Hey it's me again. The Tulips and Daffodils are peeking up from the dark dreary depths of the under world to see what kind of year they will be beautifying. So far they like it. What's not to like. The weather has been gorgeous. Temperatures in the 40s and above with middle 30s at night. I checked the backyard garden beds and they are thawed out but not quite dry enough to start working the soil. I am so close to starting the fence building at Terra Nova Gardens. I would imagine it's still a little greasy there. That type of soil gets real sticky when wet. I mean the kind that sticks to your boots until each foot weighs 10 pounds. It's the kind that really grows things well but can't be rushed when it wet. It needs a lot of compost mixed into the soil. Of course with the size of the property, I can not only expand the garden but the composting as well. I have a 168 foot bank that's covered with 11 years of accumulation of leaf drop from all different types of trees. I should have enough material for garden compost for years to come.
Now some of you will remember about this time last year I began to build a storage area in my basement. News leaked out that old neighbor Dave was becoming an end of times prepper when actually all I was doing is providing a place to store a little reserve and a place to put some super bargains. I thought it quite amusing that I would be thought of in that way but then again some weird things have happened and still happen in old Neighbor Dave's backyard. It's all in fun and really everyone in the neighborhood gets along great. Anyway here it is all cleaned up before construction began.
I have had some time to work on the area. The insulation and drywall are installed. The ceiling drywall was a bit of a challenge for sure. The shelves are in there final resting place and you can see that some things are already being stored. The top shelf has been designated for paper products. I would like to get the ceiling light wired before the work stops except for rainy days. This year will be a busy spring with all the garden expansion going on.
As you recall .... well maybe you don't, I purchased two shop lights to install as ceiling lights. What's the difference? The ceiling light is made to attach to a ceiling electrical box and has a fancy frosted cover over the lights. The shop light has an electrical cord that's plugged into an outlet, hangs by chains from the ceiling, and has no fancy cover over the lights. The shop light is about $15 to $20 cheaper than the regular ceiling light. Well, those that have been reading my blog know that I am not into spending more money than necessary even if it involves more labor. Such is the case with converting a shop light into a ceiling light., The manufacturers of the shop lights must have anticipated guys like me and designed the light with the ballast off center. The ballast is an electrical gizmo that makes the lights work. Since the electrical cord was removed a hole had to be cut through the fixture to allow the electrical wires into the light.
This is the ceiling electrical box cover that will be attached to the light fixture and then mounted to the ceiling light. Sorry for being too technical for those that could care less. It shouldn't take more than an hour or so to get the light mounted and wired up. Then the real work begins. I am going to put a wall up to block off this area from the rest of the basement. It will be insulated and drywalled as well. The most exciting part of this project will be installing a door. That should be a real trip. I will try to build the door casing and actually hang the door. Doors come in the casing with the hinges installed and the knob hole already cut. Yeah, you're getting the idea that I just like to do things the hard way.
Friday and Saturday's project was to improve the rain catch collection barrel. A five gallon bucket become the stage 1 part of the catch system. The bucket is cut off about three inches below the rim. The top of the barrel lid is cut to match the five gallon bucket. A piece of screen is placed over the opening in the barrel lid and the now bottomless bucket is pushed into the lid opening.
This is the under side of the barrel lid. Several screws hold the bucket, screen, and lid firmly in place. The screen will act as a debris filter that can be cleaned after each round of rain. The disassembly takes about one minute to get access to cleaning the screen. Even changing the screen would not be too time consuming.
The down spout sits through a shaped hole in the lid of the bucket and a clamp is screwed to the down spout flush against the bucket lid to keep the spout from slipping off the gutter. Now we're all set for some rain. The gutter was cleaned and another barrel was attached through the spigot on the bottom of the barrel. I still have some things to do to the main tank and will be working on that on Monday. There was some minor leaking to fix while the tank is empty. So hopefully the rain will hold off until I get the main tank sealed up. I just had a couple drippers last year which can eat into the water supply over time. Once the barrel is hooked up to the main tank then it can rain two and a half inches before the tank is full. Two supplementary barrels will cover another 110 gallons which will be a good start for the summer watering.
Well, that's about it from the Urban Ranch for this time. May your seeds all sprout and your rain fall gently at just the right times in the right amounts all season long. May harvest be so abundant that your pantry overflows and may good fortune follow you through the entire growing season. Until next time, keep the coffee on and your shadow in the garden.