Rob Ainbinder - Digital Dad - Page 9 of 78 - Chronicling my adventures in DIY, Home Improvement, Barbeque and Fatherhood

Rob Ainbinder – Digital Dad

Chronicling my adventures in DIY, Home Improvement, Barbeque and Fatherhood

Tips for Organizing a Shed

June 3rd, 2012

After some procrastinating. We finally got around to organizing the shed. After the crazy move in two years ago this was the last place to get any Extreme Home Makeover “love”. Add to that some beautiful, unseasonable (e.g. 70ish) weather here in North Carolina there really was no excuse. Time to get the shed ready for the high season of lawn care. Suffice to say that we had piles of tools strewn all over the floor making it necessary to circumnavigate the lawn mower, yard cart and assortment of handtools and lawn chemicals every time we entered the shed. We inherited the shed (likely a Dutch Barn “Basic Barn” with a gambrel roof.) when we bought the house. It’s a great size with a good amount of room on the floor. The downside of this design is very little sidewall space and along the way I include a few tips for organizing this type of shed. So we tackled the right side of the shed. Really not as dramatic change on this side except for a lot less stuff on the floor and something I did with the trimmer/edger which I will get to a little later.

The right side of the shed – after the “makeover”

So, with the right side organized we tackled the left side. I set up my trusty Workmate as a table. It’s served me well for many years and is a great worksurface if you’re tight on space. Then, we moved some shelves from the garage and disassembled them into two sections for twice the shelving space and maximizing the vertical space we did have.  On the short wall next the door I used two of this Screw Hooks
that I salvaged from the garage to hang the extension cords. What a difference it made. Here’s a look…

Left side of the shed organizing project.

Overall it was a great project to complete but, there’s one part of it I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I have this Troy-Bilt Gas Powered String Trimmer
that always wound up laying on the floor of the shed (in my way and a trip hazard). Not the best place if you want access to anything else. So, I took two more of the Screw Hooks
and screwed them into the rafters. With my Wife’s help we got the spacing just far enough. The bag hanging off the far hook holds my supply of trimmer string.

Hanging a string trimmer in a shed with barn roof

Now, there’s no more stooping over to get the trimmer and I can easily grab and go.

My How Our Garden Grows: Update On Our (Almost) Squarefoot Garden

May 12th, 2012

On April 1st we set up and planted our 1st squarefoot garden. Since then, we have made a few additions.

1) Since we’ve seen a few wild rabbits and some squirrels we decided to put some fence. This is a flexible, plastic  fencing that was Tenax 3ft x 25ft Green Plastic Poultry Fence from the big box home improvement center.

2.) Adding a perimeter of marigolds for some pest protection.

3.) Also, some great performance of both the plants and seeded vegetables

4.) We also added some support for the tomato plants. The Mrs. found this Ultimato Tomato Cage at Wallyworld. Excellent product.
Ultomato Tomato Cage

Check out the squarefoot garden! We are amazed and happy.

Squarefoot Garden picture

Washing and Cleaning a Car Like a Pro (sort of).

April 23rd, 2012

We recently added a new to us (aka used) Nissan to our garage. And since we took delivery I’ve been itching to get out some tools to fix some of the issues I saw. These were some “picky” things that I wasn’t willing to let the lowest paid employee at the dealership (the car “detailer”) try and correct. Turns out the dealer wasn’t willing to try to fix the issue any way.

Look at the photo below. Starting at the reflection of the light fixture and working down you will see lots of finer scratches going from right to left (actually from the front of the car to the rear of the car).

The problems in the paint… “tunnel scratches”

These are what I call “tunnel scratches”. Why? It’s what happens when you repeatedly go through those auto car washes. The scratches could be anything from overhead brushes to drying cloths that hang vertically to dry your car or, even recycled water that was improperly filtered.

I have been a Meguiar’s fan for few years. Participating in the forums I have learned a lot from the many skilled professionals and car crazy auto appearance fanatics on techniques to enhance and protect the finish of your car. If you want to learn a little about ways to protect and enhance your car’s finish follow along with me. You’ll also see some pictures of our newer car and what I did to improve the appearance.

Step 1: Washing is Not Cleaning and Cleaning is Not Washing

Maybe you are asking yourself if Rob has lost his mind but, the first thing that the Meguiar’s gang would love for you to know is that when you wash your car it’s only the beginning of getting your car/paint clean. And how you wash it will very much determine if you will remove dirt and not add additional scratches to your car’s paint. So, what do you do to prevent additional scratches to your paint? Wash your car with two buckets! Two buckets? Yes, two buckets. Preferably a 5 Gallon Wash Bucket with Grit Guard
Here’s a video with some highlights on washing

Step 2: To Clay or Not to Clay, That Is the Question

After you have washed and dried your car it’s time to find out if you need to clean it with a Clay Bar Kit. This is the real cleaning and what determines if you will get the car really ready (if needed) for polishing (correcting) and waxing (protecting)

I “clayed” the Nissan… this is one picture of some of the bonded contaminates that I removed. There’s a longer (video) explanation here.

