Thursday, October 29, 2009

Art Decor

Despite the house being a total wreck, I still look forward to the day when I can decorate. Hang lamps, paint, make floor rugs, and all the rest. I try really really hard not to start buying stuff already for many good reasons.

But then I see something like this:
It's a shade for a single-bulb hanging lamp.
It's plastic, and need I say, orange!?

It would look great over the kitchen table, don't you think? I love it. I love it right now. I'm not sure I'll love it in the kitchen I'll have have in...oh...let's say...five years. (I do seem to be gathering a collection of odd kitchen bits in orange though.)

This was found in an antique shop that seemed to specialize in the 70s. (There was a lot of fabulous furniture there too--included a plush bubble chair with speakers mounted right inside. Ooh, I could just hear all the high-fidelity sound I could get sitting there!)

They only have a couple of these shades. (The other colours they had were purple and wood grain--ew on the fake wood grain.) These are shades that are still in their original boxes and for some reason didn't sell in the 70s. I can't imagine!

I have the number so I can call this shop and buy it by phone. BUT if you really really agree that I need to have this lampshade, please call me on my cel and let me know before I leave town. (And, especially I mean YOU, honey!)

Price: $95.

Worth it? You decide.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Flashing (The Kind You Do With Your Clothes On)

Earlier this week I offered to help Troy with the flashing on Sunday. He was a little confused since it wasn't really a two-person job and he hadn't asked me to help. When I explained that I was just offering some assistance to make the job go faster, he got right on board.

So today while he was finishing up the cement board on one of the fiddly corners by the garage door
(northeast corner finished)

I was set up on the sheet metal break. After appropriate training, I proceeded on my own. And here, if I show you how it goes, then you can just fly through your training should you ever be called to run your own sheet metal break.

We start with a roll of veeeeerrrry thin aluminum.
(The hammer is just keeping it from rolling off the work surface, essentially just a fancy paperweight.)

Step 1: Mark the length. We're using a square purely to keep things neat. It doesn't really make it function better, but we live in a world that likes straight lines at 90 degree angles. So we try to comply.
(The screw is the marking pen. The aluminum is so soft you can easily mark it with the point.)

Step 2: Cut the strip to length. Use an old pair of scissors.

Step 3: Lay the strip onto the sheet metal break.

Step 4: Position the clamp bar at the fold line:

It's a little hard to see the bar in that pic, so here's a better view:
It's the thin pointed edge that you want to have right on the fold line.

Step 5: Clamp the bar and aluminum sheet exactly in place. (Not only does the world like straight and 90^, it also likes even and level. Again, we try to comply.)

Step 6: Placing a hand on each black handle, rotate the break up to fold the aluminum.
There's a mark on the right (circled in red) that tells you where to stop. Bring the break back down, then up to the mark, then down, then up again, and down. Yes three times.

Remove the clamps and bar, and you now have a piece of flashing instead of just a strip of aluminum:

And repeat...and repeat...and repeat...until you have a nice stack like this
and have gone through the last two rolls of aluminum and Troy tells you that that is probably just enough.

Here's a little shot of it installed:
If you can make out what all the pieces are, you can see that the flashing starts on the wall and then covers the joint with the cement board (which is over the foam as you may recall). The siding will, of course, cover the top of the flashing and the water will stay out of places it does not belong.

After Troy finished with the cement board, he got busy with the flashing I made:
This is the south wall when it was partially finished. By the time we ate supper, Troy had finished the south and west walls. By the time I got around to loading these pictures and writing this, he had almost all of it done. Yeah for Troy!

All that needs to be done yet is one final screw on the bottom of every joint between the separate pieces of flashing. Troy doesn't have the right screws on hand (gasketed siding screws, I believe he said) but we'll get to that another day.

And that was our day of flashing. No trench coat needed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Drying Popcorn

We are drying popcorn.
Lots and lots of popcorn.
Troy tells me there are about 50 cobs around the stove right now.

