Tag Archives: Lewis projects


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.



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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!


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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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2nd Try on Sun/Moon Wall Hanging


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!


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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!




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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.


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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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….


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New Work



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.

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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.


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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…

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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!

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Greenhouse Progress – Friday

Yesterday we put the 10 foot pieces of pvc pipe onto the ‘spine’ we had made previously.  Today we went to Yeagers and got 1 x 2’s and 1 x 4 x 12’s and a paint brush. When we got home from Lunch Bunch, I started painting the pvc pipes and connections while my husband created my door!

The film people warned us that if we just used the film and the pvc pipe, the fumes from the pvc in the sun would cause the film to deteriorate. My husband scoffed, but I took them seriously. They said that if we painted the pvc pipe with latex paint, it would solve the problem.

I spent 3 hours (2 sessions) out in the hot sun painting the white pvc pipe beige. It didn’t matter what color we chose. Apparently the latex paint barrier stops whatever the chemical reaction is between the pvc stuff and the film. I got really hot and tired, but I finally got two coats of paint on the side of the pvc pipe that will touch the film.


Here you can see the pvc pipes coming out of either side of the spine. This is what I was painting today. UGH.


Here’s another view of it. After I cooled off some, my husband was raring to go again, this time wanting to screw on the pvc pipe straps on the outside edge of the foundation on the 1×2’s my husband screwed on there earlier. We put two straps on for each end of the pvc pipe, screwed in loosely, until the ‘great pvc pipe raising’ we’ll do later this evening when the sun goes down some. I’m picturing standing the pvc pipe on end, one of us holding the pipe complex while the other one puts the end of the pipe in the straps and then tightens the screws. When one side is in, then the other side should go in more easily, with our bending the pipes down to go into the straps. Wish us luck, please.

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Greenhouse Progress – Thursday, June 1st

Last time I showed you where our wonderful tractor guy, Eric, cleared some land for our proposed greenhouse.


This is the foundation of the greenhouse. It will be 12 feet wide x 14 feet long. You’re looking at it from the west, looking east.  We put down two sheets of black 4 mil plastic sheeting that we hope will keep the weeds from growing. This will be the floor of the greenhouse. When we get a bit farther, we’ll put rocks and bricks around the bottom to hold the sheeting in place better.


My husband made four of these stakes. The pipe is solid and 2 feet long. Then he welded on heavy angle iron, and then drilled a gazillion holes so that we could attach the foundation wood at whatever level needed for the structure to be as level as possible. Since the piece of land isn’t flat, and we run into solid rock at different depths for each stake, this is quite a process. We drilled as deeply as we could, then poured some water in the hole, and then used a sledge hammer to get the stakes in. Then we screwed the wood to the stakes after leveling it and making sure the corners were square.


This is another view.


This picture is taken from the south, looking north. We’re going to put the door on the north end and an exhaust fan on the south end.

We’ve had two sessions of work today, although we don’t have a lot to show for it, picture-wise.

We bought a sheet of plywood, lots of 2x4s, and lots of pvc pipes and fittings today. When we got home, we took it all out to the shop and cut it all up into the lengths we needed for the greenhouse. We cut the plywood sheet into strips 8 inches wide. We’re going to screw these pieces to the inside of the foundation wood you see here so we’ll have wood to the ground all around.

We made the ‘spine’ of the greenhouse that will go along the top of the oval we’ll make with the pvc pipe. We’ll attach 10 foot sections to the spine, bend them and attach them with straps along the outside perimeter of the greenhouse.

After we cut the pieces, we put it all in the truck again and carted it to the work site. My husband was wearing shorts and we have lots of briars out there, so I emptied the truck, putting things in piles around the foundation.

We rested, and then a wind came up and rain threatened, so we rushed out to the site and I started moving the stuff I had put in piles onto the black sheeting to keep it from blowing away. Everything is battened down now, but – BOY! – did I get my exercise for the day with all the pulling and hauling of supplies!

Things have calmed down outside now. I’m not sure if we’ll try to do another work session tonight before it gets dark or not. I can tell you that I should sleep well tonight…


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Bird Bath – Almost There

Plumbing is a LOT more complicated than it might seem. After having the hummingbird bird bath together and apart again several times now, fighting leaks, we THINK it’s a go this time. I’m not feeling ANY moisture on the bottom side of the tub. The timer came on as scheduled and the little waterfall was making its pretty noise this morning.


I’m going to check it one more time and then will start putting in decorations that I hope will make the hummingbirds happy when they arrive.

I’ll take more pics later today.


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Hummingbird Bird Bath – Try # 4

They say, “The third time’s the charm.” Apparently, we didn’t get the memo because we’re on “TRY # 4” to get the plumbing on the hummingbird bath not to leak. We got it back together again, hooked it up and ran it for awhile, only to find ANOTHER place water was seeping out. I logged about 7,100 steps on my pedometer yesterday with all the back and forth to the shop yesterday working on it.

We took that apart and put pipe dope on it and stuck it together again. We turned the water on again and didn’t see any leaks this time. We were going to check it again in half an hour, but then it started to rain. Until everything is dry again, we won’t know if we’ve been successful this time or not.

I’ve taken all the decoration out of the tub twice thus far. I’m not going to put anything in there until we’re sure we have the leak problem fixed. (I did get some nice-looking greenery to add at the store yesterday :0) )

Here is how the system looks now, as we test the plumbing –


If all goes well, I’ll plan to add decorations to the tub tomorrow. I’ll take pics when the decorations are in. Meanwhile, we hung up a feeder in case we have any hungry hummers in our area.

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The Hummingbird Bird Bath is Finished!

The actual hummingbird bath is now finished. I’ll add plants on either side of the bath on the railings, plus a basket of flowers for the table, hummingbird feeder hanging above somewhere, etc., but the main project is finished.


I gathered things from around the house to put into the bath – a ceramic bath tub with a lady in it, three glass hummingbird feeders that were prettier than they were practical, shells, a frog, some aquarium decorations, some rocks, and some bricks – both for the decorations and in the middle for the hummingbirds to stand on, if they wish.


Here you can see the ‘stuff’ I’m hoping the hummingbirds will like. I can see myself changing things from time to time, which will be half the fun of the bird bath!

I LOVE the sound of the water. I really hadn’t thought of that, and I find it very appealing and relaxing. Between that, and the wind chimes from the back porch, it will make a great spot for us most of the year.

When the hummers come, I’m hoping they really like it. I’ll try to get some pics if they do.




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Phase 2 – Hummingbird Bird Bath Project

We finished the plumbing part of the hummingbird bird bath project today!  We had ‘gooed’ the drain pipe fitting last night and let it dry for 24 hours. We had to cut another hole in the bucket lid to accommodate the pipe coming from the bottom of the tub in a straighter fashion.  This set up will allow the bird bath to sit quietly when the pump is not on. When the pump IS on, the water recirculates from the tub, down into the bucket and back. The only water we’ll need to replace is from evaporation from time to time. We’ll put a timer between the pump and the electrical hookup so the water will be on in daylight and off at night.


Here we have the water on, making a kind of waterfall for the hummers.  The place we ‘gooed’ last night is good. We still had some drips from the place where we attach the pvc pipe to the side of the tub. Tightening the screws more got rid of the leaks. A happy thing we didn’t expect was the NICE sound the ‘waterfall’ makes!


Here’s a close up of the basic tub and waterfall.

Phase 3 will be gathering ‘stuff’ to put in the tub – greenery, rocks, bricks, fun decorations, etc. I’ll take pics again when I’ve gotten the decorating started.

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