Sunday, August 1, 2010

Coal Miner

Welcome to Coal Miner week here at OPOD. Todays picture shows a coal miner at the end of the day's work. The picture was taken in 1942, at the Montour number 4 mine of the Pittsburgh Coal Company. There is something truly "American" about this picture. I love the way the guy manages a big smile after a hard day of work.

Domestic Update:

I feel that excellent progress was made on project Hydroponic Greenhouse last week. I believe I am getting ever closer to my goal of becoming a gentleman farmer. Most of this week was spent working on the plexiglass covering.

This has turned out to be a very hard part of the project. In fact, my mom has a theory that the greenhouse was designed by Nazi's, probably SS agents, intent on seeking revenge for the allied victory in World War II. You can see that the sheets of plexiglass are very large, and with any breeze at all, the sheets act as large sails, and make it almost impossible to get them into position.

The second problem is that as more sheets go on, it starts getting harder and harder to reach the locations where the aluminum rails that hold the plexiglass in place have to be screwed in. The plexiglass will not support your weight, and you can not lean a ladder on the plexiglass, so it quickly becomes impossible to reach the locations you need to put the screws. We are to the point that we have both ends finished, and some of the large pieces that go over the side and top. At this point, there is no way to add more of the large side sheets without some better way to get it on. I finally decided that the only way to get the rest on is to rent a sky track, which can lift a person up, and position them properly over the work area. I have made arrangements with a rental agency to bring a skylift out later this week. This should allow completion of the plexiglass cover, with a little luck.

While we are waiting on the Sky Track, I will go ahead and finish up much of the odds-and-ends work on the inside. You can see above we have the front door in, and the ventilation fan, which is next to the front door. On the other side, I still need to finish the Wet Wall. The Wet Wall is a large panel of pads that water runs through. The fan on the front pulls air out of the greenhouse, which pulls air into the greenhouse on the opposite side, through the Wet Wall. The Wet Wall cools the air, and this keeps the inside of the greenhouse cool.

We also got all the trenches dug this week. If you remember last week, we brought out a trenching tractor. The rock we live on broke the back end off the tractor after about five minutes. This time we rented a rock saw. The rock saw is slow, but makes easy work of slicing through the rock, and making nice neat, deep trenches. There are lots of trenches needed, as we have to run Natural Gas, Electricity, and Water to the greenhouse.

While we had the rock saw, I went ahead and put trenches out to the Chicken Coop, and Peacock palace, so I can have a water outlet closer to where I need to water the chickies and peacocks. Also, we will have electricity in the chicken coop. This way, I can turn on a heat lamp on really cold nights. The other reason to have electricity in the chicken coop is that during winter, egg production goes down because the days are short. If you turn a light on in the morning before the sun comes up, egg production should remain at peak levels.

Also this week we had the remainder of the equipment delivered to allow completion of the greenshouse. Above you can see the Polaris Hot Water Heater being delivered. The hot water heater will provide the heating element for the radiant floor heating in the greenhouse. I am hopeful that the plumbers will be able to complete the radiant system this week, as we wait on the Sky Track to be delivered.

So, this has turned out to be a lot bigger project than I had anticipated when I started. However, I feel that if I successfully complete this this summer, I will be very close to achieving my goal of becoming a Gentleman Farmer.


  1. I guess it's too late to tell you to duct tape a lightweight rope to the panel end and pull it up instead of 'flying' it into place.

  2. You should put up the panels with the wind at your back.
    Nice job so far.
    Good thinking to use thr trencher for you other jobs while you had it there. It is going to make things a lot easier with the trenches in place .

  3. Whew, I'm tired just reading about it, but I am also a bit jealous, not for the hard work but for the end product, I'm kind of lazy. It looks good. My mouth is watering thinking about what you might be growing. Have you decided yet?

    I enjoyed last weeks pictures. I am an artist of sorts, and never knew oil rigs were quite so photographic.

    Have a good Sunday,


  4. Seeing the dark dust around the miner's face I could only imagine what's in his nose and lungs.

  5. And to think this all started with a free peacock and her chicks!

  6. A free peacock, her chicks, and a dream of being a gentleman farmer. ;)

  7. Only an engineer could attempt this.

    I'm lost.

  8. People from this generation took what life handed them and dealt with it. They didn’t complain or call “Dr. Phil” every time something didn’t go their way.

    We’re all wimps by comparison.

  9. He is smiling..he must have liked his work!
    The greenhouse is shaping up quite nicely, any installation of covering is a pain..I think they made them that way so that "most" people would hire a crew to set them up.
    Great description of the pad and fan system of cooling..I hope it works good enough for may want to think about a shade cloth or a shade curtain..and you will really need to monitor your temps in there for awhile. I used to have a sensor inside the greenhouse, with a monitor inside our home to monitor temps..of course for me I was more concerned about freezing temps up here in Minnesota. But I could see the highs and low temperatures throughout the want to keep almost continual good growing temps..but that will vary with what you are growing. Sorry, I didn't mean to go off half cocked and give you a Horticulture lecture:)


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