There are about 100 more in the shop that he was shucking last night.

He figures this is about half of what grew.

That's a lot of popcorn.

The difference from last year is that the cobs did not dry on the stalk. The weather's been so wet that Troy finally gave up on them drying outside and picked what he could. While he was shucking them, there was water pouring out from the skins.

Hence the cobs drying by the woodstove.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Canning Summary for 2009

Summary entry for my own records

2009 Canning Records:

Oct 7: 2 qt, 14 pt beets
Oct 6: 6 qt spiced apples
Oct 1: 4 pt applesauce

Sep 30: 4 qt dill pickles
Sep 23: 14 c frozen tomatoes
Sep 12: 12 hfpt spiced pear sauce
Sep 9: 1 qt, 3 pt pickled pears
Sep 9: 14 qt, 2 pt tomatoes
Sep 6: 4 qt, 1 hfpt apples
Sep 6: 12 pt pears
Sep 6: 12 qt dill pickles ETA: all spoiled!
Sep 4: 11 qt tomatoes

Aug 27: 4 pt kohlrabi
Aug 27: 4 qt, 18 pt, 1 hfpt carrots
Aug 21: 6 qt peaches
Aug 19: 3 qt dill pickles
Aug 12: 5 c strawberries (frozen)
Aug 12: 11 pt carrots
Aug 5: 9 qt dill pickles
Aug 1: 7 qt pickled beets
Aug 1: 16 pt beets

Jul 29: 5 qt, 2 pt gr beans
Jul 21: 7 qt gr beans

By Product:

Apple slices: 10 q 1 hfp
Applesauce: 4 p
Beets: 2 q 30 p
Carrots 4 q 29 p 1 hfp
Green beans: 12 q 2 p
Kohlrabi: 4 p
Peaches: 6 q
Pear sauce: 12 hfp
Pears: 12 p
Pickled beets: 7 q
Pickled Pears: 1 q 3 p
Pickles 28 q (12 q spoiled)
Strawberries (frozen) 5 c
Tomatoes (frozen): 14 c
Tomatoes: 25 q 2 p

Monday, October 05, 2009

Insulation: Day Eleven

or, "Marathon Ascending and Descending of a Ladder"
or, "How Calculus Relates to Insulation"

We had quite a day yesterday. The weather was wet; I wasn't knitting. And so we thought we do the last top-off of the insulation and be done with it.

I woke up feeling bad enough that I didn't go to church. But I was willing to give the insulation a try, hoping to be improved by the afternoon. Troy trotted off to church and picked up the machine and cellulose afterward. By the time he was home, had lunch, and had a nap it was about 4:00.

As he's getting his work clothes on he mentions that he got a different machine because he went to Menards this time. (Usually we go to Home Depot.) The machine is heavy enough he doesn't thing we can manually lift it out of the truck. I suggest we just leave it in the truck and use it there. Problem solved.

Then he mentions we're doing the dining room as well. "What!?" I don't like surprises. I don't care if it's only 15 minutes more work, I need to know ahead of time. I need to psyche myself up for these things. But I decide I don't have much choice and suggest that we just drive the truck outside the window and run the hose through an open window. That's Plan A, anyway; we'll see if we need a Plan B when we get there.

We never get there. After getting the shop more or less ready (moving everything away from the walls to make room for the ladder, setting up fans in the windows, repairing a fan that fell out of the window, etc), we turn the beast on. I notice right away that it is a lot dustier. In fact, it's spewing insulation fluff up out of the top of the machine. We soon realize this is because it's clogged. It won't blow anything out of the hose. We can't get it going. We can't adjust the feed rate. We are not impressed.

Troy gets fired up. Fired up enough that he takes everything back to Menards and says he's going to Home Depot for our regular machine. Then we're going to start again.

I pick the rest of our beets while he's gone, but then go back to bed. It's all I can manage.

