Tuesday, March 31, 2009

These boots are made for walking...


In the snow. And it's about time they made their way downstairs to rest up for winter.


Their duties to be taken over by Boggers, hiking boots, and running shoes - perhaps even Crocs, although my wife, Jo-Ann, thinks that Crocs are acceptable winter wear. Perhaps next week I will put the summer tires back on the Toyota and Van.

I took them downstairs yesterday, and of course we wake up this morning to an inch of snow. It's just a few degrees below zero and the roof is dripping water on the East side as the morning sun gains some force.

Tom came up yesterday to help me get the skidsteer out of the garden. All I had to do was put a couple of planks under it and it came out easy. Being able to lift itself with the bucket makes putting stuff under the tires easy. The chains stay on for a while. At least untill now snow remains.

We have been having some very strong winds here lately, particularly in the afternoon. Yesterday, Jo came out to the heavily insulated, and thus, soundproof shop to escape its screaming. She doesn't much like the wind as she has child hood memories of living through Hurricane Freida. But she does admit that the wind keeps the Mosquitos down. Haven't seen a one since last fall.

The shop organize continues. I made some great progress yesterday and hopefully should almost be ready for the table saw rebuild today.

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow.

Time to start some gardening. Well, OK, time to start thinking about the garden. I plowed an access path to the tire garden so that I can just bring all the tops in for repair on a pallet.
Can hardly wait for that first salad. The tires with plastic on top and even the undamaged agricultural cloth are warming up nicely. It shouldn't be too much longer. I will put a thermometer in a couple of tires and see how they are doing. I can use a remote station and pick up the signal in the shop.

The number one rule in plowing snow is: don't get stuck. Here I am forgetting that rule. I will need to bring the Cat over to pull the skidsteer out. Or wait until I am back from the coast and the snow has melted a little more.

Playing " blue ball" with the girls.


The trick is to throw both balls, simultaneously, in opposite directions. This was after a chunder down the still frozen driveway to Savory Road. The dogs love the walk. The snow has melted and then frozen so they can walk on top of it. Lucy, the coon hound, gets into smell overload.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Watching the Snow Melt

You know it. A day after I took the snow plow off I had to put it back on. We got six inches of snow here and I wanted to get it off the road. Trying to keep the road dry will be a bit of a preoccupation for the next little while. Yesterday started off a bit colder. the road covered with snow diamonds. I told myself to enjoy it as I might not get to see it for a few more months. Well let's say November if were lucky. Time to get a crop in if I get my but in gear. Should be a lot easier this year as we have the retired garden set up. I want to do some more work on the irrigation lines feeding the distribution panel. They have developed a leak about six feet down. memo to self: Always use two very well tightened pipe clamps when burying 1 inch poly hose six feet down.

I took a run to the dump yesterday. Wasn't a whole lot to take. We burn what we can, compost everything that is compostable, wash and flatten tin cans so a whole winters worth of garbage doesn't amount to more than the very end of the trailer.

With four cats around the joint their ensuing nuggets can pile up. Not quite sure what to do with it. Basically I am going to bury it in the ground or the above ground compost that I turn with the skidsteer. Any ideas?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Snow Job

Did I mention yesterday that I took the snow plow off of the skidsteer. That necessitated Mother N. dropping about six inches of snow all over the newly plowed driveways. I guess the good news is that the snow dumps have been moved back and are easily accessible. Some thing I have to think about and am starting to get the gist of: Where to put all the snow that can fall in six months of Winter. Away from the house and yard is the main thought. Leaving large piles of water can inundate the driveway and house foundations. Even the snow that falls off the steep pitched roof can amount to quite a bit. Fortunately with the house oriented North South, The Eastern and Western sides do get quite a bit of sun and reflecting off of the logs shrinks the snow banks quite rapidly.

I am going to do a bit of a think this year of the amount of time and money I spend plowing the driveway and pushing snow, so that vehicles can drive to our door. We once considered a garage at the bottom of the driveway, a kilometer, away where we could house a vehicle ( to get the 14 Kilometers to town) and use a skidoo to get from the garage to the house. Or for short trips where we wouldn't be packing a lot of supplies back we could simply use snow shoes. Now wouldn't that be an interesting experiment.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Digging out.

Yesterday brother Tom came up and we dug all the skidsteer parts out of the snow banks and got them ready for use. I have a four way bucket, Forks, Tote box, and of course a snow plow for the rig. Nice to have all the parts ready to go. I am using the bucket to get snow piles away from the house so any melting gets directed away from the foundation.

I went in the shop and couldn't find Boose the shop cat. Lo and behold she was sleeping up on the lumber rack.

Body wise, if I could leap the same distance, I could stand on the ground and leap up to the roof. Now that would be handy. And in cat years I could still do it when I am Sixty! Forget those Swedes.

Today is more snow removal some firewood chores and shop organizing. Now that's a whole post in itself.

