Category Archives: Misc

Where Have I Been? Ask My Wife!

Updated June 2, 2017

So 2 years post cancer surgery, and enjoying a brief remission from my multiple sclerosis symptoms, my wife put me to some serious work the last 2 months!

We have been in our home on the farm now for 12 years. We did nothing but move in 12 years ago. We did no redecorating, just put our furniture down and got on with life.

Taking advantage of my brief good health, my bride of 35 years decided it was time to do some things around the house!

First, our 22 year old manufactured home, had 22 year old carpet in it. It was time, especially in the living room, to replace the flooring! Me being in a wheelchair, we decided to ditch carpet and put down tile.

22 year old carpet

Yuck!

Pulling up the carpet, we found 1/2 a centimeter of sand under the carpet pad. Not surprising, as our lawn is mainly beach sand!

Sand under the carpet

Sand under the carpet

I vacuumed up literally, 20kg of sand from the floor!

Next came preparing the floor for the tiles. In a manufactured home, there is what is called a marriage joint between the two halves of the home. This left a 1cm gap that needed to be filled in.

Marriage joint

Marriage joint

Ripping some pine from some scrap lumber we had laying around. we glued in a filler strip in this gap

Filler strip glued into the marriage join

Filler strip glued into the marriage joint

After the glue dried, I spent 2 days with my pad sander, getting it nice and smooth!

Lots and lots of sanding

Lots and lots of sanding

Finally, we sealed the plywood, and installed the tile. We also installed new wallpaper border above the chair rail in the living room. Really came out well!

New tile set, new area rugs placed. Wife happy!

New tile set, new area rugs placed. Wife happy!

The next project was much more complicated. If you look out the picture windows in the photo above, you’ll see another room outside the main living room. The previous owner of our home, had built a very poorly designed extra room on the rear of the house.

We decided when we moved in, that we would not occupy it, as the construction was really suspect!

Additions on the rear of the house

Additions on the rear of the house

At the rear of the house, is a pole barn. The house addition was built first, then the pole barn, then a second roof was built between the barn and the addition, then another roof was built between the house and the barn!

The resultant mess, meant that no sunlight made it into the living room, or the master bedroom!

Roof extension etween the house and pole barn

Roof extension between the house and pole barn

The house to barn roof is only 4 feet deep, but the last owner went nuts with the construction of it!

House to barn roof

House to barn roof

The barn to house extension, tying the house extension to the barn was open on 2 sides, with just lattice keeping pests out, but wind and rain were happy to invade!

Barn to extension room

Barn to extension room

Further, the lumber in the main room extension was so bug eaten and rotten, we were really concerned about the whole mess coming down in a Florida storm!

Load bearing and rotten!

Load bearing and rotten!

Roof, over a roof, over a roof!

Roof, over a roof, over a roof!

It took 2 weeks solid, and my trusty DeWalt reciprocating saw, to tear the whole mess down!

Yet another roof over a roof!

Yet another roof over a roof!

 

Extension Roof Removal

Extension Roof Removal

Extension roof rafters, tied into the fascia board of the main house.

Extension roof rafters, tied into the fascia board of the main house.

Nasty room extension removed from the main part of the house.

Nasty room extension removed from the main part of the house.

Next, the barn extension, that tied into the house extension was removed, and the barn closed in with a new wall.

Barn extension

Barn extension

End of the barn, closed in

End of the barn, closed in

And finally, we retained the floor of the old house extension, and turned it into a nice deck!

Deck in place of old house extension

Deck in place of old house extension

Our final project, after closing in the West end of the barn, was to close in the East end of the barn properly as well.

Original barn opening

Original barn opening

The original opening was just closed off with a farm gate, to keep the animals out. Sadly, all the feral cats in the area could still get in, and they often caused quite a mess!

Rotting Wood

Rotting Wood

The face of the pole barn was covered in wood lattice, and once it had rotted out, was covered up with vinyl lattice. Under that, was a rotten, untreated timbre. The entire thing was a mess!

