As I’ve been working on more and more projects in my shop, I’ve become increasingly annoyed by the mess — not to mention the health hazards — caused by sawdust. It’s not like I’ve been letting machines just spew out dust willy nilly; I’ve been following the well-worn path of cheapniks everywhere by connecting a shop vacuum to my machines. But, shop vacuums really aren’t made for this purpose and it’s annoying (not to mention a tripping hazard) to move the vacuum to each machine as I work around the shop.
I guess you could say I had approached another one of those lines between adolescence and adulthood, like drinking amber liquids from cut-crystal glasses; hiring professional movers instead of begging friends for help; making beds after sleeping in them; preparing entire meals instead of opening a can of smoked oysters and a box of crackers. It was time, in other words, to be a man and install a central dust collection machine and permanent ductwork in my shop.
Continue reading “Duct, Duct, Goose”
Among the many reasons we moved out to the country — space, quiet, nature, workshop — perhaps the top consideration was plenty of space for a garden. Or, better yet, multiple gardens.
We got that, for sure, including lots of existing garden beds that were already well established. So over the summer we’ve been working to expand what was in place and create new space for veggies, flowers and more.
I’ve already written about our wildflower projects. Those meadows are well underway and beginning to pop with color. And I’ve also written about the greenhouse we put up last fall. But those are just the beginnings of our efforts.
Continue reading “En Garde(n)”
One of the reasons I haven’t written a ton about my work in the shop is that I haven’t actually been doing a ton in the shop. Instead, I’ve mostly been focused on outdoor projects this summer, including the creation of some wildflower meadows. It’s a project that actually started in April.
Continue reading “Among the Wildflowers”
A few months ago, I decided to make some outdoor games for when friends come over. I started with a simple oversized Jenga set using leftover 2x4s from the dog kennel demolition. And while folks do seem to love Jenga — especially when a falling tower has the potential to break a toe — I decided I needed to add a less destructive game to the mix. Cornhole to the rescue.
Continue reading “Cornhole in One”
The previous owner of our property ran a dog boarding business and as part of his setup, he built a nice fenced-in area behind the house. It’s a livestock-style wire fence with large wooden posts — some are eight inches in diameter — sunk deep into the ground. Since I’m not running a dog boarding business, I don’t really need (nor do I want) this fence. I’d rather open things up to give the property a more free-flowing feel. But how do I go about pulling these posts, each of which may weigh 50 pounds or more and are sunk three to four feet into the ground? Physics to the rescue.
Continue reading “Pulling Posts (Fence, not Blog)”
As I’ve written about in recent posts, I’ve been doing some work in our living room and on the fireplace in particular. Re-painting it and re-crafting the mantle were two projects from this spring. Both projects turned out well, but something was missing. The room just wasn’t “finished.” What it needed was some crown molding to give it that final flourish.
Continue reading “Crown Molding: Adventures in Angles”
As previously described, I’m incredibly lucky to have a large shop on our property in the form of a four-bay garage. However, being a four-bay garage, it sits as a rather large and imposing structure at the top of our driveway. It’s not exactly inviting.
In an attempt to rectify this, I decided what was needed were some wooden planters filled with colorful flowers. This would soften the brown and brick façade and also give me a relatively quick and easy weekend project to work on.
Continue reading “Softening the Hardscape”
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been busy working on a wide variety of projects, including rebuilding small engine carburetors, taking down fencing, building garden plots, creating a wildflower field, replacing a well pump, and minor auto repairs, among other things.
It’s one of the “other things” I’m writing about today: building and hanging birdhouses. A dozen of them, actually, from small chickadee abodes to huge owl boxes. They’re fun to build, relatively easy, relatively cheap and provide joy for years. Building them is the easy part. The hard part is mounting them high enough on trees. But that’s nothing a little cleverness can’t solve.
Continue reading “For the Bird(houses)”
A few weeks ago, I decided to update the appearance of our fireplace with whitewash. The results were great, but the change highlighted how deficient our mantle was. So on a recent Sunday, I decided to tackle the mantle and give the fireplace a proper finished look.
Continue reading “Fireplace Finishing Touches: Mantle Edition”
One of the few improvements we made to our house after moving in was to replace the roof and to install a solar array. I love the environmental aspect of solar, as well as the prospect of cheaper electricity, but perhaps the coolest aspect of the solar system is the ability to monitor its energy production through an app or website. And, as I later learned, it could also tell me how much energy I was consuming. Unfortunately, getting that information proved tricker than I thought.
Continue reading “The Power of the Electric Meter”