I needed another shed for my lawn tractor, snow blower, tires etc. My garage was just getting too full of junk. I was going to build another shed but Tuire wanted a "pretty" premade one. By coincidence Lowes had a nice 12x8 shed for $500 off and no tax. Thus $998 all in. It was weird, the shed was not a standard house shed build as it seemed to be made in order to fit in a 4x8 box. As it was, it was a 1000 lb box! Here is the results of the first day of the build. I had an issue with the foundation as finding and digging a level spot on my property is very difficult. In addition, I thought the kit came with a 24" joist base frame, so I purchased a few extra 2x4s for 12" centres. When I opened the box I discovered it actually had no joists at all. As this was Queen Vic Day and everything was closed I scrouged though my wood pile and used a mish mash of 12ft cedars, 8ft pressure treated and 8ft 4x4s both spruce and culled warped PT. Crazy but it worked! I positioned the 4x4s (overkill) below where I would be parking my tractor.
I am very happy with my steel roof but over the years it has produced an undesired effect: snow avalanches. Frost and melt cycles would cause snow to build up and eventually crash down in large piles. The snow would be so hard packed as to be unremovable. Hugh piles would crash on my back deck and then melt against my rim joist. Ultimately this caused my rim joist to rot. Then one final crash broke my deck which was attached via the ledger to the rim joist. Thus I needed to repair my rim joist and rebuild my deck.
I added short pieces to both sides of all my floor joists. I also added 4x4 blocks between the joists. I ripped a pressure treated 2x10 to replace the old 2x10 (PT wood is slightly dimensionally larger) and then covered it with blue skin and added a drip rail above the deck. The deck was raised with two car jacks and I added 4 deck blocks as the new design has the deck floating (not attached to the house).
The composite decking was not damaged when the deck collapsed. Wood would not have survived as well. I reinstalled the composite and all was as good as new.
I have since solved the snow avalanche issue. Last winter I tested a snow fence on the front of the house and it worked well. This summer I will add a roof snow fence to the rear of the house.
The crappy parging below the siding will be replaced later in the summer by novik stone which is currently sitting in my garage. In addition, we will be changing all the exterior doors and windows this year.
Every setup is different. I am very familiar with my house, having built it. I know it is very well sealed and insulated. So well sealed I had to retro install an air exchanger after I built the house to get the air flowing out. Saying that all my windows are in the need of replacement. Otherwise the house is currently pretty efficient. When I built the house I went with baseboard heating for easy installation and the then cheap cost of electricity. I figured no matter what electricity would be the long term solution in Ontario and reasonably priced. I never predicted the liberal governments costly green programs and overall energy mismanagement/corruption. Hard to believe we have the highest cost of electricity in North America while we sell excess dirt cheap elsewhere and we refuse to buy cheap excess power from our neighbour. The whole thing is mind boggling.
At one point I bought a new gas furnace from my neighbour and was going to retrofit ductwork. I changed my mind as I thought I would be then at the whims of another monopoly and more government regulations. Ultimately I still believe the future is cheap electric power and/or the ability to go off grid. I live in a forest otherwise I would of long covered my roof with solar panels. I do believe some technology will happen to wean us off this government energy control of us. Then they may have issues trying to tax the sunlight or your small fission generator (sure why not). You may think this is silly, but there are occasional rumors of Ottawa thinking about taxing my well water! Thus my decision to try a ductless heat pump. It is an efficient electrical based heating system with little retrofitting required.
In my case my house is a 2000 sq.ft. “side-split” bungalow. The one story side being an open concept, the two story side containing family room, laundry and garage with the second story being the bedrooms. The open side is also “open concepted” to the family room on the lower two story side. Normal thinking is that a large heat pump could heat the 1200 sq.ft. of the open side and some of the first floor family room. A second unit or heat pump would be required to heat the second floor bedrooms. However from my past experience with my wood stove in the family room the heat will naturally rise to the bedrooms under most scenarios. Thus instead of an expensive second unit (9k$ vs 5k$) I decided to try one unit, get my rebates, while they are available, and see how it goes.
I love my new MacBook Pro. The media loves a possible negative Mac/Apple story. After all the news after low battery life on my MacBook Pro, I was getting paranoid and wondering at every battery indication drop. So I decided to actually test my laptop. There are a lot of details on how to do this on the web but essentially it is as follows:
I waited 8+ hours and went to sleep. I could see when I went back into iTunes, after I started it up again, where the movie stopped. I could then determine how much longer the playlist lasted. In the end I must have been getting paranoid from the news cycles because my MBP lasted 620 minutes or 10.3 hours. Apparently Apple promises 10 hours in this scenario. So I am sorted.
Well I dished out for a new macbook pro. The one with the touch panel. Looking forward to playing with it (in 3 or 4 weeks). I normally do my development work on one of my many Mac Mini's or my trusty 11" Macbook Air. It is truly amazing how long that Macbook Air worked. It had a 5 year old processor and only 4 GB of ram yet it would allow me to run Xcode, simulators, Safari etc, all concurrently without any problem. I did the majority of my IOS apps with it. I was only slowed down occasionally by the small screen, but it worked well and was extremely portable, and looked (still does) beautiful. My main reason for the new computer is that the battery seems to be nearing the end of its life on the air, surviving only an hour on a full charge. Tuire has an iPad retina, the twins have their iPad mini's (in big shock cases) but I am sure that I will find a use for the poor old guy though!
