for Peeps of all Persuasions

Real Estate, Boatbuilding, Business, and Politics ....
Interspersed with Truth, Justice, and Insight into the Meaning of Life .....
for Nanepashemet Peeps of all Persuasions.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Don't Disagree

Hate to use a double negative, but I don't disagree.

Gorilla Lives Matter

The mother who let her child run wild at the gorilla exhibit at the  Cincinnati Zoo is responsible for the death of a magnificent silver back gorilla.

Plain and Simple.  Take responsibility for your actions.

She should be prosecuted.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Buddy for the Buds

I know you don't care about my opinion and some of you even get pissed when I give it anyway.

Which is awesome motivation for me to keep pumping out my thoughts, preferences and truthful ideas.

So in the spirit of irritation and outright annoyance, I am compelled to let you know that I now have found my choice as the world's best beer.

This is brewed in Lynn down at the old Lynn Lumber site on the Lynnway.   Chris Crawford is one of the owners, but just because I view Chris as one of the family, that has not clouded my independent judgement.  They do a lot of IPA's which I am not particularly fond of, but the Pearl is Legit.

Bent Water Pearl American Wheat Ale has eclipsed Sam Adams and even Guinness on the MOAM's taste buds.   And those are mighty hard buds to please.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Operational Aquaponics

There is a lot of criticism on the web regarding the operation of Bell Siphons.  Maybe I'm missing something, but the ones that I built and installed using standard instructions from on-line sources are working like a charm.

The Grow Beds fill up with water, the siphon kicks in, and the entire bed is emptied of fluid with a satisfying burp at the end of the cycle.... then the bed starts to fill again.  

The pressure sending the water to the fish tank is really amazing as the water spills out of the 3/4" PVC pipe and splashes into the fish tank causing a nice aeration effect.   Then, like magic, the flow stops altogether as the grow beds are filled to the brim of the siphon.... when the process starts again.

We planted some tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, zucchini and lettuce yesterday, and I swear they grew significantly in just one day.

The only problem thus far is that the water in the fish tank remains a little cloudy due to the dust on the clay grow rocks.  This  seems to be clearing up though.

Next weekend, we add the fish to the system, and finish the vegetable and herb plantings.

Joanne and I have been saving the Keuring K Cups for coffee every morning and the amount of coffee grounds accumulates substantially after a week of so.   I've been sprinkling the grounds around the perimeter of the beds in the hope that this will deter the Ground Hog who wiped out our traditional garden that was located in this same place in just one Ground Hog gluttonous evening.

I still want to trim out the beds in cedar or pine, but all of the major components of this project are now in place as the development phase now morphs into operations.  Looking forward, I have to figure out the best way to deal with keeping this in place during the cold weather months.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Aquaponics Pre-Launch

The Bell Siphon's worked surprisingly well.  There is some tweaking to do, but they seem to work as designed.

A bit of a setback this morning was the need to dig out the grow media in one of the beds and add some support beams because the bed cage was obviously stressed.    The support beams did the trick.

I planted some stock that Joanne bought from the Marblehead Garden Center when the grow beds and bell siphons seem to be in synch..  The wilted lettuce immediately came to life in the grow media.  We added tomatos, peppers, sweet potatoes and zucchini.   The plants look pretty good and there is plenty of room left in the grow beds for more stock.

I'm a bit concerned over the cloudiness of the water in the fish tank due to the dust on the clay grow media rocks.  If it  doesn't clear up by tomorrow, I'm going to purge the water from the system and add all new water.

I doubt if this would kill the fish, but it is a major impediment to the aesthetics of the system.  Clear water and a view of the fish is deal breaker in my view.

Tomorrow, I have to clean up the mess in the fish tank area, with tools, cords, hoses etc, all over the place.  The stone retaining wall has also taken a beating during the plumbing and leveling process, and this has to be rebuilt.

I've already started t to brag to Tommy O on how awesome this system is, so housekeeping is in order before he comes by to inspect.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Transition from Planning to Implementation

Tomorrow morning is "Bell Siphon" Morning.
Bell Siphon:
Having Installed the feed lines, bulkheads and return feeds in the aquaponic project, tomorrow I will finalize the bell siphons and fill the beds with the clay stone grow media.

This is not a drill Peeps.... This is the real Enchilada.

