January snow and aerial photos

Last night it snowed a little for the first time this season. Less than an inch; just enough to give a winter wonderland feeling around the homestead.

So this morning I flew my drone to capture the snowy landscape from the sky, plus some ground-level pictures on my morning rounds.

Here’s my DJI Mavic Mini drone hovering in front of me on our deck:

Drone

An overview of much of the snowy homestead:

Snowy homestead

Angling up a bit to capture the lightly dusted trees and mist:

Trees

Closer to the trees:

Trees

Our pond from above the back lawn:

Pond

Another angle of the pond, and a better look at the ducks:

Pond and ducks

Looking straight down:

Pond and ducks

From further back, you can see the pond, back lawn, and flowerbeds:

Pond, back lawn, flowerbeds

Back a bit more, adding the shop, hoop house, veggie garden, and chicken runs:

Pond, back lawn, etc

Looking down on the white gazebo and dormant flowerbeds; the cat house is also visible in the top-left corner:

Flowerbeds

The back lawn, brown gazebo, grove, and veggie garden:

Back lawn, grove, veggie garden

Down on the ground, here’s the greenhouse, with a sheet of snow sliding off the roof:

Greenhouse

Our beehives; they’re all huddled inside, keeping themselves warm. We’ll see in a few months whether or not they all survive the winter:

Beehives

By the pond:

By the pond

The duck house and pond — the water maintains its temperature well; it needs to be cold much longer to freeze:

Duck house and pond

The white gazebo and flowerbeds, with a glimpse of ducks on the back lawn in the background:

Flowerbeds

Finally, looking across the fountain garden towards the cat house:

Cat house and fountain garden

Finishing installing greenhouse irrigation

Yesterday I finished installing the greenhouse irrigation tubing and mister emitters (continuing from the previous post).

I started with the right-hand shelves. Here’s some assembled tubing for the middle one; a tap connector, elbows, and tubing:

Assembled tubing

The four-way splitter (the bottom one is spare) and connected irrigation tubing, enabling the irrigation for each shelf to be controlled separately:

Splitter and tubing

The mister emitters on the lower shelves; the emitters can be positioned as needed, but are just all over the place for now:

Mister emitters

Watering:

Watering

Another shot of the completed irrigation of the right-hand shelves:

Right shelves

On to the shelves at the back. The assembled tubing:

Assembled tubing

Timer, splitter, tubing:

Timer, splitter, tubing

Emitters:

Emitters

We have four soil moisture sensors, that connect to our weather station (which supports up to eight):

Moisture sensor

The completed irrigation, like a bunch of tentacles:

Irrigation done

A wide-angle view of inside the greenhouse:

Wide angle

A view of the outside, showing the shelving:

Outside back view

The front view:

Outside front view

This concludes the greenhouse plumbing and irrigation project! 

Starting installing greenhouse irrigation

On Saturday I started adding the irrigation emitters to the greenhouse. I only did one shelf, but subsequent ones should be a bit faster. I’ll wait for a cool and/or rainy day before doing more, since it’s unpleasant to spend much time in the greenhouse when it’s sunny.

Here are a couple of boxes of irrigation parts on the potting bench, and end pieces on the sink:

Irrigation parts

An assembled irrigation pipe, with a tap connector, a couple of right-angle elbows, pipe, and flexible misters:

Irrigation pipe with misters

The mister tubes can be twisted and angled as needed, holding their position, and the mister heads can be adjusted to change the width of the spray.

Here’s the pipe installed. The irrigation tap, water timer, and 4-way splitter that you’ve seen before, with the above irrigation pipe and misters attached to the underside of the top shelf:

Tap, timer, splitter, Irrigation pipe, misters

Here’s the other end of the irrigation pipe:

Irrigation pipe with misters

The whole shelf; the plan is that the top shelf won’t have irrigation, but the lower three shelves on the back and side will:

Whole shelf

The misters in action as a test run (the positions and spray width needs to be tweaked):

Irrigation misters

As mentioned, I’ll add irrigation for more shelves later.

Aerial pictures of the gardens, pond, greenhouse, mountain

It has been nice and sunny this week, so I did a little drone flying, and captured some more aerial photos.

