Saturday, August 18, 2018

Sold my 1984 Toyota FJ60 Land Cruiser today.

Had the Craigslist ad running for several weeks. Finally someone in my area showed interest and bought it today. $3,500 cash.

Waaay too cheap, but I really need to get rid of some cars. TXDOT vehicle appraisal has this car with 168,000 miles valued at $6,000.

These old Land Cruisers, when totally restored bring $45,000.. believe it or not!!!

Happy buyer drove it home.

Another hydroponics update coming soon.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Lettuce Explosion

17 days after transplanting...
27 days from seed planting.
Buttercrunch lettuce
Pak choi lettuce
Various tomatoes

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Growing, growing, growing!!.....and dog ACL surgery.

Just "set and forget"...!!!

I still need to figure out a slick and easy method to construct a trellis for the cucumbers, and supports for the tomatoes... but I'll come up with something.

My good boy "Mojo" has been limping for a few months. Turns out he has a torn ligament in his rear leg (called ACL in humans). $3000 later he is beginning a long, slow 12 week recovery period. He's pretty miserable, and I've got to stay nearby 95% of the time. Short outdoor leash walks ONLY for potty time.

He had me sleepwalking with a flashlight around the yard this morning at 3:30AM. Fun times.!! And he just sniffed and walked around. Never did any business.

Had to build a quick ramp, as he can't handle steps for many weeks.

Okay....Dat's It..!!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Indoor hydroponics...update pics

It's been about 2-1/2 weeks since I planted these seeds in the grow cubes. About one week since I transplanted from seedling tray into nutrient tubs and net cups.
Roots are reaching down into the nutrient solution.

I think I transplanted about a week or so too early, according to some YouTube vids. But everything seems like it's okay. Time will tell.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Veggy Indoor Hydroponics... update.

I've been interested in indoor hydroponics for a few years. Many YouTube videos and online educational websites later, not to mention a few years of slowly gathering all the parts's FINALLY happening!!

Since my fascination commenced, the lighting technology has evolved and the old (very hot and energy sucking) incandescent lighting has given way to cool running, low energy LEDs. And in the last few years the LEDs have come down in cost, and quality has improved.
A couple of years ago, we moved out of town (it WAS less townish when I built there in 1993, things change). This new-to-us home came with a "spare" fully functioning, albeit rough, double-wide mobile home. A 1982 model. Great Man cave.!!

I'm converting one bedroom into a grow room. With small window unit AC.

I've tried "square foot gardening" with limited success. Things go great with veggies until the Texas summer heat arrives, then no matter how well you water them, the intense summer heat stops veggie production. Nice green plants, no flowering/no fruit. Until late September to early Dec.
3-4 years ago, I bought a nice pawnshop Husquavarna (sp?) tiller, fenced off (deer, rabbits, etc) a section of nice bottom land soil at my former home, enriched the soil with alpaca "beans" and peat moss. Ran a long hose to this garden. Had good success, again summer slowed it way down. (Then sold the place!!)
Last year, at new home, I did container gardening with buckets on a harbor freight  wagons to move into shade on hot days. Same results. The heat stops production.

Okay, enough rambling, and build-up. Here are some pics...

Amazon sourced. A 600 watt and a 300 watt LED light.

The 600 has switch for the 2 growing modes. Different light spectrum/color.

Some of these Pak Choi lettuce seeds are tiny!!

Using cheap Home Depot $7 mortar mixing tubs for nutrient container. 8 gallon.

And cut up one inch foam board for tubby top panels.

I have one LARGE mortar tub for tomatoes. 23 gallons. Mounted low since tomatoes can get very tall. Grow lights hang from ceiling.
I'm lining walls with cheap Mylar $2 "space blankets". This is commonly seen with "wacky weed" growers, so can't be bad for veggies, right?

Seeds are sprouted in nutrient solution soaked grow cubes for a few days under an LED light with a timer. 18 hours on/ 6 hours off for now.

These 2 tables will hold the smaller tubs for lettuce, after cleaning off my set up paraphernalia. Grow lights are very bright pink lights.

Scale for measuring nutrients, air stones for bubbling in nutrient tubs.

Multi port air pump for air stones (not required but will help keep nutrients and oxygen churned up in tubs)

Net pots for grow cube transplants. Need to cut perfectly sized holes in Styrofoam panels for these net cups. Proper spacing between is important.

Gotta get the PH level to the correct level for plants. 6.2-6.5 is best. Our tap water is around 8... really high. Special LED lightshade glasses. These LEDs can give you a headache trying to work in the same room for long.

