Sunday, May 10, 2020

Solar Lights for the Back Yard Deck Stairs

The dog has started to act uncomfortable in coming up the stairs from the back yard to the deck at night.  Linda suggests it is because of the contrast in lighting between the deck (with its two new bright LED light fixtures) and the yard.

So we purchased two LED lights to shine on the deck stairs.  Since we have no power to this location, these are solar powered LED lights.  The stairs face South and have no shade (at least until the Pecan tree gets much bigger), so this should work well.

We bought two Solar Step Lights from Amazon (JackyLED brand, $12.99).


and installed one on each side of the stairs.






The biggest problem was the installation.  There are two screws which must be exactly the right distance apart (7.6 cm according to the instructions), but we traced the back of the light onto a piece of paper and then drilled holes using that as a template.  However, despite drilling holes for the screws, the screws were made of such soft metal that they broken when screwing into the deck wood.  Remember the deck is ipe (iron wood), and very hard.  Luckily I had alternative screws that worked better.

The lights themselves seem to work really well -- very bright and last most of the night.



Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Digging up the back half of the front yard, Part 1

With the tree gone, we have the opportunity to dig out the rock in the back half of the front yard.  Last year, when we did the front half, we left the back half, so as not to disturb the tree.  But it died anyway, so we can dig out the back half and have a deeper dirt level for the entire yard.



Without the tree, the front yard is really quite exposed.  It gets bright hot Texas sun for much of the day.  So we put up a sun shade to try to shelter the area we are working in.





The first problem would seem to be to locate the area that needs to be dug up.  We started at where we thought the corner of where we had already dug up would be, but were way off, but moved over more towards the street and the barrier wall between us and the neighbors and found it.




Then we expanded that hole back towards where we had started,  down to where it exposed the underlying rock layer.




And we then expanded the hole by digging back towards the house.




The white PVC pipe is just being used to try to define a straight line to delimit the edge of where we are digging.