Been spending too much “time in the chair” lately. There’s a lot to be said for personal time-logging. If you jot down precisely what you’re doing – four times an hour – you can quickly come up with a Brain-Hand balance number.
Yesterday, for example, was a 98% brain day. Only 2% body movement. Today, 2-hours of writing and a couple of comment approval windows later on. But, overall less than 3-hours out of….what…12-hours of action living time? Exclude Drinks, convo, meals, and a movie on zombie-vision account for another 2 to 4.
With luck, today will be a “75% Hands day.” I seem to run best when rolling 50-50, or thereabouts viewed weekly. Days like Saturday (ugly server issues, resolved, and the RSS feed should be back to normal now, too) will happen. 100% head work.
I think that’s why people (in a funny way) enjoy such things as minor natural disasters. If not overtly (because they can get back to their hands working, again), then because at a subconscious level, our inner selves know living “purely inside the head and making up shit” (like invent stupid mental nonsense like Judgy and Woke). The inner self will project a “balancer” into life on either side. See Allegory of the Cave again, if not following.
Ground Screws? Project Plans
Before I tell you the plan, let me lay out the problem for you.
There is a project which has been calling to me ever since I built the small recording studio onto the north end of our house. 10 by 20-feet.
It has been my plan – from Day One – to expand off this wall and turn it into a wild-animal-resistant lettuce garden. It’s why this part of the compound has never had a “finished” look to it. The wall behind the water barrels is the west wall of the studio:
Now, here’s how you use a good graphics program It will allow you to have something of a look at your project before investing a dime.
I use Corel Draw but you could use Inkscape or whatever. Simply import the graphic, lock its position. Then used the square and rectangle perspective handles to….oh, what should we do first? Put a roof over the space?
Doing this is a great planning tool. Because, as you can see, the gutter presently in place, will have to come off and be moved downhill to catch runoff from the revised extended roofline, which is great because that will be piped to an elevated *(back wall) water storage system.
Which means three 100-watt class solar panels will make the “lettuce room” and the medium swamp cooler, able to hold around 85F tops and here comes the Romaine for salads all summer instead of a few weeks…
Next Step in Project?
We continue working with Corel a bit (Home and Student, go ahead…)
The object here is to spot construction issues ahead of time and design unique, best of class, solutions.
Again, this is just import picture and lock. Add perspective to 4 rectangles, then apply transparencies to suit.
All of this (roof, sidewall, and we’ll see about the door) will be polycarbonate panels. Not particularly good R-values (very little), but if solar is driving air through (*cooled, at that) then heat retention isn’t much of an issue.
If I put in the small box stove (thinking about it) out there, then it is technically too big for the space. Even run low, it would likely benefit from having something besides water barrels being thermal mass…
Now comes this week’s Big Boy (Big Girl, Big Race, Big Gay, Big Nonbinary, and whoever I missed) Toy. Ground Screws. (Not the May 1st kind…)
Got into these while looking for a lazier alternative for the lettuce room foundation. Wow, are these cool!
Here’s the low-down on them: They look like a perfect answer for my construction project. because you can find them on the Zon along with TractorSupply. For now, I’m leaning towards a different brand which is galvanized. I don’t know why the Zon would have the powder-coated version, but we do galvanized.
Thing is, I could either a) do the foundation with ground screws, or b) hire a helper to run the concrete mixer and buy the (makes my head hurt) bags and bags of Quikcrete.
Versus 200 for the screws and way less work…
The small ground screws are in the $26-$50 range each. But hell, these would work great for a small house, too. The mind reels.
Point is, I’ll order up six of ’em and keep you in the loop as this latest creative fever works its way through the brain-fog. Galvanized. I don’t trust powder coast or the Easter Bunny, anymore…
Two mentions about sheet goods in the small home shop.
If you can, put the thinnest sheet goods between a couple of sheets of 3/4″ or other dimensionally stable sheets. Use one of your quick clamps at each end.
Some materials (like 1/4″ birch ply) bend all over hell-and-gone if not stored in a well supported plane. (Or boat, lol…) [rimshot]
Next trick is to have materials spaced off the floor. If you leave 4-feet (6′ is better) at one end, then when you need material for a project, you slide out the
victim plywood onto a conveniently (not put away) paint can… Engineered Laziness! By God, that’s a business model, ain’t it?
After this, it’s a simple matter of taking one of your battery-powered Skil or B&D saws and
whacking cutting-off what’s need.
Of course, now comes the squaring problem. (A “meet on the” hint?)
So the “hunk” (the wood, not me, lol) then goes to the table saws where it’s dimensionally precisionfied (z’at a word?). What’s this picture shows is a lesson of?
See it? Use a good aluminum drywall square. Because this is how you get the dead-to-nuts line on one side (free-handing on a table saw is NOT a recommended practice.
