Ah. the Joy of the Season. Time to get hammered.
What’s an old geezer to do when markets are closed, the kids are too busy, and there’s only so much idle chit-chat you can do on the 75-meter breakfast nets in the morning?
Why, you get a wild hare idea to build something. In the present instance, a “grow room” on the house that will be nearly air-tight so that in the event NSNW becomes a front-page phrase (as we expect in 2022) there will be room to grow a few veggies and sprout some seeds while remaining filled with gently pressurized filtered air…
Piling It On!
Four main ingredients to this build:
- Ground Screws – which we’ve talk about before here.
- A neat, fresh pile of lumber.
- 8-foot polycarbonate roof panels.
- And panel trim for mounting.
With a list of major ingredients, plus a good supply of construction screws, a jug of Penofin to play at protecting from the Texas summer sun, and a never-ending supply of coffee, we head for Lowes and Home Despots.
Pile of 2-by-4’s. 30 is a good get-started number, plus an armload of 4-by-4’s:
Then Home Despots for the polycarb roofing:
Here’s the get-started pile of panel trim, while we’re at it:
Actual Construction, Actually…
First thing is always a good set of plans. Highly detailed, precisely measured, materials spec’ed, snow and wind loads calculated, and for just 10% of the project cost a “wet signature.” Then a trip to the building department, an environmental impact statement, 2-years of hearings and then the Zoning Commission. Now you’re down to just the Homeowner’s Association….
OR you move to the still-free areas of Texas, pour a branchwater, and mess around with a drawing program to see how the idea might look:
(Ground) Screw It
Step one is to eyeball where the ground screws will go:
Step 2 is to toss up some a couple of 2-by’s to get an idea of how it will all lay out as you go:
Whee!~ Only a couple of hours into the project, too! Is this fun, or what?
Rinse and Repeat
Eventually it comes to something like this:
So now, we “arm-strong” the blocking on the ends into place, add purlins flush with the rafters (every two feet) in order to carry some load. Then on will go the plastic trim pieces and the clear over that.
Before adding the trim and plastic, though, a thorough dunking in the Penofin will keep the boards from looking “too white” because glare and us don’t get along, so well.
A couple of sacks of QuikCrete to double-mud the house joint, set a level but trimmed up concrete threshold under where a storm door will be placed, and then throw down 170 s/f of concrete pavers.
A half-dozen wood (also Penofin‘ed) for matching stand-up growing bins, and that leaves only the good-weather plumbing (PVC), addition of electrical power for the summer-time swamp cooler, adjustable air handling gates, and we’ll be almost done.
All that will remain at that point will be a couple of sacks of skim-coat to bug-proof the cementitious board joints and then paint anything that has too much “personality.” A refresh of the steps down from the music studio into the grow room and a couple of chairs and done will be done.
By New Years, I’m thinking.
Tool of the Week
On the January construction list?
- We will be coming to the end of “real construction” shortly. Which means a couple (or several) trips to the dump will be along. One of the things most people who own pickup trucks don’t have (and it really extends the use of a pickup) are sideboards for the bed. With these installed, you can almost effectively double carry capacity. So, these are on the dream board for hauling sterilized mushroom media (sterilize cow poo) which makes kick-ass garden media if you have a mushroom grower nearby…
- Then I want to re-do the decking (five-quarter, treated by 8) on the BBQ deck.
- To end this construction season, we still haven’t replaced that front deck. Elaine has had it in “plan review” for a couple of months now. She’s trying to figure out the best size. Too big and it won’t be used enough to warrant the cost and size (which we found out with the 20-by-20-foot deck). But, too small, and it won’t be useful for the odd hang a throw rug out to dry, or whatever.
These last two projects involve a lot of screwing (ahem…) and I hate knee pads for hours while putting in decking screws.
Behold the answer!
The long black-shank is a 36″ impact driver extension. Unfortunately, the one I got from Amazon has a round shaft, which is fine if you are using a drill. Read the fine print carefully.
The bulbous end is where a regular impact driver bit is inserted. Ends bending over to do deck work which means the job gets done faster, too. God, I love being lazy!
Winter is Coming
We ran into a really sweet weather window for this project. Daytime highs for East Texas will be in the low 70’s through the end of the year. January 2, though, Winter will arrive with a high of only 41 forecast and lows under freezing. Can’t be lucky all the time, I guess.
Still, January is when several other projects will come on line. For example, since we had some clearing done on the three farm this year, there are some piles of crap that need to be pushed up and burned. This time of year – and to the middle of April, or so, is the best time for controlled burning.
The idea is you want to manage your land this time of year when snakes are down, and such, so the younger trees coming up can get a good run toward the sun.
We have been using natural growth to reseed. A couple of years slower than buying a thousand seedlings and the labor to walk them in. But that’s another tale for another morning.
The general goal is that by February to May, the place will look like a state park with everything “limbed up” 12-feet from the ground. And have something like a “state park” look to it.
We’re also looking at maybe buying a “milker calf” or two (a dairy is 4- miles down the road) and putting in 10-acres of pasture. Not that we have delusions of becoming Cattle Baroon’s, but we are omnivores who’s carni aspects run to prime rib and grass-fed, corn-finished natural beef.
One of the local county workers has a nice spread – must be 100 acres, or so – has some of the best-looking long horns about. But at our age, “horny” is a sunsetting interest, which has sparked some interest in Brangus and especially Charolais. We’ll have to size up the world a bit more. Elaine had a love-hate with our goat herd. But’s she’d made the mistake of naming the animals. If we do this, I’m going to make her “pinkie swears” they will have numbers only.
Write when you get rich.