Nori's Stuff - Gardening, quilting, cooking and dogs

Archive for August, 2011

Cordwaining

August 30, 2011

LOVE toe socks

ToeToe Walkers

I love my new toe socks.  Who knew toe socks could be so awesome?!  They are max comfy if a tad more difficult to install than untoed socks.

I like these so much I’ve ordered smartwool toe socks.  I have some smartwool knee-high regular socks which are the socks I wear most, so smartwool toe socks should be awesome.  Unfortunately, smartwool toed socks don’t come in knee-high style in my size.  I’m getting mini and anklet in womens small.  Better than a jab with a sharp stick . . .

Hydro/Aquaponics

Fishy in the overflow

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I came out this morning to a guppy in the sump.  Oops.  I fetched her out but it’s apparent I’ll need some way to prevent the little buggers from taking that ride.

Cordwaining

August 29, 2011

Vibram Five Fingers and toe socks

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Kids KSOs

If I’m ever going to try Five Fingers, now is the time.  Vibram is having a big sale.  Instead of the normal $80 price tag, the kids’ KSOs are $60.  I ordered mine for REI and ordered black and gray toetoe walker socks from Sock Dreams in Oregon.

Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

Sump and reconnect

Pump out at the top, wall drain at the bottom. The sump sits in the corner under the plumbing.

Plant wall draining back into aquarium. The drain is supported by a hanger on the wall. It just looks like it's sitting on the

The black at the top is the wall drain.  The clothes pin is pinching shut the primer line.

The black at the top is the wall drain. The clothes pin is pinching shut the primer line.

Wadly and I got the wall connected to the aquarium last week.  The first picture is the plumbing to and from the wall.  When we move into our *real* house I won’t be able to drill holes with impunity . . . darn it.

Yesterday I got the sump connected.  I still have to paint the . . . I’m not quite sure what to call it.  It’s a collection of elbows and short pieces of pipe that takes the place of u-pipe and overflow box for controlling the level of water in the aquarium.  The portion in the aquarium will be green, the part out of the aquarium and inside the sump container will be black.  The next hot day we have I’ll pull it and paint it using Krylon Fusion.

I have the pump to push the water into the wall in the sump.  The wall drains directly into the aquarium.   I also have a very small fountain pump in the sump to keep the water circulating between the sump and the aquarium when the pump for the wall isn’t running.  I still need to clean up all the water and electric lines, running them so they won’t clutter the landscape and I still need to provide a cover for the sump to keep out debris AND I need to moderate the sound of running water in the sump.

After I manage all that I need to build a custom cover and light array for the aquarium.  And then I need to find and install the gutter for the wall for when the plant wall comes back in.  And install an overhead light for the wall.  Got the light, just don’t have enough electrical current available to run it but that should be fixed soon.

Gardening,Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

August 23, 2011

New aquarium

49 gallon aquarium

The larger aquarium is all set up and connected to the wall.  I’ve run 1½” black PVC pipe from the plant wall out in the sun porch through the wall to the left end of the aquarium.  The pump is in the right end with the hose for the pump using a separate hole high in the wall level with the top of the plant wall.

With the new larger tubing I had to put additional slits in the gutter stand pipe to prevent the gutter from overflowing.

I traded the pleco for a very much smaller one.  I bought five small neon tetra to give the two babies I already had a school and I bought two more catfish for a total of four.  With the guppies and adult neon tetra I have about 25 fish in the aquarium.

My next step is to get the sump built so I can maintain the water level in the aquarium when the wall is being watered, dose the wall separate from the aquarium and top the water up without adding water directly to the aquarium.

Quilting,sunset quilt

Another sunset award

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LouAnn called last night.  My sunset quilt got People’s Choice at the fair.  I don’t know which day it got it but it’s really nice to have it recognized.

Both quilts come home today.  <smile>

Gardening,Hydro/Aquaponics

August 21, 2011

Jungle hooch

Jungle hooch

Wadly's view of our cabin by the lake.

