Tag Archives: Lewis projects

Hummingbird Birdbath Clean!

With the combination of the occasional rain followed by really hot temperatures, our hummingbird birdbath water decoration became overrun with algae within a few days’ time. It was really awful, so yesterday I took everything out, scrubbed and hosed out the bin, the bricks that sit on the bottom of it, and all the rest of the stuff. I took a tool we made and unclogged the holes in the PVC pipe that runs the length of the bin, providing the spray. I brought a lot of stuff inside and scrubbed it in the kitchen sink with a variety of things that finally got everything looking pretty good again.

Then I felt under the weather most of the day, so I didn’t put the things back out. I did that a few minutes ago. I had to clean out the PVC holes again, but everything else looked much better.

We have a trash can on the deck under the bin and a pump in the bottom of it. This recycles the water. We have a garden hose hooked up to the pump. When the water goes below a certain level, the pump allows the hose to fill the trash can to the proper level again.

 

We made this because I saw a really pretty design on Facebook. Of course, we couldn’t really replicate that, so we did the best we could with what we had. Ours is deeper than the one on Facebook, so I put bricks and rocks in the bin for the hummingbirds to sit on while they bathe.

 

Last year we didn’t see any takers, but we’re again hopeful that the birds will find this cooling and fun. Even if they don’t, the water makes a beautiful, relaxing sound that WE can enjoy when our doors are open or we’re sitting on the deck.  I’m happy that everything is clean now and invite all birds in the area to come and take a bath!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

Ammo and Clothes Washer Pump

We order lots of things online, but we don’t usually get such an interesting combination in one delivery. Today the Fedex guy delivered 9mm ammunition and a replacement pump for our clothes washer.  Amber greeted him in the driveway having just gotten out of her pool. She jumped into the truck with him, making him laugh, even though she was dripping copiously.

We got a really good deal on 1000 rounds of 9mm ammo.

 

We didn’t get a great deal on the replacement clothes washer pump, but we needed it. Our washer has been sending us terse messages for the past couple of weeks saying it was unhappy. We got an “F02” which meant we should check the drain hose to see if were kinked or clogged, and a “SUD” which indicated that there were still suds in the rinse water.

We made sure the hose was fine. I figured out how to go ahead and use the washer, bypassing the error messages until the new pump arrived. It was delivered this morning, so when we got home from Lunch Bunch, we tackled replacing the pump. My husband found a video online that showed him at least the idea of what was required and how to attack it. In half an hour, he had the old pump off and the new pump on.

The old pump had a long screw and a penny in there which my husband thinks caused the clog to form. We don’t know when that happened, but the washer and dryer combo are 13 years old. We really don’t know how the washer was able to function at ALL with as much ‘stuff’ as it had in it. The washer is running happily now, free of clogs. It’s GOOD to have a husband who is good at diagnosing and fixing things.

Now I won’t have to shoot him with my new ammo! :0)

Leave a comment

Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

Hummingbird Bird Bath is UP!

Last year I saw the prettiest picture on Facebook of a hummingbird bird bath. This one is very different from the one we saw, but we enjoyed putting our spin on the idea.

This tub has a hole in the center where the water can come in. We have a trashcan under it with a pump. The system is set up to recycle the water, only using more water if the level in the trashcan goes down below a certain point, at which time the hose automatically turns on to add the needed amount. The PVC pipe is drilled with holes to make the spray.  The system is on a timer, so it starts up at about 8 am and turns off at about 8:30 pm.

 

I put bricks and stones in the bottom to be at a level where hummingbirds can sit or stand. They can play in the water, then warm up and dry off on the rocks. For some reason, we didn’t have a lot of hummingbirds visiting our deck, even though we had several feeders out and then built the bird bath.  I like the bird bath enough, though, if only for the calming sound of the water, to make it well worth the effort – whether the hummingbirds like it or not. :0)

I’ll put out feeders this morning, just in case we have some hummers around.

Leave a comment

Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Lewis projects

Latest Mailbox Decoration Progress

In December last year, we discovered that my husband and I shared a ‘senior moment,’ with both of us thinking we had created a new mailbox decoration for the Christmas season. We looked in the hanging bar where we keep all of our mailbox decorations, but it wasn’t there. We looked laboriously all over the shop, thinking maybe we had started it, but hadn’t finished it. Nope. Nada.

After finally admitting we were definitely losing it, we started over. My husband used the reference picture we got from the net and generated the computer code that tells the torch what to cut.

Yesterday afternoon he made the piece we use to attach the piece to the mailbox and got it welded to this. We attached the piece to our stand with a huge clamp, then used the overhead projector to mark the piece on both sides. It is now ready for me to paint.

I always start with the back, making decisions and working out any problems there before I turn it over and paint the front. I’ll post progress pics as the piece is painted.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects

The Robot is Back Up!

We built this robot several years ago and placed him at the bottom of our driveway to welcome visitors by doffing his hat and tell people our address. We put a chain around his neck and attached him to one side of the pull-down gate so he wouldn’t topple. He weighs around 200 lbs., so it’ no easy thing to work with him.

