Custom Classic Construction, Inc.
Welcome to our journal/open diary
On these pages we will share our thoughts, new ideas, frustrations and information with you.
Basically a personal view of us & our business
Click on a year below for older posts
The shop is slow so on October 26th Jim decided to take some of this down time to build a CNC machine.
CNC .... Computer Numerical Control.
This means a computer converts the design produced by Computer Aided Design software (CAD), into numbers. The numbers can be considered to be the coordinates of a graph and they control the movement of the cutter.
Here are some photos of his progress.
The framework for the table:
Reinforcement bracing of the Gantry
Router will travel on the Gantry rail via a set of bearings that will be powered by small motors
A little closer look at the details.
Motors on the X Y and Z axis mounted to threaded rod will pull and push the router across the board.
The air created from the router spinning is exhausted out the holes while the fine dust is contained with the brush and extracted via the PVC pipe.
Inserts every 4" X 4" for hold downs.
Mounted on a roll around cart.
Space is very precious in our shop so the CNC table is mounted so the table pivots to allow us to roll it through the doors into the back room when not in use.
Lower the table. Still working out the details of how the leg supports will be fastened.
The monitor is mounted via a piano hinge to fold it back making the overall width of the unit ??" wide
Still have the doors to make for the lower section but very close to completed.
First sample program "The Roadrunner"
Woke up to an outside temperature of 28 degrees. The soil temp in the center bed ( at 12 " down )was 54 degrees
The last two Tomato plants with my "normal" pruning throughout the season:
I picked the few remaining tomatoes and pulled the plants.
In mid July I started to let one plant develop some sucker growth at the top thinking it might help shield the tomatoes from the cold and condensation that drips from the bows when the outside temperatures really start to drop over night.
Not only are the leaves a bright green It is loaded with a mix of fruit and flowers so we will see just how long we can keep it going:
I picked enough to make Tomato soup
I also harvested a few small eggplant, 18 jalapenos, some Cayenne peppers ( for more jelly) and a handful of smaller sweet peppers that were ready for the freezer.
far the shorter days and cold night have not hurt the pepper plants
We still have Parsnips in the ground, Rhubarb Chard, Cabbage, lettuce, herbs and tobacco plants also that are doing quite well.
One last Pansy hanging on. Raggedy but still beautiful.
Harvest is about done and the pantry, root cellar and freezer are almost full.
the freezer:( so far )
using the ice cube trays for a thermos ( about 1 Tab per) I blend minced basil with olive oil I have a gallon baggie full of these.
Carrots 48.... 2 cup bags (out of 2- 5' X 5' beds)
Beets 10..... 2 cup bags
Sweet Peppers: 24 Stuffed peppers
30 2- cup bags of sliced
16 1- cup bags of diced
Jalapenos: 1....1- gallon baggie tops removed
of the pepper are still producing I expect I will double what I have in the
freeze and make at least 3 more batches of pepper jelly.
I did not plant any this year but I did buy 2 dozen removed from the cob and
froze it, It will become corn chowder this winter.
10 bags with enough breaded Planks for Eggplant Parmesan
8 bags each with 2- med eggplant diced and blanched for Eggplant Casserole
Wax beans: 14 - 2 cup bags
Dehydrated Tomatoes, cuttings from all the herbs, Cayenne and Thai peppers, onions and Apple slices.
19-Buttercup Squash ( off of ONE plant )
50 lbs Potatoes out of
one 5' X 5" bed52
65 lbs Onions
pints Wickles ( I make a Bread and Butter style pickle and then add whole
Cayenne peppers to the jars).
6..... quarts of spears
15..... pints of chips
16... 1/2 pints Tomato Paste
18..... quarts Tomato Puree
12........ pints Pizza Sauce
12 - pints
Hot Pepper Jelly:
24- 1/2 pints
12 - pints
Apple pie Filling
Our 3 apple trees yielded ( what we can safely reach at our age)
9 - 5 gallon buckets of apples
I forgot to take a before picture.
This is what is left after making the pints of apple sauce, the quarts of apple pie filling, 3 pans of Apple crisp, two batches of apple fritters and one apple cake.
