Saturday, August 30, 2008

More Evidence of a Fallen World

About the time that we were installing truss number 11, we had to switch from putting up the north end first to putting up the south end first. We dragged the truss over like usual, put it up like all the others, flipped it up and then tried to line it up with the rest. But Troy couldn't get the center to match at the same time as my getting the south end to match. We studied the matter and, although we couldn't be sure, we concluded that the trusses are not symmetrical! Well, sh*t.

This was at the end of a long evening. Not the time to be fixing stuff. Especially stuff that wasn't our fault to fix. Ho hum. So Troy starting spouting ideas for lining up the peak but adjusting the ends so that they would match and wouldn't interfere with the insulation, etc etc etc. I let him go on for a few minutes, and then said, "You know it will always bug you. We have to take it down. If we can put them up, we can take them down." So yes, we took it down, turn it around, and put it back up before we retired for the night. And the next night when we started again, we made very sure we put the right end of the truss up on the right side!

In the redeemed world, trusses will be symmetrical.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Down the Drain

We've had more plumbing issues. The kitchen sink has been slow to drain and occasionally clogged on and off for a couple months. Troy has tackled the problem with snakes, draino, more industrial draino, plungers and all to no permanent avail. He finally had to snake the drain and drain pipes in three different spots and removed some big ol' clogs. The sink has now been working nicely for a couple weeks so we are hopeful that is done.

The upstairs bathroom sink started giving trouble in July. I was in the kitchen and heard a strange sound behind me. Investigation led to the discovery of a little water on the floor from the drain pipe above. So the bathroom sink was leaking...a little bit...sometimes. Troy figured the joint by the U bend was no good and when enough water drained to fill the trap, the rest went out and down into the kitchen. So we had no useful sink in the bathroom for a week or so. The first repair with caulk didn't take, so Troy pulled out the big guns--epoxy--and that has seemed to fix it.

So we are running on all sinks again. Yeah! Life is full of all these decisions about what needs fixing, what is worth fixing, and what can wait for the new refit it will get as we continue to remodel.


ETA: The bathroom sink repair did not "take." So we don't have a working sink upstairs...ho hum...sigh...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Garden Update

Well, well, it has been a while since I indulged in a garden update. (This will be rather "picture heavy.") I must say I have not been in the garden much and most of it is a mess. What is blooming and growing is only the stuff that can stand neglect and the dry summer we've been having. Having said all that, I will dwell on the positive here.

My glads did extremely well. Most were around four feet tall, and I thought they were doing so well: strong and erect. Then we had the first rainstorm...and indeed a lot of them were flat on the ground. They were converted into a very lovely bouquet in a vase, though, and the rest kept right on doing great.

The arum italicum have shed all their leaves and are into the next stage:They put up these stalks with green berry-like seeds which slowly turn to red. They have been multiplying nicely on their own (I only moved three of them I thought, but have had more than that in volunteers) but I need to move them somewhere where they'll have a little more space on their own and a little less sun.

I put in some dahlias this spring as well. The one has smaller yellow blooms (up to 3") and although there are quite a few of them, they are nothing special. The one beside it has bigger blooms (at least 4") and just keeps on pumping them out. The red and orange combinations are so pretty.

Tom brought some new garden residents for me. I am really enjoying Gertrude and Antonio's company:
But if you're not careful Antonio will give you very suspicious looks. It takes a while for him to warm up to you. Gertrude tries to keep him in line, but you know how that goes...
Our vegetables are also only doing as well as they can with neglect. We have quite a few volunteer tomatoes in the front that are now making fruit; none of it is ripe yet. It is also the variety that Troy didn't like so I'm not really sure why I'm letting them get on, but I guess if I can let the crabgrass grow, I may as well let the tomatoes grow too.

Focusing on the positive, I picked five pounds of potatoes from Troy's plants the other day. They were de-de-de-DE-lish! Mmm mMM. Yukon golds; so so good.

