Plunging forward can sometimes seem like sideways. In the background I hear McCain and Obama having at it. The lawn however is struggling financially. And with the markets plunging it seems like old times, slab number 5. But progress it is and forward shall we go. Getting ready to seed the lawn, Jeff and his brother have done due diligence. Pictures below show Jeff and his brother going at the leveling and breaking up needed for seeding. Tonight it started to rain. They got all the seed in. And when it got dark I went out to help. They spread wheat straw down over the main area to the back of the house but ran out of time to do the area in front of the shop. (Note to sanitariums everywhere, don't use oats straw, it causes insanity for reasons that can only be explained by playing in an oats bin for a few hours.)
No steps to the pond yet, and while perhaps a bridge too far, the blocks for the steps sit ready as seen in the picture. To show how costs billow, the dozer cost over $900, straw, tools, grass seed, etc. another $800 and the labor will be even more. Plus I would like to foam insulate the shop, more money.
We had a serious problem at the wall between the greenhouse and the shop. An industrious colony of ants routed out a hive from the styrofoam in the beam above the door. The pile of cut styrofoam powder was almost a foot high! I called a bug company (Swat Pest Control) and they offered for $235 to spray the foundation of our house and also to solve the ant problem. We also had spiders in the garage the size of frogs and our previous house, only a few hundred feet away was consumed by termites, so it made good sense. Their suggestion was to call in the urethane foam people both to stifle further incursions and ultimately to save cost. The combination of borax powder on the sills and urethane foam being a best starting defense. I hate the thought of that pink stuff (I break out), but the alternative is a sparing application of perhaps 200$ of the pink stuff which should insulate the core of the shop if the foam people can't compete (and extra borax).
I ran across some prickly ash (Zanthoxylem americanum) behind the shop. I've wanted for some time to compare the American variety and berries with the Chinese (they use it as a seasoning, Sechuan pepper, a pepper substitute). This is a citrus tree that grows in Indiana! And it has the ability to knock you to the ground if you chew into a red berry in mid summer. My brother still claims I tried to kill him 40 years later! He could be right. Called the toothache tree by the Indians one berry is the equivalent of about 3 quarts of lemonade. It could be a good substitute for clove oil? Hmm. Greenhouse and potential yummy commercial fruit come slowly together. I have chewed the tamer dried husks to see if anything comes to mind. It certainly does not seem like a pepper substitute. But the real deal has a powerful narcotic and its genetic closeness to orange and lemon make it a prime target for study. The Asian version carries citrus diseases as does the American version but so far I don't see storm troopers burning down every hedge row..
The drywall for the greenhouse lab area is coming along, see pictures below. Now I have the problem that if
I finish the ceiling out all the way to the wall I won't be able to get the foam people to insulate the soffits
properly. So far, all the walls are cut and numbered, sitting in a heap along one wall (but not installed except between the main shop and the lab). The ceiling panels required some reinforcement
so I paralleled with 2x2's every 5 studs (every 8 feet). Looks good. As mentioned before, Jeff suggested putting a base of recycled plastic
around the base of the greenhouse. So I priced it. Woof. The stuff is expensive(surprise) but it would provide a wonderful surface for lagging
down the main structure and sealing against cold and moisture (doom and gloom aside). The local lumber company
sells a thick decking board (2x6)that would really be neat as well as a white standard thickness board.
I need to talk to Captain Kirk (AKA Denny Crane, AKA William Shattner) about his Kobayashi Maru solution.
We may have to hire the writers of Boston Legal to pen us a quick fix, perhaps something deserving the
wooden cigar award for innovative and extraordinary financial and meritorious greenhouse construction flim flam.
Even ebay seems a bit steep on aluminum tubing, my first choice for g.h. structure.
Zanthoxylem (or Xanthoxylem), Prickly Ash is shown below (photo from University of Wisconsin hort. website). Smells heavenly!
The wind swirled today with 40 mph winds, October 26, creating a huge straw storm. A large older buck caught Margaret's eye at the foot of the hill and the dog gave chase. But when I walked out I noticed in the corner places and in the warm covered areas... baby grass blades are peeking out. Alea Iacta Est!! Like the parable of the scorpion and the frog. Lawn grass remains lawn grass. And although I may throw in some alfalfa later for the deer, there is no longer any question that grass mowing will be soon required!! Now if I can just figure out where that pesky garage drain tile is buried.
October 29, the lab/shop drywall is hung. Next comes the hard part. I need a panel saw and a router jig to cut the 7/16" walls for the shop/shop. In theory, the particle board should support almost any construct. In practice the electrical runs will need some sort of color coding and the piper will need to be paid as winter approaches....Boo!!..... Happy Halloween!