As I told you yesterday, the latest gusty winds blew him down. We could only see his feet sticking up at the edge of the driveway. The land slopes really steeply there, so there isn’t much place to stand securely, put a ladder up, etc. I was really dreading trying to put him up today. The last time we had to do it (the only other time he has fallen) I was really afraid one or both of us would end up in real trouble.

Today we used a come-along

to help pull him up the hill and over onto the driveway again. From there, we were able to get on both sides of him and boost him up onto his pad again. I encouraged my husband to think of something more we could do to keep this from happening again. We’re getting a bit long-in-the-tooth around here, and if we can keep from having do to things like this, we might manage to stay in one piece longer. We talked about it, deciding to add another length of chain – this one running from his neck to the tree down closer to the road.

My husband re-welded the top of his hat on, and we put the arm with the hat in the back of the truck. We had already put his head in the truck because it’s too heavy to try to lift it over your head and fit it into the hole on top. We got some chain and some couplings at the hardware store. After lunch we loaded a ladder in the back, put Amber in the back seat, and went down to the bottom of the driveway. It was easy to attach the second length of chain. The robot can LEAN off the driveway to the right if we get a high enough gusty wind, but we thing that’s ALL he’ll do. We can easily pull him up from that. My husband wedged the ladder down the slope against a tree, and climbed up. I handed the heavy head to him and he was able to drop it into the neck hole, and then we did the same with the arm holding the hat.

He is now again welcoming visitors to the Lewises!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

The Welding Lathe Project is Finished!

My husband finished his project of building a ‘welding lathe” this morning! He used plans he bought on the net. Of course, he made changes to the plans to make this more workable for him. He’s sending pics to the man who made the plans, showing him what he did differently.

The purpose of this tool is to make many welding projects easier. Usually, you spent half the time or more moving the pieces you’re trying to weld around, making sure they’re touching in the right spots, and that you can reach the spots you’re trying to weld together. You do a bit and then you have to take it all apart, move the pieces to weld another area, turn it over, and so on, until the two pieces are welded. With this tool, you put the pieces in, latching them together the way you want the two pieces to be welded. There is a motor in this tool that moves the piece at the speed you set, so that you can continue to weld the whole piece without having to change anything. There are vertical and upright settings, so you can easily flip the piece over and then start the motor and continue to weld.

My husband likes things to be moveable, so he added the extra angle iron at the bottom, attached casters with breaks and a plywood ‘shelf’ to hold things. He also added the coiled up tubing so that he can be grounded while he works. A handle he added will allow him to steer the tool, moving it anywhere he likes. He added an ‘arm rest’ so that he can prop up his welding arm while he works, adding accuracy for a smoother weld and keeps his arm from tiring.

This is the nice face plate he ordered for installation of the control buttons and display .

He attaches the pieces to be welded to the top of the chuck.

The red handle connects to a rod that determines the attitude of the tool. You can weld the pieces in the upright position, and then pull out the red handled rod in order to move the whole top into a horizontal position to continue welding.

The blue handle with the black gripper is the handle for moving the whole tool to a different spot. The unpainted rod that comes up vertically and then has square tubing welded to it is his arm rest.

He thinks he’ll use the new tool for about half of the welding he does. This tool usually costs about $1,000. He built it for around $400.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

Slogging Through the Art Room Clean Up Project

blog.photosi.com

I’m having to do really short sessions on cleaning my art room. I keep getting distracted when I find something interesting I didn’t remember I had and wanting to do something ‘artful’ with it, instead of continuing to go through things.

Last time I got the idea for a new line of stationery, note cards, thank you notes and greeting cards. The idea is rattling around in my head, plus I’m dreaming about it, so I guess I’ll need to make time and space to at least get started on the idea soon, but I really need to get the art room ‘healed’ first.

So far, I HAVE cleaned off my drafting table. If you walked into the room, though, you wouldn’t be able to tell anything else had been done. This is the kind of project that looks worse before it even THINKS about getting better.

I’m going up there now to see what I can do….

I would appreciate your sending good wishes, persistence, and focus in my direction today…

2 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Thankful and Happy

Humor Mash

It’s cold for Arkansas today, well below freezing and a gusty North wind. The wind chill is ‘too-darned-cold-to-be-out-here!’ We got freezing rain last night and our deck is treacherous. The evergreens are looking really weighted down, but all else looks like we dodged a bullet weatherwise.

Still we froze our parts off taking animals out this morning. My husband went back out because he noticed that we only had ONE feeder with seed in it and a gazillion birds – plus a squirrel – all trying to get something to eat. The one feeder that still had food was one I filled with small bird seed, rather than the sunflower seeds we put out for everyone else. We decided that the feeder is defective and that the sweet birds aren’t getting anything before the seeds freeze at the bottom. So I’ve washed out another feeder and will put the small bird seed in the better feeder and we’ll put it back out. We’re thankful and happy to be able to stay home today where it’s safe and warm.

Projects Update –

1) My husband is working on the welding lathe, some in the shop and some in the office. He got a nice face plate for the control box that will house the motor so that he can mount the buttons on the front nicely. Otherwise, we’re waiting for some parts to come in.

2) The new-computer-for-me project came to a screeching halt when we had a defective motherboard. We returned that, got another, only to find after my husband worked with a tech on the phone at the place we’ve always trusted to get computer parts couldn’t make it work, either. So the 2nd motherboard was mailed back to them yesterday. They should get in Monday and hopefully have a replacement in the mail to us next week.