If the Bell Siphons work, the plants will be installed and the cycle will begin.  Maybe next week, I will try to get Rich Mah to take me to his secret Bluegill and Pumpkinseed fishing spot and we will move from planning to full scale implementation.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

WeekEnd Outlook

Could it possibly be Thursday night?  This is another week that flew by.  Not enough days and not enough hours in the day to get the work done.

There is a three day Memorial Day weekend in store and the weather promises to be a great summer kickoff.

The bathroom can be put together, and the final plumbing to the the Aquaponics project will be completed, after which I will add the grow media and move this into the implementation mode.   In the middle of this, I hope to get out on the Lagavulin for a little harbor cruising.

The Evil H seems to be on the run with the Inspector General's report about the scumbag use of her State Department email, and Trump and Sanders may be staging a debate.

Except for some really crappy personal issues, all seems to be right with the world.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Nice Respite

Peeps.... Ryan had the PT 4x6 timber retaining wall removed from the old Nanepashemet homestead, so I grabbed them and cut to size in order to level the aquaponics grow beds.  It was a perfect reuse of this stock and I used most of the old wall for the aquaponics foundation.  The Dewalt 10' portable table saw came through like a champ ripping this stock to the proper dimensions.
Then I rigged up the swirl filter in a 28 gallon blue plastic drum, ran temporary pvc plumbing from the filter to the fish tank, ran the hose to the fish tank and tested out the 1100 gph pump.  Worked like a charm and is still out there circulating water from the tank to the fish tank.  It was drawing 64 watts on the solar power system when I checked last.  The pump seems to have plenty of muscle to aggressively move the water up to the swirl filter tank level.
So now literally all of the heavy lifting is done.  I have to run the plumbing from the swirl filter to the grow beds and install the bell siphon return plumbing to the fish tank and then this system will be ready to add the grow media and introduce plants and fish.
I'm sure that we will hit a snag while tweaking the system implementation by so far so good.
I also managed to attend the Bent Water Brewery opening in Lynn, have an overnight with the grandkids and  visit  the nursing home to see Bam with Joanne and Mike, plus  checked in with my Brother and Mother who is in a Florida Hospital...... a busy weekend that I'm happy to conclude.
It's been a nice respite from constantly bitching about Liberals and Hillary Clinton though.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Rigor Mortis Prediction.

It's freaking happening.

In a fit of productivity, I cut the IBC Totes into a fish tank and three grow beds today at the Peabody Warehouse.

It's clear to me, due to the harsh metal cuts on the cages, that I have to trim out all of the sides and tops of the tank and beds with #2 pine.

So tomorrow I'll grab some stock that I have at the Peabody Warehouse, transport the tank to Marblehead, go to Ryan's house to pick up some PT 4x4's that he has left from his driveway renovation, and put the bones of this system together.

By the end of the day, I expect to be on the deck, nursing rigor mortis with some Sam Adams.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

African Safari

Yesterday I booked tickets to Johannesburg, South Africa via London, England.

It will be a long flight.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dealing with Do Do

Yesterday, I prophetically posted that there was a possibility that I would be waylaid by contingencies today in the effort to move the aquaponics project forward.

And so it was that issues at Nanepashemet Telecom as well as some unforeseen personal stuff dominated the day and prevented any attention being applied to the time sensitive project.

Planning for contingencies is an integral part of project management.

In other words,.... "Shit Happens".

Dealing with the Do Do is as important as meeting project milestones.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Consumed by Contingencies

After a morning of aggressively searching out stuff to invoice for at Nanepashemet Telecom, I headed over to the Peabody Warehouse when the AR received a nice little boost.

I stopped at the Danvers Liberty Tree Home Depot first to get some radiator covers for the bathroom renovation then drove to the Warehouse to dismantle the IBC Tote Cages and begin to dissect them into the Aquaponics Grow Beds and Fish Tank.

One of the immediate problems is that the Totes are from different manufacturers and although they are both 275 gallon containers, they are substantially different in the way that they are framed out in their cages.   The dilemma was to establish a way to cut the cages that would make the system look symmetrical and after standing around in a stupor, I finally took my Bosch JigSaw with a metal cutting blade, marked some measurements and cut away.

Three quarters into the first Grow Bed, the metal cuttling jigsaw blade snapped in two.  Naturally, I only had one spare in the jigsaw tool case so I finished cutting with that one, and hightailed it over to Peabody Builders Supply to pick up the baseboard and moulding for the bathroom.

