This year we are bringing in the New Year pretty low key compared to our Big City days. However, the year of 2017 is going to be full of excitement for us. Continue reading
We finally added some stalls to our goat barn. Kate came up with the basic design and I sort of pieced it together in late October. It’s two stalls and a corral, built with treated 4x6s and 2x8s for the sides. I’d say both stalls are big enough for a horse, although one is pushing the limits. It’d be fine for a large horse that’s lame and needs to be rested for a few days, but long term it might be cramped.
The sheep currently occupy the stalls and buying a horse is certainly not on our to-do list, so I think they’ll serve us well. Goats or pigs are more likely tenants than horses for now. I’m not sure this really requires a step-by-step. It’s two squares framed off of the barn walls so everyone’s would be slightly different depending on the dimensions of your pole barn. But here’s a few tips and “how I did-its.”
The labor was intensive… I set the posts using a hand auger. It went through the gravel bottom OK, but after drilling over 10 of them, I’ll admit I was pooped.
Things got a little tricky because of the concrete foundation, so I did get a little creative in a few spots. Personally, I’m most proud of the gates, which I built from scratch out of 2x4s. I used deck screws in pocket holes to frame them out and covered with 2x6s. They’re surprising light and function well. If I can find the photos, I will do a step-by-step on the gates. The design would work for fences, decks, etc.
I really enjoyed this project, as I always do when I get to try my hand at carpentry. I kick myself I didn’t pursue carpentry as a career, I enjoy it more than anything else in the world. Maybe someday. Luckily there is plenty of it to do around here for now. I finished the two 10’x10′ stalls and will finish the smaller pens this spring/summer. But for now, here is a glance at our new stalls and happy sheep!
Every year I try to do a Christmas card that is a bit wacky and fun, since that’s what I consider us to be. It started with the first year we lived here with the chickens. I tried desperately to get tiny Santa hats on the chickens for their photo shoot, but as you can imagine, that did not go well. I managed to get one on and they just thought chasing that chicken around to pull the hat off was the best game ever. So I resorted to some very unskilled Photoshop and came up with the card below. It was a hit. Continue reading
How to install a toilet. While this is not the most pleasant DIY task, it’s not quite as nasty as I expected, especially since one of the reasons I was replacing the toilet was lingering odors.
The second reason was hard water had essentially ruined the old one, as explained in the water softener post. The other, most significant reason is that the wax ring was clearly shot even when we bought the house and the previous owner put tile around the toilet instead of under it – a big no-no. So, replacing the floor AND toilet were both required.
I went with a cheap but decent looking vinyl floor because I don’t know how permanent it will be. We would like to start from scratch on that bathroom in a few years’ time.
So, how to install a toilet.
- Turn off the water and flush your toilet. This will empty the tank, but not the bowl. With one more flush and a plunger I was able to force a little more water through the trap, but some still remained. To get it dry, you can sponge it out.
- Remove the tank if it comes off. Toilets are heavy and two pieces are better than one.
- Next, remove the closest bolts (that hold the toilet to the floor). Your new toilet will likely come with bolts and you can replace them in step 6 if they’re rusted or broken.
- Pull the toilet up and out (towards you should keep any water left in the bowl above the trap). I just carried it straight to the driveway which is only about 15 steps away. Later in the day we got a snow storm and I covered it with the snow blower… In spring, the toilets will bloom!
- Now things get a little nasty. You have to remove what’s left of the old wax ring before you install the new one.
- If your toilet was properly seated, you’re nearly done. Not the case for me. I added two closest flange risers. They could also be called spacers, kits, etc. Bottom line, they fill the gap between the flange and the toilet when you add a new floor over top an old one. They should’ve have been used during the last remodel.
- (Optional) Put down new floor. Nothing exciting here… it was a floating (no mastic) vinyl floor in a pretty small space. Didn’t take much time and I laid it right over the hodgepodge of flooring that was there with a special matt below the new floor. Next remodel we’ll pull the floor up and lay ceramic.
- Next I placed the new wax ring on the toilet and then placed it over the flange with the bolts through the pedestal of the toilet.
- Push down hard and evenly on the toilet until its level on the floor with no gaps. This crushes the wax ring, which makes a tight seal. The wax is also an unfriendly place for bacteria, another reason why it’s used.
- Fasten bolts, attach the tank and complete any other steps in your toilet’s installation instructions. Now you know how to install a toilet.
I’ve never met anyone who liked soft water, myself included. Growing up the Chicago suburbs we always had “high quality H2O” for most of my life. I was a young lad when we started receiving water from Lake Michigan, which was not naturally hard and rather good tasting.
Sheep are the same as goats except their tails point down instead of up right…? Pretty close and as most of the illnesses and basic care of the two animals are the same, there is one hidden danger that sheep owners need to be aware of. Continue reading