Barn progress: the hatch and hoist... The barn's second floor is almost 14 feet above the first floor, accessed via a long, narrow flight of stairs. While it's possible to carry many heavy things up those stairs, it's certainly no fun. If you have something large, long, or awkwardly shaped, it may not even be possible. So when we were designing the barn, I had the builders put a 4' x 10' “hatch” in the ceiling of the first floor (which is also the floor of the second floor).
My builder made a couple of doors designed to open like a clam shell. They sit in a frame, and weigh about 30 pounds apiece (they're made of steel-faced foam). I installed big strap hinges on them, and an eye-bolt connected to a rope, pulley, and cleat system that lets me easily open and secure the hatch doors. Then I installed a half-ton electric hoist above the center of the hatch, with a 4x6 spreader to share the hoist's load across six trusses. The last step, just completed, was to wire the hoist into my second floor electrical subpanel. I made a test run with a load of about 500 pounds – worked great!
Left-to-right below: the hatches opened wide, a close up of the hoist, and the hatches closed.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Two fun things: first, in the morning I picked up our Honda Rincon ATV (just like the one at right). This is a model intended for use by farmers and ranchers, part of Honda's utility series (as opposed to the sport series that are designed for trails). There are basically two ways to use one of these (other than just personal transportation): you either tow things (like a trailer or sprayer), or you mount things on the front (like a snow blade). I'm planning to tow a trailer (mainly for brush as I prune) and a sprayer (for the lawn). Given that such uses are the design use for the vehicle, I was really surprised that a trailer hitch was an optional accessory. Really, Honda? Sheesh. I have one on order, along with a 12V outlet so I can plug my sprayer pump in. It's a very nice little vehicle, though. Starts instantly, thanks to an electric starter and a fuel-injected engine. I was a bit surprised how fast these things go. I got a farmer's license, so I'm allowed on the county roads with it – that actually might come in handy on a really snowy day; I can get to the post office and the market even before the roads are plowed, or if there's ice.
The other fun thing was dinner – we met up with a couple of friends (Bruce & June N.) and went to Maddox Ranch House just south of Brigham City. Several locals have told us that if we had a hankering for beef, that was the place to go. They have a few other things as well, such as bison, some very conventional seafood, and chicken – but beef is definitely the main theme on the menu. I had an excellent T-bone steak, cooked rare just as I like it (and very hard to get in California!). Debbie had a rib eye, and she said is was perfectly cooked. We both had a nice cream of chicken soup, and birch beer (real!) to drink. They had an entire menu of luscious looking fruit pies, but we were so full that wasn't even a possibility. An evening of good food and good company...
I also got Debbie's exercise bar finished and mounted. This is just a 6' long piece of hemlock stair railing (2" round) mounted level on the wall. I bought raw milled hemlock, sanded it, and finished it with just clear coat. It's mounted to the wall with cast aluminum rail hangers, finished to look like wrought iron. They trick your brain into thinking they're heavy (because they really do look like wrought iron!), but they're actually quite light...