to finish a repair to a home made kayak her husband started and was unable to finish before he fell ill.

He made two of these kayaks from plans in a 1986 Wooden Boat magazine article. They are made from door skin mahogany plywood. You can still find lots of these projects on the internet, usually titled as a skin on frame boat.

plywood kayak

The task at hand is to replace the coaming. After that I think they both could use refinishing.

The deal is I get to use the workshop whenever I would like to in exchange for some handyman work and paying the hydro bill for the shop. Nice trade!