Sprouting tray. Nearly done with this stage.

5 days of sprouting time with this pic. Color rendition off due to grow light.

I better get busy suspending my grow lights.!!!! And filling tubs with water and nutrients!!

Well, that's about it for now. More pics in a few weeks, with plant progress.

(Previous blog post on mini-split AC...waiting for AC guy to make final connections and start up.)


Latest progress...

The tomatoes have their permanent home, under the 600 watt blue grow light.
(Had to order one more 300 watt LED grow light light...too many seedlings.!!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

West Texas

great sundown one evening
tin shack at Fustercluck Corner.

view down the long driveway to our gate.
small swamp cooler helps, but only if you sit right in front of it while it's running.

all recycled corrugated tin for the shack exterior.

Low sunlight just before sunset hitting 9 Point Mesa
This little 6,000 btu window unit saved our lives!!! The older I get the less I like the HEAT. I built the one bedroom with R19 insulation in all 4 walls, and even insulated the floor. So we have the one "chill room" that has the small window unit AC. Hung a sleeping bag over the door.

And this propane powered generator also saved our lives. Ran this genny 18 hours a day on the 104 degree says. noon to daylight.

Back home now.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Mini Split 12k btu heat pump AC install... update..DONE!!

I bought this Pioneer brand (not a car radio) mini split 17 SEER heat pump AC a year or more ago. Finally getting around to installing it, now that 105 summer temps are rolling into north TX (about 6 weeks too early). I got mine on Amazon, but plenty are on EBay, just watch out for high shipping costs.

Our spare double wide trailer house that came along with our main, newer "trailer house" makes a sweet man-cave/storage shed. Working bathrooms, half-assed working window unit ACs, and even has a metal roof overlay. It's a 1983 model that came to this property new in '83.

I'm adding this one ton heat/cool unit... because, they're cheap, easy to install, super quiet, AND....can be (depending on model)..Extremely Efficient with electricity usage.!

These mini splits have been very popular in the far east, India, and Europe.. But for some "strange" reason are seldom seen in the US. My guess is the HVAC industry and a couple other construction trades can make a little bit more profit $$ via the old system we've been using for 70 years in home and apt construction.

Minis use much less power (big energy Corp doesn't like that notion). Only need one power source -outside. No furrdowns, no return air chases, no interior registers or grills. No attic access, no attic equipment platforms. No big concrete pad behind your house. Don't require ductwork ... think hot 140 degree summer attic spaces with cheapo low RValue flex duct feeding each room, taped together with DUCT tape. (Usually leaking a good portion of your expensively conditioned air into the summer kiln that is your attic)
Higher end, rich folks homes may have better hvac components, but usually if the buyer-owner can't see it, the builder isn't going to spend an extra $500plus  for duct-board or round metal duct. If it works, most builders won't spend money here, only on granite tops, and stainless steel appliances. The things a buyer "sees".

My last job before retirement involved two high end, luxury apartment projects that we built. Early on, in the early development stage I noticed our open concept floor plans (perfect for mini splits). When I brought this up for consideration during a design team meeting, all I got was blank stares, and questioning expressions. Most, including the high priced multifamily architects, had no clue about mini splits.

They do make these units with 3 or more inside units tied to one single outside condenser unit. You only need condition the air in whatever room you are using at the time, versus the entire house. Much more cost effective for energy use.

Okay, rant over. Here are a couple pics of work in progress. Not completed yet!! All I've done is hang the inside unit so far.
Location is on center wall of double wide home
Bracket installed, unit hangs onto this. Hole for Freon lines, power line, and condensate tube bundle

Unit installed, trim board not level.

Opened panel showing removable filters. Bottom panel silently oscillates up and down to better distribute air output.

Lookey!! Outside wall of old trailer is made with real wood panels... not pressed sawdust. 

Updates forthcoming.

(Will get installation done, then call AC tech to handle startup. Comes precharged with Freon)


Finally got my local AC guy to arrive and connect, and startup this one ton mini split. $100 and 90 minutes later... It RUNS!!

He made soldered connections both inside and outside (had to extend line set). Did the electric connections, and vacuumed lines. Unit is pre charged at factory with refrigerant.

This unit easily cools the large main living area of my double wide man cave junk storage area. Seems impossible for a one ton unit, but then again our highs have only been mid 90s for the last few days. Back to 100+F.... next week.

Cannot hear it run, and outside unit is about as loud as a box fan on low/medium.

I really believe in these mini splits.!!