I also started to dig a path to the retired garden so that I can get the tire tops and bring them into the shop for replacing the plastic lids.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sleeping Arangements

As part of our energy conservation and biomass sustainability program we keep the bedrooms quite cool. Chilly actually. I always liked really warm bedrooms until I got used to keeping them cooler and throwing on a warmer quilt. We have an eiderdown that really can't be used above -20c and it rarely gets that cold in the house. Last night we tried the L.A.S.S.I.E. system: Large Animal Snuggling Securely In Eiderdown.

Works marvelously. Toasty. Nothing to plug in. The only mistake I made was leaving the glow in the dark doggie ball visible. Apparently it is so vitally necessary for a doggies mental health that there was some growling going on until Mom ( I warned you guys to be quiet..) decided to claim possession.

Yesterday the skid steer started up and after a while I managed to get the right hand side unfrozen and get the driveway plowed out. Snow all pushed to the ditches or over the embankments so that the melt won't soggy up the road. We could be in for another snow or so- for a moment I had the thought of removing the snow blade and putting the bucket back on. Maybe I will wait a week or so for that..

This is the lower kitchen cabinet that I built during the course I took at Lee Valley.

The instructor was a guy who runs a kitchen cabinet business and invented this method of assembly. Basically it is a European 32 milimeter system that doesn't use face frames. Simple and sturdy, it uses 18 gauge pins and drywall screws - no glues, no complicated joints. 3/4 double faced Novaply for the carcass and 1/2 inch ply for the drawer bottoms. simple rabbets for the drawers. Quite overkill material wise, but plywood has several advantages over M.D.F. And he has never had a drawer bottom failure in all the time he has used this system.

Today I am off to the local library to de infest their computers of viruses. Don't get me started on that one...there is a special place in Hell for virus writers..

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dog Days

Just got back from a trip to the Coast. I left at 12 am and got here at 12 pm. 12 hours of driving. Drove through the night, a snow storm, and couple of hundred klicks of slush. It's nice to be home. I had a kitchen cabinet course to attend at lee Valley at the coast. And I picked up Lucy, my daughters dog, to bring her up for a couple of weeks of Endako vacation.

Lucy is pretty much an indoor dog and she is having a lot of fun with her country sister, Xena.

And those weird, small, spitty, hissy not dog things with the fluffed up tails. Who disappear down this small square hole into the basement when she bugs them too much.

The upper driveway is pretty drifted over so I will fire up the skidsteer and take care of that, God and the skidsteer demons, willing.

And then get some wood in, and play, .er organize the shop some more. Maybe start putting the big saw together.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some Assembly Required


In order to change the cigarette lighter ( Well Power point for us non smokers) in a 1993 Toyota 4 X 4 you have to take the entire five pieces of the lower dash off! And in the correct order. Amazing design. But don't get me going! Off to pick up my Daughters Doggie for an Endako vacation.

Monday, March 09, 2009

One of these days I am going to get Organized..

Jo-Ann gave me a hand " for an hour " yesterday. Well that's what I told her it would be. By the time we got all the piano hinges on the two new peg board storage systems and put the trim on and attached wall cleats and moved stuff around and hung them on the walls it was more like six hours later. My project estimating wetware was totally off on this one. Mind you we did stop for a refreshing tea break to admire our handiwork. The shop cat, Boose, needed some scrootches of course. And Xena needed a few chase the blue ball ( actually a pink ball now) sessions. A few more sub-projects and I will be able to finish organizing, putting up the tools, and get on with the overhead door installation. The only problem with doing it now is that (a) the parts are under four feet of snow, and (b) it was -26c(-14.8f) this morning. Taking the double tarps off of the door opening will probably be a little chilly. I just might wait a bit 'till it warms up. The impetus to getting it done is that I want to rewire the skidsteer and it would be nice to do it in a heated shop. The cold just makes equipment repairs a miserable proposition.

Today is clear and crisp. After a breakfast of fresh scrambled eggs and home made bread we're off to town to get some fuse holders for a 12 volt project on the Toyota. And bring in another weeks wood supply. And cut some kindling. And maybe, get a little tool fondling, -er, organizing done.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bed of Nails

This is a neat trick I picked up from a magazine. To finish doors or flat items on all sides just drive a zillion drywall screws right through a thin piece of wood - or in this case some 1/2 inch, 8 inch X 8 foot pieces of O.S.B.

Then when your finishing or painting the doors do one side and then just flip them over on the bed of nails to do the reverse. The tiny little screw points only make an imperceptible mark in the dried finish.

That was how I finished the four doors for the two new Pegboard tool cabinets. One is just a re done cupboard that I salvaged and primed, caulked and sanded and painted.

It is about a foot deep with a two inch pegboard door added. It will be used to store my woodworking power hand tools and glue and such.