3) My clean-out-the-pantry project is entering Day 5.  I’m hoping to finish up today. I have to get up on a high ladder to reach things up there, so my husband has agreed to receive things we’ll give away and put them somewhere until we’ve culled out all that needs to come down. Then I’ll clean and organize the rest. Pics to follow.

Since it’s so yucky outside, I’ll start a stew in the crock pot before getting up on the ladder. I know after going up and down and cleaning a bunch today, I won’t feel like cooking later.

I hope YOUR Sunday is a good one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Lewis projects, Mother Nature

Slug

saga

I’ve been a slug today. I guess I wore myself out yesterday, feeling 110+ years old when I woke up today, joints creaking, muscles aching. We did errands, but that was it for the day. I had a nice nap under my throw in my recliner this afternoon.

One thing I forgot to tell you that I did yesterday was finish the repainting of the Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin mailbox decoration for October.

I don’t think he’ll glow in the dark, but he’s the very brightest orange I could find, and I think he’ll light up well when headlights shine on him.

 

He looked okay on the mailbox last October, but I was hoping for a Day-Glo type look, if not glowing in the dark. I used a paint called, Neon Orange. The only actual glow-in-the-dark paint I could find was in a spray can, which I couldn’t use on the piece.

 

This is the front.

 

And this is the back. We hung him up on the proper hook in the shop, waiting for next October.

Next, I’ll be doing a refurbishing on our ‘box turtle’ who has an eye falling off and paint pealing off his ‘shell.’

We’re on the edge of the map as to whether we’ll get a wintry mix this evening into tomorrow morning. We’re thankful to have a warm, dry home with our animals close around us.

I hope you’ve had a happy day, too.

6 Comments

Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, metal art

Refurb Projects Progress/Plans

I finished the front side of the Jack-O-Lantern mailbox decoration. As soon as it dries, I’ll turn it over and work on brightening up the back.

 

This is a “box turtle” we made from metal scraps. As you can see, being outside in the weather has taken its toll on the poor guy. He’ll be my next project.

 

The top of his ‘shell’ has peeled off in several places.

 

His face looks like he was in a fight and lost.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, Lewis yard art

Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3

We are in the middle of three main projects at the moment:

PROJECT 1: My husband convinced me to change from my current MAC computer back to a ‘regular PC’ with Windows 10 and Microsoft. He has been really upset that ever since I’ve been using my MAC, he was unable to help me fix problems. Our son, who wanted me to change to the MAC originally, lives and works in Thailand. He’s a good communicator and very patiently tries to help me when there is a problem, but there is a 12-hour time difference and he has a life other than being available to help MOM with her latest weird problem.

 

This is my new computer. As you can see, it needs a bit of work. :0)

My husband has ordered the parts and case so that he can build a new computer for me. We’ve now gotten everything except the CPU. When we get that, he can finish the hardware part of the project and start fighting with software. I won’t switch over to the new machine until everything has been moved and tested from my MAC – at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. I’ll be happy when the changeover is finished and I’m sure it’s all working – and I know how to make it all work again.

PROJECT 2: I’m trying to work my way through our house, going through things that have been stored or stashed for some 30+ years now, gathering dust and taking up space. I’m forcing myself to take things one at a time, taking everything out of shelves, drawers, desks, buffets, etc., and deciding whether to keep each thing I find, whether it belongs here or somewhere else if I’m keeping it, if it would be better if I donate it, or it should be thrown away. I’m then deep cleaning – starting with the bulldozer, if needed – and then reorganizing what I’m keeping. My goal is to have one donation for the Veterans Thrift Store each month, and one donation to the local library as needed. So far, we’ve made a donation for January to the Veterans, but we don’t have enough books yet for a donation.

Today’s project was to finish the cleaning out of a set of shelves that live next to a window in our office. This was not only a ‘catch-all,’ it had become a ‘stash-all.’ I had piles of articles I had torn out of magazines, like exercises I should be doing, how long to keep things in the freezer, what I should be planting when, how to avoid problems at tax time, etc, etc, etc. I had previous year’s tax paperwork, cards of customers of Creative Artworks, greeting cards ready to send, the pile of stuff we’ll dump on our CPA as soon as we receive our records for the year from Schwab……

I’ve been working on this set of shelves for three days. I’m not sure if ONLY our lab puppy is shedding, or Molly is, too, and the cats – but I’ve been really fighting animal hair the past few weeks. I’ve vacuumed every day this week in here, plus dusted, and I’m STILL fighting it. And THEN the stashed ‘stuff’ is dusty…

The shelves finally look as though a normal person lives here. The pile beside the notebooks will go to the CPA, so that will be clear soon. Things are better than they’ve been in years. :0)

PROJECT 3: The other project we’re working on simultaneously is that my husband is building a “welding lathe or positioner.” This is a tool that would allow him to put a piece he wanted to weld on it. He could weld it at one angle, then turn the piece over, still secured on the positioner, to weld the piece on the other side without having to take it loose, reposition it, etc. This would save a lot of time and effort for him.

