Building A Small Shed

I’ve found myself needing a small shed.  My original plans were for a full size pole barn, but I ran out of money while building the house so that project is on hold for some time.  However I need to get my mowers our of my garage.  Plus I want to have power out away from my house to run an arc welder and to provide power for my chicken coop.

In my township I can build an out building up to 100 square feet without any permit required.  I’m currently trying to decide between a 10′ x 10′ or a 8′ x 12′.  I will be using metal roofing panels for the roof and the walls and both will take basically the same amount for the sides, however I want some overhang on the roof so 10′ x 10′ might be easier, using four 12′ metal roof panels.

I’m going to build this pole barn style and to start it will have a dirt floor.  A concrete floor would only take about 1-1/4 yards and that is well below the minimum orders for a concrete.  Mixing up bags would be a lot of work so I’ll have to think about it.  Another option would be something called 21AA which is a mix of rock and limestone dust that will pack down hard.  Plus I can buy 21AA from a place about 4 miles away a pickup truck load at a time.

If you follow the tag Shed you can get updates on this project going forward.

Foraging – I love Blackcaps

For whatever reason I’ve always loved what my Grandmother called “Blackcaps” or wild black raspberries even more that the cultivated reds.  They generally grow wild along roads and the edge of woods.  My property has a fair number of them, not enough to make jam or anything like that, but they are a nice treat to pick and eat while doing tasks.  They are just now coming on in my area and I look forward to snacking on them for the next couple of weeks.

It pays to be observant and learn what edibles grow wild in your area and more important close to where you are if not on your own property.  In this case knowing they are black raspberries means not trying to eating them when they first turn red.  If I had more time I would be hitting the ditches in my area to get more and make jam, but not this year.

Running Power To An Outbuilding

I want to have electricity in an outbuilding (that I haven’t built yet) so I can run an arc welder and charge my Elec-Trac electric garden tractor.  Plus power makes everything work better.  I’ll start with just a 12′ x 8′ shed to mount an electrical panel in and in the future when I get some money saved up I’ll build a full-sized pole barn and I hope to have to re-work as little of the electrical as possible.

20160621_183854.jpgWhen I got electrical service run to my house during construction I elected to spend a little more and get a 400 Amp service.  This meter panel is designed to feed two different breaker panels of 200 amps each.  So I have one 200 amp line going into the house and now I can add one more 200 amp 240V  line for my outbuilding.  Notice the open lugs available.  To carry the amps I need what is called 4/0 direct bury wire.  This means I can just did a trench 2′ deep and lay the wire in it and cover it back up.  In my area the 2′ depth is required and also I’m supposed to bury some yellow caution tape 6″-12″ in the trench to serve as a warning in case someone starts digging in the area.

This wire is about $2/foot so you want to measure as close as you can and not buy too much extra.  I also ran 2″ plastic conduit under where I will be adding more concrete to my driveway, just in case.  However these three wires take up all of the 2″ conduit, so I cannot add anything else.  But if I ever have to make a change I’ve got conduit running under my driveway.

Keep in mind the amount of power in the meter box can kill you.  While there is no danger in what I’ve done so far, since the wire isn’t hooked up to anything, unless you are confident in what you are doing you would be better off hiring someone to do you electrical work.  After having said that, I do all my own electrical work based on the small amount of training I had in the program I went to in Community College 30 years ago.



Moving Chicks – Maybe Too Early

Our Black Australops are about 2 1/2 months old so we decided to move them out of the fully enclosed coop to the area with the rest of the flock.  This may have been a mistake as the didn’t seem to have much trouble going through the electro-net fencing.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow when they can see the whole enclosed area and if they will be inclined to stay in the fence.

What Is A Grease Zerk And Why Should You Care

In these days of “Maintenance Free” you still need to know and understand when things do require some regular attention.  I remember as a child my father greasing our car, but now all of those bearings are sealed in cars.  However many of us user older equipment, either because we like it or due to the economics of buying used older equipment.  In the case of much of this older equipment (and even some new) you have to add lubrication to the bearing surfaces in the form of grease.  In the case of some kind of wheel bearings you have to pack it with grease.  In others you use a grease gun to add grease through a fitting called a Zerk (the silver ball looking thing in the two pictures).  The zerk has a one way valve in it and allows the grease in but not out.

These pictures are of my brush mower that was built in the 70’s.  The axle is a shaft in a sleave and since the force and RPM’s are low it will last practically forever if it is kept greased.  Generally speaking you just pump grease in through the zerk until you see the old grease coming out the joint.  Anyplace you see one of these fittings you need to grease it regularly.  How frequently depends on the use and the conditions.  If you have a manual for the piece of equipment it should tell you a lubrication schedule.  Otherwise if you have to add a lot of grease before you see it coming out your probably waited too long.