A month gone by already – whoops!

It has been busy here in Carlisle (plus I had a trip to San Francisco in there as well).

First up Deck Acorn surprised me with a fantastic bench for my entry way – custom built and finished to match the house.  It is tremendous.   They wanted to thank me for allowing them to use the house in their media and to bring clients and prospects by while it was being built.  It was my total pleasure and they didn’t have to do anything – but man it is a nice piece and oh so comfortable.

Then my parent’s had a maple tree taken out which was sick and dying AND leaning over the power lines.  John Bakewell arranged for it to be taken down by heavy equipment and then stump ground – while his friend was here, he did 4 other stumps as well.  A definite heavy machine – it ground things down to about 1 foot underground

Then I went out and got a TV (an LG hi-def model that is middle of the road) so that I had something to hook up when the satellite guys arrived.  I ordered DirecTV for regular TV service (comes with a DVR and I had them arrange things so the guest room has TV too).  I also got Exede Internet  which is pure up & down satellite internet service (no land lines).  I got the 12Mbytes download package but it seems to run at 18Mbs (upload is about 2.6Mb).  Latency is about 600ms.  I haven’t really tried anything with it yet but it seems to work pretty well.  The cost was less than a cellular modem setup – but I have to do that as well in order to get my work VPN to run – experimentation in the future.

Finally, the small amounts of free time I have had this month, I have been working on a couple of custom bookshelves for under the windows on my northern wall in the living room.  I have one done and installed as of today (not enough room for all the piece parts in my Dad’s shop to fully complete both at the same time).  I got a 4’x8′ sheet of birch plywood at Concord Lumber, some threaded rod and stainless steel nuts and was thinking originally that was all I would need (bolts and nuts hold up each shelf).  Dumb-dumb me forgot that the steel rod would be strong under tension but bendy and wobbly under compression (like holding UP a shelf).  So I went out and got some panels from 8020.com that are aluminum layup sandwiches – called an Alumalite™ Panel – to stiffen the sides and back.  This turned out to be an advantage because they come in colors!  I choose red for the ends and metallic silver for the back.  For a couple hundred bucks in materials, I think they are coming out nice.  Oak 2×2 runners are the feet so it sits off the floor and the airvents are not blocked.  The intent is that these will hold my unfortunately large amount of coffee table books!

Final thing that is going on – I am scheming with John Bakewell to plant an English style hedgerow (wild – not manicured) along the property line with Kimballs.  The intent is that it will act as a natural place for my Concord Grapes – a natural trellis.  I have been reading up on the olde skills around the laying of hedges, proper cutting of pleachers and other neat things.  I need to place my order soon with John for this spring and I am still trying to figure out what mix of species of plants we want (Hornbeam and grape vines are all that is on the list so far)

Here is a Midlands style hedge to give you an idea of what is possible (there are MANY different styles)

Should be an interesting project and if I don’t like it, I can go in a different direction.  This book has been very helpful:  Hedges and Hedgelaying: A Guide to Planting, Management and Conservation Hardcover – October 1, 2006
by Murray Maclean (Author)

Ok – enough of the wall of text – time for photos and then off for some cocktails!


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