This is a picture of what he’s trying to build. He saw one on the net or in a magazine, but it cost over $1,000, not including tax or shipping. He decided to build one. He was able to secure some blueprints for the project. He already had a lot of what was needed to build it.  The round part at the bottom comes up to make a mini welding table, if needed. There is a computer that runs a motor that turns the piece at the top.

He is trying to figure out the triangular piece that is right under the horizontal part – not only how to make the piece, but how to get the holes just right…. To say that this is a complicated tool is a vast understatement. He’ll have to order some of the parts, such as the motor, a chain, and the round piece at the bottom, but he already has the small raspberry pi computer to go inside the box behind the round thing. Big project, but he’s smiling as he tries to figure out how to do it. :0)

So, that’s what we’ve been doing around here. The days fly past, but we make a bit of progress each day. Life is good.

2 Comments

Filed under Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Project for the Day

Sassy Senior Lady via Doreen Adamson-Liber

If I haven’t admitted it before, now you know what a slob I am.

Despite my efforts here and there – I’ve never been a great housekeeper – things ‘accumulate’ and, then, I think, reproduce like rabbits, causing the jumble you see before you. My husband and i both contribute to it.  On any given day there are other priorities, so it gets lost in transit.

Well, today is the day THIS will be the focus.

I’ll take everything off and TRY to organize this so that it’s not a catchall. I’m planning to move some of my cookbooks here to get them off the other counter space in the kitchen.

I’ll report back to you later on my efforts.

4 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects

Antenna

GE Pro Attic Mount Antenna

We’re pleased with our efforts to ‘cut the cord’ and not have to have DirecTV, DISH, or cable (we can’t get that). We’re learning more every day on how to make our stuff work the best way possible.

My husband read that if we added an antenna in the attic and got some software (simplified explanation of what we need to do) we can go through Roku or our PlayStation to record programs over the air or over the Internet to watch later. Since we’re old and doofus, even with lists we have trouble watching programs at the proper time, the right day, on the network we should be watching. :0)

The antenna and coax cable came in the mail today. My husband immediately put the antenna together and we went upstairs to see what we had to do to mount the antenna in the attic. We discovered an old mounting pole still up there, so that part of the project went like clockwork. My husband saw some coax cable up there, so we came down again to see if we had anything left in the living room.

There were TWO coax cables in the cabinet under the entertainment center. We’ve had trouble with mice eating our wires, so we weren’t very hopeful that we wouldn’t have to spend the rest of the day running coax from the roof, into the attic, out and down the outside of the house, and then into the house again under the entertainment area to attach to the TV.

We hooked up one of the cables and searched for channels over the air. We got NONE. (The smaller antenna on the shelf got us 10 over the air channels, but not many we actually wanted to watch.) We hooked up the second antenna and voila! we got 32 channels over the air!

This is the first project in a LONG time that cause me worry that my husband had to go up on our two story roof, sidle around in the awful under the house space, cause ME to do something scary, cause a few harsh words, hurt feelings, a LOT of time and money, etc. It was a total pleasure!

We spent some time looking at each over the air channel to identify it and make notes. We then moved the ones we wanted into our ‘favorites’ on the TV. We now get CBS, ABC, NBC, CW, PBS, CREATE (they were demonstrating how to use the world’s most expensive sewing machine to outline quilt a piece), and FOX NEWS!  The other channels were either duplicates or things we weren’t interested in. If the new hardware we have ordered and the software we’ve installed doesn’t allow us to DVR either over-the-air-channels or the Internet channels we get, I won’t be upset. We just won the lottery!

I usually think technology is a pain in the rear, but every once in a while, it’s GRAND.

ADDENDUM: We have since realized we don’t actually get Fox News yet. They broke in on the Fox channel to give an update on the horrible mass shooting in Nevada. We’ll look more to see what we need to do to get Fox News.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

It’s Up! We Did it!

This isn’t OUR tower, but I wanted to share our jubilation that our tower is FINALLY up. (Pictures to follow as soon as the camera battery charges up again. )

We were afraid we would get yet another phone call this morning that the guys wouldn’t be able to come help us erect the ham radio tower that has been propped up by a jack and a large step stool for a couple of months or more now. As we were working in the office, we heard a large engine noise. It was a cherry picker!

They had a bit of trouble getting through the back yard and into the area to the east of the house where the greenhouse and the tower are. Then the cherry picker wasn’t happy with the lack of level ground, sounding an alarm and refusing to let one of the guys lower the basket he was in. They finally inched it over, working with it until it was finally workable again. They had to try several positions before they could actually get the edge of the basket under the tower just below the antenna in order to slowly push the tower up.

They couldn’t get any closer to the antenna without messing it up. (We had to put the wires on while it was on the ground. They had to be a certain length in order to get the right frequency. And the two sets of wires on the antenna weren’t the same length! I have no clue why it’s that way. We propped the whole tower up, moving it up inch by inch so that we could get it up high enough that my husband could run tests to be sure the antenna was working correctly.) That could have been undone in a second by the tower erection guys.

We had a couple of dicey times, where we all held our breaths, but they got it up. They held it in place while my husband put the last bolt into the plate that attached to the iron beneath the concrete pad. He then had to climb through the barbed wire fence to run the hardest of the guy wires. There were a total of three, and we got those tied down.

