Sunday, December 3, 2017

Stranahan's Snowflake 2017

We did our regular run up to Denver on December 1st for the Stranahan's Snowflake release. For the uninitiated: The head distiller at Stranahan's Rocky Mountain Whiskey in Denver, Colorado makes a special blend that is released once a year. It's usually the first Friday in December, and yes, it's chilly. To get a bottle of this release of a whiskey that starts out as regular Strannies and ends up as something especially delicious and rare, one has to camp out overnight on the sidewalk surrounding the distillery. The folks that were first in line started out on Wednesday morning at 5 AM. I think that's a little nuts, and we go most years arriving on Friday afternoon/evening. This year we got there at 4 :30 PM. The line was much longer this early in the evening than years previous:

So we set up our chairs, fluffed out our sleeping bags and settled in to drink and visit with our neighbors for the night.

It's always nice to get to know the folks around you a bit. Friday night's group included the regular grouping of interesting and wonderful folks. Immediately "up" line from us was Kevin, who offered to make us coffee in the morning and collected pizza orders for delivery later on. Also "up" line was Andrew who brought his doggy, Layla. The dog was a delight who sat on our blankies to get her tired old feet off the concrete. Right next to us was Rachael (whom we all called DC). Rachael had flown in from Washington DC that afternoon, using her fiancees flight miles to trip out and get a couple bottles of Snowflake for their wedding. The wedding will be on Mount Evans later this year and her fellow who LOVES Stranahan's whiskey. (Rachael however kinda hates whiskey). She flew out immediately after collecting her bottles and dropping them off to be engraved in the morning. Next to DC was a group of friends that had flown in from both Portland and Kansas City (figure out that connection and you're doing better than I am). There were 5 of them and all were friendly and nice.

So we spent the evening drinking, eating the pizza that Kevin ordered, and catching occasional cat naps between the blaring of the train horn as it rumbled by about a quarter mile away. It ran at least every hour, but it felt like much more. :D. There were folks playing guitars, people talking and visiting, folks with outdoor camp fires, one tent had a whole bar in it. It's a nice chilly party full of folks with the shared interest in getting a once in a life time bottle of a very special whiskey.

In the morning, around 6 AM, they start handing out tickets.

Each person in line can get two tickets. The ticket gets you one bottle of $100 rare whiskey. I actually dropped one of mine in line, and a really nice fellow handed it back to me. (hey, I'd been up all night drinking, I was a bit out of it).

Stranahan's is making more of a party atmosphere out of the release and they're doing a really good job of it. Once (and within an hour before) the tickets are handed out folks start packing up. This makes the line MUCH shorter as some folks will take up 20 or 30 feet of sidewalk with their tents and such. And no one cares a whole lot where they are in line once they have their tickets. We moved from the alley that's about a 1/2 mile from the entrance door to about 100 yards away long before the doors opened at 8 AM. Folks are still talking and visiting in the line, there's occasionally a warming stove scattered here and there and that's a good thing because once you've packed up your feet start really freezing while you wait the hour or two to get in the door.

Then the doors open! They check ID's as you enter (21 and over only in the line). Then the line snakes throughout the distillery so that we can all warm up a bit. There's a band playing, folks dancing, an online bar set up and the mood is pretty jovial. This year they handed out a signed release poster

Also on line, a little shot of the new regular flavor of Stranahan's was available. It's a sherry cask offering and while I liked it? I think it's a little pricey for what you get. It was nice to get a taste and that added to the party flavor. All the employees are all excited, wearing their Snowflake wear, smiling, interacting with the crowd and so obviously excited that I really think they love this day. As you walk through the line there are two casks to sign, these will hold a new Snowflake offering. We've signed several casks over the years.

