This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Saturday, 22 April 2017

A trip to Michigan

Today we popped over the border to Michigan.  Our readers will know that Benno got himself a Metal Lathe that was shipped to the campground where we stayed at in Florida this last winter. This new machine was purchased from the company “Grizzly Industrial” in Springfield, Missouri and the tooling for it from a company called “Little Machine Shop” out of Pasadena, California. Today and tomorrow there is the “28th Annual North American Model Engineering Expo” in Wyandotte, Michigan and the company “Little Machine Shop” was one of the vendors at that show.  Of course would my hubby want to go and see this exhibit and perhaps find some items of the “must have and can’t do without” kinds.

I came along for the 188km/117miles trip but I wasn’t entirely sure if there would be anything of interest around for me.  (I’m a good sport and wife)  However, the experience of walking into the exhibition hall was overwhelming. We were surrounded by hundreds of miniature machines that were humming, whistling, whirring, and making all kinds of sounds. There were mini gasoline engines, hot air engines, steam engines and other things that turned and pulsated.  Those creations I presume all involved the use of the home shops machinist’s small lathes and small milling machines. 

This exhibit was something unlike I have ever attended and I can honestly say that I was intrigued.  The show was primarily attended by men and I have to say the ladies missed out – big time! And yes, Benno purchased a few parts of the “have to have” kind for his lathe. One of this is a knurler, the other is a pump oiler and a shop apron, which deflect metal chips. I asked him why another knurler and he said that the other one, which came with the tool post, is putting too much stress on the lathe; this one is 100% better.  Hmmm, okay, all right, go for it!!!

 So here are some random pictures of the displays.

Fascination – men are all alike!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The work saga continues and what happened at the nest?

Some days ago I posted two pictures of what I thought were “Flycatchers” of some kind building a nest in our birdhouse but now there is a “Robin” nesting in it. What happened?  I have no idea if the original nest builders vacated voluntarily or, if these Robins just took over and evicted those birds.  It’s a mystery to me. However, there are a lot of Robin birds in the area. Often they sit on the fence to rest and then we watch them as they take a bath in the birdbath right next to other birds drinking from it. So obviously, they have no manners.  But we love them nevertheless!

Now I will continue from my previous post.
The next morning, after the gravel bed posts had enough time to have cured in the cement (the Quikrete is some kind of Portland cement I found out) foundation and for our tired joints to recuperate, Benno got to work on the frame. Basically, four of the planks we had purchased were bolted to the posts after being cut to the exact lengths. It looks simple, but it takes some time if you want to be precise to have them equally level because the ground is not.  For the planks to sit level he had to dig out grass sods from underneath to make everything fit. Nothing is ever easy!

When that was done out came the Makita Saw All.  In no time at all Benno cut off the posts to make them level with the planks.  I painted the stumps with a protective coat of the green wood preservative and distributed all the leftover sand/gravel from the three pails we got the other day underneath the cavities of the wooden planks. Then we collected the dug out grass sods and added them to the other pile of clay waiting to be disposed of.

This morning, after learning that we might be getting some rain in the afternoon and plenty more tomorrow, we decided it would be a good day to order some gravel/sand mixture.  Our trusted contact, Jim, from Ciliska Excavating, did another prompt and super service by coming by with his big backhoe to drop off two full buckets of that gravel/sand.  He does such a precise job that the raking of the pile went easy.  Now we have a sandbox!

It turned out to be a much better day than predicted with a temperature of 26C/79F so I spent a few hours pulling weeds from the driveway until my back told me to go inside to rest.  This evening we got that promised rain and that will pack the gravel/sand nicely down.  We will let that settle for a few weeks before we are going to add more gravel to the top.

I hope I don’t tire everyone with my account of the building of the future shed, but that is what is going on in our lives for the moment.  Stay tuned…

Monday, 17 April 2017

Progress on the preparations for a new shed

This morning started with beautiful sunshine and the promise of 22C for later in the day.  My thoughts were about if I should cook the chicken for our dogs evening meal this morning or later in the day.  Every two weeks or so I prepare cooked chicken with rice and vegetables for our dogs and freeze it in daily portions which I then have to just warm up to feed them.  However, Benno had different plans and he wanted me to come along to purchase supplies for our to be built new shed.

First stop was our local Rona Building Supply store (for our American readers it belongs to Lowes).  We needed some Siena pressure treated wood planks and they had a good supply.  We got two 2x8x14 and three 2x8x10 planks, which we shoved right through the back sliding window of our truck, resting them on the dash.  We’ve done these kinds of things before, so no problem or figuring out of how to get them home.

Next stop was at the equipment rental store to make an appointment to rent a “One Man Easy Auger” (to tow behind our truck) this afternoon to drill six holes for postholes for the foundation of the shed.  From there we went straight home to unload the wood into our garage and to grab three 5 gal. garden pails.

Off we went again this time to a local Excavator business not very far from our home.  This company has been doing numerous jobs for us since we bought this house and when we got there, no one was around.  But that was not a problem. I called Jim, one of the owners on his cell phone and told him that we needed some gravel/sand mixture for the posts holes.  They have large piles of different types of sand, stone, gravel and other products piled outside on their lot and we were to help ourselves.  In foresight we had brought a shovel and Benno had attached the cargo tray on the rear of our truck where he hived the heavy pails to take them home.

There was no time wasted back home after depositing those pails and off we were to the local Home Hardware Store.  They carry the Quikrete, a fast drying fence post cement and we needed three 30kg bags of that.  With our purchases completed we went home to unload and to have lunch. 

The appointment for the auger was at 1 p.m. so there was no time to linger over lunch, which consisted of sandwiches, yoghurts and a cup of tea.  Benno drove off again to get that machine and some screws he’d forgotten to purchase this morning. Meanwhile I painted the cut ends of six fence posts with a green wood preservative to protect them from rot.  Then I walked around the perimeter of the new shed with my weed trimmer to cut the grass, which should make working in the area easier.  While I was at the trimming I continued around our fences and all places that needed trimming. If you think that was enough activity for one day, I have to agree. However, the work had not even yet begun.

Benno wasted no time to get the auger home, unhooked and out to the lawn.  The description of “One Man” might be correct, but “Easy Auger” could be debated. I only took pictures of the first hole he drilled and there were five more!  In addition, we had to clear out the dirt from around the holes so it would not fall back in.  It’s quite a pile of dirt, which we have to dispose of because there is again a lot of clay in it.

Next jobs for me were filling some of the gravel/sand into the holes and tamping it down all to the same height with a 4x4 post. Once the posts were in position, I filled half a bag of cement around the posts while Benno positioned them with a level to make sure they straight up. What was left was to add the required amount of water over it according to the printed on instruction on the cement bag.  When that was set I filled the rest of the cavities with the gravel/sand mixture.  It sounds easy, but involved lugging the heavy stone/sand and the cement bags (30KG each bag) around. Of course throughout Benno used the level on and off to make sure everything lined up and he mounted the 14ft board along the posts to adjust their positions.  So for tonight this job is complete.  Oh, and he had to return the machine to the rental outlet.

After cooking dinner, cleanup and dishes, I am exhausted.