Thursday, December 28, 2006

Perfect Day...

A beautiful cold, clear day in Thunder Bay... This lead us about 2 more hours of skating - Hannah practiced her wrist shot more today, and at one point had 10 shots in a row go about 3' off the ice!

You go girl! :)

Add: Oh, I seem to have forgotten to mention that I hit my kiddo in the noggin with a puck yesterday... It was a backhand luckily, that rode up my stick. She had a nice bump on the head - but to her credit she barely shed a tear. We won't forget to put her helmet on from now on, especially around me! :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chicks on Ice

My Helper
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

After the Thunderwolves hockey game tonight, we came home to a chilly night and a rink that could use a flood. Somebody wanted to lend a hand - so she flooded the rink....

Some of our bestest friends from out of town dropped by today, and Jamie (4.5 yrs old) went for a skate with Hannah... Then Parker (3 yrs old) went for his very first skate (which I didn't realize til after when mom told me)...

Yay for skating! :D

Current temp: -12C (-13C Overnight)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Ho-Ho!

December 25th is upon us... Santa has come, the presents have been given and unwrapped... the turkey/ham has been consumed.

And the temperature suddenly dropped to -10C (-15C overnight). This was my chance. I slipped away from work (where I'm working the midnight shift) and zipped home to flood!

Drive home: 8 minutes
Flooding: 18 minutes
Drive back: 8 minutes

Even with one flood tonight I've noticed most of the pebbling is gone! Yay! If its cold enough tomorrow, I'll definately flood again.

Oh, as I side note, I've scheduled what is hopefully the first of many annual events! The "Carlson Classic Boot Hockey Game" for the 7th of January! A 3 on 3 style game with goalies in full gear and a sponge puck...

6 days til New Years!

Current Temp: -10C (-15C Overnight)

ADD: I ran home at 1am and did a 2nd flooding... Thank god its super quiet at work - these perfect flooding nights are few and far between lately...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Proud owner!

Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

of a brand new curling rink!

That's right ladies and gentlemen! The pouring rain/sleet storm we had last night has deposited a good 1.5"-2" of crap on our rink. I've decided to let it freeze overnight (instead of shovelling it all off) and hopefully get a few floods down over the holidays.

Forecast shows 3-4 days of -10C during the day, falling cooler at night. I'll let everyone know how the ice turns out by next week... :)

Til then, no skating....

But a big Merry Ho-Ho to all those folks reading this, and I hope Santa sends you some clear, cold nights as well!


Friday, December 22, 2006

"If you build it..."

Yesterday I picked my little one up after school... She never made it into the house - she darted into the "hockey shack" and donned her skates, and away she went.

Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

Of course daddy had to put on his goalie pads for some practice, and it wasn't long before our neighbours daughter was on her deck watching us play. The invitation was given, and a couple minutes later she appeared with figure skates and helmet in hand. After awhile I went in to make dinner, and they continued skating for another good half hour. As we were wrapping things up and putting the nets away, the two boys from a few houses down finally built up enough courage to come and ask me if they could use it.

"they will come."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

An Evening Skate

Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

My flood last night was fruitfull - as we enjoyed a good hour, hour 1/2 skate today... I gave Hannah her new pink hockey stick a few days early so she could try it out... we worked on her wrist shot - and she actually put a couple pucks in the upper corners of the net :) After we were done, the ice shavings were swept and shovelled off the rink to keep it nice and clean. :) 5 minutes of work now could save an hours worth of work later.

The weather for the next week or so isn't going to be great flooding weather, so I may have to hold off on it... We'll see how it goes.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yay for COLD!


After a week (or more) of above freezing weather, rain, sleet and hail... it was finally cold enough that the rink refroze today. And its supposed to stay that way for a couple of days.

And my rink survived! Actually, it's smoother now than it was 2 weeks ago - but I think I've lost a couple inches of ice depth. So just before work, with a -12C overnight forecast, I decided to flood.

I think we just might have to go skating tomorrow night!


Current Temp: -10C (Overnight -12C)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Warm spell

Warm spell
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

The week long above-freezing temps combined with some intermittent rain has started to wear down the ice... It was quite noticable today, after a bit of snow... Which was quickly turning to slush on the top. 45 minutes after I started - the ring was clean again, but water was starting to pool up around the sides in various spots.

