Friday, October 23, 2020

Topped Out

After another productive day in the shop, I was able to reduce the walnut blanks into table tops for all four of the nesting tables. This included building a jig to add the taper on the bottom side to emphasize that the tops appear to be floating when looked at upon the side. Once all the cutting was done, I sanded and sanded and sanded until I could sand no more and still have probably another good half day of it left to do. I don't really care for sanding and don't want to do it but I know that if I don't do a good job of sanding before applying the finish, it will all be for naught if it all looks terrible. There are no short cuts at this stage. But I have found that when I am weary like I am now, to just put down the sandpaper and walk away until another day when that excitement and new found vigor will carry me through to the end.


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

After the Application of Elbow Grease and Glue

 After two days of sanding and two days of gluing and clamping, the nesting table bases are completed except for the finish. The left shows the smaller table, the right the larger table and the middle shows the two tables nested together and the concentricity of the rings and spacing of the vertical decorative rails. Over all I am very pleased though I messed up a bit during the assembly. The ring on the small table is on the outside of the decorative rails and the ring on the larger tables is on the inside of the decorative rail. Both should have been on the inside. Like most of these sorts of things, I doubt anyone will notice except for me and now you, my reader. 

Next up, I will be making the walnut table tops for each of the nesting tables. I already have the blanks glued together and need to do some sanding and cutting down to the final size next. I am also planning on adding a large chamfer to the bottom side to give it some style but more on that later. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

In Trouble With the Law

One of my favorite album covers; Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy

I received a phone call from my dad who was in trouble with the law, well bank law that is. Since I manage the farm while he is down at the cabin, I have the ability to write checks out of his accounts as necessary. Among those accounts is the farm account, my dad's personal account and my mom's trust account. This ability comes in pretty handy when he needs someone paid but is 400 miles away. Up until recently however, all the checkbooks resided down on the farm so I always had to write any checks when I was down there checking on other things.

After getting the cabin addition completed, for the most part anyway, I had a stack of receipts of items that I had purchased for that project that my dad wanted to reimburse me for. So when I was down on the farm checking on the garden, I tallied up the receipts, grabbed a copy of his personal checkbook and wrote myself a check. Later that day I went home, deposited it into my bank account and didn't think another thing about it until I got the phone call.

The difference between the accounts is easy to distinguish as the farm account has the farm business name on the check and my dad's personal account has his name on the check. Since the expense was personal, I grabbed the checkbook with his name on it and cut the check. What I didn't realize is that he had opened up another checking account near the cabin, obtained a duplicate book of checks to store on the farm that also had his name on it and the only distinguishing feature was some small print in one corner denoting that it was a bank in Arkansas. I accidentally grabbed that checkbook to write the check. This created several problems.

1. My dad created that account to pay a local business who only accepted local checks for materials delivered to the cabin. It had just $7 as a balance since the cabin work was complete. 

2. I signed the check to myself as I have the ability to do with all my dad's other accounts. I don't have that same privilege with this particular account so they were particularly troubled that a stranger was writing checks out of my dad's account.

3. My bank cashed the check no questions asked and my dad was now overdrawn to the tune of over $800. 

Fortunately, my dad explained what had happened to the bank and I think they are going to allow him to reimburse them for their lost funds with no penalties and a promise that I don't write any more checks that I'm not allowed to sign and cash. One of the advantages of working with small town banks. At the end of the day though, I'm not sure if he or I is in more trouble with the bank.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Elbow Grease and Glue

 Above is one set of the nesting tables with all the parts together except for the one circle on the left which wouldn't stay in place. I do this just to ensure everything will go together well when it is time to glue the pieces together which will be what I do next after sanding everything and putting on some final details like chamfering and rounding over edges. The blue painters tape with the codes written on them are just to make sure now that all the parts are adjusted for a particular spot, I can get them back in that spot later. Not seen yet, but I also have the walnut boards glued together that will form the table tops. I'm hoping to get everything glued together in the next couple days so that maybe I can apply some finish later this week or next week. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Tiller Time


Since mom died, we've been on the fence about what to do about gardening. She always took care of much of the garden and I would help her with harvest and preservation for part of the proceeds. It worked well and we always enjoyed our time together. Ideally we would like to do a garden close to our home but it has several big drawbacks. Our lot has a lot of tall mature trees that provide us privacy from the road that runs back behind our property but also shade much of our lawn for large portions of the day. We are pretty limited due to much of our 2 acre lot being nearly at a 45 degree slope and the flattest part also contains a septic field, fire pit, trampoline, crocket field, etc. Cramming in a garden would just make everything difficult. Finally, though we live just a few feet inside city limits, our wooded lot with a nearby pond for water means it is a excellent habitat for all types of critters, especially deer and racoons, both notoriously hard on gardens. Anything we planted would have to be fenced like alcatraz and look pretty unsightly perhaps to some of our neighbors.

So we did a trial run this year of planting a small garden down on the farm where we have lots of flat land with nary a tree to block the sun and due to location, a lesser amount of animals to have to deal with. As you recall, the deer eventually found and ate all out tomato plants so we still have to fence but there are no neighbors to complain about the type of fencing if we go utilitarian and cost effective, and we aren't so concerned if weeds and such grow up around it. Also, our old orchard is worn out and the last trees are dying so we want to start another orchard, also protected from deer and other critters. We thought the distance might be a hindrance since the farm is 40 miles away from our house but we actually enjoyed the trips and they didn't feel like a burden. In fact, because we weren't so close where we could go out and spend 15 minutes here and there, if felt like we weren't chained to it. 

All this is the lead into our decision to permanently move our garden down to the farm and just perhaps grow a few salad greens and herbs in our planters behind our town house. We plan to permanently fence in the gardens and an extra green space where we plan to plant an orchard and a berry patch. This will allow us to ditch the electrified netting we have used for years which though effective, it a royal pain to roll up in the fall and put back out in the spring. But with permanent fencing means our tractor and disk won't fit inside easily so we need a tiller that can till the soil in the spring and fall to amend the soil and make it easier to plant. 

After much looking around, we finally settled on a BCS tractor with a tiller attachment seen above. These small walk behind tractors come with all sorts of attachment from snow blowers, to brush cutters but for now we are just sticking with a pto driven tiller. We upgraded to electric start because ever since I experienced life with an electric start snowblower, I will never go back to recoil start again. Right now it sits in the back of my dad's truck parked in my driveway and I hope to drive both down to the farm tomorrow on our way to see my brother and family up from Alabama. I may even do a lap around the garden we didn't plant this year just for kicks and grins.