Monthly Archives: February 2016

Wood Floors Part II (2/20/16)

We made it back up to the ranch early Saturday morning, a beautiful day once again.  First thing, of course, I check on is the solar…wha wha wha…and it is bad once again. Found a bad connection on the DC input of the charge controller…where I had melted wires/inputs on former charge controllers.  Same thing here…tried to put the wire back in and found it was fried.

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Kinda had enough of that.  What a disappointment.  I have been chatting with Renogy solar people off and on today, and think it is more than likely where my DC voltage is connected on the battery bank.  I will be getting a new charge controller and changing the DC input (battery charging side) termination on the battery bank, to a terminal all on it’s own.  Hopefully this helps it and helps our future charging.

Enough with the bad, decided to move on to other things.  I had to continue the water tank plumbing that I left off last week, due to my leaving the pex crimper at home. ha.

I started again with making the connections that I had already cut and sized.

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After the connections were made, we started making some water runs to get some water in the tank to ensure nothing was leaking.  We needed to be about 200 gallons, above the outlet to test the valve is working fine.  It took us 3 trips, one on Sunday morning, but we were able to finally get above the outlet and test the connections were good.  I then proceeded to wrap up the pex in insulation and insulation tape.

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After I wrapped the pipes themselves, I insulated the irrigation box that will house the valve.  Then I filled in and packed the dirt/ground around that irrigation box and the underground pipe that runs to the center valve (to be installed later).

I also worked on the water intake from after our downspout first flush diverter.  I wanted to add our Banjo line strainer to filter even more of the water flowing into the tank.

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I still have one more PVC/PEX connection, but overall I am happy with it and it is ready to roll.

On to the rock star of the weekend.  The final two coats of polyurethane on our new wood flooring.   After applying two coats last weekend, we came back to a good lucking floor, well that needed sanding…per the instructions.  Sheralee sanded the floor Saturday in preparation for the Sunday double coat application.

While I was off making the final run for water, Sheralee started with the floor.  It went really well, but then we had to wait some four hours until the next one could be put on.

While was applying the last coat, I got some pictures….and yes the polyurethane is wet, you can already tell it is going to be awesome!

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We are pretty sure this is our flooring method of the future.  Just seems so good, and easy enough to replace one flooring panel.

Almost forgot the pretty cool phenomonon we saw on a nice quiet Sunday morning.  Sheralee and I were up on our deck enjoying a cup of coffee when all of a sudden, we thought we saw campfires, her in one direction and I in another.  What was going on?  I thought we were going to have to talk to be people about ‘Private Property’ and what not…but alas it was something totally different.

By that time the wind and picked up to a breeze and it turns out that during this time of year, and seems to be a certain temperature, the male Juniper trees pollinate the air!  I guess this happens every year, but this is our first time noticing it.  It was just incredible to see, looked like little explosions…and it was only the male trees.  I tried to capture it best I could.

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Pretty cool!

We are off a weekend, for a true joining of two people, but up again the weekend after that…well until maybe forever! ha.

First Really Nice Weekend (2/13/16)

We are back at it again, hopefully full force now…if the weather holds up.  The weather this weekend was sunny and close to 70 degrees, just great…although it dropped to about freezing at night.  The wood stove worked great, and having a nice big fire outside didn’t hurt either.  We brought along our new weekend warrior to help out.  It was sunny, and warm, so that made life much better and bearable.

We finally had our second container delivered last week, “Crusty”.  Just amazing to see, and to see the future with our big plans.  We couldn’t wait to get started.

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While the ladies started unpacking Rusty, moving all of our tools/materials to Crusty, I started to drain the water tank.  We wanted to empty the tank and give it a cleaning on the inside before adding the new plumbing.

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I soon realized I didn’t want all of that water there, so I put a hose in the tank and using our mobile pump, pumped the water out into the ‘yard’.  That took a little while…but we eventually got it all drained.  Sheralee and Baylee suited up to head inside and give it a good scrub down.

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Turns out, the inside was really pretty clean.  We kinda had this thought that maybe there would be some ‘slime’ or ‘algae’, but nothing like that at all.  It was really clean, and UV protection, nothing should ever grow in there.  Once the tank was clean, we focused on the new floor in Rusty.

We purchased some 6mil plastic, 3/4″ foam board insulation, and 1/2 inch plywood.  This would be our flooring.  We cut all of the 4×8 sheets into 24″ planks.  While Sheralee and Baylee started the sanding and staining process, and ugly process to be sure, I started laying down the plastic underlay, then installing the foam board insulation.

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Before the sanding and staining began, we did a quick layout of the floor to see what paces would go where.
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While the wood work continued, I had to once again go back to the solar well, so to speak.  We are now on our 3rd solar charge controller, and again upon arriving at the ranch the batteries were not being charged.  We have dipped well below the 50% level of the batteries (again) and this is causing some stability issues.  The charge controller had been shorted again and I had a feeling that seriously deteriorated any charging ability.

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On this display, the solar indicator showed that there was not solar input, and the inputs themselves were compromised to a solid connection.  So, took the plunge and installed a new controller, added a circuit breaker between the batteries and controller (should have done that long ago), and re-routed our DC distribution again.

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Right now we are on a much more solid footing, but we have determined that by the end of the year we need to add two more batteries and two more panels.  The sun in the winter time isn’t strong enough throughout the day to fully charge us.  Two more panels will help with that.   By the time we left yesterday, we were at 90% on the batteries, and so looking forward to seeing the status next weekend.

Back to the flooring.

Once the plastic/foam board was installed and the staining was finished, we decided to call it quits for the day.  We were ready to nail the floor down in the morning and add the first coat of the polyurethane.

Sunday morning was breezy, but still the sun was out and it was nice.

We had to get the floor installed, and then get the first poly coat on.
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So far, it looked wonderful.  Sheralee set out to apply the first coat, while I worked on the tank plumbing, but unfortunately, Timmy made another mistake.  I forgot the PEX crimp tool at home.  doh!  So, the only thing I could really accomplish on this trip was digging where the irrigation boxes will go, and layout the future plan.

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I think the plan will work out great, and well insulated, on the pipe as well as inside the box.  I think the key is moving to PEX, brass valves, and insulating everything.  keeping everything out of the wind is huge!  Of course we don’t know the results until next year. ha.

Sheralee applied the first coat, and we had to wait, wait, and wait…and then finally, time to apply the second coat of the day.  I took this picture through the door screen, as it was all closed up, so the quality isn’t great, but you get a sense of what it ‘will’ look like.
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This coming weekend, we will do a light sanding, and apply two more coats Sunday…which should be the end of the flooring install.  So far, so good.   We saved a lot of money doing the floor this way, and will be rugged and able to replace individual planks.  We are excited for sure.