Wadly sits in the kitchen in the morning, drinking his coffee and gazing out over his domain.  This morning he said “our cabin by the lake is now a hooch in the jungle.”  It made me laugh.   The reed has gotten to be a fairly impressive size.

The first picture is what we see when we walk out the door.  The second is what Wadly sees sitting in the kitchen.  You can see why he’s calling it a hooch in the jungle.

 

Gardening,Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

August 16, 2011

The larger traveling wall

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Wadly on his beloved John Deere moving the plant wall

In the last couple weeks we’ve made a number of changes to our aquarium/plant wall setup.  We moved our plant wall outside for the summer and swapped our original 28 gallon aquarium for a larger 50 gallon one.

Yesterday I swapped our fairly large plecostomus for a scaled down model too small to eat new hatchlings and sleeping fish.  I also got two more catfish and five neon tetra about the size of the tetra babies we already had.  I think that brings our tetra count to 10.  Wadly will have to buy some more guppies to round out the pack.

I’ve still got a lot to do to the new aquarium.  I need new air hose for one of my stones, I still need to find/build a sump and I need to run plumbing through the wall to connect the plant wall to the new tank.

When we moved the plant wall out we hung it on the horizontal beam on the east end of the sun porch.  To leave it outside and still connect it to the aquarium inside the living room it was necessary to move it to the north wall.  Rather than remove the gutter and disturb all the plants again, we fastened a 2×4 to the back of the plant wall and moved it with the tractor.  It was a little time consuming but very easy nothing damaged in the move.

There’s no way to get it back into the house using the tractor but I wish we could.  This last move was incredibly easy.

Dogs/Pets

Chucky, version 2.5

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Limp and snoring

It’s been two and a half years since Chuck came to live with us.  When he first arrived I had to chase him down and corner him to touch him.

Through the months we went through many stages of acceptance and trust.  He came to accepted we would touch him but I couldn’t reach for him with both hands.  Then I couldn’t touch him if we were outside.  Then I could touch him outside but with only one hand.

Just recently he’s started rolling over on his back to have his tummy rubbed.  This is a 180° shift from the dog who slept with one eye open with all legs tucked under him prepared to bolt to safety.

As his trust and confidence grew he changed from a scared little mite who would bolt in a heartbeat to a regular guy, confident enough to follow me around the hardware store among strange people.

The picture on the left is Chuck, version 2.5, sound asleep, upside down and snoring.  It’s not very dignified but it makes me smile.

You’ve come a long way, baby.

Quilting,sunset quilt

August 12, 2011

Ribbons at the fair

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LouAnn has been entering her quilting and canning in our local fair for years.   I’m fortunate that she drags my quilts along for the ride.

This year I have three quilts entered in the fair.  LouAnn called yesterday to tell me they had all received blue ribbons.  While that’s nice, it was even more exciting to hear her grape quilt had been considered for the grand poo-bah prize.  That’s pretty awesome!

Note:  LouAnn called to tell me Sunset on the Farm got People’s Choice at the fair.  How nice!

Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

August 8, 2011

To sump or not to sump

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I’m planning the changes I want to make to our aquaponic system when the wall comes back indoors.

This time I want the water level in the aquarium to be fixed, so I’m planning to install a sump.  In reading up on sumps I ran into a good tutorial on one of the salt water aquarium sites.  What I found delightful, beyond how clear and informative the information was the author’s style.  “I once had a zebra goby that, despite my lectures, would make the trip several times a week before I finally managed to find an effective way to enforce the height restrictions on the ride.”  Part 3, sump tutorial

Wadly’s changing to a bigger tank.  The new tank is the same depth front to back but is 4″ taller and 18″ longer.  That’s a fairly significant increase in water volume.  The addition of a sump bumps the volume even further.  I will be able to have the tank heater and small circulator pump in the sump along with the larger pump required for feeding the wall.  Moving the pump and heater out of the tank will really clean up the inside which will make Wadly even happier.

