Sunday, May 29, 2011

Goodbuy Tater Tot, my kitty of almost two decades.

But say hello to my new CAT, or rather, Kubota mini excavator.

dbBrad low impact machine.  Kubota KX-91

It's cute. It purrs. It's soft and fuzzy and available for any and all low impact earthwork and water solutions.

New dbBrad Kubota ROCKS!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A green wall system using old futons and fallen branches.

The GWS (Green Wall System)
and futon recycling project-another dbBrad original

Recycled steel left over from another project, discounted/damaged hog wire panels doubled up and off set to make a 2x2 grid, old door hinges, fallen branches and some door hinges complete the list of materials.

Cutting and fitting the panels.  Note the offset 4x4 panels to make a more dynamic 2x2 grid, perfect for moss and plants.

The simple frames are made of hog wire and 3/4" angle iron.  Four little welds in the corners and about a dozen tacks between the hog wire mesh and the frame complete the basic panel.

Welding the WWM (Welded Wire Mesh) to the angle iron frame.
Recycled door hinges are welded at the bottom so I can open it and maintain it.  I weld right through the holes and fill them up which makes for a quick strong nice looking weld.

The panels are hinged for assembly and major re plantings. Gravity and time can be problematic with moss, earth and decaying wood so with time will settle out and need re-doing, but it's far from a quick process to take them back down.

There are no baffles inside my wall. It's 8' tall and the mossy branches I collected which run vertically and fit into the corrugations of my container. The remaining space is filled with sawdust and mulch.

And then the recycled futon is installed to act as a drainage plane for the container, a membrane to help support the material and keep it from sluffing and my hope is to provide great water storage and growing medium for the moss.

Zip strips were used to hold the logs to the mesh.  the futon was just tacked at the upper corners to hold it in place during assembly.
The panels get tipped up and bolted to carriage bolts which I welded right to the container.  Four bolts will hold it tight and ensure it cant fall of during transport.

The moss panel being hoisted into place on the side of my container/shop.
There is a gutter running along the entire top edge of the container.  This is to shed water that drains off the roof from dripping onto my tools and work space, but is also the support for the awnings which are welded to the outer edge of the channel.  This serves to hold them out for the side of the container, allowing for the thickness of the moss panel as well as to direct water to the panels where it waters the moss.

The finished moss wall panel

My primary objective with the container is to create a great shop.  My goal with the green wall panels is to create an interesting container and to explore the concepts of living buildings that are affordable.   I've got a lot of work to do yet, but it's looking good so far.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hearts and Hammers Defined

Hearts and Hammers together is synonymous with a day of fun helping your neighbors and improving your community.

Wet Hearts and Hammers volunteers after a long, muddy day--and still having a great time!  The pond in background didn't exist in the morning and was still empty until Fran brought the rain mid afternoon!

According to Wikipedia, The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system.

Human Heart from University of Washington web page.

But to have a heart, as the tin man found out, is to be sincere or to act of kindness.  A hammer on the other hand, is any tool used to impact other objects.

Old hand made Hammer from Williamsburg colonial times.
I can't think of a better name for a community based social help network which matches 'volunteers that can' with 'families with needs who can't' than HEARTS and HAMMERS.

dbBrad defines Hearts and Hammers, community volunteers making an impact with kindness.

'To impact ones community with kindness!!'  dbBrad Hankins

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hearts and Hammers Volunteers, before and after!

Hearts and Hammers is a lot of fun, but it's also a lot of work.  Though most of the volunteers and coordinators are well seasoned veterons and not easily frazzled, there are some of us that get stressed perhaps a little more than we need to! 

Hearts and Hammers Mascot and Volunteer before.
After just one day of jack hammering and dealing with the rain and the mud, pounding with a sledge hammer, children asking questions, multiple trucks and trailers in and out, large rocks falling, dozens of people, digging and shoveling, moving gravel and banging ladders, some of us feel much older than a day ago!

Hearts and Hammers Volunteer after!!
But the reality is I haven't had so much fun in a day that left me with such a feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction and community since last year at Hearts and Hammers 2010!

Two Volunteers for Hearts and Hammers happen to be brothers.

Hearts and Hammers Fun, even on day three. Two Brothers show off their dedication to the job and to having fun, each in their own way.

Travis Tornga performs a flip after digging a dbBrad pond.
One does a flip from an Excavator, the other does a flop into a mud puddle.  Flip and Flop (Travis and Casey), as entertaining as Click and Clack (Mike and Tony) from yesterday!!

Hearts and Hammers Volunteer makes a splash over new pond installation by dbBrad
The short video here in the blog is of Casey emerging from what used to be a puddle, will be a pond, and is currently a mud pit!