The wonderful guys left and we spent the next half hour taking things back to the shop. We still need to run the big wires that go from the rotor to the house and the one that goes from the antenna to the house, but the hardest part of the project is DONE!

YIPPEEEEEEE!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

Shoot!

We had our fingers – and all other appendages – crossed that today would be the day we finally got the ham radio tower erected. Our hopes were just dashed with a phone call. They’ll try to get here tomorrow morning now…

 

My husband has wanted a good ham radio tower for several years now. We lucked out, finding a ham guy who had an old 45 foot tower for sale, plus the controller for less than the price of the controller itself. We hauled it home in pieces.

 

My husband repaired parts of it, got the controller going, researched how to do the antenna (different lengths of wire between the arms yield different band widths). We brought each of the 4 ten foot sections, plus the finished antenna, out to the far east side of our property, close to the greenhouse.  He and I worked and worked to get the tower jacked up high enough to get the antenna attached so that he could test it to make sure that we were getting the band width he wanted BEFORE we pay to erect the tower. (We really don’t want to EVER have to lower it down and then pull it up again.)

 

We drilled, dug, backhoed, then did it all again until we finally got a hole approximately 3 feet on a side and 18″ deep. It took 33 bags of Sac-Crete to fill it up. (Thanks to our friends, the Taylors, for bringing a portable cement mixer and vibrator to help us make and pour the concrete for the pad. My husband made a heavy iron plate we sunk into the concrete, and then another heavy iron plate he attached to the bottom of the tower. One end of the plate is bolted to the one in the concrete. When the tower goes up, we’ll attach the third bolt to hold the tower steady.

 

We have three guy wires attached to the tower, ready to be tied to stakes we laboriously drilled holes for and then used a sledge hammer to pound into the ground. We have special attachment thingies to hold the guy wires to the stakes. Each stake is 30 feet from the base of the tower in prescribed places to make the tower as secure as possible.

 

We were really hoping to finish this part of the project today, but this is yet another one of the character-building exercises we’ve endured lately. We’ve waited several months, having trouble finding a company who could get their equipment up and into the part of the yard where we need them, and who gave us an estimate we could afford. We wanted to be super sure that there would be no problems, no accidents, no worries. Maybe tomorrow will be the day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

Thing Two – Tower for Critters

We had an extra section of tower when we got the parts for our ham radio tower awhile back. My husband had put it in the pile of stuff we would take to the next city clean-up. I suggested we use it to display some of the critters we make.

My husband made a form recently and dug the hole a couple of days ago. Yesterday we got 4 bags of Ready-Crete, mixed them up and poured the concrete for the tower. This pic shows the project before we started mixing the concrete.

 

Here’s a close-up of the hold before the concrete was poured.

We plan to attach things like shovel birds, dragonflies, and other weird things we make to the tower at various points. The tower is beside our ‘watermelon’ propane tank and will greet people when they get to the top of our driveway.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis projects, Lewis yard art

Ham Radio Tower Project

We have had to put off erecting the 45 foot ham radio tower we put together for a month or so, due to nearly constant rain here in Arkansas. I’m NOT complaining – certainly not in the face of what the good people of Texas and Louisiana are currently going through. We’re on top of a ridge line and this has just been a minor annoyance, at best.

 

We have contacted various people, trying to get this thing standing up and then tied down into place. One company said they couldn’t get their equipment up the hill or through the relatively small space between trees, the house, and the place where the tower is. Many companies didn’t even return our calls.  We have a friend who did a lot of brush hogging for us, who thought he might be able to help. We also thought of the man who uses a tractor with a front loader on it who might be able to help, but my husband is worried that the tower could be hurt with those, or that the tower might end up on my greenhouse.

We called a new company yesterday, now that our land is relatively dry. The remnants of hurricane/tropical storm Harvey are forecast to go to central and eastern Arkansas, missing us. This company is supposed to call us and come out today to give us an estimate. Fingers crossed we can finally schedule the tower to go up.

 

The angle of this picture almost make it look like the tower is on top of the greenhouse. It’s closer than I would like, but once it’s up and bolted down onto the concrete pad, and guy wires attached in three places in the ground, it should be as secure as anything can be. Here’s hoping that the new company can, and is willing to, help us, that we can afford it, and that it can be done soon.

4 Comments

Filed under Lewis projects

Ham Radio Tower Update

We’re cleaning up here, almost ready for the tower to be lifted into place and then tied down.

 

We painted the stakes with Day-Glo Neon Bright Orange paint so they can be seen and avoided from a distance. We tie the guy wires to 3 stakes, each 30 feet away from the tower.

 

They show up well now, don’t they?

 

My husband used the chain saw to cut a ‘tunnel’ through heavy briars and trees and other greenery to make a 30 foot long path. He then drilled an 18″ hole and then used the sledge hammer to pound the stake in.

 

This was hot, heavy, exhausting work, but there was no way around it. The stakes have to be 30 feet from the pad and 45 degrees from each of the other stakes.

 

The Holmes Erection people were supposed to come Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. No calls, no one came. My husband called them again a few minutes ago. He was transferred to someone who said, “What about we come right now?” My husband said, “GREAT!” and they’re on their way.

