Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Busy Fall

We are crazy busy right now between dealing with the VA (I now have orders to report to the hospital in Columbia for evaluation), getting the fire wood stocked for winter, fencing, mechanical repair, setting up the shop and today we just found out our sewer line project will be starting next week (the surveyors were out today).

I fought the good fight over my physical limitations but my back and shoulder in particular are so bad off we have to work smarter and we have hired a part time hand to do some of the things we cant do drive fence posts. As you will see in the below pictures we have also been setting up our pole barn shop and I made the work bench a lot higher so I don't have to bend over to work on things. Feel sorry for yourself or adapt...we adapted and as a consequence we are getting things done.

First thing, we found an early 20th Century (as in teens or 20s) Rock Island Ill machinists vise down in Arkansas for $39.00. Its now been cleaned up and greased and it is so heavy and smooth that it makes the current crop of stuff you see in the box stores look like they are made out of aluminum foil. Even after all  these years the dynamic head has no side play and it is completely functional. We have a couple other vises (and a few vices as well!) but this one was a real find. Now if I can find an old Wilton.....
We started insulating the pole barn with double bubble and then built a large work bench on one side of the shop. Its stout.
We then decided to trim out the window over the work bench to make it look more finished and put a piece of plywood as a backdrop..looked a lot more like a shop and not so "tinny" which gave us some other ideas.
If your not familiar with double bubble. its like the packing bubble wrap you like to pop but its foil line=d on one side (which faces outside) and in this case has a White interior layer. It reflects heat to the outside during summer and helps keep heat in in the winter...its used in attics and such but is perfect for metal pole barn applications.
Well one thing progressed to another and we have decided to fully trim out the shop in wood and this is the first stage. We took long 2x4s and laid 3 of them vertically and perpendicular to the purlins then screwed them to the purlins used scrap 2x4s horizontally along the purlins as a frame for the 1/2 inch plywood wall covering. The plywood is kept off the concrete floor by resting on a scrap 2x4 while we screw it onto the frame then we add a pressure treated bottom kick plate to finish it. We will eventually apply some sort of deck stain to the whole thing but the wood already makes a big difference in the feeling of the place. We wiu\ll now have insulated and wood covered side walls and no more tin palace feel...not to mention the thermal and sound deadening benefit. Next step after this will be to add a full electrical system and the plan is to install using metal conduit; I really like that industrial and old fashioned look of conduit which we installed in the other shop.
This is a water pump housing on the International Harvester 424, we started leaking radiator fluid while brush hogging and I thought it was the lower radiator hose but no luck, this will have to come off and be welded.
And of course when you take the tins off and start digging you always find other stuff. The cylindrical thing sticking out of the left top of the carburetor is a fuel solenoid shut off valve that had the connection wiring loose. I reconnected it and checked it and the actuator clicked but being an inquisitive type I took it apart and the actuator rod had been cut off and the needle was missing so it hasn't worked in a long time. Basically what it does is drop a rod and needle into the carb to cut off fuel flow into the carburetor when you turn the key off so the engine doesn't diesel (keep running) when you switch the ignition off. They were problematic back in the day and lots of people just clipped off the needle (like what this previous owner did) or they removed it entirely and put in a plug into the carb opening. A new solenoid is about $189 so I need to decide if I want to replace it since it runs fine without it but while I have it apart I might as well rebuild the carb. Its a Marvel Shebler which are some of the most simple carbs another project. I rebuilt a set of Mikunis (4 synchronized) for my KZ 650 once which about sent me over the edge but this should be easy.
On the right side of this picture will be a small gate and the rest just shows that we have in fact installed all of the T-posts for finishing the front fencing project. Next week we will run field fencing down the whole length and a strand of gaucho barbed wire on top. It gives us a secondary containment of the cattle in case they breach the pasture fence and a psychological barrier to the rest of our property. Just something about fencing in your know?

Look closely at those stakes with the orange marker tape....that represents the path of our connection to the community sewer and no more septic tank worries. Our septic system was failing when we bought the place and we knew that so we have the money set aside to redo it...but through some dedication of the people around here they had gotten a grant to do a community sewer system and we were the last house not connected in this direction so we went before the water board and asked that it be extended to us. We are delighted that we were successful and by mid November we will be fully connected with no worries about pumping out, failing leach lines or dropping thousands into a new system...that money will go to the electrical for the pole barn shop.
Its been a glorious fall here after a long hot dry summer and the Mums are in full bloom, the trees have their autumn colour, and we are looking forward to the holidays.
But this weekend we are supposed to have freezing temps and so we harvested the last of the tomatoes. Some of the green ones will be ripened inside, some will be fried, and some will be canned and pickled...just a busy week on the farm.


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