And I guess the corn is coming along. I love the red tassel, but I have to say it keeps catching my eye when I pass a window and it is very distracting. Troy planted regular sweet corn and popping corn, but I do not know which this is. [ETA: Troy didn't plant any sweet corn; only popping corn. Apparently he told me this, but I forgot.]Now the mystery volunteer. These huge yellow flowers have also been catching my eye through the window. When I finally went to see what it was, I saw a melon (or squash?) plant bravely putting out flowers and fruit. We certainly didn't plant it and assume it came from seeds in the compost. If you can identify the fruit, please let me know!! I'd like to know what I might be eating!
[That's a bee diving into the flower head first.]

All for now...and it's quite enough.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to Put up a Truss

Ok, so how do you put up a truss without a crane or a crew?

First you drag the truss off of the pile and into the shop.Next you tie a rope to the corner, throw the other end over the wall, climb up after it, and haul up the truss. Then you tie that corner so it is secure and won't fall back down.
Then you tie the rope over the other corner, throw it over the wall, climb up after it, and haul that side up too.
Now that the truss is hanging upside down, it's time to right it. But first, don't forget to untie the first corner so it can flip freely. Rotating the truss into position starts on the ground. One person pushes the corner up with a stick; the other rolls the scafolding under it.
Once the truss is laying securely on the scaffolding, you climb up after it, and then flip it over your head so it's standing upright.
Now it's time to get the truss in the final position. The person on the scaffolding supports the truss while the other person climbs onto the wall to "scoot" the base of the truss into position on the wall, both in the east/west and north/south directions. Once in place, there only remains to link it to the previous truss with a couple 1x4s.
Keep in mind that this is all being done 12 feet off the ground (a nice cushy concrete pad) and the trusses are none too stable as they wiggle, wobble, and warp all over the place.

If all goes smoothly, this can all be done in 20 minutes.

Isaac and Troy got the cap piece (Troy says that's the heavy one) and three additional trusses up in Isaac's last week. Troy and I got four more up yesterday evening. I forget how many there will be in total...maybe I don't want to know yet.

There's something very appealing and poetic about the symmetry and repetition of trusses lined up in a row:

All for now. Enjoy whatever you are doing...or what your partner has somehow roped you into...


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Flying High

So we finally made arrangements and the weather cooperated so we could take the flight I bought at the auction last spring. I thought I was buying a plane ride, but actually got a flying lesson. Well, not me. We put Isaac in the front seat, of course. The kids always get put in front for the best view and to better get in on the action, right? It was a surprise for Isaac to have Larry instruct him on how to taxi to the runway, and then expect him to do it. It was a much bigger surprise for Larry to have Isaac take off!

Isaac was not too sure about it, but Larry gently insisted. He did it. Now I have addressed Isaac's nervousness, but please imagine you've just gotten into a small aircraft and now find out that your 14-year old is going to be doing the who's nervous??

But things went splendidly. The weather was perfect for a smooth ride. There was a little excitement (very contained excitement) when the radar tower kept telling us that there was a plane headed toward us but we couldn't find it. A quick dip to a lower altitude kept us out of harm's way and we did then see the other plane outline against the sky above (and much to the side of) us.

And where did we fly? Well, straight back home, of course.
Where else would we go? (So narcisistic of us.) I got one fairly clear shot through a rather scratched and worn window. (Ok, so I'd have to admit the other shots weren't ruined by the window...) I knew we were surrounded by small lakes, but seeing them all in row and actually row upon row was quite something else:Most of the lakes were much more developed around their shorelines than this one. There are also oodles of swampy lakes or maybe you would call them wetlands. They look like once perfectly good lakes gone bad with choking weeds.

