Saturday, July 6, 2013

MNT's Rainwater Collection System with Manifold

I really like this guy's idea on a rain catchment system and how it finds it own level.  I am thinking of implementing something like this for my own needs.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Business: Starting Out ....

My new WEEDEATER lawn mower.
The other day, I picked up a used lawn mower for only $20 dollars from a man out in Spanaway. It has a very nice bag that came with it and plenty of power to cut through grass. I admit, it's a Weedeater re-brand of a Poulson, however, it does what I need it to do.  It was a complete fluke that I found this on Craigslist when I did because I had just spent the last hour or so looking for lawn equipment.  I cleared the last search results I was looking through and typed back in "lawn mower" and here it was.  The guy was moving ASAP and it had to go that night, so I told him I was on my way.  He only wanted $20 dollars for it.

I have a Troy-Bilt TB575ES string trimmer that I bought several years ago for my own back yard. It is a "pro-sumer" grade 4-stroke straight shaft string trimmer that was just a trooper, until earlier this year.  I was cutting my Aunt's back 40 with it when it died on me.  I saw it was pretty darn low on fuel assuming that was the issue.  After having filled it up again, I pulled and pulled and pulled to no luck.  She was dead.  I let her sit for a few hours and I grabbed my Aunt's Troy-Bilt 2-stroke curved string trimmer.  I came back to mine to attempt to start it up again and it did eventually start but it just did not sound at all good.  I came to find out that the engine is shot and this particular model only had a 25-hour operating life span.  I have put at least double that on it since I bought it. It really pisses me off since it was a $200 dollar string trimmer that should still be working, otherwise I could have better spent my money on an ECHO or Stihl product.  A lesson learned, I guess.  With all of that now being said, I am trying to find a used ECHO, Husqvarna, or Stihl with any available money I have, which isn't to say very much.  A used Stihl 90R at a pawn shop or just on Craigslist still goes for $180 dollars or more easily.  The other two are not far behind, so I need to work more.  I just hope my Aunt's doesn't crap out on me before I buy another.  I like to fix what I break, unless it is one of my sisters'. ;-)

Isn't she dreamy?!
My future PJ Trailer Dual Dump.
Eventually I will get my PJ Trailers: one for my lawn business and the other for dumping dirt, beauty bark, or hauling trash.  I have been known to some pretty serious trailer envy when I see someone else using their PJ Trailer, although it is more of a joke than anything.  I want one, bad.  I will get one, someday.  I just wish I could have it now. :-P  Anyway, I can rent one from a company down in Olympia area for not too much.  So, if I can keep my costs down, my business up, I can rent a trailer until I can actually buy one.  There is just so much stuff I need to get that I will be buying over time that is kind of overwhelms me.  I do not want to look like I am a hack who just needs beer money, because that is not me.  I seriously want to do a great job and have returning customers even though this is not my ideal career.  Eventually I will get back to what I truly love and that is carpentry, which is also part of my current business.   Until then, baby steps.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A New Business Venture & Some Compost

Compost Pile & Garden Box of Potatoes. (June 12 2013)
Since I have been finding it down right impossible to find work since last September, I decided that I would re-start my own business. I already have a business license from my short-lived business in 2004 so all I need to do is change the business name and type with the State.  I am offering services for rental & foreclosure property clean-up as well as land clearing.  I have clearing the land of a neighbor of my aunt for the last several weeks with just a weed-whacker and a push mower since there is so much overgrowth not to mention all of the hazards hidden inside the grass.

I never really wanted to "own" a business after my last one failed, however that was entirely due to my poor management skills at the time. Right now, I don't think I really have a choice to do anything other than start my own business.  I made too much last year working for two and a half months for most companies to hire me.  Odd, I know, but its the truth.  I am an outdoor kind of guy and I prefer working with my hands.  Working indoors, I can do but I am not very happy about it.  I have plenty of retail experience since the family business as a kid was all retail and I worked for 8 years in retail before becoming a union carpenter.  Work for carpenters is picking up here in my area, although I really don't have the gas money to go from site-to-site hustling myself.  Although I live with my older sister, she is stretched as far as she can be without risking her own obligations.  Honestly, I don't like having to depend upon my family for such things, although I am incredibly grateful that I can if the need is there.  It kind of hurts my male ego.  I am definitely the kind to return the favor even  without expecting anything in return.  Given a chance, I would most certainly return to union carpentry, although unless something changes in the next five minutes I cannot rest my future on that.  So I started advertising my business and hopefully I can keep some much needed things like my truck, food, and fuel while something shake out.  If I can get enough business I will certainly go for my general contractor license so I can do remodels.  I have all the skills and the majority of the tools to do such work and most importantly, my current business has easily put it to work under its already stated mission statement.

Currently I have been clearning the overgrowth for a neighbor of my aunt who I will call Blonde.  I have been doing it for a bit of gas money so I could continue looking for work.  The job is... an incredible amount of work to say the least, but I have enjoyed it a bit.  The only thing I really have not enjoyed about it is running into snakes.  I hate snakes!  But not enough to chase me off since they are not poisonous.  Blonde owns about two acres of very overgrown and neglected land next door to my aunt's property.  The County has been telling her to clean-up her property or face some pretty hard fines and such.  The property is really nice and is begging to be used, but all she has done to it is store crap, more crap, and even more crap and let it get all overgrown with grass and stuff.  Even the house on the piece of property has turned to crap.  Even I would not remodel it, but roll a 55-gallon drum of fuel oil into the center of the house and set it aflame.  (No, I am not arsonist. It is just a statement of the condition of the house.)   The property is so overgrown her own horses didn't even want to venture over there.  Anyway, I have cleared a bit of the grass enough to go from the back of the property to the front and around the sides of the house.  It actually looks as if someone is taking care of the property.  It definitely has not been easy since I have to cut most of it down with a weed-whacker to first see if there isn't any crap hidden and then I can run a push mower through there.  It involves a lot of racking, hauling, and back & forth with the cutting implements just to get the grass to a 3-inch height.  It really is back breaking work.

My Mom helping to turn the pile. (June 22nd)
Speaking of raking, all of that grass isn't being left behind though.  I very much have an immediate use for it: compost pile.  Yes, this year's compost pile is bigger than ever.  No joke.  Right now it measures 6-feet wide by 15-feet long and stands about 7-feet tall.  Just last Saturday with the help of my Mom, it took us nearly two-hours to turn the whole damn thing.  I wish I had a bucket and a tractor to go with it but I don't.  I will have to add that to my wish list right next to chainsaw and woodchipper.  The funny thing is, I have enough to start a second pile with the grass that has yet to be harvested with Ms. Blonde's property.  I also have horse manure and wood chips available to be used, so I have at least one more pile to add for the summer.  Dear Lord, what did I get myself into. LOL!

Well, I have business to attend to so I will end this here for now.  Wish me luck!