I ordered some more blades through Amazon this evening, but will have to get to Home Depot tomorrow and pick up additional metal cutting blades before I get back to Peabody.

Tomorrow, unless a crisis erupts at Nanepashemet Telecom, I should be able to get to the Warehouse and make all of the final cage cuts. After cutting the plastic tanks to size,  it will be back to Home Depot to pick up 4x4 PT landscape timbers which will be used to level the Grow Beds.

By Thursday, I hope to be heavily into constructing the PVC plumbing that connects the system together, but it will probably be pushed to Friday because I have a feeling that tomorrow will be consumed by contingencies.

The Bell Siphon system has me concerned as I have researched it further.  Apparently these systems have to be tweaked extensively.   I have a feeling that this is going to be a pain in the ass to get itworking properly.

Sometime next week, I hope to be filling the tanks.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Aquaponics Explanation


So many of you Peeps have been asking me how the Aquaponics system will work.  This is a good graphic explanation of the process.

Something has to power the pump which circulates the water in this system... that is what my solar energy installation is for.

The only outside management in a well functioning system would be the proper application of fish food.

I'll be installing the tanks later in the week during lulls in Nanepashemet Telecom action.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Aquaponics Project Development

So today, the battery power system was installed, the trench was dug to connect the solar panels to the power system, and the panels are ready to be connected.  Plus I mowed the lawn and put the second coat of poly on the Bathroom hardwood maple floor.  Over the week, I prepared the shed to accomodate the fish tank.

They don't call me a Mountain of a Man for nothing.

But May is half over and I really want to get this Aquaponics system in high gear by Memorial Day.

Tomorrow, the power system gets tweaked and finalized, and I'd love to get to the Peabody warehouse to start cutting the IBC Totes for the Fish Tank and Grow Beds.  But I also have to get to Kate's Wenham home for a family cookout.

By next weekend, the bathroom could be done, and the Fish tank and Swirl Filter may be in place.

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Aquaponics WBS

Everything is in place.

It is like Christmas Eve when you have to assemble all of the freaking toys.

All of the equipment minus water, plants and fish present and ready to be assembled.

  • Solar Panels
  • Battery Bank
  • Charge Controller
  • AC Power inverter
  • All PVC fixtures to assemble three Bell Siphons
  • 55 Gallon Blue Barrell for the Swirl Filter
  • Two 275 Gallon IBC totes to fabricate into one fish tank and three grow beds.
  • PVC fixtures and tubing to assemble all of the drainage and Plumbing
  • Aqua Rox Clay stone growing media (a whole shitload of it).
  • 1100 GPH water pump.

Now there is nothing to it but to do it.

I've taken the time to item this into a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) which we Professional Project Managers are trained to do..... yet never really do in real life.

  • Assemble Pressure Treated Lumber frames for the Solar Panels.
  • Dig a trench from the Solar Panel location to the battery pack and inverter station under the Deck.
  • Run the solar cable and grounding wire through PVC Pipe in the trench and power up the system.
  • Dig a trench and run PVC conduit for the Pump to AC Inverter Power Cord.
  • Cut 1/4 of the Fish Tank IBC Tote and set aside as a grow bed.
  • Use the 3/4 remaining IBC Tote for the Fish Tank and drill a hole to connect the pump.
  • Assemble the 55 gallon swirl filter and install hole fixtures,
  • Run the pump infeed tube from the fish tank to the swirl filter.
  • Cut the other IBC Tote into two grow beds utilizing the top and bottom quarters of the tote.
  • Set up the grow beds on a pressure treated elevated frame allowing access to the bottom of the beds.
  • Cut holes in the beds and install the Bell Siphons.
  • Connect the Bell Siphon outlets to draninage to PVC plumbing running back to the Fish tank and spilling into it to oxygenate the fish water.
  • Run PVC plumbing from the Swirl Filter to the Grow Beds.
  • Wash the Aqua Rox Clay stone against a sifter screen to minimize dust.
  • Add the Stone grow media into the grow beds.
  • Add a layer of stone to the bottom of the fish IBC tote for appearance.
  • Add water to the fish tank
  • Turn on the pump to move water to the swirl filter.
  • Adjust the infeed and outfeed water flow from the swirl filter to the grow beds.
  • Keep filling the system from the fish tank, to the swirl filter to the grow beds until the Bell Siphons start to discharge.
  • Monitor water filling until the fish tank, the swirl filter and the grow beds are in balance.
  • Add ammonia to the fish tank to begin the nutrient cycle.
  • Add plants to the grow media.
  • Cycle the system for a few days.
  • Go fishing for Golden Shiners.
  • Introduce the fish to the fish tank and establish feeding cycles.
  • Trim out the tanks and grow beds in wood.
  • Tend to the grow beds and care for the fish.
  • Monitor pH and tweak to find out why plants aren't growing and fish are dying.
  • Become discouraged and disenchanted... beginning a spiral of self loathing.
  • Watch pitifully as the entire thing turns into a quagmire in my backyard.
  • Endure catcalls, taunts and various levels of vituperation from former friends and loved ones.
  • Abandon and dump the evidence.
  • Deny that you ever even contemplated such a project.