See a video of this flip into a mud puddle/pond and to see the work performed by all the amazing volunteers over the last 3 days (yes, we worked all day today, much to our mothers dismays) for Hearts and Hammers Job # 10.

Flip and Flop,  Travis and Casey

Happy Mothers Day

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hearts and Hammers 2011 Volunteers

Here are photos of the volunteers for Hearts and Hammers 2011, Job number 10, Job captain dbBrad.

But first my 3 favorite shots of 2011 Hearts and Hammers. I was only in one picture today and here it is. Next year I'll bring a better ladder!!

dbBrad Hankins demonstrating OSHA awareness!

Benton, the cutest Australian Shepherd in the World --- Hearts and Hammers Mascot!
A great symbol of spring, community and co-existence. I'm going to enter this photo in this years Whidbey Island Phone Book competition titled Vibrant Life!

It's saturday night about 10:00 and I worked all day long for Hearts and Hammers. It's been one of the funnest days working ever.

John K and Billy R., two hard working dudes, took out an entire driveway.

Brian W. dug 80' of ditch and Tight Lined all the gutters into the new pond.

Travis db Tonga and John build a front deck after removing the old one which was concrete.

Click and Clack (Mike G and Tony H) dug a pond in the morning then nailed on decking all afternoon and never stopped laughing once!

And some more shots of work along the way, after it started raining. Potential for "not-much-fun" was high, but we prevailed and had a great if not muddy day. All thanks to the volunteers, many of whom will be coming again tomorrow to help finish up. We might have finished today, except for the rain, but not only did I have a hard working group, they were a fun loving group.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hearts and Hammers 2011

dbBrad and Hearts and Hammers, 2011.
Looks like it's going to be a great day.

Travis and Airin

Hearts and Hammers is this weekend, tomorrow actually (May 7th, 2011). We got a jump on things today. This is only my second year with the organization but I've been given my own project and Travis and I have already put in many hours.

Travis telling me not to fall!

Several design/pricing iterations have been done to provide the best value, accomplish the objectives of the Hearts and Hammers review board, and still try to give it the dbBrad touch! Really we were only supposed to fix the front walk but were taking on another task: to solve the water problem that is really the root of the problem.

dbBrad Truck with Landshapers Trailer at Hanson's loading up for Hearts and Hammers

I believe water to be solely responsible for the degradation to the ancillary components of the house. I guess this is fairly convenient since I've been doing so many water management/pond/habitat/restoration projects.

Billy R, one of the volunteers for Hearts and Hammers, had a Jack Hammer he was gracious enough to lend us. It even came with it's own pink, glow in the dark cord!

Today we spent most of today gathering tools and materials and coordinating with volunteers as well as the Grady family, and then getting a jump on the project by busting up some concrete. We wanted to make sure we had tools sufficient for the task, but also needed to clear an area so we could pour a landing for the new stairs.

Travis did the layout on the deck so he could place the pad for the stairs in exactly the right spot. Our goal is to have volunteers totally build the deck, kids and all.
Our primary objective was to fix the front porch walkway which had dropped more than 8" in a 4' span. A few years ago Hearts and Hammers jacked up the garage and porch roofs and poured new piers for them, which, over the years, has been underminded by water.

A glimpse of the water, and just from light drizzle. The grouind was already saturated though.

This time we're taking out all the concrete which is literally sinking due to the saturated soil. Water from houses up above and deforestation has generated lots of surface water with no place to go but run to lower ground. Our project is at the bottom of the hill.

So since our site is a puddle, we're going to one up it and put in a pond. We'll be collecting water from the gutters and from a failing french drain at the back of the propety, capturing and tight lining this water to a brand new pond!!! The pond will have a liner, but the adjoining wetland we're creating will not. Since it will be wet all winter anyhow, our plan is to turn this lemon into lemonade.

The vacant lot next door to our H&H project for which dbBrad and Dalton are drafting a sales offer. Stay tuned!!
From the wetland, water will drain into and under the new permeable driveway, which will act as a catch basin. We're also taking out the entire driveway apron and replacing it with ballast and crushed rock which will be used to provide additional short term water retention.

Flintstone Table at Whidbey Commons

Whidbey Commons is remodeling, making improvements on the back of the building to provide some utility space. Just last year they remodeled the main building and improvements continue to happen--a little here, a little there.

BAPOW! The Flintstone Table at Whidbey Commons.
The Flintstone table will hopefully end up residing along side the building next to the StarStore parking lot. From there it will be seen from second street, the parking lot and from the alley way, hopefully acting as an item of interest to draw people to the commons and provide a place to gather and hang out.

 A Sweetiebuilt plaque to go on the ends of the Flintstones BAPOW Table

My dream is that the table, like the sign/bike rack built in the front several years ago, is an interactive piece that facilitates 'hanging out'!