Thursday, June 28, 2012

Smoker, the Dirt Part

Now that the cabinet is built, I had to get the firebox and chimney in place. I found two 12' steel pipes in the woods, and set up a fireplace with some urbanite:
 Had some old pieces of steel drum that I cut to be the roof of the firebox (which is at the bottom of a small hill)
 Different view, same thing:
 and then buried everything and had a few small test fires in it to see how it works. 
I"ll have to move a bunch of sand away from the top of the pipes (it'll go into the patio) and then I'll get the cabinet in place.  This might not work at all, but I thought I'd better get started trying or I'll never have one. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Another Step

Another terrace on the patio is mostly done, with the close edge waiting to have the next step put in. 
Little by little, we're climbing towards the front door.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Smoker Box!

I figure if I never build one of these I'll never try it, so even though I don't have any experience smoking food, I thought I'd set up a traditional 'farmhouse' smoker type cabinet.  I built it out of old oak pallet boards I had around, so it has a 'rustic' look.
 it stands about waist high, and there's a front door and a top opening, so you can get at racks or simply hang something from the top. 
 I made a cute latch for the top (as it was a bit warped, and wouldn't sit flat otherwise) and a simple smoke controller flap that spins on a screw.
 I used about 10 screws (that I bought) and the rest was all free nails and free wood.  Notice the slick hinge design made of a thick nail - so I didn't have to use a store bought hinge on the front door.
Meanwhile, you can just barely make out my hay bale target behind the sunny patch between those two big redwoods. I took this photo from where I shoot - 45 yards away.
 I need more practice! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

More Stones In

The next step is mortared in and looking pretty good.
 We've puzzled in the flat bit and mortared in the front few (especially the little pieces up front) and things are starting to look like they're supposed to.  Now to get cute greens to grow in the cracks.
 We've got our gypsy tarp up to keep out of the sun while working on these steps. Otherwise, we'd never get any of this done.
 Melissa is the triple checker on the heights of the steps, so she spends extra time trying to puzzle them together dry before we mortar

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Rockin' the Patio

Progress marches on with the patio work.  We've gotten all the way across (to the south) from the house on the lowest level, and put in two steps. 
 We needed to put in something on the lowest level so we'd have a constant point to measure the other things, and then we just kept going south so we could start experimenting with what to put in the cracks. 
We're thinking we'll get stuff to grow in those cracks... moss? grass? not sure what will be best yet.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Patio Underway

We're tackling the patio!  Using 'urbanite' as our flagstone, we're starting in with putting down a bit at the lowest area on the west side.  You can see that we've got gravel down, with a tarp piece over that (thank god we get to bury those things!) with an inch or so of sand on top of that to settle the stone in.
 there will be a series of steps, so we'll build little retaining walls at each level. Gotta find all those right-sized stones.
 Once the puzzle pieces are figured out and put in place, we tamp them down and get gravel and sand between them...
 and then get that sand tightly packed in there.  We wanted to get this little bit down so we'd have the level constant to measure the rest of the steps from.  Doesn't look too bad for a start!

$1 tool rescue

Had a moment last week, so we strolled the flea market. A woman had a pile of rusty tools "anything $1!" and so I dug through it ...