The Snowflake goes through a 5 year aging process: 2 years in new oak casks with a #3 char, then moves on to various other caskings. This years release went through several rum casks, a port cask, oh hell take a look:
The line moves somewhat slowly, but more quickly than one would think 700+ folks could move through a building. The music, dancing, drinking and visiting help pass the time for the whole bunch who spent the night drinking, smoking, talking and laughing.
Then you pass through the door to where the whiskey is!!!!!!! A nice, happy fellow tears the stub from your tickets (you get to keep the tickets) and you move forward. Three nice, happy folks grab your bottles for you and add tasting notes, tags, individual bags and you can even have them put in a box for transport. We got our 4 bottles and chose a box, there's less chance of me dropping a box when I'm tired and a little hung over. Then you wander past the merchandise counter where you can choose to purchase your own Snowflake wear and head up to the checkout line. That moves fast and efficiently and the folks there are nice and happy too. :D

There's your bottle of Once In A Lifetime Snowflake in your hand.

You can choose to have Rob Detrich (Whiskey Rob) sign the bottle by standing in the line for that. It also moves pretty fast, we opted to not do that on release day. Crys might get it done on Monday when we go back to town for some other stuff. We've done it in the past, to tell the truth the whiskey tastes the same with our without the extra signature. That and we figured the release posted was good enough in that vein.
After that we wandered to the car, got everything settled a bit and drove to Breakfast King to meet Pablo for a bite before the ride home. The ride home is 4 hours, and it feels like a bit of a trial after the long night before. We made the drive just fine, Crys got some sleep along the way and it was  nice unencumbered drive as concerns traffic and such. We got home in a smidge under the 4 hours and unloaded the car with the help of our friend Marian who watches the house and kitties while we're out of town.

Then it was on to TASTING! You don't get to try the Snowflake before buying. It's a risk and always a good one.
We loved it. I'm a rum fan and while the rum taste isn't overpowering, it is present and adds notes I like. Crys and Marian also loved the sample we took from our little bottle of joy. All the bottles are numbered and while we'll drink and share a bit, there's always one we hold back. This year it is bottle 420, for obvious reasons. Most often our bottles are under 100 in the numbering range, but due to this years large crowd we were further back. Funny, the whiskey tastes the same, no matter the number on the bottle.

That's our little, excessive purchase, story for the year. This year it's a reward for my Florida trip putting up powerlines after hurricane Irma and for Crys doing everything at home while I was gone.

Thanks Whiskey Rob, for another wonderful offering, we'll treasure and enjoy it. Remembering all the while that even if it's a once in a lifetime release? Life was meant to be lives, lessons are made to be learned, joys are meant to be celebrated and whiskey is meant to be drunk!

Changing our name, Since nothing evaporates bullshit like the light of truth.

We're going to change the name of our blog.

This morning my dear sweet wife, Crys, showed me an article about the use of the word Gypsy. 

It's a well written article about the use of the word, it's reference to a maligned ethnic group and has prompted us to no longer use a word that causes people distress, especially since that was never our intent. 

This is where I'm going to do the right thing. It's also half my blog, and I'm going to go off for a moment. Then I'm going to do the right thing. 

I'm a 57 year old white man. I grew up a poor, sometimes hungry, redneck, blue collar, ignorant kid surrounded by my african american playmates. I didn't know I was poor till I got older. I didn't know there was a difference between my self and my playmates until I went to school. We were all poor kids, playing in the dirt and the woods and the only difference was who came up with the best idea of what to do that day outside (because you didn't dare go back in the house until dark). 

As I got older I learned that I was privileged. I learned it was my job to hand back the power and privilege I was awarded due to a skin color that I had no more hand in choosing than my playmates did with theirs. 

I've tried to do that every day of my life. 

With maligned and mistreated folks who are a different color, gender, religion (OK still have a little trouble with the whole talking snake thing but I try), belief system etc. 

I'm not arguing that I didn't benefit from white male privilege, I will submit that it was a little hard to see when there were programs and help for every other group and I got told to shut up and go to work at shit jobs to get by while getting kicked in the teeth by the folks I was trying to be a good person for, and do the right thing. Scratch that. I didn't do it for any other reason than it was the right fucking thing. 

I'm still doing it. This morning the blog title caught me by surprise and I'm going to explain why, once again, being shown my ignorance made me mad. 

In short? I'm tired. I'm tired of finding out I had identified with a group that wasn't the male white one and then finding out that having willing ostracized myself from "my" white male group because I found it's actions generally repulsive I wasn't allowed to belong to any of the other groups because when they look at me they see white male privilege. 

