An interesting light fixture failure

We had an interesting failure in one of the closet light fixtures. We flipped the light switch, heard a loud pop, and the bedroom went dark and the emergency flashlight came on because the breaker tripped. When we looked at the light (because who looks at the light fixture every time they turn the light on?), it was just dangling from the ceiling.

Ceiling light fixture dangling from the ceiling.

When I got up there to investigate, it seemed pretty clear why the light was dangling. When I got the light fixture down, these two blue pieces fell down.

Two broken blue pieces of plastic

These had broken off the plastic electrical box for the lighting fixture wiring. It’s where the bracket for the light fixture screws in to. You can see where the pieces broke off in the areas circled in red.

Broken electrical box for the light fixture

The electrical box looks cracked and broken in a few other places along the top and sides as well. It’s looking pretty bad.

I also found a tiny piece of melted metal and a little bit of exposed wire poking out of one of the wire nuts. So it looks like what happened was when the plastic broke, the light fixture fell, and the small strands of wire poking out of the wire nut and the ground wire were touching the bracket that held everything up. When we flipped the switch, there was loud pop from the short circuit, and the breaker tripped. Fortunately nothing smoked or caught fire.

After seeing the condition of this box, now I kind of want to look at all the other electrical fixture boxes in the house to see how they look.

Building raised beds

After a year in containers, it’s time to put some of the plants we got last year into the ground.

After making some plans, changing some plans, getting suggestions from friends, we decided to try the raised bed route so I built some boxes. Gardener Scott has some great YouTube videos covering raised bed gardening.

A trip to the nearby big box home improvement store (and a call to the wife after I discovered the boards I just bought wouldn’t all fit into the car) got me what I needed to build two 8 foot x 4 foot boxes for the raised beds.

Two wooden boxes on the lawn to be used for raised bed gardening

We’ll dig up the grass down to the “dirt” (heavy clay stuff) underneath and fill up the boxes with other dirt that the plants will hopefully like. Haven’t figured out where the new dirt is coming from yet. It will either be lots and lots of bags and several trips from the nearby big box hardware store, or maybe get a few cubic yards of dirt dumped on the driveway from somewhere.

The plan is to eventually have six raised bed boxes (three on either side of the tree). Four of them we’ll use for the blueberry and raspberry plants that are in pots right now. The other two we’ll use to try our hand at growing some veggies.


The rose bushes had an easier time this past winter than they did last year.

First roses of the season
First roses of the season

First roses of the season opened up this week, and there are a lot of them.

Lots of roses!

Work table storage

The indoor workbench (work table really) was in need of some vertical storage.  The table was starting to get cluttered with projects and parts and not many places to put them.  I also thought it would be nice to have some of the things I was always going into the closet for within easy reach.

Inside work table
Inside work table

I considered adding some shelves like I did for the closet but with the table being so deep (3′), I thought that would make reaching the shelves awkward.  Connie suggested getting some cheap bookshelves to make a hutch type thing.  Seemed like a pretty good idea (she often has good ideas like this), so I ended up buying some cheap inexpensive shelving units from Walmart: a 3-level cube shelf, and a three-shelf half-height book case.


Used some scraps of 1/4″ plywood as a back for the cube shelf (it only came with one cardboard square).  Secured the shelves to the table using screws that I put in from underneath.

Shelves attached to the table
Shelves attached to the table

Now I’ve got most of the things I reach for most within easy reach, and a little more space freed up in the closet.

Shelves loaded up
Shelves loaded up

Not quite sure what I’m going to do with the scanner yet.  I’ve got it sitting on the top of the shelves now.  It’s not something I use too frequently, so maybe I’ll just bring it down and plug it in as I need it.

Accessible freezer/refrigerator outlets

When the power went out during Hurricane Irma last year, one of the issues we had was reaching the outlets that the freezer and refrigerator were plugged into so that we could plug them into the generator.  The outlets are in the wall behind the middle of each appliance, so we have to pull them out to reach the plug.  Not so easy when you’ve stuffed the freezer and refrigerator full to help them stay cold/frozen.

With Hurricane Florence on the way, we wanted to make the freezer and refrigerator plugs a little easier to reach in case we need to run them on the generator.  The shortest extension cords I have handy are either 25′-50′ long, or not a heavy enough gauge to handle the freezer and refrigerator current requirements.

A trip to Lowe’s got me a couple of 2-foot long 12-gauge extension cords (similar to this one but without the circuit breaker) and storage hooks.

Find a wall stud that’s within reach of the extension cord, drill a pilot hole, and screw in the storage hook.  Plug in the extension cord, plug the refrigerator into the extension cord, and you’re in business.  I zip tied the extension cord to the hook so that everything would stay in place.

It’s a bit ugly, and we’re definitely not going to win any style contests, but it works.  Now when we need to plug the freezer and/or refrigerator into the generator, we can just reach over and grab the plug without having to move anything.

Once we get around to having a transfer switch for the generator installed, all of this will become a bit redundant, but that’s ok.  I’ll just patch up the holes and put the extension cords and hooks to use somewhere else.