Sunday, November 30, 2008

Santa might have some trouble..

I better get on with the chimney replacement project or Santa might have a hard time getting down the chimney. The two chimneys are walled in between the kitchen and living room. I have been toying with the idea of removing the partition for a more open look. I would have to replace the fireplace insert and would have to see the main chimney going through the house. In the meantime I needed to get at the old chimney to replace it. No problem- I have power tools.
As I pulled down the chimney pipes the picture didn't get any rosier. Here is the line up on the veranda out front. Don't think that black stuff oozing is supposed to be how they look.

The white crap on the floor is where the baked insulation has leaked out. We'll bite the bullet next week and go to Vanderhoof to see if we can get all the parts we will need. In the meantime I am waiting for my heavy duty mechanic to show up so we can get the skidsteer running. I have a new snow blade for it. It should make clearing the place of snow a lot quicker.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Where the Sun Don't Shine

Every time I don't listen to that little, nagging, inner voice I come to regret it. Like checking out the chimneys during the summer when the roof is dry.

Last week I wanted to fire up the main furnace but decided to inspect it and clean it if necessary. I removed the furnace end of the metal chimney and shone a light up the chimney to see whats what. Here's what I found:
I'm not an expert but I don't think a steel chimney is supposed to bulge and have split seams and insulation cooking.

So we have to replace it. 8 three foot lengths, athrough floor fitting, an attic insulation fitting. the best price we could find localy for Selkirk chimneys was $86 a 3' length. I hope the fireplace insert chimney is OK. But it's about the same age as the main chimney so who knows. I guess I'll find out when I cut a few holes in the walls. Needs or wants? Want a bandsaw - need a chimney. We'll start that project today. We are going to get at it through the kitchen wall. We want to check out the living room fireplace chimney and that ends on the main floor. The tricky part is going up on the roof, now that it has snow on it. fortunatly I have a stainless steel run line along the ridge and a safety rope ataches to that. I installed that when I painted the roof last summer.

My estimate is a couple of days. Stay tuned to see how wrong I can be.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's that time of year again.

It was time to drag the winter boots out. The ones to the left are a high tech version of the old rubber overshoe. This one goes up to the Knees so it has a built in gator. It is designed to go over a hiking boot but works well with shoes. If it gets really cold I can add a felt liner for sub zero comfort. The advantage to these for around town is I can wear my slippers inside and when I get to some ones house the outers come off easily and I can just wear my slippers inside the house.

The everyday work boots are the ones we wear for doing yard chores or whenever we are going to be ( or could be) out in the weather for an extended period. If your moving at all these baby's will work to -40 or more. When it gets a little icy we will add strap on crampons for safety.

Cold storage fridge update. We have all the controls now wired in and the ducts that take inside air and circulate it to the fridge if it falls below 0c (32F) and it's working great.

Our skidsteer isn't up and running so that I had to used the old Drott Skid shovel to bail us out.

It needs work because after a half hour or so it loses traction. I will have to have my heavy duty mechanic friend look at it. When it's working right it can sure move alot of snow in a hurry. I am expecting a Cat D4 to show up one day. It has a movable blade so should make it a lot quicker. Mind you if I get the skidsteer up and running and an eight foot blade on it we are ready for winter snow moving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Table Manners

We're in a full force blizzard today. I was going to go finish wiring up a friends place but don't even want to chance highway 16 in this stuff. So it's office work. I am rebuilding our main application and it is a total re write so a lot of work. Usually when I am in the office it's sunny and wonderful outside. Not so today.

One of the things I really enjoy about our joint is the ability to have pets. They really brighten the place up - and they are darn good company. This is Boose, the outside cat getting some quality time in the morning. She helps with meditation. It's the purring. I think she likes my 'stash.

Xena is demonstrating exemplary table manners. Note the plate carefully balanced on her front paws.

We were out late last night for a round of night time blue ball. Her favorite sport. If I was only half the man my dog thinks I am..

Hope your having a great day.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Stearless in Endako..

Skid Stearless that is. My skidsteer is broken down and waiting for parts. Just a little nerve wracking as winter is approaching. Turns out one of parts was back ordered. The part was a pin in a gear assembly we're changing. It had to come from Paris, France. Well, la de da, won't I just ride a little higher knowing parts of my Case skid steer came from Paris. We are negotiating with a dealer in Prince for an eight foot snow plow. We are taking in the fork adapter so that they can retrofit it with a quick release plate that modern skidsteers use. I will probably also have to modify the hydraulic quick connects. A snow plow is about 10 times faster for clearing a road than just using a dirt bucket. I could get a snow bucket which is larger, but it still has the same weakness: You can only push the snow straight ahead - a snow plow lets the snow shed to the side.

Haven't made a lot of progress on the shop. I put some blue tarps up to keep the snow out of the shop and glad I did. I have been busy wiring a friend's place and doing some repairs to a remote solar/wind system. Hopefully I can make some progress today. Here I am adding some caulking to the outside lighting and feed for the intrusion detectors and cameras, but that's another post.

Xena's favorite toy, bar none, was her "blue ball". She just loved the thing and raced around the yard with it. While it lasted. The first one was a "bouncy ball" - but after she got a little bigger she bit right through the handle. We tried a "horse ball". It was a lot tougher but she managed to bite through it in short order and now it sits deflated. She still plays with it but it just doesn't have the bounce. Sometimes it just goes to her head.
We took a quick run to the coast to attend a friend's funeral service. We always travel well prepared. In the winter we carry: Emergency food, a stove, winter boots, tow straps, shovel, off road chains - the whole nine yards. On the way back it sure seemed like overkill. It was a beautiful day: bright, full of trees in fall colours. We stopped in Spences Bridge to give Xena a pee break.

It was so nice we decided to stop over in Kamloops to visit a couple of my favorite people, my sister Echo and husband Grant. We stayed overnight and on the way back I was glad for all the preparation and a brand new set of studded winter tires. The road conditions were atrocious.

We counted several dozen vehicles in the ditch. The majority of them tractor trailers and logging trucks. Professional drivers. People who do it for money. We went down one hill where five trucks were in the ditch and another six deciding that now might be a good time to put the chains on. The ones that did have chains. No kidding, and about two hours too late. It was so bad the main highway through Prince was shut down because it was littered with, you guessed it, tractor trailers. Now if you're a professional driver reading this and you take some umbrage, because you are a safe and careful driver and I know that is the majority, my apologies - and pass on what you know, because there are a lot of drivers out there that are not. Just can't see that it's safe for a fully loaded logging truck to be going 120 kilometers on ice covered roads in a near white out. Hope you got home safe. Oh and if you're that lifted four by four that passed six vehicles just south of Prince - in the same iced up, white out conditions and wondered why that white Toyota had pulled over to the shoulder. I was just making it easier for you to get home to your loved ones. And a couple of mine were in my truck with me.