We have really noticed the days getting shorter. Soon the rains will start, marking the beginning of another puzzle season.
We have decided to try our hand at winter gardening. Nothing too ambitious. This fall it will be just some garlic. Garlic is a very popular crop around here and there are a couple of farms growing it commercially. In fact the garlic grown here is considered by many to be quite superior.
Since the summer garden is still in the ground I decided to build a new bed for this. Closer to the house and lower to the ground. COVID has driven prices up on many materials, wood and soil bing two significantly impacted items.
To make space the haskap experiment is coming to an end. They plants were not thriving or fruiting. Kelly was ready to pull the pin last summer. I convinced her to give them one more summer. That summer is now over – out they come and in goes the new winter bed.
The last two weeks have been the nicest (aka hottest) days we have had all year. It’s like summer is a month behind schedule. Better late than never.
We have been using the time to catch up on some of our outdoor projects. Specifically I have been prepping and restaining our deck and Muriel’s decks. That’s about 7 days of work. Bleh.
The hot weather is also causing a lot of watering need. Lots of new planting this summer that require frequent watering as their roots are still establishing. I have about given up on the native mock oranges though. This is their third year and they just refuse to establish and grow.
On the ‘not chores’ side I finally insulated and IR coated the forge! Big yay there. I need to weld a bit of pipe to act as a burner mount and it’s ready to light. Can’t wait.
Probably need to go back to work for a few days soon. Both vehicles need some work. Bills bills bills.
Four years ago we planted our first fruit tree. It was a little twig of a dolgo crab apple. Since then we have planted three pear, a plum, seven Saskatoon, four apple, two blue berry, four haskaps, two peach, three cherry, a huckleberry, and a nectarine.
All of these have been small. The apples were just whips. The berries are maybe six inches tall. Some of these have fruited including the pears, the blueberries , and one of the cherry. Not enough to harvest yet. The robins got the cherries and the raccoons got the pears. We did manage to eat the blueberries, all four of them.
We had not had a crab apple tree in thirteen years when we moved here and really missed making jelly. We were able to get some periodically from people we knew but once we moved we needed a new source.
It has been a long wait. First year no apples. Second year five, third year perhaps twenty. This year finally enough to harvest. It is the first real fruit harvest from any of the plants.
There are four pears waiting to be picked too. Maybe I can beat the raccoons this year.
We were planning a day out last week and while I waited for my wife to get ready I decided to sweep off the deck. The fir bud covers have been raining down from the trees for a few days now and the deck is absolutely covered in them.
It was probably a good thing I did, because I noticed some sawdust. Now I know I haven’t been doing any work, so who was?
Dang. Sure enough several small round holes in a deck post. I guess it is now my turn to do some carpentry.
Tearing off all the cedar cladding I find what I am now expecting. Something has decided to use my house as their’s. Not sure what it was, as there were no visible critters still there. Ants or beetles most likely.
Unfortunately they did manage to chew up about 20% of the base of the post. I figured the best solution was to replace the entire thing.
It’s complete now. Used pressure treated 2×6’s instead of the spruce that was there. Also added some water proofing membrane to the beam and the first foot of the post, then 18” of tin flashing, then building papered the rest of the post, Overkill probably but it shouldn’t get wet.
I suppose this it the trade off to living here. It has nicer winters than the prairies but back there no one ever tried to eat my house!
Physical distancing remains the order of the day. We’ve been spending a little time in the yard. Planted the parts of the garden I could. Seeds only, too soon for tomatoes plants. Cleaned the gutters. Washed the truck. Cleaned up the shed a bit.
The priority project at home was a ramp for the dog. She is 15 years old this week and is starting to have a lot of problems with stairs. Some days she has a hard time just standing up. The next day she’s good for a two mile walk. Regardless, it’s getting worse and she fell down the stairs the other day and was on the limp, so something needed to be done.
A little longer than originally planned. I had to pull off a set of steps to build this. The local courier delivery guy uses these steps a lot since they are closer to the road. I figured I had better build them assuming a person would use them, not just the dog. So…wider and shallower.
There is a common thread to many people’s reaction to self isolation during the pandemic. They have the greatest intention to accomplish all the things they have been putting off for so long. I am no exception. Well, as far as the intent goes anyway.
I have had a moderately productive week. Planted the garden. Pulled four truck loads of fallen trees and branches out of the forest to start a chipping pile. Wait, did I just transmogrify a task? Cleaning up from wind storms into future mulch making?
