Monday, July 27, 2009

Visitors for the Weekend

We have Friday off this weekend again. That’s getting to be a lot of Fridays off this summer. That’s OK though. I guess it comes with getting older.

I don’t think I related to you the story of the dented refrigerator from the last time we hauled it up to the lake. Margaret has always wanted a small refrigerator in the shed. Now that we have pretty much turned it into a Garden House it seemed like we should have that refrigerator. We found a nice one with a big freezer compartment for ice at the Menards store in Minneapolis so we purchased it. It was in a nice box and sat in the garage at the condo for a week or so until we loaded it in the jeep and hauled it to the lake. Upon getting it unboxed at the lake we found a nice big dent in the front door. Not good! Now it has to get hauled al the way back to the Menards store to be replaced.

So this weekend the replaced refrigerator makes it journey to the lake to find a home under the counter in the new Garden Shed where it can vend ice and beer for drinks and parties in the hot tub.


We also have visitors coming to the lake this weekend. Its my fathers birthday and usually once a year they make the trip to the lake. This seems like a good weekend to come. We can celebrate his birthday and they can see the new Garden Shed and hot tub.

Friday morning I stained the inside roof of Margaret’s new farmers porch before my parents arrived and then cleaned up. They arrived around noon and we sat on the deck and had lunch.

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Since I wasn’t going to work too hard while they were here it seemed like it might be a good idea to put the new basement refrigerator and freezer in the coach. The new sliding basement tray had arrived and was waiting to be installed in the storage compartment. All it needed was a few bolts and spacers to install and then be wired into the 120 and 12 volt electrical systems. This shouldn’t be too much trouble and can be done from the deck while everyone sits around this afternoon.

The project starts with the big tool chest of sockets and wrenches. You have to be careful to open it right side up or all the sockets will get dumped on the ground when you open it, just like in the picture below.


Of course no project is complete without a trip to town for additional parts. This project is no exception and the bolts required to fasten the slide to the floor are no where to be found in the garage so off we go to the Ace Hardware Store in Walker for parts.

My mother managed to make a spectacular deal on a closeout set of Crocks for $4 at the hardware store. Here she is modeling her new purchase. I’m sure she will be the fashion queen in here neighborhood with these new shoes. Hey there 4 bucks what did you expect!


We managed to get the refrigerator slide in the coach and after a few drinks managed to retire to the hot tub for a soak and a continuation of happy hour!


So the big question is: Are they wearing swimming suits in the hot tub? This is a pretty wild crowd you know!

Hot tub parties are tiring


I did manage to get some work done on Saturday too. I did some electrical work in the shed and after the visitors returned from an emergency trip to Bemidji to repair a flaky cell phone we put up the eve troughs and had lunch.


In the afternoon my mother who is a big supporter of the Indians in Minnesota made her obligatory trip to Northern Lights Casio (just down the road) and donated so the poor Indians can have a better life.

Lately it seems we have been having problems with paddleboats, canoes and small water craft crashing on the rocky shore line of our lakefront. So Margaret solved the problem with a new light house to warn the boaters of impending danger!


The weather was nice for the weekend and the visit, the Indians were happy they got their contribution, and a good time was had by all.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The GNC project now the “Garden Shed” part 6

Thursday night 7:30PM we are at the lake again and are in a bit off a rush to fix the pump down at the lake, so we can use lake water to fill the hot tub instead of well water. The well water contains a lot of iron and tends to turn the water rust colored. We have to get the hot tub filled tonight, because it will take 24 hours to heat it up to usable temperatures and it sure would be nice to have it Friday night. We got the pump and filter working and we had a glass of wine while we waited for the tub to fill.

Another early Friday morning in July brings us to Home Depot in Bemidji for the umpteenth time this summer. The good new is I think that this is the last time to bring a trailer full of building material from Bemidji. You see the major building has been completed on the Great Northern Casita, now the “Garden House”.


The last part of the building on the Garden House is the “Farmers Porch” over the deck. The plan is a couple more 11 hour days working from 7:00 until 6:00 and it should be mostly done. Well all but some part time monkeying around a few hours here and there. The original shed still needs to be re-stained, and there is still some caulking and bits and pieces left.

The first part of the porch is to plant the poles in the ground that go through the deck. I had to remove a few deck boards ( I never did screwed them down completely.) then I could use a post hole digger to dig holes that the posts set in.


Once all the posts are in, deck boards put back and the header is placed across the post we now have a frame to set the roof on.


Putting a roof on anything takes a couple of hours to get the angles right on the roof ,then cut a master pattern board for the rafters. Once you have the master pattern, the first couple of rafters up and squared with the building, (squaring them is the hard part) you can fly. It doesn't take long after that. So by the end of Friday night at 6:00PM this is what it looked like.


DSC02522The recently filled hot tub managed to make it to 100 degrees by 6:00pm just as we knocked off for the night . It sure felt good after working hard all day.

Saturday morning required a trip to the building center at Park Rapids, because they stock Hunters Green aluminum drip edge and fascia covering.

