Gardening

May. 14th, 2009 09:15 pm
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After dinner tonight somebody said "There's still some light, come outside and help me plant."

So, we did.

The west side of the house now has moss roses, coleus, begonia, and something that one of the customers at the Vinery was getting rid of.
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Being a nice day, I started in on chopping drainage channels in the ice at the crosswalk on the corner, so that it'd drain and wouldn't pool new ice. Base channels took until lunch, and then after lunch, most of the neighbors were out helping each other shovel the piles at the end of driveways out into the street so that they'd melt, and people with short cars could see over them.

Then they all came over, and we pretty much destroyed the ice in the intersection (the contractors with the graders who do the neighborhood don't do a very good job of scraping the intersection bare), all the while talking about who's doing what and so on. We had 12-14 people standing around the intersection at one point, with ice choppers, shovels, and my digging bar (which destroys ice buildup), occasionally getting out of the way of cars.

Then I cleaned up some of the old seed, hulls, etc. under the bird feeder, until 'd filled the composter. If I do more, I'm going to have to start filling the neighbor's composter.

After that, we went to Menards for some shelf boards to do the closet in the computer room/office. We never put clothes in there, so we're going to put shelves at about 16" spacing to hold all the craft stuff and random electronics that have piled up there. I ripped the tongues off some old T&G boards from the garage, gut them to fit the sides and back wall as perimeter shelf supports, and then [livejournal.com profile] teeka painted them. They're currently out in the garage (with a heater) drying, albeit slowly.

Tomorrow we'll install the shelves, and clean up the room somewhat, and then we're probably going to clean the carpeting in the bedrooms and computer room.
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Haven't done a lot today. Did a couple loads of laundry, cleaned up under the bird feeders (we have very messy birds). Shortly after lunch, I started making bread.


My bread book says this is pain à l'ancienne (country-style French "old dough" starter - pâte fermentée - bread), but baked in the style of pain de campagne. We've been playing with more"artisan" sorts of bread, and using the bread machine to make dough, but then forming loaves and baking them in the oven. This loaf took 9 hours from when I put the ingredients for the starter into the machine until it came out of the oven. I've got half the starter left, and will make another loaf tomorrow, as the starter doesn't last long.

Finally, someone (and she knows who I mean) pointed out this website, which is (I think) a great way to waste time. I'm currently up to 14x10.
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Last night when I got home from work I refilled the bird feeders.

When I got up about 9am this morning, both thistle feeders were down about 4". The birdmometer (an all-purpose weather predicting device) says that either a) today's going to be worse than the weather prediction is saying; or b)significant recharging is required now that the temperature's warm enough that the birds can get out to tank back up.
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[livejournal.com profile] teeka, unfortunately, is in the living room worrying about having to go to the dentist tomorrow to have a crown reinstalled (hopefully it's that simple).

I just got done having more fun than any self-respecting snow goon should have.

The old snowblower took about an hour and a half to do the driveway, the sidewalk, and the extra paths through the yard.

We think I did it in about 45 minutes, including doing 2-3 extra neighbors worth of sidewalk, and cutting the plow berms next to the driveway and the curb ramp back about 3 feet. I didn't get the street pushed back all the way to the curb, because I didn't bring a shovel, and I can only reach about 30" high on the bank with just the snowblower (which has a 21" high cut, according to the manual). I'll probably work on that tomorrow when I go out to shovel off the roof.

Turning radius is similar to the old one, and I can still make the corner next to the garage to get to the back yard path, and I cleaned out the path we cut for the mail carrier, and turned around in the neighbor's driveway, as now I can climb the hill going into their yard (I followed the extension of the cut they made right up onto their front sidewalk).

I need to make a few adjustments tomorrow. The skid plates need to be lowered (they're in the factory-set "high" position now) so that the scraper bar doesn't catch on the sidewalk high points as much, and I need to tighten the bracket for the chute because it swivels the crank away from the chute and then I can't rotate it.

Other than that, I'm going to give the new snowblower a rating of at least 4 snowballs (out of 5).
revchris: (Default)
We're starting to think about replacing ours.

It's getting to where I'm spending more time trying to keep it running than actually blowing snow.