And now for something completely different, from the things that make you go hmmmm department. Or why didn't I listen to that inner voice screaming in my head:

The last time I was at the coast I had a new radio installed in the Toyota, I also got a satelite radio - nice around here because the radio stations are few and far between. I did some research on the internet and found a place close by to where I was staying. When I went in the joint - pun intended - the first thing I noticed was the strong smell of herbs and spices. Well more herb than spice. Pretty distinctive. The alarm bells were ringing but as I was leaving town that day and they were within walking distance of my daughters place I went: " ah well, they are young". They sure looked pretty layed back. When I returned later to pick the truck up I noticed that they hadn't changed the antenna or installed the satellite connections which I had asked for. " Oh man, I didn't know you wanted me to do that.." Still that same distinctive odor. Strong enough that I had the urge to go buy a bag of cheezies.

Yesterday, months later, I was taking the dash apart to repair an existing and install another twelve volt outlet. I noticed most of the dash screws and plastic connectors were missing. Now how the heck--oh yes: the laid back odoriferous boys from the stereo installation. They had to take the dash apart to install the radio and new speakers. I know the screws and connectors were there when I took the truck in because I had the dash apart before then for a lamp replacement and I put them all back.

Ah well lesson learned: If the place smells skunky and the workers look a little too laid back don't expect all the nuts and bolts to go back where they belong..

Friday, March 06, 2009

Gardening Dreams



We've had some sun lately and I have started to see the snow shrinking around the tire planters in the "re-tired" garden. Planting time in getting closer. The inside six inches of soil that is against the tires is frost free. The middles are still frozen. We left most of the tires with agricultural cloth covering the lids and they didn't stand up to the winters snow. The ones that had plastic on them did. Soon it will be time to repair all the lids, put some more tinfoil in the tires and get ready for planting. Lettuce in May!

Yesterday Jo-Ann declared the remaining turnips in the inside out cold storage fridge were now inedible and bound for the compost pile. They lasted over five months which, I believe, is generally pretty good for turnips in cold storage. The big surprise was the zuchinni which lasted three months. We got off to a bad start last year and the turnips especially got crowded out with lambs foot, as the yard help we had hired when we left for a three week vacation couldn't tell the difference between lambs foot and turnips. When we got back we found, among other things, the garden choked with lambs foot. Actually a pretty tasty crop in itself. I am going to harvest a crop of it for winter feed for the chickens. This year I am babysitting the garden through the start-up weeks.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Breakfast

I love the smell of porridge in the morning. We try and have it at least twice a week. Especially in the winter time. The only other cereal that I will buy is Shreddies - and I don't much like taking the stroll down cereal isle in the stores. Who needs 150 different brands of cereal. Most of them covered with sugar. Our other breakfast staple is pancakes and of course eggs from the herd. With the occasional Mennonite sausage Made localy. One of the things on my list: learn how to make sausage. I have been looking for a meat cutting course in B.C. or Alberta so that I can learn to process my own beef and pork. Most of them seem to be geared towards being a professional butcher. I am looking for a more do it yourself type of course.

Today is trouble shoot the skidsteer and start putting away the tools in the new shop.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Walk Towards the Light

We were sitting at the kitchen table this morning, checking out the webosphere and noticed Xena sitting on her favorite snow hill watching the morning sun rise.

Actually I think she was scoping out two moose crossing just above the East fields. But she does like to sit on the growing pile of snow and contemplate her domain. All is right with the world.

I spent yesterday fiddling in the shop. Putting a coat of paint on the tool storage pegboard and building a lumber storage rack. I was tripping over pieces of wood so that little project was coming up quickly.

Here's Boose demonstrating proper use of a sliding compound miter saw. Notice how she took great pains to ensure the piece of wood was securely held down before cutting.

Don't try this at home. Remember - she's a trained professional. Some guards and safety devices may have been removed for clarity..

The parts for the skidsteer weren't in yesterday so we'll try again today - after the second coat of paint on the pegboard.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Pick Up Sticks

Xena likes to help with some of the chores. Making kindling is one of her specialties. We are now working on having her deposit the wonderfully chopped kindling in the kindling bucket.

She also enjoys vermin eradication. She can smell the voles underneath the snow and does a headfirst dive to get them. She is surprisingly successful. The cats take care of under and in the sheds - the fields and snow banks are Xena's domain.

Yesterday I moved Boose, the shop cat, permanently into the new shop. When I took away my heavy shirt she was using for sleeping and lounging purposes she looked a bit miffed - only to be right jollied up when I replaced it with her heated sleeping box.

It has a small electric blanket that keeps it nice and toasty. But I think the big improvement was the litter box. Going out for a crap when it's Thirty below probably wasn't on her fun things to do list. Eventually her sleeping quarters will be up near the ceiling.

I have to wait for a skidsteer part to get delivered so in the mean time my brother Tiny brought his skidsteer up and pushed all the snow banks back off our driveway road so that if and when they start to melt they melt in the ditches and off the road which will keep it a lot dryer. Of course the half dozen culverts we put in a year ago have made a huge difference. It is astonishing how quickly a stream of water running across a gravel road can wash it out.

Todays task list includes getting a coat of paint on the woodworking shelves, and plowing out the yard and paths to the outbuilding. And then taking an hour to drive the skidsteer back to Toms via Savory and Highway 16. Oh and getting in another load of wood. Somethings been happening to it - it's almost like someone has been burning it up..