2015-08-23

My neighbors are nice and all, but there are no plants growing on our shared property line and it would be absolutely splendid if I could enjoy my morning coffee while gazing at greenery and not simply staring at their back porch. Privacy between neighbors is a wonderful thing to have, and it didn't take long for me to hatch a sweet privacy screen plan: plant evergreens along the property line and irrigate them!

Finding some nice evergreen plants (or any plants for that matter) is easy enough, it just entails a trip to Kurt's Garden. Actually, I took a few trips and picked up a nice variety of drought tolerant evergreens. The difficult part was finding a way to get water to the newly planted trees and shrubs.

Fortunately, there is a seasonal pond and plenty of sunshine at my place. Obviously I needed a solar powered irrigation system to pump water from the pond to the newly planted trees.

Gather some supplies

A Renogy 100W Solar Panel provides the juice
A Cheapo dc well pump does the pumping. (I absolutely purchased the 2 year warranty)

The panel is wired directly to the pump and the pump will push about half a gallon per minute when supplied with 12 volts of power. When the panel is getting straight blasted by the sun, the pump will push close to a gallon a minute.

Build a frame to hold the pump

Since I didn't want the pump to sit at the bottom of the pond and get fouled by all the muck, I decided to build a floating platform to keep the pump by the water's surface.

Gather some more supplies

  • a 5 gallon pot (probably from Kurt's Garden)
  • a metric tape measure
  • some string
  • a marker
  • a nice square of plywood

measure the circumference of the pot

The circumference of the pot was measured with string just under the lip of the pot. The idea is to cut a hole in the plywood and put the pot in the hole.

do some math

Fittingly, this took place on March 14th, but I am just now writing about it. Damn what a slacker. :)

The string wrapped around the pot was 83.5 centimeters, and a bit of formula replacement quickly gave me the radius of the hole that I needed to cut.

trace a circle

Using a thumb tack, some string, and a pen, I quickly drew a circle using the previously determined radius.

Hot damn, that's a good fit

Awesome! Now I need to add some supports and a flotation device.

oh hey!

Not only did I add some supports and a top piece, I also added a nice handle to the top of the platform. The wooden piece that holds the pot is on the bottom of this platform.

floats and paint

A square of 2" PVC attached to the bottom of the platform adds quite a bit of buoyancy. Hopefully the coat of exterior paint will help the wood survive in the water.

pumping away!

A small hole was added to the top deck and lid for the power cable and water line to pass throught. Obviously the hole is just too small. Oh well.

The solar panel leans against a 4 foot tall post and I can move the panel around to change when the plants get watered. At the moment, the panel is facing due East so that the plants get watered for a couple hours every morning.

Recently, a few ducks have taken to relaxing on the platform. This in turn results in quite a bit of duck crap getting added to the irrigation water. Booyah! free fertilizer!

Now quite reading, and go be a water wizard.

Comments
2015-08-24 Alison Chaiken:
SO . . . tracing around the rim of the pot on the plywood with a pen wouldn't have worked? I would have done that, then gone in maybe 1/32 in diameter. How did you cut the hole, a jigsaw? That seems like the hard part to me. You don't mention a battery for the charger, or a timer for that matter, or a level sensor.
2015-08-24 jezra:
You just used a fraction!

The hole was just with a jig saw. There is no battery, or timer, or level sensor.

The solar panel is directly wired to the pump and the "timer" is the positioning of the panel. For a level sensor, I use my eyes. Yup, there is still water in the pond. :)
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2015-08-02

My soil (if you can call it that), is mostly comprised of clay and rock. While this makes planting trees a rather decent work out, it would be nice if I could easily put stakes in the ground. I have some portable fencing and being able to quickly set up the fencing without too much swearing would be a great thing.

Obviously I need a special tool to make a 'pilot' hole for the temporary fence posts.

Gather Supplies!

After a slight drizzle of a brainstorm, a plan was hatched and off to the hardware store I went.

Aside from hardware store goods, I needed a handle for my new tool and there was a wonderful branch on my property that would suit my needs perfectly.

Clean it up

Excess material was removed from both ends of the branch and I was left with about 1.5 meters of awesome wizard staff.

I know what you are thinking, and you are correct: the end of the staff should be made into a slingshot.

Nailed it

In order to poke a hole in the ground, a nice big shiny nail was selected for the job. The head of the nail was cut off and some shallow grooves were cut into the side of the nail.

Damn that nail was tough, and it got quite hot while cutting it.

Some shitty fraction

In the bottom of the staff, a hole was drilled that would house the nail. I have no idea what size the hole is, but I can guarantee that the measurement is some shitty fraction.

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike fractions?

Now where is my 17/29ths inch doohickey?

All together

The base of the nail was secured in the staff with a hefty bit of J-B Weld. The grooves that were cut into the side of the nail provided plenty of grip for the adhesive.

A 90° angle bracket was bolted to the staff and a block of wood was screwed to the bracket.

Now all I have to do, is position the nail where I want a hole to be, and step on the bracket to drive the nail into the ground! booyah!

They can't all be winners.

Bummer.

Have I mentioned that my soil is mostly rock and clay? On my first attempt to use my newly crafted tool, the nail hit a rock and bent. fuck. Oh well, Now I get to think of a better solution to the problem, and I can still make a sweet slingshot!

Birds!

After the failure of my holemaking tool, I sat and watched the birds for a bit. There is something very soothing about watching the birds interact with each other.

Now quit reading, and go make something that doesn't work. :)

Comments
2015-08-02 Alison Chaiken:
I suggest a tool comprising a pipe plus a sledgehammer.

Watch your fingers with that.
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2015-05-29

It all started with a trip to a garage sale where I purchased a weedwacker and a scythe....

While the weedwacker sort of kind of did an OK job on the weeds at my place, it certainly wasn't up to the task of clearing out some blackberries. After putting a decent edge on the scythe, I proceeded to get some exercise by putting a hurting on some head high blackberries.

The scythe had a short thick blade that is ideal for weeds and brush. However, I wanted something a bit lighter and geared more toward cutting grass and pasture plants..... so off to the interwebs I went!

Fortunately for me, I soon found http://www.baryonyxknife.com/, and woooweee am I glad that I did.

My order was simple: a "beater" grass blade, and please draw a coffee cup on the packaging.

a few days later

less than a week later, this package arrived for me. Look at that sweet coffee cup!

Thanks http://www.baryonyxknife.com/!!!

a little something extra

Within the package, was a cardboard wrapped grass blade... and taped to the cardboard wrapping was a small steel can-opener. How cool is that? hella cool.

bolted to the snath

A few turns of the wrench later, and my new blade was attached to a snath that I had purchased a few weeks prior.

Oh, in case you didn't know, a snath is a scythe handle.

a comparison

The long slender bladed scythe with the aluminium snath is Gloria, and the squat blade with the wooden handle is Agnes (yes, it is named after Groundkeeper Willie's shovel)

Gloria is light, nimble and ready to bring down some grass. Agnes on the other hand, is beefy and ready to make blackberries weep.

mmmmm beans

Then I used the can-opener to open some beans. It took far less time than I thought it would. :)

If there is a comments section as part of an online order form, I will always write "please draw a coffee cup on the packaging", and I can say that http://www.baryonyxknife.com/ really pulled through.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a scythe that needs sharpening, and there are a few items I need to order from baryonyx. :)

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