He still has to install hardware on each of the stakes to hold the guy wires, but we’re ready other than that. Hopefully we can get this tower up and tied down securely in the next couple of days.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

Overcast!!!

It was overcast when we first woke up this morning, so my husband grabbed the push around weed whacker and I mowed the yard.

My husband then decided that it was a good time to lift the tower up high enough that he can rotate the antenna on the ham radio tower, hopefully getting it turned in the proper direction to pick up the frequency he wants. He can actually test the system to make sure it resonates properly. This is Greek to me, but a lot of what we do is…

The sun came out with a vengeance, of course. The tower is VERY heavy now. My husband can’t lift the end any higher without some help. We ended up using a mobile jack, a 5 foot metal hollow pole he had in the shop, and some wooden vices to hold things together. He jacked it up a bit, and I tried to wedge one of our ladders under the tower, bit by bit.

The pictures show the antenna where it was before we began to try to lift it up.

At one point, the whole tower shifted away from us and the whole thing came down. No one was hurt, thank goodness, and the antenna seemed to survive, as well. We got another couple of ladders. I wedged one under the top edge of the antenna. I then wedged another one under the tower at a different point so that if it got away from us again, the ladder would catch it.

We took a short break at my insistence. I was rattled when the thing came crashing down, picturing all sorts of awful things that could have happened. Once the ladders were providing a bit more security, we tackled it again. We needed to get it up another 6 to 8 inches for the antenna to be able to rotate freely.

We think it’s up high enough now, and are taking a break to cool off and drink water. My husband is going to go back out in awhile and use his analyser on it to see what’s happening with the tower and the antenna.

Once we get it resonating at the proper frequency, we’ll figure out where the guy wire stakes should go. This may be another awful part of this project because the stakes won’t want to go into the rocky ground. We also have to do some chain sawing to get to the place the stake needs to go on one side.

Once the stakes have been pounded into the ground and the guy wires have been attached to the tower, we’ll be ready to ask our friend Dave to bring his special equipment over to help us stand the tower up and tie it down.

 

Here’s the way it looks now, before antenna testing. My husband used some weather-resistant duct tape to tie the wiring in increments to the tower.  You can see the jack in the middle of the picture.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

2nd Try on Sun/Moon Wall Hanging

123RF

Once I got over the initial disappointment at my efforts on the sun/moon wall hanging painting, I got excited about a do-over, trying to make it come out more as I had hoped.

 

This is the picture and design my husband found on the net. There is a LOT of shading involved, and I chose the wrong color for the background initially.  Yesterday we got another sample can mixed at Yeagers and I got busy.

 

This is the initial try. I didn’t like the background color of the sun, and my husband didn’t like the shading. Other than that…. :0)

I got more of a coppery brown color for the sun this time. Yesterday I scraped off a  LOT of the paint and all of the accent lines. I then rubbed in the new background color with a cloth. Today I’ll use a sponge on the sun to get rid of the remaining ‘lines.’

When that is done, I’m going to mask off a lot of the painting and try using an air brush to do the shading.

It’s fun to learn a new technique. I’ve never done air brushing. I’ve seen some beautiful work that can be done with one by someone who knows what he/she is doing. I’m just hoping for a more subtle shading.

Wish me luck!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis projects, metal art

Progress on Ham Radio Tower

I wanted to make sure you saw a picture of THREE 10 foot sections of the tower put together.

Yesterday my husband made a mounting bracket for the rotator controller that will live in the office. He hung the box nicely on the bottom of the shelf in the ham radio corner of the office. It’s now ready to be attached to the tower rotator.

Yesterday we also carried the 4th 10 foot section of the tower, the section that includes the rotator, out to the yard. It had started to rain, and it sure was welcome relief from the heat!

 

My husband attached the 4th section to the tower yesterday. Today we started trying to lift up the end in preparation for adding the 9 foot square antenna. (We’ll need to get the end up at least 10 feet so we can attach the antenna in preparation for wiring of the rotor and the antenna.

 

Here’s a view from the rotator end.

 

And a view from south of the tower so you can get a feeling for how LONG this thing is. Add another 5 feet or so for the antenna and the tower is 45 feet tall. The next step is wiring the rotator and then we’ll bring out a ladder to try to move the end up where we need it. It’s coming along!

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under Lewis projects

Ham Radio Tower Progress Report – July 21, 2017

Last night my husband attached the 1st section of the tower to the base plate on the pad we made. You can see that there is a base plate on the bottom of the section that is now bolted to the base plate on the concrete form. This is so you can lay the whole tower down if needed.

He’s going to put the 4 ten-foot sections together on the ground, add the antenna propped up on a pole, and pound stakes in on three sides for guy wires. Once the whole thing is together and cabled, he can test it to make sure all is working as it should. Then our good friend, Dave, will bring over his equipment to pull the tower up into place and we can tie the guy wires to the stakes.

 

 

This is a better picture of the base plate on the bottom of the 1st section. There will be another bolt to hold the base plate to the concrete when the tower goes up. There are four sections of the tower, each 10 feet tall, plus the antenna, which is square – 9 feet on each side.  The whole tower is about 45 feet tall.

