Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another 16 Tons

Hello Again Readers,

Oh, my aching back! Well, things are moving along with the home project. Two days ago 16 tons of fill dirt were delivered and dropped in the driveway in front of the remaining 8 tons or so of gravel, which is in front of the monster dumpster.....

Flash back two days.... moving all of this material from the road to the back of the house is work, not only for Mr. Arm & Shovel, but also for Mr. Honda Tractor and Ms. Dump Trailer. Down the hill, through the garden, over the Dam, and on to the very end of the trail - the new 'around the house' rainwater runoff system. Gravel is heavy. Ms. Trailer's tow bar buckled and things looked grim! The internet found the repair shop but, yikes!, a two day turnaround! Off to Harbor Freight with my coupon. Viola! $80.00 later and a new, whimpy Ms. Trailer is assembled and the work goes on...... Stopgap......

Yesterday the ol' Ms.Trailer returned home, better than before. About 9 tons moved brings us to today and the next step - more sheeting on the house. Yep, pretty cool......


Ps. Got word that Tioga George is back in the states dealing with a few family issues. I am sending out my best to him and his loved ones...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rain & Stuff

Morning Readers,

I was reading Tioga George and he was talking about stuff. Well, yesterday, it rained so I could not yard plywood up the side of the house so I went to the 'other' job - cleaning up stuff..............ugh, we all know about stuff....
I guess that there must be someone out there that likes to clean up stuff, I am not one of those people.......years and years (maybe decades) of stuff piles up in those hard to get to places, or forgotten places.... find out that you had two or three kinds of the same stuff, even stuff you bought last week because you thought you were out of that stuff.....


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Big Change In Plans

Good Evening Readers,

"Life is what happens while your busy making plans"

- j. lennon

A week ago tomorrow Weng and I made some really tough decisions about our future and about our timeline for the next year. School. Work. Mexico. Opportunity. We have always been the 'pay-as-you-go' type of family and our debt load has always been very low. That is changing as we have decided to complete the majority of the construction of our house over the next several months. This is a major undertaking - replacing all of the rotted siding (with 70 year old salvaged cedar), changing out the windows with new thermal windows (salvage from different jobs through out the years), new insulation (also salvaged from dumpsters), putting up new sheetrock (the old place had plywood inside walls - our home is a very old home - parts of it go all the way back to 1860..), new around the house rainwater drainage system again drainpipe from a dumpster), repairing the roof in several places and perhaps a new coat of paint (whoops! mismatched paint from home depot for 5 bux a gallon)!

Notice that dumpster in the photo? Nice, huh? That baby is a 30 yard monster sitting in the driveway ready to eat all of the trash, and debris we can shovel into it. The gravel? Yep. At cost from the fine folks at WestCoast Sand & Gravel. 16 tons.

Now, to do all of this we had to let the different people we work for that we would not be available for several months while this work goes on, and, well, it was just fantastic! Everyone understood and said that their ongoing projects could carry over as long as necessary. Weng will now be our principal bread winner and we have secured a loan capable of buying us enough time to tighten up the place before winter sets in.
Just Fantastic!

Uncle Bill stopped by today and he helped me fir out the stub walls of the rebuilt daylight basement. Nice, huh? Augustin layed up the block to replace the old rotted wooden walls. Weng coated them with 50 year old rubber paint I salvaged from a garage tear down. Same size walls but now strong, very, very strong.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

All Of The Good Stuff

Hello Again,

Just a moment to let you all know that, even though we are very busy people, it is always a joy and a sweet moment we are living in. Last night it rained and rained. A small leak here and there and Weng only laughed about it - moving into the house before it is totally finished makes for interesting moments. This morning the alarm went off and I am sure that it went off early! 'V' was up and at it and soon the smell of fresh ground coffee brewing filled our little valley. A little walk to shake the senses and now the valley smells like home fried potatos, onions and garlic. The rain has stopped for a while and the sun is boring holes through the clouds. Heat islands on the ground that vaporise the wet blackberries into yet more clouds.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Where Is My Clone When I Need Him?

Good Sunday Morning All,

Well, this part of the overall 'work around the house' process is drawing to an end. By the end of the day I hope to have finished all 260 feet plus of 8' high cedar fence along the east property line. A real challenge! The last two segments call me to action but Sunday morning 'be quiet in the neighborhood while people sleep' moves me to the old shovel and pick ax for more fill dirt. This dirt is being moved from the 'dirt mine' by the road, down the hill tru the garden, over the dam and to the back of the house where an area is being leveled for the new home of what used to be the laundry shed. For 3 solid weeks I have been working this series of projects from sunup to past sundown and my arms and hands are aching and so is the bank account (now $46.00 total) for lack of income producing work. Add in school starting, friends personal crisis's, cloudy days with early rain, foolish notions of Koran burning, and next to zero guitar time - well, piss and moan!
I feel better now having vented to the etherspace of this crazy world and the sun is shining and my spirits rise as the pile of dirt shrinks.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cleaning Up

Hello Again Readers,

Well, another productive day on the Bonny Slope. I finished up the concrete work and tomorrow I put a fresh new plastic sheeting up over the places where the windows go and begin the clean up. I figure that, working dark to dark I should have it under control in 2 days. Then off to Herman and Ruth's Lovely Home for a Lovely Soak in their Hot Tub!!



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rain, Concrete, Australia & The Foolishness Of Hatred

Hello Readers,

We are in the middle of the first big rain of the season. In the last 18 hours we have got about 1 1/4 inch of rain. We were almost ready for it! Augustin finished the last of 5 sections of waist high block walls in the new laundry room today. Weng has painted the lower block runs with water sealant and several of the walls now have rebar and concrete fillings. Tomorrow I will pour the last 12 sacks of concrete in the remains walls and a small dividing room wall floor footer. Weng located a used Sears washer last weekend and it is now semi-installed and working like new. $50bux! She is excited because our pal Ruth has the same washer.....

Augustin and I cleared the east lot line and installed around 50 4x4x10ft posts and rails along the entire 260ft and have installed the fence boards on about half of it. Engineering and construction of the area over the pond is moving along also - there will be a clear span over the water of about 25ft. I am building composite beams with a reverse truss system I dreamed up to support the 8ft tall fence over the pond. Tricky business and fun use of concrete and beams.

The grey water system is now fully functional and works great.

The whole place is a construction mess, the kids are back in school and it is raining in the house through a giant hole in the kitchen. I take solace in the outcome of the Australian election however. .
An intelligent woman will continue to lead the country, Julia Gillard. For the first time in a major country the Green party will have a real say in the government policy and a progressive and creative mind set will have a chance. I say chance only because it is a razor thin (1 vote majority) and could go flat on face easily. Good On Ya Mates!

Now the part that sucks. Really sucks. That would be the narrow minded hate monger and his zealots who intend to burn the Koran on 9/11. What is with this guy? Stirring up racial and religious hatred is not what this nuclear world needs. Freedom of speech and the like is fine but it is wrong to shout fire in a theatre. The future shape of the world should not be decided by such insanity.

Lets all just get along. It is time to change the way we think about a lot of really, really important things.