Thursday, June 30, 2011

Inspection approved

In the end. Hans approves of the compost bin. Said my skills as a carpenter are nil at best and not to quit my day job.

Hans Inspecting

Hans Inspecting by zero7negative
Hans Inspecting, a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.

So Hans was playing the roll of job sight foreman. I credit Hans on some of my crooked work. He kept giving me wet willies while working at the table saw. It's rather hard to stay focused when he's in your face tryna get in on the action. You know how these young punks are. They think they know it all. He was tryna tell me how to do shit. Barked at me when I was measuring. The nerve of this guy! I'm the one with opposable thumbs.

Compost bin

Compost bin w lip by zero7negative
Compost bin w lip, a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.

So this is with the lid on. You can see I didn't take into consideration the thickness of the sides. So yeah. I fucked up. It'll look vintage in 15 years and some ass clown might buy it off me for way more money later.
Anyhow. I used 1x12 redwood for the tops, sides, bottom, lid. 2x2 for the corners to connect everything. I used decking screws for their weather resistant characteristics.
Measurements. 26" wide. 24" deep. 24" tall. I know it doesn't sound like a very big compost bin. But it's plenty large for my use. If I find later on I need a larger one. I'll make it. Cost me about $80 for materials and transportation. I factore trans into cost b/c it is a part of the cost. I've seen these boxes online for a shit ton more. Granted they look that much better than mine. But I think I'll save my money regardless of how ugly it is.

Worm Compost bin

Compost bin w lip off by zero7negative
Compost bin w lip off, a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.

So this is what I made. A damn box! But not just any ol' box. A worm compost box. I used sustainably forested wood you bloody hippie. Not pressure treated. So my worms can live in a healthy and clean environment.
So I've got a old post on the compost bin I've been using. It doesn't work for me. Why you may ask. Well. I cooked the shit outa my little worms. I'm not home duriing the best hours of the day. So I don't exactly get to see where the sun sits during it's hottest hours. Besides. it's 2mm thick plastic stuff. There is absolutely no insulation to that thing. So the worms environment is effect by every little nuance change. Wood on the other hand is far better of maintaining a stable climate or temperature for my worms. Not that I plan on keeping in the baking sun. But at least we stand a better chance with a wood box.
I made a lid to keep out the gangster ass raccoons and stray cats out in my hood. The lid will also help with retaining heat at night, but also allow heat to escape when need be. I have not done this yet. But I'll be drilling 1/2" holes in the sides as well. When the sun is beating down. I can keep the lid on for shade and angle it catch a breeze. When the rainy season comes again. I'll just use a tarp or something. I was thinking of polishing up my skills and make a water proof roof for it.

Tools of the trade

Table saw by zero7negative
Table saw, a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.

Not that I'm a tradesman or anything. My wood work skills are horrible! But I'm determined to learn. Knowing how to use power tools and materials, is equally valuable as knowing how to farm/garden.
Since I didn't have a father figure in my life to teach me cool shit like carpentry or automotive skills. I had to grab my balls. Put em in my purse and learn my self.
Sure. It really sucks to fuck up $100 worth of lumber, but I'm having fun, I'm learning, and I'm actually doing something. As time permits. I'lll refine my skills and have a much nicer finished product in the end. For now. I'll have to live with some crooked cuts, uneven structure, and a not so desirable aesthetic. But I'm cool with that for now. If I had 5 years under my belt and still made ugly shit. I'd be pissed!
So I've been stocking Craigslist for used American made tools. I have scored some great inexpensive finds. Old Dewalt skill saw. Made in America. No plastic barrings or gears. Not made in China. But I looked for a year for a table saw. By no means do I need or have room for a big ol' table saw that real craftsmen use. They are on Craigslist all the time. Great price, made in America, great shape. But not for me.
So I tucked my balls and bought a made in China DeWalt table saw. This little thing is rad! You can cut angles, hook up a shop vac to collect the saw dust. It's small and light weight. I just hope it last a while. I paid $350. If it lasts me 5 years. I'll be happy. This table saw is going to get some serious use.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Soil Removed