[livejournal.com profile] teeka called [livejournal.com profile] jeffreyp to see if we can get one from Jeff's dad, and I'm going to start pricing carburetor rebuild kits and points (if one of those two doesn't fix it, it's probably not worth trying anything else). If that works, and I can get it to run properly, then it'll be time to talk to somebody (Hi Jeff!) about trying to reweld the auger shroud onto the impeller housing (half the welds have broken loose).

All in all, it's a 21-year-old snowblower, and it may not really be worth fixing, but first I need to figure out the repair costs.

Edit: Carburetor rebuild kits are unavailable from the three sources I checked (including the manufacturer).
revchris: (Default)
Next step is to clear the truck off and go to the hardware store.

The preceding steps involved snow blowing the driveway and shoveling all the walks.

Why, you might ask, if I have a snow blower, am I shoveling the walks? That's because the intermediate step between those two involved the drive belt on the snowblower failing.

I've looked in the manual, so I know how to replace it, but I have to go take the old belt out in order to find out what kind it is, because the manual doesn't say.

Busy Day

Dec. 6th, 2008 06:36 pm
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Today I cleared all the sidewalk and the driveway of snow, then sanded and salted same.

Next it was off to Woodman's for people food, bird food, and candy making supplies, with a stop at the hardware store for propane and a bacteriostat and a new wicking pad for the humidifier.

Then I went back and cleaned up the end of the driveway after the plow came through, and then shoveled off the edges of the roof, and then drove over to the hardware store for shear pins because the plow berm did in one of the ones in the blower, and I couldn't find any spares in the garage.

After a lunch break, I spent the afternoon installing a second lampworking station in the garage (canopy hood, tile on the counter, torch) and cut quick connects into the line for the first torch to allow the second torch to run simultaneously.

Now I'm going to start some laundry.
revchris: (Default)
All the signs of winter are here:

1) The first thing I did when I got up was to start the snowblower and clear the sidewalks.
2) We had the first plow berm of the season.
3) I broke the first shear bolt of the season, and had to run out and buy more.

Usually, I'm of the opinion that there should be snow on the ground by my birthday. Well, it's there, so, enough already, ok?
revchris: (Default)
I got the snowblower to start. I've also downloaded the manual, and will eventually have to run the carburetor through an adjustment cycle. It runs, but only at full throttle, but the adjustment process isn't hard, just time consuming.

[livejournal.com profile] teeka and I redid the lower workbench (that she had been using for cutting glass) to make it shorter so that there can be a second lampworking station. Eventually we (I) will have to cut in and install a second exhaust hood as well, but that'll wait until there's actually a second torch in place.

I also got my workbench mostly cleaned off, and next I should hook up the dust collector so that I can use it while I'm turning. I might get to that next, or I might just go out and make stuff, and clean up afterward.

The dust collector closet also now has a sweep on the bottom of the door and weatherstripping all the way around the door so that it seals. There are a few small leaks, but almost all of the air goes out the external vent.

Of course, I also realized that I've been messing with the weather. We had been planning on moving the camper to Stoughton for the winter, and the snowblower wasn't working, so of course it snowed today. We've since decided to leave the camper in the driveway so that we have a chance at selling it over the winter, and I've got the snowblower working, but I've also admitted to screwing with the weather....
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Yesterday I was a slacker (well, not entirely - I did laundry and dishes).

Today, however, I've actually gotten some work done.

The lawnmower has been run dry, folded up, bagged, and stashed at the back of the garage.

The snowblower has been dug out, I got the electric start to engage properly, but I haven't gotten it to start yet. I also cleared out where it parks over the winter, which gives me more room to work in the garage.

We went to Menards for parts, and [livejournal.com profile] teeka now has a timer for her rod warmer and the heat lamp that keeps her feet warm, so that she doesn't have to worry about leaving them on.

Tomorrow I'm going to do more work on cleaning the garage, try again to start the snowblower, and replace the rubber flap on the garbage disposal.

It's done!

Oct. 19th, 2008 08:42 pm
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This morning I finally finished the hardwood floor. The last transition strip is in, including trimming the molding around the end of it.