And I'm saying it here because it's half my damned page and I can say what I want to. When I go out in the world and show my face I'll act right, responsible, happy to once again have handed over something I identified with, felt a resonance to, deeply had taken to be a part of who I am and inside? I've lost something else. I've been told I'm a terrible white man, and while I'm expected to remove myself from causing others pain from words or deeds? No matter how much I do it I'll never be welcomed into those groups. 

Why did I identify with the term Gypsy? We named the blog that because the life Crys and I lead brought us to being ostracized from our homes, a great deal of our friends, the dominant religious and moral/ethical approach as much of the rest of the country we live in. We felt we'd found a place to finally put down some roots on our terms and relax. 

It's still that. And I regret, once again, having my ignorance shown the light of truth and not being able to willingly stay in the ignorance. And part of me fucking totally completely hates every single god damned second of it. I'm tired. And it'll never get better no matter how much I do. Because there will always be one more thing I haven't found out yet. Yes, it's because I'm white and privileged. (HA) And I'll keep doing the right thing. God damn it. Because the crazy white racist woman that raised me somehow taught me that we're all the same, and I should always do the right thing because, "two wrongs don't make a right". 

Now, to change the name to something I hopefully won't have to change again, make a post about the great day we had yesterday and move on.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

How to nearly kill the Pro Shop guy......

Went to Cabelas yesterday and got our bows set up. I’m starting out at 52 pounds on the draw and 29.5 for a draw length. Crys is at 26” and around 30 pounds to start (she’ll move up quickly) Had to go shopping this morning for more stuff 😃. Who knew that the wrong carbon arrows will explode? We also found a pretty good sushi restaurant on the way outta Denver after our evening trip to Cabelas! It was a fun day following the E-board meeting. I should never get to learn things in a public setting.

First the Pro Shop guy was checking for draw length. They have you do this by putting the middle finger of your left hand on a tape measure on the wall then leaning into the wall and seeing where the other finger lands. They then divide that measurement by 2.5. I reached over and his response? Wow, didn't see that coming, you have quite the wingspan. I explained that all linemen have long arms because we hang from stuff like monkeys.

THEN? I'm getting sighted in and taught the basics (we never had a bow before, either of us) and apparently I was leaning with my hips which was messing up my aim. So there I am, full draw, and they guy reaches over to grab my hips to move them back. I'm focused on the peep sight, the targeting sight, the arrow, the target and the bow. This is a lot for a Denny. When he touches my hips and I didn't know it was coming? I flinch. Pull the lever on the release and the arrow flies right up into the ceiling just 4 feet in front of us.

Crystal is STILL laughing.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sometimes, ya just gotta hit restart.

Most of the posts here are about what we're up to, what we're building, places we visited, things we ate and drank, stuff we've been up to. This one is not. This one is of the "inside" variety. The pic is of Griffy, our lovable, sometimes grumpy kitty, and he is Crys' best friend.

Over the last few weeks I've managed to mire myself in minutia. I've let work and all the "stuff" happening there to get in the way of enjoying what's important. To be specific (stop laughing) what's important is home and Crystal. Our kitties and the stupid chickens. Working together on the greenhouse and finishing up the place to get ready for winter. Those are important, not what's happening at a place I'll never think about again in about 2 years hence.

So today, possibly all weekend, perhaps the next week or two..... I'll take my co-workers advice and make work and answering the phone much less important. As in, almost completely unimportant. The phone went off twice this morning already. It's time to start having the other folks that claim to be linemen figure out how their lives will look in the future. I'll be making myself less important there all the time. And I'll work on projects, take my Solar for Developing Worlds class (really interesting with LOTS of info on alternative building, water, septic..... it's just damned cool), lay around in bed, go for walks, do interesting things with that gorgeous woman I live with, and have a beer any damned time I want.

If you wanna hang, shoot us a note. I'll be hanging with Crys and Griffy.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Denny's Summer Vacation

I got the opportunity to go on a storm job with my power company. We left in mid September and were gone for about 2 1/2 weeks. My local co-worker, Coy, and I traveled up to Denver to meet up with crews from Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, Grand Junction, Rifle and our spots: Alamosa and Salida.

