Dale Hodgins

gardener
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since Jul 28, 2011
I've worked in demolition and salvage, construction, real estate, ... Currently developing bus business and expanding my knowledge on a wide array of subjects related to land development and ecologically sound energy and food production. I'm a hard core skeptic and strong believer in science. Athiest, idealist, pragmatist, inventor, thinker, learner. Developing a grand plan for turning my property into a model of energy and resource efficiency.
Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Recent posts by Dale Hodgins

I don't even know which route this one is taking to its final destination. Some of them go on barges to the gulf Islands and some travel over land. The highways on Vancouver Island are mostly pretty new and they give better clearance than in many other areas. So the 19ft is evidently the height of the lowest immovable obstacle on the route. There have been times I've set them to 14 ft 5 in, which is supposed to miss every wire in every neighborhood. There's still a chance of hitting a wire at that height, but it is not something that would be considered the house movers fault, since they are supposed to be that high or better.

I worked on a big building last year that was close to 30 feet tall. It was close to the ocean in Victoria and it went to a site very close to the ocean in Port Townsend Washington. So we were able to transport a two-story building with a steep roof, without any cutting.
3 days ago
My situation is unique in that I get more money per unit, when selling in large quantity. I'm dealing in recycled lumber. If I'm doing a job that just has a few dozen sticks, I sell it locally to established customers or I throw up a sign. My large buyers don't want to fiddle with small quantity.

When I have tons of the stuff, someone from a mill will supply me with 40 yard containers that are filled with the lumber. On a job like this, there is usually no time to deal with individual small buyers. And, the wholesale buyers pay a premium to have a large amount of material that is roughly the same thickness and age of wood. So, even if someone does stop by, on a big job, I take their number and tell them I will call them when I have small quantity. They usually whine a little bit and suggest that I sell them a small quantity. Then I explain that it will cost them considerably more. It's better for them to wait for a time when I have a little bit and I don't have a guaranteed, high-paying customer and free transportation.
3 days ago
This house is being relocated, since it's present location is having a new house built there. It's kind of nuts but that's what happens near the ocean in Victoria. It's a really good house, which I have enjoyed staying in, for the last 2 weeks. I may be the most comfortable homeless man in Canada. I've lived in five nice houses in the last 2 months.

The maximum height for this move is 19 ft, which includes the house and about 4 feet of trailer. I had to cut a large rectangular section of roof at exactly the height of the shorter roof at the front of the house.
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This house had a generous amount of blown fiberglass and some batt insulation, covering the entire work area. I used my cordless Ego blower, to move all of the loose insulation to the attic of the front portion and to an area around the perimeter about 4 feet wide. After the center was totally clean, I removed all of the bats and used them to cover the loose fiberglass. I'm near the ocean. It was very important to not have the wind send insulation around this upscale neighborhood. It was a horrible job. I shaved really well and wore my asbestos mask. I also wore my shittiest shirt, which I threw out afterwards. A good quality cordless blower is the number one tool I see missing from the arsenal of most renovation people. It's because they don't know they need one.

Whenever there's fiberglass insulation, there going to be a little bit of it blowing around all the time. I wore my asbestos mask at all times when in the attic. This kept my lungs safe and prevented sunburn. On most renovations, you will see people destroying their health because dust masks are uncomfortable or for some other reason. I recently did a job in a mall, where I was drilling holes in the concrete ceiling to hang lighting. Of the 20 or so people working there, I am the only one who took any steps to protect my lungs from concrete dust, drywall dust and welding dust that permeated every portion of the job site.
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When a roof needs to be cut, you can't just lop it off. All of the original framing must be supported and reinforced, before the framework is cut. This house had quite a bit of sag, from years of bearing its own weight, without any pony walls.

