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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Wood Chopping Setup and Ivy Away a Trellis

I had a comment over on another blog about my wood chopping setup ( http://www.waldeneffect.org which is also a great blog) so I thought I would share since I think it is good. Chopping wood does not take as long as bending over to retrieve pieces you cut, replacing it on the block (or putting it into the wheelbarrow eventually) then bending over to get the next piece to start again…to minimize the bending here is what I do:

– 6lb maul (splitting axe, dull to split not dig in..as designed)
– a chopping block that is a couple inches higher than the wheelbarrow. I prefer mid thigh height…when swinging at a piece of wood i find when it is lower the arc of the head of the 6lb maul is coming towards you and if anything happens or you miss it goes (or is driven) towards your feet. Higher means the arc should be hitting more @ a 90 degree angle.
– the chopping block up next to a smaller woodpile(left in my case). In our case we have a pallet cross-stacked with wood.
– the wheelbarrow up next to the chopping block on the other side of the woodpile ( right in my case)

…so, I grab dry wood to be cut and stack it on top of the stack to the left (right in picture) of the block.. the wood goes on the block…

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And when I split it, the piece on the right falls into the wheelbarrow and the piece on the left has nowhere to go due to the wood stack and so it usually stays on the block.

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With this chunk the piece fell off the block once…which is much better than bending to pick it up everytime without this setup. Then when done simply reach over and grab another piece of the stack beside the chopping block and continue..without having to bend over. Where the wood falls is usually due to feet positioning during your swing.

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…and a sorrowful goodbye to our trellis ivy. It made a miraculous recovery last summer and grew like a banshee..but loki had her eye on it and finally got at it when we were not looking…booourns!

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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Gardening, todo

 

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A Snowy Morn

Just a snowy sunny morning..from last saturday actually. It was mostly warm all week (up to 13c) and rained so the snow is now all gone…nothing we love better then springtime muddy paw wiping (as the mutts come in) in the middle of winter..but it is hard to really complain about no snow. Once we have more of it I will stop taking pictures of it as a topic…then it becomes the backdrop for all our other boring shots outside! Hehe

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Construction

 

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Small Swimming Holes for Dogs

Beautiful cold crisp -19c day with not too much wind. It has been mostly cold this week so we decided to do a ‘lake loop’ around the edge of the lake (on the ice) we usually walk beside when we do our normal walking loop. image

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We trailblazed up beside the stillwater to our usual spot across from the old twisted tree on the far sade of the water. (Note the location on the ice at the tip of A*’s nose for later in the post). When we got up and onto the lake it was very solid but to be on the safe side we kept to within 8ft of the shore. It is a shallow lake but we would not want to break through. Another thing we noticed when we got on the ice was that something got onto the lake too about a km away and it stopped when it saw/heard us then crossed over the lake. Hard to see but when we got to the tracks it was a coyote without a doubt. The tracks picture below show the coyote slowing down and looking in the direction we were when we saw each other..and me without a high powered varmint gun.( I actually need to get one of those guns..and more importantly, the will to want to use one. I will just stick to the defence we have been using so far to scare coyotes(an anvil).groan.)

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And a lichen based bottomless heart maple tree.

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So we trekked around the lake. Loki especially had a good time. She proabably did 2 loops with all the running in the woods she did as we made the circle.

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When we finish the loop we are on the other side of a stream that flows into the stillwater. There are a couple of logs down to cross over the still flowing stream up at the lake. We cross then begin walking the 100 ft along the stream to our stillwater. Jango crosses but Loki was after a squirrel so she is on the other side…still chasing. She comes to the stream near us on the other side on the stream and walks along with us (on her side). There are plenty of places to cross the stream and it is 6 inches deep in many places (Jango strolls through it). Loki does not want to get her feet wet so we are encouraging her to cross..we don’t want to make a big deal of it..so we say ‘lets just walk away, she will cross, shes being a wimp’..we walk 5 stepsand her whining stops, we walk 5 more steps and turn expecting to see her crossing the brook..well she was trying to cross..she had run 25 feet down the brook and she was now 1/2 way out to the spot I mentioned earlier in the shot of A*. On ice about 2inches thick. I had enough time to yell ‘no, no, no Loki! This way!’ and as I made my way towards the stillwater A* yelled/sobbed in a voice I have never heard from her before..and Loki broke through 6 feet from the open area in the picture about 40ft from shore. Loki came with a safety vest for the water when we got her. The owner said they tried swimming with her and she sank..this was all I could think..(plus if she went under the ice in the hole she would be trapped). As I pass A* in a full sprint I throw her my phone as I prepare to enter the water and icebreak way to loki..and 5 ft before I get to the water Loki gets her front claws in semi solid ice..some more ice breaks but she manages to pull herself out and skampers to solid ground. 15 of the worst seconds of dog ownership I have ever had as I was running over those snow covered slippery boulders with terrible consequences spinning through my head…there is only 1 deep spot in the whole stillwater and this is where we were. Scary.