We left at 5 PM, arriving in Denver at 1 AM on Sunday, we crashed for a few hours and met the rest of the folks at 7 AM on Sunday. There were about 71 folks including 3 safety folks and 3 bosses. The rest were linemen. 

 It was a 4 day convoy to TECO power in Tampa, Florida. We mostly traveled together, stringing out a ways depending on how fast trucks would go. The truck Coy and I were in was limited to 71 MPG which put us at the back of the back. One pic here is of an orange grove where we spend the 4th day with TECO. Apparently if one eats green oranges, it produces gastrointestinal distress. :D. The Key Lime Pie (best one ever) is from Gary's Oyster Bar, a local favorite where the fellas got the combo plate of Gator, scallops, frog legs and conch. They proclaimed it good.

Much of the work at TECO was putting up wire torn apart by trees with very few down poles. We got there just a little bit behind the storm as we passed through Atlanta, GA when they opened the highway for folks to get home. That meant everyone in the world was trying to beat the looters back to their boarded up homes and equated to stop and go traffic from Atlanta to Tampa. What made this the most fun was the air conditioning going out on our bucket truck that day. Think a giant glass bubble in 98 degree heat in stop and go traffic on asphalt. We were riding with our arms out the windows trying to scoop in air. WHEW!!!!

On the last day in Tampa, we ended up with a couple of hours of free time. Free time is good. We worked 16 hour days during the 17 day trip, and it was pretty cool to get released for a few hours to look around. We found a beach on Tampa Bay and got to watch a nice sunset. That would be the pics above. I went there with Coy Mortensen, Trent Roberts and Forest McNulty. Trent and Forest are troublemen based in Grand Junction and we ran with them most of the time.

I got to know the Rifle folks and the linemen from Grand Junction on the trip as well, we worked with them a lot. Also a couple troublemen from Ft. Collins, one of which I'd known forever. It's nice getting to rub elbows with folks you know and respect and folks you've known for a long time. There were several Denver folks I've know a long time as well.

The pic directly to the right is of the first night arriving in Ft. Meyers to work for Florida Power and Light. We spent about 4 days with TECO and then moved to FPL for another 4 days or so.

One of the more interesting things we discovered was the difference in vegetation when Florida is compared to Colorado.

The tree to the right is an ancient tree with crazy downward facing spikes to deter climbing by things. The green parts were soft and wet but the spikes were hard as a rock and the points would easily pierce skin. There were also Banyan trees, and those seemed to fall over the most, taking great root balls with them, along with every thing else that was in the way.

Ft Meyers was a more challenging place to work. It was slightly less humid, which is kind of like being slightly less dead: a distinction without much of a difference. The pic below is Trent Roberts climbing a pole to work some secondary in a back yard in one of the more poor neighborhoods. The people there were very kind to us, as the people every where in Florida were.
Living conditions were changeable on the trip. On the road we had motel rooms to ourselves. In Tampa, and where necessary, Coy and I bunked together. Funny how some folks seem to balk at that. We usually only really had time to shower and sleep so we figured it was just fine. When we got to Ft. Meyers were were settled into a "man camp". (there were a couple women tree trimmers there but on this trip no women linemen). The man camp consisted of refrigerated semi trailers with 36 bunks each. There were also trailers that housed showers, porta potties and tents set up to house food distribution. We'd eat breakfast in the big tent, get a box lunch, and have diner in the tent as well. That was unless we worked too late and had to find an open restaurant on the way back to camp. Sometimes we'd have cocktails between the trucks in the parking lot. Our parking spot was at a State Fair location in Tampa, and at the airport in Ft. Meyers. Thing hundreds of truck parked all over with booms in the air (so folks don't "borrow" your tools) and ranged over several acres. Kind of an impressive site. 

Folks were pretty good in the meat lockers (cooled trailers) and we were all pretty thankful to have  cool place to sleep since the folks we were turning power on for had been sweltering in their home for days on end. 

