Software Alchemist & Monkey Rancher

Apr 04

“If your vision is bold enough, just ignore other people. THAT is the siren song of creativity. Do YOU have the juice?” — Alan Cooper

The Big Dig project is moving ahead rapidly. Dominic and his mini-excavator have been trenching across the property for the new pipelines. Here he is very carefully excavating within the Tractor Barn. The new main electrical panel will be installed on the wall just behind the boom.

The Big Dig project is moving ahead rapidly. Dominic and his mini-excavator have been trenching across the property for the new pipelines. Here he is very carefully excavating within the Tractor Barn. The new main electrical panel will be installed on the wall just behind the boom.

The chassis, completed, is now wedded to the coop. Next up: Sheathing. The roof will be corrugated steel and the walls will be covered with lovely recycled redwood.

The chassis, completed, is now wedded to the coop. Next up: Sheathing. The roof will be corrugated steel and the walls will be covered with lovely recycled redwood.

I won a big chunk of Pearwood at the last meeting of the Wine Country Wood Turners, and promptly started work on it. It was freshly cut and soaking wet; probably about 40% water.
Turning wet wood is really fun and easy, but it has some issues. The main one is that once you start, you have to finish in a hurry. As the walls of your bowl get thinner, the wood dries out very rapidly, and as it dries it warps, and you can’t turn warped wood.

I won a big chunk of Pearwood at the last meeting of the Wine Country Wood Turners, and promptly started work on it. It was freshly cut and soaking wet; probably about 40% water.

Turning wet wood is really fun and easy, but it has some issues. The main one is that once you start, you have to finish in a hurry. As the walls of your bowl get thinner, the wood dries out very rapidly, and as it dries it warps, and you can’t turn warped wood.

“Engineers work on paper with mathematics and pencils. Builders make things with atoms and friction. Which is programming? Neither!” — Alan Cooper

From the moment Sue and I first saw the Tall Barn three years ago, we were captivated by the way sunlight plays on it. The barn’s old boards have shrunk and the afternoon rays penetrate the interstices between them creating a lattice of cathedral light on the interior. In this image, the afternoon sun casts shadows from the old cow-feeding manger boards, which have been repurposed into fences.

From the moment Sue and I first saw the Tall Barn three years ago, we were captivated by the way sunlight plays on it. The barn’s old boards have shrunk and the afternoon rays penetrate the interstices between them creating a lattice of cathedral light on the interior. In this image, the afternoon sun casts shadows from the old cow-feeding manger boards, which have been repurposed into fences.

Aaron tends to one of the winter-born lambs, recently weaned, and happy that the grass is finally growing thick.

Aaron tends to one of the winter-born lambs, recently weaned, and happy that the grass is finally growing thick.

Arborial Repose on an early Spring afternoon.

Arborial Repose on an early Spring afternoon.

“Breadth, intelligence, perspective, tenacity, imagination. These are what you need from the news. You can always correct for bias.” — Alan Cooper

Here is the completed chassis with a front axle on a fifth wheel fresh out of the paint shop (although the tongue still needs paint). It’s four feet by eight feet, the same size as the chicken tractor, which will bolt on top. 

Here is the completed chassis with a front axle on a fifth wheel fresh out of the paint shop (although the tongue still needs paint). It’s four feet by eight feet, the same size as the chicken tractor, which will bolt on top. 

Here’s what the fifth wheel for the new chicken tractor looked like under construction. It’s upside-down on my welding table. There’s a thrust bearing in the center, but I fabricated the 18” diameter horizontal steel wheel to give the axle more stability. It works great.

Here’s what the fifth wheel for the new chicken tractor looked like under construction. It’s upside-down on my welding table. There’s a thrust bearing in the center, but I fabricated the 18” diameter horizontal steel wheel to give the axle more stability. It works great.

Apr 02

Shawn, the man with the mill, came by and chain-sawed the Walnut tree’s root ball off of the main trunk. Cory used the big tractor to pull them apart and put Anchorseal on the end grain. This afforded us our first look at the wood. It’s AWESOME! There are some rot holes and some bark inclusions, but we’ll get some three-foot wide (or wider) slabs out of this baby. All of my neighbors are fantasizing about Walnut Burl gunstocks!

Shawn, the man with the mill, came by and chain-sawed the Walnut tree’s root ball off of the main trunk. Cory used the big tractor to pull them apart and put Anchorseal on the end grain. This afforded us our first look at the wood. It’s AWESOME! There are some rot holes and some bark inclusions, but we’ll get some three-foot wide (or wider) slabs out of this baby. All of my neighbors are fantasizing about Walnut Burl gunstocks!

“It’s amazing how much time and effort is spent figuring out how to make something before it is made, with atoms. Bits, not so much.” — Alan Cooper

Barring a final coat of varnish, Cluckingham Palace, the new chicken tractor, is completed. It’s made almost entirely of recycled materials and it will provide a home for our new raise of chicks arriving early in June.

Barring a final coat of varnish, Cluckingham Palace, the new chicken tractor, is completed. It’s made almost entirely of recycled materials and it will provide a home for our new raise of chicks arriving early in June.

Mar 26

A day of work is all it took, and the soldier is down. Now we need to find a skilled woodsman with a bandsaw mill. I think I know just the guy.

A day of work is all it took, and the soldier is down. Now we need to find a skilled woodsman with a bandsaw mill. I think I know just the guy.