This will all take some time, and I’m fighting with my husband about trying to do too much at one time in the sun. I’ll take progress pictures as we work.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

Ham Radio Tower Base – Take 1

Our friend, Foy Brown, is helping us get a hole large and deep enough to put stakes and grout slurry in for the base of the 45 foot ham radio tower we bought recently.

He has a compressor and a rock drill, but when I went out there to check on them, they were using all kinds of shovels, picks, pick axes, etc. They THINK they can get the hole deep enough, though it’s one rock after another, making them fight for every inch.

 

Foy said, “Don’t take our picture sitting on our butts in the hole.” :0)  My husband is sitting on the form they’re going to put into the ground when they can get the hole deep enough.

You can see how close the tower is going to be to my greenhouse. I’m not happy about that, but the tower needs to be at the highest point of our land 60 feet away from the closest power pole, and this was the spot. If my husband had found the tower first, my greenhouse would probably have not been built…

The tower will have strong guy wires attached to stakes going into the ground, so we would have to have catastrophic weather to cause the tower to fall on my greenhouse. If we have super bad weather, it’s more likely my greenhouse will lift up and try to wrap itself around the tower.

Since it’s hot outside, rather than overcast as we had hoped, I’m checking on them every half hour or so, bringing cold water and babbling at them so they have to rest a bit.

If we can get the form into the ground, the next step will be buying lots of bags of sac-crete to mix up in our wheelbarrow to fill the form.

More pics to follow as progress is made.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

Metal Wall Hanging Progress

I finished the basic color blocking yesterday and then started on the LOTS of shading needed on the piece.  The size is about 3 feet across by 2+ feet from top to bottom.

 

Here it is with the moon attached. I did a lot more shading this afternoon, but will wait until tomorrow to take more pictures.

I took Amber out to the shop with me, but she was finding a LOT to eat that she shouldn’t. I spent more time taking things out of her mouth and trying to find ‘safe’ things she could chew on, but she wouldn’t settle. I ended up taking her back to the porch and then going back out to do some work on the piece.

I have no confidence that what I’m doing is going to work. I’ll just keep on keepin’ on and hope for the best.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis projects, metal art

I Know it’s Summer, But…

Huffington Post

According to the Heat Index Chart I have on my computer, it feels like 121 degrees F. outside right now. Needless to say, I’m typing at my computer instead of spending a lot of time out there.

I told you that we had a couple of things we had to figure out (the hard way) the other day – the hole for our ham radio tower and our riding lawnmower quitting suddenly.

  • My husband went out again this morning to attack the area he wants the hole for the tower. This time he was able to make a bit more progress, breaking up rock with the shovel. We’re waiting, at this point, for our good friend, Foy, to come with his compressor and rock drill to help us make real progress.
  • We figured out that we needed a new belt for the riding mower. We got one this morning. My husband installed it, and we were able to get the rest of the lawn mowed. The key to remember is when you’re bringing the blades up, move the lever S L O W L Y so it doesn’t throw the belt off.
  • I’ve been trying to learn how to cool off my new greenhouse so that I – and my plants – don’t burn up out there. I’ve read a tone of things, and there is fabric shade, more ventilation, and adding humidity – but the main thing I’ve come away with – living in Arkansas – is that the summer will be my season off to plan, organize, gather materials, etc., rather than to actually try to plant anything in the greenhouse. I’ll use it to start my fall plants and mainly my spring plants. So I’ll switch my thinking, quit trying to do the impossible, and start reading up on when to start seeds for my fall garden.
  • I have learned that there is no easy way to empty and clean Amber’s kiddie pool. The best I’ve come up with, so I don’t completely soak my shoes, socks, and pant legs, is to put on my husband’s big waterproof boots, bring out the car washing broom and the Simple Green, and have at it.

At least we’re making progress on how to – or whether to – attack each problem…

Going out to paint on our new metal wall hanging now!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

New Metal Piece

This is the latest piece we’re trying to make in the shop.

My husband has done his part, cutting out the pieces (he cut the moon out separately so that it could be mounted above the rest, making a bit of a 3-D effect), and adding a hanger.

Now it’s my turn. I’m intimidated by this one, because of all the shading. I’m concentrating on doing just the color blocking right now, and then will take a lot of time trying to study the piece on my computer for the intricate shading.

I just hope I can do a reasonable job on it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis projects, metal art

We’ll Just Find a Way

Abraham Lincoln – Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

 

We’re ‘finding a way’ on several things around here lately.

  1. We’re trying to dig a hole to act as a base for my husband’s new-to-him 45 foot+ ham radio tower and antenna. He’s called all around trying to find someone who will drill a hole for us. We had someone give us an estimate of $1500! Someone else came over and told us they couldn’t get their equipment to the place we need the hole.

Finally, we called an acquaintance of ours who has helped us do weird things in the past. He’s going to bring over an air powered rock drill that takes a big compressor to run it to drill several holes as deeply as we can through our rock in a 3×3′ group. We’ll put 3 foot stakes at different angles into the holes and then put grout the consistency of slurry in the holes to hold the stakes and our pipe where they are. My husband built a 3′ x 3′ box form for concrete.  When we get that over the pipe and stakes, we’ll start mixing sac-crete in our wheelbarrow and fill up the form. We figure about 20 sacs of sac-crete if each one makes 1 cubic foot of concrete.

