Coop #2 preview #2



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Coop #2 preview

The new coop is smaller and lighter.  Construction has been simplified and lightened up.

I have a bad habit of building something and then wanting to immediately tear it down and rebuild it better.  I haven’t cured myself of that habit, but I have found that doing teardown/rebuild cycles in Sketchups makes things go a lot faster.  Sketchup screenshot of Coop #2:


I don’t think I’m doing Sketchup 100% correctly, but I’m stumbling along well enough to get a feel for what I’m building.  The mocking up is really helpful- building my rafters in the computer first gave me a good feel of how the finished product (should, hopefully) turn out.  Also, cutting rafters can be a pain in the neck when one falls out of practice, so it was a good exercise.

Here is the current state of the build:




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Amazon Dash button as a Chicken Door reminder

So, I built this chicken coop:


While this coop is pretty deluxe, it has no automation at all.  I was going to add an automatic roost door, but we are departing Rocky Valley Estates to Leviathan Hall soon.  Coop #2 will have to be the one that gets the fancy equipment.

What I needed was a monitor to remind me to close the roost door.  I didn’t want a reminder every single day ala a calendar event.  I just wanted a reminder if it was getting dark and the coop door had not been closed.

There are fancy Arduino/Raspberry Pi solutions, but I wasn’t up to the complexity.  I opted for an Amazon Dash button after seeing Ted Benson’s Amazon Button Hack.

My solution is to use a Python program to monitor for the Amazon Dash button push.  Once a day, my program starts up, looks up the time for sunset and dusk for that day (thanks, Astral).   It then starts monitoring for the button push.

The Dash button is hanging by the roost door.  When I close the door, I push the button.  Assuming I beat the dusk deadline, the program records my button push and shuts down for the day.  If dusk passes and the button is not pushed, the programs send a text to my phone via my Gmail account.

I’m using Github for the code- version control and code hosting: ChickenDash


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Scrap wood box

I like building boxes out of scrap- (floor nailer, cordless grinder, game boxclassroom).  Here’s another one, this one to store a tall Christmas angel.  All scrap wood.  The box has a retainer bar in the middle to keep the figure from bouncing around in the box.  The liner on the arc is a scrap of self-adhesive felt.

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Another year with the Unknown Dog

Not many posts, but there still has been a lot going on.  I haven’t gone anywhere else, dear regular readers.  2015 wasn’t a year of posting.  7 posts the entire year.

I do still get regular very light traffic, thanks to some posts that keep coming up.   Here’s my top 5.

  1. Ford Flex factory hitch project
  2. Ford Flex seat swap project complete
  3. Nerd alert: Finding non-printing characters in varchar2 fields in Oracle
  4. Dining room project
  5. Inserting newlines with AIX sed

Interesting stuff coming up in 2016.  Rocky Valley farewell, Coops and Dash Buttons, Leviathan Hall, BNR4.  Stay tuned.  Considering previous publishing schedules, the edge of your seats will be overkill.


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Halloween for 2015

Last year was [Alice in Wonderland].  This year:

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Sunday was Charlie Kate Anderson day

Birthday #4:

FullSizeRenderCK is modeling the full Elsa from Frozen ensemble.

IMG_2902Left to right, Cousin Rosemary, Graydon, Charlie, and Gabe.

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Charlie Kate loves spring

A couple quick pics of Charlie from the phone :



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Hopefully, this is the last winter weather picture of the season.


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Ready for spring


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