The only good thing, is that it seems were pretty much through the worst of the weather now. It's supposed to hit -12C or so Sunday night and remain below zero all week.

*cross fingers*

The Save?
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.
On a side not, Jay wanted to get some goalie practice in, so he donned the pads and let me fire some shots at him. (We didn't use skates as the ice was too soft - but it was fun non-the-less)

Current Temp:-1C (-12C Overnight)

Thursday, December 14, 2006


This could get very messy... Its been rather warm here the last few days. Wednesday morning I had about 1" of water on my rink - but by last night it was gone. So I don't know if it froze, or if it evaporated. No leaks that I can see from my liner, which is a great thing...

Unfortunately, the temp is still above freezing and they're calling for snow this afternoon and tonight. And without a solid frozen sheet of ice it may be very difficult to shovel - causing a HUGE mess. :(

Cross your fingers for me - its supposed to be -13C on Sunday - so that'll be nice to refreeze everything... and hopefully a flood and we're back in business!

*always look on the bright, side of life.... *whistle* *

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


So we're up to about 1.5cm of water in the rink - but the rain has stopped... I don't expect it to freeze anytime soon though. It was enough water to melt the top layer of ice, and expose my paperstreamer redline and center ice logo. I easily removed the line from the rink - which I'm actually happy about. I'll make it better on my second attempt next week.

Here comes the rain...

I wonder how much rain we're going to get... Right now I've got about 1/2 a cm on the rink - but it just started. I'm going to have to keep an eye on the water level. If too much rain gets in there, I might have to drain some water out...

The last thing I want is too much water in the rink causing a blow out along one of the boards. Here's hoping my 2x10 constructed frame holds out. :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Mesh

Mesh -installing
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

After being cooped up in the house the last couple days, and with crappy (IE: warm) weather outside, I figured I'd get around to putting the backstop up.

Picked up a few more of those trusty 1x3's at Home Depot and some winter fencing. The fencing extends 3' above the boards, and should be ample to catch any pucks that "just" miss the net.

The Bench!
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

I also built the bench I've been meaning to, today. Its 6' long and 20" tall - covered with anindoor/outdoor carpet. I still have to call my buddy who can get me the rubber for the shed flooring and the walkway to the rink....

I'm also going to forgo borrowing the kerosene heater from my neighbour (to keep the shed warm) and borrow a propane heater from Pops. Should do the trick nicely.

* waiting patiently for colder weather*

Current Temp: 1C ( 2C with rain!) :(

Not Good...

Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Warmth

Well, we've gone through two days of above freezing temps, although not by much. Luckily, it's still cold(er) at night, so it refroze... it actually made the rink a bit smoother, in all honesty. The bad news is closer to next weekend. +5C and ice pellets/rain.

Not much we can do about it - just cross our fingers and skate when we can. :)

Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

Current Temp: -9C (0C daytime)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

El Nino!

Last night was terribly cold... with the wind, it was close to -30C. Needless to say, I didn't flood, but I did shovel off 4" of snow that had fallen the previous night. I was quite surprised to see how much my previous nights double flood had helped smooth things out on the right side. :)

I also picked up a propane torch and a sink/garden hose attachment for the kitchen. The torch for melting down and smoothing out a couple of the bigger bumps I have, and the attachment for hooking up the garden hose to the sink for hot water floods.

This weekend isn't looking very promising. A high Saturday of +4C and +2 on Sunday. Maybe rain. :(

Cross your fingers for me!

- Kev

Current Temp: -19C (-15C overnight)

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

A Day off...

Inspected the ice today - it was nice and solid. The water covered and froze over the line/center ice logo perfectly. Shazaam!

I'm still not happy with the ice ridge that was formed during the first snow fall though. The rink hadn't completely froze, and the weight of the snow pushed down on the ice - forcing water up along the edges. This created slushy areas, which I failed to shovel off...

Apparently other Rink Rats are suggesting using hot water on my next flood - which I'm going to try Wednesday night (since I have nothing else planned). I'll have to pick up a faucet adaptor so I can hook up my hose to it - which I'll do tomorrow morning.