I did say the flight was smooth, but Larry did feel the need to [unexpectedly] demonstrate 0 g's for us. This is Troy and me after we recovered for a few seconds:
We did ask him not to do it again (I think Troy's thigh still bears the imprints of my fingernails), but I think one more time probably wouldn't have hurt us. Isaac was excited about the idea of repeated manoeuvers to keep up the feeling of 0 g's and this brought out the story when Larry did it enough times that his engine stalled because the gasoline is gravity fed, and when gravity is being tricked into not working, the gasoline doesn't work either. It goes without saying that he got out of that just fine.

Did I mention we were flying a 1975 Cessna 172 aka a Skyhawk? 4 cylinder, 350 cid engine.

Isaac is fond of saying that he almost landed a plane, or else that he mostly landed a plane. Things got a little tricky at the end, and he had a strong desire to not be in charge, so Larry did take over at the end. In retrospect his landing probably would have been bumpy, but likely not as bad as some I've had (we've all had) at O'Hare, and I'm sure we wouldn't have died or anything. The plane, however, may have sustained damage. But all is well because it ended well.

Next up? More time in the sky...but sky a little closer to the ground: we'll be putting up roof trusses this weekend.

Till, then take care,

Toot! Toot!

That's the sound of me tooting my own horn, as I plan to do in this posting. I entered the country fair for the first time and although I can't exactly claim I "cleaned up," I did net a few ribbons. The thing I thought should do the best was the sweater I knit for Troy a couple years ago: It's an adaptation of a Michael Kors design that appeared in Vogue Knitting. It did not impress the judge all that much, apparently, because it was placed third ($1.50). If the sweater I saw with the blue ribbon was in the same category then I would have to say that I am not impressed with the judge. (The blue ribbon sweater was nothing much, with apologies to the maker.)

My crochet bag also received a third place ribbon. I was ok with that. It was very hard to see what it was up against especially since it was in a miscellaneous category. If this bag
was in the same category it should have had a ribbon too. It was very cute. But I didn't see any ribbons on it. Shame on the judges.

I scored a second place ribbon on a pair of leg warmers I knit for a friend but I couldn't get a good pic. They hung it very far away from the viewing lane. Now, quit laughing at the idea of leg warmers--they are very cool leg warmers. They are! (Really, quit laughing now.)

My big prize--the blue ribbon--was awarded for a photo I took last fall:It's not my favourite pic, but I entered it because everyone seems to like it. And apparently the judge liked it too. Good for me. $3.50 good.

One last pic that I really liked which also got a blue ribbon. (I didn't take this one.)
So besides bragging rights, I also won $8.50 in prize money. And before you scoff, please realize that will buy me a Big Mac meal with 3 chocolate chip cookies (they're good). So I will celebrate tomorrow with lunch. Oh wait, maybe not tomorrow; I should probably wait til I get the check in the mail.

Well, time for me to start working on next year's projects!

Enjoy whatever you are working on today, and if you get a chance to toot your own horn, do it!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Shop continued

Well, I am back after a long absence. Work continues to progress quickly. Isaac's been working his heinie off and we've had more "working company" which is great. Keep on coming!

Troy and Isaac got the inside wall completed on three sides while I was gone. Tom took care of adding as much plywood as he could without the scaffolding.

The east wall only has a couple short pieces of wall to put up since it will be mostly taken up by an overhead door.

Tom and Isaac were also kept busy putting on lots and lots of plywood squares to link the two walls, making them act as one unit and thus much stronger. We do not need this thing blowing over.

We only have one more week to get our most out of Isaac so we will try to get the most! Up next should be putting up the roof trusses. We think they've arrived at Lowe's (Lowe's was a little unclear about it, but we're working on it). In any case, they'll be here soon.

Friends are reporting that they can now see the shop from the road (the walls are 12 feet high) and are happy to be able to follow progress as they drive by. The new roof will really grab a lot of attention.

Well, that's all for now. Time to finish up laundry and then head to the county fair...

PS: Troy has corrected me. They're not "flying buttresses." They're just buttresses.

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