One Small Step For Man, or Woman

Twice this year I’ve made a small step for someone getting older, and having trouble with a large step up to get into their house.  I’ve been using this imitation redwood decking product.  A couple years ago I made a ramp out of it for wheelchair access, and it still looks almost like new.   Anyway, folks have liked this as a solution, and I like it for its longevity promise, plus  the heavy weight of the product that helps keep it in place without other means of grounding.

I get the fake redwood at Home Depot.

Here’s the photo

-This one going to Texas tomorrow, without the cat.



Connecting Two Small Bedrooms Creating Optional Use

We decided way back (a few years ago) that these two small bedrooms would be more useful connected.

I opened the wall as much as could be done without going all the way.  This allows a larger room for guest, while letting each room have its own dedication.  I will make two folding door sets creating a shoji screen rice paper like effect.  The top gateway appearance also allows for two sets of curtains to act as further privacy if needed in the future, as well as doors lockable both ways.




-More before


Working with my preexisting masonry back patio

I’m currently working with my preexisting masonry back patio to make it able to hold a vine covered arbor/pergola. I have added wall parts and removed others. A little pond and plant spot will be to its right but attached to it. It will help hide support for the walls that were not anchored properly, while making the whole area more attractive. Fireplace is not used as such if you were worried of…

-on a bright New Years eve in 70 degree weather.



Restorative Justice New Home

OK. A new home for emotional home repair.

What a change form the old office and its sterile meeting room. The Restorative/Collaborative Justice group I volunteer for, has moved up to larger quarters. Tomorrow I get to do some painting of a particularly dirty room in an otherwise great house.

The home atmosphere will be better for the families who come in. Just moving from two box rooms, to a whole large house has done wonders. The meeting spaces can be more dedicated. Families who have had violence or other abuse, hardly need go to another place that seemed to treat them as an afterthought as well. Sometimes place and setting are quite important tools in enabling folks to feel more open to the kinds of changes required by this process of restoration.

Got the paint today, and brought most of the tools over.

Now the painting is done. The room had many pipes, that made “cutting in” longer than usual. Well, that and a lot of big stuff was put in there. Now the whole place looks quite acceptable.

From two smallish rooms like this;


Which necessitated many meetings in church and community facilities-

To this big main room (once was a casino) with several satellite rooms for everyone to do their thing in Restorative Justice. This particular program is the only one of its kind in the nation, but may well become a prototype for other kinds of emotional restoration.



Today was a day of cleaning up and waiting.

I made and poured all my homemade concrete for the fountain project yesterday. There was lots of carrying sand/gravel in buckets, using a hoe to mix in the cement with, mix it, get it over to the fountain space and shovel and bucket it into place. After such work, I have to monitor my lower back to avoid having it go out.

When your back is really out it can be weeks before it even seems to improve. Hard to stand or sit or get out of bed. Anyway. Seems I am OK, so I am still able to do stuff, like finish this project. There is a bit of curing time involved, since normal concrete is curred in 28 days. But I can go ahead with preparing the top for nice Morrish tiles.

I wanted to have a mono pour on this so there will be no seams to let water out, although there are some inside measures I could do to seal leaks as well. The floor is about 8 inches thick and reinforce by metal, as are the sides, so this fountain should last for a thousand years.

My Homemade Fountain Project-2

Here are the fountains forms just about ready for me to get the sand-gravel from the wash and add the cement to it. I still have to run a secret wire into it from behind for the pump. I have a small drain to make cleanup easier along the way. I am using recycled fense found on the curb in my neighborhood. I un-weave it and am using it as a wire mesh substitute. I intend to make this thing so tight that it will not likely ever leak.

This fountain holder is shaped this way to reflect the fountain gift received one Christmas. I have a couple re-bar pieces going around the circumference. In the corners I added an extra piece just in case. The base is actually thicker than the sides so it will never crack. To continue with overbuilding it, I’m also putting recycled fence in just to add a little more connectivity. On top of that, I’ll use a rather rich cement mixture for strong concrete.

I will add a couple wood cross supports in the inside just in case the weight of the walls press the inner forms sides in. As it sets up I’ll probably take them out so I can finish the bottom inside a bit. Those inner walls cant inward a bit for strength and ease of disassembly.

-and finally this with tile on top.  Late evening photo, colors a bit off, however, side colors are darker on finished fountain.


Next Concrete Project–fountain

Here is my latest home grown concrete project in motion. This is the initial phase, just getting the outside form started, it will have bevelled corners to match the gift fountain. I may match the color of the fountain to make the whole thing seem as one and much larger. Our small courtyard limits the size of the fountain, but it will be large enough to have a few goldfish in there. The outside width dimension of the fountain will be 6 feet, about 5 foot the other. I have not decided what cap to put on the fountain wall. Possibly a nice tile to sit on, or go with smooth finished concrete. The electrical will come through the wall I made like the hose does there.

I am going to mono-cast the fountain holding pond, so the inside will have a smaller beveled form which shrinks in just a little on the bottom for strength and to help with disassembling.


Eventually this courtyard and cat yard will have a smooth, stable floor, easy on bare feet and paws. Probably a stabilized home made adobe, to have an organic but clean feel.

this up front section is the inside dimension. Those overhanging boards will keep it level and balanced to the outer form. Now to put in lots of re-bar so it will not crack.

I poured the homemade concrete yesterday, and here is how that looked.

and finished at 8:15 pm. It was dark so this shot was a flash.


I chose not to do heavy duty settling of this mix in case I wanted a more natural stone look if we keep it plain. Normally you do lots of tapping of forms and some downward shoving of a stick or similar item to mix and settle. We do not receive freezing temperatures here that last throughout day, so I am not worried about ice expanding in the fissures.

Now comes the tile selection and surface changes.