We've been having a heatwave, so an important factor for me was to be able to do much of this job in the shade. After determining my cut line, I stripped off a good portion of the sheeting which included all of the sheeting directly above the cut. I left a good portion of the upper sheeting and a really large area on the west surface of the roof. I was able to do probably 80% of this in the shade. I always wear sunscreen and a broad brim hat in the bright sun. And I always work with a wet long sleeve shirt, in hot conditions. I probably averaged 6 shirt changes per day. I keep them in a plastic bag.
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The next job and the largest, was to build a support wall all the way around the perimeter of the cut. A four-foot-tall wall was perfect. I first put the top plate at an exact distance back from the cut. Then, the bottom plate which rests on the ceiling was placed using a level. Then the uprights are put in one at a time, with consideration to straightening the roof lines as the wall is filled in. I sometimes used a prop with a long pry bar under it. I press down until the proper height is reached and then hold it in position with my foot, while installing a temporary post. This was done probably 12 times while going around the perimeter.

After the pony wall was built, I was able to start installing the new flat roof rafters. They were slid into position and screwed to the original Rafters, at just the right height so that the finished sheeting would be at the correct height.

After all rafters were in, it was time to cut away the original roof, above the line of the rafters. First, all sheathing was carefully removed and any pieces of framing that did not require cutting, were pried off. Then it was time to make the cuts. I used my cordless Milwaukee Sawzall, to slice through the old fir. On really long pieces, I chopped some length off first, so that I wouldn't have the weight of the material pinching my blade. I used a good quality Milwaukee demolition blade. The entire process was accomplished with one blade that is still good. I used up 25% of the power in one 9 amp hour battery.

Then came the sheathing. There's no such thing as laying things out to match 8 foot sheets. The distance between rafters is determined by the old ones. This ranged from 20 inches to 26 inches apart. After all sheathing was in place, I went under and attached 2x4 battens to cover all joints.Long thin screws were used for this. One screw at each end, just enough to hold it in position. Then I went to the top surface of the roof and used 2 inch screws to screw the sheathing down to the battens. Six screws in each one. One at each end and one in the center on each side of the crack between the separate sheets. The long screws protruded through the sheathing. They were broken off with a quick smack of the hammer. Only a couple broke with a little point showing, that had to be hammered down. Now there is a perfectly smooth surface for the torch on roof.

The job is done. A couple hours from now a roofer will come and put a torch on roof.

Some of this hard work will be removed shortly after the house reaches its new location. The roof will be reconfigured. But, the 4 foot pony wall will stay in place. There has been talk of going up one story from that spot. It's quite strong and it has really straightened out the lines of the roof. I think it would make a perfect place for a kid's room, or just a big room for an office. It's 13 ft by 18 ft.

That's about it's for this house. I'm also cutting the stucco and I ripped out the basement apartment, in order to get the house lifted. All of the to 2x4 used on this project, were salvaged from the basement. There are still probably 80 sticks of 2x4 that I will place inside the house, so that they are available for concrete forming or whatever, at the new location.
3 days ago
The stink in the winter can be explained by an inversion of the water. During the warm season, the pond water can be very stratified, with warm water on top and cold in the bottom. If there's lots of decaying material on the bottom, that can become a dead zone, containing anaerobic bacteria which stink. The layers don't mix because warm water is more buoyant . As cold weather sets in, the water on top becomes colder than the water at depth and it sinks, which causes the water at depth to be displaced. There are often fish kills associated with the time of inversion. This can happen because of stirred up toxins or just because it causes an oxygen crash. The deep water that is stirred up can be quite smelly. A bad smell is almost always indicative of anaerobic conditions.
4 days ago
I think it's important to know why it doesn't support fish currently. My best guess is that it's sometimes encounters an oxygen crash, because of the amount of decaying algae and other plant material. Frogs can breathe air and can make use of water that goes through huge swings in dissolved oxygen. Fish cannot do this. So, if you're looking to stock the pond, I think it would be wise to take oxygen readings just before dawn on several occasions. This is when levels are likely to become critically low. If the oxygen does crash, then the pond may need to have lots of slop removed from the bottom.
5 days ago
This guy designed his own sign that he wears when he's traveling in his motorized wheelchair.