Here’s our fountain garden area, with the bird feeders on the left, cat house under the tree at the top-left, various paths, and the defunct fountain (likely to become a planter soonish):

Fountain garden

A couple angles of the pond (with the ducks visible):

Pond

Pond

A bunch of new plants in one of our flowerbeds:

New flowerbed plants

A shot from 400 feet (the legal height limit for drones) of the flowerbeds, pond, veggie garden, hoop house, shop, etc:

Flowerbeds, pond, etc

The berry cage, veggie garden, and chicken runs:

Veggie garden

The greenhouse and environs:

Greenhouse

Closer to the greenhouse, showing the bee water pool and recent excavations for greenhouse plumbing:

Greenhouse

Looking more horizontally, some distant hills:

Distant hills

Trees and hills

Mount Hood is visible:

Mount Hood

Zoomed:

Mount Hood

Zoomed more:

Mount Hood

Greenhouse plumbing

Over the weekend I did some garden plumbing, installing piping and taps for the greenhouse.

The first step was to dig to find the existing pipe that I knew went in front of the greenhouse. Here it is, a foot or so underground:

Hole to expose pipe

I then hand-dug a trench from that pipe into the greenhouse, below the sink:

Trench

Another angle of the trench, the greenhouse, and the tools; mattock to get through the layer of gravel and break up the dirt, shovel for large areas, and cleanout shovel for narrow bits:

Trench and tools

Then I cut the pipe:

Cut pipe

I installed new piping, with a couple of dead-end caped bits as points for possible future expansion (something I like to do to make things easier for future me, though I don’t have any use-case in mind for these):

Installed pipe

A closer view of the new pipe connected to the old one, plus a non-glued cap on the old pipe. That pipe extends about 50 feet beyond this point, but there are no more taps, so there’s no need to connect it (it’s a legacy from before we bought the place). If I want to use it in the future, I can re-dig it and connect to that expansion point:

Pipe connection and cap

Another view of the greenhouse end of the pipe:

Pipe

The pipe enters the greenhouse under the wall, with a valve near the ground (which will only be closed for repairs):

Valve inside greenhouse

The sink has a hose for the drain, so I added a second pipe to receive that drain hose:

Drain pipe

Here’s the drain pipe (the pink pool is to provide water for bees to drink). I curved the pipe so it’d end in the gravel area, not in the grass:

Drain pipe

Buried pipes, with the end of the drain protruding:

Buried pipes

In order to mount brackets for the pipes inside the greenhouse, I needed to add some blocks. So I stained them:

Staining blocks

One of the blocks attached below the sink:

Attached block

Assembling pipe bits for below the sink:

Pipe bits

Pipe bits

Here’s that installed:

Pipe bits installed

One of those forks leads to a tap for a hose:

Tap

Here’s the hose on the reel; this can be used for ad hoc watering anywhere in the greenhouse:

Hose

The drain pipe attached to the water pipe:

Drain

The other fork of the pipe goes first to a sink tap:

Sink tap

Then continues along under the sink:

Pipe under sink

And up to a third tap for irrigation:

Irrigation tap

Attached to that tap is an Orbit B-hyve smart irrigation timer and a four-way splitter:

Irrigation timer and splitter

One of those splitter taps goes to a second splitter on the other side:

Second splitter

Here you can see both sides, and the hose connecting them:

Irrigation

The irrigation emitters will be attached to those splitters, three for each, for the three lower shelves on the back and side.

Here you can see all three of the taps: hose below the sink, sink tap, and irrigation tap:

All three taps

Next weekend (work permitting): the last step of this project, the irrigation tubing and emitters.

Weather station

As part of the greenhouse project, we wanted to add moisture sensors to seedling trays, to know when we need to tweak their watering.

To enable that, we got an Ecowitt weather station that supports optional moisture sensors. The weather station will also be useful for hyper-local weather information, since weather conditions for nearby towns aren’t necessarily representative of what it’s like here, being on the top of a hill.

Here are the wind and rain sensors, mounted on top of the berry cage. They ideally should be higher for the most accurate readings, but that’d make changing their batteries much harder:

Wind and rain sensors

A closer look at the anemometer, with sensors for wind speed, wind direction, light level, and UV:

Wind sensors

The rain gauge sensor:

Rain sensor

Outdoor temperature and humidity sensor, hanging in the shade of the greenhouse:

Outdoor temperature and humidity sensor

Indoor temperature and humidity sensors and Wi-Fi gateway, next to the Eero Beacon Wi-Fi router in the greenhouse:

Indoor sensors and Wi-Fi

Building greenhouse shelving: finished

Yesterday I did the finishing touches on the greenhouse shelving: installing the sink and a second coat of stain.  (See the first, second, and third posts, if you missed them.)

