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November 8th, 2009:

Swing Set Ground Cover

You are now the proud owner of a swing set, congratulations.  Before your land creatures can begin to scale the walls of Babylon, you will need to get ground cover.  When the kiddies are launching from 10 ft in the air they will require a little cushion to stave off internal bleeding.  Our pediatrician recommended either bark mulch, pea stone, or rubber mulch.  The company we purchased the swing set from recommend between three and six inches of ground cover.

Bark Mulch:

This is the cheapest solution at about $20 a cubic yard.  It will have to replaced in the future because the mulch will decompose.  There may be an issue with creepy crawlies as well.

Pea Stone:

This is the medium cost solution at about $40 a cubic yard.  Do not confuse pea stone with pea gravel.  Pea stone needs to be contained or else it will go everywhere and be difficult to remove.  If the pea stone is not delivered directly into the swing set border have a tarp ready.  Dump the pea stone onto the tarp and then move it into the swing set border.  If (when) the pea stone leaks onto the lawn a shop vac can be used to suck it up.

Rubber Mulch:

This is the most expensive solution at over a $100 a cubic yard.  No one in our area does bulk delivery.  Individual bags must be purchased, but do not purchase them from a big box store, instead try a swing set builder.  The bags are bigger and cheaper.  Rubber mulch is available in a variety of colors if that’s your thing.


Plan for a border at least three feet from the sides, and seven feet from any swings.  I used pressure treated posts turned on their sides.  The posts are dirt cheap $3 to $4 at a big box store.  To hold the posts in place I drilled two or three 3/8” holes through post, and drove 18” of 3/8” rebar through the holes.  (I got fancy and mitered the post ends together.)  With the rebar the posts are not going anywhere, and will keep the ground cover contained to the swing set’s domain.

Convert a multi-page TIFF to a PDF

I needed a hard copy of some legal documents from my last home sale.  The broker that managed said deal provided all the documents scanned in a single TIFF.  The oracle did not provide much guidance unless I wanted to install spyware or spend money for spyware.  I had the idea to use ImageMagick to possibly extract the images, and then I would create a PDF of each image, and then stitch the PDFs together to later print out.  As it turns out, ImageMagick already does everything I need.

$ convert –rotate 90 docs.tiff[18-20] docs.pdf

The above command extracts pages 19, 20, and 21 from docs.tiff, rotates the pages 90 degrees, and converts the output to PDF.

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