Working during the storm was a giant sweaty mess. We'd start drinking water and gatorade first thing in the mornings. The safety folks would drive around from job to job handing out cold drinks and sometimes when we'd finish a section we'd cab up in the trucks and cool off for a bit. I'd sweat through my FR (fire retardant) coveralls by 10 AM. Thank goodness for onsite laundry services at the man camp. 
Again, on the last day in Ft. Meyers, we had a few hours to ourselves. The four of us decided to go to Ft. Meyers Beach. We were rather a sight walking down the beach in our work pants, boots and FR clothes. We didn't really pack for recreation when we left home as we only had time to throw crap together and head out. So there we are, walking down the beach, picking up seashells to take back home. Little kids and some of the adults would ask us if we were linemen. I guess we'd either have to be linemen or part of the mafia. :D. Then they'd thank us for coming down to turn the power on. That was very sweet. I joked with one fella who asked, "you guys linemen"? By replying, why? do we LOOK like assholes? He was in inside wireman from back east, and he just laughed. Then we wandered through shops, bought souvenirs and ice cream before heading back to sleep our last night in the bunks. 

A word about the people we ran into. Every single one of them was very sweet. In Tampa, waiting in a parking lot, a young woman rolled up in her car, rolled down the window and asked if we'd be done for the day soon. When I replied, yes, she asked if I liked beer. That's a silly question. YES. So she handed me an ice cold 24 pack which I handed to one of our group with a cooler (Zeke Farber) and we all shard later. As we were leaving a job in Ft Meyers, a fellow came running out of his home and asked if we liked liquor. Again, YES. He was a liquor distributor and gave me the pic of his cabinet. Tequila that time. We shared that as well. Throughout the trip people kept stopping by to thank us, and they'd hand us cold drinks, fruit, energy bars, popsicles and all manner of stuff. One lady gave us powder (thank goodness, that sweat made us CHAFF) and socks. Every single person we ran into was appreciative and kind. The Guatemalan family in Ft Meyers that was butchering chickens to cook on their open fire (they'd been out for 10 days) and obviously didn't have much, sent their beautiful children over with iced tea for us. To a person, they made it worth being there. 

Then it was time to head home. It ended up being a little over 3 days getting back. The pic above is of our bucket (we were on our own getting home from Denver) coming down 285 and through South Park, home finally in sight. 

I can't thank Crys enough for taking care of everything while I was gone. It's really nice to not have to worry about home while you're gone. She even did several really cool home projects to surprise me with upon getting home. I needed her to drive me up to Salida on the day we left and come get me when I got back. She picked me up and we went to breakfast at our fav place up there, the Patio Pancake Place, then drove home to reconnect and have a bit of time before I went back to work the next day. I also felt well taken care of on the trip by our management team, Dustin Taylor, Jay Porteous and Tommy. They went out of their way to make sure we got fed, had a place to sleep and got paid. (I do like getting paid). Thanks also to the guys from Rifle and Grand Junction that used their company cards to help out Coy and I who had none. 

I was thrilled to get to go on this. I haven't been on a storm job in this century. And with just a little over 2 years to go, this feels like I got to go out with a bang. I feel like I held up my end on the work and wasn't a burden to my co-workers there. That always feels good. 

End of story. I'll update if anything occurs to me. 

Monday, September 11, 2017


It's a beautiful cool day out this morning. This weekend before Denny took off to help bring power back to Florida, we finished the main exterior of the greenhouse.

It was a race to the finish when we received the call that Denny would be leaving. we put in the last 7 panels in record time. Now we'll just have to build a doorway and put in the vents. There's a few other small details for finishing the exterior, but it feels nice to see a dome out there. We'll have a small raised bed around the outside, and we'll build the interior beds next year.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The down hill slide of summer

After the 1st of August we begin what we think of as the down hill slide of summer. Most of the festivals are over, and most of the company is about to move on to their winter haunts. The farmers markets are in full swing around here and the smell of roasting chilis fills the air in a delicious and soul warming kind of way. I'm thinking of picking up a bag or two to peel at home while Autum and Daniel are here. Chili peeling in our home is a tradition. We sit, put on a couple sets of plastic gloves, pour tequila, and work our way through the giant plastic bag full of summer goodness. We didn't get any last year as we hadn't used up the previous years bounty, but I think this year it would do us well to get some. We can send a bunch home with Dad and Daniel and Autum will get to hang with us and pour shots while we peel.

