Tag Archives: construction

Brad's Garden Plan 2016

10.24.2016 – Garden (Part One)

I built a raised-bed garden 2 months ago.  I am excited about growing my own food.  I buy an awful lot of fruits and veggies from the grocery store, and I want to experiment with having my own source.  Plus, I like watching the miracle of plants growing.  And, I like eating different varieties and studying them – all very interesting to me.

So, I grow.  These are my “test beds”, quite literally.  I made 3 beds to study how things will grow (even in this late part of the season – I just moved here).  Later, I will expand it 10-fold when I acquire some larger acreage.  This is a great pre-cursor experiment to see what mistakes I make or what problems I encounter here so that I can learn from them when I scale up – or if it just does really well, I’ll replicate.  I also want to see what dies in the frost and what survives and why.  Come Springtime, I’ll have a better understanding of what needs to be done for each plant I’m interested in when I plan the next layout.

So, here’s what I’ve got growing:  Corn, wheat, cucumbers, garlic, strawberries, tomatoes, Anaheim peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, Chinese peppers, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, squash, onions, kale, radish, swiss chard, basil, parsley, cilantro, aloe vera, cacti, and probably a few more that I’m not remembering.  And, I have several varieties of some of them.  Let’s see what happens!

I planned the whole thing out before I started growing.  Here’s the chart:

Brad's Garden Plan 2016

So, I started the build in the late summer.  I used as much reclaimed wood (untreated) as I could find.  For instance I found some great 20′ 2×8’s used previously as roof rafters to use and had plenty of standard 2×4’s.  I bought the rest and went to work.

Brad Garden Pickaxe 2016

Muddy Garden Build

To make a long story short, I initially intended to drop them into the existing soil, but I decided to change halfway through to do raised beds as a more controlled experiment – like growing in huge containers with known, looser soil.  And, I ended up matching the building width of 7′ for alignment, so these are 4′ by 7′, and there are 3 of them.

That’s the old deconstructed, broken-down pyramid vocal booth that I built for my old home, in the background.  I broke it down to use the wood.  I found another sound booth solution for this place.  As you can see, the frames came up nicely – it was much easier after it stopped raining so much!  It was a pleasure to design and build these things – there’s great fulfillment that comes from it.  And, the garden area has remnant parts of that vocal booth and another climbing wall that I harvested wood from.  So, there’s some memories in there, as well.  🙂

Garden Under Construction


Brad's Bed Design - Close Up

And, finally, the finished product (below) with a few plants growing. 🙂  It took me about a month of evenings and weekends, after trial and error and design changes to finish it.  I used all untreated lumber for contact with the soil and plants.  For the treated 4×4’s, they are lined with plastic all the way up on the inside.  There are cons to using untreated lumber, too – they rot with extended water contact.  But with the chemically treated wood, I fear that they’d leech into the soil.  Cedar was overly expensive for my budget, so I went with what I had.  It’ll be fine for a few years.  It’s looking good!

Brad's Finished Garden with Rainbow

I am really enjoying my new location and being able to build stuff – having a great place to work out of.  I’ll be here for about a year while I save up and scout for a more permanent, larger acreage that I can live at for 10+ years.  The structures are transportable, so I can re-use them if need be.  My workshop is just adjacent to the garden, so I work wood and paint and carve stuff just right there nearby with the scenery – very inspiring to me!  I have a saw station, an “assembly” station, and a covered tool rack and deck that I’ll show more of with the 2nd garden update.  A fun, relaxing place for me to be.

In the evenings, like in this pic, the plants do go out of sunlight, but they get full sun from the time it comes up until about 6 or 7pm, in the Summer and Fall.  I specially prepared the soil with carefully-measured, all organic compost, vermiculite, peat moss, and other “dirt” to serve as an experiment to see what happens, built also of course, I made the soil rich and organic to grow good plants to eat, too.


Brad Ormand - Rooftop Work 2

12.13.2014 – Construction & LEDs

I went to work at a construction site today.  I worked on laying and bolting down ~20-foot tin panels on a rooftop with a team of 4 – about 40 feet up, where most of the roof was just empty space (don’t fall through!).  We were bridging those gaps between the steel beams.  A little dangerous, but we were careful.

Brad Ormand - Roof Work 1

Actually, it was my Dad’s site.  He needed a few extra men, and I agreed to come.  He know’s I’m down for this stuff, too.  And, damn, I’m reminded – that guy’s a tough and smart dude.  The site was at the adjacent auto yard to where I grew up working and going to work with my dad in my youth.  I also scored a ruined (but still reverse-engineer-able) Ford speedometer cluster that they let me have.  I’m always on the lookout for these type of things when I’m on the job with Dad or his crew, and he knows it, and sometimes points things out to me or saves stuff for me.  I’ll tear it down pretty soon to see how it works (as much as possible).  Feel like a kid again  lol.

Brad Ormand - Ford Speedometer Cluster

But, back to the job… We worked a full day driving metal self-tapping screws into iron beams through tin roofing.  But, for each big-ass sheet that took two people to carry, we had to line it up and seal, with reel tape, the edges to get it in position.  I knew all but one of the guys, and I met him well, and one of them was my brother.  I get along with my brothers well – we all do similar things in one way or another, and even if we didn’t, we’d still hang out together and have fun and laugh.  Pretty soon, we all had a really good system rolling – switching off at just the right times to fill gaps, and were very efficient.  Brings men together, work like this.

I look a bit funky in that cap, and I guess it was fighting the wind that explains my stance, but there you have it.  Man standing on a roof of his work. Haha.

Brad Ormand - Rooftop Work


Brad Ormand - Rooftop Work 2

And, now… The LEDs…  So, I bought a shitload of 1mm by 3mm Lumileds from Phillips.  Well, about 200 or so.  And, these are SMT 20 – 30mA standard LEDs that I’m putting to work for me for my painting and craft illumination projects.  They come on a convenient tape reel leader tape (or whatever they’re called).  So far, I have a design that I have been making – with those LED snakes I have been talking about and drawing, and now I have a prototype painting that I’m going to try them out on – I got it painted and drying.  Now, I’ll prototype it out with wire, program a chip, and see where it goes.

I tried so many things with the moon painting to get it to accept those other LEDs that I got in gracefully, but they just aren’t going to take, and the light pipe idea went south, and so, I’m going to wire up a 16-light demo and see if I think I can make that work with the moon painting, afterward.  It’s all part of of my ideas coming together.  I have to do preliminary steps that I discover *while* on the journey, and have to step back and do those first.  Or, at least, that’s the way I do it – where moving forward leads to discovery, and then that discovery leads to more re-adjustment.  “Follow the plan”  usually never happens, because I have already, and voluntarily, let go of the idea of “a plan”.  What I do is much more R&D than implementing procedures, pre-defined.  Usually for me, there is always a steady, directional *light* that shines the way, from my internal “sensors”.  That’s what to rely on, instead.  I keep constantly recognizing where it’s pointing, and I compare it with the real world project’s direction and make the adjustment.   But, there is no full plan that I know of. 🙂

I’m just about ready to start development on this thing…  as soon as…  hopefully this is the last time I say it…  as soon as I launch the site!  Haha.