Bruce's Journal

Senile_Texas_Aggie

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Mr. Bruce, sir,

Thank you so much for the pictures! I fear my Texas Aggie I/Q got in the way, but I think you decided to put the garden tractor and the wood splitter in the tractor bay, the backhoe and the rake (landscape rake?) in the drive bay, and the tractor in the carport (the structure you just assembled), with the flail mower attached to the 3-pt hitch and the bucket on the FEL. Is that right? I seem to recall that you use your garden tractor to remove snow from your driveway. If so, will the new arrangement make it easy for you to get the garden tractor out of the barn so you can blow the snow off of the driveway?

I am glad you are finally able to get all of this work done before winter. Speaking of winter, I had expected to see your tress already turning colors, but the only color that I noticed was in the very last picture was in the trees north of the barn. Have your trees started turning already, or will it be a couple more weeks?

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Bruce

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The leaves are definitely turning, fall is here though we are having "Indian Summer" for a few days.

I originally moved snow with the garden tractor and snow blower. But the winch that lifts the blower is broken, maybe I can find someone to weld it IF it is even repairable.

The blower is a commercial product specifically designated for use on this garden tractor but the winch is a "this will fit" item selected by the manufacturer. It has 50' of cable and only needs to pull about 5". Even with that it got kinked and wrapped on itself and sometimes would not reverse because the cable couldn't move. The cable eventually wore through. I was out in the drive when that happened so I put 2 cable clamps on the wire so I could lift the blower and finish up. What I didn't realize was that every time I lifted the blower the cable clamps pulled against the 2 rods on the front of the winch and badly stripped and bent the screws that hold them in, one pulled out completely. There is no way for the drum to hold into the outside end plate on the winch "body" without those 2 rods.

With that out of commision I was using the bucket on the tractor to move snow, thus the thought that I might want it in the "carport" where it would be easier to access.
 

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We have extremely rocky soil soil we didn't even try the anchors. We pounded in three t-posts per side and tied the legs to them. Another thing I found useful was to run rope in a zigzag over the beam and eaves (?) between the purlins (hopefully that's the right terminology). The amount of space between the purlins is large enough that with any snow the roof will belly out and make it difficult to remove. Same with a hard rain. The rope support helps it shed a little better.
I'll be putting in some rope support based on your suggestion as I can surely imagine that will happen. We had big south winds today, gusting to mid 30's. The front and rear legs were rotating (they are L shaped on the ground, the "foot" of the L pointing in. That caused the other 2 legs on that side to shift toward the front. Since it isn't on a concrete pad I didn't use the concrete anchors on the middle legs (couldn't could I??). I sank some 6" Timberlocks against the sides of the corner "Ls" so they couldn't rotate and stuck a couple through the holes of one of the side legs into the 2 pieces of wood under it. Yeah, a temporary solution but holding at least for now. A couple of short T posts might be an excellent idea.
 

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Some fall foliage photos for the unfortunates ;)

The post on the right on the far gate is the one where the brace wire went "pop" when I tightened it.

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OK, the EV station installation "project"

The location - NE corner of the house
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First, dig a trench.
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Don't forget to find a lot of rocks and old pieces of asphalt. That dark thing on the right is the biggest hunk of asphalt still covered with dirt. Also a couple of odd pieces of metal. The one on the left is some sort of threaded bolt with a pin.
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Since was done to code, individual 6 gauge conductors in PVC conduit 18" deep. Since this would be hard to find in the future especially since it isn't a straight line, document the location
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Note that the hole into the crawl space took HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS!!!!! In fact over 2 days of work with tools I had, multiple trips to the hardware store, then the other hardware store. While I had checked and measured inside the crawlspace to make sure I wouldn't be coming in on a stud AND I started outside 1/2" higher than the center of the half inch pipe for the spigot, I hit the top 1/4" of the foundation wall. I'll spare you the details but the plumbers hit the same thing with their 1/2" PEX but they were able to drill a bit higher from the inside and flex the PEX over the wall. 1" PVC conduit doesn't flex that much.
 

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Into the crawl space from the basement DSCN2140.JPG
hang a left to crawl in then to the right DSCN2141.JPG DSCN2142.JPG
and go to the far corner (WAY TOO MANY TIMES!) DSCN2143.JPG

Note how chewed up the foam and wood is for the water pipe. I also noticed that the "frost free" spigot doesn't come all the way into the crawl space. Too bad that hadn't caught my attention before I started drilling from the outside. Maybe I would have noticed the PEX arching over the concrete wall.
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Outside single conductors connected to the inside 6-2 wire. Yes there is a cover on the junction box now ;)
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The service panel was full, not one slot available and not the kind where a tandem (1/2 width) breaker can be used so I had to make space for a double breaker. The bottom breaker wasn't labeled on the sheet but I figured out it was only servicing the outlet right below the panel (with only the network switch plugged in) and the dishwasher. Neither are heavy loads. The one above it labeled "Prius" goes to a switched outlet on the NE corner of the house and was originally intended for use with the block heater in my 2009 Prius. (*). Given the minimal load of all 3 of those things, I pigtailed the "Prius" wire with the ones for the dishwasher and the outlet below the panel and moved the Living room wire down to the "Prius" breaker.

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That opened up 1 breaker above the pool pump breaker. Since the pool pump runs only in the summer and the furnace in the crawlspace only in the winter, I pulled and capped off the pool breaker and freed up space for the 40A double breaker. I can swap the pool wire with the furnace wire (2 breakers down) in May (**).

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Charging station wired and ready for use.
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* A Prius will start without cranking and running down a 12V battery to "er, er, er, nothing" no matter how cold it is since it uses the big electric motor and battery to start the ICE through the transmission instead of a wussy starter motor like most ICE vehicles. I used the block heater figuring the engine would be warmer faster for better MPG and cabin heat on cold mornings. But during the house rebuild I got laid off in July 2013 along with 1,000+ other people when the company "right sized" so Global Foundaries would TAKE $2B to "buy" the chip fabs. I ended up retiring and never did need to use the block heater prior to the car being totalled in Feb 2019. I have been using the outlet to charge the Prime if I didn't need "fast" charging of the 6.6 kWh battery (about 6 hours on 110V). The electric company gave me an EV station for the Prime which I installed in the barn and I've used if I made more than one trip off the property per day and for the Leaf once we got it mid August. But it isn't real accessible in the winter and they gave us another one for the Leaf so the relatively minimal cost for parts to connect it to the panel was worth doing.

** In the planning stages of adding another solar array and battery storage since the Leaf sucks up 62 kWh if it is "empty". Well more than the excess kWh's being generated by the current array. That will entail a sub panel so I don't really expect to need to swap the pool and furnace wires seasonally.
 
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And then on to filling in the trench. I did go "cheap" here and used flagging tape instead of paying $20 for a large roll of "utility warning" tape when I needed only 20'. Still better than the conduit from the solar panels to the inverter on the house. The excavator guy didn't have any warning tape so he just filled in the trench.
I put tape on the conduit as well as a few inches above it so if anyone digs there in the future they will hit the first warning before they get to the conduit. Of course that meant I had a lot of hand shoveling to do so the upper tape didn't just get flattened down onto the conduit.


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I still don't know what I'm going to do with the asphalt pieces so I left them on the pallet forks for the moment.
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The next project is a "house" for the EV station. It is weather proof but I'd really prefer it not be covered with ice, freezing rain and snow.
 
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