Today, my husband went out with a shovel to start the hole for the drilling. He wanted to get the dirt out down to where the rock started. He soon came back to get a pick axe. He swung that twice and was done.

He then decided that at least he could mow the high weeds that would clear a path for the dig-the-holes project. He got that mostly done, but the riding mower was complaining when he was almost finished. We took it back to the shop to discover it had thrown a belt. My husband got that back on.

I was going to take the mower out again to mow the yard. I got to the spot where I wanted to start mowing, but when I pushed the lever forward to engage the blades, the motor started making a bad noise. We ended up pushing it back to the shop to be looked at later.

2. So now we have to ‘find a way’ to get the riding mower working again.

It makes me a bit afraid to start anything else….

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Lewis projects

New Work

Dodecapod.Com

 

My husband found this design on the net and we both liked it. I found the source, but not the name of the artist.  We both liked it a lot and we’re in the process of trying to make it.

My husband used the CNC table and the computerized torch to cut this out. The piece is about 3-1/2 feet wide and about 2 feet from top to bottom.  The piece is so much work for the torch that it overheated. We had to stop the cutting process and wait for the torch to cool down, and then start it up again, fingers crossed it would remember where it was in the design. Thankfully, it did. My husband still ended up having to cut out parts of it by hand.

He made the blue moon separately so that we could mount it on a spacer. We’ll attach it to the main piece through the back with a screw to give the piece more of a 3-dimensional quality.

I marked the metal yesterday.

If we can get our a/c fixed today, I’ll start the painting soon.

This will be a really difficult piece to paint. There is a LOT of great shading on the piece, making the sun look 3-D, for example, and the rays look curled up and wavy. I’ll give it my best shot.

This is the first piece we’ve seen in quite a while that got us excited about cutting out and making something.  If it turns out all right, we plan to hang it on the wall in our office.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis projects, metal art

Greenhouse Progress

 

 

 

Welcome to the greenhouse!  We have a door and an inside and outside now.  Come in!

 

This is the exhaust fan end of the building. As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done to stretch and staple the film on.  The plans we got say, essentially, ‘wad it up and staple it.”

 

This is the outside. You can see we need to gather up excess film. I plan to fold up the largest pieces to hopefully use if we need repairs.  We also need to get rid of the excess black weed barrier sheet on the exhaust fan end.

 

We cut 4×8 sheets of plywood lengthwise to make 8 x 2 foot ‘tables.’ We also cut up two of these to make the tables 12 feet long. We put 2×4 on the edges underneath to keep the tables from sagging in the middle. We put the plywood on sawhorses.

 

We’re really amazed at how sturdy everything is. It’s not all completely level, but life is never perfect. You can see the mounted exhaust fan in this picture. We’ll add some electricity to the greenhouse and a thermostat so that the fan comes on to air things out when it gets too hot inside.

 

Here you can see the opposite side table. It’s a nice “U” shaped space with storage for tall stuff in the corner and lots of place to put things underneath the tables. I’ll have a wonderful amount of space to grow seeds in their various stages until they’re planted either in the square foot garden, the tomato planters, or in the flower planters.

We worked on the film on the exhaust fan end this morning. I’ll take more pics today to show you.

2 Comments

Filed under Gardening, Lewis projects

The Greenhouse is Coming Together!

You are looking on the latch to the new door to the greenhouse!

 

We got one doorway up and the other doorway that will actually hold the exhaust fan up, but not finished yesterday and last night. There is an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’ now!

Since we were working around rain showers, I spent a lot of my time sweeping the water off the black weed barrier. It had accumulated in large puddles. It’s raining even harder today. My husband is out in the shop doing ‘something,’ while I used the rain to do two loads of laundry, get a chicken chili in the crock pot for dinner, put sausage balls in the oven for our lunches, and cut up some leftovers to add some extra goodness to Molly’s dinners this week.

 

This is the doorway on which we’ll add diagonals and then horizontal pieces to hold the exhaust fan. We got a thermostat control for it, so we can control when the fan goes on and off.

 

I’m excited. When we finish the 2nd doorway, I think it’ll be time to think about how to tackle the issue of putting the film on the greenhouse. We’re using one sheet that goes over the whole thing at once. We’ll use 19″ strips of wood, wrap the film around them, and then screw them into the wood foundation on one side, and then stretch it over the greenhouse to the other side. I have no clue what we’ll do about the ends of the greenhouse…

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects

Last Night’s Progress on Greenhouse

After installing two pvc straps for each rib of the skeleton during the day yesterday and painting the pvc pipe to keep it from giving off fumes in the sun that deteriorate the film we’re going to use, we got the skeleton up right before dark!

 

I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to put the pvc pipe skeleton up, but I stood in the middle, holding the skeleton up as high as I could while my husband took the ribs one at a time and slipped them into the straps on one side of the greenhouse. Then it was easier to get them in on the other side. We then went all the way around, tightening the screws that held the pvc straps.

 

We’ve put in one session out there today, working on installing the door at one end. We decided to take a break, and then the rain started. When we have a chance to catch our breaths and the rain stops, we’ll do another session. It’s starting to come together!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lewis projects