This afternoon I started raking leaves. The trees around the house have just started dropping leaves, and I've already got three large piles on the apron waiting for the city to take them away. The crabapple and the tree in the Fulton-side apron are ~1/3 down, but the other four trees haven't really started. The neighbor's tree by the driveway has only just started, too, but that's the biggest tree and has a lot of leaves to go. I just hope they're done by the time it starts snowing (last year they weren't quite).

Next, it's time to start cleaning leaves out of the gutters!
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All of the transition strips are now in, except for the long one in the living room/kitchen doorway, as that's still on backorder. The front door transition will need a little bit of filler caulk as the entryway wood section is slightly taller than the main floor, and that makes the transition strips roll outward just a little, and the miter joint at the corner of the transition doesn't close right (and I couldn't figure out a good compound angle cut to make it work).

I finished the first half of the drop ceiling installation in the basement, using 28 tiles, one accessory clip, and 2 octagonal extender boxes. The ceiling light fixture sticks out from the tiles about 1/2", but unless I special order a 1" extender ring, that's how it's going to be. The other side has all the track up except for around the booze shelves, but I'll get to that later this week probably. Then it'll need about three boxes of tile. I decided to get the first section done (which took a trip to Menards today for 4 tiles) so that if by the time we get tiles they've changed designs, each side will be all one pattern.

[livejournal.com profile] teeka dug a new bed and planted asparagus in it, and I put a planter ring aorund it for her. Now, as the asparagus starts to come up, she's going to slowly fill it in until it's the right depth. Then we'll pick up the tarp that the dirt for the bed is currently sitting on and replace the dead grass that'll be underneath it by then.

It took most of a day of fiddling around, but I finally got the lawnmower to start, and it ran long enough to go around one section of the yard once, then it died, and while it would restart, wouldn't keep running. I'm going to let it sit until tomorrow and then try it again, hoping the gumout that's in the gas will do it's thing by then. Then all I have to do is figure out how to take the pull-cord clutch apart so I can see why it isn't engaging most of the time when I pull the rope.

I also finally got around to putting a new blade on the miter saw. The old one has been on for several years, including two flooring projects. Looking at it, it's missing two teeth, and has several chipped teeth. My miter saw now cuts through things a lot easier, which tells me I probably should have changed it a while ago.

Floor

Apr. 28th, 2008 09:32 am
revchris: (Default)
This weekend went pretty well.

I need to get more laminate-to-vinyl transition strips (two closets and the kitchen archway), and finish installing the bathroom and front door strips, and then the floor is done. The bathroom and kitchen strips have to be planed thinner on the vinyl side, but I can do that with the table saw.


Click the picture for mid-sized version or here for high-res version.

Next I have to finish laying track for the drop ceiling and decide what I'm doing around the pipe for the furnace exhaust.

After that, I should have more dirt on hand and we'll start filling in the newest raised planting bed.

And after that, there'll be something else, I'm sure. Like carpeting the dust collector closet to see if that makes it quieter.

Weather

Feb. 25th, 2008 07:20 pm
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Where'd the weather go?

There was supposed to be freezing rain and blizzard by now.

Not that I mind too much - I had time when I got home to go out and finish clearing the ice off the sidewalks and driveway.
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[livejournal.com profile] teeka and I chipped the ice off of the sidewalks and the driveway this weekend and I got the ice cleared out of most of the gutters. The end of the driveway has a bit of a bump to is, as I didn't feel like chopping the 2-3" of ice off the road. I just threw on a bunch of salt, and I'm going to think happy thoughts about it melting.

Mike (the next door neighbor) asked me today (while he was chopping ice) if I put salt on my roof. I told him I had, as a little salt should do less damage than an ice dam. He said he had been wondering why my roof is clear of ice along the edges when everyone else's in the neighborhood isn't.

I told him that wasn't the salt, that was the fact that I shoveled all the snow off the edge 3-4' of roof on Wednesday so that the last few warm days would have a chance to melt the rest of the edges clean.

Hopefully, the clean edges plus the empty gutters will mean that all the new precipitation this weekend won't freeze up completely on my roof. It also means that Tuesday I should rake off the roof again so that if can melt more.

This whole snow shoveling thing is starting to get old.

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