So, wish me lucky Wednesday. I'll update on Thursday!

Current Temp: -11C (Overnight: -14C)

Monday, December 4, 2006

2nd Flood...

Sweeped off the ice and did my second flood... Only took about 1/2 hour this time as things went much more smoothly this time - and I had a helper. Thanks Jay!

The logo/streamers didn't move at all, and the water seemed to flow over them nicely. Guess we'll see what it looks like tomorrow.


Current Temp: -15C

*ADD: It takes approximately 1 hour to completely freeze a thin layer of water at -15C... So approximately 3 hours after my first flood, I went out and put a second flood on. Will let you know if it worked out in the morning.*

One side done...

One side done...
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

2 1/2 hrs of work and I've got the end boards up on one end... It wasn't an exact science, but everything pieced together just about right - with a little tweaking here and there.

The end boards are made up of 3/4" plywood framed with 1x3" spruce. I used the layout described by RINKRAKE for the boards... and they worked pretty well!

End boards
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

I then cut 1x3"s to length, used a 3/4" spade bit to put a hole at one end, then braced those up against the end boards. I picked up 2' lengths of rebar at Home Depot for $1.47 each - those I drove through the holes in the 1x3 to stake them into place.

I also put the Habs logo at center ice today, and tried out using red party streamers for the redline. I filled a misting bottle with hot water, then sprayed the ice down before I placed the streamer. The line was straight enough at first... But as it got longer, the wind picked up and played havoc with the 2nd half. This was definately a 2 man job. I finally got it down and sprayed, but its not exactly straight. Live and learn - the blue lines will be better. I'm curious to see how the lines/logo stand up to the flooding tonight...

Current Temp: -8C (-19C overnight)

Center Ice
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

First Flood

So, perfect temperature and conditions tonight to flood. -18C and no wind... no snow. So I brushed off the small amount of accumulated snow and dragged the hose up from the basement...

First thing I found out, was that I had turned off the water taps in the wrong order. I have one inside the house, and one outside. I must have turned off the outer tap first, because it was frozen solid. Outcame the hairdryer, and 10 minutes later water was gushing out of the hose.

*Note to self: Turn off interior tap first - let water drain out. Heck, no reason to even turn off the exterior tap, I recon*

I dawned my pair of neoprene gloves (borrowed from my trusty fishing tackle box), grabbed the hose and onto the ice I went.

Back and worth, back and forth... No nozzel attachment on the end, just free pooring water. It seemed to be going pretty well until I reached about center ice... then...


I figure it was probably the temperature difference between the water and the ice that set the ice to cracking. Nothing major, but on the shallower end I have a nice mosaic pattern of cracks now - they seem fairly close to the ground, and I'm not worried about them. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

But I tell ya, that sound froze my heart for a few seconds as I checked for damage.

I continued with the rest of the flood, turned off the tap and unhooked the hose.

As I go to bed tonight, I pray for little/no snow tomorrow, and a nice solid sheet of ice in the morning.

G'night, Home Ice!

Current Temp: -18C (-8C tomorrow afternoon, isolated flurries)

First Skate!

Her First Skate
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

This morning, after another cold night, my daughter insisted we get out there and shovel the inch of snow off the rink and see how it was... After the amount of slush that was along one side last night, I was a little disheartened - but I knew it had to be done. So out we went, and started shovelling.

First thing I noticed was that my shovel was WAY too small. Something had to be done.

Off to Canadian Tire! Yay! :)

There I found a 3' wide "Ice Rink" shovel - it has the handle shaped like a big "U".

Head back home, and the shovelling went without a hitch. There is some slush/ice build up on the one side, and a bit bumpy on the other - but I'm confident that with tonights cold, clear weather... I'll be able to do my first flood, and even everything out.

The ice easily held my weight, with no cracking or uneasy sounds. Good thing. :)

My daughter INSISTED she skate when we were all done., which wasn't a problem - just stay away from the one side where its bumpy.

First Skate
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.
So out the skates came (and the camera of course), and away she went... It wasn't too long before she asked for her hockey stick and some pucks...

From there, Daddy of course had to bring up the net from downstairs.