Crys and Daniel and Autum will be returning from their Summer trip to Tin Cup to see their mom/grandma. Cindy is the only grandma left now as Crys' Nana passed away on June 22. We had her memorial service and interred her ashes in Tin Cup last Saturday. It wasn't as full of family as we would have preferred but those things happen. We'll have another one later on with the rest of the gang. It'll be a good time. We poured a full bottle of Old Crow on Pappo and Nana's grave site, as they are already dancing and enjoying being together again, but we're sure they needed a drink.

Updates as conditions warrant!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Monsoon season

In late July and early August, our valley experiences its monsoon season. For the next month, it begins to resemble Ireland with green everywhere. (OK, it's the arid high mountain desert version of Ireland but we'll take it). Yesterday and last night there was the drumming kind of rain we only get this time of year. This morning the birds are singing, the land has water laying on it, and the clouds are hanging low, full of moisture just waiting on the right combination to let loose again. We love this, especially after the cuticle cracking dryness of winter. It's a great time to live where we do, kinda makes the bone chilling cold of winter and the wind tunnel of spring worth it. It's a great time to visit, if you're so inclined.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ren Fest, Larkspur.

Here are the women, all ren fested up. :D It's been a good week or two and we're having fun. That is all.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Advanced Battery Based Systems: SEI

Last week I took a class. It was on advanced battery based solar electric systems and their connections. I also took a qualifying test for a solar certificate.

It was a good week and I enjoyed it. One interesting aspect is that when you've agonized over building two systems of your very own and lived with them? A class like this is, in large part, review and confirmation of having made the right decisions. I do like and appreciate that.

I'm reminded that I'm lucky enough to make enough money to afford these kind of flights of fancy.

We rented a loft over a barn for a place to stay. It was pretty nice. Had a little kitchen and a clawfoot tub, no shower. We enjoyed the tub thing. It was different, I grew up with a tub bath and only started showering later in life. It was nice to be reminded.

Paonia is farming country. We went out to eat a bit, I learned on the first day to not plan to quickly get in and out of anywhere in that town. They definitely move to the beat of their own drummer. And their drummer is S L O W.

I took the NABCEP Associates  (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) test at the end of the week. It's a certification, sometimes needed to do work on solar here in Colorado. It's a 70 question, multiple question test on safety, design, electrical principles and customer service in the solar electric industry. They give you 2 hours, I needed less than one and was the first one out. We'll see if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I figure you either know shit or you do not. Worrying over it does not good. As is usual, there were some groans when I got up and left at the end of my exam. I'll never get that. It takes what it takes, it just doesn't take me as long to either pass or fail. :D

I'm home today, having driven home after the test yesterday and arriving home at about 10 PM. I've put away my crap, built a dresser and mirror, cleaned up in the house, and fixed Crystal's bicycle with new shift/brake levers and cables and new tires and tubes.

It's time for a shower now, I've feeling sticky. And itchy. And tired. So I'll gently move Griffy (the kitty) to the side and go rinse off and grab another beer.

Life is good. Crys gets home tonight, so tomorrow will be even better.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


This week we are in Paonia. I'm taking a class from Solar Energy International. It's an advanced battery based solar electric class. The first 2 days are done and it's pretty fun. The rest of the week we'll be digging through learning the ins and outs of various larger system set ups with inverter/chargers and charge controllers along with proper programming for them. I'm pretty excited about that because one of those systems is exactly what we have at home. I feel like ours is set up pretty well, but I'm sure I'll learn a few things about how to get a bit more out of it.

Crystal is running around town, trying to get a little vacation rest, visiting a friend or two and scoping out good places for us to eat. Thus far she's been pretty successful.

Folks are watching the house and we hope that by the time we get back the parts we needed to finish the greenhouse will have arrived so we can get back to finishing that thing over the 4th of July.

Life is good, hope yours is too.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Row 4 is dedicated to Nana.

This is row #4 of 5 rows total that we're installing on the grow dome. We got a day to work on it that was extra when Crys' Nana passed away. 

