Sunday, April 19, 2015

Florida Softshell

We had an uncommon for our yard visitor the other day, a Florida Softshell turtle. I have seen them before in PCB, but down at St. Andrews State Park. I am guessing she is a she, as the females are larger than males and she was quite large for a softshell. We've had many turtles nesting in our yard this spring, having sandy ground and being close to the creek. We don't mind, they don't disturb much. Most of our turtle visitors are Box Turtles. She is our biggest reptile to visit us yet. I hope it stays that way. :-)

My, what long neck you have.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Closet and Trim

Besides building a tea box, Zachary has been circling back on a few unfinished projects. Our hallway has been lacking trim since we moved in. Again using up the reclaimed cedar from the old carsiding, he milled baseboard, crown molding and door casings for the hallway.

After staining, he gave it 4 coats of polyurethane for a nice hard finish.

While working in the hallway, it was time to deal with the neglected hall closet. This was the last colset in the house to have that annoying wire shelving. The hall closet is the hub for the house's internet, media and sound system. While we don't have all the electronics in place, we needed a clean breathable space for them. The second part of the closet needs to function as a closet, storing cleaning supplies, cat food and the vacuum.

The closet ceiling is also the access to the attic.

So Zachary patched the screw holes and painted the closet to match the hallway. The top 2 shelves will serve the home electronics. The pull out cabinets and bottom shelf is for storage.

He rebuilt the ceiling access to the attic in cedar, so it is not as crummy looking as before.

Zachary built the cabinet and pull out drawers out of the cedar as well.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tea Box

The sawdust and wood shavings have been pouring out of the garage lately and one of the by-products was a tea box for me. I was scouting Amazon for a container for all my tea bags and realized Zachary could build me something well made and have it before I could say free 2-day prime shipping.

I gave him a tea packet for sizing. Using some scraps of cedar wood, he cut, planed and glued up a 8 compartment box in no time.

The cubby where my tea, cookbooks, vitamins, and general junk lived before.

Much better. Until we get around to getting a microwave, it will be the tea making and recipe cubby.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Table Saw Enhancement

Before we moved to Florida, Zachary had a pretty nice large Crasftman table saw. While we were downsizing the household for the big cross country move, that and a few other large shop tools didn't make the cut. It was sad at the time, but it was the most practical at the moment. We didn't know what we would be doing once we were in Florida, let alone where to keep it all. 

Present day, the shop tool collection is growing again. Zachary's job is remodeling our house, in hopes of making a good investment return in a couple years. While he misses the large shop tools he once had, he still doesn't have the space for it all. We hope our next house will have a proper large shop space for Zachary's tools and creations, but in the meantime he is making the best out of what we have. Sometimes restrictions brings out creative ingenuity.

Shortly after we bought this house, we also bought a small portable table saw for projects. It does the job, but not well. Small work surface, uneven cuts, etc. Inspired by a few creative woodworkers on YouTube, Zachary set out to enhance his table saw.

He disassembled the table saw, removing the motor and mechanism out of the body.

Using a table top from a old cabinet, he cut out a space for the blade to come out of the new work top surface. You can see the old cabinet in the picture above. We got 2 of these cabinets for free from a large local resort that was remodeling their guest rooms. The tops are maple, great for making a solid work surface.

Then he built legs for his top.

It took some fiddling to get the saw mechanisms to work correctly in the new housing. After a while, the movement of the saw settings were moving smoother than they ever did in the original saw body.

It lives!

He put wheels on it, so it can easily be moved around the garage and driveway. The driveway is often an extension of the small garage as a work area, so that was essential. While he still would like a nice large table saw again one day, this enhanced table saw is a far improvement to what he had for not much investment and a little time & patience. He will be adding miter slots to the top and a cutting fence.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Workshop Additions

Zachary has fully recovered from his surgery and has been busy with projects again around the house, feeling healthy and energized again. 

One of his first priorities was getting his garage workshop in order again. It was cluttered and neglected for a number of months. Tools, totes, and misc everywhere, with no workspace. Inspired by his wood magazines, he built a multi-faceted storage cabinet. With 4 swinging and nesting doors, it took care a lot of the clutter on his small tool bench.

Craving a large work table for projects, he also built a movable tool bench. Using mostly scrap lumber we have, he layered several sheets of old plywood, creating a solid and level work surface. He plans on getting a bench vise for it soon. It is a heavy sucker, but will be a great space for projects for years to come.

He still has some more organization planned for the shop, but it is nice to see the garage floor again.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cat Grass Update

So I think I am on a 2 container growing cycle in my grass growing experiment. If I soak seeds on Saturday, plant on Sunday, by Thursday/Friday the new grass is ready to be released to the cats. Freyja likes to get on the counter the day before and taste test the new crop of course. While last weeks pot is still green, it is pretty battered and wilted and not appealing anymore to them once the fresh growth is available. It looks like I'll have to replace part of the soil each time, as the wheat puts down a heavy root system.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cat Grass Farming

Our cats enjoy fresh grass to nibble on. I have bought the grass kits and potted grass at the pet store in the past, but it gets expensive after a while and doesn't last long. (At least with our cats)

So I bought a few cute tin containers from a yard sale for a quarter a piece and spray painted them blue and green.

I ordered a pound of hard red wheat seed from Amazon and soaked them for a day to spout before planting. I started the soaking on Sunday.

Watered a few times a day with a spray bottle.

By today, Thursday, it was ready to turn over to discerning Freyja for approval. She approved.

I am started the seed soaking process today on a second planting and might make a third pot later for the rotation, depending how quickly the cats demolish each pot between re-plantings. It was surprising how quickly and easy it was to grow with a little care. Hopefully I can get the rotation timing right, so I can keep a healthy pot out for them most of the time.

Having it around, the cats seem to leave my other house plants alone. I also believe they don't throw up as much when the grass is available to them. It is the same variety people make their wheatgrass juice drinks too, although Freyja may not want to share.