Gavin is my hero

I was thinking of a post, outlining what I want to do with the yard eventually - a nice patio, maybe a garage down the road, lots of flower beds, and the best - a large vegetable garden. I want rhubarb and asparagus, and lettuce and radishes and peppers and peas and beans and tomatoes, you HAVE to have tomatoes, and maybe corn, and strawberries, and I might have room for a raspberry patch and and and and and...

This goes along with something I have been thinking a lot about recently, and something I have been interested in for years - sustainability.

So, I was looking over other blogs, getting ideas about my eventual garden, and thinking about how great I was going to be for growing most of my own produce (at least for a few months every year).

Yeah me!

Then I stumbled on Gavin's blog.

Gavin makes his own cheese.

Makes. His. Own. Cheese.

In addition to having a hybrid car, a great garden, a rain barrel and solar panels. And chickens. And he does all this in a relatively small suburban house in Australia.

He makes his own cheese!!!!

And to add insult to injury, he even makes Wallace and Grommit references whilst writing entertaining blog entries about making said cheese.

Gavin really is my hero - he shows exactly what one person, one family, one community can do to make our world a better place.

So please, go drop in on his blog, have a look around, and tell him how inspiring he is.

I wonder what the town by-laws here have to say about chickens...

The end is nigh

Dad came back for a couple of hours this afternoon, and finished the shed. Yippee yahoo!

The ramp is fixed (it now reaches the ground!) and the windows are insulated around with spray foam (not for insulation value, since the shed is unheated, but to keep the critters out - there was a lot of space around the windows).

The cross ties are up, which gives me a dandy overhead storage space for leftover wood (as well as proving a bit more structural strength).

And there is less leftover wood, as I talked Dad into building me a small workbench with some of it - thanks Dad!!

As for pictures - as soon as I get it organized, I'll take and post them!

What day is it??

Yesterday was the last big day on the shed. The shingling was finished and the fascia was put up. (And taken down, and put up, and taken down...). I finally installed the door handle, and, after Dad drilled the holes, installed the dead bolt and chiseled the parts of the frame that needed it to install the plates for the handle and deadbolt. I rawk at chiseling now, if anyone needs any help.

We also made and installed the ramp. And then realized it didn't actually reach the ground. And yes, this is how most things go! But, we can keep our sense of humour, and find a lot to laugh at, which helps!

So later today, the cross ties will be put up, and the ramp fixed, then that's it!

Except organizing the inside, and painting the door, but that can wait.

The final costs all aren't in, but as an estimate, the shed, in total, will cost ~$1900, including tax.

Let's compare that to the Home Despot shed I was looking at, which was $900 plus tax ($1017 total).

That shed was 8x8, while this is 10x10 (which is an extra 36 square feet - a 50%+ increase compared to the 8x8 shed!!).

That shed didn't include the base (~$390) or roofing (~$225).

That shed wasn't sided, and needed to be painted (~$500 for siding, much less for paint, of course, but a painted shed needs much more maintenance).

I'm not sure if that kit included all nails and screws which I spent ~$175 on (some of that will be used in the house as well, but for the shed alone, the fasteners probably cost over $50).

And that shed was definitely not as well-made as this shed is.

So, the Home Despot shed would have cost in total, ~$1650 plus paint and whatever fasteners are required.

For less than $300 more, I got a better and bigger shed - completely thanks to Dad. Without him, NONE of this would have been possible!!

(and it's shed day 10, for those that are keeping track)

Birdy the pooh and the blustery day

Well, it's done. One last cold, windy, blustery day, and it's done. And when I say cold, I mean around 9 C (48 F) cold. But it's done.

Okay, okay. It's not done done. But it's almost done. The fascia needs doing, and a ramp needs to be built, and inside, the door and windows need a few more nails to properly secure them, and collar ties need to be put up. And a hole needs to be cut for the dead bolt, and that and the door handle need to be installed.

But really, it's done. Sorta.

And it's a good thing, since the birds have most definitely let me know they are not happy with us disturbing their feeding everyday.

They dive bombed my car!

And on the seventh day...

We worked our arses off with little to show for it. Sigh.

On Thursday, I went to Mom and Dad's to help Dad swap 2 new windows for the old ones they were giving to me for the shed. And to cut the lawn (with the riding lawn mower - fun!!). Thus, no work was done on the shed.

Friday, Dad and I worked all day on the shed. And got nothing done. Or at least it seems that way.

It was all prep work for putting up the siding.

