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New Garden

Planted
Planted!

Decided to try a bit of gardening this year – and my son Davis and I built 3 raised garden beds, each 3′ x 5′, from cedar 2×6’s.  We also got some large planter pots, 3 of them, that are about 2′ in diameter, and a couple feet tall.

This past weekend we picked up the soil, and Davis and I filled up the garden beds.  Then Tracey and I decided on vegetables.  Here’s what we’ve planted, mostly from seed:

  • Zucchini (green and gold varieties)
  • Radishes
  • Cucumbers
  • Butter lettuce
  • Kale (planted some seed, and also 2 plants from the garden center)
  • Carrots (a multi-color variety)
  • Green onions
  • Jalapeño pepper
  • Red Chili pepper
  • Sweet Bell pepper
  • Tomatoes (in one of the planter pots)

While at the garden center, we also picked up some flowers and herbs that we’ve planted in large planter pots.  The herbs are in a big pot by the pizza oven which should be handy 🙂

Now we just have to remember to water and weed everything!

 

New tankmates

Recently I added a couple small bristlenose pleco’s to the aquarium.  They are small right now, not quite 2″ in length.  Their maximum size is around 6″, which works nicely – I definitely didn’t want a common pleco, which can grow over a foot long!

They are very good at staying hidden, but this evening for the first time I saw both of them out for a little while at the same time 🙂

pleco-1
pleco-2

The current residents of the aquarium:

  • 4 Denison barbs (or indian flasher barbs)
  • 6 Siamese algae eaters
  • 2 Bristlenose plecostomus
  • 2 Salt and Pepper corydoras
  • 6 Red Phantom tetras
  • 6 Black neon tetras
  • 6 Neon tetras
  • 8 Head and Tail Light tetras

I also added a digital thermometer – much easier to read than the little plastic strip I had stuck on the front glass!

Progress on the tables

Have been negligent in posting updates on the side tables and coffee tables that Keith and I have been working on – Keith has been doing the lions share of the work – and I’ve been helping after I finish work when I can, and on the weekends.

I was experimenting with a staining technique that I saw on a recent episode of ‘Ellen’s Design Challenge’.  A solution of iron acetate is brushed onto the wood, and it reacts with the tannins in oak, darkening the wood as the solution dries.  The effect is quite dramatic!

IMG_0397

These pieces of wood have been brushed with the solution.  The shinier surface the oak is sitting on is my cedar desk, which was brushed with Minwax Ebony stain, and then a coat of semi-gloss varathane.

The solution is easily made simply by ripping up a couple pieces of clean 0000 steel wool and placing the pieces into a glass jar (I used a 1 litre mason jar).  Fill the jar with household white vinegar.  Fold a plastic straw in half and use the ends to push the steel wool down, so it’s completely submerged in vinegar.  Seal the jar, and punch a few holes in the lid – this is important – otherwise you could end up with an explosion of glass & vinegar solution!

IMG_0386Here’s a side table all assembled, and waiting for stain.

IMG_0422

Here are all three tables, stained and getting the first coat of a satin polyurethane.  I’m second guessing myself as to the finish – I may end up adding a final coat of semi-gloss – but we’ll see how the satin finish looks once we get the tables set up in our living room!

A new Jeep!

Well, it has been a while since I’ve done some wheeling, and since we bought my wife’s Mitsubishi RVR, I think I’ve been jealous of the technology in the newest vehicles.

When we were initially looking at different vehicles for her, we had stopped in at one dealership to look at the Fiat 500x.  The dealership also had Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk in the showroom that we were looking over.  A number of months later, I returned to that dealership to have another look, and a few days later, we now have one in our driveway 🙂 .

trailhawk

Coffee table and side table project

Tracey and I decided that we wanted something a little different for our living room coffee table, and wanted a couple matching side tables as well – something I don’t think we’ve had in the last 25+ years!

So I started looking at various designs, and tried drawing one up myself – but ended up finding a design through the magazine Fine Woodworking.  As it turns out, Fine Woodworking also sold plans for the coffee table, that also included a Google Sketchup file.  So, I purchased the plan, and then duplicated and modified it to come up with a design for a matching side table.

coffee table

The coffee table is a Mission-style – I’m simplifying a couple sections, and I’m also going to look at building in USB charging ports into the side tables – probably along with an outlet to plug in a table lamp.  Another change is adjusting the height of the shelf, to provide clearance for Tracey’s Roomba.

The side tables will be the same width as the coffee table, and a couple inches taller.

Went and picked out a bunch of oak to get the project started, a combination of quartersawn white oak, and some red oak.  The white oak is being used to build up the legs. Did some miscalculation in our heads while at the store, meaning we had to make a second trip to get more lumber – which brought the cost up to almost $800 just in oak!