Monday, August 15, 2016

Filling the Woodshed AKA Revisiting the Norwood Log Arch

Now that the shed is finished and Grandpa has been ploughing through my loose pile of dry wood, I felt I could try to get out to the bush on a not so rainy day and skid in a few logs that had been out there for a year or more.

Last year Grandpa cut down a huge birch tree that must have suffered a lightening strike early on in its lifetime.  He cut off the upper branches, which were large in their own right, leaving a seven foot log of imposing weight and size.

I brought the arch back to it, but together we realized that it was still too large.  Grandpa volunteered to try to use my electric chainsaw to split it into two smaller logs.  In the meantime, I used the winch on the ATV to pull up the upper branches into a better position for me to skid out with the arch.

Starting out small.
I was able to get some of the less desirable logs hauled to the new woodshed, and then the remainder I took up to the mill.

Got a few ready for cutting up, and still able to make my getaway around the shed!  No need to back up!

Kenny channeling his inner log driver.
After I left with the last of the birch logs, Grandpa felled another large, dead but standing jack pine.  Today I returned to haul it out too.  First off I took two eight foot logs from the top, where they were too punky to be of use for lumber.

That's right, I can do TWO AT ONCE!

Still some good wood in the centre.
Then I managed to use the arch to pull out the remaining twenty four foot log.  It had some good solid wood still in the core that I'm confident can produce a few two by fours for me.  It was quite a job to thread it through the narrow trails in the bush, and even more of a nail biter to try to drag it between the car and the truck to the mill!  Again, the Norwood arch performed really, really well.  I would never have been able to get the trees out as easily, or as cleanly, or on my own schedule without it.  I'm quite pleased with the purchase thus far.

A tight fit!
Finally I began cutting and splitting the birch from earlier.  I was very surprised to find that it was still soaking wet in the centre!  It had been cut over a year ago, and wasn't resting in a swamp or anything like that...  Oh well, I guess I just have to start piling it around the outside of the woodshed to burn NEXT winter.

Mixing golf with blueberry picking.

The fruits of Kenny and Donna's labour!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

My Custom Designed Woodshed is Finished.

It's done - and it looks good!

After returning from vacation, I kept trying to squeeze in a bit of work on the woodshed between doing household chores and educating/entertaining Kenny.  This usually meant that I could only put up two or three sheets of steel on the roof.
Slow progress during the week.  Kenny started piling, but Grandpa sure added to it!
The whole time, Grandpa was visiting daily to split wood for an few hours and pile it inside, now that the bare minimum roof was on.

This past Friday though, Mama was home so I didn't feel too many qualms about heading out in the morning with a real intent to TCB.
An early start.  Already have the gable end closed in with my own planks.
A view from a bit further back.
Not much to say, I just kept plugging away non-stop and was able, with very judicious cutting and measuring, to finish the project without having to purchase any extra sheets of steel (something I was nearly certain I would have to do when I started), or using up any strange colours on the back side (something that Grandpa thought would occur, while Donna merely granted assent if required).

A view of the roof from inside.  This should keep most of the rain and snow out.
Grandpa just keeps piling it on!
Checking my aspirations.
Kenny set up this shot all on his own.  He thought it would look neat.
All finished, and now time to really fill her up!
Of course, I did use up some spare pieces I had from previous projects (and the sheds that I'm dismantling due to obsolescence).  Oh, and a few of the protective cover sheets that come with steel shipments.

Grandpa has been continuing to split and pile my dry wood inside the shed this week.  I am hoping that this weekend I can get another large chunk of time where I can bring in more wood to ensure that the shed is full, as well as to begin the drying process for next year too.  I'd like to stay far ahead of the curve so that I can endure even a Westerosi winter.

Taking a break by spending the night at camp.  Donna wanted to capture Ken and the waxing moon out over the lake.  Looks fantastic!

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Windows Tip - SendTo Recursively.

Not sure how many people will actually find this useful, but I just realized it myself, and it's pretty helpful.

I find the "right-click - send to:" option immensely helpful, but also like that it can be customized.  I am often organizing and reorganizing files and folders, and find myself cutting and pasting to the same directories 80% of the time, and then a new directory for a month or two...  Today, as I hit up the run box (Windows - R), and then entering the sendto directory (shell:sendto), I tried something new.  I went up a directory, then right-clicked and selected "create shortcut".  Then I cut and pasted the sendto shortcut BACK into the sendto directory.

Light bulb!  Now I could right click on any shortcut, and "send to - send to!".  This lets me quickly and easily add to the right click options.  Awesome!