But first, I screwed a couple of small blocks to secure the potting bench to the foundation, both so it can’t tip, and because it’ll eventually have water pipes mounted to it:

Block to secure potting bench

Then I installed the sink:

Sink

It is supported by boards underneath:

Under sink

I also added a hose reel to the side of the potting bench; later I’ll add a tap under the sink for it (and others above). This hose will be for ad-hoc watering of anything in the greenhouse:

Hose reel

The potting bench had hooks on the side, which I removed when mounting the sink, so I put them on the right of the right-hand shelves; perhaps useful for tools:

Hooks

A view of the back of the sink, above the louver vent, from outside:

Outside by sink

Another shot from outside, showing the back of the shelves:

Back

The completed shelves with a second coat of stain:

Shelves with second coat of stain

A wide-angle shot of the shelves:

Shelves

Another view of the shelves and sink:

Shelves and sink

This morning I went out there and put some trays on the shelves, as a demo of usage:

Trays on shelves

Potting bench and sink

Trays on shelves

Right shelves

A wide-angle of the inside of the whole greenhouse:

Whole greenhouse

This concludes this construction project. Hopefully Jenn will get good use out of these shelves, significantly increasing the growing capacity within the greenhouse.

A separate but related project will be to install plumbing: connecting a pipe from the nearby underground pipe, routing it to a tap under the hose reel, another tap for the sink, and a third tap on the back shelves for irrigation. Hooked onto that I’ll have a water timer and splitter, with irrigation tubing going to each shelf, and mister emitters as needed to irrigate the seedling trays. That’ll be a project for another day.

Building greenhouse shelving: staining and installing

Over the weekend I continued work on the greenhouse shelving project.  (See the first and second posts, if you missed them.)

But first, during the week I ordered a new interlocking rubber mat for the floor, and added that when it arrived:

Mat

It nicely covers all of the exposed floor space (the part where the stool is will have the sink above it). It came with four 3×3’ portions, but I only needed two here; I’ll probably use the other two in the workshop.

Here’s a closeup of the mat:

Mat

I originally wasn’t going to paint or stain the shelves, figuring they’d be fine, but realized that they’ll be exposed to a lot of moisture, so could grow mold (and rot, but I wasn’t so worried about that). So I decided to stain them. They do look nicer stained, too.

Here I’m staining the back posts; they are attached at the bottom, so I’m just leaning them forward to stain behind:

Staining posts

Staining the right posts:

Staining posts

Then I started staining the shelves, doing the bottom and sides of each shelf with it leaning vertically:

Staining bottom of shelf

I then placed the shelf in position, screwed it to the supports, then stained the top:

Installing bottom shelf

I figured that it’d be easier to install each shelf as I go, to make it easier to reach the screws. And leaving the top till after installation would avoid too much handling wet stain.

Two shelves done:

Two shelves done

For the next shelf, I added a support for the sink; it will be held up on the right side by this L-shaped bracket below the shelf:

Sink mount

The back and left side of the sink will be supported by these L-shaped boards (and the others will be used elsewhere); I’ll add them next weekend:

Sink mount

The back shelves installed; four 2×6’ shelves, and a small shelf above the power strip:

Back shelves installed

The bottom-right shelf installed:

Bottom-right shelf installed

All four right shelves installed; three 2×6’ shelves (actually a couple of inches wider and shallower than the back ones, to give more floor space), and one shallower one (about 10” deep), enabling the second-from-top shelf to be used as an extra workbench if needed:

Right shelves installed

The shelves only have one coat of stain at present. I will probably give them a second coat next weekend.

Here’s a wide-angle view of all of the shelves:

Wide-angle of shelves

Next weekend I’ll give the shelves a second coat, and install the sink.

February snow

We woke up to about an inch of snow this morning, with a little continuing in the early morning. It’ll likely be all gone by end of day, but let’s take a walk around the property.

Cat footprints on the driveway:

Cat footprints

Trees and bees:

Trees and bees

Greenhouse (more on the shelving project probably tomorrow):

Greenhouse

Chickens (more pictures of them in the snow on Friday):

Chickens

Gazebo and grove:

Gazebo and grove

Path to the duck house:

Path to duck house

Heathers:

Heathers

East-side trees fading into the distance:

Trees

North-east trees:

Trees

From the pond deck — the ducks, pond, and snowy trees:

Ducks and pond

Reflection on the pond:

Reflection

Gazebo and dormant flowerbeds, with the pond deck in the background:

Gazebo and flowerbeds

Finally, the cat house, with more cat prints (more of this on Caturday, of course):

Cat house