Soil Removed by zero7negative
Soil Removed, a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.
So this is what I ended up with. Before I started. The ground was very uneven. I had removed a copious amount of concrete to make more room for gardening. Which caused that unevenness. Now it's quite even. Minus a few crazy ass holes that I had dug up some old old old fence posts. Someone was serious about those fence posts. They were close to 4 feet deep. 3 feet is good enough really.
Now I'm waiting on a fella to show up and take away the soil I dumped into the driveway. I was going to haul it away myself. But between renting a trailer and the many trips to the bump. I would be spending far more. That and my Jeep is having some health issues. I don't want to cause any premature wear on it since all funds are for garden right now.
I have all new "organic" top soil and compost in the works. Hopefully I can acquire it some time this week.
I failed to mention that I put up a new fence. That old one was tattered and the strong wind had blown it over. With my striking good looks and wit. I con'd the guy that owns the house next door to pay for the lumber and I'd built it. Even less money out of my pocket. That makes me happy. Had we had to pay someone else to do it. Both the neighbor and I would be out of more money. So this was a win win situation. Think about it next time this kinda shit happens to you. Yes I'm a cheap ass.
My next project is going to be building a worm compost bin out of wood this week as well. The Rubbermaid thingie I started with didn't work for me. Not to say it wouldn't for others. But a bin made of wood will be far more ideal. It's heat resistant. So the rule of not being able to keep a bin in direct sunlight will not apply. It will have a lid which will be able to be propped open during the day for constant air flow. I'll also be using 1/2" hole saw bit at the top for air flow as well. And new bin will be huge! So excited for my worms. It'll be the W hotel of worm bins.
Stay tuned damn it!


Rototilled by zero7negative
Rototilled, a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.

So this is my motivation. My church. My worship. A garden space with tons of potential. I've been working slowly and solo on this space. It's about 700 sq ft. The soil is rather toxic. So I made this out to be a bigger project than needed be. But for good reason. I couldn't fathom building beautiful and very expensive raised flower beds over toxic soil. Nor would I be able to sleep with a clear conscious knowing I just left the earth to rot, when I have the ability to nourish it back to good health. I took out about 6 inches of soil. Started by soaking the dry soil with water. Then took a rototiller to it. Removed that soil. Then repeated two more times.
Ever since digging in this space. I've found everything from a chicken carcass, possible murder weapons, cat/dog poo, more plastic than a Hollywood slut has been injected with, children toys, cans. And the list goes on.
It was so much work. This kind of labor work will put into perspective. What day laborers goes through. And yes I did this solo. Hans tried to help, but he was scared of the rototiller. He did however enjoy diggin his claws into the loose soil. Getting some of his puppy energy out before sleeping. I got a tan. Drank a few beers. And enjoyed my efforts as i watched progress unfold.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Hans by zero7negative
Hans, a photo by zero7negative on Flickr.

After all these years of being a renter. I finally got a dog. Well. A puppy. His name is Hans. Named after my favorite furniture designer, Hans Wegner. Born February 18, 2011. A good friend of mine changed my mind on which breed of dog to get. With his 40 plus years experience with Rottweilers and have known Hans parents since they were puppies. I felt confident in my choice. Before getting a dog. I was considering many breeds. Border Collies, Australian Shepperd, Greater Swiss, and Bernese Mt dog. I just like dogs....for the most part. Small dogs are not for me.
Hans was born bob tailed. Meaning I didn't cut his tail. For only being 4 months and 2 weeks. He knows quite a few commands. Potty training was harder for me than it was for him. Today, he only has a accident once or week or less.
Funny story. The day I was bringing him home. I had to stop at the market and get us both food. I went in with a list so I wouldn't get distracted. In and out in 15 minutes. When I came out to the car and opened the door to my Jeep. The smell of shit came rushing at me like out of control train. He had smeared shit into my driver seat. First thought was of anger. But how could I? I stood there laughing my ass off. He was 10 weeks old. What the fuck did he know? And who the fuck would I be to get bent outa shape about it?
I rushed back to the store and grabbed napkins to pick up what I could and just covered the rest for the ride home, with him in my lap. The first 30 minutes of owning a puppy was my first lesson in learning patience. Hans is learning to be a disciplined dog. Whereas I am learning patience, which is long over due.
I take him to work everyday. He runs errands with me. He's so cool and chill of a dog. And he sees more cleavage than any bra.