Wadly’s current tank has been very successful.  Having it attached to the wall keeps the tank’s inhabitants fairly healthy and clean with little work on our part.  The tank’s health and stability are supported by the baby catfish, baby guppies and, most surprising of all, baby neon tetras we’ve had since the tank was established.  The baby tetras were jousting last night.  They’re so flashy it’s easy to see their antics from across the room.

 

Dogs/Pets,Gardening,Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

August 7, 2011

Carlos is coming

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Lorr (our son) has discovered wholesale rot under the window and into the floor and floor supports where his 60 gallon aquarium housing Carlos the turtle, two gigantic plecos and a couple really fat goldfish.  Moving the tank is a must so it looks like Carlos is coming to stay.  The big concern is keeping Carlos comfortable.  The goldies can join mine in my 100 gallon tank outside and the plecos can go to the aquarium store.

Wadly’s next day off is Tue.  We’ll drag the big aquarium out of the loft, clean and set it up for all Wadly’s fish.  We’ll leave the smaller aquarium set up to accommodate Carlos temporarily while we get is larger tank set up and up to temp.

To keep both tanks using the wall, I’m going to have to install a sump.  I haven’t done that before.  It should be a learning experience.

Gardening,Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

August 1, 2011

Plant wall is out!

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Wall hanging in the sun porch.

I’ve moved the plant wall into the sun porch for the next two months.  Terry wants to change his tank to a larger one and I need to solve my recurring aphid problem, so the wall’s out!

When I move the plant wall back in I’m going to make a couple changes.  I am going to mount the gutter on the room’s wall instead of attaching it to the plant wall.  Moving the plant wall with the gutter attached was not a productive act.  The way I’d built it, the gutter couldn’t be removed from the plant wall without taking the plant wall off the room wall.    The only way to set the wall down was on the gutter.  Yeah, it was ugly.  There was no permanent damage done but it was beyond messy.

The mounting system is a success.  The plant wall was easy to lift off the mounting bracket.  I’d definitely recommend using that scheme.  To hang the plant wall in the sun porch Terry used deck screws to fasten a beveled 2×4 to the horizontal support beam in the sun porch.  The wall slipped right on it with no fuss.

I’m using a temporary gutter right now made out of billboard vinyl.  It’s not bad!  The hydroton is light and takes up enough room so when the gutter is full of water it isn’t too heavy for the quick and dirty support assembly I build using 2 sticks screwed to the ends of the wall frame holding up a metal rod taped and rolled into the vinyl at the front.  The vinyl trough ends are folded up and stapled to the wall frame.  It doesn’t leak and it doesn’t add to the weight of the wall.  It’s not a permanent solution but it is a quick and dirty temporary one that works.  The drain is a threaded bulkhead fitting with a piece of plastic water pipe inserted in the top.  The water pipe has holes drilled to allow the water to drain.  The closer to the top of the pipe, the more holes I drilled.  It’s just enough to let the gutter flood to the right depth and slowly drain when the pump shuts off.

I’ve got the pipe for the new gutter ready to cut and mount but I’ll wait until the new aquarium is in so I know where to place my drain hole.  The new aquarium is 18″ longer so I have some good options.  I won’t be able to use a hard plastic threaded bulkhead because of the curve of the pipe but I have some Uniseal bulkhead fittings.  If I don’t have the right size I’ll order some more.

To keep the fish in the aquarium happy and healthy, I’m doing the water changes via buckets.  I siphon 5 gallons of water out of the 25 gallon wall receptacle and I siphon 5 gallons of water out of the aquarium.  Then I dump the aquarium water into the plant wall receptacle and the plant wall water into the aquarium.  It doesn’t take long, isn’t messy and isn’t very tedious so I’ll continue to do that twice a week until Terry gets the tanks swapped and I can move my plant wall back in.  We’ve got lots of baby fish right now and the catfish has just laid eggs again so I don’t know how he’s going to manage the swap without disturbing everyone.