The top row was 5 sections, and that took the first day. It took so long because it was 19' off the ground and we had to figure out how to cut and piece every single thing on the greenhouse. The way it figures out: row one is 5 sections, row 2 was 11 sections, row 3 was 26 sections, row 4 and row 5 are both 30 sections. Each row took a day. We had some good help on rows 1 through 3 and Crys and I wrestled row 4 by ourselves. Row 5 will probably be by our lonesome as well, and that's OK.

We have to wait to do row 5, the final row. We determined that we needed 3 more 4X12 sheets of polycarbonate along with a different system for attaching the bottom of the panels at the bottom of the grow dome. We got the last 3 panels from Gemplers, and the bottom brackets from FarmTek. We also needed a bunch more screws to finish up. We'll go to a local store and get some nice flashing to go from the bottom of the sheets down and over the knee wall on the outside. That should limit the ingress of critters and keep the rain/snow from ruining the wood. I'll also have to engineer an entry door into one section before it's all buttoned up. After that I'll install the temperature activated vents we bought to put in. Once that's all done we can start building the raised beds for planting. We hope to have it done by the end of summer. And at some point I'll put together a post that lists where we found all the "stuff" it took to put it together in case someone else wishes to duplicate our efforts along with the approximate costs in todays figures.

Alrighty, must be time to go murder some thistle.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Crystal is the BOSS

This weekend we started working on the green dome again. It's been nearly 2 years since I gifted this project to my girl for her birthday. I could fall back on: we've got a lot of projects going on; it was really involved with dirt work and material acquisition; every step of it was an engineering challenge.... but really? We (I) just let other stuff get in the way.

For what ever reason, Crys decided that we should start this last Saturday. I'm so glad she did. We've ended up with a bit of help that's much appreciated on the labor end of the project (Our friend Danielle and Travis, newlyweds from St. Louis that are visiting the valley) and it's making it all go so much faster.

Saturday it looked like this:

And at the end of work on Sunday it looked like this:

We had to take a break Sunday to go help our friend, Ross, with pulling his well pump. It didn't take long and it was nice to help our buddy that's always there for us. It did rather put most of Sunday's work into the long, hot, afternoon part of the day but we all stuck with it.

Doing jobs is fun at our house. Crys is the BOSS on this one because she got it going. She's doing all the measuring of the polycarbonate angles and channels that hold them. I do the chop sawing of the sheets, she saws the channels. We all work at pre-drilling holes in the channels. Travis and I are up hanging stuff and making final custom cuts (because no matter how hard you try there are variations). We'll sheet almost the whole thing, there'll be an 8 triangle plywood "back" wall, and we can't sheet the door opening yet, as I have to engineer that for the door to fit in.

It's going well in a time of the year that is often full, and we hope to have most of the sheeting done by Crys' birthday on Wednesday (though that's pushing it a bit).

We referred to the bit that was on the first day as the Green Dome Yarmulke. Now it's a bit bigger than that and we hope to have some of the next row on tonight.

Stay tuned. :D

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Making an old camper new again.

This is our new/old Bethany Citation 88 camper. It's from 1973. I was 13 that year. I can't imagine how jazzed I'd have been if our family had one of those, we didn't really do the camping thing, mostly we did the hang around the house and work on stuff thing. It's a thing I constantly try to solve in my adult life. We're hoping this helps do that.

So today we set it up. Much of that was trial and error. The front canvas will need a bit of patching and stuff. We ordered a patch kit. If that doesn't work I found a place that will make new canvas that only costs what we paid for the whole camper, but hey, vintage~ . We learned that to make it water tight you do this folding and sliding thing with the edges of the canvas, kinda cool. And I tried the 3 burner stove and the heater (which both work). The fridge is an ice box that you literally throw a block of ice into. I'll look into a nice fridge, not sure it necessary. I'm also thinking about all the cool things I could do with solar panels and such. :D Might as well geek out on the thing right?

I'm constantly surprised and pleased that I have for my partner a woman that looks at this 43 year old camper and sees what I do. I think that's rare in today's world.

Back to work, and the sauna is up to 140 degrees! SO back to work and play.