Back on the farm
Some new photos of "The Kids"
On our morning walk:
Ready for an afternoon session of "Catch 'n Fetch:
In memory of Fergus we wanted to make a donation to Glen Highland Farms.
Instead of just a receipt for a donation these two touch our hearts immediately and came home with us that day (Friday August 21st.)
They have lived together since they were born and at 6 years old they are inseparable.
The greenhouse is doing great!
Harvested the garlic
Cole slaw is on the menu for tonight
I finally found a head lettuce that will grow for us in the greenhouse.
Splitting and stacking the Firewood is almost done
I used our Key limes to make a pie, I found there were lots of seeds and was 2 tablespoons short of the 6 ozs needed so I cheated and added the juice from a store bought lime to complete the recipe.
Since I am the only one that eats them I only planted 5 wax bean seeds.
4 bush zucchini
Cucumbers always do well.
There are 3 Straight Eights and 3 Picklebush sharing the A frame
On the other A frame I planted 3 Buttercup Squash seeds and 3 Butternut seeds but only one plant survived It was the Buttercup and it is just starting to set fruit.
July 6, 2015
With the assistance of Dr. Roger Blankfein a very understanding and compassionate man our boy passed away today. His battle from the effects of lymes is over.
This photo was taken May 30th
August 28, 1999 - July 6, 2015
Here are a few of our favorite photos!
July 4 th
First tomato of the season
We are starting to harvest every couple of days our beets and carrots
The Candy Onions are starting to bulb up
Won't be long before the cabbage is big enough to pull
Well the month has flown by but we did get the little Tractor shed garden rake out.
Walkway laid and 6 hills of squash planted
Now I just need some time to weed it.
I think I will refer to this as one of those : Quality vs Quantity times
A total of 6 limes remained on the bush. No I just have to time the harvest. I think the size is right and if what I read is correct when they just start to lighten up a tiny bit it is time to pick them. too light and they WILL be bitter.
step to this project is to cut the tubes so they are all at the same
height then capped with masonry mesh with 1/4" X 1/4" holes to keep
critters from making their home inside the tubes
I will add those photos when we get it done. Still researching a remote senor.
While we take a few minutes from that project we completed the next project for this year in the high tunnel and that was to dig all the walkways down 3" below the raised beds
lay down fabric
and refill with pea stone.
Then start all over again on the south side
NO more weeding the walkways. That will free up hours of our time this year.
We are glad we are
almost done! It has been an exhausting project. Hind sight this could of been
simple if we had done it BEFORE we erected the high tunnel A back hoe would of
make quick work of it.
Pea stone pile is just about gone
This is what it looks like today:
Cole Crop I thought wasn't going to make it.
There are heads forming on the cabbage and the broccoli is starting to create Florets and my little paper moths are working 100%
Second planting of Spinach
Now I am off to rake out all that nice dirt we removed from the high tunnel and making a pumpkin/squash bed in back of the Tractor shed.
the dirt was back into the beds and leveled off I went ahead and planted
the rest of the Tomato plants.
We ran to the box store and picked up the supplies we would need to get the system running. That included a 90 degree elbow a 2 ft and a 7 ft piece of 8" round galvanized ducting.
Then all we could do is wait for the delivery of the high Pressure In-line Duct booster Fan.
The fan arrived on schedule.
Jim went to work on it right away. He cut the hole into the box to accept the 90 degree elbow, mounted the fan, duct work and a temporary lead cord to test out the system.
It is working.
For the time being we will unplug it at night. It will be interesting to see if the tomatoes I just planted catch up with the ones I planted 2 weeks ago.
Jim is now researching for a remote thermostat with a few sensors that maybe will work in conjunction our external thermostat for the outside exhaust fan
We installed the second row of tubing
and anchored it like we did with the bottom row
and added more stone bringing us up to about 18" of pea stone
After a short break
We rolled out a layer of woven permeable fabric creating a barrier between the stone and our topsoil.
Now it was time to shovel the topsoil back into the bed.
We clean up the edges and ordered the pea stone
While we waited for the stone to arrive on Friday we finished up the preparation of the beds.
Jim secured the side boards to hold the boards plumb while we filled the stone and soil
Robbie arrived as planned and quickly did the math, we would need 4.25 cubic yards so he dumped part of the load in front of the greenhouse and the rest we put behind the tractor shed for rest of the center bed. ( hopefully this fall)
Let the digging begin.