It is meant to be a play on the name of the motorcycle gang Satan's Choice. He's a funny guy and has no problem making fun of his condition. He joked about busting some heads and robbing a bank, and was more than happy to contribute to this thread.
5 days ago
The berries are done for this year. As usual, most were eaten by the birds. For the second year in a row, I have seen a sign asking people not to harvest more than they can eat while they are at the Garden. I'm sure the signs are meant for me. I always make sure to harvest the most difficult ones, leaving the ones along the path for anyone who might want to try them. Those berries don't get picked. Then when they are at a peak of ripeness, birds descend and finish them up. The same happens to the cherries and the mulberries. I have about 2 lb stored in the freezer.
5 days ago
It appears that they have been there for a long time. Some stumps have many former trunks. I think it's this way in much of the world where eucalyptus will grow. When I was in Kenya, the most common tree outside of national parks, was eucalyptus. They are in California, India, China and many other places. They produce lots of wood but also reduce the water table, present a huge fire hazard and they don't produce anything that is useful to Wildlife.
5 days ago
Yes, I realized it was missing the same day I left. Do with it what you will. Maybe someone else will need it when they leave your place. I found it uncomfortable around the neck, so I used it under my ass when I had to lay on hard surfaces at bus stations and airports.

The other day someone said they had a splitting headache and I thought, I'll bet Alan has a splitting headache of a different sort. How has he done with all of that wood splitting? Have any other projects been completed or at least begun? I've been on a work frenzy, and haven't been following your progress.
1 week ago
This house was left with a large amount of cat hair. It was pretty clean otherwise. The old owner had arranged for a cleaning company that he was to pay $200. The cleaning they were going to do, would have been largely pointless, since I'm taking down the chimney and doing other things that make dust. I suggested that he cancel them and pay me $100.

I opened everything up and there was a good wind coming from the ocean. The cordless blower was used to great effect. I will never embarrass myself again using a broom  and vacuum cleaner . I made some cat hair balls the size of a billiard ball, but not as heavy. That and all dust, blew out the windows and doors, and against the leeward wall. I will blow it again when I'm done living here and all work is done. Then I will spend one hour cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, and collect my $100. I would have done at least half of this work, even if I wasn't paid, since I like to live somewhere clean.

I'm living at a job site, but I'm in much cleaner conditions than most people who are living in a house cleaned in the standard way.

My water heater works really well this time of year. This picture is from the last job where there was no electricity. The power won't be cut off here, until at least a week from now, and then it will be swung over to a temporary pole. At that point the water heater will no longer work, and I will switch to my electric kettle and solar.
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I had a 6-day break between houses, about 10 days ago. This left me living in the car for a short stint. But, it wasn't too bad. The house moving company didn't need me, but there's an electrician who did. He needed to install Light Tracking into the concrete ceiling of a shopping mall. I charged him $50 an hour for this horrible task. Of approximately 20 people working there, I was the only one who wore an asbestos mask to protect my lungs from all the concrete dust and other airborne stuff. He complained bitterly about the $50 an hour, and told me about an electrician and a plumber that he pays $35 an hour. When I asked how good they would be at this job, he said they would take forever, because it's soawkward and the two guys that he had tried already, both hit expensive things with the scissor lift. Case closed☺

The shopping mall pretty much became my home during that period, although I didn't sleep there. I slept on an industrial Street about 2 blocks away. I prefer streets that are commercial, because then you don't have residential traffic. After about 6 p.m., this little industrial park is pretty much deserted. The Starbucks there opens at 4:30 a.m., which is handy.

Another house came up after 4 days in the car. I continued to finish my job at the shopping mall, but I lived in the house which was a short distance away. I only worked 3.5 days at that house, but I lived there for 8 days. I call it security. So far, none of the owners have been bothered by it. I used to ask, now I informed them that I intend to live there. I found it when its presented as part of the deal, they don't even question it.
1 week ago