Nota Bene:  One must only use this feature on shortcuts.  If you use it on the original directory, you will copy the whole directory into the sendto directory - certainly not what you would really want.

Enjoy it for what it's worth!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Continuing Work on the Woodshed

At this point in construction, we took a break to travel down south to visit my family in the Kitchener Waterloo area.

The road trip down went smoothly, as we took the route we traditionally followed, and stopped mostly in places we've visited before, with the exception of one gas station that appears to have closed down recently, and so Kenny was forced to pee on a secluded part of their driveway ;).

We met up with Nana and Papa, with a bonus encounter with Aunt V!.  That was a nice surprise, it's always great to see more of my family.

Soon we headed out to Laurel Creek Conservation Area for some rest and relaxation in the outdoors.  Kenny quickly acquired skills in ladder ball, and my brother C! and friend B! came to help us enjoy our time here.
How can you enjoy camping without a campfire?

Papa's game building efforts paid off!
I purchased a new laptop to help facilitate my growing interest in coding again.  I'm trying hard to learn Java, but it seems to be taking longer with this old brain of mine.  At least Kenny is showing a keen interest too, so perhaps we can be study buddies going into the future.

It was very rewarding seeing Donna able to connect with a number of her friends on this trip.

We also got to be treated to lunch with our friends C! and J! from church - it was really nice to see them again.  They are about to embark on the adventure that comes with moving to Toronto for a few months - it's always a challenge to live in interesting times.  I'm looking forward to keeping the Homestyle tradition going with them this Christmas.

Papa let me work on my cardio by asking me to dig a hole for him.  That made me realize that yes, they have very nice soil there, but no, it isn't soft loam all the way down.  After the first few inches, it was hard packed clay, soon to be mixed with broken bricks left over from the construction of their home.

Too deep for me to reach the bottom now.
Of course, we also headed down to Dundas to visit with my Grandma.  In February she turns 100 years old!  It was really rewarding to hear her talk about her boat trip to Canada and early adventures here.

Looking great for 99!
For the first time in a few years, our trip down coincided with the summer BBQ at Aunt S! and Uncle J!'s.  It was really, really nice to enjoy their hospitality and see Aunt P! and Uncle J! too, who always host Christmas.  Uncle J!'s wine and Aunt P!'s beans were a real standout.

Ladderball makes another appearance!  Go Nana!
We got to fellowship with my brother C! and his wife A!.  He and I (and B! and Papa and Kenny) went out for our usual He-man club and had two tables divided between the sexes.  Donna reported that it was a good chance for her and Aunt A! to make an even better connection.

Sadly, we had to return home, but not before having a wheel bearing replaced at the last minute by Humphries in Waterloo - I can't sing their praises highly enough.

The trip back was also equally normal - albeit warm, what with our air conditioning in the car not working this year.  We stayed at a new place this time around - the Chicken Shack Motel.  It was the best positioned place for our driving itinerary, but I must admit that I was also sold on the name.

Upon returning, it was time to continue on the woodshed, wherever possible.  The steel for the roof had arrived, and I picked it up the day after we got home.

Grandpa and I raised the rafters into position, and held them there with some temporary braces, followed up by 1 by 4 strapping.

Rafters up!
Then I built and installed more "rafters" for the overhang.  These I screwed directly to the walls of the shed, and as described previously, they won't be supported on their outside edge.

And the overhang...
On these rafters I added more rows of strapping,

Now with strapping.
Then, with Grandpa's help, I put up the steel on the roof of the main structure.  I did this first, rather than the more normal approach of working from the overhand up to the peak.  I didn't want to stand on the overhang when it didn't have support on that outside edge.  I'm *pretty* sure it would support my weight, but I also didn't feel a need to test it that much.

I impressed myself by screwing the ridge cap down.  At first I was pressuring Grandpa to do it, as he has a stomach for heights that I can only envy.  But I said I'd give it a try, and toughed it out to the end.

Overcoming my fear of heights!
The day after that, I started on the overhang steel.  I was able to install one side on my own, proving that it is possible for me to finish it, given enough time.

Grandpa helped out on his own by levelling the ground around the woodshed - that will make it nicer to walk around and stack next year's wood supply there.  He also began splitting wood and piling it inside - after Kenny and I had added some more pallets for a floor.

It's really coming together.  I'm actually feeling a little confident about my wood supply this coming winter!  We'll see how close it comes to filling up once I can really focus on that aspect of things.