2 hours later, we're hot and sweaty and inside after a fun little skate. :)

I trimmed the liner today as well... if the flood goes well tonight, I'll be putting up the end boards tomorrow.

Pray for cold!

Current Temp: -11C (-17C overnight)

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Danger Will Robinson!

So when Hannah came home she wanted to go skating. "Shovel off the rink", I said and we'll see how it looks.

The ice supported her weight without a problem, and with broom in hand, she started clearing the rink. It was at this time that I noticed the deepest area of my rink( close to the garage) was slush. Grrr.

Slush = not good.

Slush = bad.

I headed over to the far end of the rink, where it isn't as deep (4-6"'s), and the ice was able to support my weight. So together we shovelled the rink off. We stayed away from the slushy side. I'm hoping it freezes overnight and I can get at it in the morning.


Current Temp: -4C (-10C Overnight)

More snow...

Light flurries and windy at this point.

I was planning on putting up the boards, clearing off the ice and putting the lines down... but its going to have to wait.

It sounds like Sunday/Monday are going to be nicer days for it - so I'll wait.

Patience is hard.

Current Temp:-4C (predicted -10C overnight)

Friday, December 1, 2006

First snow!

First snow!
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

Everything was going great... Rink was freezing fast... I woke up this morning to about a 1/2" of snow on the ground.

Snow is not my friend. Ever. It acts as an insulator, preventing the cold from getting its job done... and if mixed with a bit of water, creates an awful slush...

As the ice wasn't fully frozen, there wasn't much I could do. I did sweep off around the edges - this was just to prevent slush build up... Even doing that may have been a mistake. Luckily, there's not too much snow - although the forecast for tomorrow doesn't look as good.

Grrr. :)

Current Temp: -9C

The First Fill

First Fill
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

I was VERY happy with the way the first fill went. The hose was on for 8.5 hours... I would have left it on probably another hour or so longer, but my bed was calling.

I didn't notice any movement or buckling in the side boards (2x10's), and the liner stayed put. I'll have to trim it down sometime next week after the boards are up....

The next afternoon, I used a cordless drill with a 3/4" spade bit in conjunction with a tape measure to find out I had 2 1/4"'s of ice after one night!

The night of my first fill the high was -8C, and overnight dropped down to -17C. The next couple days have run about the same - with no snow to hamper the freezing process.

As of Thursday night, the ice had increased to approx 4" in thickness.

Once the sheet of ice is completely frozen, I'll be able to walk on it. Then I'll apply the lines and install the boards... possibly this SATURDAY!

Current Temp: -9C (Day), -15C (Night)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Liner

The Liner
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

The liner is in!

It actually didn't take as long to lay out as I thought.... With the help of 3 trusty helpers we were able to get it down in less than an hour.

Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

On the far end and left side of the rink (as per the picture), I pulled the liner over the boards and stapled the liner to the outside of the frame using a small piece cardboard to add some strength.

The tarp is 60x40, while my rink is only 48x22... So we rolled up the tarp on the other two ends. I didn't fasten these sides yet - I wanted to get water into the area and still have some room to let some tarp go back inside. The last thing I wanted to happen was have the weight of the water rip the tarp off of the boards - and end up flooding my yard...

So far, so good.

I turned the tap on at about 1:15pm... we'll see how long this takes.

Oh, and as the weight of the water pushed the tarp down, I *did* have to unroll some of the unsecured tarp back into the rink...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Boards

The Boards
Originally uploaded by Big Swede Guy.

Today we picked up 4, 4x8x3/4" sheets of plywood to use as the boards on the far end of my rink. They will be framed by 1x3 pieces of lumber and suppported by 2, 2x4's on each section. To fully board in my rink, I'll have to pick up 4 more sheets for the other end (another $100) plus another 3-4 sheets for the half boards along the side - I'm going to cut a 4x8 sheet in half to get 2, 2x8 sheets... So the side boards will be roughly 2.5 feet high.

Thanks for the help today Laura. :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Frame is done!

All done!

There it is! The frame is all done... Took about 4 hours to do, once everything was said and done. My costs fell pretty much exactly where I thought. I did buy two more 2x10x12's just in case... I didn't need them, so I'm going to turn them into benches to put in the warming shed.