But 20 passes on the jointer would have too much tear-out. There are just some things are ugly processes. Over time (like 3/4 of a century, for instance), you can learn to “hear the motor pitch” and run a pretty straight line just on that. Because you adjust the feed-angle to keep the motor turning up as high as possible.
If the motor begins to drag down, your feed angle is wrong. About in here, you are getting the signal “Get ready to hold tight!” Because if you don’t the piece on the table saw can get away from you. Machines tell us their intensions. You just need to listen to what they’re telling you.
Elaine and I talk about this kind of thing all the time. Hard to convey that sometimes – and you don’t get many chances – if YOU’RE NOT TOTALLY IN CHARGE OF THE TOOL, go get someone who is. She’s getting there.
But you see a lot of people – especially those head-dwellers from Keyboard Purgatory – who want to namby-pamby a job. No! No! No! Be in charge or die, kiddies.
Ever wonder why people in “the trades” listen to country music? Because there are certain operations in any trade where you need to literally have a firm grip or lose it. Country music has a firmer grip than, oh, urban. Classical is an accident almost certainly. OK for boring glue-ups but nothing else. Mindless rock works. Golden Earing, Van Halen….uh…..
Can we always find a safer way? Sure, but we don’t have all year on some of these projects.
For liability sake, never free-hand on a table saw. And when you ignore this advise, get a grip at all times. No pointy edges towards you. A wide, flat surface is as good a “kickback” teacher and generally no hospital or aid buggy ride is necessary. It may make you “smart” a bit.
In the Shop Today
Been a busy week out here in the tall pines of East Texas. Leaves have just about finished coming off the trees between the house and the shop. 18″ deep in places, so as soon as breakfast is in, I’ll be mixing up gas and getting after those. That’s no way to be “poplar.”
One of those “single point of failure” items on the tractor came in from postal and storage, so the week ahead might see the antenna field re-leveled. Bush-hogging is fun. At least it was from youth to 55. Then something changed. Chair beatings, oh, you know, get old? 70’s roll a little dif. fo sho.
What broke? Came off. There is a castellated 1″ (14 tpi) flange nut (1-1/2″ socket) that holds on the stump-jumper plate and getting it was an unwelcome delay of game. Though, $23 for a single nut and cotter pin suggests Bitcoiner might consider hardware as an alternative bubble.
I generally don’t mow fields until the middle of January to first of February. Between now and then, the animals (*deer) need all the cover they can get. Since we have no hunting on the property, and my neighbors are one-a-year bowmen, our area has, over time, become a kind of safehouse zone. As soon as there’s the first hint of spring, season will be over and the trash-brush will be whacked. But, not before.
For now, no deer meat. But that $74 prime rib is coming up to room temp and should keep the wolf away from the door another day. Need to eat it to make room for the turkey to begin warming to us. It’s the time of year we “hot-sheet” the bottom shelf of the fridge. Previous to the prime rib, a large corned beef was the previous tenant. Haven’t signed up a new guest for when the turkey moves on, but I’ve been scanning the meat cases in town.
Aided by paying our property taxes this week. I won’t try to explain ag tax advantages to the silly-in-the-city, but let’s just say, with the .PDF’s of the cleared checks for the parcels, we have a second reason for “Thanksgiving!”
Ham Antenna Notes
When the north antenna field is done (and likely before – that’s what ADHD is all about, right? – I’ll use a drone to put a fishing line over an 85-foot pine. From the top of that one, another line to the 70-foot level of a different tree will provide an ideal installation site for the BuxCom OCFD.
Got the 3,000 watt version of it 5-years back and although I only ran it for a few months, it was a very good antenna. And that was next to the tower…
Been working on the “absolute/best/perfect” antenna and the OCFD modified into a kind of Windom with a radiating 22-foot section of vertical coax down from the antenna holds great promise. If that pans out super well, I will double size it for 160 meters.
Much focus in the research this week calculating impedances from 40-90 feet and figuring out which balun to use.
Huge fan of Nelson Antennas which makes a really good choke balun which will be those 22 feet down from the T-top. That area should radiate vertically but without the choke, the common mode is horrible.
As much as our SuperAntenna design has worked well, antennas are like sports cars. Yeah, I’ve gotten tired of Porsches. You may not be so lucky with airplanes, I keep thinking on that one…
And on the radio side, about the only antenna I haven’t put up yet is a cubical quad. So a 2-element Cubex and new rotator maybe for Year 73. Maybe in 2022. Depends on how the SpringWars go. More solar? More antenna farm? Can only spend it once…
For now, likely to order another pallet of panels. I’d like to be at the 10 kW of solar level before the world blows up. Likely to it all, since paper’s value is always dropping.
Write when you get rich,