I also FINALLY managed to get back into the shop and resume the shelving project. In fact, I finished it!
Doesn’t really look like a lot of work does it? Poor things sat in that cold shop most of the winter because I didn’t want to leave the heat on overnight. Electric heat here is flipping expensive, and the doors to the shop are pretty poorly sealed. Two coats of stain and five coats of lacquer takes a long time when you only do it when the weather is warm enough overnight.
Pretty happy with the result. I have three extra shelves I can add to the stack or use in another location. Need to buy more stainless round bar first. I knew I should have bought that extra piece.
Well the sort of cleaned up shop did not last long. I currently have six different projects on the go with their various parts and pieces laying about, to say nothing about the sawdust and scrap wood and miscellaneous tools I have not put away yet.
Anyway, look at the shiny things!
I can darn near shave using them. These are the shelves for the Cadovius unit. The ebony stain looks great. Not perfect but definitely suitable. Still humming and hawing about the finish for the mounting rails. We have done six different stains and an unstained-just-varnished test. Leaning to the unstained maple you see above.
I made a concerted effort to get to the shop the last two weeks. A day here. A couple hours there. I even used it for some client work yesterday. Bonus!
Still playing Tetris with the landlords belongings but there has been some progress on that front. In fact the other day I removed the last box off of the floor. That may not sound like a big thing, but trust me it was.
When I first stepped into the building last spring you could barely walk around. Between unfinished projects, off season storage and general “I don’t use it but don’t want to throw it out” stuff, it was packed. As much as I appreciated the offer to use the space I was quite concerned about whether it was actually usable.
Everything along the far two walls is theirs. Behind me as I took this picture is a desk and two bikes that also are in here. If this is how it remains I can very happily use the shop. The kayaks will either go out of the shop or I’ll build a storage solution up on the wall somewhere. For now they remain as they are an actual work in progress. I finished rebuilding the coaming on the close one. Next step is sanding and then some fibreglass work and finishing. The far one has some bad veneer delamination to deal with.
I made some progress on a couple of my own projects too. I spent an hour or two tuning up the table saw with a new blade, reset the blade parallel to the mitre slots, and re-levelled the wings. While I was at it I put a new blade in the mitre saw. Both saws still had the factory blade in them. With the table saw freshly tweaked I cut the piece for the cadovius inspired wall shelves, along with a spare piece for stain / finish testing.
The workbench has been on hiatus for the last month but I did drop off material for the legs this week. I have a couple hours of work finishing up some deck stairs to someone tomorrow. Maybe after that I can sneak over and start the legs.
Unless Paul finds me. Paul wants a generator shed.
Well the staples in the bench top were actually easier to remove than I feared and did not leave a big bunch of holes. Planing the top down has been an interesting experience. I have not used my planes too much prior to this project, Most are recently restored from garage sale finds. Definitely notice the difference a freshly and properly sharpened iron makes.
Only made it to the shop one day this week. Planned to work on the bench and the kayaks but instead I got completely frustrated by the clutter and spent most of my time rearranging.
The problem is the shop is still used by the landlord for storage as well. 90% of the stuff in this picture is not mine. The plugins on the far wall are suspect. I think squirrels have had at the wiring in the attic. I have shut them off at the breaker panel and decided since the outlets are useless I would use that wall as storage for their stuff. It is his tools and supplies and wood scraps.
I won’t be back to do more for a few days. The rest of the week I have to split and deliver firewood. I bumped into a fellow at the ferry lineup looking for wood and he has agreed to buy all of mine. It will be nice to have it gone, takes up way too much space in the shelter. I have no power splitter so it will be a long couple days with a maul.
Company is coming so I am taking a couple weeks off.
Actually I have been knocking off honey-do list items list like nobody’s business. • Finish placing mulch around trees • Spread out remaining topsoil • Clean off and store tarps • Clean truck • Build new shelves in office • Clean out closets • Install hangers for brooms, etc • Cut the lawn
I even managed to get over to the shop to work a bit on the bench. Tomorrow will be the usual last minute stuff, general house cleaning and maybe groceries. Company arrives in two days.
Speaking of the bench, I had a nasty surprise planing the top.
Yes, staples! I’m glad it was my scrub plane that found them. Not that a scrub plane iron is any easier to remove nicks from. Not sure the best way to removed these now with it having to carve a big hole. Ponder ponder…