Solving the World's problems one root beer at a time!

Day 30

Man time flies when you are having fun - one month in and all I have done is the structure! Thought I would be putting on steel this weekend but I am having too much fun to hurry! I also have had a great time working with Benjamin - he is a great construction worker when he is out helping me. There have been several times Alesa has suggested getting help but this workshop was supposed to be built by Chad, Benjamin and Grandpa Johnny - so Ben and I just have to do Grandpa's share of work!

Day 29

Ahh purlins - my favorite! Nothing like every muscle in your body clinching as you stand on  a roof that still needs some stabilization! Up and down and up and down over and over - mostly because I kept dropping things.

Day 28

Finished the trusses! and only had one truss fall - just happened to catch it right across the shoulders from about 10' up. The kids thought they were going to have to call 911 but all I needed a moment to catch my breath and to dust myself off and away we went. 


Day 27

First things first - both kids had great parent teacher conferences! We also were able to get several more trusses up and ready for a big day on Friday - kids are home to help and I have the day off.

Day 25 and 26

getting revved up for a big weekend of work - planning, recovering, planning.

Day 24

Had to take Alesa to the airport today so Daddy Duty once again trumps working on the shop - good thing too I am way too sore to worry about putting up more trusses.

Day 23

Ben and Chad push truss onto header upside down. Using a ramp, Ben and Chad push the other side up. Ben gets tied off to the truss while Chad flips it right side up. Ben holds truss "on belay" until Chad gets it in place and nailed! We were able to get 1/2 of the heavy trusses up today!!!!!


Day 22

Ahh Saturday is finally here. The trusses showed up Friday. We rushed around to finish all of the headers to get ready for the big truss day tomorrow. Everything is starting to come together.


Day 18 - 19 - 20 - 21

Football & RainFamily Pictures & MudDance & WindMy wife needed an iPhone so again no work on the shop all week!

Day 17

One good evening of work thanks to a few handy jigs! Made short work of most of the girts only a couple short walls left!


Day 16

27 posts - Check

160 feet of skirts - Check

One clamp handle right between the eyes - Check

-- Click here for full photo gallery

posts done!

Looking at the completed posts and skirts - eventually there will be a greenhouse right there in front! The whole clamp handle thing is Ben's fault - he is too short so when he put the clamp on the post it was right at my eye level. Then he need me to lug some clay from another pile (so you see still his fault). As I reached around to dump the shovel - the clamp bit me right between the eyes. He claims I should be more aware of my surroundings - I claim he needs to grow!

Day 15

70% chance of rain = 100% rain at 6:00 AM. Menards opens at 6:30 - found that out because the lumber yard didn't have the right nails so Menards bailed me out.Started working at 8:00 - started raining at 8:05 - work at 8:15 - rain at 8:25 - work at 8:30 - rain at 8:32 -- breakfast with the family - no more rain!Benjamin and I were able to set 12 posts today - he was a big help when he wasn't sneaking off for an extended "break!"

Day 14

Friday - Lumber was to arrive at 9:00 AM - I was going to get 12 posts in the ground - We were going to be well on our way --- well the lumber arrived at 3:00 and I only got three posts in the ground - and one of them was wrong (forgot what height I needed to cut the inner plank of the post - easy fix)!

Day 11, 12 & 13

Lumber is scheduled to arrive Friday morning so this week has had very little production. We did however spend the Day 12 evening watching the Aurora 7th grade football team dominate another larger school! It is always nice to realize that even though this shop has been a dream of mine for years and years, I would still rather go watch the kids!

Day 10

The day was spent prepping the post holes. We added a footing pad at the bottom of each hole and are now ready for the lumber to arrive. Again the photos aren't worth uploading since there is no visible sign of progress. As a reference Today is Sunday October 2nd and the Farmer's Almanac is making me nervous:


OCTOBER 2011: temperature 54 ° (2 ° below avg.); precipitation 1.5" (1.5" below avg.); Oct 1-4: T-storms, then sunny, cool; Oct 5-7: T-storms, warm; Oct 8-12: Sunny, then rain, cool; Oct 13-21: Sunny, turning warm; Oct 22-27: Showers and flurries, then sunny, cold; Oct 28-31: Rain, then sunny, mild.

Day 9

QUIZ TIME: If it takes a man 1 hour to dig a hole - how long does it take a boy to dig 1/2 of a hole? The real question is how long would it take to drill 27 4' holes with a 12" auger on a bob-cat? The real answer just about an hour! We made quick work of the post hole digging and are ready to pour the footing pads. Day 9 also brought  some old fashioned shoveling to fill in the sewer ditch. The daily progress still looks slow but that day will come soon enough! ANSWER: You can't dig 1/2 of a hole! One small scoop and you have already made a hole!

Day 8

Today we marked all of the holes to be drilled, ran the sewer line, put in most of the rough in plumbing and prepared to fill in all of the remaining trenches. Doesn't look like much was accomplished today but it was a day full of "technical" work that just takes time!

Day 6 & Day 7

To busy to work on the shop - had to watch Benjamin play football!

Days 4 and 5

Spent these two days finalizing the materials order, doing some minor work on the utilities and oh yeah my regular job!All materials are ordered and on their way -- I was very please that my neighbor who works at a local lumber yard was able to beat the big guys (even Save Big Money at Menards). Thanks Clint!

Day 3

Now we are making some progress! Finished putting in the water line, electrical conduit, data conduit, and of course the Earth Tube! Had a little more help from the bobcat and we have most of the trench covered back up.

For those of you wondering, the earth tube is a venting system for the greenhouse. It will take outside air - warm it up in the winter and cool it in the summer - then through natural convection heat or cool the greenhouse. The earth tube uses the constant temperature of the Earth to transfer heat. This will only assist in the process but it will make the other methods more effective. Here is the picture of the first run - the tube is an 8" irrigation pipe donated by my Uncle Don!! The overall length of the tube is roughly 110 feet.


Earth Tube


Day 2

If you have ever wondered how long it takes to dig a 110 foot long trench 10 feet deep with an 18 inch bucket on a New Holland Excavator going through hard as rock clay, two sewer pipes, an old fiberglass septic tank, three water sprinkler lines, and a telephone cable (moved that one before I dug through it!) -- well the answer is 13.5 hours.

The trench is complete and ready for the Earth Tube tomorrow. If all goes well I should have all of the utilities roughed in and the building marked as well!!!



To give you some reference the brown area will be the shop!

Day 1

Construction day 1 was productive. The excavator arrived so I had to "learn" what I was doing by digging a hole! I decided to dig next to the sewer line to see how deep it was where I needed to connect - low and behold there was a hidden clean out plug right where I want to tie in!! That will make things simple when I go to run the line to the shop.

Spent most of the day prepping for the big dig tomorrow - the "Earth Tube" is lined up and ready to go, the water line is sitting there and the conduit for the electrical is layed out. Tomorrow I will dig a 10' deep 100' long trench - The innovation starts right away!



Ground Breaking Today!

Today we will finally break ground on the much anticipated Johnson Laboratory of Innovation!


This project has been a life long dream and today is the day that dreams come true. The workshop will consist of a small woodworking shop, a "science lab" for electronics and other experiments, and a green house.  The green house will be a one quarter geodesic dome with a 12' radius. The dome structure has been a pet project of mine since the 6th grade - it is about time!