As for the lack of old school USB on the Pro, I rarely ever have my Air connected to anything other than Wifi to my network, so it's perfect for me. I may get a small cheap dongle hub if required. For the curious I took the basic 13" touch panel model but maxed up the ram to 8GB. For future proofing, you always should max up the RAM as it is not user upgradeable.
Well we have survived 3 days of pre-kindergarten. The kids are slowly getting use to it. We are getting use to waking them up early, packing their lunches and picking them up. Below is a picture at their introduction session last week and then that fateful first day. Thomas was not happy but he is getting to like it. His favourite teacher is "the one with the whistle". Annika seems to have taken everything in full stride. Quite an experience for all.
My neighbour was upgrading his RV and he asked about my RV rebuild project. I then found out he would sell me his old RV for less than the cost of my rebuild. To top it off the RV was loaded with more than I hoped to put in my rebuild.
The only issue was a water damage on the hybrid beds and on the dome over the shower. Both issues are the only issues that I could find on line regarding this model. The leak on the beds are due to folding the hybrid rubber flap incorrectly. The dome leak was/is a caulking issue, that might be fixed already. However I will cut out the bathroom ceiling and have a look just in case. I really didn't like the idea of buying a used trailer due to how easy the walls/ceilings rot. However we knew and trusted the history of this unit. Our neighbours bought it used (one year old) and used it for the past 6 years. The interior was spotless. The dealer offered little on a trade-in due to the leak. They don't want the possible hassle.
So far we have only tested out everything in the driveway, but everything works very well and the kids love it! No leaks over the last two downpours.
Pictures below. The RV is a 2007 Starcraft 185sb Antigua. It is a 18ft hybrid RV sleeping 4-6 people!
I will rebuild my triple-e trailer into a utility trailer.
In my final design, I put two good antennas, the CYD-1430 at 46 ft, and the Winegard HD8800 at 43 ft. I then face mounted my regular day in day out use antenna (the DB8e) on the tower at about 37ft. One bay is aimed at Watertown, one bay at Plattsburg. This is about a 60 degree beam width. That antenna should not work as well as it does. Finally for fun, I put a four bay clone at 39ft. aimed between Montreal and Plattsburgh.
Face mounting the DB8e on the DMX is very very easy and looks way cool. Note the DMX is a 40' tower on a one foot hinge addition and a 7ft mast (5'8"above tower peak).
First night I am getting ABC and all the Watertown stations but it looks like a unusually good reception night. I will have to wait for some long term results. In the pictures you can see my old chimney mast still up. More details on the install can be seen on the Antenna Tower page. My hourly scan results can be seen on the OTACanada reception scan page
46ft - CYD-1430 on a RCA TVPRAMP1R preamp pointed towards Watertown (on rotor)
43ft - Winegard HD8800 on a Kitztech KT-200 preamp pointed towards Watertown (on rotor)
39ft - 4 Bay Clone on a CPA-19 preamp pointed towards Mount Mansfield Vermont
37ft - DB8e on a Channel Master 7777 (dual input one) pointed towards Watertown and Plattsburg.
In my cleaning up/sorting of my misc. electronic kit, I stumbled upon an old rotor. I believe it is a channel master rotor (or a Radio Shack copy). Of course I had to see if it worked - and it did! Now I have two CM rotors. I am thinking of putting both on my tower project.
In my tower design I realized I would need at least 100ft of rotor wire. I currently only have a 75' stretch. I had given up my last 200ft to my brother-in-law and didn't feel like buying another roll of 500ft. You can buy cheap stuff in 75ft. However I did have lots of CAT5 that I didn't need (I have 1000' of CAT6 I need to use first). Cheap rotor wire is typically 22 gauge. Good rotor wire is 20 gauge, CAT 5 is 24 gauge. Rotor wire is typically 3 wire (Channel Master) or 4 wire. Easy solution is to pair up wires in a CAT5 for a 4 wire cable. Pictures show a typical wire hookup, the video below shows the rotor opening at normal speeds. The rotor bolts are currently in a container of vinegar "derusting". Don't forget to cut off the unused pair to avoid shorting.
I originally wanted to install my antenna tower on the two floor side of my side split house. The plan was that I probably could have climbed the final section and a half easily for maintenance. I have since changed up the plan and will design a hinge base for the tower. That only leaves me with a small section on the other side of the house where a tower could be lowered without hitting a tree. My other worry about the North side of my house was that all the stations are to the south and I would be receiving signals over 40+ feet of metal roof. They say that if you 10 feet above the the roof diffraction would not be an issue but I am not convinced.
First step was to manually push up two section against the wall. I was unable to safely raise three sections at once. So in the end I "walked up" the bottom two and then carried the third section on my back up the ladder. This worked surprisingly well! I then attached the third section to the eaves. I forget what I used for facia when I built the house but that tower is solidly attached to the house. I am very happy with the results. Now I dig out for the base.
Just a blog about what we and the kids are up to. Also some projects that I may be doing.