Monday, March 5, 2012

The workshop works, now on to the projects.

© 2012 Joshua Stark

I've installed the second pegboard, finished my rotary tool storage, and put a hole in the workshop wall and stuck the back end of the vacuum through it, so I am ready to go.  For my first project, I started small:  An Aldo Leopold bench (just google "Aldo Leopold bench" and find a design while also learning a bit about the man).  Today me and the boyo went down to a local big box store and picked up a couple of 2x8 boards, and put it together:

One Leopold bench... now to finish that boysenberry trellis.

Now that I have successfully built this bench, I've get some much-needed morale for some of the larger projects I ultimately have in mind (table with storage, swing set, outdoor kitchen, second floor for the cottage, etc.).

The garden is going up and experiments continue, in particular the filling for the potato bin.  This year, since we don't have ducks, we haven't bought additional straw, so I'm using the walnut leaves from the leaf pile.  I'm pretty sure their composition has changed in the past few months, and it looks like good stuff to use.  Best of all, it's free.  Phoebe and I cut some seed potatoes, tossed them in a few at a time, and filled up the bin with the leaves.  Keep your fingers crossed.

In the meantime, the raised bed where those leaves had sat looks good, and after this next cold front moves through, we'll start putting in some other seeds.

The worm bin has been going slower than I'd hoped, and we don't really have a whole lot of worm compost.  Now, I'm stuck with a nitrogen problem in my cabbage/collard/onion/leek bed.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  The slugs haven't been too hard on the plants, yet, and I've been picking one or two per day out from under the slug board.

The weather has been wonderful:  When it isn't a day in the mid 60's-low 70's, it's dropping a half-inch of rain here in the Valley and multiple feet of snow in the mountains.

Oh, and this week I'm out cutting rose shoots for arrows.  I'll have pictures later.


Hippo said...

That bench looks sweet but I bet I would lean back too far and fall over. The bench may be stable but I'm not!

Now I am looking for designs for a simple but robust climbing frame and swings for kids. I have a lot of scrap timber.

Josh said...

You know, I was worried about its dimensions, too, but I trusted Aldo Leopold, and he designed a darn good one here. We sat there and the mourning doves landed not ten feet from us to drink from our tiny pond.

I'm also looking for a good swingset/play structure design. They sell whole kits at the local big box store, but I'll build our own. Please let me know if/when you find something.

Hippo said...

I was hoping you would find some good design and share it with me! All I can find are designs made out of light pine board and weedy 4x2 clearly to cut costs. I have whole trees here, you know, timber?

Josh said...

Ah, got it. I did a bit of checking around, holy crap, there ain't nothin'! So far, I've only got an article on log-and-pin construction here at Mother Earth News:

It's the nouveau hippy's magazine, but it is very good for homesteading, as is Grit (same company, but the latter is more down-homey aw-shucks).

I'll dig around some more, or maybe even tinker, myself. It looks to me as if you've found a niche in the internet that is yet to be filled. More work for you...

Also, I sent you an email a couple days back about possibly getting some flyfishing going for your place; did you get it?

Mr. Fashion House said...

Nice looking bench. I will be sure to give it the tilt test when I have an opportunity to put my fundament on it. ;)

Did you use redwood/ceder, or are you going to have to paint it?

Josh said...

Fashion, I used douglas fir, and I'm torn on finishing it or not. Mr. Leopold, the designer, meant for it to be a simple bench that would, over time, take on a gray color, and eventually return from whence it came. If I can find a stain or finish for it that is natural, then I'll do it. Any suggestions?

Mr. Fashion House said...

Suggest trying lawn clippings or coffee grounds for your nitrogen issue.

You could also have used feather meal... if you had garnered enough feathers this season.

No idea on finishes for your Douglas Fir. Most of the durable ones are pretty nasty, even if "natural".