We wanted to secure the tubes as we installed them so they wouldn't shift we pored buckets of stone to anchor them to start.
and then brought it in by the garden cart. Jim figures he moved more than 54 cart fulls at over 200 lbs a load .
That's a lot of stone. I might of done 12
When we originally designed the beds we left "JUST enough" room to maneuver our cart
First layer is done!
Well as per normal we are never content with "close enough".
The more Jim thought about it the depth he felt we should go deeper.
It only made sense the more stone for the heat sink the better so we are down to almost 26" at the west end of the hole This is the end of the high tunnel that gets hit with the big winds, It is also the way we enter so we keep the drive plowed right up to it which will allow the cold to settle deeper into the earth.
This past winter we were told by a site foreman for one of the home builders we subcontract to that the frost reached down over 5 ft this winter which meant they stop punching holes for foundations for over almost 3 months.
that said we are going to use 1" Styrofoam insulation the full
depth on all sides.
Jim pre-planned for the remainder of the center bed and added the holes on the opposite side to accept the pipe. It will be covered with a piece of pine board until then.
Now Jim is researching for the inline duct fan and rheostat while we wait for the stone to arrive.
Garlic was planted the end of October
The first bed of Spinach I planted The end of November
Rhubarb's temporary home
I planted a couple of crowns that were given to me last year in the high tunnel. They will be moved this fall into its permanent home behind the Tractor shed.
The cold definitely delayed the germination process but the seeds are now starting to sprout. .
The tomatoes were moved this week into 8 oz cups and will stay there until I can get them in the ground.
That cold snap got Jim thinking again.
When we put the high tunnel up our goal was to grow year round. Heating with a convention furnace was not an option for us.
We had to consider other options.
We looked at 55 gallon drums painted black and filled with water but we felt that took up too much room.
We researched rocket stoves and really like how they work We already heat the house and shop 100% of time with wood so adding another stove to tend to might just be too much to handle so again we haven't ruled it out but not sure if that is our solution
What we are planning on doing is using pea stone for absorbing heat taken from the ceiling via a inline fan and blow it through drain tile warming the ground from below the length of the center bed which is 5ft wide by 36 feet long.
We decided to tackle half of it this spring. No point in doing the entire length to find out we have to redo it a different way.
We spent 6 hours on Easter Sunday and Jim spent an additional 3 hours on Monday. We shoveled the topsoil out saving it to put back in later and then using a grub hoe, snow shovel and our garden cart we hauled the crappy, stone laden native clay out and dumped it in a low spot that needed filling.
We hope to go down 24" We are at 21 now.
It may not look like much but our bodies can confirm it was a lot of work moving it all by hand.
We figure so far we have moved 5 yards.
On March 3rd during the Waxing Moon I planted seeds for Scallions, Mesclun mix, another bed of Spinach , we can never have too much Spinach( The Spinach seeds I planted in the fall are up and doing great) and Igloo lettuce.
Planted the Cole seedlings ( Red Cabbage Wakefield Cabbage Waltham Broccoli Snowball Cauliflower)
Don't they look great?
Unfortunately I don't think they are going to survive even though they were covered every night.
With temperatures dipping into the single digits all this past week they are looking very stressed so I have replanted a new flat to insure we have a good Cole crop this year.
Between March 9th and the 13th (Waning Moon for root crops) I planted the seeds for the Carrots, Beets, radishes and sweet onions
The Seedling rack this morning:
From left to right Sweet Onions Peppers ( Cayenne, Sweet Red, Jingle bell Orange, Jalapeno and Thai ) along with Rosemary, Parsley, Basil, eggplant, cilantro and a couple of Igloo Lettuce) Next tray has Marigolds, Nasturtiums, geraniums and early tomatoes and the last tray on the right is the replanted Cole seeds
Bottom row Tomato Seedlings:
The Bluebirds returned or were blown north by a huge Nor'easter that rolled in here on the 19th-20th.
The two Myers lemons seeds I planted in the spring of 2014 are doing well
The Key Lime Tree is loaded with the most wonderfully fragrant flowers I am hoping it will set fruit.