He returns by about 7:30. I set up the new (much lighter) machine while Troy drives back to clean up a bag that flew off the truck a couple miles back. When we turn it on, this machine works. (Ok, so about half way through, we got this one clogged too. We go 10 times with no blockages, and today we get two. :sigh: But this one is cleared up in short order and then we don't have any more problems with it.)

We make it around the room, topping off each and every stud bay. It's now 10:15. We are dirty and tired. But determined. So we head off to the dining room, dragging the hose, blower, and some insulation with us.

Fifteen minutes later we have the dining room done and everything packed back into the truck. I am in bed by 10:38, watching the Steelers nearly blow a 28-0 lead.

Oh, what about the, "Marathon Ascending and Descending of a Ladder"? That is Troy. Each bay only took from 15 to 90 seconds to fill, but Troy had to move the ladder for each one. So he was bopping up and down the ladder all evening. He got quite warm. (Naturally, I was quite cold standing by an open window with not much to do--turning the machine on and off while occasionally putting in some more insulation.) I guess this is turn-about-is-fair play from the first days when he was sitting on the ladder while I was running around throwing insulation in as fast as I could.

And the "How Calculus Relates to Insulation"? So when we're about three-quarters done last night, Troy yells that we have do this twice. It's a little hard to communicate when we're both wearing dust masks and ear plugs, but I assume he means that bay. (I have no idea why but that is not my job to question.) Then I start to think maybe he means we have to do this whole topping off thing twice. I stew on that for a while. (Like I said, I need prep for these types of pronouncements. I was wondering if that was my "notice.")

Troy gets all the way around the room and then starts doing bays we've already done. When we have a break from the noise as he's adjusting the ladder, I can't keep quiet any longer. I ask, "How many times are we going to top this off?" And Troy says, "Once; why?" "Well, we've already filled those bays." Troy was happy to hear that--he had forgotten where we had started.

I then said that I thought I was going to have to explain how calculus works and the fact that no matter how many times we went around the room, he could always fit in just a little more. Less each time, but still more each and every time to the nth degree. He laughed and agreed and confirmed that we are done. (I'm sure those of you who know Troy are not surprised that I was worried he would want to do everything again. Sometimes I think it's my job to keep his thoroughness in check. But not this time.)

In any case, it's done now. I will be happy to not have it hanging over us anymore and to not hear that machine for a while.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Siding the Foundation

After getting the insulation wrapped around the shop's foundation, it was time to protect the foam from the elements. Troy had a particular product in mind that he had seen at Menard's last summer. When he went to get it, it was not to be found. When he asked, they said that it was a one-time offer they got from the supplier and they wouldn't be restocking it.


So Troy looked around and decided to go with some cement board siding. The boards are heavy and awkward enough that it was deemed a two-person job. We got the south and west sides done last Saturday evening.

Sunday we started again, but had barely started when Wendy and David showed up for a visit. After a few minutes of socializing, David took over my spot helping Troy and Wendy and I took Jan to the park. (Thank you, David.)

They got the first round down and even started the "roof" section before we stopped for dinner.

Troy and I got the rest done one evening this week. Well, there's some fiddly stuff to be done on the side with the garage door but Troy said he could handle that himself.
The board was attached with expanding foam insulation. It sets up pretty fast but not immediately so we had to prop the boards up until it dried. And then we used the wood to hold the slanted pieces down to prevent the foam from pushing the boards up off the foam.

Troy had a load of dirt delivered on Tuesday and started spreading it around. First some tractor work with the front end loader.
Then some hand work with a rake and shovel (done near the door; not this end yet). It's going to be so nice to level this area out. It was still deeply rutted from the cement trucks that drove in to pour the foundation last summer.

I had Wednesday off and Troy suggested I could fill some time spreading dirt if I was bored. That night he asked flippantly if I had done any dirt work.
"Oh, yes" I said, "It's all done."
"Really?" he played along. "Did it take you very long?"
"No time at all" I answered honestly.

(Sorry, honey, I'm no help at all!)

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