Stapling on tar paper (and figuring out the new electric staple gun. And unclogging the new electric staple gun. And ducking out of the way when Dad inadvertently pulled the trigger of the now unclogged new electric staple gun. New electric staple guns are FUN!)

Putting up the J-channel for the soffits (always remember children, measure twice and cut once. Or, do it our way, and measure once and cut thrice.)

Putting up corner posts.

Installing the door.

And for me, buying my very first lawn mower, and cutting the horribly over-grown lawn. I have to confess, I am a freak of nature - I love mowing grass. Really. And I like my new lawn mower - it's electric, and so no pollution (our electricity comes from Niagara Falls, so really very little pollution!) , no remembering to buy gas, no oil changes, etc. It isn't cordless, since, in my experience, every rechargeable battery eventually looses it's ability to hold a charge, and the replacement batteries are insanely expensive - if you can even find them any more (anyone want to buy a completely useless cordless drill? It'd make a dandy paperweight!)

All in all, a busy, long day - but no pictures, since nothing visible was done. Except the tar paper and door, so take the last picture of the shed, and imagine it black with a white door. There you go.

But yesterday - what a difference! We got both windows installed and the siding done on three sides. WOOHOO!

For the eagle-eyed amongst you, yes, the cap row still isn't done, and yes, that is a dead bolt instead of a door handle - an easy way to make the shed secure until we get around to cutting a second hole in the door (just hope we don't burn down the neighbourhood in the process)

Home Depot is a few shingles short of a bundle

Let me tell you the story of the shingles.

Go on, get a cup of your favourite beverage. I'll wait...


Okay, let's begin.

I bought shingles from Home Despot way back when, but didn't pick them up right away (once nice thing about HD - you can order and pay for a bunch of stuff, but take what you need, leaving the rest in the store until you need it). Those shingles were black, which is what I thought I wanted.

(Clarification - the house has relatively new siding and shingles - tan siding and brown shingles. However, neither was properly installed, and the siding has been torn up by stupid lawn mower usage, so they both will need to be replaced in a few years. So I am shingling and siding the shed in the colours the house will eventually be).

Of course, before we picked up the shingles, I changed my mind on the colour. So when we went to pick up the shingles on Sunday, I asked if I could get grey ones instead of black.

Problem one - they didn't have grey in the type of shingle I ordered.

Okay, take those shingles off the bill, and add grey ones.

Problem two - the only styles grey comes in are more expensive - $28+ dollars a bundle instead of $18+, and at 7 bundles, that's over $70 more expensive.

Okay, get me those anyways, since I really want grey, not black.

Problem three - they are in the back somewhere, and the guy can't get at them. But if we return on Tuesday, he'll have them out for us then.

Fine, we'll come back (keep in mind Home Despot is 30 minutes away, each way. So an extra trip is a big deal).

Fast forward to Tuesday. We make the drive, go in, and ask about the shingles.

Problem 4 - guy #1 isn't working, left no notes, and no one knows anything about any grey shingles.

Problem 5 - grey shingles are not a stock item. They are all special order. If I want to order some, they'll get them in, and we can make yet another trip to pick them up.


This is why I've re-named it Home Despot.

I decline their really nice offer (!), and drive back to town, and go to the local hardware store. The store where they know my parents by name. Where they actually have competent adults working.

Where I got the shingles I wanted, in the style I wanted, in the colour I wanted, for $21+ a bundle. And they even loaded them on the truck for us!

So, Tuesday was spent mostly running around.

On Wednesday however - the shed got shingles (except for the cap which we didn't get done)!!!

Raising the roof

Day 5, and we have a roof!

The day started with a trip to Home Despot to get the rest of the supplies. Like many other trips to that daemon store, it consisted of trying to find help, standing in line, trying to find more help, and then standing in line. Followed by standing in line.

Thus, a 9 am start to the day (and on a Sunday even!) resulted in a 2 pm start to working on the shed.

But - we have a roof!!

My Father, the Optimist

Or, How Dad, Even Though He has Many Fantastic Abilities, Really isn't that Great at Figuring Out How Long Things Take.

At the end of day 4:

All the studs and rafters are up, and all the walls are sheathed. Dad and I worked from 9 - 7 to get this far, with a short break for lunch (oh, and two really short coffee breaks). However...

Dad was planning on getting all this done, plus the roof sheathing, plus tacking on all the tar paper, plus making the third (and hopefully last) trip to Home Despot for the last of the supplies (shingles and siding).


Us and what army??


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