After much humming and hawing, I made up my mind and decided to go with the angled corners, much like one would find at a city run outdoor rink. It was a bit more work for sure, but I'm pretty happy with the result. I used an angled mounting bracket to secure the 2x10's, then put a peice of strapping on the rear side... Then I pounded in 2, 2x4 stakes (they're almost 18"'s into the ground) on each angle.... And screwed the stakes into the 2x10's.

The Corners

This is my biggest conern - that my corners won't be strong enough, and that they could end up bursting open once the pressure of the water is applied. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. :)

Big thanks to one of my best friends Jeff, and my neighbour Tony who helped me get this phase of the project done! Seemed like they enjoyed themselves as well - it was a fun project to do today - and the +10C temperature didn't hurt.

Is Kev doing any work?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

More! MORE!

So today I dropped back in to Canadian Tire and picked up another 500w Halogen and the mounting hardware/box for it ($30). After wiring the light up, I attached it to the corner of my deck. I'm not sure if thats where it's going to stay, but my options are pretty limited unless I sink another 10' 4x4 in my yard... Tonight before work, I turned both lights on and stood in the "rink" area... There was ample light, but the only problem I can forsee is the # of hard shadows created. To alleviate that, I think the only thing I CAN do is hang some overhead lighting. THAT might be a project for next year, depending on how the ice goes THIS year. :)

Either way, a 2nd light is up, and I anticipate putting down the lumber this week!

Friday, November 17, 2006

... and then there was light!

So yesterday I dropped in to the Home Depot, after getting my BOGO card (Buy one, get One - that just happens to have the 10% discount stickers in it) and picked up my liner... It measures 30x60, for $86. A little pricey, but I hope to get at least 2 years out of it. I'll have to trim it down of course, but that beats buying a liner that is too small - or needs to be glued together to make a big enough surface. I then swung over to Canadian Tire and picked up a 500w halogen outdoor flood light, and the outdoor electrical box/cover to hook it up to.

Putting the light up turned out to be a bit of a frustrating experience. The 10' 4x4 pole that I was going to use to mount the light on - was set in such a position that if I mounted the light to it, the light wouldn't have shone ON the rink. (There's no horizontal movent to the light, just vertical) So to get around this, I screwed a 2' piece of 2x4 onto the top of the pole. This gave me the ability to mount the light under it, and adjust to to shine where it was needed. The greatest part... When it was up there... I plugged it in.... AND THERE WAS LIGHT! :D

I won't be able to see how well it lights up the backyard until tomorrow - as I'm working midnights... but I've already decided to add a second 500w light at the other end - either off of the corner of the house or on the corner of the deck.

Probably next Wednesday I'll get started on the frame. Can't wait. :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Let there be light!

I've decided to install a 500w halogen light on the top of my existing 4x4 clothes pole... I'm also going to pick up my liner from Home Depot in the morning.... Just have to get my hands on a BOGO card first to save me 10%. :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

So it begins...

For years I've been intreagued by the thought of having my own rink in my backyard... I've hummed and hawed about it...

"Yard isn't big enough."
"Theres a semi-rink just a couple blocks away."
"Its a lot of work and effort, not to mention $!"

To hell with it, I said to myself.

So this is the year I'm going to give it the old 'college try'. It started out with the unceremonious removal of a tree that happened to be planted right smack dab in the middle of the yard. I didn't plant it there... and to be honest, that thing has bugged me for years. It didn't grow properly, and the trunk was all twisted - this lead to only live stuff growing on 1/2 the tree. Oh, and did I mention it is RIGHT in the MIDDLE of the yard? I might have.So, with axe in hand and saw in tow, the tree fell. I placed some mulch over the whole, and the yard has instantly become more spacious. This will even help out next spring when I put up Hannah's soccer net. :)

That being done, I shot over to the old Home Depot and picked up some ground stakes and string to measure out and mark the area where the rink will go... After multiple measurements, remeasurements and inner discussions with myself, I've settled on a 48x22 size rink (roughly).

Hopefully I haven't gone TOO big on my first rink. Only time will tell there.I've also priced out wood/liner/screws etc, and I should be able to get it up for under $500 when its all said and done.