Down in a hole…

It is said, a friend will help you kill someone, but a real friend will help you bury the body.

Karl entrenched
Karl entrenched

Well, qualifies as a real friend. (Not that that was ever in doubt) Ok so there wasn’t actually a body, but I know very few people that would drive out here to help me dig a two foot deep trench, (26 to 28 inches in some places) to help me bury conduit to repair my yard light.

Eighteen years ago while planting a rose bush for my mother, I accidentally cut through the direct burial cable that ran to our yard light. This of course sucked badly, fortunately I was extremely lucky and was not harmed. So, with nothing more than a shoestring budget, I set out to repair the light. I made quite a few mistakes, but the end result had the wiring in conduit, and a little safer. It lasted for quite a few years. The past two years I started having trouble with it tripping the ground fault interrupter a lot, and I decided that I would need to replace it all again. Now that I have a full time job, and have paid off all my credit card debt, I could afford to do it right.

Burying Karl
Burying Karl

Today, at around 11:00, Karl arrived to find me digging the beginnings of the new trench for the conduit. After a few shovel fulls of dirt the larger shovel split its handle out, so we ran to go buy some better shovels for the job. After returning we trenched, by hand, a 30 foot long trench that ranged from 26″ to 28″ inches deep and ran from my house to the yard light. It took us a while, but we did it, and I am glad that the conduit is now the recommended dept. Previously when I did it myself at age 14, I was a lazy bum and the “trench” was no more than 6 inches below ground… I knew that was too shallow, but at 14, I didn’t care. Once the trench was dug, we set about laying the conduit. As we did I discovered, the outdoor outlet post I had purchased had an added surprise. It could be configured, through the use of an insert into a dual purpose, high and low voltage post. I couldn’t resist this opportunity so while I set about cleaning up the underground knock out hole in the lamp post Karl headed off to get more conduit so I could have a separate run of conduit for low voltage items, such as speaker wire, video, or data. Just imagine the possibilities if what I could do if my yard is wired for sound… MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA be afraid, be very afraid…

By the time Karl returned, I had ran the wire for the lamp post to the outlet post, and while he assembled the low voltage conduit run, I ran the wire from the outlet post back to the house. Once that was done, and all of the connections were made, we tested the circuit, and everything checked out. It’s important to note, that Karl changed the blown light bulb for me, the real reason the light was not working the past month… (Ok, simplest solution, I know….)

Now though, I feel 100% safe in the knowledge that the wiring to the yard, that I rely on heavily for Halloween, and Christmas displays is now safe, and water tight. Thank you Karl, Thank you Ladies at Ace Hardware who must have thought we were nuts… Oh, and thank you neighbors, who stopped to ask if I was working on my Halloween display… MUAHAHAHAH… Ya know… I should have ran a 3rd conduit while we were at it… one for Pneumatics… 🙂 Oh well, next time… 🙂 Hey Karl, what are you doing tomorrow? 😉


L.E.D. Fun

What do you get when you combine 24 awg stranded 2 conductor wire with a resistor, and a high intensity L.E.D.?

You get a really awesome spotlight so small that it can be easily hidden in even the smallest tree beach and yet illuminate a scene plenty bright enought.

Tonight, I wired 5 of these. 2 blue, 2green, and 1 red. Tomorrow I hope to make the housing for them.

Ahhh, solder…

Tonight I spent the night cramming wires, a circuit board, and other components into and on top of a little black box. In theory once I go through one other step and then attach a few wires I should have something really cool. At least that’s the hypothesis anyway. I’ll post a picture tomorrow and let people guess what it is. 🙂 Muahahaha!


It’s the big night.
A huge thank you to Stacia, Christopher, and Zack all their help. We had good weather, good weather is usually both a blessing ad a curse. When there is good weather, more people tend to travel other places it seems. When we have bad weather, or a threat of bad weather, we get a larger turn out. It’s weird.
The new talking skull, and monster in a bush were hits. The giant skeleton puppet is always a huge success, and had many return visitors. I had to pose for tons of pictures and had conversation with a number of kids. I still cant get over all the kids that stare up to theskulls head, and hold up their candy buckets to show the skeleton their haul. 🙂

Humanoid Trick or Treaters: 348
Canine Trick or Treaters: 5

Yes we do give out dog treats to the dogs that come too. We even had one show up that remembered it from last year, last year he was very skittish about approaching the house, this year he happily took the treat and guarded it. The owner laughed heartily, and said “Oh he remembers you from last year when he got a treat so we had to come back”

I also got growled at by a wiener dog named Odie who was protecting his family from the big giant skeleton. 🙂 After a minor correction he was content to let me continue talking to them.

Tomorrow: Pack things back up and put them away for another year.

Prop Timer

I recently bought a new prop from Menards. It’s marketed as a “Haunted Hedge”. It consists of a set of light up eyes, and a separate box that contains a motor with a wobble weight on it. When the prop is triggered it shakes the bush you place it in, moans, and lights the eyes. Out of the box the prop is supposed to be triggered by sound. Frankly I find the sound triggers unreliable, and in addition, there is never a re-trigger delay built in. This means, as soon as the prop is done making noise, it can be re-triggered by more noise. This makes it really easy for kids to stay in one spot triggering, and re-triggering the prop. The “Haunted Hedge” like so many halloween props out there, comes with a “Try Me” button. Hold the button down and the prop runs. This makes for an interesting way to interface to the prop with my own controls. Read on for my solution.
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The Skull

So, while trying to recover today I was bored… So I managed to finish the look of the skull. Hot glue, moss, and a little stain and wow!

Oh and since last I posted, I painted the pedestal using Juli’s techniques.