Saturday, July 18, 2015

Attic Ladder

I purchased an attic ladder for our garage shortly after we built our house.  It has been garage decor since that time.  I finally had a feel weekend a month ago and we decided to put it in.  It actually went in fairly easily, but it does take two people.

You need an opening in your ceiling, then headers on either side of the opening.  The ladder is designed to fit between trusses 24 inches on center.  Then you put up some temporary boards to rest the ladder on.  Finally you secure the ladder, then test the length of the ladder.

Unfortunately, the ladder we purchased was a bit too short, so in order to use it safely you have to put a 4x4 under the end of the stairs.








Time to put in a Pool

We purchased an above ground pool about 2 years ago on clearance at Target.  It is a 20' Intex type pool.  I tried to find someone to level an area for us for a couple weeks with no luck, put would email back, then not show up!  I finally was able to talk with one of our neighbors and he agree to come over and level the area.
 And here is the after.  Unfortunately, it turns out that is was level enough.  We put the pool up and filled it about 2 feet on the low end, which ended up being about 1 foot on the high end.  We played around in it, but decided that we need to take it down and re-level it.








So we took it back down and hopefully Darren (out neighbor) will be able to level it this weekend.  Then we can put it back up this week, since it is going to be hot.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Great Deal from Dakota Electric

 I noticed that Dakota Electric would provide rebates for purchasing CFL or LED lighting.  When Menards had a sale, I bought a bunch to change out the lights in a few areas were we still have incandescent bulbs.

I bought 25 bulbs for $105 (I think, I don't have the receipt anymore) and Dakota Electric credited me $110 (maybe it was $110).  The rebate form said they would refund up to %50 of the bulb cost, but they refunded the entire amount!

So know I have two months without an electric bill!

As you can see out electric usage is down for this month, not sure it can completely be attributed to the lights, but they certainly don't hurt.

I would be interested in hearing how much electric other people are using as well, it would be nice if on the bill they would tell you what percentile you are in as far as usage.

Garden Progress

 With the kids help we installed the gate, it turned out pretty well actually.  I know that it won't stop a determined deer, but given that the yard is surrounded by vegitation I am hoping the efforrt isn't worth it for them...

Some the seed we planted at starting to poke up as well, so that is exciting!  I had to water last night, which was neat as well.  Nick wanted to buy a turtle spinning sprinkler for Jen last year and we finally did when it went on clearance at the end of the year.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A farming we will go

Here is our little home on the range.  We tried this last year and didn't get it planted early enough, so the plants had a hard time competing with the weeds (might have been a lack of weeding on our part too...).

This year I ended up planting a bunch of sweet corn, more than I really planned but once I started I just kept going.  So we will hopefully have an abundance of that and enough so that it can pollinate properly.

I ended up with a small parcel, maybe 16 square feet for my beans, peas, lettuce and spinach but if it all works out we can do better space management next year.

The gate is in process, we have frequent deer visitors, so I am hoping that the effort of jumping the fence is off putting enough to keep them out.  We will see.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Things to Note about Syrup

If you make syrup, be sure to clean out your buckets in a timely manner.  I left mine for 2 weeks after buds started to appear, and went to empty them out this weekend.  They smelled terrible and there was a layer of slime on the bottom.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Making Syrup


 The last two years we have been tapping a few box elder trees in our yard and making syrup.  We just use a couple food grade 5 gallon buckets to collect the sap, with plastic tube connectors as taps.

It is amazing how much fluid moves up and down the tree trunks.  Then we just boil off the liquid in a turkey cooker.  We go through a tank of propane to get a quart of syrup, so not the most cost-efficient way of doing it...  But it is still fun.

Once it is boiled off most of the way, we take it inside and finish it off on the stove-top.  You have to boil the syrup until it boil at 7 deg F above the boiling point of water.