New barn wall and doors

New barn wall and doors

A new end wall was constructed of pressure treated lumber and siding. A double door, with a total of 6 feet in width will allow me to get our tractor in the barn for repairs. The window gives some natural light and ventilation.

Everything is primed and ready for a final coat of paint. Later, I’ll be putting a new coating on the metal roof to freshen it up too!

Then, we moved my autistic son’s swimming pool next to the new deck and his tinyhouse camper!

Between these two projects, it’s been over 2 months. I hurt all over, having used muscles that I’ve ignored for years!

Our humble house is happier, the living room and bedrooms have natural light for the first time in 12 years, and my bride is very happy!

I’ve been grateful that I’ve had an M.S. remission that let me do this project. It’s been talked about for years, and now it’s done.

Thanks for reading along!

 

Add Time To Your Terminal

As those of you who follow my little slice of the net know, I have a severely autistic adult son. I run a couple of scripts remotely via secure shell, to keep an eye on what he is doing on his Linux laptop, which lets me make sure he’s not getting into mischief!

I found that one of my scripts would die every now and then, usually because my son would reboot his machine, or lose his WiFi connection briefly.

Wanting to know when the script stopped running, I decided it was time to add a time stamp to my terminal.

This is very easy to do. Just navigate to your home directory, and edit the .bashrc file, which holds your terminal configuration options.

Simply add the following line anywhere in the file:

PROMPT_COMMAND="echo -n \[\$(date +%F-%T)\]\ "

After you save the file, open a new terminal window and you’ll be greeted with a lovely time stamp!

 

Now we have the time in terminal.

Now we have the time in terminal.

The .bashrc config file has many other settings you can change, like the colors of the background and text, text size and lots of other goodies. Back up your original .bashrc file to another location, and experiment!

Expand Your OwnCloud Server Usefulness

The Following instructions are no longer valid in ownCloud 9+

We love our ownCloud server here on the farm. As we’ve discussed before, it keeps the farm and family well organized and secure.

With ownCloud running on a LAMP stack, let’s take advantage of that server by adding other useful goodies to it!

The root of your www server directory will contain a directory called owncloud, and there is nothing to keep you from adding other handy web-type resources to it. Here on the farm, we  use our server to also store all of our equipment manuals that we may need to view quickly.

In today’s example, I have a rather extensive web page I built up years ago for my antique Wheel Horse tractor. The page contains dozens of charts, manual sheets, parts lists etcetera. Having all that information available anywhere on my network is really handy!

As seen in this example, my www root has an OwnCloud directory, and the index.html file just does a quick redirect to the ownCloud instance. I do it this way so I can easily add new resources, like the tractor directory as shown.

Root www directory

Root www directory

Once you have your new web resource uploaded to your server, you will then go to the ownCloud Admin panel to add the external link to your ownCloud software. Note that you need to link using a secure connection, so don’t forget the https://

OwnCloud Configuration

OwnCloud Configuration

Once you’ve told ownCloud about your new page, you will find that page in the ownCloud main menu! In this example, Tractor.

New Menu Item Called Tractor

New Menu Item Called Tractor

Clicking on my new Tractor menu item, takes me to an embedded page of my tractor information, with the ownCloud menu still handy at the top, so you can check your calendar or start making your parts list for repairs.

Tractor manuals, I've collected for my old Wheel Horse.

Tractor manuals, I’ve collected for my old Wheel Horse.

I’ve got separate web pages on my ownCloud install for most of the equipment I’ve collected manuals for. All equipment manuals we get are scanned, saved as a PDF and then stored as web pages on our ownCloud server.

ownCloud and LAMP, what can’t it do!

 

Taking A Brief Break

As mentioned in our About page, I’m a multiple sclerosis patient, and the next couple of weeks are going to be filled with my annual testing and evaluations. Also, when not doing that, it’s officially spring, and there is much to do on the farm to prepare for our spring plantings.

I’ll be back April 13th. Thanks for your understanding.