Washing Rock

Since I had to empty out the garden bed, I took advantage of the opportunity and washed all the rock.   Washing rock one or two buckets at a time was a terribly long process.  I cleaned two and a half tons of rock on my patio table like this.  Each table load was about one and a half buckets of rock.   You can see how dirty the rock was.   I spent several days washing rock like this. I finally got all the rock done and back in the planter.  Once I got the cycling working, the plants were moved back in.  I hope they do ok.  They were definitely stressed.  Most of the plants were wilted.   I also got a different liquid seaweed.  This one seemed much better.  It really smells like the ocean and seaweed.   … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

Where’s the water going?

Last week we took a little trip to LA.  When we left, it was raining quite hard, but I thought nothing of it.  When we got back I noticed the block supporting one of the legs under the garden bed had cracked.  Each day, the block was more and more depressed in the earth.   Over the week, I also noticed water loss and the ground on the side where the depression was located was wet.   I thought, where’s the water going? I must have a hole in the pond liner and that the ground was made soft by it, thus allowing the bed to sink. By the time the weekend came around, there was nothing to do but empty the garden bed and drain the pond.   So, that’s what I did.  I searched all over for the leak, but found none.  The ground under the liner was also only the … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

Great Spring Day – Time For Some Gardening

I’ve been working on finishing up my back yard landscaping.   The aquaponics garden is going good.  Our chickens are laying everyday again and its  time to finish up this year long project.  My good friend Don has really helped out.   I am awful when it comes to design – no creativity.  Mechanically, I can build about anything, but I just have no artistic ability. This weekend I had a lot to do.  I started off by going to the nursery and buying plants for the backyard.   Once I got the plants home, I shifted focus and spent the next few hours working on my truck – resealing the intake manifold because of a water leak.   By 3:00 in the afternoon, it was time to get back to the yard and get my plants in the ground. In this small corner area just off of the aquaponics garden you can see … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

Aquaponics Garden – Plants are In

It’s been so long, I can’t remember the last time I posted.   I took some time off from my project over the holidays, and have just begun to get back in the swing again.   This month, I began testing my tank and grow bed by filling them with water and cycling the system to insure the bell siphon would work properly.   I’ve now got it set where it takes about 35 minutes to fill the grow bed, then 10 minutes to drain. This picture is of my first siphon setup.  I’ve since changed my bell from  2″ to 3″.  With a 3″ bell, I no longer needed the cap on the filter, as the bell fills the 4″ filter completely, not allowing any media to enter.   I also added a 2″ to 1″ reducer on my stand pipe which greatly improved the starting and stopping of the siphon.  Unfortunately I … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

Christmas Eve

It’s a wonderful time, Christmas eve. There is great excitement in the house in anticipation of Christmas day.  Tonight we will have dinner with good friends.  Our house is decorated, presents wrapped, and Christmas music fills the air. I took some pictures of the house today and had some fun making some elf videos.   All the boxes under the tree are only decoration.  Everyone knows Santa brings the real presents! More to come tomorrow http://blog.monafamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Soul.mp4   Some more elf videos to laugh at: http://blog.monafamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Hip-Hop.mp4 http://blog.monafamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/80s.mp4 http://blog.monafamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Classic.mp4 http://blog.monafamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Charleston.mp4             … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

Another Day Scratching in the Flower Bed

Not much happening lately.   Spent most of the day at my son’s wrestling match.  I did manage to get up a first light and plan a small apricot tree in the back yard.   Once Christmas is past, I’ll finish off the landscaping and the back yard will be complete.   Right now I just need to add the rock and fish to the Aquaponics garden, and then put some crushed granite through out the rest of the unfinished yard.  Not much more than 2 days of work left. Late in the afternoon I let the girls out for a few hours.   They have kept my grass at this height and completely eliminated the need for mowing. Here they are scratching around in my flower bed.   … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

Aquaponics Garden Plumbed and Wired

I’ve been able to complete all electrical and plumbing for my aquaponics garden.   This week the pump arrived.  I ordered a Lifegard Quiet One 4000 pump rated a ~900GPH.                     Along with this main pump, I installed an emergency backup pump.  This is nothing more than a bilge pump which is used just to aerate and circulate the water in the pond in the event of a power outage.   It will run off of a 12 deep cycle battery.   To make this work, I wired in a 12v relay which is powered by a “wall wart” plug/transformer I had stored in the attic from some long lost device.   I found a deal on five of these relays with the pig tail plugs for $4.99 on Amazon.                 This is how my electrical and plumbing … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

It’s getting close

It’s that time of year here in the Vegas valley where we have 2 or 3 weeks of wonderful weather.   Time to enjoy to outdoors.   I’ve spent the spring and summer working at a painfully slow pace on my coop and garden project.   Seven months into it, I’ve finally finish the wood working part of my project.  The coop and aquaponics pond and garden bed are built along with the patio cover.    You can see the pond cover/bench seat now completed and in place above. I’ve also put grass back in the small area by my planter.   The chickens have loved the addition.  When I first put the grass in, I wondered what I was going to do about keeping it cut since I had given away our lawn mower.   This turned out to not be a problem.  The 4 chickens have kept the grass perfectly manicured.  I let … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

1st week of setting eggs

This past Sunday we found our first eggs.   It has now been a full week and I’m guessing that all four of our chickens are laying.  There have been a total of 14 eggs set over the week.  Unfortunately, 5 were broken.   We found a couple of our girls were nesting in the very upper corner of the coop atop a bag of pine shavings.  It appears that some of the eggs fell and cracked (we hope).   I say that because we found one of the girls up there eating an egg.   Hopefully we can break that behavior quickly. … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

Our first egg!!

We have been waiting patiently for 21- 1/2 weeks.   I peaked in the coop and today after church and guess what, there was a perfect little egg, finally!  It wasn’t in the next box, but was in the pine shavings on the coop floor.   I have golf balls in the next boxes, but may need to put some wooden eggs in there to better encourage the girls in. Friday evening, my son and I put grass back in the small patch by our planter.   A few years ago I had pulled out the grass and turned this area into a garden.  With the aquaponics garden coming, we decided to put grass back in.  The chickens sure seem to love it.   They spend a good deal of the day picking through it, eating the blades and looking for anything else they can find in the mix. Last month, I switched the … [CLICK TO READ MORE]