The  End.

Moving Rox

The FedEx guy breaking down this pallet said there were 40 bags, each with 50 lbs of Aqua Rox Clay Stone Grow Media.

So it actually doesn't look that bad on the front lawn.

But by the fourth or fifth bag that he handed to me, he asked, "Does your Wife know about this?"

I didn't catch his name, but I don't think he is an FB Friend.

He earned a good tip for helping me transfer those bags.... now I have to make a final move to get them under the deck before the day gets too late.

Monday, May 09, 2016

A Little Aliteration

So Peeps...
I bought 40 cubic feet of this fine grow media product and am set to take FedEx delivery sometime tomorrow.

The need is really for only 27 cubic feet, but there was a significant discount to buy a 40 cubic foot pallet, so that's the direction we took.

Course, that's about 2000 lbs of this specialized clay rock.... which is 1 ton for those of you with a conversion function on your Hewlett Packard.

I can just envision Joanne with her tender inquiry tomorrow.."What the HELL is all that SHIT in the Driveway??????"

When she finds out that it is for the Aquaponics Project which she now knows virtually nothing about, I'm sure she will see the virtue in a short period of minimum yard clutter.

Or maybe not....

I can always have Katelyn console her....

Or maybe not....

Whatever.   Tomorrow the rubber meets the road and the Aquaponics way of life will be cresting upon us.   A new liftetime of vegetables and plants grown in a harmonic cycle of nutrient exchange with Fluttering Finned Fish.

Or maybe I'm Phucked.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Saturday Multi-Tasking

I'm starting to believe that multi-tasking is big time Bullshit.

You can only do one thing at a time.... and for the most part, you can only get one thing done in a day.

So here I go again, planning a highly productive weekend, when in reality only one or two things will really get done.

What our minds can conceive, our bodies can achieve.... but with a considerable time lag.


Tomorrow, I have a hard stop at 3:30 PM when I will take the S550 out to Lexington, MA and attend my grandson, Ethan's, baseball game.

Before then my hope is to complete the hardwood floor installation in my half bath and also transport the solar power system from Peabody to Marblehead.   That means that the floor gets done by 10:00AM and the Solar system is delivered by 2:00PM....

Not wholly optimistic, but doable.

Perplexing Points for Pondering Propagation

So I called the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to ask about a permit which would allow the propagation of native fish.   The Code of Massachusetts Regulations indicates that Bluegill could be raised with a permit but absolutely bans Tilapia from being kept in MA.

The well meaning staffer at the state office recommended that I use Tilapia for the system, and said that Bluegill is actually not domestic to Massachusetts.

The verbal direction is diametrically different than how I read the code.

Then, one guy at the state agency suggested that I just go to a bait store and buy live golden shiners.... and he emphasized that I would not need a permit at all.

Peeps... I'm trying to do the right thing here... maintain the public trust by not violating any of the Commonwealth's laws.   I just want to get fish to pooh in the tank so that I can grow vegetables.  And it would be a shame if I couldn't use fish that live in the pond naturally just a mile away.

If all else fails, I can always go to PetSmart and buy some Goldfish.... but that just doesn't seem to be a cool way to go.  It's not the money.    I could buy a fishing license for $27 bucks, travel to a secret spot that Rich Mah knows about, and legally catch and transport 20 shiners or so.  After paying for lunch and beers with Rich, that would be a lot more money than buying Goldfish.

Meanwhile, I'm taking delivery on the Aqua Rocs grow media which is being delivered to FedEx in North Reading where I will pick it up on Monday.   That is the last piece of the puzzle left and I will be putting the system in the ground next weekend.