All my fault really but I think Loki’s speed is partially to blame. That situation went from normal to shit in 10 seconds flat. (Loki comes on command now and will sit on command at any distance so normally I would not worry about her getting into trouble..but making her sit on thin ice or calling her to come (with the open spot in the water between us) did not seem like viable options at the time..especially when the adrenalin kicked in and my fight or flight instinct was telling me to book a flight to Tahiti!)

Oh well. Alls well that ends well. Loki still would not cross the stream after the incident so I still needed to help her get to our side (she still did not want her feet wet even though drenched)..diva dog. Hopefully this all fills our ‘sheer terror’ quota for the year…but it did get me thinking that I should try ice fishing…I know the perfect candidate for the ‘hole creation’ position.

Sorry for no shots of the hole in the ice..but the only shots I was thinking of after loki’s ice-capades was jack daniels. My nerves!

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in dogs, trees, Wildlife

 

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Solar Sound System

Long ago in a house faraway we owned a massive component stereo..it was a Sony and consisted of a DVD player, tape player, cd player, VCR, reciever and massive speakers. I loved the stereo but it was a power hog..we knew if we wanted to go offgrid there would be no way to power it so around 4 years ago I bought this little 12v reciever. It had great reviews with professional sound quality but it was a power sipper…So, I got rid of all my space taking gear..and took my rear speakers and this reciever as my ‘pumping stereo’. For the last 3 years we have had it hooked up in a myriad of places but the bookshelf is where is is going to life forever..so instead of just hooking it up to a car battery ( which we kept on the window sill ) we wanted a long-term sound solution that did not cramp our window. The idea is to use a 12v (5w) panel to charge a battery which runs the stereo ( on the other side of the house ).

SO, without too much thought or preparation I started. A* was out for the day so it was a perfect time to start hacking the place up..and I started with a saw to the ceiling( yellow handle, the reciever is the silver thing(power and volume..complicated!!)):
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..not pretty but I wired the panel to go in through the vent. The battery is in the attic for the winter but when spring hits I am going ot have to change locations for everything cause it will be too hot and it will kill the battery life. Perched at the top of the ladder I had a tough time getting the panel attached to the side of the house..precarious( I nearly fell over backwards as I was screwing the panel in)..don’t worry though cause if I fell I had Jango and Loki below me to cushion my fall.
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I needed some strand wiring for the battery to the charge controller so I made some with some excess wiring from the shed.
Finish making the cables…
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Bring everything to the attic..attach the panel..I attached a 12v light to make sure I had a current to signal that everything was attached correctlyimage
..and it works(as well as the ‘charging’ indicator). Now to connect the stereo. I feed some 16g wiring into the ceiling hole..
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So, moving on I head back downstairs and connect the wire to the stereo. Turn on the stereo and turn on my iPod..this way once I connect it upstains (again) the music will start blaring.
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..reseal the hole for the cable…
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..I marked the + of the wiring with red tape, connect the wires to power the stereo..and ‘RIde of the Valkryes’ starts pumping out..SWEET!
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…and the working rig after cleanup. Now we can pump tunes whenever we want without fear or running out..a long term solution ( until the spring when it changes )..we also had some car speakers donated to us too..sometime in the near future I am going to set these up under the eaves of the house so we can have both inside and outside speakers which we will be able to turn on/off inside the house..we need louder music outside..especially for gatherings(coming 2014)!

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Construction, solar

 

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Into the closet…

..with flooring..and we had just enough flooring left to do the bathroom closet too..and without much hesitation today we did the closet floor. No more flooring of any kind!!!(..until we do more flooring but we have finally arrived after a long haul!)

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..yes, we may be done with flooring for now but I will still have mundane posts on exciting things like battery boxes and more baseboards..hold on to your seats!! hehe. We love the new flooring compared to the floor it was covering..the problem is we hate the new vinyl flooring compared to our wide plank flooring..ah well!!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Construction

 

Excess Flooring

Well, we had more flooring left..but not enough to do the kitchen area..so we did the kitchen area. As is with the washroom, we are going to be using ceramic-tile out here eventually but in the meantime we put down the excess flooring and use it all up..it did not reach all the way to the wall but heck..good enough for now! As was with the bathroom, we did not bother to remove everything and I would tilt up the (heavy) object and A* would slide and fit the flooring.image

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..and no, the fridge is still not hooked up!..we just like to keep our drinks in it anyway! Soon (within the year ) we hope that the kitchen is transformed into an actual kitchen instead of our reasonably hand-drawn facsimile.
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Those blue storage bins look AWESOME!!

SOrry for the crappy images..the easy solution to this is to only do work during the day when taking pictures is easier and done with higher quality and sharpness..but daylight working hours are at a premium in these parts so crappy night shots might be all you get! hehe

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Construction

 

Park and Drive

A little too much snow predicted for overnight so we parked out at the main gate where the actual road is to avoid getting stuck. Amazing that this is one of the first times we had to do it all season…it does not bode well for the rest of the season as we await the dropping of the other shoe. Hehe, truthfully we could have driven out in this, we got about 15cm. The red lights from the shot is A* starting the car in the distance as I pass the halfway point of the drieway.

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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in snow

 

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