This is stuff off the paint after washing.

Step 3: Polish Away, Polish Away Those Defects

So, we have washed, dried and clayed the car. Now, we will work on the defects in the paint. Now, if your car is parked in the driveway or, you don’t want an absolute show car shine this step might be one where you spend a little less effort. But, what is absolutely essential is that you match the correct polish to the type of paint and problem you are trying to correct. Don’t just assume that the one clearcoat safe polish you have will do the trick… especially if you have more than one car.  In fact, for this Nissan I tried a total of three products before deciding to use…

After polishing with the compound I waxed it with Meguiar’s NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0
and we were done.

Our (Almost) Square Foot Garden

April 1st, 2012

Yesterday marked our start into the world of squarefoot gardening (aka raised bed gardening). For a number of years we hemmed and hawed around the thought of having a vegetable garden and this year was the year.  The increasing price of fuel, seemed to make the idea a little more palpable. Applying some knowledge gained from reading various copies of All New Square Foot Gardening
.. we’ve gone headlong into establishing our garden.

Read along as we plan, build and plant in just a few hours.

Our squarefoot garden planTo see all the details of the plan click the picture above. Thanks to vegetable-gardening-online for the worksheet.

Our plan was not an exact squarefoot garden in the purest sense but, we did follow squarefoot gardening principles. In a true square foot garden it’s most often square (duh!). However, we did plant for efficiency and space optimization.

So, with plan in hand, plants/seeds purchased we headed out

Our family fitted with footwear and ready for gardening action.


Our raised bed garden is a kit from Sam’s Club was an 8″ Double Raised Bed from Greenland Gardener
which makes a 42″ x 84″ garden ($39) and made in the USA ;-) . The great things about this kit from Sam’s Club is it’s heavier, uses no hardware and is less expensive than the kit from Big Blue which is a Frameitall/Bonnie Plant branded raised garden kit ($49) that uses corner hardware and screws.

Greenland Gardener squarefoot raised bed garden

 So, the first step was to locate a North facing site for the garden which gets 6+ hours of sun. This is no small order in our tree filled yard. My loving Wife scoped out several sites and with that research complete it would be on the perimeter of our backyard. We laid out the pieces to see what it would look like.

The next step I decided on was to remove the grass in the area so we could level the area. This is not mandatory if you have a level location. If you can avoid this step.. do it! We almost did. Removing this grass was the most labor intensive part of the project!

Lily approves of the layout. You can also see the corner blocks which accept the side panels for hardware free assembly (genius!).

Removing the sod for our square foot garden

See that tool with the green handle? … it’s a gem… removes weeds without backbreaking contortions and I used it to help remove the sod from the area. It’s an Ames True Temper Gardener Two Pronged Weeder.
If it’s possible to love a tool.. my Wife and I both do! Removes weeds from landscaping beds with ease! But, sod was another thing entirely… this “little” area took some muscle. But, when it was done…

Raised bed garden with sod removed

garden goodness with landscaping fabric installed.

The gardening gods smiled down on us. Because when we went to return the raised garden bed to Big Blue the Miracle Gro Garden Soil was $2.50/1 cu. ft bag. Sweet! We also picked up a bag of Black Kow Compost Cow Manure
… can’t have too much organic material in your soil.

Miracle Gro Garden Soil for our squarefoot garden

Miracle Gro Garden Soil ready to go in our square foot garden

So, the next step was to mark off the squares for our (almost) square foot garden. There are lots of ways to mark off the squares (wood, old blinds, vinyl) We used what we had… Painter’s tape…

Marking off the squares of our almost squarefoot garden

Planting the plants in our square foot garden

Close up of the back (Northern) row of tomato plants. We planted three varieties of tomatoes (German Johnson, Roma, and Grape) all plants from Bonnie plants.

I decided to use the corner connectors of our raised garden bed kit to hold the plant markers from the Bonnie plants we planted. We’ll see how this works as the plants mature.

Here’s a look at the planted plan…

square foot garden laid out and planted

We decided to reuse the soaker hose and timer from another landscape project to keep the garden watered. This way we ensured the garden would get watered no matter what happened.

Raised bed garden with soaker hose installed

Want to see an update on our garden? Check here

Rob Ainbinder – Digital Dad

Chronicling my adventures in DIY, Home Improvement, Barbeque and Fatherhood