Once we had the drip edge, shingling can start. Back on the roof by 9:00 (After tea of course. No civilized husband of an Irish woman can miss tea!) shingling goes fast with an air gun and by noon the shingles are almost on.


At 6:00PM we knocked off for the day with everything but the staining of the ceiling inside the porch done.

Sunday morning was for staining. I masked off the deck put down cardboard and stained all the posts and beams. When that was done there was a couple of hours before lunch so I replaced the old screen door with a new one and stained that as well.


The view from the deck

After lunch we did some everyday projects around the lot and then it was time for the….

Big Hot tub party!


After the party sitting on lawn out front I did another panorama.

Work Hard and Play Hard!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lake Minnetonka Regional Park

We stayed in the city this weekend. Mostly because we have another long weekend coming up this Friday, so we have a short week coming. Margaret also had a work event she attended on Saturday. More on the GNC now the Garden House coming next week.

Most of Saturday I messed around creating Virtual Reality Panoramas. What's a VR Panorama you say?

Long story: here

Short story: It is many photographs magically stitched together to create an image bigger than the camera is capable of taking. The final image in my last post was a panorama created from multiple camera images while standing on the end of the dock at the lake.


There is really about 15 pictures that make up this image. They are stitched together with a special program. You can see some issues in this image if you look closely there is a ghost image of the dock next to the dock on the right hand side. This is created by misalignment in the original images called Parralex error. There is a special device that corrects for this, and I didn't have it when I snapped the photos from the dock.

It is possible to create a simulated 3 dimensional circle of these images. The trick is to take enough pictures and to get them to stitch together properly. It takes a special attachment to a tripod to get the images to be close enough and properly aligned to work well and avoid the Parallex error above. I bought one of those attachments Saturday and played with it all afternoon. I did a couple of practice tries and had fairly good results.

Sunday around 11:00AM we went to Minnetonka regional park for a picnic and a hike. I also put together this Panorama of the very interesting pool area they have at the park.

Instructions for use:

Pressing the shift button will zoom you in.

Pressing the ctrl button will zoom you out.

Clicking on the left mouse button while dragging on the image will cause the image to move in the direction of the mouse movement. Up Down, Right, and Left

You also have to have Flash running on you computer. Most people do, but if it doesn't appear to work you can get flash installed by clicking on the word here

Its almost like being there!

Let me know though comments what you thing about the Panoramas.

P.S. If you zoom in on the picnic table that is back near the trees you can see Margaret sleeping on the bench of the table.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

GNC Project Part 5

The 4th of July falls on a Saturday this year so our official holiday was the Friday before. We took an additional 2 days of vacation to go along with Friday so we have Wednesday through Sunday at the Lake this weekend. with all that time off the GNC project should be moving along nicely.

We arrived at the lake Tuesday evening after work and opened everything up. We have had a lot of rain up north and the grass was long , and the trees and brush are green and thick this year.

Wednesday morning started on top of the ladder staining all the wood in the soon to be hot tub room with two thick coats of waterproofing stain. This will keep the moisture from the hot tub from rotting the wood.


After that the final install of the Stain Glass windows in the back wall. By 11:00 everything was completed inside except closing in the front wall. (The hot tub has to slide through there.)

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Now the big question is how are we going to move the 600 pound hot tub from the garage to the new room?

A gang of Chinese laborers you say?, Magic and levitation? 6 strong men? all wrong. We are going to do this like real men! Well at least the real “geeky men” I know. Science and horsepower are the answer!

Archimedes said ”Give me a lever and I will move the world! “

Scott says “ Give me a Jeep and a set of inclined planks and I’ll move a hot tub!”


The first thing is to set the planks (above) and raise the tub on blocks (below)



Then we construct a sled from scrap materials laying around from the building construction.


The sled is then placed under the raised tub and strapped tight with tie downs. A harness is fashioned out of spare rope laying around that belongs to the “Great Stump Man”


Nothing to it!

Once the tub was in place we could hook up the special GFCI electrical circuit and wiring required to power the hot tub. While I worked on the wiring Margaret filled the tub with water to test for leaks. (We don’t want to close the room in on a leaky tub do we?)


The tub survived the leak test, and all the pumps and heater work correctly. We don’t have a filter for the tub yet so we had to drain the water. We now have a tested and functioning hot tub in the room. Once we get the filter we are ready for a party!


With the tub completed its now time to close in the front wall with the sliding door, and finish up the many details remaining.

By the time Sunday rolled around things were looking pretty good. The front is completed, the deck is skirted , grass is planted again, and the electrical is all complete.


Other than a couple of details on the hot tub room all that remains is the farmers porch over the deck and to stain the old part of the shed to match.


We did find time to water ski and enjoying the beautiful weather at the lake also.

Oh and the Casita has a new name! With all the stained glass and views of the woods Margaret has renamed the Great Northern Casita to.......

“ The Garden House”.

“Summer In Minnesota is short but spectacular. Enjoy it”


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